Gal­lipoli mem­o­ries pic­tured

Southern Gazette (South Perth) - - Community News - Tim Mayne

SOUTH Perth res­i­dent Car­men Reilly says she never re­ally con­nected with An­zac Day on a per­sonal level un­til she read her great-grand­fa­ther’s mem­oirs.

Her great-grand­fa­ther, Ray­mond Arthur Clarke, was one of the first men to land at Gal­lipoli on Sun­day, April 25, 1915.

To cel­e­brate his sac­ri­fice and the cen­te­nary of the land­ing, Curtin Uni­ver­sity is dis­play­ing a large-scale pho­to­graphic mu­ral of the 11th Bat­tal­ion pos­ing on the Great Pyra­mid Giza, three months be­fore they landed at Gal­lipoli.

Car­men said view­ing the en­larged mu­ral was a sur­real ex­pe­ri­ence.

“You can see my great­grand­fa­ther in the mid­dle right of the pho­to­graph hold­ing a white hand­ker­chief over his mate’s shoul­der so he would be eas­ier to spot,” she said.

“The more I re­searched, the more I felt con­nected to him.

“I found out he was born in 1889 in Bun­bury and ex­actly 100 years later I was also born in Bun­bury and at the age of 25, the same age as me, he landed un­der heavy gun­fire on the shores of Gal­lipoli.

With the help of her fam­ily and some trea­sured heir­looms, Car­men de­cided to pay trib­ute to his mem­ory by telling his story to the staff at Curtin Uni­ver­sity prior to the open­ing of the ex­hi­bi­tion.

“I was able to find out graphic de­tails of his ex­pe­ri­ences through read­ing let­ters he wrote in pen­cil to his mother while sit­ting in the trenches,” she said.

“Ray was a sniper at Gal­lipoli and his let­ters to his mother de­scribed the hor­ror he ex­pe­ri­enced.”

In one let­ter, he writes: “My word one does get sick of this trench life. It is just like be­ing caged up like a bird... At one point our trench is 35 yards from the Turks and a great bomb throw­ing com­pe­ti­tion goes on ev­ery night. Our com­pany has to man this par­tic­u­lar part ev­ery fourth night.”

Ray sur­vived Gal­lipoli and went to France to fight in the Somme and Pozieres. He reached the rank of Lieu­tenant and re­ceived the Mil­i­tary Cross for his ser­vice.

He later mar­ried and had nine chil­dren. Through her re­search, Car­men also dis­cov­ered she had an­other di­rect rel­a­tive who fought in Gal­lipoli.

The ex­hi­bi­tion, at John Curtin Gallery, Bent­ley cam­pus, runs un­til Novem­ber 16.­mu­ni­ d436836

Car­men Reilly points out her great-grand­fa­ther Ray­mond Clarke, who fought at Gal­lipoli.

Pic­ture: David Baylis

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