Gallipoli memories pictured
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.
Carmen Reilly points out her great-grandfather Raymond Clarke, who fought at Gallipoli.
Picture: David Baylis