Gallipoli - Lest We Forget!

They shall grow not old,
as we that are left grow old.
Age shall not weary them,
nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun,
and in the morning.
We will remember them.


LEST WE FORGET.


Corporal Norman Pittendrigh and Private Edmund Pittendrigh were uncles of my paternal grandmother (my great great uncles). Norman was part of the ANZAC landings at Gallipoli on 25 April 1915, whilst Edmund landed in August 1915.

The information, stories and photographs are presented here as an ongoing memorial to Norman and Edmund, as well as to the many other brave Australian soldiers that lost their life at Gallipoli.


Our family lost two members during the fight at Gallipoli in August 1915. Two of my great great uncles on my paternal grandmother’s side, Corporal Norman Thomas Pittendrigh and Private Edmund Pittendrigh. Norman was just 21 and had been in the military for 12 months, Edmund on the otherhand was only 19 and had joined only 2 months prior, being killed when he landed on the beach at ANZAC Cove.

For information about these landings see the ANZAC Landings page.


Corporal
Norman Thomas Pittendrigh

1st Bn, A Company,
Australian Infantry, A.I.F.

Norman joined the Australian Imperial Force on 27 August 1914. He was the 149th Australian to join after war had been declared. He embarked from Sydney on 18 October 1914, and then from Alexadria to join the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force (M.E.F.), Gallipoli campaign, on 5 April 1915. The 1st Battalion took part in the ANZAC landings on 25 April 1915 in the second and third waves (the 1st and 2nd Brigades started landing between 5.30AM and 7.30AM on 25 April). Norman was promoted to Corporal by the Commanding Officer of 1st Battalion at Gallipoli Peninsula on 25 April 1915.

Suffering from “ear trouble” he was sent to the hospital on 16 May 1915, arriving in Mudros 21 May and being discharged to duty on 23 May 1915. He rejoined the Battalion on 27 May 1915, and was reported missing on 14 August 1915 following the push at Lone Pine.

A witness statement dated 26 December 1915, from Coy. Sgt. Major Barber, stated:

“Pittendrigh was sent forward with 28 others to hold a trench. Only two came back. The rest were left in the trench, the bodies lying deep in it. It is presumed they were all killed by bombs. This happened on August 8th.”

Norman was declared “killed in action between 6th and 11th August 1915”, by the Court of Enquiry held at Tel-el-Kebir (Egypt) on 5 June1916.

Norman was awarded the following medals:

1914/15 Star British War Medal Victory Medal
1914/15 Star British War Medal Victory Medal


More Information?




Private
Edmund Pittendrigh

18th Battalion,
2nd Reinforcement
Australian Infantry, A.I.F.

Edmund joind the A.I.F. on 2 June 1915. He embarked to join the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force Gallipoli on 16 August 1915. He was reported “missing” from Gallipoli Peninsula between 22nd and 28th August 1915. A Court of Enquiry held at Tel-el-Kebir (Egypt) on 21 January 1916 found “Reasonable to suppose him dead” and it was cabled “Previously reported MISSING, now KILLED in ACTION Gallipoli Peninsula 22/8/15”.

We have very little further information regarding Edmund. There was apparently initial confusion between Edmund and another soldier named Pittendrigh who died on board a hospital ship, however these comments were later cancelled when it seems it was discovered the soldier buried at sea was not Pte Edmund Pittendrigh. There was one statement from a Sgt. W Hartill, C/ Co 18 A.I.F., O/S Base, Giza:

“Witness, who is storeman in charge of 18th Battn kits, informs me that this man’s kit was sent away from the 18th Battn kit depot at Over Seas Base to the Quartermaster General’s Department. Witness explains that this means they are to be cleaned and renovated for use by another soldier. This kit was sent out on 27.12.15, in pursuance from an order from Headquarters. The entries on the Kit Bag Rolls kept by the Battn show that this man was killed, though no date was given.”

Historical records show that the 18th Battalion landed at ANZAC Cove, Gallipoli Peninsula on 22 August 1915, and was almost immediately committed to the last operation of the August offensive, the attack on Hill 60, which lasted until 29 August 1915. Some reports back from Gallipoli indicated that Edmund was killed during the landing.

Enquiries in May 2009 by the Hon. Joel Fitzgibbon, Minister for Defence, revealed “no known grave” for both Edmund and Norman Pittendrigh, although both are listed at the Lone Pine memorial in Turkey.

Edmund was awarded the following medals:

1914/15 Star British War Medal Victory Medal
1914/15 Star British War Medal Victory Medal


More Information?

Other Family

These are just two of my family that served in WWI or WWII. In total there were seven of the Pittendrigh boys that enlisted in WWI, only three of which returned. There was also a Howells that served in and returned from WWI, and a Williams that was lost on the HMAS Sydney II. Go back to the Honour Roll main page to visit the other pages relating to these family members.


“And the band played Waltzing Matilda”

The following words are from the song “And the band played Waltzing Matilda” by Eric Bogle. The words convey the kind of hell that many of our WW1 diggers went through. It is presented here in the hope that some of our younger generation will comprehend just how horrific war can be.

And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda

When I was a young man I carried my pack
And I lived the free life of a rover
From the Murrays green basin to the dusty outback
I waltzed my Matilda all over
Then in nineteen fifteen my country said Son
It’s time to stop rambling ’cause there’s work to be done
So they gave me a tin hat and they gave me a gun
And they sent me away to the war
And the band played Waltzing Matilda
As we sailed away from the quay
And amidst all the tears and the shouts and the cheers
We sailed off to Gallipoli

How well I remember that terrible day
How the blood stained the sand and the water
And how in that hell that they called Suvla Bay
We were butchered like lambs at the slaughter
Johnny Turk he was ready, he primed himself well
He chased us with bullets, he rained us with shells
And in five minutes flat he’d blown us all to hell
Nearly blew us right back to Australia
But the band played Waltzing Matilda
As we stopped to bury our slain
We buried ours and the Turks buried theirs
Then we started all over again

Now those that were left, well we tried to survive
In a mad world of blood, death and fire
And for ten weary weeks I kept myself alive
But around me the corpses piled higher
Then a big Turkish shell knocked me arse over tit
And when I woke up in my hospital bed
And saw what it had done, I wished I was dead
Never knew there were worse things than dying
For no more I’ll go waltzing Matilda
All around the green bush far and near
For to hump tent and pegs, a man needs two legs
No more waltzing Matilda for me

So they collected the cripples, the wounded, the maimed
And they shipped us back home to Australia
The armless, the legless, the blind, the insane
Those proud wounded heroes of Suvla
And as our ship pulled into Circular Quay
I looked at the place where my legs used to be
And thank Christ there was nobody waiting for me
To grieve and to mourn and to pity
And the band played Waltzing Matilda
As they carried us down the gangway
But nobody cheered, they just stood and stared
Then turned all their faces away

And now every April I sit on my porch
And I watch the parade pass before me
And I watch my old comrades, how proudly they march
Reliving old dreams of past glory
And the old men march slowly, all bent, stiff and sore
The forgotten heroes from a forgotten war
And the young people ask, “What are they marching for?”
And I ask myself the same question
And the band plays Waltzing Matilda
And the old men answer to the call
But year after year their numbers get fewer
Some day no one will march there at all