7 May 1915

RMS Lusitania, George Grantham Bain. Image courtesy Library of Congress.

RMS Lusitania, George Grantham Bain.
Image courtesy Library of Congress.

Accounts of the fighting at the Dardanelles reveal many stories of dash and courage on the part of the Australian and New Zealand troops. The men had to jump from the boats at their landing places, and wade ashore up to their necks in water. Immediately after this they took three ridges occupied by the Turks, in succession, in a running fight, extending over a distance of three miles. One soldier said ”Nothing stopped us. Our big lads lifted the Turks on the ends of their bayonets, and hurled them over their heads. The Turks ran screaming and howling with fear. After our first rush the other men came up to help us storm the ridges and consolidate the new positions. The enemy’s fire with  shrapnel and machine guns was terrific throughout, but our men never wavered. Our casualties were heavy but very many of the wounds received were only slight, and the men will reappear in the fighting line in a few weeks.”

What have you done for your country?
How have you answered the Call?
Are you pleased with the part you’re playing
In the job that demands all?
Have you changed the tweed for the khaki,
To serve with the rank and file,
As your comrades are gladly serving,
Or isn’t it worth the while?

Can you meet the eyes of your fellows?
Or have you to turn away?
When they talk of the stay-at-home slacker
Have you never a word to say?
When you read the roll of honour
Of living and dead — what then?
Does the voice within approve you
As one to be ranked with men?

For if in our Island’s glory
Each soldier may claim his share,
So he who would shirk his duty
His burden of shame must bear.
You who are strong and active,
You who are fit for the fray,
What have you done for England?
Ask your heart to-day.

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This entry was posted on May 7th, 2015.