AUSTRALIAN Regional Media photojournalist Stuart Cumming has spent the week filing stories from Turkey, in the lead up to Anzac Day centenary commemorations.

Stuart will file an online blog from each of his days in Gallipoli, and will also reflect back on the diaries 100 years ago of Australian solder Vivian Henry Noble.

Day 6, April 25: The build up to this morning's service was busy. People who I had unsuccessfully been chasing for stories became apparent to me in the hours after midnight.

So I got a few yarns before rushing down to the commemorative site to beat the 4.30am lockout. Once inside I found a spot at the top of a lighting tower overlooking the entire site.

It was a special place to watch the build-up presentations, performances and service proper.

I've been writing all week about people's emotional reactions to being on the ground where so many men lost their lives. Watching the cliffs and hills slowly appear from darkness certainly added to my understanding of the campaign.


Next was a trip to Lone Pine for the Australian service. I thought I was being responsible when I decided to wear a big pair of boots for what I knew was going to be a long haul.

If it rained, I would be sweet. But the skies stayed clear, which was good, but the boots and my feet are no longer together because they like each other.

They are there out of necessity. They hate each other.

Prince Harry poses with crowd members before the Lone Pine Australian service.
Prince Harry poses with crowd members before the Lone Pine Australian service. Stuart Cumming

Luckily a media contingent of New Zealand media types had space on a shuttle bus that dropped me at the historic battlefield before continuing up to Chunuk Bair.

Prince Charles and Prince Harry, who were also at the dawn service, met with crowd members before the sombre Australian service.

Prince Harry was particularly friendly, chatting with veterans as well as their families. A highlight of my Anzac Day was another entry into the people who I owe lifts list. 

A little Turkish fellow named Ardam doubled back after seeing me walking down Artillery Rd at Gallipoli by myself. Noting the agony which my feet were in,  I jumped on the back of his scooter and he drove me down Artillery Rd to Beach Cemetery.

He negotiated the rocky, washed out and at times steep gravel road. I didn't fall off. Hard to imagine more contrasting imagery 100 years apart. I've fallen asleep three times while writing this. Better go do what my body is telling me.

Scooter rider and Good Samaritan Ardam makes a quick stop at the bottom of Artillery Rd.
Scooter rider and Good Samaritan Ardam makes a quick stop at the bottom of Artillery Rd. Stuart Cumming


Sunday April 25, 1915: Woke to the thunder of the guns bombarding the Dardanelles.

Well I've been and gone and done it- I stopped a bullet- in the back too. It's still in me- it went in at the left shoulder and went across my back and it's to be seen on the right side of my neck jusht where it joins the body.

To describe a day's work:- The 3rd Brigade landed about 5.30am under shell and rifle fire and without firing a shot charged the Turks out of their position on a line of steep hills rising straight up from the beach, with fixed bayonets.

They did magnificent work. They kept the Turks on the run until they got them about two miles inland.

There the Turks had a strongly fortified position and the Aust. had to retreat to a line of hills about a mile from the shore.

Our battalion was landed about 7.30 under shrapnel and shellfire.

One of our boats was (hit) but I don't think anyone was hurt. We got ashore and we were taken straight up to the firing line.

We struck the centre of the line and just as we got there the Turks made an attack. We were on the reverse side of the hill and couldn't see anything but we could hear the bullets whining overhead just as if you hit a tele-phone wire they sound like.

Felt a bit nervy. We lay there about half an hour and then we were sent across to reinforce the left. We were wanted badly.

We got about 100 yards over the brow of the hill and found some cover in a watercourse. They started to get it hot about this time in the left flank, about 150 yards from us and of course we got our share.

Hey got right round on the left and not only had us in…. but were firing from the left rear. Word came along that we had to hold the ridge we were on at all costs to save the Brigade on the left.

Nothing exciting happened from 10.30 in the morning except the bullets overhead till about 2.30, when they got a couple of machine guns on us as well as heavy rifle fire. Men were going down rapidly and about 4 o'clock they got our captain.

He was only a yard or so away from me. The Turks maxim guns were some class altho (sic) from all we hear they were firing explosive bullets.

They were also firing dum-dums and ordinary rounds. Anyway at about 5 o'clock I was lying in the front of the trench looking round for a Turk or two (They were hard to see, I only got a good view of one at close range and got him at 450 yards) when all of a sudden I felt as if a ton weight had hit me in the (illegible) and was pressing me into the ground.

I left my pack and rifle and crawled back and got it dressed and then went to the beach and was taken off to the City of Benares, where they dressed my shoulder again and made us comfortable for the night.