I am woken from my slumber by a thunderous crash that shakes me to my soul, the iron monsters upon the sea spew forth smoke and flame, sending death towards the distant shore.
“Time to move lads” the Sar-major is saying as he moves amongst us, The sound deafens us as we move up on to the deck, The mighty ships still spewing forth their death, The air is full of smoke, the smell of cordite mixed with burning coal from the ships furnaces.
We shuffle towards our boats, and soon we are packed with in their hulls like sardines in a tin, my mate says to me, As we near the shore the water starts to boil as if rail is falling, But it is a deadly rain as the zing and crack of bullets from our foes start to fall amongst us,
My mate is laughing and joking at this display, when he stops to laugh no more a bullet through his head,
Before I can even fathom this we are there! The whistles sound, every one off, and we leap into hell, With shrapnel bursting, machine guns howling, their bullets greedily seeking our souls, Men are yelling, swearing, dying, all around me as I race up that beach of hell,
I hit the ground all round me others are doing the same; we hug the sand trying to escape the withering inferno! When out of the smoke and chaos, the Sar-major comes striding his presence a calming affect on us,
“No use laying there lads” he roars above the noise “Johnny Turks that way, on my whistle we take that position”, We get ready and the whistle blows, we are up yelling and screaming our bayonets glistering in the light of the flares,
A figure rises before me, his rifle raised I lunge forward and feel my bayonet go deep in him, A strange gurgling sound coming from my opponent, I pull back and he collapses to the ground, I stand there mesmerized by what I had done, Then a voice yells “move lad or ye shall feel my bloody boot on your ass!” I jump my trance broken good old Sar-major! I move on into the bitter fray,
Then we have won the position, we look out upon the scene of carnage, Silhouetted against the sky line a lone pine that some how has survived the carnage, The air is filled with the smell of rosemary mixed with dirt and blood,
Day is breaking, we look down on the beach below us, and wonder how we managed to get this high, Down below on the beach and in the water lay scattered our fallen comrades like flotsam after a storm,
If I survive this I will remember this place, for it is burned into my soul, this cove this place called Gallipoli!
By Richard James Davies
24 April 2010