Saturday, 2 May 2015

ANZAC Landings

Having commemorated the 100th anniversary of the landings last weekend this post will look at how the landings were reported in the local press in 1915.  It did not take long for the landings to be reported. The first stories appearing in the Ballarat Courier on the 29th April.  The reports were heavily censored for domestic consumption by British Officials.  The reports stated how enemy attacks was being repulsed and the Allies were pushing forward.  No mention of the heavy casualties being taken.  No doubt people reading these  reports in Ballarat in 1915 were left with the impression that their boys would be home for Christmas and that everything was going wonderfully well.. This sense of optimism would soon be dashed when the casualty lists would start appearing  in the paper within a couple of weeks.   Following is the initial report of the landings in the Ballarat Courier.

Ballarat Courier April 29th  1915

Map of the landings on the 25th April 1915.  Taken from www.

The real tragedy of what was taking place came from the letters sent home to loved ones from Gallipoli. They told a completely different story.  As well journalists like Ellis Ashmead-Bartlett, Charles Bean and later Keith Murdoch  would write about the difficult conditions the ANZACS were facing. One thing all them reported  was how gallant the ANZACS were considering the hugh obstacles they were encountering.. Following is an excerpt taken from a letter sent home to loved ones from then Capt Leslie Morshead, later to become Lieutenant-General Sir Leslie Morshead, one of Ballarat's finest citizens.

           This is the first letterI have attempted since our memorable and awful landing on Sunday 25th April.  I have even neglected my diary. But i shall never need a diary to remind me of what i went through or what i saw. No pen could describe that Sunday or Tuesday.  It was a grim hard fight.  On Thursday we were relieved, and when our roll was called we had considerably less than half a battalion.   It was a sorry spectacle to see all the men there, hungry, dirty, unshaven, bitter. (Taken from Dinkum Oil: letters published in the Ballarat Courier during the Great War by A.M. Taylor. avaiable in the Australiana Research Room, Ballarat Library)

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