Norman Melville's original diary
Norman Melville's original diary

Melville's Anzac story told through diary

August 22, 1915 Gallipoli: Anzacs soon discovered not, as they had envisioned, enemies running from determined attack, but soldiers who would stand and fight.

Lismore local, Norman Melville - former owner of the now Melville House - experienced this first hand from the trenches, where he sat behind a hessian screen with a machine gun firing along the trench lines.

Considered to be better troupes than the Australians, the British were sent to capture the Turkish troupes while Australians captured the beach of Gallipoli.

For the Anzacs, the day's fighting, as it developed, never brought them near the objectives called for in the original plan.

Norman Melville was one among small, isolated groups that managed to make their way up landward slopes, from which positions the strait of the Dardanelles was visible.

Their choice to head down and return tomorrow meant that tomorrow never came: they were beaten back by Turkish counter-attacks.

Norman made the evacuation back to Australia, but not before being badly wounded.

Excerpts from the late Norman Melville's 1915 diary:

Sunday August 21, 1915;

"Landed off the Dardanelles 9.50pm; snipers shooting at us in the boats. Shrapnel going off. What will the morning bring tomorrow"

September 18, 1915;

"Nearly got hit by a sniper; too damn close to be healthy."

Sunday October 10, 1915;

"17 weeks away form Australia today, doesn't seem that long."

"More shrapnel from a new Turk gun"

Friday October 22, 1915;

"Terribly cold and miserable night and raining a treat, a big bomb landed 15 yards away from me. What will the morning bring tomorrow"

Wednesday October 27, 1915;

"Poor old Mac, blown absolutely to pieces today- an awful accident."

Sunday October 31, 1915;

"Machine gun duels at night- the bullets like bees; they do hum. About 10 huge stick bombs all over our position, got a few of our chaps- three landed close to my home."

Friday September 31, 1915;

"The finish of 1915; what will 1916 bring for me, will I see it through?"