08 June 1915

ANZAC - Sapper Cyril Lawrence arrived at Gallipoli on 2 June 1915. He was soon working on digging out the B5 tunnel from the front line which would then form the basis of a new line closing the distance to the Turkish front line. He is one of the great diarists of the campaign.

Photograph: of Lawrence having his hair cut at Anzac. AWM (P02226.020)

"Up at 6.30 - glorious morning. Started on the 8am till 4pm shift this morning. It is much better working in the daytime, as one can get proper sleep at night. The flies are simply the limit and won't let one sleep in the daytime. Our tunnel is still being driven ahead but today it was decided that a new firing line was to be formed along a front 90 feet out in front of the firing line, and with this in view we started two tunnels running right and left on the 90 feet mark in the main B5 tunnel. I have charge of the tunnel running towards the left and have four infantrymen under me. They are supposed to do the work and me to supervise, but it generally ends up that they do all the grumbling and we do all the work. Today we went in 15 feet for the 24 hours. Of course on these works, work is carried on day and night and only ceases when we are listening for the sound of enemy picking. We Australians and New Zealand armies who hold this position are badly placed for everything necessary. We cannot possibly by any means get into an absolutely safe position, as we only hold a few mountainous ridges and their shells can get us anywhere; they come from all directions. As for water there is practically nil and what little we do get here has to be obtained from wells which supply only a small quantity which is unfit for drinking unless boiled. Nearly all our water is brought here in barges. We get about one water bottle full (1 quart) per day. This has to do for washing as well, but we always use the sea. All water rations and goods, ammunition, shells etc. has to be manhandled right up to the trenches - in some cases 500 to 600 feet up. The poor infantry chaps either sleep in the firing line itself or else in the support trenches just at the rear of the former. They have no dugouts like we have but just lie in the trenches anywhere and anyhow. Each man has also to cook his own rations, get his own firewood and everything. They do 24 hours in the firing line, 24 hours on fatigues and in the support trenches and then another 24 hours in the firing line and so on, but go where you will you can't possibly get out of the range of bullets etc. Our rations are as follows. Breakfast: tea & sugar, no milk, six biscuits per day (hard as Hell too), a small piece of cheese, ¼lb jam and one rasher of bacon. Lunch: tea only. Tea: stew or bully beef and tea, no milk. When one first arrives here with his blood in good condition and feeling fit he does not notice the food, but after a while it gets absolutely unbearable." (Sapper Cyril Lawrence, 2nd Field Company, Australian Engineers, AIF).


C. Lawrence (edited by R. East) The Gallipoli Diary of Sergeant Lawrence of the Australian Engineers, 1st AIF, 1915, (Melbourne, Melbourne University Press1981), pp.26-27