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The New Zealanders at Gallipoli

The Bomb Factory

The Bomb Factory.

The hand-grenade position was often desperate. For the first few months no grenades were available, and the supply had to be improvized on shore. A “bomb” factory was instituted, and here, day and night, men toiled to make the weapon so effective in the short-range fights that burst with such fury around the devoted posts of Quinn's and Courtney's. The Turk had a plentiful supply of a round, cricket-ball hand-grenade, with a patent match-head ignition, and these he literally showered on Quinn's.

The Anzac factory retorted with several brands, but the most favoured one was made out of the green fuse tin from the 18-pr. guns. These tins were stout, and of the size of a condensed milk tin. Two holes were punched in the bottom for a wire to go through, and three holes in the lid—two for the wire and a larger one for the fuse. The wire came from hawsers salved from the wreckage of the trawlers off the beach. Into the centre of the tin was placed a dry gun-cotton primer or half a stick of gelignite, the detonator and a five-seconds fuse was fitted, and the remaining space packed with unexploded Turkish cartridges with the bullets cut off to let the lid close, after which the whole was secured across the top by joining the two ends of the wires. So, from the cast-off tins and wires, captured ammunition, and the engineers' stores of explosives, these grenades were manufactured to repel the apparently rejuvenated “Sick Man of Europe.”

A time came when the guncotton and gelignite got scarce, and a powder explosive called ammonal had to be used. This presented a difficulty, as the stuff had to be packeted. But page 158 an active brain came to the rescue with a suggestion that cloth might be used for the packet. It so happened that about this time a large consignment of shirts had been opened up, all cut out and in the multitude of parts that go to make a shirt, but no two parts stitched together! This material was requisitioned, cut into squares, and the explosives packed like little bags of washing blue, with the detonator and fuse inside. Another time, tins ran out. The little mountain battery fuse tin was used as a stopgap, and then, luckily for
Black and white photograph of soldiers carrying stores.

[Lent by Capt. Boxer. N.Z.M.C.
Carrying Stores up Walker's Ridge.

Quinn's, another rascally manufacturer sent a shipment of mildewed tobacco to Anzac. The stuff was condemned, and before the day was done the empty tins lay in the bin of the bomb factory. Thus, though they did not intend it, did the careless London shirt inspector and the bad tobacco specialist help to keep the front line of the Anzac area.