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The Real Gallipoli Water Diviner.

Do you know about the real Gallipoli water diviner?
Some of you may have been to the movies to see Russell Crowe's "The Water Diviner."
But did you know there was actually a water diviner (one who finds underground water) at Anzac (Gallipoli) who not only located life saving water supplies but was acknowledged and "Mentioned In Despatches"?
His regimental number was 597 and his name was Sapper Stephen Kelley of the 3rd Light Horse Brigade's 3rd Signal Troop.
Born Maidstone, Kent, England.
Enlisted 28th October 1914 South Melbourne.
Discharged from AIF in England 2 June 1917. “Permanently unfit for war service at home or abroad.”
Recommendation for award (Mentioned In Despatches):-
Quote[This Sapper did excellent work in connection with the finding of water in various places at Anzac during the earlier period of the operations. He was for a considerable time attached to Headquarters N.Z & A. Division for this purpose, and at considerable risk to himself reconnoitred the surrounding country, and was very successful in locating water in many places, where wells were successfully sunk, and water obtained for troops at a period when water was very difficult to come by.
He will be remembered by the General Officer Commanding, and I consider the services he has rendered in this respect should receive recognition.
I have been asked by Brigadier-General Hughes to bring his services before the notice of the General Officer Commanding.]Unquote
And this newspaper report, one of many in various newspapers throughout Australia:-
From the “Shepparton Advertiser” Monday 5 June 1916:-
(By a Sapper).
It is obvious to one reading General Ian Hamilton's report, especially those alluding to the Suvla Bay operations, that want of water was the chief cause of the fatal inertia shown at the critical moment.
As this occurred in early August, and the troops were not withdrawn until late in December, it will interest many to know how the water difficulty was overcome. The Turks boasted that the Gallipoli Peninsula was untenable for a large body of troops owing to the scarcity of water. The arrangements made by the authorities for water distribution were on a vast scale. In the first place it was brought from Malta, being towed in huge barges to the improvised piers at Anzac. On the beach was erected a large steam pumping plant, which pumped the water from the barges to large tanks on both right and left of the Anzac position.
Considering the number of troops, and this their only means of supply, the reader can hardly imagine the organisation and work this entailed. The slightest hitch meant that we were without water, and that is what occurred immediately before and during the landing of the Suvla Bay party. For military reasons, I cannot say how many troops were engaged on the left flank, but the heat was intense, every man's water bottle was empty, and there was no immediate prospect of getting it refilled. The sun on this particular day seemed to have been even more fierce in power than usual, and everybody was done up.
It was at this moment, when those in command were at their wit's end to know what to do, that someone remembered that there was a man in the third Light Horse Brigade, Australian Imperial Force, who was a water diviner. He proved to be Sapper S. Kelley, of our troop, who had joined the Signal Troop with myself in October, 1914. In private life he is a civil engineer, and senior partner of the firm of Kelley and Basset, of Melbourne. He was asked by the generals in command if he thought there were any indications of underground water in the area, and, if so, would he locate it. The interview, at Brigade Headquarters, was in the evening.
Early next morning Kelley went out to what he called No. 2 outpost. Within 100 yards of Divisional Headquarters he located water, and on it being opened up by the engineers it was found to give a volume of over 2000 gallons of pure, cold artesian water per hour. Two other wells were opened up in the immediate vicinity. By six o'clock that evening every man in that section had his water bottle filled. Within a week Kelley had located and erected pumps over 32 wells, which in the aggregate were giving sufficient water to issue 100,000 men with one gallon per day per man.
This, in brief, is the reason why the Suvla Bay and advanced Anzac parties were able to hold their position. It should be borne in mind that not only was water required for the troops, but there were also thousands of mules to be watered, and one mule will drink as much water as twenty men. There are many people who were sceptical of the divining rod, myself among them, but after this exhibition of a gift possessed by very few people the scepticism soon disappeared.
The only instrument Mr. Kelley uses is a small piece of copper, wherewith he can tell, by holding it between his hands, how deep the water is; also if it is only a pocket of water, or a spring, or an underground river. On every occasion where Mr. Kelley said that there was water the engineers always found it. In many instances they had, in their endeavours to find water, sunk shafts within 50 yards of the spot he had located, and gone considerably lower in the earth without success.
Mr. Kelley was personally congratulated by the highest in command, and strongly recommended by his own Brigade Staff, for suitable recognition for the splendid work he had done. He was also instrumental in opening up wells in Mudros and Cape Helles under the Director of Works of the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force.
Mr. Kelley is now in London suffering from nervous strain in finding and supplying us with water. We are all proud to know that one of our troop has done such good work for his country, and consider he should be suitably rewarded. - "British Australasian."
1/13/2015, 9:28 am Link to this post Send PM to diggerdave

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