ANZAC - HILL 60 - After consolidation, in clear sign of desperation the 10th Light Horse were called forward. They were still suffering from their disastrous charge at The Nek and had just under 200 men left when they charged forwards at 01.00 on 29 August. Against all the odds they gained a little more ground but the question could they keep it? Corporal Henry Mcnee of the 10th Light Horse Regiment recalled:
"The Turks made a very determined counter-attack from the right and right rear of our position. They came in waves, crying, "Allah, Allah!" and at one time we could see a German officer standing on the parapet of their trench urging the men on, but he was soon put out of action. They came right up to the muzzles of our rifles, and were only kept out by rapid rifle fire and bomb-throwing. They managed to smash down our first barricade, but another one was built at the next traverse and a stand was made from there. Fortunately many of the enemy bombs had long time fuses, and we had time to catch a number of the bombs and throw them back before they exploded. Of course some were missed, exploded among our men and did a great deal of damage." (Corporal Henry Mcnee, 10th Light Horse Regiment, 3rd Australian Light Horse Brigade, AIF)
In charge of blocking off the communication trench leading to the rest of the Turkish trenches was Second Lieutenant Hugo Throssell. He stood watch in the inky darkness while his men hurriedly filled sandbags to create a barricade. Before they could finish the job the Turks made their first tentative move, creeping along the trench to try and locate the Australian position and Throssell is reputed to have calmly shot the first five to appear. Then the real fight began - here are his own words to describe it.
"The Turks are fine fighters and extremely brave men, and all that night they stood one side of this barrier within five yards of us trying to bomb us out. The Turks counter-attacked three times; that does not sound very much, but I can assure you that with the Turks within 5 yards of you with only a couple of feet sandbag barrier between, and with hundreds of them coming at you with fixed bayonets in the front, the chances of coming through that ordeal alive are very remote."
So many bombs were thrown by both sides that the Turks would later call the Hill 60 feature ‘Bomba Tepe’. One of Throssell’s men, Corporal ‘Sid’ Ferrier caught a bomb which exploded before he could hurl it back. He is reputed to have then continued throwing bombs using his other arm before walking back to the aid post. Throssell managed to hold out, but just before dawn the Turks made their final great effort.
"Then they crawled out of the trenches and came straight at us. In the dim light we could see them against the skyline. I passed the word to our fellows, and when the first Turks got within 10 yards we cheered and shouted, and, standing up in the trenches, started firing as fast as we could. There was no thought of cover. We just blazed away until the rifles grew red-hot and jammed, then we picked up the rifles the wounded or killed men had left." (Second Lieutenant Hugo Throssell, 10th Light Horse Regiment, 3rd Australian Light Horse Brigade, AIF)
Corporal Ferrier had his shattered arm amputated, but would die of tetanus on the hospital ship and was buried at sea on 9 September. Throssell would be awarded the VC, but the long awaited dawn brought a bitter disappointment. Although they had captured the Turkish trenches and thereby deprived them of close observation over the junction of Anzac and Suvla in the Susak Kuyu sector, the morning light revealed that the Turks were still in control of a trench system on the slightly higher round summit which would in turn have over-looked the Turkish lines on the northern slopes. The attacks had drained the last of the offensive vitality from the ANZAC Corps. They had nothing more to give and any thoughts of further attacks had to be abandoned at least in the short term. As it was both sides could look out over their own lines, but could see little of their opponent’s hinterland. Both sides had good reason to want to advance just a little further so Hill 60 would remain a bitterly contested battleground for the rest of the campaign.
INTERNET SOURCE: H. Throssell quoted by B. Manera, Hill 60 - the last battle: 29 August 1915,
T. Throssell quoted by S.Snelling, "VCs of the First World War: Gallipoli" (Stroud, Sutton Publishing, 1995), p.224
H. M. Macnee, 'Hand to Hand: Heavy Bomb Fight' (Reveille, 1/8/1932), p.71 E.