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The New Zealanders at Gallipoli


page 116


Our flying men had their headquarters in Mudros Harbour. Daily they flew up and down the Peninsula, but they were sadly overworked. Mostly they were seaplanes belonging to the Navy. This was a sad handicap to our artillery ashore, for guns without aeroplanes spotting for them are almost as ineffective as a blind pugilist.

Every day out to sea the “sausage ship” could be seen with her big captive balloon observing for the naval gunners. For the first week no enemy planes were seen, but one day this new sensation appeared. Eyes were turned skyward,
Black and white photograph of a hillside.

On the Right Flank.
Notice the deep communication trenches through the crest to the firing line, and the 25 graves in the little cemetery.

watching the machine, when someone cried out, “It's a German.” There, sure enough, were the big black crosses instead of the familiar red, white and blue circles. A rather amusing feeling of “What do we do now?” pervaded the onlookers. It seemed to be little use going into the dugout with a waterproof sheet for a roof! But this time he was only spying out the land, and sailed away without molesting anyone. Next day he was back with a sting. As necks were craned upwards, something was seen to leave the machine, and with a succession of “Whoo! whoo! whoo!” came rapidly to earth, or rather, to water, for splash it went into the sea 200 yards from Walker's Pier. “Splash!” came another, and still another, whereupon the plane wheeled back over the page 117
Black and white photograph.

[Lent by Sergt. P. Tite, N.Z.E.
Looking down Monash Gully.

page 118 Peninsula and off home. Daily the machines flew over and dropped their three bombs each, but never was any material damage done.

At the head of Monash Gully showers of steel darts, about the size of a lead pencil, were sometimes dropped, and at intervals the airman wasted his energies in the distribution of leaflets intimating that “As the English are in desperate straits, you will be well treated if you surrender soon.” This was sometimes varied by a sheet on which was a picture of soldiers alleged to be Mohammedan deserters from our Indian troops, telling of the good time they were having with their co-religionists. These papers were greatly treasured by the troops as souvenirs.

One of the most beautiful sights in the campaign was witnessed when one of our seaplanes was attacked by a Turkish anti-aircraft. Standing on the hillside and looking out over the blue Ægean Sea, the eye would pick up, sailing through the azure of the Mediterranean sky, the naval planes with the sun shining on its oiled-silk wings like those of a great dragon fly. Suddenly, below it, a puff of pure white smoke would open out as a silk handkerchief does when released from a closed hand. On would sail the plane, and above it would open another puff of smoke. So, with unders and overs, the picture would be limned in, until the eye got tired of watching, and the plane climbed out of range.