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First Anzac officer killed at Gallipoli


Geoff,

You wrote:
<Quote>
I was interested to know if you were able to identify any individual officers KIA or mortally wounded on the tows before they beached at Gallipoli?

Perhaps that level of detail does not exist, none the less I would find it interesting. I assume their would have been officer casualties on some of the boats, particulary at the nortern end? of Anzac Cove prior to their beaching.

I suppose the reason I am asking is because Capt W R Annear (11th Battalion) is I understand reputedly the first officer KIA at Gallipoli. But I assume there would have been a number of officer KIA's prior to him on the boats.
Am I correct?
<End Quote>

Captain Annear was shot dead at about dawn on the summit of Plugge's Plateau. No evidence exists that any officer died before him, nor, in fact, is there any concrete evidence (at least not that I've ever found), that any officer of the first wave (half the 3rd Brigade) was killed before getting out of the boats. There is some evidence to suggest that a 6th Battalion and a 7th Battalion officer may have been killed in their boats (one in the north, near Fisherman's Hut, and the other in the south near Victoria Gully), but by the time their brigade (2nd) was landing Captain Annear was already long dead.

Even then though, eyewitness accounts vary. Though the weight of evidence, including Bean's account (always based on painstaking sifting of evidence), indicates that Captain Annear was killed on Plugge's, there is also the following:

'When we landed I was alongside Captain Annear, and we had not advanced 20 yards up the beach before he fell, shot through the mouth, dying instantly. Lieut. Macdonald, who was formerly an area officer on the fields, was wounded slightly at the same time. After being invalided for a month he returned to the front, and was killed in the same dugout and at the same time as Captain La Nauze.' (Letter from Corporal R.H. Brodribb, No. 8 General Hospital, Fremantle, in Kalgoorlie Western Argus 31 Aug 1915 p2).


Bryn

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Last edited by Bryn, 6/14/2003, 2:43 pm
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Re: First Anzac officer killed at Gallipoli


Hi Bryn,

Thanks for that interesting information. I confess I did not check any details when I wrote my question last night.
From memory I thought? that maybe some of the boats at the nothern end of Anzac had landed first. I remembered that some of them were "shot-up" pretty badly up near the fisherman's hut on the 25th.

So is it safe to assume that the first boats or tows landed at about the centre of Anzac Cove? -roughly opposite Plugge's Plateau.

I wonder why they landed at the centre of the cove, as it is further to travel by boat or tow? I suppose I may have thought the very first boats may have landed a bit further north to get off the boats as quickly as possible. I would also discount any KIA's in the 2nd Brigade as they had not arrived- I agree that one!
I am thinking? some 3rd Brigade men been dropped off further north. If that were correct I would have thought they would have defintely incurred some officer fatalities

I know [sign in to see URL]. Bean mentions that Lieut Chapman (9th Battalion) was the first man ashore.
So did the 9th Battalion landed first and was it north of the 11th battalion? And how was it that the 9th had no officers killed first.

Heck! Or maybe the problem I have is the distances are so small and the timing minutes apart in events recorded by Bean.I am sure I have never read more about a single day in my life and still get confused.

My apologies, I am not doubting you, I am just trying to think through my muddied thoughts.


Cheers
Geoff S

P.S. I went out to see Warwick Carey today about a little framing job for me= small world hey!

Last edited by Madras19, 6/14/2003, 5:03 pm
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Re: First Anzac officer killed at Gallipoli


It certainly is a small world! I usually run into Warwick in Queensland, but last time I saw him was in Sydney, at an auction in March.

I think you've hit the nail on the head when it comes to officers being killed in the covering force at Anzac. Through pretty meticulous detective work, Bean ascertained that the first man ashore was Lieutenant Chapman, but of course this would have been by a matter of seconds, and in the dark. The distances at Gallipoli (or at Anzac at least), are quite small; the difference between being in one position and another, or on one hill and another, is sometimes a matter of only a few metres. The first boats grounded mostly on the northern arm of Anzac Cove, Ari Burnu, which is also directly under Plugge's Plateau. None of the 3rd Brigade though, landed as far north as Fisherman's Huts.

I believe that 15 officers of the 3rd Brigade died on 25th April 1915 (9Bn - 4; 10Bn - 4; 11Bn - 3; 12Bn - 4). Of these, 6 died on or very near Baby 700; 3 died on the 400 Plateau, at or near what would later be known as Lone Pine; 1 died on Pine Ridge, and 1 on Russell's Top, near The Nek. All thse positions are well inland. Only one (Annear) is known for certain to have died on Plugge's Plateau, close to the beach.

That makes twelve out of the fifteen.

I'm unsure exactly where the other three died.

One of these, Lieutenant Byrne (10th Battalion) was killed at about 4pm, and was well inland, probably on Second Ridge.

Another, Captain Hall (10th Battalion), was bringing up ammunition and was killed between 3 and 4pm, exact location unknown.

The other, Captain Green (10th Battalion), seems to have been killed soon after landing; both legs being blown off by a shell, but I have never been able to ascertain exactly where or at what time. He's buried in Beach cemetery, but this is not necessarily an indication of how far he travelled on 25th April. Major S. B. Robertson (9th Battalion), died at about 4pm on Baby 700; Lieut. Colonel Clarke (12th Battalion), died on Russell's Top, and Lieutenant Byrne (10th Battalion) died at about 4pm, yet all are buried in Beach cemetery.

Most deaths amongst the 3rd Brigade officers on 25th April occurred on or near the Second Ridge, quite a way inland. This would indicate that the initial Turkish defence was 'driven in' by those elements of the 3rd Brigade which landed first and that they achieved a fair measure of surprise. By the time the 2nd Brigade and the New Zealand Brigade were landing, resistance had stiffened, especially on the flanks, which had not been affected by the initial landing.

Interestingly, Beach cemetery contains the bodies of only 13 Anzacs who died on 25th April. All are Australians; 9 are of the 10th Battalion, 2 of the 9th Battalion, and one each of the 7th and 12th Battalions.

Bryn

Last edited by Bryn, 6/15/2003, 8:57 pm
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Re: First Anzac officer killed at Gallipoli


Bryn,
Yep another topic I am very interested in.

I had not realised that the officers of the 3rd brigade had got so far inland. I suppose if I had thought about it more it makes sense as Loutit's & Blackburn's groups had supposed to had got the furthest inland on 'day 1'. They were in the 10th mob.

It just indicates how much things 'hotted up' later in the day when the 2nd & NZed's troops landed. So what you note about the flanks makes more sense to me now. The Turkish assault must have really hit the 2nd wave of Anzac's hard.

The fact that elements of the 3rd brigade got so far on the 25th is amazing. If only they could have beem reinforced more quickly. I find reading about that day so frustrating,
it feels like they missed so many opportunities.

I have 100's of questions like this in my head about all these tiny & specific details,but will not bore you with them now. Not t'nite anyway!

Cheers
Geoff S

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Re: First Anzac officer killed at Gallipoli


Somehow I managed a duplicate posting here.

G

Last edited by Madras19, 6/16/2003, 1:22 am
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Re: First Anzac officer killed at Gallipoli


Geoff,

I know what you mean about the account of the first day being frustrating reading, but reading about the attempted break-out and associated fighting in August is always the part that gets me worst.

I'd think that the officer who was actually killed farthest inland on the first day would be either Captain Leer (3rd Battalion), killed on Mortar Ridge, or Lieutenant Munro (12th Battalion), who probably died on Pine Ridge.

[There is some slight evidence, though, that Lieut. Munro may in fact have been killed way out on Third (Gun) Ridge. If so, then he would definitely have been the officer killed in the most forward position].

Both these officers were mentioned in despatches. Not bad for soldiers who didn't live through a full day of fighting.

Something written from the point of view of the 2nd Brigade:
"The Battalion was perhaps unfortunately placed in the landing, in so far that it was among those troops who stepped ashore in broad daylight. The Turkish surprise had more or less petered out after the initial shock of the 3rd Brigade's heroic storming of the heights, so that our men fell soon and swiftly." (Moore, Lieut. Col. D.T. 'Heavy Losses: 3rd Battalion's Baptism.' Reveille Vol. 4 No. 7; 31 Mar 1931 p48).

Even so, the 2nd Brigade lost 13 officers killed on 25th April, two fewer than the 3rd Brigade. The 1st Brigade lost 11, and the New Zealand Brigade lost 9.

The actual battalions that suffered most officer deaths on that first day were the 10th Battalion AIF and Auckland Battalion NZEF, each losing 6.

Regards,
Bryn
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Re: First Anzac officer killed at Gallipoli


quote:

Bryn wrote:

Geoff,

I know what you mean about the account of the first day being frustrating reading, but reading about the attempted break-out and associated fighting in August is always the part that gets me worst."


I agree about the frustration regarding the fighting in August, paticularly the 4th Brigade wanderings & the New Zealanders on Chunuk Bair.

Bryn
I recall reading in Bean, that the 11th Bn officer Lt Mordaunt? Reid was not seen again after being wounded in the vincinity of Baby 700. Have you ever come across any correspondence or info relating to his actual death or is his actual end still a mystery?

Cheers
Andrew
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Re: First Anzac officer killed at Gallipoli


Bryn,
Are you interested in an article I have written by Pte Fred Fox AIF - Called Through The valley Of Death - April 23 - 25th. It tells of the Gallipoli Landing - but I am not sure if you may already have it.
Extract - "Our officers were great too. They were equipped exactly the same as ourselves, but only carried a switch, and to see Major Drake Brockman, my company officer, smoking a cigarette and calmly walking up and down the line, was something to inspire at the time, and to be remembered so long as memory lasts.
Our brave old Colonel Lyall Johnston was as cool as cucumber, cheering us all by his wonderful sangfroid. We called him "Tipperary" and he was proud of his name and his boys."
There is also an article by Gen.I. Hamilton titled "My Own Dark Hours - as Commander in Chief at Gallipoli , and another one by him titled "Heroic Fiasco of Y Beach" - Furthur dark hours of a Commander in Chief - 26th April 1915

Let me know if you would like me to copy them for you.
Kate
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Re: First Anzac officer killed at Gallipoli


On another (but related) tangent we have come across an interesting occurrence with one of our Wellington soldiers. He was in the 1st Battalion, and when they arrived in Marseilles after Egypt in 1916, he fell under the troop train and lost both his legs. He died from his injuries - no surprise there. Does this make him the FIRST of the FIRST Battalion of the FIRST Brigade of the FIRST Division to die in France? An unwanted honour I'm sure.
Graeme
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Re: First Anzac officer killed at Gallipoli


Hello all,

Thank you for that additional information Bryn. I understand that Lieu Loutit got the furthest inland of all the officers. Apparently he and two other men reached Scrubby Knoll at about [sign in to see URL] a.m. on the 25th of April. He was not killed, and given the confusion on that day it�s lucky some men got back from their extended positions, to verify the few facts that Bean was able to piece together the events on that day.

The records I have note although impossible to ascertain the first casualties at the landing, they almost certainly came from member of �B� and �A� Companies, 9th Btn or �B� and �C� Companies of the 10th Btn.

Of course I agree with the frustrations of the failed August offensive, but for me if the Anzac�s ever had a chance to accomplish a victory of sorts? it was on that first Sunday.

Perhaps the most unfortunate of all brigades were Monash�s 4th brigade. As I am sure you are aware they suffered the highest casualties at Gallipoli- the 15th battalion being significantly heavier than the other battalions in that brigade. According to my references Australia lost 362 officers [sign in to see URL] or [sign in to see URL]. in the entire campaign Bryn � do you have a different grand total from your research?


I would be also interested in any forum members comments, as I have pondered it myself for many years if you think that the men(not just the officers) were generally aware of the significance of the history being created at Gallipoli or did it come later?

What do the forum members think? I would be interested to know!

Kate,
I would be interested in a copy of the notes you mentioned on this topic (I will send you my details direct later in the week if that;s OK) One of my books about Gallipoli (Anzac Adventure)is inscribed by a member of the Drake-Brockman family detailing a short note on the family�s involvement on the [sign in to see URL] that of a trooper in the 10 LHR who served at Gallipoli.

Graeme,
The man you note may well be the first fatality in France in the 1/1/1? I assume he would have been listed as �Died of Other Causes� There must be many unusual deaths like this one that occurred with Australians abroad. I have often wondered when looking at photographs of the soldiers atop the pyramids in Egypt, how many fell to their deaths.
FYI- I have the first KIA of an Australian in France as 15 March 1916. (2nd Aust Seige Battery)


Cheers
Geoff S

Last edited by Madras19, 6/17/2003, 12:56 am
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