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The New Zealanders at Gallipoli

The Last Night

page 288

The Last Night.

The sun went down that evening on a wondrously peaceful scene. The peaks of Samothrace and Imbros were bathed in the glow of a glorious golden sunset. The sea was unruffled by the faintest breeze. Faint wisps of clouds floated lazily across the sky, fitfully obscuring the moon. As soon as it was dark men became very busy.

At ten minutes past six the last gun fired its last shot from Russell's Top, and its removal to the beach commenced over the temporary bridges, down through the wider trenches, past much barbed wire entanglement—over cliff-sides and down Walker's Ridge the proud gunners triumphantly brought their charge, and before eight o'clock were safely embarked on their waiting transports.

Two much-worn guns—not New Zealand ones, but attached to our division—were rendered useless and abandoned. One was a 5-inch howitzer in Australian Valley, the other a 3-pounder Hotchkiss in the Aghyl Dere.

All the men were travelling very light. Previous parties had taken the “Diehards” kits and impedimenta. With a rifle and bayonet and a stock of hand grenades the men of the rearguards took up their positions in the front line. Machine guns were carefully looked to. Ammunition was plentiful. If the Turk did come over he would pay a big price. As one of the normal smells of Anzac was that of tobacco smoke, men smoked packet after packet, and pipe upon pipe. Out to sea, the traffic was quite noticeable to the anxious watchers on the hillside.