Deniliquin Pastoral Times
Lone Pine planting on anniversary
Today marks 106 years since the infamous Battle of Lone Pine at Gallipoli, which spearheaded the August 1915 offensive in World War I.
To mark the anniversary, a sapling directly related to the original Gallipoli Aleppo Pine based at Lone Pine Cemetery will be planted at the Deniliquin RSL’s Matthews Park today at 3.30pm.
The Deniliquin RSL Sub-branch will be assisted by children attending the Intereach Out of School Hours program.
Sub-branch president Don Ward said it will be the second Lone Pine sapling planted in Deniliquin this year, with one placed in the Waring Gardens in March to replace one which died before garden upgrades began.
He said he was approached by Intereach educator Karen Martin asking for the OOSH children to be involved.
‘‘There won’t be a formal ceremony to mark the planting, but anyone is welcome to come along,’’ Mr Ward said.
‘‘We’ll plant the sapling with help from the children, after which I might share a few words with them about why it is such an important tree.
‘‘This tree will be planted at the gates to the RSL Bowling Club.
‘‘This is a third generation Aleppo Pine. The original one was grown from a pine cone collected from Gallipoli by the late Tony Charlton in 1988. It was from the original Lone Pine after which the Turkish battleground was named.
‘‘We believe that one of two Lone Pine trees planted from the seedlings of Tony’s pine cone is at the Deniliquin RSL Bowling Club. The other was planted in Ballarat.
‘‘I’ve been taking seedlings from the tree at the bowling club to give to various RSL clubs around the area, but I have also kept a few.’’
Lone Pine Cemetery is the location of the Memorial of the Missing in the ANZAC area of Gallipoli, and is situated on the ground captured by the Australians during the Battle.
It commemorates 4224 Australians who have no known grave. There are 652 Australians buried at Lone Pine Cemetery.
The intent of the August offensive at Gallipoli in 1915 was to drive across the Gallipoli Peninsula and included the landings at Suvla Bay, the Battle at The Nek, as well as Chanuk Bair and a number of other attacks.
Lone Pine was an action that featured one of the most famous assaults of the Gallipoli Campaign.
Research compiled by Mr Ward indicates the attack was planned as a diversion for the Australian and New Zealand units that were to break out from the ANZAC perimeter by capturing the heights of Chanuk Bair and Hill 971.
At 5.30am on August 6, 1915, the Australian Artillery Barrage lifted and from concealed trenches in no man’s land the 1st Australian Brigade charged toward the Turkish trenches.
The troops paused on reaching the Turkish trenches, finding that many were covered by timber roofs.
Some fired, bombed and bayoneted from above, some found their way inside and others ran past to the open communication trenches behind.
Others advanced as far as ‘the Cup’, where the Turkish support units were located, and from where the Turks counter attacked.
By nightfall, most of the enemy front line was in Australian hands and outposts had been established in former Turkish communication trenches.
The Australian Engineers dug a safe passage across no man’s land so that reinforcements could enter the captured positions without being exposed to Turkish fire.
Having captured the Turkish trenches, the Australians then tried to hold what they had taken, while the Turks desperately and determinedly tried to throw the Australians out.
From nightfall on August 6 until the night of August 9, a fierce battle ensued underground in the complex maze of Turkish tunnels.
The Australians succeeded in drawing the whole of the immediate Turkish reserve.
Six Australian Battalions suffered nearly 2300 killed and wounded at Lone Pine.
Seven Australians were awarded the Victoria Cross, the highest number ever awarded on an Australian Division for one action.