Blog / Reflections on Gallipoli: Fair Enemies

Reflections on Gallipoli: Fair Enemies

Posted on 6 Mar 2015 by Neall Kriete

Quotes from those in the trenches at Gallipoli:

‘We regarded them as a fair enemy. I had no ill-feelings about them. None of us had. We were fighting them but there was no hate about it, not with any of us.’
Basil Holmes (Captain, 17th Battalion, 5th Brigade, 2nd Division, AIF)

‘When the Armistice was on, I guarantee if there was a pub there we would have been drinking with them.’
– Frank Parker (52nd Infantry, 5th Infantry Battalion, D Company)

‘We used to throw tins of bully beef over to them … and they threw us Turkish cigarettes which we very much appreciated, and things got very friendly … We considered the Turkish soldier a very brave man and a brave fighter.’
– Harry Benson (5th AIF Ambulance)

‘Those who sacrificed themselves for the fate of their countries were admired by each other for their heroic and humanitarian action on both sides.’
Rustu Erdelhun (General, 2nd Army Turkish Land Forces, Caucasus Front)

‘They respected the Australian soldier. They never committed any atrocity or anything like that … And that’s how Johnny Turk happened to be christened Johnny Turk: it’s more a compliment than anything else in saying it that way.’
Jack Nicholson (1st Infantry Battalion)

[Excerpted from Anzac Stories, CD available on ABC Classics, 2 April. Interviews drawn from ABC Audio Archives.]

Reflections on Gallipoli
14–27 March 2015

Richard Tognetti, large-scale theatre specialist, Nigel Jamieson, and one of Australia’s greatest storytellers, Neil Armfield join forces to present this heartfelt exploration of our ANZAC story through music, spoken text and visual imagery, where an Australian’s elegy for his friend brushes shoulders with the words of the father of modern Turkey.

Richard Tognetti Director & Violin
Neil Armfield Director
Nigel Jamieson Deviser
Sean Bacon Video Designer
Matthew Cox Lighting Designer
Taryn Fiebig Soprano
Yalin Ozucelik Actor
Nathaniel Dean Actor