11 June 1915

HELLES - One very enjoyable, but little known, book containing Gallipoli material is Ivan Heald: Hero and Humourist. Sub-Lieutenant Ivan Heald, Hood Battalion, 2nd Brigade, RND, was a journalist who wrote a series of light pieces for the Daily Express describing his 'adventures' and varied musings on life before the war. On the outbreak of war he had enlisted in the ranks and trained with the Royal Naval Division at Crystal Palace. Commissioned in February 1915 he was sent out as a reinforcement to join the Hood Battalion in June 1915.

I like Heald's gentle sense of humour. Here he reflects on how quickly he got used to the horrors of trench warfare in the front line at Helles.

"It has been fierce work, but now we are out of the trenches for a rest, and reinforcements are coming in. Ever since we landed we have lived under shell fire and bullets, but I am quite fit and cheery, and I am pleased to find that I never have the slightest qualm of fear. It is astonishing how one can look at things here without a tremor. The other night I was directing the digging of a trench, and one of my men called my attention to the fact that I was sitting on a dead Turk. Yesterday I went on eating my breakfast while three men were blown sky high just a few yards away. It was very weird that night I was digging the trenches because we were so near we could hear the Turks in front of us calling on Allah - long wails, for all the world like crying babies."

 Heald survived Gallipoli but volunteered as an observer with the Royal Flying Corps and was shot down and killed aged 33 on 4 December 1916.


I. Heald, Ivan Heald: Hero and Humorist (London: C. Arthur Pearson Ltd, 1917), p.160