Gallipoli Diaries: The Anzac’s Own Story
By Jonathan King
ISBN 9781922070913 448pp RRP: $35.00 Paperback
This book was first published in 2003 by Simon & Schuster (Australia). This edition, published by Scribe, has been timed to coincide with the 100th anniversary of the Gallipoli landing.
Gallipoli, for the average Australian, is the most famous battle that our volunteer soldiers ever fought, because it was our first entry as a nation into the war, and our people were keen to prove themselves. It would be, however, a long time before the families back home, and the nation as a whole, heard of the terrible conditions on the peninsula and the waste of life that took place there. Although Gallipoli was a crushing defeat, it was, and still is, celebrated as a victory.
In his introduction, King talks about having spent time with the last ten veterans of the campaign from the mid 1990s to 2002, when Alec Campbell, the last survivor, passed away. Veteran Fred Kelly really summed up the mistake that was the Gallipoli landing: “It was ridiculous to even attempt to land on the beach because it was so narrow let alone to climb the ridges as they were never ending and exposed to enemy fire.”
King has gathered together an unequalled series of extracts from letters and diaries, written by hundreds of Anzacs at Gallipoli, accounting for every one of the 240 days of the eight-month campaign — and even identifying the actual days of the week. It is these private words that really tell us what Gallipoli was like.
The author, award-winning historian Dr Jonathan King, has produced many books and films about World War I since 1994. He also leads battlefield tours to Gallipoli and the Western Front.