01 September 1915

HELLES - Lieutenant William Ker, Hawke Battalion, 1st Naval Brigade, RND - To any of us planning a visit to Gallipoli the thoughts of Lieutenant William Ker penned in a letter on 1 September have a certain irony.

“To the left of our part of the line there was a deep gully, (Gully Ravine) and from one part of the trenches we could look right across it and see the ground on the other side, which is lower, and the opposing trenches laid out before us like a map. There were a good many Turks to be seen there, too, through a glass, and we did a good deal of sniping at anything up to I,000 yards, with a man observing through a telescope. It is an odd sight, the two firing lines curving about more or less in conformity with each other, with some strange contortions - as in our own bit - the maze of communication trenches, etc., behind either line, the uninhabited space between, and the line of wire in front of the Turks all spread out before one over a moor of thyme and wild flowers in the sun, and sloping away down to the bluest of seas. It always struck me as queer and subtly comic (when from some safe position in the supports I was admiring a view - whichever way I turned - that was, I suppose, in its way, worth coming miles to see) that no one could get out and stroll upon that sunny sweet—sme1ling heath without getting a bullet at him before he had gone 2 yards. Exercise is what I lack; on some of the golden evenings I would have liked to walk up Achi Baba and watch the sun set over Samothrace from the top. There must be a grand view from up there. But I never succeeded in doing so. Coming back here from the trenches was a tedious business. We marched right down the gully, which is picturesque, and will, I feel sure, in after years be visited by streams of tourists as the scene of some of the heaviest fighting of the war, where they will examine the remains of the Turkish entanglements (they are at present almost intact), and will joyfully pay exorbitant prices for bogus was relics manufactured in Birmingham, and sold on the spot by the erstwhile indigent Greeks, who made a modest fortune by an little honest spying for the Turks when employed on a labour party on West Beach."

W. Ker quoted by D. Jerrold, The Hawke Battalion: Some Personal Records of Four Years, 1914-1918, (London, Ernest Benn Ltd, 1925), pp.84-85