[Sheet music] Heroes of the Dardanelles

Place Middle East: Ottoman Empire, Turkey, Dardanelles
Accession Number AWM2016.30.22
Collection number 349
Collection type Digitised Collection
Record type Item
Item count 1
Object type Sheet Music
Physical description 8 Image/s captured
Maker Stoneham, Reginald Alberto Agrati
Ralston, John
Place made Australia
Date made 1915-1918
Conflict First World War, 1914-1918
Copying Provisions Copy provided for personal non-commercial use, permission from copyright holder must be sought for commercial use

Sheet music for the song titled, 'Heroes of the Dardanelles', written and composed by Reginald Alberto Agrati Stoneham. Stoneham served as a trumpeter with the South Australian Contingent in the South Africa War. This copy was published by Loebel & Co, Melbourne. The back pages feature, by way of publisher’s advertisement, the first page of 'On the Cocos Coast', depicting the 1914 action between HMAS Sydney and the Emden, and 'Roseleaves'.

'Heroes of the Dardanelles' was sung by John Ralston in Victor Jacobi's musical play 'The Marriage Market'. Other baritone singers who performed this song with 'great success', according to the cover of this copy, were H Pride, Malcolm McEachers, Jack McGowan, James Fraser and Harry Newton. The music sold for 2/- and was not to be performed in public without fees or license except at music halls and theatres and a note was added at the very bottom of the front cover in capital letters advising that the "public performance of any parodied version of this song is strictly prohibited."

The lyrics are patriotic in tone and commemorates those who died in the campaign at the Dardanelles while also calling on men to help their mates by enlisting. Upon its release, in 1915, Australian newspapers described this song as a stirring patriotic and recruiting song that had a dramatic quality in parts and a catchy ending that suited popular concerts.

This copy of the music originally belonged to Private Ernest Alfred Nicholls and features his name, written in pen, at the top of the front cover as well as every page stamped with 'E. A. Nicholls, AIF'. It is part of a collection of sheet music that was donated to the Memorial in 1971, and is symbolic of the concerts, theatre and other musical performances that Australian soldiers took in whilst on leave in London during the First World War.

History / Summary

The song “Heroes of the Dardanelles”, was a popular song in Australia at fundraising events, farewell concerts, recruiting rallies and other social events during the First World War. This was particularly the case during 1915. The song was also in the possession of Ernest Alfred Nicholls and is believed to have been performed by the concert parties with which he was involved with at Perham Downs during the First World War. It was also performed by John Thomson, a member of the Coo-ees Concert Party at various locations in Paris during the period 24 to 30 October 1918.

The song was often described as a recruiting song and made appearances at recruiting rallies in Australia. One of these occasions occurred on 29 June 1915 when it was performed at a recruiting rally at Smythesdale. Mr W F Coltman performed the song, together with “Australia will be there”. The performance was described as an “excellent rendering of the new Australian recruiting song”.

Students from North Creswick State School organised a concert to raise funds for the Red Cross and to mark the centenary of the Battle of Waterloo. This was held in the Creswick Town Hall on Friday 18 June 1915. According to a report of this concert in the Creswick Advertiser, the “girls”, presumably the students, performed “Heroes of the Dardanelles”. Another fundraising event that incorporated a performance of this song was organised by the Newcastle Commercial Travellers and Warehouse Salesmen’s Association to raise funds for the Belgian Fund. The organisation hosted a carnival that concluded with a concert at the Victoria Theatre, Newcastle on 15 July 1915. Mr W Malcolm McEachern opened this concert with his rendition of “Heroes of the Dardanelles”. His interpretation of the song was well received by the audience with the song itself described by the concert report as “a tribute to the achievements of the Australians”.

A farewell social and concert was held at the Stratford Mechanics Institute on Monday 21 June 1915 in honour of local service personnel who had enlisted - E Burgess, P Donovan, W Jones, C Stewart and B A Wilson. Mr E H Smith performed “Heroes of the Dardanelles” at this concert.
Performed as a duet by Miss V Manderson and Mr W Roberts at the quarterly concert of the North Presbyterian Church, Williamstown on Tuesday, 22 June 1915. The song was also performed by Mr Oswald Smith at a concert at the Melbourne Town Hall on Wednesday 23 June 1915 in honour of the Australian mandolinist, Signor Oreste Manzoni. It was noted in the report of this concert, that the composer lived locally.