Friday 2 December 2011 by Dianne Rutherford. 2 comments
Collection, First World War, Heraldry, Gallipoli, Gallipoli Mission, hospital

My name's Sean Limn, and I've been doing work experience at the War Memorial for the past week. One of my tasks whilst at the Memorial was to research a collection item, a piece of an old tent found at Gallipoli in 1919. The tent piece was found at Rest Gully, and is from a hospital tent left during the evacuation in December 1915. The tent was left behind as part of the ruse  to prevent the Turks from realising that an evacuation was taking place.

RELAWM00433 Remains of Hospital tent from Rest Gully

In July 1915, a temporary hospital was established in Rest Gully in response to a breakout of Cholera at Cape Helles. No outbreaks of the disease were reported at Anzac but the hospital remained to accommodate other ailments and conditions like diarrhoea. Initially Rest Gully was unsafe for tents to be erected, and it wasn't until much later in the campaign that tents were used there.

4th Field Ambulance at Rest Gully 4th Field Ambulance at Rest Gully C00661

The evacuation of Field Ambulances began on 11 December, when they left the peninsula, taking their "more valuable equipment" but leaving their tents standing, to make it look like the hospital was still there.

5th Field Ambulance tents at Rest Gully 5th Field Ambulance tents at Rest Gully P05093.040

At the time of the evacuation these tents were used by the 5th Field Ambulance, who were evacuated on 16 December to Mudros. By 1919 all that was left of the tents was a muddy, weathered piece of rope and canvas. It has a large eyelet incorporated into the rope, which would have presumably helped secure the tent to the ground.

While not much of the tent is left, it is still an interesting relic from the evacuation at Anzac, as it illustrates what had to be left behind.

Comments

John Scott Palmer

In 1996 I found a number of Australian tunic buttons and a small Rising Sun badge in Rest Gully at approximately the spot where the field ambulance was located. There was no remaining cloth with them. From where they were I presume they were from a casualty's tunic thrown away as he was being treated. It was interesting how many spent 303 shells and shrapnel pieces were in the same area as well. The tent piece is a very interesting relic to research!

Len Kelly

I was there in August 2011 and to get from one end of the gully to the other would now take half an hour it is that overgrown. In 1980 I found the remains of an Australian boot from behind Lone Pine.