By Joshua Funder
Published by Melbourne University Press
RRP $32.99 in paperback
This is a book that literally ‘fell through the cracks’ of my review bookshelf. My only excuse really is that it got buried by bigger, but not necessarily more important, books.
Author Joshua Funder is Stan Watson’s great grandson. Funder recalls hearing stories of Gallipoli from his great grandfather, at a time when Watson was already in his 90s. In fact it was sixty-two years after the event that he finally told his family the full story of his role at Gallipoli.
It was this storytelling that captured Funder’s imagination and eventually led to the publication of this book. You can watch Joshua Funder on this YouTube clip for an insight into the background to this book.
Funder’s great grandfather Stan Watson was among the first ashore at Gallipoli on 25 April 1915. He survived battle, fear and disease to build the pier at Anzac Cove from which so many men later escaped. He was to play a pivotal role in the success of the evacuation, the detailed story of which is told in this book.
Watson continued in military service after Gallipoli as a signals officer on the Western Front at Pozieres, Bullecourt, Broodseinde and Passchendaele. He was promoted to major and commanding officer of the 2nd Divisional Signals Company under General John Monash in the decisive battle of Amiens. After the war he returned to the railways, eventually becoming Deputy Commissioner of the South Australian Railways.
There is a website dedicated to the book: http://www.watsonspier.com
I’m sure it is a book that any reader with a passion for the Gallipoli story will read with great interest.