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PENINSULA MOUNTED AT THE FRONT., Akaroa Mail and Banks Peninsula Advertiser, Volume LXXV, Issue 3478, 27 July 1915
PENINSULA MOUNTED AT THE FRONT.
Tbe following letter from a Peninsula volunteer gives a good idea of the life our boys are leading in the trenches at the Dardanelles :—
Firing Line, 9.30 a m. Sunday, 80th May, 1915. " Writing paper is still very scarce, so I am making use of any bits of paper. I will have to dig up an envelope from somewhere before I can post tbis. Censorship is strictly car ried out, so some of my scrawl may be cut out. I wrote you a few days ago, and I hope you received tbe note safely. It is a beautiful morning now, and excepting for rifle Bre and an occasion sbell explosion everything is perfectly quiet. From our present position, whioh is about 600 ft up, we bave a grand view of the ocean, and all that is going on there. Tbe beach is only about a quarter of a mile from where lam sitting. lam going down for a swim after dinner. Before we were moved up here we were camped right on tbe shore, and we all bad very good dug out bivouacs Good food and as many swims as one liked, made everything rather nice, although we were always in danger from shrapnel and rifle fire. Several chaps were bit whilst batbfng, but it all goes on just tbe same, We are all so used to shells bursting now that we don't get up to look where they are bursting. Narrow escapes are of daily occurraDce, and some of tbe boys have been wonderfully lucky getting off unhurt. Two shells have burst; within 200 yds of where I am sitting, and clobb to where a church service is being held. The church servioe is still going on, and I really must finish tbis letter while I have the time, so to hell with the shells. We have been very fortunate in regard to weather, as we have had only one heavy down pour since arriving here. I was in the trenches at the time, and it was far from pleasant. In places the men were standing up to their knees in slush. The narrow clay trenches were smothered with mud. However, during the day it cleared up and we dried our clothes and scraped some of the mud off. All of our boys took it as an experience, which comes sooner or later, and none were down hearted. I cannot give you an account of our trenches or trench work, but you can take it for granted that as long as the weather is good we bave a very good time. Tbe climate here is perfeot, and the rainfall very small, so we are not likely to suffer much discorrfort. The C.Y.G. have had nearly ail trench and outpost work, but are in for a week's ppell now. That is wbywe are moved fiom the beach up bere We had to make room for our relief down there, and besides it is much i safer here. Our week's spell is not what yon will imagine it to be. We will have to do all kinds of fatigues, | make roads and dug outs, and al though we won't be in tbe firing line
F or Children Hacking Cengh at nigb Woods' Great Feppermint Cure, 1/6, 3/6
we have to stand to arms every early morning and evening. Having a spell herb is like knocking off work to carry bricks. Our hard training in Egypt stands us in good stead now, and if tbe food supply keeps as good as it is now, we will stand up to any kind of
hard work for any length of time. Shells are still bursting about 200 yds away on the ridge opposite, but are not doing an atom of barm. Church parade is over, and our boys are hay ing an argument about tbe shellsbow tbey are made, bow tbey burst, where they are fired from, and wishes (not tbe best) to the Turks who are sending them along here. If tbe boys bad anything else to do they would not "take any notice of the bursting shells, but they have a spell till lunch time, and are just putting in time. Really, without any exaggeration, all of ub are quite indifferent to either shell or rifle fire, and I am afraid some of the boys are very careless at times. If a shell bursts anywhere
bandy, tbere is usually a raoe to tbe spot to bunt for pieces. We have all got souvenirs, but we think they are not worth the trouble of carrying about. One souvenir I have got is a
Tnrkisb bullet which went very near to accounting for Sergeant 0. Wag-
born and me. We were talking whilst on duty in a trench, and our beadß were very close together. Tbe bullet passed between us, and would only have been a very short way from our heads. It lodged in a clay bank within a foot at tbe back of us. We afterwards dug it out. Both of us got a scare and ducked instantly, but we laughed over it afterwards. Another souvenir is a piece of lyddite shell. I was out with a party and our own battleship landed four shells on top of our trenches by mistake. Tbe four shells were all very close, but this particular piece made a much closer visit. No one was hurt, but all got a severe shook. Two men were blown down tbe bill, but escaped with bruises. The noise of the shells exploding was terrific, and made one feel dazed for a time. One man was sitting on bis coat outside the trench, and had just got up and was going into the trench again when a shell burst and blew bis coat high into the air, and it came down in pieces, He was one of the unfor tunates who was blown down the bill, but congratulated himeelf with getting off with a bruise or two and a much shattered coat. One bears of these miraculous escapes every day, but now they are interesting only to those concerned. I don't know whether I told you in my last letter or not, but a few days ago we had a fine view of one of our battleships being struck by an enemy submarine. She sank in 20 minutes, but practically all of the men were saved, a lot of other vessels being close. The greatest sight though was the other battleships rushing up at full speed (o tbe rescue. I bear they accounted for tbe submarine, Names of places, ships, men arriving or being sent away, or casualties cannot be mentioned when writing home, so I cannot give you tbe name of tbe ship wbich went down. I dare say you know all about it before this
Our greatest and most exciting experience was a few nights ago. Our squadron was detailed to take some new trenches which tbe Turks had occupied. We started out
Got a Bore throat? Take a few drops, oi "NAZOL" on a piece of sugar. Soothes ud eases. 1/6 boy* 60 doeu. ' ,
just after 8 o'clook in tbe evening, (mother pquadron coming behind to act as supports. The country near the Turks was new to us, and was trtoky, bnt by crawling and doing a bit of ducking and diving and short rushes we soon we soon were close enough to do business. We were under fire more or less tbe whole time but you oan bet your boots tbat we took as muoh cover as possible, and oarae out with remarkably few casualties When we got within 100 yds of
tbe trenobes, the order came down,
"be ready to oharge," and soon after- _ wards we did oharge, and being our ! fir ft, you can guess it was a pretty mad one. Every mail yelled and raced forward like blazes, but unfortunately (or perhaps, fortunately), tbe Turks "imsbied" (oleared out) before we got to them, and we were cheated of our little bit of "meat spearing." As we got up to tbe trenches, we on the left were told to lie down and pro
teof tbe flank We opened a hot fire on the retreating Turks, but found it nnnpceßenrjr to keep going lor>g. Our otbur men raced right on over the trenabt-s an-1 some distance past, and tben took up a protective position. In tbe meantime our supports came up, anri occupied tbe Turks' trenches, whilst we held the plaoe they dug themselves in and improved the trenches a lot. Afterwards our squad ron oarae back to camp, and the sup porting squadron remained to bold .b« position we had captured. We arrived back in camp about 4 a.m. in the morning very tired, but pleased wiih our first real attack. Our casual. >it>* altogether totalled four, so we did'nt do so badly. My personal feel ings during the whole time would be hfvrd to desorir-e, muoh more to write -b at, Oue thing I was conscious of (•.nd I now find most of tbe otbers wars tbe same), was tbat I was greatly relieved when tbe order came t*> charge. It was a beavy strain getting within striking distance of those ttencbes, but during tbe charge ail eeetned different and much easier for us Personally, I did not see a baity Turk, so could not do as you onoe suggested to me, viz, "give tbe bayonet a twist before pulling it out." Hope to, and no doubt will, get tbe cbaace to do so in tbe near future. Tirao permitting, will give a twist for you too. I fired over 60 rounds of ammunition altogether, so think I must bave made at least one hit. i Since tben those trenobes bave been heavily attacked by tbe enemy, but I believe our cbaps inflioted beavy losses on tbe beggars. Our casualties were heavier than when we attacked, but nothing serious. Some very brave and pluoky individual actions are reported, and we bere are looking forward to bearing more about tbe affair. Although we are in tbe middle of tbe fighting, news of doings close at band is very scarce. Things may happen wi.hio a mile of us, and we can only gst a very small idea of wbat bas been done. You at borne will get far more news than we here. A paper, "Cape Halles Times," bas been established bere, and we get a little news from it. However, we only get a little local news. What we would like to get is news of what is going on in other parts. We bave had a taste of capping too. Lt is bard and sometimes dangerous work. Hand thrown grenades and bombs, airships and balloons and heaps of other things used in modern warfare were all novelties to us, but
we are used to it all now. Bathing in tbe eea is still as popular as over, and the men flock down (here all day long. A great number of them are as brown as berries, and all are in good health. We have bad two mails since arriving here. Our latest letters were writtpn on April 14 o you can see our NZ. mail ia not d tyed tauoh. With tbe last mail Sergeant Major Quarterly received a big parcel of socks from Mrs Lifting, of Akaroa. SergeantMajor asked some of us to go along and see the parcel opened. In each pair of socks was a packet of cigarettes, and I must say that tbis thoughtful present was much appre dated by ns all. Eaoh Peninsula man received a pair of socks and a packet of cigarettes. Socks and, smokes are most appreciated by us all here, and 6ur very best wishes and tbanka are due to Mrs Laing for her kindness and tboughtfulness in putting in tbe cigarettes All Peninsula boys are well and in good fighting form Sergeant Waghorn has grown a "goatee" beard, and lookp a great trick. Bbaves are few and far be tween here, so whiskers are to be seen everywhere. Washing clothes is done with salt water. A wash very often takes the place of a big washing day once a week. We are all expert in the art of cooking now. Hard biscuits takes the plaoe of bread, bully beef can be bad in unlimited quantities, and we get fresh beef two or three times a week Jam, tea, sugar, bacon, bam, potatoes, onions and dried vegetables can all be obtained. The "Maeoneebie Ration" is ibe beet we get bere. It is a preserved stew, and is very Dice when heated up. Ham and bacon is very nioe, but is apt to make one so very thirsty. Nc " MetropoleV'or "Bruce's" bere, so a thrist is not at all desirable. Each section of four men draws its own rations and cooks together It is wonderful bow we knock these hard biscuits into eatable form. Tbey are excellent soaked in water and then fried crisp in bacon fat. A little cheese fried on top with them, and you have very good ' cheese straws.' Soaked overnight they make good 'porridge' for the morning ; made into a paste with a layer underneath, then jam, and tben another layer of paste on top and then baked you have good pastry; boiled with sugar and jam, after soaking and mashing, and wrapping up in a piece of handkerchief, flag or lining of an old coat, it makes a very good boiled pudding. Tbe good old biscuits can be knocked into lots of other ways for cooking and eating, and every day some new way of cooking it is discovered, and tben great is tbe joy of tbe soldiers. Tbe man who discovered tbe cheese straws is a hero and the idol of tbe O.M.R. Without any offence, might I suggest that ladies in your town take a few bints from the above reoipes(?) No royalties are to be charged, but if anyone cares to do so, tbey may send .long, in cash or kind, anything v.d will go to compensate the heroes • -> conferred a lasting benefit on mankind by discovering' I these dishes. Notwithstanding these very fine dishes I would not mind an Akaroa flobnder at tbe present mo ment. Draw — attention to
these little affairs. One thing I forgot to mention, nnd that is we get rum served out several times a week, and cigarettes and tobacco fairly often. On aotive servioe one smokes a lot tbougb, and emokes go very quickly.
Just before our boat left Alexandria, Oaptain Dearsly came on board and said good bye to us all. He was very well, and seemed to be enjoying life. Time is up, so I must stop, but will wrir.n more when I get the opportunity. I v.-mld like to write you about all t)i' goes on here; There are bun-di-pi'is of interesting things which would interest you, but oensorship will not allow me to write them. 1 hope these few Hues may at least give you some idea of how we are getting on. It certainly is bell bere at times, but we can all stand up to it, aad hope to give a very good account of ourselves before we get home again, I managed to get half a block of writing paper for four packets of oigarettes, so have a little to' go on with, and will make it last by writing on both sides.
PENINSULA MOUNTED AT THE FRONT., Akaroa Mail and Banks Peninsula Advertiser, Volume LXXV, Issue 3478, 27 July 1915
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