When Sergeant Edward McMahon played The Rosary on his cornet in the foothills of Gallipoli in August 1915, everyone stopped to listen.
Ted, as he was known, was a bandmaster from the West Australian goldfields. He would often play for the troops and was asked to put together a small concert to boost morale ahead of the August offensive – the Allies’ final attempt to seize control of the peninsula.
“On arriving on Gallipoli we found conditions rather tough, and lacking of any amenities for the troops, so naturally it was left to ourselves to make our own way in providing a little relaxation between our spells of duty in the lines,” he wrote. “I would sit in my dugout in Reserve Gully at night and play my trumpet to the boys with a handkerchief in the bell to drown the sound.”