Archives for category: Anzac Cove

The Evacuation of Anzac is universally regarded as a triumph, partly because it was casualty-free. Mention is sometimes made of a couple of wounded, but the implication is that nobody died. That’s what I thought too, until Kim Phillips asked me to write a foreword to her book The Spirits of Gallipoli – A Centenary of Anzacs. There I found that  Staff Sergeant Harry Bowser of the 2nd Light Horse  had died on 19 December, of wounds received on the beach, and was buried at sea.BOWSER-HL-Photo-01

Harry was the last Anzac to die at Gallipoli, remembered on the Lone Pine Memorial.

That’s the kind of new connection that can be made in this unique and extraordinary book and CD. The stories of 100 Anzacs are told in the book, and all available details of 7249 men who served in the Australian forces and who are buried or commemorated at Gallipoli are on the CD.


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Gallipoli still resonates with us because the battlefields are the best-preserved of all those of the First World War, and because the cemeteries were established close to where the men fell.

We can thank Charles Bean for that, as for so many other things, as it was his report after the 1919 Historical Mission that resulted in the conservation of the battlefield cemeteries, rather than the collection and concentration of the graves in large cemeteries, as often happened on the Western Front.

Bean was also quite interested in providing access to these places of pilgrimage, and made detailed recommendations for the establishment, or reestablishment of roads and paths to give access to the cemeteries and monuments.

‘With reference to the roads, Anzac is accessible by Ford car during fine spells even in winter, and (the journey) would easily be practicable in summer … The first cost or repair of motor roads from Boghali to North and South Anzac and around the Beach would be about £600 and the annual cost £200.’

(13 March 1919 Report in Gallipoli Mission, AWM 1952 p 384)

I don’t know what Bean would have made of Anzac today – especially the widening of the road in 2005, and the construction of the retaining wall in 2011.

The Anzacs themselves made the road above Anzac Cove  in 1915, and it was developed further by the Turks after the evacuation Tremendous earthworks were also undertaken in 1915 – dugouts, tracks and the large scale terracing (Malone’s Terraces) near Quinn’s Post.

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