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Shadows of Anzac

an intimate history of Gallipoli

(2 customer reviews)
Authors: David W. Cameron
15/Mar/2013
352
Paperback
9781922132185
$29.99

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On 25 April 1915, with the landing of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC) below the slopes of Sari Bair on the Gallipoli peninsula, the ANZAC legend was born. Nine months later, having suffered thousands of casualties from disease, hand-to-hand fighting, bombing, sniping and forlorn charges across no man’s land, the politicians and senior military commanders in London called it quits. While the Turks also suffered terribly, they at least emerged victorious.

The fighting at Anzac was not restricted to the ANZACs and Turks alone. British troops also fought at Anzac from the earliest days of the invasion and large numbers of British and Indian troops were committed to the Anzac sector during the failed August offensive designed to break the stalemate. The invasion was also supported by large numbers of men — often non-combatants — who performed vital roles. Naval beach officers kept logistics operating in some form of ‘orderly’ fashion; Indian mule handlers moved supplies of food, water and ammunition to the front lines; and medical staff and army chaplains worked on the beach, caring for the wounded and the dead. All these men were frequently under fire from the Turkish battery known as ‘Beachy Bill’. Others surveyed the narrow beachhead and bored deep holes for drinking water; signallers tried desperately to establish and maintain communications; and the gunners hunted the battlefield for suitable places to site their guns. Off the peninsula, but just as vital, were the nursing and medical staff on the hospital ships, at Lemnos, Alexandria, Cairo and Malta, and the airmen who flew above the battlefield spotting for the navy and artillery.

Shadows of Anzac: an intimate history of Gallipoli tells the story of the ‘ordinary’ men and women who participated in the Gallipoli campaign from April to December 1915 and gave the Anzac legend meaning. Drawing on letters, diaries and other primary and secondary sources, David Cameron provides an intimate and personal perspective of Anzac, a richly varied portrayal that describes the absurdity, monotony and often humour that sat alongside the horrors of the bitter fight to claim the peninsula.

Dear Mrs Worth, your son asked if I would write and tell you he is in this hospital. He has been rather badly wounded … He is quite my best patient, never grumbles or complains and is so grateful for anything we do for him, and my one regret is, that I have not time, with all my other patients, to do everything I would like to do, for them all. When you write to him do not mention his paralysis, he asked me not to tell you, his words were ‘Tell mother about me Sister but make it as OK & bright & hopeful as you can, don’t tell her about my old limbs’, which made me nearly cry. Sister Narrelle Hobbes, Australian Army Nursing Service

David W. Cameron

David W. Cameron

David W. Cameron completed his PhD in 1995 and was subsequently awarded an Australian Research Council (ARC) Post Doctoral Fellowship at the Australian National University, followed by an ARC QEII Fellowship at the University of Sydney. He has published a number of books on Australian military history and science and over sixty research papers in […]

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2 reviews for Shadows of Anzac

  1. THE big challenge facing contemporary authors seeking to pay tribute to the centenary of Gallipoli is to break new ground on the intensely documented Australian military experience. After his masterful The Battle For Lone Pine, David W Cameron presents a fresh and highly readable ”big picture” account of the Anzacs’ disastrous expedition to the Dardanelles by bringing together a host of intensely personal accounts. The opening passage of this moving work on the futile waste of a brutal misadventure is a letter from Australian nursing sister Narelle Hobbes to the family of a badly wounded Australian soldier. It contains the candid revelation he is forever paralysed. The author paints a vivid picture of the Anzac experience through the personal accounts of the Diggers, their allies and their enemies. This comprehensive work begins in Egypt in 1915 and concludes 75 years later with the words of the last known Turkish veteran Adil Shahin. Most chapters conclude with a brief account of the fate of the authors of the experiences, all of whom are no longer with us but live on in this book. Mick Toal – By the Book – Daily Telegraph Sydney

  2. In 1221: An intimate history of Gallipoli, David Cameron has demonstrated the importance of recording events from people who were there. The letter from Sister Narrelle Hobbes to a mother far away, whose son has asked the Sister not to tell his mother about the missing limbs or his paralysis, paints an emotive picture reminding us of the futility of war. From this introduction, the reader is engaged. We want to learn more about the human side of war – information about the interlocking nature of nations, the non-combatants playing vital support roles or those simply caught up in the conflict. Eight months of fighting left thousands dead and wounded before the politicians on all sides called a stop to the carnage. Today, we realise it was not the Great War, but a war fought by ordinary people from many nations. Serving service personnel from different generations will understand how the men under Turkish Captain Faik felt stamping their feet to keep out the cold in the early dawn hours, waiting for the attack to begin. Sixteen-year-old Turkish Private Adil Shahin had been a shepherd. Now, in the cold dawn, he was standing, waiting for battle. Village elders sent Adil and others off to war, like so many young men from many countries. David Cameron paints a picture of the human side of the Gallipoli conflict and, this, along with his good research writing, will likely leave readers eager to learn more about the ANZACs and everyone who took part in this historic campaign. Mick Whatham

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