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Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Quotes on Gallipoli from John Tognolini's Brothers Part One: Gallipoli 1915


“Gallipoli was a bastard of a place.” he said. “I never understood what we were fighting for. All I could think of was that I never wanted to go back to the bloody place.”

Albert White, aged 100, Brisbane, Sydney Morning Herald, May 17, 2002.

“I only got a fiver for the song, but it’s worth a million to me to hear it sung like this.”

Andrew “The Banjo” Barton Paterson. Clement Semmler, The Banjo of the Bush.
After hearing his song “Waltzing Matilda” sung at Sydney’s Randwick Racecourse Army Camp, at the beginning of World War One. Many of the soldiers who sang it were killed or wounded at Gallipoli, or later on the Western Front in France and Belgium, or in the Middle East campaigns of the Australian Light Horse and Camel Corps.

“I talked to one of the Turks, one of whom pointed to the graves.  `That's politics.’ He was pointing to the dead bodies and said, ‘That's diplomacy. God pity us poor soldiers’.”

Aubrey Herbert, during the May Truce at Gallipoli to bury the dead.

“The… mobilisation figure for Australia is 413,000, although 313,814 embarked. It rounds off the [World War One] dead to 60,000, for a percentage of 14.5. Australia's estimated population in 1914 was 4.97 million. Extrapolated to today's population, the nation would lose 240,000 citizens.”

Blood, guts and the stuff of legend by Tony Stephens, Sydney Morning Herald, June 24, 2005.

“(World War I) was the most colossal, murderous, mismanaged butchery that has ever taken place on earth. Any writer who said otherwise lied, so the writers either wrote propaganda, shut up, or fought.”

Ernest Hemingway. Quoted in Robert Hughes, The Shock of the New.

"Despite the fear the men mostly took everything that was thrown at them. I saw some brave things at Gallipoli. One thing that made a big impression on us was the actions of a man we called 'The Man with a Donkey'. He was a stretcher-bearer and he used to carry the wounded men down to the clearing station on the beach… This man, Simpson his name was, was exposed to enemy fire constantly all the days I was there, and when I left Shrapnel Gully he was still going strong. I considered, and so did my mates, that he should be given the Victoria Cross."

A.     B. (Albert) Facey, A Fortunate Life

"Let us start with the First World War, which was the single most important event of the twentieth century, not recognized as such. We mainly think about the Second World War and Hitler, but it was the First World War that suddenly bought about the death of a number of empires. The Austrian Hungarian Empire collapsed. The Ottoman Empire collapsed. The Tsarist Empire of Russia collapsed. And on the heels of this arose nationalism, communism and revolutionary movements of different kinds…."

Tariq Ali, On History: Tariq Ali and Oliver Stone in Conversation.

“There never was a greater tragedy than World War 1. It engulfed an age, and conditioned the times that followed. It contaminated every ideal for which it was waged, it threw up waste and horror worse than all the evils it sought to avert, and left legacies of staunchness and savagery equal to any which have bewildered men about their purpose on earth. “

Bill Gammage, The Broken Years.

“In broad terms the AIF [Australian Imperial Force] resembled the factories, workshops or shearing sheds that many of its members had known in civilian life. Privates were the workers; non-commissioned officers (NCOs) were foremen, gangers or overseers; officers were the proprietors, managers or supervisors. Soldiers saw themselves in these terms. Oswald Blows referred to ‘our officer bosses’. Aubrey Herbert, the British MP [Member of Parliament] who served as an interpreter on Gallipoli, found to his astonishment that even on active service, Australian citizen volunteers held that ‘the “eight hours day” was an almost holy principle’. If they violated it by working especially hard for some days, ‘they thought that they deserved a “spell”’ Australian soldiers often applied their civilian principles to their military experience.”

Peter Stanley, Bad Characters, Sex, Crime, Mutiny, Murder and the Australian Imperial Force.

“The Turks held the high ground and any bloke who was stupid enough to stick his head above the parapet for a peek was certain to catch a bullet long before getting a guernsey into no-man’s-land. Not that that had stopped some from trying. The deaths of General Bridges, Brigadier MacLaurin and Brigade Major Irvine by Turkish fire early on put paid to that, even if they had been careless in exposing themselves to prove a point to the men. ‘It’s my business to be sniped at’, retorted Irvine to the men who yelled at him to ‘get down’ just seconds before he was killed. To paraphrase the historian Peter Pederson, if nothing else he certainly got job satisfaction. Ten minutes later, standing in full view of the Turks, MacLaurin was also killed.”

David. W. Cameron, Sorry, Lads, But The Order Is To Go: The August Offensive, Gallipoli: 1915.

Click on the link to order John Tognolini'sBrothers Part One: Gallipoli 1915  

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