Saturday, 31 May 2014

Did Bridges influence the morning advance on the 400 Plateau?

Bridges on the 400 Plateau (page 60)

      As I read and compiled this part of the book, and the timings of certain events were placed in their correct sequence, it became apparent to me that the advance from the 400 Plateau in the early part of the morning may have been initiated by General Bridges. He went to the 400 Plateau very soon after coming ashore to find his brigade commanders and find out the situation.
    From the time he reached M’Cay’s Hill he became anxious about the lack of forward movement by the troops he saw, and concerned that Ottoman reserves would arrive before the Australians could reach their objectives.
 Bean says Bridges decided to check the Australian front line and began to move along it. It was at this time roughly that Major Bennett (6 BN) ordered his troops forward (he told Bean he went forward no later then 0830.); and soon after Colonel MacLagen ordered the 9th Battalion forward. There seems to have been a domino effect happening  around this time which starts in the south and moves northwards. It’s as if Bridges' movement north was a catalyst for units to advance. Bridges and MacLagen were certainly on the 400 Plateau at the same time, and it would have been their priority at this stage to meet and discuss the situation.

My imagination tells me that perhaps Bridges saw MacLagen and asked what the hold up was. MacLagen may have said he was waiting for support, to which Bridges may have said “I’ll get you some support, if you just get moving!” With that he headed back to the beach and sent Wanliss up.
This sounds feasible to me, however Bean says that Bridges and MacLagen never met on the 400 Plateau that morning, even though Bridges’ intention was to meet with his brigade commanders and find out how things were going. But instead, strangely Bridges suddenly abandoned his tour and ran down to LTCOL Wanliss (5th Bn) who he found just landing in Anzac Cove, and ordered he send all his available troops up to support the front line immediately.

Whether Bridges had some effect on the decisions made on the 400 Plateau is purely and totally my conjecture with no evidence to support it, other then a coincidental chain of events. But there does appear to be some missing details to the story here. In my book I have followed the narrative as related in the Official History.


  1. Dave, this is a great find/work, your book? what are the details mate?....

  2. G'day Don. Yes as accurate as I could make it. My aim was to make a book which could be referred to by future historians and students. Two thirds of the effort in creating the book was taken up with research. There is an extensive bibliography in the back. Hugh Dolan, the historian and author, bought a copy and personally rang me to congratulate me on the book, and told me he thought it was "great work". I was considerably surprised and chuffed.
    There a few libraries who have it on their shelves - 2 copies at the Bendigo Library, 2 at Mildura Library and today I am posting off 8 copies for a couple of libraries in Queensland. ( don't know which one's but Scarborough I think may be one of those customers.) If your local library doesn't have it, go in and talk to them. They will get copies in, I'm sure. Just point them in the direction of the Wotsleft Books website. There's a link on my blog. I have sent a letter away to the Libraries of Victoria introducing the book to them. Hopefully that will bear some fruit, and get the book distributed more widely. Thanks for your comments and interest Don, cheers Dave