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60760: Diary from the landing at Gallipoli of Sergeant Joseph Cecil Thompson

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posted on 2024-02-23, 23:00 authored by Great War Archive Project Team

Diary of 494 Sergeant Joseph Cecil Thompson of the 9th Battalion AIF. He was the band leader for the 9th Battalion, and a stretcher bearer, and as Sergeant, was in charge of the stretcher bearers at Gallipoli. Amongst other lists etc, his first entry in the diary starts on the 25th April, with the landing.

Transcripts of most pages follow:

Page one, two and three lists home addresses of the stretcher bearers under Sergeant Thompson's command. Page four and five show entries for the 25th, 26th and 27th April 1915. Page six and seven show entries for the 28th, 29th, 30th April and 15th May 1915 “ and list action and casualities. Page eight and nine show entries for the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th of May and 16th June 1915. Page ten and eleven shows an entry for the 28th June 1915 and describes the action and casualities, Gallipoli. Pages 12 “ 15 blank. Page sixteen and seventeen lists the Stretcher Bearers and their injuries, and a formular for Iodine solution for wounds. Page eighteen and nineteen repeats the list of stretcher Bearers and their injuries, lists the band instruments, and has some words in Turkish.

Transcripts: Page two and three: [List of stretcher bearers from page two - right hand page] Stretcher Bearers Sgt. J. C. Thompson 494 Ptes. H. Abell 172 H Dennett 399 J. Pittes [or Pirter?] 397 H Mahaffrey 361 R. Pittes [or Pirter?] 241 A. Dunn 242 G. Scoomes 1018 H. Tyrell 631 L. West 605 S. White 837 E. King 441 H. Buchanan 642 G. Knott 643 A. Davis [or Daucs] 395 T. Quinlan 8¦ ... Veal 641 Page four and five: Transcript - Sunday 25 April We commenced our action against the Turks, by landing on Gallipoli Pen[insula]. We embarked onto a destroyer at 12 pm, and landed in boats at daylight. Our chaps soon had the Turks on the run and chased them from their trenches. Severe fighting all day, and our men severely felt the want of artillery. Turks knew this and started to counter attack at about 1pm. Shrapnel fire very destructive. Two batteries of mountain guns, worked by Indians did first class work, but were compelled to retire late in the afternoon. Our wounded began to come in in large numbers and a falling back along our whole front began. Wounds are very severe owing to the sharp pointed bullets used by the Turks. Five of the S. B. [stretcher bearers] wounded up till about six o'clock. Firing continues all night after a heavy bombardment by the [gun]ships in the afternoon. [Casua]lties very heavy. [page five starts here] Monday April 26 Morning commences by a heavy bombardment by the warships. Just a few of the enemys[sic] guns replying and rifle firing not as heavy as yesterday. 9th Batt. Have a muster and a well earned rest. Turks are being gradually driven back into the hills. Nearly all our officers are killed and we lost heavily otherwise. Warships still bombarding, and our troops are still landing “ the 15th Batt (QLD / 2nd cont [?]) landed also some more of our heavy artillery. Darkness closes a successful day for us. R. Pittes [Pirter?] worked [out at?] 4 other S[tretcher] bearers ¦¦? Tuesday 27th Firing commences again at dawn & reinforcements and artillery are hurried up into the hills. Turks must have received big reinforcements in¦. artillery, during the¦.[page five ends here - the portion following was continued over the page] Page six and seven: [page six begins here] as their practice is much better today. Artillery duel still continues and the Turkish guns are very well concealed. N. Zers captured 9 machine guns yesterday. The men have all dug themselves into the cliffs. G. Veal (SB) [stretcher bearer] recommended for V. C. for rescuing Lt.[?] Patterson from machine gun fire. Wednesday 28th Found Capt. Butler at his dressing station. Bearers all gather there & improve station. Day quiet & not many wounded coming in. One chap shot through eyes, and we removed one chap of 10th from off a hill. He had been laying there from Sunday without food or water, and there were five dead around him, including a N. Z. The stench was awful. Picked up a revolver belonging to Capt. McKenna of 7th [?} Infantry lying beside him. Intermittent firing all night. Royal Marines ¦ded and relieves[?] us in ..trenches.[page six ends here] [page seven starts here] Thursday 29th Quiet day. Bring a R.M.L.I[?] from the station and stay at Bgde H. Qrs all day. R.M. badly hit through the head and crying constantly for his mother. Few snipers still going & some of our chaps get hit. Our artillery doing splendid work. Majr. Salisbury in supreme command now. Friday 30th Fighting very quiet and most of the 3rd Brigade resting. Muster of about 300 men all told. Remove to a new bivouac on right flank. Shift camp, and bivouac again with men in the trenches on extreme right flank. May 1st 1915 Breakfast at 7pm and we are relieved by 19th Batt. Move about 200 yds to rear and dig in on side of hill. Schrapnel falling all day. Quiet day on right flank. Heavy fighting on Right ¦ repeated charges by Tur¦ driven off with great¦ [page seven ends here] Page eight and nine: Transcript - Sunday 2nd May Still in same position and expect to relieve the trenches again this afternoon. Big shells burst very close in early morning. Obtain fresh medical supplies. Easy afternoon. Monday 3rd Still s[h?]elling. One man killed by a stray bullet, and one wounded. Germans bombard ships & one [shot hits?], but no damage done. Thursday 4th Releive [sic]11th Batt at 8:30 on extreme right. Lost one man in night, shot through side. Mail received here & I receive 3 letters. Things very quiet on general front. Attempt made at daylight to take Turkish forts but we are repulsed by heavy fire. Quiet [n]ight. Wednesday 5th Busy reading papers & sending postcards home. [page eight ends here] [page nine starts here] June 16 1915 Carved three crosses two for Bell and Tyrrell & Kirby & one for the men who fell since we occupied this right flank. June 16 Attack to be made on turks trenches tonight at 9-30. Six S. B. [stretcher bearers] to accompany the party. Attack to be made by three separate parties under Leut.[?] Benson. Promises to be something doing, as Turks have shelled us heavily during this afternoon but without doing much damage or injurying[sic] any men. Page ten and eleven: [page ten starts here] Monday 28th June Attack made on Turks trenches by 9th. 11th & 5th L.H.B. & C. Cops [companies?] from the attacking party of 9th. Instruction was to hold Turkish reinforcements from going to Cape Helles. Lost many killed & wounded & poor George Gray was amongst them. Can't get his body in & Turks have stripped dead of their clothing. Can see them from our trenches. July 1st Bodys[sic] still outside and can't be got inside. S[tretcher] Bearer Scoomes was also badly wounded, and died from his wounds the same night. Buried in Shrapnel Gully. [page ten ends here] Page eighteen and nineteen: [page eighteen starts here] time AM PM Able [tick] Dennett Wounded 3 B?......2 Pittes [or Pirter], J Wounded shrapnel Mahaffrey Wounded bullet Pittes [or Pirter], R Wounded (2) shrapnel Dunn [tick] Scoomes [tick] killed by bullet Thompson [tick] Tyrrell klled by shell White wounded shrapnel West [tick] King wounded shrapnel Knott [tick] Buchanan wounded shrapnel Quinlan [tick] Davis [tick] Supernumeries Bell killed shell Goldy wounded shell Veal wounded shell Gill [tick] Figgis wounded dead bullet Kirby killed shell Rys.. seriously wounded (die) [shell?] [end page eighteen]



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Thompson, Joseph Cecil


April - July 1915

Date Created

25/04/1915 | 01/01/1915 01/08/1914

Temporal Coverage

01/07/1915 | 31/12/1915 31/12/1918








1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9

Number of Pages



Richard Marshall | Ellen Thompson


The Great War Archive, University of Oxford / Primary Contributor


The Great War Archive, University of Oxford

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