Published By Ben Hillidge
Monash Gully. 1 Bn Australian Light Horse. May 1915.
1 Bn Australian Light Horse arrived at Gallipoli on 12 May 1914. They landed at what would become named as Anzac Cove, to the south of the British landings at Suvla Bay. That night they bivouacked about 500 yards to the south of Pope’s Hill. The hill was at the head of the Monash Valley or Gully. Monash Gully was a continuation of Shrapnel Valley which leads inland up from the beach head. Along the high ground on the sides of the valley were a crescent of posts which marked the front line – Steele’s Post, Courtney’s Post, Quinn’s Post, Popes Hill, The Nek and Russel’s Top. Beyond, and occupied by Turkish forces, the land rose up to the heights of Chunuk Bar.
On 13 May the battalion took over the trenches on Pope’s Hill relieving the 13 Bn Australian Infantry. They would remain in the line for 6 days. The front was active and there were frequent exchanges of rifle and machine gun fire. At midnight on 18 May there was an attack by the Turks when about 100 enemy rushed the Australian lines but were fought off. The exchanges of fire continued through the night and until about 9.30 the next morning, 19 May. At 2.30pm they were relieved by 3 Bn Australian Light Horse and moved down into the Monash Valley to bivouacs but were soon called forward to occupy the inner defence line, here they stood to arms expecting an attack at any time. But none came. On 22 May they were withdrawn and went to bivouacs lower down the valley and for the next days were employed on working parties. On the 29 May there was another enemy assault, the battalion were again called into the line, but the attack was beaten off and the battalion returned to working parties, the time became quieter. It was during this time, when in bivouac, that George Frank was wounded. Casualties since their arrival were, for all ranks, 19 KIA and 63 wounded.
GOOGLE MAPS centres on Shrapnel Valley CWGC Cemetery – Shrapnel Valley leads eastward inland and continues into Monash Gully. The road along the southern edge of the valley is the line of the front, the road northward leads to Chunuk Bair where today is a statue of Ataturk – the ‘father’ of modern day Turkey and an army commander during the Gallipoli offensive. Along the ridge of the valley, are the CWGC cemeteries – Courtney’s, Steele’s and Quinns Post and The Nek – the location dramatised in the 1981 feature film ‘Gallipoli’ starring Mel Gibson.
21 Bn Australian Infantry marching up Monash Gully after arriving at Gallipoli (IWM HU 129594)
References and Sources WAR DIARY 1 Bn Australian Light Infantry May 1915.
B&O 1915 Gallipoli. Monash Gully. 1 Bn Australian Light Horse. May 1915.