Wednesday, 30 August 2017

Shining with The Shiner

Edmond Slattery came to New Zealand from Ireland for the gold, like so many others.  When the gold ran out for the working man Slattery became a swagger.  Swaggers were not tramps.  They were the essential, moving seasonal workers who were vital to New Zealand farmers.  Woe betide the farmer who became known by the swagger community for breaking the tradition of always having a bunk and a meal for a man on his way through the countryside.  When harvest time came his farm would be shunned.

Slattery, known as "The Shiner" was a swagger like no other.  He was, as John A Lee called him, the "anti-dynamo."  His famed ability to trick hard-nosed publicans out of a bottle of gin or a half-crock of whisky made legends grow out of anecdotes and a myth grow out of the legends.  Lee's biography of Slattery is kept in the Fiction section of the Dunedin Public Library.  Many of the stories were told to John by his father, an old friend of The Shiner.

There's a reason why, in a university, the History Department is in the Arts and not the Sciences.



Ned Slattery and his dog - taken around 1920




Slattery's legend has been told by better writers than myself and much of interest is only a Google search away.  Here is just one:

On another occasion, when surveyors were busy in the country, and boundaries were not very clearly defined, it is related how "The Shiner " and a number of his mates imposed on a rather too credulous hotelkeeper, whose wit was not a strong point. One fine morning "The Shiner" manufactured a theodolite out of an old alarm clock and three flax sticks for a tripod, and explaining his intentions to his mates, they proceeded to make surveys in 'the vicinity of the hotel in question, driving pegs in in an indiscriminate way in all directions. When "The Shiner " and company commenced to drive pegs in his garden the hotelkeeper, who had been an interested spectator of the preliminaries, wanted to know what it all meant. "I am the head surveyor for the Government for this district." replied ''The Shiner," "and I am defining boundaries, and I find your hotel is 4ft over the road line. There is no doubt but that it will have to be shifted." This alarmed the landlord somewhat, and the whirr of the old alarm clock on three sticks, still further alarmed him. "Is there no way of arranging things with you. Mr Surveyor?" Of course Mr Surveyor was very indignant at the suggestion of his palm being greased, but by means of a few liberal presents to the chief and the members of his party a fresh "survey" was made which was much, more to the satisfaction of the landlord. "The Shiner" is now an old man, but he is still very erect and young in appearance. He has a quiet, humorous look, and hours might be spent listening to his tales. ...

Anecdotes of tramp life - A C Stevens


I am, however, able to add just a tiny bit to the story of The Shiner - or rather his final resting place.  Ned died in the Benevolent Institution in Caversham, Dunedin in 1927.  He was buried in a pauper's grave at Andersons Bay Cemetery and a group of Dunedin journalists passed the hat around to raise money for a gravestone.  Gravestones are not permitted on paupers' graves.  Stories I've read from 2001 and 2009 state that there is no gravestone.  But a stone appears in the 2014 photos taken of Dunedin graves and and available on the DCC Cemeteries search site.

A visit to local monumental masons resulted in a consensus - it is a professional job done by none of the masons working today.  The installation is not professional.  I've read about "guerrilla gardening" - the stealthy adding of plants, usually edible, to plots in public places.  Shiner Slattery's stone is an example of "guerrilla monumental masonry."  The 2001 story in the NZ Geographic Magazine had the writer finding it appropriate that there was no stone on The Shiner's grave.  I think Ned might have chuckled at the thought of someone sneaking a piece of granite in at night.


Monday, 28 August 2017

Killed at the waterfall

Thomas Jenkins was born in 1879 near Bristol and emigrated with his family to New Zealand in 1891.

They settled at Green Island and, on a fine January day in 1895, Thomas and his brother Arthur went to explore the waterfalls up Leith Valley.  They walked up to the first waterfall on Nicols Creek and climbed up the cliff to the side of the falls.  Nearly at the top, Thomas slipped and fell.  Arthur tried to grab his leg as he fell past but could keep hold.  Thomas dropped 30 feet, striking the rocks as he did and coming to rest, head down, in the pool at the bottom of the waterfall.

Arthur rushed down to his brother and saw that he was badly injured. Leaving two other tourists to look after Thomas, he ran up the path to the nearest house - the Finnerty's place perched on the hillside close to the falls.  Elizabeth Finnerty helped him make a stretcher to carry Thomas - still breathing but unconscious and badly battered - down the track to Leith Valley Road.  Thomas was dead when they got there.  Death was due to fracture of the skull and associated damage to the brain.

The Jenkins grave in the Green Island Cemetery has no headstone.  Perhaps that is because Thomas' father James was a bootmaker and didn't have the money.  I could put up a photo of the grass over the graves - instead, here's a link to photos of all the local waterfalls that I know of.  There are a few.


Waterfalls of Dunedin


The Waterfalls of Dunedin
One of the many privileges of living in Dunedin is the great variety of wild places very close to town.  Of Dunedin's many waterfalls, some are only a few minutes' walk.  If you want to see all five on Nicols Creek, though, you'll need all day and a change of clothes at the end of it.
There is one waterfall not on this page, the one on the track from Bethunes Gully to the top of Mt Cargill.  I went for a photo in heavy rain a few years ago.  The photos I took were just of a shapeless mass of light brown water.  Next time...
Nicols Fall, Leith Valley



Nicols Falls, during the 2015 flood.


Nicols Creek, 2nd waterfall
Nicols Creek, 3rd waterfall.  There was once a footbridge over the top of these falls, taking a track up to the next waterfall
Nicols Creek, 4th Waterfall
Fourth waterfall, National Library Photo


Nicols Creek, the "Cups and Saucers."
The "Cups and Saucers," Hocken Library Photo.
Nicols Creek, the 5th waterfall.


Nicols Creek, the 5th waterfall, from a nearby track.

 Ross creek, artificial waterfall from the reservoir bypass race, during the flood of 2015










Ross Creek, beside the old Pineapple Track
\
Stereoscopic view from the Hocken Library




Branch of Lindsays Creek, Bethunes Gully



Morrisons Burn, Leith Valley, artificial (though may have been one previously) old 1909 water supply intake.

Another view of the 1909 intake.

Morrisons Burn, Leith Valley, above the 1909 intake.

Morissons Burn, Leith Valley, "Bruce and Lyalls Falls."

Evansdale Creek, near Evansdale Glen.
Leishmans Falls, Silverstream Valley

Craiglowan Falls, McQuilkans Creek, Silverstream Valley




"Make way for the digger flag!"





Commemorative stone for Ian Grant, Northern Cemetery, Dunedin



Ian Williams Grant was born on the 25th of November 1921 and grew up on Cavell Street in Tainui, Dunedin,.

He joined the NZ Division of the Royal Navy in 1939, just before the outbreak of World War II.  After training he was posted to the light cruiser HMS Achilles in August of 1939 just before deployment to the south Atlantic Ocean.

The Achilles was hunting for the German commerce raider KMS Graf Spee.  After a radio warning from the Doric Star just before the Graf Spee sank it, the Achilles and two other cruisers (light cruiser Ajax and heavy cruiser Exeter) positioned themselves off the River Plate estuary.  It was a tactical gamble - the Spee outranged all of the other ships, with its larger guns.  The cruisers had the advantage of attacking from different directions with the advantage of one ship being clear of enemy fire at any time.

At 6.21am on December 13, 1939, the Graf Spee was sighted.  All ships ran up their Battle Ensigns, not to be lowered until the fight was over - one way or another.  On Achilles a signalman ran to the mast, shouting "Make way for the Digger flag!"  The Royal New Zealand Navy Ensign was raised for the first time.


Royal Navy Ensign
Royal New Zealand Navy Ensign

Ian Grant's station in battle was at one of the four inch guns.  They were lighter than the main armament of six inch guns and had shields rather than turrets.  A near miss from the Graf Spee sent jagged shards of metal over the Achilles and killed four men.  In the words of Able Seaman Huia Beesley, also on the gun - "Unfortunately young Ian Grant who was alongside of me copped it in the chest. He died immediately. A chap…dropped to the deck [wounded]…there was no use leaving him there, we couldn’t do anything as far as firing was concerned. I picked him up, threw him over my shoulders…to get him down to Sick Bay."

One of the three cruisers facing the Graf Spee got a very lucky shot in.  It destroyed a vital piece of the Spee's equipment, the oil purification plant which was vital to operating the Spee's diesel engines.  The desalinisation plant essential for drinking water at sea, was also destroyed.  When the Germans ran for the neutral port of Montevideo it was with very little usable fuel left.  The cruisers' crews weren't to know it but there was no way for the Spee to return to sea and the 72 hour period allowed by international law to stay in a neutral port was in no way long enough to make repairs.

While the Spee's Captain, Hans Langsdorff, communicated with his superiors in Germany the three cruisers kept watch in international waters.  Repairs could be made and the dead buried at sea.  The body of 18 year old Ordinary Seaman Ian William Grant was committed to the deep at 10am.  His was the first New Zealand death of World War Two.

The Graf Spee came out of port on December 17th and the three cruisers were ready for another fight.  To the crews' amazement, the Spee stopped, the last of its crew left, and the ship blew up.  It burned for two days.  Captain Langsdorff shot himself, lying on the Spee's battle ensign.


HMNZS Achilles





The Grant family plot.
Ian William Grant...NZDRN No 1734...Killed in action...on...HMS Achilles...against..."Graf Spee"...River Plate Battle...Dec 13th 1939...Aged 18
Ordinary Seaman Ian William Grant



Note - The Achilles, although flying the "Digger flag" against the Graf Spee was not officially a New Zealand ship.  It was on loan to New Zealand from 1936 and commissioned as a RNZN ship in October, 1941.  After return to the Royal Navy in 1946, the Achilles became the Indian Navy Ship Delhi.  When the Delhi was scrapped in 1978 one of the main gun turrets was gifted to the Nee Zealand government and now stands at entrance of the Devonport Naval Base, Auckland.




South Dunedin
Forbury, Dunedin
Abbotsford, Dunedin







Wednesday, 23 August 2017

"Dear little Thomas"

Dear little Thomas, loved by all.



In loving memory of...Dear Little Thomas...beloved son of...Thomas and Kate Campbell...27th Aug 1931...Aged 9 years...Loved by all...Also William Walter Hey...Accidentally killed 24th August 1919

Roslyn Mills aerial view - National Library photo
Thomas Hey Campbell lived at Newport St in Belleknowes, Dunedin.  He loved to play around the water supply ponds at the Roslyn Woollen Mills, which held the water used for washing and dying their product.  He fell of the top of the dam and into the water.

The dam at the Roslyn Mill - National Library photo

And William Hey, accidentally killed - he was in a taxi on his way to a funeral in Oamaru when the vehicle left the road on the Katiki Beach section.  The car flipped and William was killed instantly.  No cause was found for the accident.  I assume that William was Dear little Thomas' uncle.

"an illegal operation"


Mr and Mrs Charles Frederick Glegg lived in Smith Street, Dunedin.  Charles was a civil engineer and Helen was a wife and mother.  Both were originally from Scotland, arriving in 1880, and Charles had a strong interest in Scottish culture and knowledge generally, being a frequent writer of letters to various editors on a wide range of subjects - from effigies at Westminster Abbey to six-toed people.

They had three children - Henry, born in 1872; Frederick, born in 1883; and a daughter, described as being "of feeble intellect," born about 1884.  Helen took in boarders in their Smith St house.

Young Frederick Glegg died at the age of ten in 1893, and some time later the family moved to Lees Street.  Charles died there in 1912 at the age of 72 and it was not long after that tragedy that Helen Glegg's life took another direction.

Eight years after her husband's death, Helen and her two remaining children were in Philips Street, Kensington, in a three bedroom house containing the three family members and two boarders.  On March third, 1920, Helen's remaining son, Henry died and, three months later, tragedy struck the household again.

Shortly before 7pm on June 12th a Dr Lindon took a telephone call and a man's voice reported a very ill young woman who needed his help.  The same man called an hour later, saying that the case was urgent.  He arrived at Mrs Glegg's house in Philips Street just after 9pm to find a young woman in bed, dead and still warm.  As was his duty in such circumstances, Dr Lindon called the police.

Police Detective Hall, with Sergeant Thomson arrived at eleven the next morning and found the body of Olive May Pile.  Certain "instruments" were secured and, while searching the rest of the house, tried to open a door when Mrs Glegg held it shut, saying "There is no one in there."  Hall opened the door anyway and found a second young woman, alive but very unwell.  The second young woman was Rose Williams, an orchardist's daughter from Alexandra and she was suffering from septicemia caused by an illegal abortion.

Olive Pile's story was a simple one.  A fisherman's daughter form Karitane, she had recently left home and taken a job as a domestic servant in Oamaru.  She was 20 years old and had been seeing a young man called Thomas Burnett, a railway surfaceman.  Olive became pregnant and there was a meeting between the two of them and Olive's father - who shortly after called the police.  Olive and Thomas took a train to Dunedin and then the St Kilda tram to Kensington, to 15 Philips Street.

Philips St, with DCC gasometer.
There, they met Helen Glegg - though it became clear to Thomas that Olive had been to Philips Street before.  Thomas was asked by Helen - what are you going to do?  Thomas replied -  "I don't care what it is going to cost, I am prepared to pay  it"  He was told that the price to pay was twenty pounds.  Burnett handed over the cash - a ten and two fives and Helen Glegg left him and Olive alone in the sitting room.  Shortly after, Thomas left and returned to Oamaru.

A few days later, Thomas received a telegram which read "All well. M Pile"  The following Saturday Thomas returned to Dunedin, made his way to Philips Street and asked to see Olive.  It was around 10.15 pm on June 12.  "Are you the girl's boy?"  asked Helen.  Yes, replied Thomas.  Helen then told him the tragic news.

"What am I going to do?" asked Thomas. "What am I going to do?" was the reply.  Thomas was told what to do - leave, and tell no one of his part in the matter.

Helen Glegg was arrested on two charges of "performing an illegal operation," referring to the abortions performed on Rose Williams and Olive.  She was later charged with the murder of Olive May Pile.

The trial was, as you might expect, a dramatic one.  Rose was unable to testify initially, still gravely ill in hospital.  Thomas Burnett gave evidence as to his part, and police presented four pieces of wire, described as meat skewers, one of them bloodstained.  Other equipment was produced in court, described as "the favourite instruments used for abortion."

 The Government Pathologist gave his verdict on the cause of Olive's death - septicemia.

Alfred Hanlon, Glegg's lawyer, successfully defended her by pointing out that, in order to commit murder, the accused would have to have intended to kill Olive May Pile, which was obviously untrue.  The jury's verdict was an easy one.  She was found guilty, however, of "performing an illegal operation" on Rose Williams but the jury recommended mercy from the court in view of her age and infirmity.

Helen Glegg was then tried for "performing an illegal operation" on Olive Pile.  The jury found her "not guilty" on the weight of previously presented evidence.  At her sentencing, Alfred Hanlon spoke on her behalf, referring to her advanced age (72) and the fact that she was left a widow seven or eight years before in very poor circumstances.  She had no way of making money for herself and her "mentally deficient" daughter and that was the reason why she had been  "tempted to follow the occupation that had brought her into the present position."  Hanlon expressed his fear that, such was her physical condition, any prison sentence would be a death sentence.

The Crown Prosecutor stated that since the death of her husband she had carried out abortions  "There had been some serious cases, but the corroborative evidence was not strong enough to bring her before the court.  She was looked upon as a very serious danger to the community."  The Gaol Surgeon reported that her health had been failing since her arrest.

She was sentenced to eighteen months in prison, without hard labour.

Helen did her time and moved in early 1923 to a house in Nairn Street, Kaikorai, boarding there with her daughter.  On September 3rd, 1934 Helen hanged herself with a jersey belt from a pedestal bed. She had been drinking heavily and worrying about her situation.  A coroner's jury returned a verdict of death by strangulation.  The fate of Helen Glegg's daughter is not recorded in the newspapers - even her name was not reported.  Perhaps, with her mother gone, she went to the Seacliff Asylum.

Rose Williams, if she is the same Rose Williams in the cemetery at Alexandra, died a widow at the age of 60.  The Philips Street house, if not demolished earlier, would have gone to make room for the new Southern Motorway from the Oval to Caversham.


The Glegg grave in the Notrhern Cemetery: mother father, sons - no daughter.





Friday, 18 August 2017

"British blood tells on land or sea"

"British blood tells on land or sea"


"John Stuart Reid...Adjutant...Otago Battalion...Killed in Action...Gallipoli...2nd May 1915


A Regimental Adjutant is the officer in charge of the administration of the unit.  He assists his Commanding Officer in the day-to-day routines, reports and other paperwork essential to the smooth running of the unit.  You don't expect the adjutant to be at the "sharp end" of a war.  But at Gallipoli the rules were different
a stellar student
John Stuart Reid was born in 1893 and was a stellar student, passing the Civil Service Examination in 1909 and going on to study at the University of Otago.  In 1911 he applied for and was awarded the Gray Russell Scholarship which was founded in 1882 by George Grey Russell, builder of the house at Glenfalloch on the Otago Peninsula.  The scholarship was worth forty pounds.

John gained a First Class result in French Phonetics in the 1912 examination results and a Second Class in Constitutional History and Law 1913.

At Otago Boys High School John had been Captain of the Defence Cadets and he was gazetted Lieutenant of the Otago Regiment in 1912.  He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in June of 1914 but John Stuart Reid was not destined for an academic career.

With Mobilisation in September 1914, John was appointed to the position of Assistant Adjutant to the Commanding Officer during the six weeks of training and tented life at Tahuna Park.
The Reid house in Falcon St.  Photo taken from the street.


departure
The end of those six weeks began with a bugle reveille at 3am.  Dressing by candle-light in their tents, and doing their best to avoid the heavy rain that morning, they packed their gear and loaded it onto the waiting train.  The order to mount was given to the Mounted Battalion and they moved out quietly and rode to Port Chalmers to board ship

Reveille for the Infantry was at 4.30am, though there had not been much sleep that night and most had been awakened by the earlier action.  Kit was packed and the camp was almost deserted by 10.30am.  A waiting train took them to Port Chalmers through a city which was mostly unaware of their departure.

Just over 1700 men in all arrived that morning at Port Chalmers.  Dunedin had been quiet but the Port was decorated with banners and bunting of colourful and patriotic style.  "Soldiers of the Southern Cross, the Empire calls you" was the first one visible, followed by "British blood tells on land or sea."

The final message, across the entrance to the wharf, wished "God-speed to our boys."

It was a difficult and careful job to load the horses of the Mounted Battalion.  Each man rode one horse and led several others and they were crane-loaded in boxes and led and pushed up covered gangways.  The public were excluded but a growing crowd started pushing at the restraining police and eventually broke through and surged to the military barricade.  Sentries with fixed bayonets were a little more effective than the local police and the crowd waited there until the barricade was opened a mere half hour before sailing.  Officers who'd had business in town and arrived later had to push their way through the crowd.  A late consignment of lifebelts had to be untied and passed hand to hand over the heads of the crowd.

There was one small element of ceremony just before the two ships, HMNZT 9 the Hawkes Bay and HMNZT 5 the Ruapehu, left for the war.  The Port Chalmers Mayor and Councillors came aboard the former ship and  Mayor Scollay made a short farewell speech, redolent with phrases such as "despotic militarism," "barbarian enemy," "honourable obligations" and "liberty and civilisation."

In reply, Colonel Bauchop, a Port Chalmers native destined to die on "Bauchop's Hill" in Gallipoli, made a much shorter and much lessdramatic speech and the Officer Commanding the Otago Military District, Colonel Nicholls, VD added: "We are sending of our best from Otago and I know that they will give a good account of themselves." before admonishing the men to write home to those left behind and who would live in constant concern for their well being.

The visitors then left and the barricade was opened, allowing the crowd to surge onto the wharf and exchange shouted farewells with the troops.  The ships had steam up and were soon edging away.  Some entertainment was given the crowd by a fireman from the Ruapehu who returned to his ship to find all gangways up and only a heavy cable attaching the ship to the wharf.  He had been in the Port having "a merry afternoon" and climbed up the cable head downwards and almost falling into the water a couple of times.

Then the ships were off, with cheers exchanged from ship to shore.  A lone white handkerchief, held by the only woman on board, the wife of an Imperial Officer going home, was visible as the Ruapehu was lost to sight.  An escort of local boats, dressed in all colours, accompanied the ships to the Otago Harbour heads where cheers and signals were exchanged with the Taiaroa Fortress garrison.

After two days' sailing the ships arrived in Wellington, ready to join the troopships waiting there.  Then orders were received to postpone sailing.  Horses were put ashore and the men lived on the transports, leaving them for exercise and training ashore.  Finally on October 16, nearly a month after leaving Port Chalmers, the troop convoy, escorted by three British and one Japanese warship, left for the War.

Five days' sailing saw them at Hobart and a week later the convoy joined the larger convoy of the Australian Expeditionary Force.  On the night of November 8-9, one of the escorting warships, the HMAS Sydney, was detached from the convoy to confront and destroy the German commerce raider Emden.  The Sydney's return to the convoy with 138 prisoners at Colombo, Sri Lanka, had the convoy's first view of "the enemy" as the prisoners were distributed around the ships.

Egypt
Next the convoy reached Aden and Suez and halted there.  Everyone was expecting to proceed to Europe but orders were received and everyone went to camp in the desert.  There was some excitement when the Turkish Army attempted to cross the Canal with pontoons but the Otagos were kept in reserve and saw no action.

On April 9th, 1915, after much training and marching around the Egyptian Desert, the Otagos entrained for Alexandra.  There they were transferred to a captured enemy ship which was filthy and louse-ridden.  Three days later saw them at Mudros harbour, the assembly point for the Gallipoli landings, joining a fleet of battleships, troopships and transports.  Officers were briefed on the general plan and troops practised for an amphibious landing.  At midnight on April 24th, after a stirring address from General Sir Ian Hamilton, the Otago Battalion followed the Royal Navy battleships to the fateful shore of Gallipoli - a name none had heard before and a name no survivors would forget.

Gallipoli - the landing
Landing on the shore at Gaba Tepe was no simple matter.  The men scrambled down the sides of their transports onto navy destroyers and then onto barges which were towed by small steam boats towards the shore.  Then it was a 300 yard drag to the beach, the barges heavy and under fire from the Turks.  By 9.30am the two and a half hour manoeuvre was completed by the first group.  The Otagos began to arrive at 2.30pm and were all ashore by four.

The situation immediately became confused.  Turkish artillery took its toll and the NZ troops had none of their own yet, while communication and observation problems meant no support from the waiting naval vessels.  Casualties started piling up and the heat and exhaustion started to play their part. Re-embarkation was suggested to the commanding General whose response was "Dig, dig, dig, until you are safe."

All through that first night the Turkish Army kept up its fire on the Anzacs and several attacks were made.  At dawn on the 26th the Turkish guns opened up again and were answered by the few that had been brought ashore and from the supporting ships.  Orders were received to reorganise the line and furious fighting continued all day.  The night of the 26-27 was relatively quiet, though the men of Otago could hear the Australians on their right being attacked heavily.

The fighting continued furiously on the 27th and the Battalion was ordered inland, up Monash Valley and onto Plugges Plateau where it took up defensive positions.  For the following two days it seemed that the Turks had eased off, possibly transferring their strength to other parts of the Line to the south.  The 30th was quiet enough for vital resupply work to be done and some troops were taken out of the Line and sent back to the shore to rest and bathe - both badly needed.  At this stage, of the 937 men of the Otago Battalion, 18 had been killed and 60 wounded.

Gallipoli - Dead Man's Ridge
At the end of April plans were being drawn for a new attack by the Anzacs.  An area which overlooked Monash Gully and would later be named Dead Man's Ridge was chosen as a goal to deny its position to the Turks.  May First was the planned date but the attack had to be delayed after a Turkish attack on the nearby Australians.  May Second, 7.15pm was the start time, preceded by an atillery and naval bombardment.  Otago's goal was a hill named Knoll 700.  The Australian 16 Battalion, 4th Division made good time and achieved their aim but suffered greatly from Turkish machine guns.  The Otago Battalion, unfortunately were late.  They started to march to the start point at about 4.30pm, heading along the beach and then up Monash Gully.  Turkish snipers at the head of the gully, a procession of wounded on stretchers coming down the track and, mostly, a half Battalion of the Naval Brigade taking up the Monash Gully track slowed their progress.  So the attack from two directions, meant to hit Turkish lines at the same time, was delivered at intervals of 90 minutes.  There was no surprise from the Otagos.

The task of the Otago Battalion wasn't helped by it occurring at night, on steep terrain (machine guns were hauled by rope up some of the steeper parts) and the additional pressure of arriving late at the start point.  They advanced towards the Turkish position named "Baby 700" for 200-300 yards without, it seemed, being detected.  Then all hell was loosed against them.

The Otagos' advance was into a curving Turkish position and they were swept with rifle and machine gun fire from three sides.  The attack failed, though a few of the 4th Company, in the lead, reached the enemy trenches having lost all officers but one and suffering 78% casualties.

The Battalion dug in short of their target and held on, under fire for two days.  The overall situation was unclear to them, runners were sent back to inform Command of the situation but no orders were received.  By May 4th, with no news, reinforcements or supplies, it was decided by the remaining officers that their position was untenable and they moved back to the main Line that night.

Lieutenant John Stuart Reid, BA's life ended after that attack.  He died either on May 2nd (according to the official records) or May 3rd according to his memorial stone in Dunedin's Northern Cemetery. He was assigned to the 4th Company and the mention of the 4th losing all officers but one - Lieutenant J L Saunders - puts his death on the 2nd.  He died in desperate circumstances, many others dead around him, the happy, cheering men who left Port Chalmers gone, lying still or fighting hopelessly around him.

NZ Forces tunic button, found in the vicinity of Pope's Hill, 1919, Australian War Memorial collection


"heroic self sacrifice"
The news was released to the those at home ten days later, on May 12th.  On the 15th, the Reid family's church, the Moray Place Congregational, paused in the celebration of their silver jubilee to propose a Motion to "express heartfelt sympathy with Mr and Mr W E C Reid in the loss of their only son, Captain and Adjutant John Stuart Reid who has fallen in battle at the Dardanelles, and, while showing their sorrow, also to share in the pride which they must feel in the heroic self-sacrifice of him whose future appeared so bright with promise, but who has nobly given his life in the service of King, country and humanity."

More was said by the Reverend Saunder about the Reids' only son, recalling the achievements of his young life.  It was an early death for Dunedin in the Great War.  All present stood silently for the Motion to be carried.



“Those heroes that shed their blood
And lost their lives.
You are now lying in the soil of a friendly country.
Therefore, rest in peace.
There is no difference between the Johnnies
And the Mehmets to us where they lie side by side
Here in this country of ours,
You, the mothers,
Who sent their sons from far away countries
Wipe away your tears,
Your sons are now lying in our bosom
And are in peace
After having lost their lives on this land they have
Become our sons as well"

-1934, Kemal Ataturk, leader of Turkey, aka Kemal Pasha, General in charge of the defence of Gallipoli