Sunday, 29 December 2013

The Turkish Guns on the 400 Plateau

There are a number of different people who were attributed with the capture of Turkish artillery guns on the day of the landing - Lt Loutit (10 Bn), Lt Talbot-Smith (10 Bn) and Corporal Harrison (9 Bn).
Charles Bean also mentions another battery of abandoned Hotchkiss mountain guns which is discovered by Lt Hooper (5 Bn) which no-one is credited with actually capturing.

Bean credits CPL Harrison with the capture of the guns on the 400 Plateau, near “The Cup”. However, in “Silent Voices” a history of the 10th Battalion in the Great War, Robert Kearney quotes a section of LT Loutit’s account of his time on the day of the landing. The quote comes from an interview which was conducted many years after the event which Loutit begins with “Now this is a story I have not told many people…” He then relates how he and his men captured the Turkish guns.
So now I have two versions of the same event… once again, I have to make a decision “Which way do I go?”

I had considered the possibility of one group capturing one battery, while another captured the second battery of guns. I could easily see how either group could have done this, but then I’d be making stuff up, and I don’t want to start furphies.
Chris Roberts in his book “The Landing at Anzac – 1915” is quite certain there was only one battery of guns in the vicinity at the time. Although he doesn’t address the issue of the Hotchkiss guns specifically, it is clear from his research that he concludes there were not two batteries there. So what’s to be done about the account of LT Hooper, and later LT Derham (5 Bn) who fought at the position of the Hotchkiss guns for at least 6 hours. Were they making up their story of a second battery of guns?
Or was it just an empty battery position? I considered this, but why then does Bean specifically say they were “Hotchkiss guns”? If it was an empty position the type and make of the guns would be hard to ascertain. Hooper was later killed at the battle for Lone Pine in August, but after the War Derham provided Bean with a sketch of the layout and other details of the position.
Was it the same battery that Loutit and Harrison captured at the Cup? I considered this option, but Derham was certain his position was on the South eastern corner of the Lone Pine, and Bean believes he found evidence of a battery position there when he did his fact finding mission in 1919.

It seems incredible that the Turks would simply abandon a battery of guns – this is sacrilege to any gunner, unless they were all killed at the scene, as described by CPL Harrison. In Gallipoli Mission, Bean tells how he found the remains of eight Turkish soldiers with two horses or mules nearby, which could have been part of a gun team.

Then there is LT Talbot-Smith whose 10th Bn scouts were actively looking for the guns on the 400 Plateau. This was their primary task upon landing. Their account is not mentioned anywhere, but Talbot-Smith is attributed with capturing guns by his Commanding Officer. He was fatally wounded later in the day so was never interviewed by Bean. Perhaps he and his scouts captured the Hotchkiss guns.

After all this I’m left with a lot of questions with no clear answers. What I have decided to do, is blend Loutit’s and Harrison’s accounts of the capture of the guns at the Cup; and related Hooper’s and Derham’s story as Bean tells it. Not wanting to speculate too much I have decided that the capture of the Hotchkiss guns and poor old Talbot-Smith’s story will remain forever unknown. Whether they are linked no-one can tell.

Captain Milne's group had chased the Turks from M'Cay's Hill, east
 to the Lone Pine. Milne then headed south.

A birds eye view of the photo below
Although the arrow shows Milne heading east - he had
by this time turned to the south.

Taken from Johnston's Jolly looking south towards the Lone Pine.
 The Daisy Patch would be just to the right of the monument, and
the Cup is the gully just to the left of the monument. 

Thursday, 19 December 2013

My Page Creation Sequence

This blog entry is a rough over-view of the process I follow when drawing a page for my book. I'm sorry to say the pictures in this blog are from photographs, and therefore a bit dodgy.

After the initial research and working out the script and layout I begin drawing the final artwork.
I use a mechanical pencil with an HB lead, on A3 Bristol Board which is available in pads. This is convenient for me because I don't need to cut larger sheets down to size.
I made up a template to mark in the page border with panels already measured out for up to 8 panels. These are varied as required, but usually I stick to 6 to 8 panels per page. The template saves having to measure and mark each page. I just lay it on the page and mark the outside border. Then use a T-square and set-square to rule the panels.
I then rule the lines for the text using a Linex ruling guide. I've seen these advertised in "How To" books as "Ames" ruling guides. These make ruling the lines very easy and always the same size. I bought mine at Eckersley's in 2009.
Inking the text
Then I pencil in the text, and edit the story as needed to fit it into the available room in the panel. This is often tricky as only so many words will fit into a given space. I have tried at all times to have no more the 12 lines of text per panel. Six at the top and 6 at the bottom. Any more and the panel is way too "wordy". So then begins a game of linguistic gymnastics to find words that mean the same thing but are smaller, etc.
Once this is finished I draw the pictures using as much reference material as I can find.
Then I began to ink the text with a firm pen like a Post Office nib. All the lettering is done by hand; no digital for me.

Borders finished, and Contour lines being added.

I then ruled the borders, and drew speech balloons with an ellipse template and French Curves. Next I inked the drawings mostly in outline using dip pens or sable brush, with only a little shading and shadows. I like a flexible nib like a Gillot 303 for drawing. My favourite sables were Windsor & Newton #2 and #4, and also a Holcroft #4. 
Ready now to rub out the pencil lines.

The next stage was to rub out the pencil marks with a rubber that didn’t create big ‘crumbs’. The big crumbs tended to absorb some of the ink and when caught under the rubber in the rubbing motion they sometimes caused a black ink smear. This problem was probably the result of using low quality ink. 

Mistakes like these are fairly normal for me... worse luck.

Once all the pencil is rubbed out, I apply correction fluid to fix text or pen lines that are not right. (If not done in this order the correction fluid is liable to be dirtied from the act of removing the pencil marks.) I use white-out pens, and have recently read in a "How To"  book that this shouldn't be used. ???? I don't know why, because it works alright for me.

Finally I do the corrections to the text and/or the drawings; also add extra shading, and spot blacks as required.

Then start the next page.

Saturday, 14 December 2013

Support from the Navy

During the invasion the Royal Navy provided a variety of support to the Anzacs

The freighter "Manica" was fitted out to carry an observation balloon which was used to spot Ottoman targets inland and beyond to the Dardenelles.

A number of battleships were made available to provide heavy gun support to the Anzacs as they landed and moved inland. They were also to disrupt enemy troop movements towards the area under attack.

H.M.S. Ark Royal was offshore and planes from it were used for various spotting and reconnaissance roles above the battlefield.

Sunday, 8 December 2013

A few panels

Here are a few interesting panels from my book

The first one gives a good indication of how eyewitness accounts vary in their description of of how deep the water was that they jumped into when landing. Some chaps said it was very deep and others only knee deep. Interesting to note the type of tucker the soldiers were given, and that they relied on firewood to heat it. This is one of the reasons why within a few weeks the landscape became virtually denuded of vegetation.

This next panel shows the "Sphinx", and also the cliffs of Sari Bair that some of the Anzacs actually climbed to get at the Ottoman defenders. Although Colonel Clark told his men to dump their packs, he decided to carry his to the top. He was half way up and struggling when another younger soldier caught up to him and suggested he leave the pack behind. Clark was determined to take it with him so the younger soldier carried it the rest of the way. Clarke was 57 years old!

This next exert shows the small group of Turks who were found in a small stone hut in Shrapnel Gully. It is said they were surprised in the hut as if they didn't know the Anzacs had landed. It seems a bit odd, but this event happened within the first 15 minutes, or so, of the Landing. So possibly they had been forgotten by their commanders when all the excitement started; and they themselves didn't hear the shooting on the other side of the MacLagen's Ridge, which is directly behind the hut they were in. Strange things can happen.