09 June 1915

ANZAC - Quinn’s Post had become a feared death-trap. Overlooked from all sides it was considered fatal to even peak over the top for fear of the Turkish snipers. Sapping by both sides had reduced No Man’s Land at some points to just a matter of a few yards or some disputed barricade. Bombs rained down with just wire netting to stop them from landing in the trench alongside the long-suffering garrison.

Sleep was almost impossible and the defenders were soon haggard wrecks of men worn down to a frazzle in just a few days. That was the situation when the New Zealanders of the Wellington Regiment were assigned the defence of Quinn's on 9 June. There could have been no better choice. Colonel William Malone was a man of the old school with a veritable mania for bringing order out of what he perceived to be chaos.

"There is an awful lot of work to do. Such a dirty dilapidated, unorganised post. Still I like work and will revel in straightening things up. Quite a length of the trench unoccupiable, owing to bomb throwing superiority of Turks. No places for men to fall in. The local reserve is posted too far away and yet there is at present no ground prepared on which they could be comfortably put. I selected a new headquarters shelter for myself, and 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."

Working to a clear plan, with the inner steel to take his officers and men with him, Malone made a huge difference to the situation at Quinn's. One man could make a difference.

"We soon got the upper hand of the Turk riflemen and bomb throwers, and have completely changed the position. We have terraced the ground so that the troops in reserve are together instead of being dotted about in all sorts of holes. We have made roads to the top of the hill at the back so that we can counter-attack. Fire positions have been fixed for the supporting troops and in less than a minute we can sheet the hillcrest with lead from 200 rifles, the men being side by side in lines under their NCOs and officers. I got two machine guns mounted to sweep half of our front which before had to depend on some fifty rifles to stop the Turks who had only some 15 yards to cross to get from their trench to ours. Above all the men are inspired with the conviction that they have superiority over the Turks and are getting a fair run for their lives. We have so wrecked and racked the Turks trenches, that they now have the 'dread' and have almost abandoned their front trenches opposite us. Improvements made every day, overhead cover erected over terraces, making them sun and shrapnel and bomb proof. Blankets nailed along west fronts keep out the glare and heat of the westerly sun and can be rolled up at night, out of the way. The post has become absolutely the best in the defence and the safest." (Lieutenant-Colonel William Malone, Wellington Battalion, New Zealand Brigade, A&NZ Division).

SOURCE:
G. Malone edited by J. Crawford, No Better Death: The Great War Diaries and Letters of William G Malone (Auckland: Reed Publishing Ltd, 2005), pp.236-237