Monday 24th May 1915- Diary of HV Reynolds
Monday 24 May 2010 by Janice Farrer. No comments
Diary of an ANZAC
Please note: Care has been taken to transcribe these entries without alteration to preserve the original language of Herbert Vincent Reynolds.
‘We were turned out early this morning and told that an armistice would be observed between 8am to 4.30pm when hostilities would cease to allow the dead to be buried in no mans land. The day broke very dull and about 7am a thick misty rain began to fall which continued till about 11am when it cleared up and helped to take the gruesome task of burying a little less offensive to those engaged in that work. I was thankful that we were not called upon to take part in that work, what we saw of it was more than enough. In most cases a grave was dug alongside the corpse which was then rolled into the hole and covered up. The whole affair was awful to the extreme as some of the dead has been lying there from the landing and the number to be buried made it impossible to do little more than cover them with earth. The enemy worked on half of no mans land from their trenches and we did the same from ours. Having nothing better to do my mate and I thought of having a look at our trenches at the top of Shrapnel Gully, but we were not permitted to go right into the trenches. However we saw some of our position that ascended probably with the exception of part of Walkers Ridge on our extreme left flank, the steepest ridge in our position, that is at the top end of Shrapnel Gully, where a gigantic stairway has been formed in the steep aide of the gully from the now dry watercourse at the bottom to the top of the ridge up which all supplies and ammunition for the trenches has to be carried. Hundreds made the best of the opportunity of having a dip in the sea without fear of defying regulations concerning swimming during the day or running the risk of having a shower of shrapnel sent over by the enemy, a thing that was always certain when any number went in during the day. Brighton beach was simply crowded with bathers, what a glorious time Beachy Bill would have had, had he not been doomed to silence today. About 4pm everything has returned to the old order of things, except of the silence, but that was soon broken when 4.30pm came long and the rifles began cracking away again, especially after sunset when the enemy made the air ring with intense rifle fire. After dark our Japanese bomb throwers began hurling their missiles into the air to fall directly into the enemy trenches, they go well up into the air and fall almost straight down leaving a trail of light like a falling star on making the descent, they make a fearful tearing crash when they explode.’
*The armistice provided a rare opportunity to get up close to the Turkish soldiers.
For the classroom: How might an interaction such as this change the ANZAC opinion of the Turkish soldiers?