Gallipoli: first-hand account

100 years has passed since the landing at Gallipoli. While the media is showing how the event is remembered we stop to read a first-hand account from the landing, written one hundred years ago today.

The diary of 494 Sergeant Joseph Cecil Thompson of the 9th Battalion AIF contains his account of the landing and the days following it. Thompson was the band leader for the 9th Battalion, and in charge of the stretcher bearers at Gallipoli.

Image of page in diary
Page from Sgt Thompson's diary describing the landing at Gallipoli.
This item is from The Great War Archive, University of Oxford
(www.oucs.ox.ac.uk/ww1lit/gwa); © Ellen Thompson 
"Sunday 25 April
We commenced our action against the Turks, by landing on Gallipoli Pen[insula]. We embarked onto a destroyer at 12 pm, and landed in boats at daylight. Our chaps soon had the Turks on the run and chased them from their trenches. Severe fighting all day, and our men severely felt the want of artillery. Turks knew this and started to counter attack at about 1pm. Shrapnel fire very destructive. Two batteries of mountain guns, worked by Indians did first class work, but were compelled to retire late in the afternoon. Our wounded began to come in in large numbers and a falling back along our whole front began. Wounds are very severe owing to the sharp pointed bullets used by the Turks. Five of the S. B. [stretcher bearers] wounded up till about six o'clock. Firing continues all night after a heavy bombardment by the [gun]ships in the afternoon.[Casua]lties very heavy."

Read Sgt Thompson's diary and explore other documents in the Great War Archive http://www.thegreatwararchive.org