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Soldiers bellies are not satisfied with empty promises and hopes.

-- Peter the Great

World War I I will endeavor to give you a fuller account of our experiences whilst landing. I dare say long ere this reaches you, you will have read all about it in the papers, but here is the part I saw and took part in. It was on Sunday, April 25th at 3 a.m., we disembarked from our transport ship, the "Galeka," our kit consisted of an extra change of clothing, 200 rounds of ammunition, as well as plenty of tobacco, the entire lot weighing just on 90 lbs., and with that weight we had to climb down over the side of the ship - per Jacob's ladder, which by the way, is made of rope, - into rowing boats, 50 men in each. We were towed by naval pinnaces as near as possible to the shore, being under very heavy fire made it a very difficult task.

It was on Sunday, April 25th at 3 a.m., we disembarked from our transport ship, the "Galeka," our kit consisted of an extra change of clothing, 200 rounds of ammunition, as well as plenty of tobacco, the entire lot weighing just on 90 lbs., and with that weight we had to climb down over the side of the ship - per Jacob's ladder, which by the way, is made of rope, - into rowing boats, 50 men in each. We were towed by naval pinnaces as near as possible to the shore, being under very heavy fire made it a very difficult task.
Before reaching the shore, a shrapnel shell burst in our boat, blowing the side out of it. Our next move was in the water, and I might add we were neck high in it, some of our boys were unfortunate enough to get wounded while in the water, but after a few moments we were all safely on the shore, the Turks being entrenched forty yards away from us on the side of a cliff, playing shrapnel, machine gun, and rifle fire on us. To stay where we were meant death. None of us wanted to die so early in the game, so we fixed bayonets and with a maddening shout, we charged, and Oh, what a charge, will I ever forget it, and the excitement that prevailed. Those of the Turks that were lucky enough to escape our bayonets will not forget it either, they retired pell mell, our bayonet helping them along a trifle. We drove them back nearly two miles and took up our position, defending the position we had just taken. "Hot job" it was too.

There we lay in the open, no cover, no reinforcements, and a severe fire from the Turks, the time then was about 6.30 a.m. Oh, what a long day it seemed, and what would nightfall bring? Perhaps no change, perhaps a little "Turkish Delight," still we had to hang on. The Turks made repeated counter attacks to drive us back and gain the position they had lost but "nothing doing," we were there to stop, and stop we did. At last night with its long waited for darkness spread over us, the only change being for the worse, as the bullets fell unceasingly, sometimes a few inches to the right, sometimes a few to the left, often ploughing the ground up under your nose. Once or twice I said my turn next, but morning saw me still alive and well. Yes, we were cold, our wet clothes making it more uncomfortable. Monday's program was practically the same. They were sending us leaden presents, and we in return sent them back threefold.

I thought that Hughie Arthur Burn and myself would see another night together unscratched, but no such luck. Arthur Bird got shot through the head and died, sadly missed by both of us. Hughie was the next, he got shot through the arm, and was taken back aboard ship, then I was left without a soul I knew, our battalion being split up in all directions. I did not lose heart, I had too many narrow escapes to be frightened. I wondered how Hughie was and how the rest of our boys were. Hughie and Arthur Bird were the only ones of our battalion that I had seen. After a couple of hours I was joined by another sixth chap named McDonald. We were both very pleased at the meeting, and started conversing on our work and position. We had been talking for about ten minutes when we were joined by two more sixth men, the four of us had about an hour together, when a shell burst right over us, wounding my three mates and smashing my rifle leaving me unharmed.

Tuesday morning I was still going strong, I thought my life was charmed, but about noon I got that little present which had been waiting for me and here I am. I went aboard the hospital ship and saw the last of Len Everret. Poor chap he spoke to me till the last. I have had the bullet extracted and am getting well and fit. I shall get it mounted when I return and wear on my watch chain. Rather a "striking curio."

Note: by Pte. H. J. Lynch writing from Victoria Hospital, Alexandria.


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