|The northern flank of Anzac|
As I have said before in another post, trying to put the different story-pieces of the jigsaw together is a dinkum challenge. For this reason some events I have included in my book are contrary to the line of Mr Charles Bean’s Official History. One being the story of Sergeant Mason (11 Battalion) who says he accompanied Lieutenant M. Reid (11Bn) on the morning of the Landing. Mason told his story to Chas Bean, but Bean chose not to include it in his book. I’m not sure why, because it seems to me that Mason is the only one who has left an account of the events near the Shepherd’s Hut on the morning of the Landing.
I think the reason Bean didn’t include SGT Mason’s account is that it conflicted with the account of Captain Tulloch (11Bn) who includes Reid in his story of events. Like me, David Cameron (author of “25 April 1915”), is unsure why Bean ignored Mason’s account, even though Cameron’s research revealed that Mason was regarded as a fellow with a “dependable, no nonsense” character. Cameron has loosely included Mason’s account, and Tulloch’s story both of which include reference to LT Reid being with them at different areas of the battlefield. As far as I can ascertain, there were not two LT M. Reid’s in the 11th Battalion on that day.
I have chosen to go along with Mason’s account, only juggling timings to try to get them to fit logically with Tulloch's story and other events. Bean, on the other hand tells only of Captain Tulloch’s adventure up the range, and almost totally ignores Mason’s fascinating story.
Possibly the trouble stems from confusing statements, some of which need careful study, clarification or expansion before being taken literally. When you read the statements written in Bean’s notebooks, you find that the stories are often all over the shop. One second someone will be talking about one area and then they’ll mention something they heard happened somewhere else. This is done usually without clarification and an unwary reader may come to the wrong conclusion. An example of this is revealed in Mason’s account when Bean records - in the morning his group went up onto Russell’s Top, and then mentions “Tulloch was wounded there & Lt Butler (12 Bn)”. The account then goes on to describe how Mason then went down to the Shepherd’s Hut. The casual reader may conclude from this that Tulloch and
were wounded before Mason and his party went down the slope, but they were not
wounded until much later in the afternoon. According to Mason’s own account, he
was not near these two officers for most of the day, so he probably heard the
story of their wounding later, and was passing it on to Bean second or third
In Captain Tulloch’s account, as told by Bean, Reid only plays a minor part. Whereas in SGT Mason’s story, Reid has a leading role in the events down at the Shepherd’s Hut.
The account of Reid’s fate in relation to Tulloch’s movements appears to be quite brief (but it is similar to Mason’s version); whereas Mason gives a much more detailed account, in comparison including things like "he said" and "we asked".
In the broad scheme of things, whether LT Reid was killed on Big 700 (Battleship Hill), or down near Outpost No1 is irrelevant to the whole story. But by telling Mason’s version I am able to tell the only available story of what happened on the northern flank; thus compelling me to tell Tulloch’s complete adventure up on Big 700, without mention of LT Reid.
So for these reason’s I’ve chosen to include LT Reid in Mason’s account, and fit it together with other events going on at the same time, as best as I can.