Treating the wounded: Doctor describes scenes: Chaplains lead charges [1 June 1915]

[Editor: A letter regarding the Dardanelles campaign, during the First World War. Published in The Argus (Melbourne, Vic.), 1 June 1915.]

Treating the wounded.

Doctor describes scenes.

Chaplains lead charges.

Sydney, Monday. — Dr. Colin Chisholm Ross, of Sydney, writing to his mother from Gezereh Palace, Cairo, on May 1, gives thrilling details of the fighting at the Dardanelles. He states:—

“You cannot conceive how busy we have been here. We had only one and a half days to get ready to receive 250 patients, without a thing in the place, and have not had a moment, day or night. Poor wounded chaps have simply been arriving in thousands, and there are about 2,500 in Cairo at present. I have left Mena to come here and fix them up. I have only one other medical officer to help me. It has been a ghastly week, so many friends gone, and one will be frightened to look at the official lists when they come out.

Nevertheless, Australia has the satisfaction, poor as it may be, of performing one of the most brilliant bayonet charges in history. They had to land under a most awful fire in boats, and immediately take a very steep hill, which was simply alive with Turks and Germans (the latter were in large numbers, I hear). And they did it, and made five miles of ground in bayonet charges in eight hours. We are all very proud of them.

Since Sunday week, the date of landing, the men have entrenched themselves, and the loss of life has been much less.

We are at present working like mad, and patients are everywhere, all over the floors, and in every conceivable corner and place that can be utilised. They are easily managed, though, and my admiration of them goes up by leaps and bounds. They bear their wounds like men, and never growl. They seem more anxious to get back to the firing line than anything else.

The loss of officers, too, has been very large, and some fine things were done. For that reason, we hear of medical officers and parsons leading charges, and the latter using most unusual language in the process. It is very fine. However, I fancy all that type of fighting is practically done with now, seeing that they are established.”

The Argus (Melbourne, Vic.), 1 June 1915, p. 7

[Editor: The original text has been separated into paragraphs.]

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