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The New Zealanders at Gallipoli

The Fifth Reinforcements

The Fifth Reinforcements.

If ever mortals were projected into a hell of torture and suffering it was the men of the 5th Reinforcements. Coming straight from the transports, they arrived at No. 2 Post on August 8, and were summarily introduced to modern war. Hundreds of wounded had been carried down from the bloody slopes of Chunuk and were laid in rows in the neighbourhood of No. 2 Post, in readiness to be carried along the Big Sap, and so to the piers as soon as it was dark. These men of the 5th Reinforcements had served little apprenticeship to active service; but they had heard of the casualties of the landing at Anzac and Helles, and some have written that at first they were of the impression that these rows of wounded men were an everyday occurrence! In a sort of nightmare, not knowing whither they were going, or even page 241 the name of the dere they traversed, these men dived into the trenches on Chunuk Bair and found themselves among Wellington and Otago Infantry, Auckland and Wellington Mounteds—the heroic band of brothers clinging to Chunuk and prepared to die there. A great proportion did die there; but they held Chunuk! Into this company of heroes stumbled the men of the Fifths.

They were greeted with “dig for your lives for dawn is not far away, and if you haven't got cover by then, you're dead men!” All through the night the digging, the bombing, and the shooting continued. Rifle barrels got so hot they had to be discarded, and a rifle from a dead man used. Ammunition and water were collected. Some men used three rifles, turn and turn about.

Black and white photograph.

Carrying wounded to the Picket Boats.

With dawn came the lyddite shells from the Navy. Dense rolls of yellow smoke curled round the hills. Small coloured flags were waved to indicate our position to the Navy.

The suffering from thirst was terrible. When relief did come, men crowded round the wells at No. 2 and drank tin after tin of the precious water.