Archives for category: Gallipoli Prisoners of War

Bugler Frederick Ashton 11th Battalion – 25 April 1915

Frederick Ashton was a highly literate clerk aged 21, when he joined up on 18 August 1914 in the 11th Battalion. Born in Sydney, he enlisted in Geraldton W.A.

He was captured on 25 April while tending the wounded on Baby 700 – Bean wrote that he was the only Australian remaining prisoner on that first Anzac Day aside from  McDonald, Lushington and Elston of the previous post. I

He was clearly well educated, with a dry sense of humour judging from a surviving letter, and his report on captivity made in London after his repatriation from Turkey. This report is full of fascinating detail on food, treatment by the Turks and work, as you will find when you read on … someone should make a movie.

At around 4.30 pm on 25 April Bugler Frederick Ashton was bandaging a wounded Kiwi on Baby 700 when the poor soldier was hit again

72 dpi ASHTON-F-Photo Western Mail, 27 August 1915

Fred Ashton (Photo Western Mail, 27 August 1915 – courtesy Kim Phillips, Spirits of Gallipoli)

‘He was in terrible agony and asked me to finish him off. I told him to lie still while I went and sought a stretcher-bearer. But when I looked around me I could see no sign of our former firing-line, nor could I see anyone – they seemed to have vanished completely,’ Ashton wrote in his report after the war.

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At the Landing

Three Australians were captured on 25 April largely because of the mistaken belief that there were Indian troops fighting with the Anzacs. There weren’t – they were Turks.

Captain Ronald McDonald, Lieutenant William Elston and Private Reginald Lushington were captured after being sent to investigate the rumour – Lushingtoin because he could speak ‘Hindustanee.’

All three survived captivity: McDonald had a distinguished career in the permanent forces and Lushington wrote a book about his experiences as a prisoner of the Turks.

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This is the first of a series of  posts about Gallipoli Prisoners of War. Lance Corporal Vivian Brooke  12th Battalion, from New Town Hobart, was wounded and taken prisoner on 25/26 April 1915. He died of his wounds and is the only PoW to be  buried at Anzac – at Ari Burnu.  He was mortally wounded while in hospital at Maidos.

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