The Great War Part 114, October 21st 1916

The Glorious Record o f the A nzacs 365 He ranged the greater part of Anzac Beach and aroused enmity in the minds of all by his interference with sea­ bathing a necessity there because of the waterless nature of the area. An Anzac statist made an estimate of the casualties due to this battery and set the figure at over 1,500.“ Beachy Bill ”retained his effective measure of the beach until the very last day at Gallipoli. This was only one among many quarters from which shell was rained upon Anzac. On the Asiatic shore, near Chanak Fort was a battery of big guns which changed ground everyday the weapons being moved along alight railway. From this source came the “Sunrise and ”Sunset Hate which were part of the Anzac daily round. Quick-firers were also posted about the hill mass of Sari Bair so that there was little respite at any of the Anzac posts. As the autumn advanced the sanitary conditions dete­riorated notably. The soil became thoroughly infected, and an epidemic of dysentery afflicted the men. It was spread by the swarms of flies which did more than any­thing else to make life in-tolerable and all food suspect. The lack of water, always a notable hardship, was felt the more keenly as the few wells the place boasted had to be con­demned. When the torrential rains that ushered in the winter began to fall the trenches got the dramage from the high ground above them and became almost untenable. Amid all these disadvantages the new­comers held on tenaciously and uncomplainingly prov­ing themselves to be of metal as good as their com­rades who had preceded them to Anzac. One battalion of the 2nd Division— the 21st— toadded the fame of the Anzacs by an exhibition of dis­cipline and steadfastness in extreme danger which has justly been compared to the glory won by the troops in the Birkenhead. On the last Monday in August 1915 the 21st sailed from Egypt for Gallipoli in the transport Southland. A t this time German submarines were very inactive the /Egean Sea and as the officer in command of the division, General Legge and his Staff were also on board, special precautions were taken against attack. Boat and lifeboat drill occupied a good part of each day of the voyage and this care on the part of the commanding officer of the battalion Colonel Hutchinson had its reward in the sequel. Parade on On Thursday four days after sailing sinking transport the Southland was nearing Lemnos and the tension on the ship's officers was beginning to relax. Many of the men were on deck, preparing their equipment for the landing. Suddenly a voice called “God !Is that a torpedo ?”Many caught sight of the weapon just before it struck blowing a hole thirty feet in diameter in the side of the Southland. Above all the din that resulted the ships siren could be heard blowing the signal “Abandon ship.” The men of the 21st behaved as though atone of their daily ship drills. They lined upon deck as if on parade everyman calm and collected not one missing from his place. They watched the men from the engine-room onrUsh deck and lower boats without any apparent concern. Their own business was to stand at attention, and wait for a lead from their officers. General Legge and his Chief of Staff Colonel Gwynn, were standing together chatting and surveying the scene with apparent interest. The general, booted and spurred in the ordinary way Discipline preserved was smoking a cigarette. Their men to the last who were recruited from country farms in Victoria only knew as much about boats as they had learned in boat drill and many of them could not swim. But everyman scqrned to betray anymore emotion than the general was showing. They showed to less advantage perhaps when they were set to the work of lowering boats and launching life- rafts. They were just as cool as ever but the work was new and unfamiliar. One or two boats were upset as they were lowered into the sea and what lives were lost were mainly lost through such mishaps. Among the dead unfortunately was the brigadier of the 6th Brigade, Colonel Linton who was upset into the water where he died of heart shock. The captain of the South­ land and his officers had behaved with' wonderful promptitude and presence of mind in the face of the mishap. The magnificent steering of the captain enabled the wounded ship to escape the second tor­pedo launched at her while the engineers at once saw to the closing of bulkheads and portholes. While the Anzacs were busy with boats and rafts the captain con­ceived the hope that his ship might be navigated to Lem­ nos under her own steam, and resolved to make the attempt. He made a call therefore, for volunteers from among the Anzacs to replace his stokers most of whom had already left the ship. The response was so splendid that he was able to select, from among some hundreds men who could claim previous inexperience stoking. With the help of his officers and these volunteers he succeeded in beaching the Southland upon the island of Lemnos. The men who were in boats and rafts and those swimming in the sea were picked up by hospital ships destroyers and other British craft which hastened to answer the wireless call made by the operator of the Southland when the vessel was struck. The Anzacs preserved to the last the discipline and cheerfulness which had marked their conduct from the moment the vessel was hit. As soon as all were again collected General Legge issued an order congratulating them in high terms upon their conduct in this emergency. Their arrival at Anzac was followed by a commendation from General Birdwood himself worded as follows :On behalf o fall the comrades now serving on the Peninsula I wish to convey to the Australian unit concerned our general feeling o f admiration for the gallant b eh avio u r o fall ranks in the Southland. All the troops o f the army corps have heard with pride o f the courage and discipline show nat the moment when the nerves o f the bravest TT FIVE PROVED FIG H TING MEN. Anzacs leaving London on their way back to the front after short leave granted to some sixty of their number in appreciation of a dashing raid into German trenches on the western front.
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