The flower of the youth of Victoria and Western Australia fell in that attempt. Charles Bean, Historian.
The battle at the Nek was immortalised in the 1981 Australian movie ‘Gallipoli’, directed by Peter Weir. As a boy in high school this movie became standard viewing for our studies in history, but it wasn’t until I stood at the Nek that I fully appreciated the futility of the attack.
On the 7th August 1915 four waves of Australian soldiers were slaughtered in a poorly managed assault on Turkish lines that were well protected by heavy machine gun fire. The artillery barrage finished early for reasons that still remain unknown, allowing the Turks to flood back into the trenches and prepare for our attack. The first wave, 150 men, were cut down within seconds. Two minutes later another 150 men were sent to their doom. During the confusion and chaos it was reported that flares were spotted in the Turkish trenches meaning that some of our men had made it across. The major in charge ordered the third wave to push forwards. Most were cut down before they could exit the trench.
At 5:15am the fourth wave made a premature charge into a hail of bullets. At the conclusion of the ill-fated offensive over 230 men from the 3rd Light Horse Brigade were killed and 150 wounded, all for a piece of land not much wider than a tennis court.
The bodies of many of the soldiers killed in this area lay there until the Allies returned after the war. The cemetery at the Nek was built over no-man’s land and is the final resting place for 320 ANZACs, 300 of which have never been identified.