Winning Essay by Sophie Higgins- Te Mata School
28th June 1915
Today marks a year since the Turks beloved Arch Duke Ferdinand was assassinated. One could be forgiven to have thought they would be mourning this loss but alas, machine gunfire hardly faltered all day. So many soldiers have been killed or wounded by popping their heads over the parapets and trying to get an aim on the relentless enemy. My heart splits in two at the thought of another day in this hell hole.
2nd July 1915
I was woken this morning by a rather large bomb that exploded only 10 yards away, some of the other men’s dugouts collapsed and they are now in the middle of digging a new one. Poor Clarkson, a fellow whom I’d become quite fond of was caught in the worst of it. They say he was writing a letter home while lying in his dugout and it collapsed on top of him. We all miss him dearly and his family will be distraught when they find out. Maybe i will write them a letter and give them my condolences.
13th July 1915
Today the whole battalion rejoiced as new has just been sent from home that a new hospital ship the S.S Maheno left port two days ago and is voyaging across the Tasman to rescue our wounded. The officers in the trench say that this is a much needed morale booster and I cannot disagree with them. Our spirits soar at the thought of all our wounded soldiers will be wounded and cared for and not lying in the trenches slowly rotting away.
25th July 1915
Most of us have no idea what’s going on outside of Gallipoli, apart from the odd letter from home, we can only hope that the rest of the allies are doing better than us. We are furiously hoping to gain more ground as we have been in a stale mate for a fortnight now and the Turks are showing no signs of budging soon. If only Matilda was here with me now, she’d take me into her arms and reassure me, give me hope that whether we win or lose I will return here once again.
1st August 1915
I have noticed that I’m getting dangerously thin; I caught a glimpse of myself in the side of a beef bully container and didn’t recognise myself. My cheeks are hollowed out good and proper and I look a right mess. I see soldiers every day who look the splitting image of me but it never occurred to me that I might look similar. We are in need of a good wash although the chances of that are very slim. If I was a lad I would have been slapped about the head with one of mother’s wooden spoons if the behind of my ears were dirty. I’d hate to think what would happen if mother saw me now.
6th August 1915
The commander of our trenches is getting sick of this damn stale mate so they’ve started to send in charges. Right and left soldiers climb over the walls of our trenches and dash across no- man’s –land in the hope of gaining a few metres. Wave after wave is being sent and we are getting mowed down by machine guns. I fear that I will be next, for whistles have been blowing closer and closer to my trench and the screams of dying men get louder with each hour. I knew that if I’m sent into one then I won’t come back out so I will write my last letter home shortly. It makes me sad to think that I will not see my dear kids grow up and marry but I hope that my wife will live to see them off.
I am also putting my journal in the care of my officer as I don’t wish for my writing to be buried along with me.