John Booth's WWI War Journal
Landing at Gallipoli
Written from his hospital bed at No 3 Southern General Hospital, Oxford, England . . . . . . .
We transshipped here aboard the fast steamer "Osmanieh" and were brought to Anzac early that night, and kept off the shores for a few hours. A number of warships speeded by in the darkness with lights out, and I saw a number bombarding the Turkish trenches. It was with mingled awe, and trepidation that we regarded these things, and everybody spoke in whispers. A huge dark mass loomed in front of us, and it was dotted here and there with lights, indeed a mysterious place. Rifle and machine gun firing was plainly heard, and now and then a jet of flame spurted, followed by the explosion of a shell. A hospital ship was not very far away, and looked a pretty sight with the green lights around it and a big Red Cross glowing in the centre.
Anzac -Early in the morning, punts came alongside, the decks all being covered in straw, and into these we embarked and were towed to shore by a steam tugboat. Several men were shot by stray bullets, one being a sailor on the "Osmanieh". We landed at Anzac, at half past four on Sunday morning of Aug./22/15, whilst a great charge was in progress on the left in the Chocolate Hills, where the 18th Battalion met a severe reverse. We marched along the beach, and camped in Reserve Gully, which was secure from that scourge of a gun of the Turks, called "Beachy Bill". The following night found us marching along a wide sap towards Suvla Bay, and being bumped by mules carrying ammunitions, etc. Now and again, a halt was made to allow the stretchers bearers carrying wounded, to pass by on the way to the hospital. We arrived at Argyle Ravine, and went into the trenches; and then the guide lost his bearings, and put us into the wrong line. We met the 19th Battalion coming out and as the trenches were very narrow, we had to lay down and to let them find footing between the sides of the trench, and our bodies, so they practically walked on us. Some rude remarks were passed, I assure you, when a man stumbled, and planted his foot in the middle of a 20th man’s back. At last, all was righted and everybody allotted to their posts, and I shall never forget the feeling that came over me, when I was faced with the grim reality. When daylight appeared, sniping by the Turks was prevalent and it was difficult to locate where it came from; in fact, it came from all points of the compass.Several men were shot, and a sniper worried our post badly, and gave giving us an anxious time. I heard later that the Turks disguised themselves with bushes, and painted their faces green; the New Zealanders captured a woman disguised in that fashion and her lair had enough water and provisions for a month.
John Booth was killed in action Passchendaele, Belgium - 9th October 1917
Courtesty of State Library of New South Wales