I am sure that the enemy thought that they had a picked body of marksmen in front of them – well so they had … twenty five New Zealand boys who were picked because they had done a little rabbit shooting or had chased a stag or had become marksmen in their musketry course.
Jesse Wallingford was born in England where he attended military school before enlisting in the British Army, aged 14. He quickly gained distinction as an expert shot. In 1911 the New Zealand government recruited Wallingford to help train New Zealand’s Territorial Force. When war broke out, Wallingford left with the New Zealand Expeditionary Force, and landed at Gallipoli with the Auckland Battalion on 25 April 1915. Two days later Wallingford almost single-handedly held off a Turkish attack at the head of Monash Valley.
I head the charge and go over the ridge. Turks disappear but dreadful fire; men going down all around. I come across the Wellington Machine Gun Section; dead and wounded all around. Just when I had the gun ready the Turks formed up for a charge. I let them form up one rank and then thought it best to wipe them out. This happened three times. Between each they tried every means in their power to find me.
For his ‘conspicuous coolness and resource’, Wallingford received the Military Cross. He was then given command of the New Zealand Infantry Brigade’s machine guns. Wallingford helped to secure Quinn’s Post against attack by positioning machine guns in such a way that they provided excellent covering fire. This made it impossible for Ottoman troops to breach the defence. This effective method was soon also used at Steele’s Post and Courtney’s Post.
The machine gun boys are splendid and the whole force at that point seemed to be pulling together but I do not like the mixing of our boys with the Australians and I suppose they think the same of us.
By mid-May the head of Monash Valley was covered by 11 machine guns, and during the mass Ottoman attack on 19 May, the crossfire wiped out waves of enemy troops. Wallingford then established a specialist force of 50 sharpshooters to combat Ottoman snipers.
I had fifty of the best shots at my disposal – I divided them into two watches and moved them from place to place wherever the most casualties occurred.
Wallingford also conducted his own anti-sniper patrols, and was so successful it was rumoured that the Ottoman Army had placed a bounty on his head. On 10 August, Wallingford’s machine guns helped repel a massed enemy counterattack at the Apex.
When they got to a point which was the perfect enfilade, we let the poor beggars have it. It was such a sight as I had dreamt of, but never expected to see. When they arrived in the ‘death zone’ they went down and never rose, and line upon line followed them. It was magnificent on their part. There were about 150 in each line.
Wallingford became known as the ‘Human Machine Gun’ as well as ‘the hero of Anzac’. He was evacuated from Gallipoli at the end of August due to heart problems. He died in 1944, aged 72.