Working Title Press, 2015
hbk., 48pp., RRP $A29.99
“My name is Adil Sakin … I’m a shepherd and yesterday some army men came to my village and told us about the Great War and how we had to be soldiers… This is my Gelibolu”
April 25. 1915.
“Midshipman Peter Burch R.N. waiting in the number four tow to take the Australian troops into shore… This is my Gallipoli”
Private Jusuf Demir, Sister Ellen Walker, Rifleman Tul Bahadur Thapa, Chaplain Bill McKenzie, War Correspondent C.E.W. Bean, Trooper James Lang – the list goes on with each telling their unique story that made this strip of land their Gallipoli. Stories from the New Zealanders, the Turks, the Gurkhas, the Aboriginals, the sniper, the stretcher bearer, the war graves commissioner – the threads that made up those eight months in that far-flung place are woven together into a rich and diverse tapestry that provide insight like no other. It puts a human face on the conflict that shaped our history and brings it alive, putting the reader in the shoes of its narrators. Well-researched, it is based on real people, events and places giving it an authenticity which is enrichedby the notes in the final pages, while Hannaford’s illustrations in a variety of media add a haunting, ethereal quality that echoes the valour and courage, despair and loss that pervade the text.
This is a remarkable picture book that focuses on all the events surrounding that fateful campaign, not just The Landing, and emphasises how deeply and broadly its impact was and continues to be. Gallipoli is a story that has many more than just two sides and Ruth Starke and Robert Hannaford have captured them dramatically and sympathetically. War correspondent Charles Bean wrote about not being able to tell the true story because the newspapers and their readers wanted to hear about the victories, the heroism, the justification that this was a cause worth dying for, but now 100 years on the other stories can be told and they have been. Now we know why we remember them –and always will. Lest We Forget.