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The New Zealanders at Gallipoli

Young Australia greets Young New Zealand

Young Australia greets Young New Zealand.

Thirteen days after leaving Wellington the New Zealand ships crept into the spacious harbour of Albany, Western Australia. Here were gathered innumerable vessels of every line trading in the Southern oceans. Not painted uniformly grey like our ships, but taken in all their glory of greens, blues and yellows, they rode on the calm water of King George's Sound packed with the adventurous spirits of the First Australian Division. The cheering and counter-cheering, the Maori war cries and answering coo-ees would have moved a stoic. Young Australia was welcoming Young New Zealand in no uncertain manner in the first meeting of those brothers-in-arms soon to be known by a glorious name as yet undreamed of.

After a few days spent in replenishing supplies, the wonderful armada put out to sea. The twenty-six Australian transports steamed in three parallel divisions, being joined a day out by two Westralian transports from Fremantle. The New Zealand ships retained their old formation, the two divisions covering off the blank spaces of the Australian convoy. We parted company from the old “P” class cruisers, but got in return the two new Australian ships, the “Sydney” and the “Melbourne,” long, snakey-looking craft with four page 18
Black and white photograph of on-board church service.

[Lent by F. W. Randall
An Impressive Sunday Service on the “Athenic.”
The padre is the Rev. Canon Taylor, C.F., a frail man with an enthusiasm for serving his fellows. He served through the Gallipoli Campaign, and at Sarpi Rest Camp was tireless in his efforts to rejuvenate the listless survivors from Anzac.

page 19 rakish funnels. The “Minotaur” was still steaming away ahead, while to starboard was our old friend the “Ibuki,” evidently burning bad coal, her three black funnels belching forth tremendous volumes of the blackest smoke.

Great attention was now paid to the masking of all lights by night. It was known that German cruisers were at large—notably the “Scharnhorst,” “Gneisenau” and “Emden.” In order to evade these ocean highwaymen the usual course was not set through the Indian Ocean. For the same reason, a strict censorship in regard to movements of ships prevailed in Australia and New Zealand. At Hobart and Albany the greatest precautions were taken. Ample proof was ultimately forthcoming that this trouble was not in vain.

But the convoy was a very cumbersome thing. The cruiser leading and the cruiser acting as a rearguard were both hull down on the horizon. There was an Australian transport that most days could do nine knots with an effort; one or two erratic performers like this sorely trying the practised station-keepers of the Imperial Navy. Characteristic sailor messages were being constantly transmitted. The following is a sample:—“From H.M.S. ‘Minotaur’ to all transports: The attention of masters of Australian transports is again drawn to the extreme importance of keeping accurate station, especially at night. During last night the Second Division straggled to seven miles, whereas their line should be three miles in length. The Third Division straggled to six miles, whereas their line should be three miles and a half. By this careless station-keeping the masters expose their ships to an increased risk of being torpedoed by an enemy, and also involve the New Zealand convoy in the same danger. The New Zealand convoy are keeping stations at three cables apart in excellent order, and their great attention to convoy orders as regards reduction of power of lights merits my warm approval. The ‘Medic’ and ‘Geelong’ were signalling last night with lights visible at least ten miles. I again point out the necessity of reducing the power of lights by blue bunting or other means.”

A strange ship on the horizon always aroused great speculation; never did a cloud of smoke materialize into a page 20 ship but the stranger was already attended by one of our escorting cruisers. Thus was the R.M.S. “Osterley” of the Orient line examined, and later passed the convoy on Guy Fawkes Day, homeward bound, carrying the soldiers' Christmas mails.

An air of expectancy hung over the convoy on Sunday, November 8, for on that day news arrived of the naval battle off Valparaiso, in which H.M.S. “Good Hope” and H.M.S. “Monmouth” were destroyed by a superior German force.

Early that same morning the “Minotaur” signalled to the “Maunganui”: “I am ordered on another service; wish you the very best of success when you land in France. Give the Germans a good shake-up. It has been a great pleasure to escort such a well-disciplined force and convoy. Good-bye.”