Gallipoli and the Anzacs

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2. Anzac Cove

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For Australians, Anzac Cove is the best-known spot on Gallipoli. While the dawn landings were spread out over three-quarters of a kilometre of coastline, during the rest of 25 April 1915 the men of the ANZAC corps waded ashore at Anzac Cove. They were sent immediately inland into battle along Second Ridge at places which became famous in the story of Anzac – Lone Pine, Courtney’s Post, Quinn’s Post and the Nek. By the afternoon of 25 April, the beach was crowded with the wounded from the ferocious actions being fought out along the ridges. That day an estimated 2000 wounded passed through the cove, while others lay out on the battlefield awaiting evacuation.

Anzac Cove, 1915

A hand-tinted colour print from Colarts Studio, Sydney, circa 1925, of a photograph of Anzac Cove taken in 1915 by Padre Walter Dexter of the Australian Imperial Force. The view looks northwards towards Ari Burnu Point, around which the original landing at dawn on 25 April 1915 took place. [AWM P01130.001] ... Enlarge photo

By 1 May 1915, more than 27 000 men of the ANZAC corps had landed at Gallipoli, and Anzac Cove was being transformed into the main port and administrative centre for the Anzac area. Piers were built to offload essential supplies and reinforcements, the best-known being Watson’s Pier, built by a party of the 2nd Australian Field Engineers under the supervision of Lieutenant Stanley Watson of the 1st Division Signal Company AIF. For the remainder of the campaign, huge rectangular piles of boxes were crammed into the narrow beach area and there was a constant fetching and carrying between the cove and the front line along the ridges. Some of this vital transport of supplies was undertaken by an Indian Army unit, the Indian Mule Cart Transport Company.

Anzac Cove

Anzac Cove, Gallipoli, 2004 ... Enlarge photo

Up the slopes of the eroded valleys behind Anzac Cove, a virtual town of lean-to shelters, dugouts and more elaborate structures emerged to house the ANZAC staff. Australia’s official historian, Charles Bean, felt that this hillside settlement resembled ‘the Manly of New South Wales or the Victorian Sorrento, while the sleepy tick-tock of rifles from behind the hills suggested the assiduous practice of batsmen at their nets on some neighbouring cricket field’. Any sense of normality suggested here was belied by the fact that the Turks had the range of Anzac Cove and the area was shelled daily throughout the campaign, causing many casualties.