A day in the life of an ANZAC Soldier at Gallipoli

The dry soil under my feet crumbled under the immense amount of pressure of us - us being many, many ANZACS. The bright orange sun was beginning to awake, and there was no going back now. We didn’t have a plan, there was none in the recipe, but we all knew what we had to accomplish, one word: VICTORY. I turned my head slightly, shading my eyes from the bright glare of the sunrise and smiled at the sight of the red, bloodshot petals of the Poppy dancing perfectly in time with the warm, Turkish summer breeze.

I could see the look of nervousness on everybody’s faces, but adrenaline surged through my bloodstream, pumping through my veins. Every single soldier there was different. Some were men, most were boys, some were tall, and some were short. But together, we all had one definite thing in common- we were all ready and willing to sacrifice our lives for our young country. But boy oh boy, none of us were going down without one hell of a fight.

 

Now above us was a clearing that we needed to pass to get to the Turkish. To get to the clearing, I needed to climb the tall, steep and looming cliff walls. With a hand grenade in one pocket, and a pistol in the other, I placed my hot and blistered hands on the wall. I heaved my way up the cliff, dragging my whole body weight up. Finally, the top of the cliff was at my hands and I took one final push and I was over.. and in the clearing. But the clearing wasn’t empty as we expected, not at all. The Turks were everywhere. One single word echoed again and again through the air, making the hairs on the back of my neck stand up...AMBUSH!!

ANZAC met eye to eye with Turk, and Turk met eye to eye with ANZAC. For a split second, the whole world stood still. My heart skipped a beat, and there wasn’t a sound. But all of a sudden, the Turkish Peninsula of Gallipoli snapped into action. We all started sprinting as fast as our tired and overused legs would take us. I could feel the air blowing strongly at my face, like a huge gust of wind whipping into me as I took stride after stride across the soil, crushing the vivid red petals beneath my feet. Ear piercing screams filled my ears as I kept running. Huge explosions tore through the earth, taking lives one by one until nothing was left. People were dropping left, right and centre- their bodies giving up.. knowing that their time on

earth was over. All I could do was watch as both my enemies and friends dropped to the ground in agonizing pain. I couldn’t look away. There was a strange ache in my heart and I had trouble breathing. But I forced myself to keep running, making sure to avoid the pools of crimson

blood scattered all around me. I was well aware of the tears streaming down my face, and as I looked around, I could see the same tears on every soldier. For we were all grieving, grieving the lives we lost, the lives we would never be able to get back.

But before I could run any further, a gigantic bomb hit and I was knocked to the ground. I could feel my heart pounding in my chest, and blood streaming down my face. Beside me was a Turkish soldier making the same wheezing sounds, struggling for oxygen. We locked eyes, and there was an immediate bond. But it was just too late, for the pain in my body was becoming increasingly crippling. I took one last gulp of air and closed my eyes, praying that one day we could all live in peace, without any fear. And as I drifted away from life, I looked at the poppies, collecting the blood of “former” enemies into their petals. I smiled, as together Turkish and ANZAC whispered: Lest...

We... Forget.

Chi Mai Nguyen

Chi Mai Nguyen, Year 6 of St Michael’s Catholic Primary School Berwick, Champion title of the Lion Club Junior Public Speaking competition.

The competition is organised annually by the Lion Club District V3 (which covers the Victoria East area from Mallacoota to the Mornington Peninsula), called “Junior Public Speaking Competition-grade 5/6”.