Lone Pine is famous for the Australian attack that began on 6 August 1915, and the ferocious fighting that took place over subsequent days. There were thousands of Australian and Ottoman casualties, seven Victoria Crosses were awarded – one to New Zealand-born Captain Alfred Shout.
This land was taken by the Australians on 25 April 1915, but they lost it almost immediately. They were driven back to the line of trees on the edge of the cemetery. That became the Australian front line until the August offensive.
The aim of this offensive was to take Chunuk Bair and the other high points on the Sari Bair range. A series of secondary attacks along Second Ridge would draw the Ottoman Army’s attention away from these high points. The largest attack would be here at Lone Pine.
The Australians dug a series of underground trenches as close as possible to the Ottoman front line, which was just short of the lone pine tree. These underground trenches were dug just below the ground, so that you could break them open, jump out and run at the enemy. In fact, they called them wombat holes.
Covered by British and New Zealand artillery, the Australians broke out of their underground trenches. They raced forward and were initially surprised because they didn’t expect the Ottoman front trenches to be timbered over.
But the artillery had created enough holes so that some soldiers could drop through them, while others ran to the support trenches at the far end of the cemetery, which hadn’t been covered over. These soldiers jumped in and fought their way back.
Over the next few days, this became a bloody battle of attrition –beneath where you are standing. Some of the fighting was the bloodiest of the entire Gallipoli campaign.
A New Zealander, Bombardier Arthur Currey, described working his way forward: the place was clogged with the dead, and it was obvious men were killed face to face, bayonet to bayonet.
The Australian attack was successful in drawing attention away from the high ground, but it was at a massive cost.
The panels in front of the monument represent Australians who have no known graves. If you look at the sides of the monument, you will see the names of the New Zealanders who went missing between April and August, or who were buried at sea during the campaign.