Grounds of War
Indiana Murphy 2016
It is cold, wet, the sound of distant gun fire wakes the shop keepers, bankers, blacksmiths, bakers, farmers, milkman, posties of the Gallipoli shore. These brave Australian men well known as fathers, husbands, sons, brothers, cousins and uncles.
Dirt trickles into the trenches as distant grenades go off. Our legs ache from kilometres of hiking and running, up and down the rocky cliffs and hills of the Gallipoli shore, our arms tired of holding our guns constantly cocked and ready to fire, our heads battered from seeing our friends being left behind in the path of warfare, yet we are determined to do our country proud and bring home piece of mind to our families.
The cold Gallipoli foreshore wind blows into our trench, sending chills through our bodies, silence among us, tormented by war.
We left Australia excited and ready for adventure, if only the 8,709 men who sacrificed their lives in Gallipoli knew what lie ahead. No-one could have been ready for the long journey that lay in front of us.
Only yesterday I was talking to one of my good mates Ernie about the quality of beer in Australia, oh how we missed a nice cold beer on a Saturday afternoon. He was killed in action last night at 12:24am only a few hours after that pleasant conversation. We were charging up the Gallipoli hills, he ran beside me as we tried to attack, a couple of seconds later he fell to the ground killed by a single bullet. My urge to help him survive was great, but I couldn’t, he was just another young man killed by Turkish gunfire, everywhere you look there are men falling left, right and centre. Only a couple of thousand of us survived the landing of Gallipoli those who were still left were very lucky to be alive.
The food, we lived on bitter soup, jam and water, you couldn’t go two seconds without your food or water being attacked by flies, a lot of us caught diseases from our fly infested water in fact more of us died from horrific diseases than being killed by the enemy. At night we dreamt of sitting at the dinner table with our family eating our favourite meals, talking about the day.
We sit in our trenches clenching our guns tight. We wait to hear the high pitched screech of the whistle to charge. All of us know that this very minute is our last, our last time we will hear, see and speak. But there are a few who still hold hope and faith in their hearts. As the whistle blows all I hear is gunfire, screaming and scrambling feet.
We were only trying to fulfil our orders, none of us deserved to die this way. We were just innocent boys with an amazing life still ahead of us. 8,709 of us now lie in the path of hell in Gallipoli. We have done our country proud.
We shall not grow old, as we who are left grow old, age shall not weary them nor the years condemn, at the doing down of the sun and in the morning, we will remember them.
Lest we forget.
Poppies, flying free amongst the tombstones of heroes,
the sound of gun shells send shivers down my spine,
not knowing that in the pull of a trigger that tombstone could be mine,
the moans and screams of the dying, I can hear their family members crying,
I hope that the poppies fly free forever.
Will they ever be forgotten? Never
Tonight you will sleep peacefully in your bed,
While we who served lay buried peacefully in the calm battle grounds of war,
In the morning you will wake to a new sun,
While our soldiers dream of seeing the sunset one more time,
Imagine their faces, their smiles, they would be in utter awe.