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The New Zealanders at Gallipoli

Quinn's Post

page 113

Quinn's Post.

Of all these posts, Quinn's became the most famous. It was the salient of the Anzac line and the nearest point to the Turk. Looking back, it is a marvel that the place ever held at all. If the enemy could have shelled it, Quinn's would not have lasted five minutes. It was first held, a ragged trench line just below the crest, by men of the 4th Australian Infantry Brigade, which formed part of the N.Z. and A. Division. Those famous battalions—the 13th, 14th, 15th, and 16th Australian Infantry—established themselves on the night of April 25 at the head of the gully named after their well-
Black and white photograph of the headquarters.

Headquarters of Quinn's.
The three officers are Colonel Johnston, N.Z.I.B.; Lieut.-Col. Malone, Post Commander; and Major Ferguson, R.E., Engineer Staff Officer for No. 3 Defence Section.

Brigadier. The Turk seemed determined to regain possession of Quinn's—this would have imperilled the whole Anzac line, for the holding of Quinn's alone ensured the communications by way of Shrapnel Valley and Monash Gully. Because holding Quinn's meant holding Anzac, no labour was too great to be expended on it. Men in the bomb factory, having completed a long day's work, turned to again when it was made known that “Quinn's was short of bombs,” and pathetic it was to see these hard-swearing Australian and New Zealand sappers nodding their heads and dropping off to sleep with a detonator in one hand and a piece of fuse in the other, only to wake with a start and, in the small hours page 114 of the morning, carry the product of their toil up to their beloved Quinn's—a journey of over a mile in the dark with a box of high explosives!

A party of New Zealand Engineers was established in Quinn's and Pope's from the second day, and their duty was to sap forward with a deep trench through the crest, and then put T ends on the ends of the saps, thus making farther towards the Turk a new firing line which gave a better field of fire. This most dangerous work was much hindered by the enemy dropping grenades in the head of the sap. Men often had bullet holes drilled through their long-handled shovels, but despite the casualties, the work went on.

To the right of Quinn's it was necessary to dig a sap through to join up with Courtney's, and after much labour and loss this work was accomplished. To the left of Quinn's was the hotly-contested Dead Man's Ridge, which, after the morning of May 3, rested in the hands of the Turk. This vantage point almost looked into the back of Quinn's, and a work of great magnitude was the construction of a sandbag wall to protect the tracks to Quinn's from the Turkish machine guns on Dead Man's Ridge.

It was foreseen that if the enemy commenced mining in earnest, a fair-sized charge might blow the post off the hillside into Monash Gully. So counter-mining was decided on. There were no tunnelling companies then in the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force, and the sapper field companies were too reduced by casualties to do the work. But all through the Colonial armies were miners and tunnellers—these men from Broken Hill, Coolgardie, Waihi, Westport, and other places where coal and gold are won, were formed into companies under experienced officers, and in a large measure the strenuous labours of these improvized units at Courtney's, Quinn's and Pope's saved Anzac to the British.

Right through the twenty-four hours the miners sweated at the tunnel face, interested in only one thing: how far the man just relieved had driven in his last shift. There was no talk of limiting the output or of striking in Anzac, for here there was a great community of interest—each one was prepared to labour and, if needs be, to sacrifice himself in the interests of the common weal.

page 115
Black and white photograph.

[Lent by Sergt. P. Tite, N.Z.E.
Courtney's Post.
One of the best photographs taken of an Anzac trench system. The front line is just over the crest; the reserve trenches are near the top left hand corner; the white earth spilled down the cliffside is from the mines running out to the front; the zig-zag track up the steep cliff is cleary shown.