The New Zealanders at Gallipoli
Straight into the Battle
Straight into the Battle.
The orders given to our Division on disembarkation were for the New Zealand Infantry Brigade to prolong the line page 80 to the left of the 1st Australian Division, and particularly to support the left of the Third Brigade, which had landed as the covering force to the Army Corps; the 4th Australian Infantry Brigade was to be held in reserve. The landing of the Auckland Battalion was completed at 12 noon. Walker's Ridge was given as its objective. By 12.30 p.m., two companies of the Canterbury Battalion were ashore, and were directed to support the Auckland Battalion.
At 1 p.m., the Auckland Battalion was recalled from Walker's Ridge and brought more to the right, to occupy Plugge's Plateau, in order more directly to connect with the left of the covering brigade. The two Canterbury companies prolonged the left flank of the Auckland Battalion, in the direction of Walker's Ridge. Between 12.30 p.m. and 5 p.m. the Otago Battalion arrived and was sent up to Plugge's Plateau in support of the Auckland Battalion. When the remaining two companies of the Canterbury Battalion arrived they were sent to Walker's Ridge to prolong and reinforce the left flank.page 81
Owing to the accuracy of the enemy big-gun fire, the transports with our field guns aboard were temporarily forced to retire. The Turkish gunners were punishing us severely, and we realized to the full the bitterness of not being able to effectively retaliate. But the Indian Mountain Batteries endeared themselves to all by their sacrificing efforts. Gallantly led, these matchless gunners, with their patient mules, wheedled their guns up to seemingly inaccessible vantage points; unlimbering, they would get in a dozen effective shots and be down in the gully and up to an alternate position before their opponents could sense the situation.
All along the beach, under the scanty shelter of the cliff, the wounded lay—some on stretchers, some on blankets, others on the shingle. The surgeons worked as they never had before. Wounded poured down from the hills incessantly. The picket boats towed their barges, crammed with troops, to the beach, and seemed to take away almost as many wounded.
The sun went down and the ships stood over against Samothrace silhouetted in the sunset. But with the night came no peace. The Turks attacked with renewed vigour—reinforcements had arrived for them. Blowing trumpets and shouting “Allah!” they surged forward. Our fellows ran to meet them, cursing in good round English and very bad Arabic. Up there in the tangled gullies many a strange duel was fought that night. When not actually fighting, men dug for their lives. Then on would come the Turks again, shovels would be dropped, and the attack repelled. One desperate rush was stemmed by a gallant band headed by a corporal with nothing more effective than a pick-handle.