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AT THE DARDANELLES., Akaroa Mail and Banks Peninsula Advertiser, Volume LXXV, Issue 3476, 20 July 1915
AT THE DARDANELLES.
PENINSULA OFFICER'S. EXPERIENCES.
Lieufc L Priest, son of Mr J S Priest of Chorlton writing to his people gives an interesting account of hie experiences in the trenches.
Bivouac or Dug Out Wednesday, May 18th
We hiyve jnst come back from the firing line trenches for a spell. Wβ went up to the firing line Sunday night, we left our trenebee about 9 or 10 o'clock but there must have been an enemy scout in touch with their firing trenches as wo bad no sooner got out our trenches, wheD firing started everywhere. They could not have been aiming at our firing line trenches alone as they fairly
sang over our heads, ripping into the ground and plumping into the parapet of our trenches, and everywhere they were zipping and whistling like a swam of bees. We flopped down on the ground mighty close, and crawled back to our trenches and mighty glad wbeu we got there. We left them again about midnight and crept back behind a knoil in our rear to get rations and ammunition from a supply company and carry to the firing line. Our route to the firing line trenches then, was up a nullah (valley) that gave protection from rifle fire save at the front end, and was to our right as we faced the enemy. Wβ were no sooner into the nullah than rifle fire broke out, and inspite of the protection of the banks, we bad one or two men hit. The men laid down, some be hind their cases, others sticking affect'
ionately behind a bag of sugar, I bad to stop in the open myself, but I can tell you I wished I had something to hide behind. Wβ went on when the firing eased and'arrived in the
trenches about half past two. Monday was comparatively quiet with a few casualties, one of my men wae shot through thg braiu and the poor fellow actually lived about a quarter of an hour. Wβ were relieved by a regiment—l can't give any names—Tuesday night after a qaiet day. The relieving troops came in and they must have been "green" because they were no gooner in the the trenches, than they started firing at shadows. As we bad to leave the trench one by one we got the fire, one man being shot clean through the heat as he jumped out of the trench. Owing to firing, the first of our men hurried on to the cover of the nullah, leading to the rear and the rest could not file out the trenches fast enough to beep in touch with the leading ones I was last man and it was my job to see all the men brought along. I got out of the trench sprinted for cover, after some other sprinters, but when I got there found that all the men were scattered so had to go back and collect them. It was no use running about, I just bad to walk and collect them and put them on the right path. I am indifferent to the bullets now, ow ing to the quantities I have experi enced so I did not mind very much. When I got to the valley i found all touch had been lost with those in front and as our captain was the only one who knew for certain, where our bivouac was to be, I felt in a fix. I bad a hazy idea, bo put a sergeant in the rear to prevent straggling and off we started. The men however, did not know me from Adam, and all had various ideas as to the road to follow, and when 1 halted after a while to allow the rear to close up, I found I had only about a dozsn men who happened to know my voice. It was raining a treat, so after we had got a little way, vi here I thought the camp would be, and there being no sign of it we crawled under some trees and bai a sleep. Next morning when we woke we found ourselves only about 200 yards from the camp
I am in a dug out now and having been able to take my clothes off and have a wash and a shave. I am feeling quite fresh. I have lost all my
razors etc., and housewife; this is a great country for pinching. Last night there was heavy Bring, and we bear the left made good progress. We are not free from molestation here, a shell has just landed only 200 yards away, but has done no harm. If it keeps on pvobahly we may have to shift yet, End of paper and news so Good bye.
"Bivouac," Saturday, 15th May. "We are still here in the rest bivouac, and have absolutely no idea as to when we have ;to shift. Of course, there are lots of rumours continually going round, but it is no use taking any notice of them. Yesterday there were a good number of shells flying around,but they missed us, going over the rise behind us, and into the base or bursting over the batteries to our front and right, |One burst in the 'trees just alongside of us, and knocked off some branches and leaves, and got one man in the elbow and side, but did no harm otherwise. All things considered, we are living very well. We expected being on active service that things would be very rough, but they are just the reverse. We receive every day a tin of meat— generally lib tin—about lib biscuits, and also some dried tinned vegetables, cheese, and jam, and, of course, tea, sugar, tobacco, matches, and cigarettes are also issued, while water is plentiful In our trench up in the firing line we sank a well about 2 feet and got about a foot of water, but that only happens in the hollows. The soil is Bandy with a fair Amount of lime, so the water is pure. The crumbly soil has its disadvantages though, when entrenching. The other night, after being on duty in the firing line, I went back to the reserve trench to wake up the next officer, and in doing so put some weight on the bank, with the result that about three barrow loads of dirt fell in and buried two men down to the hips It wa3 awfully funny to see their legs waving about in the moonlight. They would not have got out if I had not been there to help, but one, at least, would not have smothered. Hβ was singing out "Hey! quiok ; hey ! quick," through the dirt and kioking like mad. "Beach," Saturday, 22nd.
I have got a rather dull job here now I have 100 men, and we spend our time between outmost work and unloading barges. The N'Z M.R. are also here. 1 have seen " the boya " They are all quite well. Ralph is patting himself on the back, as be apparently got a sniper the other day. Harold Priest is also here and Thompson, who was grass seeding for me two seasons ago. He is in the Ota go lot. I have not eeen Wbittaker since I left Zeitoun. It rained heavily thismorning, and everything is in a mess of mud, but I expect things will dry quickly now the sun has come out. It is cix weeks now since I received a letter, but I hear that a mail has at last arrived Hope it haß, as 'we could do with some home news. I had one of my letters returned from the censor, as 1 had written too freely so will have to cut things short in future. We are all quite fit and bappy. ' The "twins" had a fair promise of a beard when I first saw them, and I believe I will soon have to shave too.
For Children Hacking Cough al nigh ooda . Great Peppermint Cure", 1/6, 2/6
Gallipoli, Sunday, 23rd. I am having en off day to day , there is nnthintr doing at ell Lapfc nigbt up in tho tiencbes was very quiet, ami 1 had a t»oo.1 clfep, othw v/U* we nave tn mnkfl ur> ■Inep during , »-h- d.-vy. On* jnfiintiy brigade is suiil n ff-.rve, and I am about; the only ■'jiub" of it wo*king. Yesterday wns •t red letter day for mo. Tho mail
arrived, and I got coy first letter for
six wet In. Sovernl other mails bave come in and tbare bag not been any
thing iv them for tne, bub I struck something this time. Tbe worst of it was that I did Dot get tbem all at once and tbe consequence was I read the latest onea first. I euppose you bave forgotten by now tha big Belgian Fete-you mentioned in your letters. Another thing to remember yesterday by was an issue of fresb rnsat I was down at another officer's "dug out" for tea yesterday. Hβ ia in onargo of the "beach fatigues," and is a good sort. Being here some time he has managed to get a good many things off the chips, and I can tell you I did «-njoy tbe bread, potatoes, milk, etc , ami believe I just about made it a fn»wt. I have got another orderly again, and really I have had » bad ruo with batmen generally. The first at. Trentham got drunk end waa loft behind, the next was concerned in. the 'rouble nt Albany and is now doing 14 months, tbe next was disastrous »mi crowned all his mistakes by hr-woing my buttons, while at Zie Juno, with my only tooth brush The
.■■•• I bt»d next is now in hospital, »( d I am exppctibg something to hap y«-!» to tb" present one., I mustn't " B"! to mention about ray French •>■!. nr the bivouac. The French
*'M tve close and they bave bread,
sji I wt-nt, owpr to their cook houso one d*yand offered to" change some nivad for jam, which they don't got. 1 fired off some carefully prepared French at him, and after looking blankly at me for a minute or so, he said. " I no speak English," Since then, however, I can make them nnderstaod.
AT THE DARDANELLES., Akaroa Mail and Banks Peninsula Advertiser, Volume LXXV, Issue 3476, 20 July 1915
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