Gallipoli is the remarkable story of two Western Australian mates who are sent to Gallipoli in 1915. Frank and Archie are both very successful sprinters and Archie wants adventure, while Frank wants to stay in Australia, but signs up for the inventory anyway.
This story brings back some harsh truths about warfare, and explains why so many naïve young men joined up, only to suffer deaths well before their time.
The troops were headed for the Gallipoli peninsula and the Dardanelles Strait, in southern Turkey, to attempt to take the peninsula. The war was between the Allies (mainly Britain, US, France, Russia, Italy, Japan, and Australia) and the Central Powers (mainly Germany, Austria-Hungary and Turkey)
I found the recruitment drives that the army had quite crafty, because they deliberately set them up in a family place, and they promoted the war as glorious. The men were indirectly encouraged by the women to sign up, and, if they didn’t, they were labelled as ‘cowards’ by fellow men. So, there was quite a bit of pressure from all around pushing men to sign up.
When the young men did sign up, they were doing so as individuals looking for adventure, but the army saw them as mere units and battalions. One reason why the men were signing up was apparent to me when Snowy, Barney and Frank etc. were talking around the fire about signing up. One of them was pushed to sign up with the line “The girls go wild over a uniform”. Archie joined up because he wanted an adventure, and to travel. Frank said to his father that he was signing up because he would “Keep my head down, learn a trick or two, and come back an officer.” We don’t know how this turned out for Frank, as we never saw him any further.
Archie felt that the war was Australia’s responsibility too because, as he said, “If we don’t stop them there, they’ll end up here”. Archie said he would feel ashamed of himself if he didn’t fight, even though he was underage, because he was a good athlete, and that’s “what the army needs”. He also felt it was Australia’s war because Australia does everything hand in hand with Britain. Frank felt that a war on the other side of the world had nothing to do with Australia, and he did not respect any snobby British authority.
Probably the actual realisation of what they were getting themselves into was when Frank and Archie were standing on a hill at sunset; listen to the anguished sounds of battle. Even more horrifying for Frank was witnessing Snowy on his deathbed naïvely saying, “I...