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THE EVACUATION OF GALLIPOLI.

GRAPHIC NARRATIVE BY AN

OLD AKAROA BOY.

An Akaroa boy holds pride of place rin the evacuation oi" Gallipoli. Lieut. E. R. Black is the youngest son ol' Mr (1. J. Black, formerly of Akaroa and now of Gisbornc. He left with the 2nd Reinforcements and was attached to the Otago Mounted Rifles to make up their shortage. He was was a member of the Legion of Frontiersmen and left as a trooper with 35 others of that body under Captain Twist* leton. He went through the August lighting on the Peninsula and with three- others captured a machine gun from the Turks. "I will try to give you an account of the last few days, but things have been so jumbled up and run into each other that it is hard to know where to begin." writes Trooper Jack Martyn, of the Otago Mounted Rifles, to his mother, Mrs A. L. Martyn, of Mangatu, in a letter from a transport, dated December 22. BREAKING THE NEWS.----"I will start from about the time we talked of evacuating the Peninsula. , . A week or so before it came out 'officially' that we were leaving Gallipoli wild rumors started to fly. round that there was in evacuation contemplated, but I for one took no heed of it at first. Steadily, however, events started to happen that showed plainly somehing was in the wind. Men who were sent away to Anzac and elsewhere on errands or fatigues came home laden with 'back-sheesh' —fish, milk, jam, etc., and clothing, which had been very hard to obtain previously. Suddenly these things became plentiful. In fact these fatigue parties came home newly rigged out, and told us that the stores 'were thrown open, and a man could obtain whatever lie asked for. Even then we were dubious, but rumors persisted. Artillery were J shipped off, several different I units left, including the Axickland Mounteds, and all our light duty men were bundled off, and it became quite aparent there , there was something big on. Well, I think it was. Thursday last (just a week ago) our O.C. lined us up and told us that all the troops were leaving Anzac. It was an evacuation pure and simple, and' everything' had to be done with the utmost secrecy. . WHAT THE BOYS THOUGHT. "My goodness, mother, how it did go to. our hearts—after all we had gone through—how we had slaved and fought—fought and slaved again—and then to think we had sizzled in the heat, tortured by flies and thirst, and later to be nearly frozen to death By jove, it was hard to be told we must give up. 'But it was not our 'wasted energy and sweat that really grieved us. In our hearts it was to know that we were leaving j our dead comrades behind. That] was what every man had in his | mind. We thought, too, of you people in New Zealansd and what you would think of us. Believe me, it is far harder to screw one's courage up for running away than it is to screw it up for an attack and I think I am in a position to judge as I have now done both. However, after all, we were not being driven off by the Turks. It just amounts to this—the positions we took and held at Anzac and Suvla turned out to be useless to us unless we could advance, and, like a bad bargain, we decided to throw it up. DELUDING THE TURK. "I will now try to tell you the story of our leaving, which, of course, only applies to my own unit—the Otago Mounted Rifles. Every unit had its own experiences. It was Thursday, December 16, our O.C. lined up the regiment and told us we were to evacuate Anzac. It was to be a very ticklish operation, but with skill and secrecy, and a certain amount of luck it should be carried out successfully. We were to leave on two succeeding nights, the dates to be made known later. We continued to carry on our duty just as if nothing washappening and so deluded Joe Turk. Dozens of other little stunts were put on to Joe, which I fully believe he took in. Our patrols found that the enemy were busy working in. front of their trenches, putting; out barbed wirej as though ex-j pecting us to attack them. On' Friday night, J 7th, our first party left, about 140 men under Captain Gardiner, of the sth. This party carried the swags ot the men who were to go the following night, as well as their own, as the latter party were not to be hampered in any way. T skould have explained that these arrangements were all made before h,unl and the men

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https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/AMBPA19160307.2.27

Bibliographic details

THE EVACUATION OF GALLIPOLI., Akaroa Mail and Banks Peninsula Advertiser, Volume LXXV, Issue 3528, 7 March 1916

Word Count
804

THE EVACUATION OF GALLIPOLI. Akaroa Mail and Banks Peninsula Advertiser, Volume LXXV, Issue 3528, 7 March 1916

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