Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . . PDF . . . . Video

Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 2015 Week 04 Hansard (Wednesday, 25 March 2015) . . Page.. 1083 ..

MR SMYTH (Brindabella) (10.41): I thought I would add a few words, using not my words but the words of CEW Bean, as to what actually happened that day. It is from volume I of the Official History of Australia in the War of 1914-1918, the chapter entitled “The landing at Gaba Tepe”, starting at about page 250. It reads:

There was still no sign of any sort from the shore. The water was as smooth as satin—a gloriously cool, peaceful night. In one of the central tows, carrying the 10th Battalion, the steamboat had already cast off the rowing boats. Only the soft dip of the muffled oars in the water broke the silence. They were forty or fifty yards from the shore. “There’s no sound,” whispered Colonel Weir to the officer beside him.

It goes on:

The eleven other tows must have been very close, but they could not be seen by one another. The northernmost had swung to the left and then back again, nearly colliding.

About this moment from the funnel of one of the northern most steamboats there flared out a trail of flame. Special instructions had been given to the crews to prevent this occurrence, but it is not easily avoided. Three full feet of sparks and flame continued to trail for twenty or thirty seconds. A high plateau of land was above the boats at this moment, with a round jutting knoll, 200 feet high, at the foot of it. It was Ari Burnu point.

The voice of Commander Dix broke the silence. “Tell the colonel,” he shouted, “that the dam’ fools have taken us a mile too far north.”

Just then—at 4.29 a.m.—on the summit of another and rather lower knoll a thousand yards south there flashed a bright yellow light. It was seen by almost everyone in the boats; some took it for a signal lamp; others for a bright flare of shavings or a small bonfire. It glowed for half a minute and then went out.

There was deathlike silence for a moment. Then suddenly: “Look at that!” said Captain Leane in one of the northernmost boats. The figure of a man was on the skyline of the plateau above them. A voice called on the land. From the top of Ari Burnu a rifle flashed. A bullet whizzed overhead and plunged into the sea. A second or two of silence … four or five shots as if from a sentry group. Another pause—then a scattered, irregular fire growing very fast. They were discovered. After the tension of the last half-hour the discovery brought a blessed relief.

At this moment the twelve tows were very close together, running in to the foot of Ari Burnu knoll. The knoll juts out in a small cape, and the boats of the 9th and 10th Battalions, striking the point of this, were the first to reach the land.

It goes on to say:

The larger “launches” and “pinnaces” grounded in deeper water, whereupon the men tumbled over the bows or the sides, often falling on the slippery stones, so that it was hard to say who was hit and who was not. Most were up to their thighs in water; some, who dropped off near the stern of the larger boats, were immersed to their chests. Others, barely noticed in the rush, slipped into water too deep for them. The heavy kit which a man carried would sink him like a

Next page . . . . Previous page . . . . Speeches . . . . Contents . . . . Debates(HTML) . . . . PDF . . . . Video