Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Terrain research

I have twice visited Anzac Cove. The first time for three or four days in late March 2007; which is only a month before the time of the Landing, it’s freezing there that time of year.
The second time I went was August 2010; Summer. It’s was hot, but not unbearable. That time I spent about 6 days climbing and scouring the hills and gullies, taking photos, doing sketches and generally exploring in detail everything I could.
I left there that time thinking I’d covered everything I’d like to see, but when back at the drawing table, and on more then one occasion, wished I could go back and explore a certain area, or see the view from another. There’s just so much to see. I reckon I could spend another week there.
What strikes you quite early on is all the bone fragments still lying around. On my last day there I found a skull and other bones which I reported to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) who retrieved them and buried them.

The poor cove was staring out across, Monash Valley from the cliffs near Steele’s Post and, by the way his bones are laid out, he may have already been moved once before. To get the photo I had to reach my arm out full length, lean out over the precipice to get a good angle; being mindful not to drop my camera, or myself, over the edge. The CWGC couldn’t determine whether he was Anzac or Turk so he was reburied somewhere nearby in an unmarked grave; which is all they could do, and is fair enough.

The view from Walker’s Ridge north towards Suvla Bay is “guzel” (goo-zel, Turkish for beautiful). Nice beaches, but no surf.

View north from Walker's Ridge

If you get a chance to go the Gallipoli, do it, and take a bit of time to have a good look around. It’s well worth it. The little orchard at the Fisherman’s hut sells sweet little apples, and there’s a Tuck shop and souvenir sellers at the Chessboard and on Chunuk Bair.
The Fisherman's Hut 
I stayed at TJ’s Hostel in Eceabat (pronounced ee-jay-a-bat). It has single and double bedrooms with toilets, etc as well as dorm style backpacker accom. TJ and Bee will really look after you. They provide a Turkish breakfast, after which I would go to the grocery shop and buy tucker for lunch, and jumped on my little hire scooter and disappeared for the day, no helmet required, just jam ya hat on tight and enjoy the breeze blowing on your face. Just like riding down the back paddock. I usually returned late in the afternoon or early evening. Just out the door and around the corner from TJ’s there’s about a dozen different restaurants, etc to buy your tea. Being just across the road from the sea (The Narrows) there’s heaps a fresh seafood, washed down with a stubby of Efes beer - “Guzel”.

After retiring from the Army, one of the first things I did to help me create this book, after buying a drawing table and a comfy chair, was to build a terrain model of the Gaba Tepe area. It took me about a week, and is basically plaster filler and cardboard on a sheet of masonite.

The scale is 1mm = 10 metres. The dimensions of the board are 900x600mm (3’x2’). I have drawn directly from it for some of my aerial views of the area, and also used it to measure distances, and interpret/understand relative positions of the opposing sides. There are detailed contour maps in Bean's Official History from which I acquired the relative information.
It is reasonably accurate for its size, and gives a good idea of the slopes and heights in the area. When building it I got quite a good appreciation of the terrain there from a broad perspective.


  1. Great stuff Dave. I enjoyed the description of your time doing research in Turkey. Perhaps I will go one day.

    1. Turkey is a great place to visit. Heaps of things to see, and the people are really helpful and friendly. Prices are reasonable as well.

  2. The replica or model of the area must have helped when reviewing details of the approaches/ landings and actions on the land. It looks great. You have many talents!

  3. Thanks, it was fun to make as well.