Obscure Box

Thoughts from inside the obscure box

April 25, 2008

What time was the dawn landing at Gallipoli?

Posted by : Michael Lund
Filed under : Media

It's a good queston and one that's hard answer.

Dawn itself has many meanings but in general refers to the period before sunrise when the dark of night starts to give way to first light of day.

The Australian War Memorial says of the Dawn Service: "During battle, the half-light of dawn was one of the most favoured times for an attack. Soldiers in defensive positions were, therefore, woken up in the dark, before dawn, so by the time first light crept across the battlefield they were awake, alert, and manning their weapons. This was, and still is, known as 'stand-to'."

The best description online of the time the ANZACs landed is at the Visit Gallipoli site, Australian Government's run by the Department of Veterans' Affairs.

"A brief description of the landing" contains excerpt from Denis Winter's book,
25 April 1915 - The Inevitable Tragedy.

The actual time of that first landing remains unclear.
Corps headquarters recorded 4.32 am as the time they heard the first rifle shots through the mist. Vice-Admiral De Robeck's report put it at 4.20 am. The 3rd Brigade's war diary and the report of the London agreed on 4.15 am. The 12th Battalion's war diary (they were reserve battalion to the first wave) states 4.10 am.

Winter says part of the problem with knowing the exact time is because synchronised watches were only introduced in battle plannignin 1917.

Before that clockwork watches recorded events with their usual approximation. When the corps timepiece stood at 4.32 am for example, the saloon clock on the Minnewaska read 4.28 am and Bean's own watch 4.23 am.

The dawn service in Brisbane took place at exactly 4.28am at the Shrine of Remembrance in ANZAC Square, Adelaide Street.

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All thoughts and comments here are the honestly held personal opinion of Michael Lund and are based on the information available at the time of publication.