ROSEMARY FOR REMEMBRANCE
By Amanda Midlam, winner of the Eden Magnet Sands of Gallipoli Anzac Day competition
This story of my great uncle, Lt-Col Douglas Gray Marks, connects the courageous ANZAC spirit with the iconic Australian Life Saving movement.
Dud, as the family called him, was only 19 years old when he landed at Gallipoli on 26 April 1915 . His battalion, known as the 'Fighting Thirteenth', suffered heavy causalities in its first week of action, but in early May temporarily captured the Chess Board and Dead Man's Ridge. In August, Dud was injured and evacuated. He was awarded the Serbian Order of the White Eagle for outstanding service in Gallipoli but his war didn't end there.
At Pozieres he was awarded the Military Cross for “conspicuously valuable service frequently under the heaviest shell fire”. At Bullecourt, by now promoted to major, Dud suffered a bad chest and lung wound and was evacuated to England. But once again he bravely returned to the war and was awarded the Distinguished Service Order for his efforts at Ypres. At 22 he was one of the youngest officers in the AIF.
Dud returned home safely and planned to study law but deferred for a year. At a picnic at Palm Beach in January 1920 he noticed a swimmer in difficulties in rough surf and went to the rescue. Tragically he was drowned and his body never recovered. He was only 24 years old.
The drowning of the young war hero had a profound effect and a group formed to prevent such drownings from happening again. They founded the Palm Beach Surf Life Saving Club where there is a monument to Lt-Col Douglas Marks. One of the people involved was Sir Adrian Curlewis who went on to spend forty years as President of Surf Life Saving Association of Australia.
My great grandmother never recovered from the death of her youngest son. It was too ironic and too terrible that he had survived Gallipoli and the Western Front only to lose his life on what should have been a pleasant outing. After his death she refused to leave her house, had the windows shrouded in black and lived inside, in darkness, for the rest of her life.
My mother was born six years after Dud died. Her parents had decided to name her Judith Alison but, on the way to register her birth, my grandfather, Dud's older brother, called in to visit his mother. When he arrived home he told my grandmother there had been a change of plan - my mother's registered name was Rosemary, the symbol for remembrance.
Dud's generation have all gone and my mother is the last of hers. What we have for future generations is remembrance. No-one will ever know what Dud would have done with his life if he hadn't drowned so young but he left a legacy that deserves to be widely known. Douglas Gray Marks exemplified the qualities of courage and selflessness and demonstrated them in both war and in peace.
ANZAC THE LEGEND
By Kevin Clunie, runner-up the Eden Magnet Sands of Gallipoli Anzac Day competition
I wish to enter the competition to honor both my grandfathers who fought in this campaign. My paternal grandfather Gary Clunie, who fought as Sargent Gary Thomas Clunie 11/749 of the Wellington Mountain Rifles.
During this service Sargent Clunie fought side by side with his Aussie mates and was severely wounded by rifle bullets and shrapnel 5 times during his service. Here is just a few extracts from his diary.
12 May 1915
We lay off Cape Helles all day and went up to Anzac and landed at 7 o’clock under fire. We were marched up a bit of a gully and camped for the night. It seemed as though our boys were just up on a cliff but it was the bullets cracking instead of rifle shots.
16 May 1915
I had a very interesting dual this morning. I put my head up and very very nearly had it shot off, so I got to another position and watched and presently I saw him in a bush just behind the Turk trench at 200 yards. So I got to it and so did he. We must of fired about 10 shots each and at last I hit him and he died there but by jove he gave me a narrow go for it. I had two through my tunic and the others were hitting the sand bags all around me. Best fun I ever had shooting yet. Bill Mckay was hit today in the foot.
4 July 1915
The Maoris landed this morning on the ship Hythe. I was hit with a shrapnel bullet in the leg but it never went in far, wedged it out.
7 July 1915
Still at Lemnos, getting right. I am 21 today. Feeling a good bit better today.
Clunie fought the rest of the campaign on the peninsula and was one of the last party of 8 to leave on the early morning of the 19 December 1915. With his seven mates they left the trenches at 2.15am, left the beach at 3.30am and were aboard the final boat to leave at 4am.
The Aussie Kiwi – Anzac legend was well and truly formed here between men like my grandfather and the Australian troops, here is an exert from one of his letter home.
“When I speak of our boys I mean the Aussies and us for when you are hard pressed and you look to your left and find an Aussie telling you its alright Cobba , I’m here to help you and the same on our right, I can tell you it makes you think of them as more than brothers.”
Clunie never quite got his dog Tags, which they made themselves from coins to the top of the heights during the campaign.
I have those dog tags and would dearly love to get them to the top on the 100 years commemoration of this gigantic struggle.
By Julie Fourter, entrant in the Eden Magnet Sands of Gallipoli Anzac Day competition
As a teenager, museums were dusty boring places where old stuff was kept. Relics and dinosaurs – full stop. Fast forward a few years later, when a family road trip around Tasmania brought us to Zeehan. Our roving itinerary included a trip to.…the Zeehan Museum! Lo and behold, a glass case encapsulating my great uncle’s exploits in WWI sat proudly amongst the other exhibits. Family history came alive – and the museum I scorned now has become a place of living fascination.
My ANZAC interest surfaced after hearing stories from my mother about her uncle, William Joseph Knuckey. Will was an ANZAC; joining the army at age 22. He came from the cold and unforgiving west coast of Tasmania – which I guess ‘hardened’ him for the times ahead. He enlisted on 18 August 1914, and joined B Company in the 5th Battalion. He sailed from Albany for Egypt on the “Orvieto”, the flagship of the AIF convoy in November 1914.
William, or Bill as he was known, headed off like all young and enthusiastic fellows, ready to ‘do their duty’ for crown and country, not knowing the horrors that lay ahead of them. His father also joined up a bit later in the year. On 25th April, 1915, he was one ofthe many who found themselves at Anzac Cove…
Bills army stint didn’t finish there. I wonder what it would take to keep going in a war that lasts for 4 years; in foreign countries and blindly following orders. Trust and honor were large in the day methinks. The men relied upon each other, they became ‘family’ in the real sense of the word. True comradeship was tested in those hard times. Thus was the Anzac spirit forged.
He was posted to the Western Front with the 57th Battalion in 1916, fighting now in France. I bet he didn’t get to learn past ‘parlez-vous Francais?” This brave young man fought in a ferocious battle on 12th May 1917, his actions winning him the Military Cross.
A STORY OF SPORTSMANSHIP IN PAPUA NEW GUINEA
By Catherine Mann, entrant in the Eden Magnet Sands of Gallipoli Anzac Day competition
Amongst the journey of many men into the unknown elements of War existed a mateship that crossed all boundaries in the form of recreational activities. The Army believed in sport for the men as it encouraged team work and initiative amongst the attributes to participate. A valuable asset in both fighting the enemy off and on the field. It also took minds away from the daily stress of what all me had to endure
They fought in the trenches; some so young and so innocent. Many not returning to our shores. They also fought hard for a game of football. One man would fight his way through the jungle to make it known to others. Not an easy task. For this is New Guinea.
The word had got around.
A game on Tomorrow.
There is no MCG.
A trail through the jungle is made. Men rounded up who are on stood-down and borrowing a bull-dozer they make an arena for a ground. Logs must be cut and carried for hundreds of yards by men through swamp water waist high and not forgetting some crocs. For the men of ANZAC are a tough breed. A regulation size ground completed, even if a few feet of swamp one side and sand the other. Temperature is 90 degrees and 80 humidity.
There are no ice vests here.
There is excitement.
Many travel just to see the game.
The uniform is simple. Men in shorts one side, the others in singlets, as they face the umpy. Bottle washers, cooks, troopers, officers and others protect the boundaries, forearms at the ready. Tanned Ausies fit and keen show their ability of long-kicking, marking and clever passes, for this is Aussie Rules. A grand day amongst mates. They say V is for victory but they don’t really care. Their joy is in the playing and for once not giving a care.
Stories of war and other subjects were told in a magazine called the Black and Gold put out by the 20th Australian Motor Regiment – AIF, New Guinea in the year 1944 to which my father served.