Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Arrival in Egypt

One hundred years ago this week the Australians and New Zealanders of the first convoy arrived in Egypt after their long journey by sea.

British and Indian troops already garrisoned the Suez area, so the ANZACs were not required to do that task here. The ANZACs  were supposed to go on to England to train and organise before heading to the fighting in France. However, the allocated accommodation in England had been virtually washed away by torrential downpours, so it was decided to waylay the  force in Egypt until conditions improved in England.  This news was received with bitter disappointment. 

Saturday, 8 November 2014

HMAS Sydney vs SMS Emden, 09 Nov 1914

One hundred years ago today Australia's most significant battle up to that time, was fought. It was between HMAS Sydney and the German raider SMS Emden.

I have already briefly covered some aspects of this battle on a previous post:

The following pictures are from my book which briefly describes the battle :-

For a more detailed account, go to this site:-


Saturday, 1 November 2014

The first ANZAC troop convoy leaves Albany, WA.

One hundred years ago today, the first convoy of Australian and New Zealand troops departed Albany bound for England and the war in Europe.

Leading up to this were a number of events which were to effect the fate of this convoy.

Many years previously, the European nations had split into two distinct groups - Russia, France and England formed the Triple Entente; while Austria-Hungary leagued with Germany to form the Central Powers.

The Ottoman Empire was under the control of a group of "Young Turks" including Enva Pasha, since a coup a few years earlier. With their Empire in decline, the Ottoman's looked for a suitable ally.

Russia and the Ottoman Empire were still enemies from the days of the Crimean war (1850's) so this made it almost impossible for Turkey to align with the Triple Entente so they secretly signed a pact with Germany and became their ally.

The Ottoman's ignored the ultimatum.

Meanwhile in the southern hemisphere the threat posed by the German Pacific Fleet had been removed, and Australia and New Zealand could begin to move their troops by sea in readiness for the journey to Europe

HMS Minotaur of the British Royal Navy also escorted their convoy.

note: While I use the nickname "Kiwis" here this term in the early part of the 20th Century was not generally used in reference to people from the "Land of the Long White Cloud". Instead they were usually referred to as "Fern Leaves" 
or "En-Zeds".

On the 1st of November 1914, the combined New Zealand and Australian convoys departed Albany for the War in Europe. The troops all cheered excitedly as they weighed anchor.
This large convoy consisted of 38 troop ships and was escorted by four warships - The Japanese warship Ibuki, HMS Minotaur of the British Royal Navy and two Australian battleships - HMAS Melbourne and HMAS Sydney.

 They sailed across the Indian Ocean toward Colombo, Ceylon (now called Sri Langka), aware that the German raider "Emden" was still operating in these waters. The Emden had built a reputation as a dangerous foe and if the convoy was attacked there could be a disaster.

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Now in Digital format for download

The Anzac Legend book is now in digital format (36.7 mb pdf) for download. This makes it much cheaper and affordable for people to read.

While I personally like to read a physical book, I understand that newer trends have evolved and some people prefer the digital format. The added bonus of this is that the costs of producing the book are greatly reduced. These costs are not just in printing and distribution to bookshops, but also in postage anywhere in the world that make the book prohibitive to prospective buyers.

Anyone who buys the digital book and wishes to later buy the hard copy version will have the cost of the digital subtracted from the price of the hard copy. That sort of makes the digital version a way of previewing the book before purchasing a paper version.

The price of the digital book is US$9.99, plus $1 Tax. This converted to the current (at time of writing) Australian Dollar is $12.35. Even at twice the price you would be getting great value.

The payments can be made by either credit card or PayPal.

To purchase go to the "Store" at the Wotsleft Books website: wotsleftbooks

or directly click on this link  https://sellfy.com/p/LP4z/ 

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

14 September 1914 - The AE1 lost at sea

100 years ago the Australian submarine AE1 set out on a patrol from the port of Rabaul, New Britain, on the 14th of September 1914. She was due to return that afternoon but did not show up. At 8pm search vessels were sent out, but no sign was ever found.
Possibly the AE1 suffered the same disastrous mishap that the AE2 was to endure before it was lost in the Sea of Marmara in April 1915.

The AE1 was lost with a compliment of 35 men aboard, including the captain, and was the most severe loss Australia had suffered in the war up to that time.

The AE1's sister ship, the AE2, was to play a major role in the landings at Gallipoli on the 25 April 1915.

To read more detail:

Thursday, 11 September 2014

11 September 1914 - The Battle of Bita Paka

One hundred years ago Australian troops were engaged in their first land action against a German force in the Great War. It occurred on the island of New Britain and became known as the Battle of Bita Paka.

  Sailors and soldiers of the AN&MEF (Australian Naval and Military Expeditionary Force) landed near Rabaul to capture the German wireless stations near there. Initially they met no resistance, but as they advanced inland the German force of local Melanesian natives led by German officers attempted to ambush them. The ambush was foiled and the German force defeated.
  After requesting reinforcements the Australians continued on, along the way they fought a couple of brief battles in which the first fatalities from direct enemy action occurred.

  Able Seaman Bill Williams was mortally wounded and stranded in a forward position so the medical officer, Captain Brian Pockley, went to bring him in. Pockley was then shot by a sniper. Both men were evacuated back to the naval ships but later died of their wounds.

  After advancing further and encountering more opposition in the form of snipers, a large pipe mine and a large enemy trench, which was captured at bayonet point after a charge, the Australian force cleared the area and took possession of the wireless mast they found and capturing all the enemy opposition.

This first battle by Australian troops was a complete success, but almost completely forgotten nowadays.

To read a detailed account go to this web page:


Friday, 5 September 2014

History repeating itself?

One hundred years ago, our governments were sending troops off to war with the ideal that they should stop large nations (Germany and Austria - Hungary) bullying and taking over smaller nations (Serbia and Belgium). Australia and New Zealand, in the antipodes, did not hesitate to get involved in the conflict and promised troops and ships immediately.
Today 100 years later the big bully (Russia) is intimidating and threatening to take part/all of a smaller country (Ukraine). Not much has changed, even the relative locality of the conflict is in the same region.
This time Australia and other nations imposed sanctions on Russia. Businesses are moaning because they are losing profits, and people are asking "Should we get involved in a war so far away?"
Well - Should we help a country in trouble on the other side of the world?
Inadvertently we became involved, along with the Netherlands, when the Russian equipped separatists shot down the Malaysian airliner recently.
The Great War started close to this region 100 years ago. Ukraine (Blue and yellow).
The terrorist force invading Iraq (Red). The countries nearby must be nervous.

On another front - the scourge of a terrorist force have invaded Iraq from Syria. The Iraq government asked the USA for assistance to stop the advance. Australia was asked to assist and has done so. Australians are beginning to cry about supplying tucker to the Iraqie refugees besieged by cowardly murderers, and supplying Iraqie weapons to Kurds who are actually fighting the despicable cowards. The leader of our Green Party appeared on TV criticising the government for aiding Iraq. Can you believe that? They are the first ones to complain about human rights abuses, yet they can't put politics aside to support the government as it helps another. Incredible! To the credit of the opposition Party they have backed the government.
The people around the world criticised the Yanks for not helping soon enough. Now after becoming involved they are again being criticised for helping Iraq by targeting said terrorists with air strikes. It appears they are damned if they do, and damned if they don't.
It's a shame people can't support their government's decisions when they are helping a beleaguered neighbour, especially when the oppressors are so obviously doing the wrong thing.

Many people are concerned about refugees in Australia at the moment. If these bully forces continue to operate without opposition, there will be many more unfortunate people knocking on our doors. Refugees are not happy to leave their homelands unless they are forced out by threatened violence and hardships. We should do what we can to ensure the innocent victims can stay in their own homes safely, without fear.
I hope we never have another terrible conflict like we were involved in 100 years ago, and the best way to prevent it happening again is to nip it in the bud as soon as it develops. When something is so obviously wrong nations need to act quickly as a community to stop it becoming too big a problem.

To prevent what occurred 100 years ago happening again today, nations should quickly combine to let the bullies know that they can't just run amok doing whatever they want.

This is not a political statement, but rather a highlight that similar problems exist today just as they did 100 years ago.

Monday, 25 August 2014

100 years ago - August. The first ground actions by Aust and NZ troops.

At this time 100 years ago, Australia and New Zealand had forces overseas fighting the Germans in the Pacific.

Only two weeks after the declaration of war, troops from our countries were deploying overseas to take on the German's. 

These actions took place during August, September and October 1914.

Friday, 8 August 2014

100 Years ago-this week

While the countries of Europe manoeuvred their armies, Australia and New Zealand began to create their's.

Australian gunners are recorded as firing the British Empire's first shot of the War, on the 05 August 1914. Apparently a British destroyer was attributed with this deed as it fired at something like 10.30 am, and the Australian gun fired at 12.45 pm, but when you take into account the Time Zones, Australia's shot occurred a few hours before the British one. 
Read about it at these links ...

I do not cover this in my book, as I was not aware of it; but other events outlined in "The Anzac Legend" are as follows ...

Bridges became the commander of the 1st Australian Division.
C.E.W. Bean spelt "Labour Party" in this manner in his Official History, leading me to suspect that it is the original spelling of the title back at the beginning of the 20th century (page 16 of "The Story of Anzac".

Godley began to organise the New Zealand Expeditionary Force (NZEF)
and would lead it overseas.

Monday, 4 August 2014

The Beginning of the Great War

After the failure of weeks of diplomatic negotiations, bullying and 
threats the situation developed quickly like this...

Tuesday, 15 July 2014

100 years ago - The Shot Heard Around The World

At this time 100 years ago the seeds of The Great War were being sown.

Even the horses read newspapers.

Gavrilo Pincip, the assassin, was a member of "The Black Hand",
and his attack was the second attempt by them to
assassinate the Archduke on this day. 

To read the full story follow this link: 

Friday, 13 June 2014

Gallipoli Air War

I'm currently reading "Gallipoli Air War" by Hugh Dolan.

It's a really good book! Very interesting and written in an informal, open manner. This is the first book I've read by Mr Dolan (apart from "Gallipoli: The Landing". Z Beach True Comics), and I'm finding it most interesting.
It deals with a part of the Gallipoli campaign of which I was totally unaware, and is seldom referred to.
I knew their were planes operating on both sides, but was ignorant to the extent of their involvement.

A panel (on page 49) of "The Anzac Legend"
Hugh's writing style is very laid back and relaxed, making it very easy to read and identify with the characters involved. Of course it is a historical account, so the "characters" are actual people and not fictional. Hugh's familiarity and fondness for flying is easily felt as he describes the flying machines and their sorties over enemy territory under enemy ground fire; scouring the country side for intelligence, enemy troops, enemy artillery, spotting for the Naval ships, bombing raids, etc. Great stuff!
Hugh occasionally relates the story of nearly a century ago with his own experiences as an Intelligence Officer in the RAAF  in Iraq during the recent conflict there. This quite often highlights that over that period of time quite a few things haven't changed one iota, and today's airmen have the same, or very similar, obstacles to overcome. Some things never change.

If you get a chance - read the book. I'm sure you will enjoy it.

Saturday, 31 May 2014

Did Bridges influence the morning advance on the 400 Plateau?

Bridges on the 400 Plateau (page 60)

      As I read and compiled this part of the book, and the timings of certain events were placed in their correct sequence, it became apparent to me that the advance from the 400 Plateau in the early part of the morning may have been initiated by General Bridges. He went to the 400 Plateau very soon after coming ashore to find his brigade commanders and find out the situation.
    From the time he reached M’Cay’s Hill he became anxious about the lack of forward movement by the troops he saw, and concerned that Ottoman reserves would arrive before the Australians could reach their objectives.
 Bean says Bridges decided to check the Australian front line and began to move along it. It was at this time roughly that Major Bennett (6 BN) ordered his troops forward (he told Bean he went forward no later then 0830.); and soon after Colonel MacLagen ordered the 9th Battalion forward. There seems to have been a domino effect happening  around this time which starts in the south and moves northwards. It’s as if Bridges' movement north was a catalyst for units to advance. Bridges and MacLagen were certainly on the 400 Plateau at the same time, and it would have been their priority at this stage to meet and discuss the situation.

My imagination tells me that perhaps Bridges saw MacLagen and asked what the hold up was. MacLagen may have said he was waiting for support, to which Bridges may have said “I’ll get you some support, if you just get moving!” With that he headed back to the beach and sent Wanliss up.
This sounds feasible to me, however Bean says that Bridges and MacLagen never met on the 400 Plateau that morning, even though Bridges’ intention was to meet with his brigade commanders and find out how things were going. But instead, strangely Bridges suddenly abandoned his tour and ran down to LTCOL Wanliss (5th Bn) who he found just landing in Anzac Cove, and ordered he send all his available troops up to support the front line immediately.

Whether Bridges had some effect on the decisions made on the 400 Plateau is purely and totally my conjecture with no evidence to support it, other then a coincidental chain of events. But there does appear to be some missing details to the story here. In my book I have followed the narrative as related in the Official History.

Thursday, 29 May 2014

Available at The AWM

The Australian War Memorial now has stocks of "The Anzac Legend" for sale on the shelves in the  AWM Shop, and also online at


Tuesday, 20 May 2014

Update for Wotsleft Books website

I've just connected PayPal to the web store at


So prospective buyers of The Anzac Legend have the convenience and security of quick and easy shopping.

Monday, 5 May 2014

Various Map Types

One of the features of the book is the variety of map types which enhance the readers comprehension of where events are occurring.

Hourly updates on the battle's progress are also supplied for the action on the first day. 

To order the book visit the Wotsleft Books website www.wotsleftbooks.weebly.com

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Off and Running

I have just picked up my printed books.
They look fantastic!
Sunnyland Press did a beaut job.

Get 'em while they're hot!

To order go to