Bean's Gallipoli: The Diaries of Australia's Official War Correspondent

Bean's Gallipoli: The Diaries of Australia's Official War Correspondent

Bean's Gallipoli: The Diaries of Australia's Official War Correspondent

Bean's Gallipoli: The Diaries of Australia's Official War Correspondent

Synopsis

'The insights are truthful, harrowing and shocking, for this Gallipoli is not the drama seen through the military censorship of journalistic despatches, but the views of a thoughtful man communicating with himself.' - The BulletinProbably no person saw more of the Anzacs in battle on Gallipoli than C. E. W. Bean. After sailing with the first convoy, he landed with them on that fateful first morning of 25 April, and remained on Gallipoli until the evacuation despite being wounded. He was unique among the war correspondents of his day: no place in the line was too dangerous for him. No other pressman dared to go ashore at the first landings. Throughout the fiercest battles, he would sit in the dust or mud of the frontline trench taking notes or making sketches. Night after night he sat in his tiny dugout and wrote in his diary all that he had seen and done. Its pages flow with powerful descriptions of battle, touching eulogies to the common soldier, and scathing criticisms of senior officers whose mistakes cost men their lives. He took over 1100 remarkable photographs-with the diary they constitute the most graphic personal account we have of the events of Gallipoli. Bean's Gallipoli reveals the innermost thoughts, hopes and criticisms of the man who, more than any other, shaped the Anzac legend. This is a new edition of Frontline Gallipoli. It contains new extracts from Bean's diaries, new commentary by Kevin Fewster, and over 80 photographs, most of which were taken by Bean at Gallipoli.

Excerpt

Charles Edwin Woodrow Bean occupies a towering position when one speaks of Gallipoli and the origins of the Anzac legend. And it was Bean's idea that a special edifice, the Australian War Memorial, be established in the nation's capital to honour and commemorate those who served in the great endeavour of the First World War. Given that, it was most appropriate a new building there was named in his honour.

To view his 25 Gallipoli diaries is to sense a strong physical connection with a seminal event in Australian history, something arguably more important than Federation, which took place 14 years before. Certainly Prime Minister Billy Hughes thought this when he asserted that 'Australia was born on the shores of Gallipoli'.

Bean never claimed his diaries were an absolute or definitive account, but they are without a doubt illuminating key sources. Before he went ashore he was very aware of the magnitude and significance of what he was about to witness. Presciently, he was equally mindful of the coming waste—'boys who began life on the Murray, or in a backyard in Wagga or Bourke or Surry Hills will be left lying in Turkey'.

After going ashore on Day One, he experienced life in the trenches; spent time in the outposts close to the enemy; witnessed the carnage in May near Krithia, where his display of bravery was recognised by a mention-in-dispatches; was wounded in the August offensives; and was evacuated just before the end, when he wrote wistfully 'in a way I was really fond of the place'.

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