NARRATOR: This is Letters of Gallipoli. A re-telling of the landing at Gallipoli through letters and diary entries written one hundred years ago. The proceeds of this podcast go to Legacy, a charity dedicated to the memory and support of Australian military men and women.
Episode 4: Life in the Trenches. The following diary entry was written by Trooper Edgar Roy Stanford following his baptism of fire on the shores of Gallipoli.
SFX: WHISPERING, SOLDIERS MOVING QUICKLY.
MVO: We were sent into the firing line at 6am. My first position was 30 yards from the enemy.
SFX: MEN WHISPERING 'GO GO GO'
MVO: 50 yards further along I observed the enemy’s fire and also a long line of our own dead along the brow of the hills evidently fallen in one of their brave charges. Terrible thing to see, buried over by shrapnel.
SFX: [BACKGROUND] GUNSHOTS
We are all dug in, therefore will be protected from rifle fire. We were hustled into the trenches last night at about 10pm as an attack was expected from the Turks. It came off too, at 4am.
SFX: [ATMOS] WAR. GUNFIRE. SCREAMS.
MVO: None of us will ever forget it I am sure, as it was our first real fight and we were in a bad position, being open to an attack on our left flank. The enemy came on in masses to our left towards the New Zealand trenches. It was a poor sort of a charge, the men seeming to huddle together. Sometimes advancing a little and then retreating again, just like a mob of sheep being herded along, which we imagined they were by their officers who are mostly German. We poured in a hot fire climbing out of our trenches to do so. It was here we lost nearly all our men in the fight for they had a machine gun trained on that corner.
SFX: MACHINE-GUN FIRE
MVO: However, our losses were nothing compared to the Turkish. They went down in hundreds.
MVO: I was just cooking breakfast when I was shot by a sniper.
SFX: GUN SHOT, SCREAM
MVO: The shock was horrific. I felt as if I had been struck by a shell. There was a hideous crack that probably came by breaking bone and I knew at once that my thigh had gone. They dragged me back into shelter and the agony was awful. Our fist aid boys pout a bandage around it and carried me into the field hospital. They examined and sent me down to the beach where they put me under chloroform and put in a splint. I was then sent he to hospital ship soon after. I was very pleased when I saw Nurse King and she told me I was to be her patient. I was put under chloroform again this time putting a wire splint put on. I was very glad to have an injection which enabled me to get some sleep.
MVO: After a conversation by the doctors today, they told me that I would have to have my leg off. Hard luck, but I am satisfied with his explanation.
NARRATOR: This is Letters of Gallipoli. The proceeds of this podcast go to Legacy, a charity dedicated to the memory and support of Australian military men and women. Find out more at lettersofgallipoli.com.au