September 2012 Despatches: Gallipoli-2015 News

Posted by Dr John Basarin on September 24, 2012

Dear friend,

Greetings from Gallipoli-2015 and another issue of Despatches, the Anzac cruise and tours newsletter.

This month, you'll notice our usual features have changed ... just a little. From now on, you'll find every Despatches edition includes a section titled 'This month in 1915'. In each issue we'll cover an event (some key and other less well known) to try and complete something of the puzzle that is the Gallipoli campaign.

If you're following our Facebook page, or even the Gallipoli-2015 Blog, you may already have seen the call to those tracing a particular ANZAC soldier. More details are included here, along with some tempting cruise cuisine, fascinating tales and an interesting coincidence.

Shrapnel Valley, Gallipoli, Turkey

As always, if you have an idea for future Despatches, please let us know. In the meantime, we hope you enjoy this issue's feature articles:

Gallipoli cruising - Delectable on board fine dining
Hot off the press - Keeping the memories alive
The voice of Anzac - Sir William Throsby Bridges
This month in 1915 - Keith Murdoch comes to town
On the radar - Albany voyage re-enactment

The steady flow of cruise bookings continues. Category 1 cabins are sold out and some others have limited availability remaining. If you haven't booked your 2015 travel yet, please don't delay. Just a $1,000 deposit will secure your cabin of choice, and the experience of a lifetime.

Gallipoli cruising

Aboard the Gallipoli cruise, passengers will enjoy an exciting choice of fine dining. A sumptuous selection of tasty Mediterranean fare and refined international cuisine is available in all the ships' eateries.

Cruise ship waiter.

Both formal and casual dining is provided and the onboard boulangerie provides fresh bread, pastries and other delightful bakery items daily. Quality is scrupulously controlled to ensure only choice produce reaches the table.

From light to full breakfast, a quick lunch or gala dinner, a lavish range of fare is offered that caters to every taste. Of course, to ensure any special dietary needs are provided, passengers will be asked to advise this information closer to departure.

Just some of the delectable dishes served on past MSC cruises include:

Bastoncini di polenta
baked polenta fingers made with cooked corn meal, covered with chopped bell peppers and mozzarella cheese, then gratinated and served with a marinara sauce

Grilled Cajun style Mahi Mahi
seasoned with Cajun spices and lime, then grilled and served with a compound BBQ butter

Pear Belle Helene
vanilla ice cream, pear, chocolate sauce and whipped cream

The voice of Anzac

"We come to beginnings only at the end." Sir William Throsby Bridges

William Bridges' legacy extends from the Kapooka training company named in his honour to memorials on the grand Royal Military College of Canada arch and at St John's Anglican Church, Canberra. Renowned as unbending and aloof, he was awarded a KCB knighthood after his death, about which Scottish writer, Crompton Mackenzie, noted:

"I overtook Pollen (Lt-Col S H Pollen CMG) Sir Ian Hamilton's Military Secretary, talking to three Australians, not one of whom was less than six feet tall. Pollen, who had a soft, somewhat ecclesiastical voice, was saying. "Have you chaps heard that they've given General Bridges a posthumous KCMG (sic)?" "Have they?" one of the giants replied. "Well, that won't do him much good where he is now, will it, mate?"

Bridges landed with the 1st Australian Division on 25 April 1915. A furious day of fighting ensued and, although he recommended a retreat, was ordered to hold Anzac beach.

On 15th May, he was mortally wounded by a sniper. The only Australian WWI soldier to be so honoured, his body was returned home.

Florence Rodway's posthumous portrait of General Bridges.

Bridges was buried in the foothills of Mt Pleasant, Canberra on 3rd September, 1915. The same day Keith Murdoch arrived at Gallipoli.

Hot off the press

Gallipoli-2015 is fortunate to have a panel of expert historians, who will no doubt fill in many (very human) gaps during the cruise. But if you are looking to trace family, relatives or even a sweetheart who fought or fell at Gallipoli, help is at hand.

This month, project leader Dr John Basarin, has invited all those hoping to trace an ANZAC to get in touch. With a number of published Gallipoli texts already in circulation, he has a wealth of archives and holds records of all the soldiers who served and died during the campaign.

As time goes by, piecing together the people and events that have passed into Gallipoli history becomes much more complex. Especially for those who may have lost a family member or relative, sometimes the echo of time has faded.

Dr John Basarin

With the help of Dr Basarin, you may be able to trace an elusive ANZAC digger, perhaps even put a human face to someone you've only heard about. Or better still pinpoint an exact location of the fallen.

Dr Basarin can be messaged at our Facebook page or contacted by email at

This month in 1915

On September 3, 1915, Charles Bean (the Australian War Correspondent at Gallipoli) made an entry in his diary ... "Keith Murdoch arrived today". It was start of a chain-reaction that ultimately unravelled the campaign, resulting in a withdrawal by Christmas.

The father of media mogul Rupert, Keith Murdoch was a reporter with the Sydney Sun and Melbourne Herald when he was posted to London. During a stopover in Cairo, Keith managed to get permission to go to Gallipoli. There he found things were not as rosy as were being portrayed in the media.

Keith Murdoch in London, 1915

Murdoch met another reporter, Ashmead-Bartlett, at the Island of Lemnos who was critical of Ian Hamilton and other British generals. He gave Keith a letter to take to London, hoping he could avoid censorship and deliver it directly to the British Prime Minister.

Sadly, the letter was confiscated on the way. However, based on memory and what he personally had seen and heard, Murdoch wrote his own letter to the Australian Prime Minister, Andrew Fisher. That letter did find its way to the British Prime Minister, Herbert Asquith.

The dramatic events that resulted include the sacking of General Ian Hamilton as Allied Forces Commander and eventual withdrawal of ANZAC troops (by 20 December 1915), putting an end to the campaign.

A copy of Ashmead-Bartlett's original letter can be viewed online.

On the radar

The Australian government is currently exploring possible Anzac Centenary commemorative events recognising the first convoy that left Albany, Western Australia. Tenders are currently open and there has even been some discussion about a possible voyage re-enactment from Albany.

Travellers about our Gallipoli cruise are already preparing to retrace the ANZAC voyage from Lemnos Island. Perhaps this key itinerary feature didn't just capture the Lemnos Mayor's imagination!

If you like receiving Despatches, please pass it on to family and friends to enjoy. There's also our Facebook community, where you'll be the first to see Gallipoi-2015 updates.

With cruise categories beginning to sell out, it's more important than ever to let friends and family know about Gallipoli-2015. So don't forget to pass Despatches on. Join our Facebook community too, where you'll get Gallipoli-2015 updates as and when they happen.

Kind regards,

Marcus Falay