Lieutenant-Colonel William Malone was a Taranaki lawyer and farmer. He volunteered in August 1914, the day after war was declared. Later that month he was appointed commander of the Wellington Infantry Battalion.
I leave a lucrative practice, a very happy home, a brave wife and children, without any hesitation. I am in God’s hands and no death can be better.
Malone had extremely high standards and, in Egypt, trained his men relentlessly. This initially made him unpopular. On the evening of 25 April 1915, Malone and the Wellington Infantry Battalion landed at Gallipoli.
I hope I shall be able to tell the people of New Zealand what grand fellows their soldier men are: nothing better in the world!
Between June and August, Malone took charge of the Anzac positions at Courtney’s Post and then Quinn’s Post. They were not in a good way.
Took over Courtney’s Post, a very higgledy-piggledy show. People all over the place. Sent Cunningham up to have a look at Quinn’s Post. He reports it in a filthy insanitary condition. I will not take over unless it is thoroughly cleaned up.
Malone was a great believer in good housekeeping.
The art of warfare is the cultivation of domestic virtues.
He once said that if he had roses he would plant them on the terraces because he knew that it would encourage procedure and order.
Busy fixing up terraces for men, who are having a hard time. 48 hours in trenches with practically no sleep, certainly no comfort. I hope to get overhead cover for terraces, which will then be both safe and comfortable.
Malone succeeded, building bomb-proof covers over the forward trenches at Quinn’s Post. He then built a whole series of terraces with sandbag roofs, so that the men could sleep safely yet quickly move forward to the trenches should the Ottoman troops attack. In addition Malone organised the disposal of dead bodies, which were posing a major health risk. He also improved the general hygiene of his men.
Have made a discovery. Small mesh wire netting at openings of shelter keep out most of flies. A joy and relief.
As Malone improved the living conditions for his men, their hold on the strategic posts became stronger.
I gave orders that every rifle shot and bomb from the Turks was to be promptly returned at least twofold. We can and will beat them at their own game.
However, he also became disillusioned with the lack of equipment and the attitude of his superiors.
It is dreadful to think that for want of overhead cover, which I had been begging and begging for, we have lost 4 lives and have eight men injured. Perhaps now they will give me timber and a few nails. The want of supplies of necessities is almost criminal.
Malone’s disenchantment with his superiors brought him into conflict with the commander of the New Zealand Infantry Brigade, Brigadier-General Earl Johnston.
The blame lies with people like many of our Battalion Commanders and our Brigadiers who will not trouble respective headquarters and speak out. I urged our General Johnston to urge Divisional Headquarters to settle and make the best form of equipment. He refused. Whatever headquarters said was the last word. Such is the way of the Imperial Army, I suppose.
Thanks to the efforts of Malone, the Anzac troops held onto Courtney’s and Quinn’s Posts until December. And in August, Malone would play his last role – in the Battle of Chunuk Bair.