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The New Zealand Medical Service in the Great War 1914-1918

The Landing April 26th. Second Day

The Landing April 26th. Second Day.

Major O'Neil reported early in the morning to Brigade Headquarters and got into touch with Capt. Craig's R.A.P. and with Capt. Baigent, N.Z.M.C., R.M.O. to the Otago Battalion. Craig was to the left with Canterbury, Baigent on Plugge's Plateau. The enemy's guns opened fire early, but the Queen Elizabeth came up with Sir Ian to lend a hand and silenced them for a while with gargantuan shrapnel. With confidence renewed by this wonderful display, an attempt was made to reorganize even though the battle was again hotly engaged. Canterbury, Auckland and Otago with some part of Wellington were in the firing line, the 15th Australian Battalion having a "fierce time" up at Quinn's.

Down on the beach near Ari Burnu just north of the Headquarters Gully, Capt. Tewsley had established a post, its back to a clay bank which afforded some shelter; here, wounded coming in from our left round Ari Burnu were being tended. Much trouble there was from snipers' fire at Ari Burnu point; wounded being killed with the regimental stretcher bearers until 10 a.m. when our howitzers got the range and silenced the snipers. Wounded came into Tewsley's post during the day by the beach track around the point from Walker's Ridge, named after Brigadier Walker, then temporarily commanding the New Zealand Brigade; but embarka-page 44tions from this part of the beach were difficult, in the morning by reason of snipers' fire from the left, in the afternoon by heavy shrapnel fire directed from Kaba Tepe.

Very early in the morning Col. Manders had despatched a signal message to the D.M.S.:—"Re previous message, to which ship should further serious and lightly wounded be sent." It does not appear that any reply was received to this message—frankly, the D.M.S. was completely cut off from any co-operation in the medical arrangements. He had asked, on this day, that he or his A.D.M.S. might be allowed to join General Headquarters on the Queen Elizabeth in order to supervise the evacuations which he considered were not being carried out in accord with the plans agreed upon. A reply to this request came from G.H.Q. to the effect that they were making all necessary arrangements in accordance with the D.M.S.'s plan. During the day a naval surgeon had been put aboard the Lutzow where there were over 300 wounded, now 17 hours without medical attention. The medical personnel and stores to man this ship were aboard the Hindu, lying at anchor off Helles. The officer commanding the 2nd Australian Stationary Hospital, whom we have seen arriving late at Mudros was still awaiting orders from the Vice-Admiral. He was, of course, powerless to move in the matter as the transports were not allowed to use their wireless plant. The Itonus and Ionian were receiving wounded during the day. On the evening of the 26th there were about 500 wounded aboard the Seeang Chun; her original anticipated capacity was 100 cot, 600 walking cases; she had sufficient medical personnel and stores, as we have seen that two N.Z.M.C. officers with stores had boarded her in Mudros Harbour. General Carruthers came aboard about 6 p.m. and ordered the two N.Z.M.C. officers, Captain Walton, the senior, to report with stores to the Lutzow. This was done, so that there was at least no shortage of medical stores aboard the Lutzow, although of orderlies there was but one.

In the forenoon the A.D.M.S. visited O'Neil's post. He expressed admiration for the work so far done by the ambulance, and the arrangements made by them; but in the evening he took to his diary for consolation and wrote hard words about the seaward people. He had been keenly opposed to the making of the base at Alexandria; his opinion was that the prepared transports should unload wounded at Lemnos so as to be constantly available. The journey was one of only a few hours from Anzac as compared with three days to Alexandria. He says, "We have about 2000 wounded up to date. The first night page 45we filled all the prepared ships and got the last of the wounded off by 11.30 p.m. The general gave the bearers high praise, and they deserved it." The casualties in the corps were 500 to 600 for the second day of the landing; and during the night many wounded passed through the beach station, but the night was quiet enough on the whole. Trenches were being deepened and water was now being carried up the gullies by donkeys and mules landed the previous night.