Anzac - Sergeant Mehmet's memorial

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SERGEANT MEHMET'S MEMORIAL
 MEHMET ÇAVUŞ ANITI

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IF STONES COULD SPEAK - ANZAC

Anatolian province of Yozgat. Though he became famous during the Gallipoli Campaign, he was a humble soul who refused to wear his medals after the war because,  in his own words,  in his old clothes,  he was not dressed well enough to do so !

"Gallipoli Battlefield Guide", (Istanbul 2006), Gürsel Göncü & Şahin Aldoğan, p. 51

 

 

 


 


Minister of War. Sergeant Mehmet came from the village of Sefalı, located in the township of Çiçekdağ in the central

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... and not far from them the modest memorial of the Turks marked the place where they stopped that charge ....
On the monument was a tablet to a Turkish sergeant who, in the days of fierce fighting at the Nek, held out in some crevice near our lines untill his mates heard his last call : “I die happely for my country, and you, my comrades, will avenge me”

"Gallipoli Mission"
, (Crows Nest 1990), Charles E. W. Bean, p. 342-343

"mehmet çavuş abidesi / Sergeant Mehmet's memorial" reproduced from a period postcard (Başar Eryoner - private collection)

Stories tell that Sergeant Mehmet of the 64th Regiment was killed here but actually he survived the war and became a lieutenant at the direction of Enver Pasha, the Turkish

 

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"arıburnunda mehmetcik abidesi / the Soldiers Monument - in Arıburnu" reproduced from a period postcard (Başar Eryoner - private collection)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

... the story of a Turkish monument that has been renamed several times : the Monument to the martyrs of the 19th Division, the Mehmetçik Monument and the sergeant Mehmet monument.  As the times changed and different names followed one after the other, the people in whose honour the monument was erected and the reason for which it was erected changed as well, ultimately resulting in a muddle of confusion.

a. the Monument to the martyrs of the 19th Division : Şefik Bey, who at that time (*) was the commander of the 19th Division, states that he had this monument built in memory of this last explosion of the mines (*).

(*) 20 December 1915

b. the Mehmetçik Monument : However by then (*) the monument had changed : İts height was the same, but it had been plastered with great care, and the column with embrasures for sharp shooter shields on its four sides had been demolished and a marble column put in its place. On three sides of this column were the important dates of the battles -albeit with misspellings- while the fourth side bore the vertical inscription "MEHMETÇIK", denoting a symbolic Turkish soldier.

(*) 1934


c. the sergeant Mehmet monument : However a further change to the monument is obvious in the photgraphs taken on that day (*) : even though the letters of the MEHMETCIK inscription had remained the same, it was as if its last syllable had been erased and "ÇAVUŞ" (sergeant) written in its place in smaller letters. The Monument is currently known as the "Sergeant Mehmet Monument.

(*) 11th August 1952

The name of the trench at the spot where the monument is located is "sergeant Mehmet's trench".  Consequently, even if the monument does not specifically commemorate him, we can nonetheless conclude that this place is indeed somehow connected to a sergeant mehmet.

"Gallipoli through Turkish Eyes" (Istanbul - 2007), Haluk Oral, p. 367-386

 

 

“Mine crater at the Nek, blown at the evacuation.  It was the firing of this mine an two others at 3.30 am on December 20th that first notified to the Turks that Anzac had been evacuated.  Sixty Turks were killed.  The Turkish monument marks the point where all attempted advances up this part of the range (Baby 700) from the evening of April 25th onwards were stopped by the Turkish soldier”, picture reproduced from "Gallipoli Mission", (Crows Nest 1990), Charles E. W. Bean, p. 234

 

Last updated : 23/02/08

 

“The battlefield at the Nek as Charles Bean found it during his visit in 1919.  The Australians’ trenches are in the foreground and the Turkish lines are identified by the monument which was erected after the Commonwealth forces’ evacuation. Note the skyline, which suggest this photograph was taken in the vicinity of the one taken during the armistice in May 1915”, picture reproduced from “The Nek-The tragic charge of the Light Horse at  Gallipoli”, (Kenthurst-1995), Peter Burness, p. 120.

"Burying the dead on Russell’s Top. Rhododendron Ridge is on the left skyline, Baby 700 in the centre.  The Turkish frontline at The Nek is marked by the large group of standing men. Taken from the Anzac front trenches, this was the scene of the attacks on 27 april, 19 May and 7 August 1915.") period picture reproduced in "Gallipoli-The New Zealand Story", (Auckland 1998), Christopher Pugsley, p. 169.

 

Our men and the Turks began fraternizing, exchanging badges, etc. I had to keep them apart. At 4 o'clock the Turks came to me for orders. I do not believe this could have happened anywhere else. I retired their troops and ours, walking along the line. At 4.7 I retired the white-flag men, making them shake hands with our men. Then I came to the upper end. About a dozen Turks came out. I chaffed them, and said that they would shoot me next day. They said, in a horrified chorus: "God forbid!" The Albanians laughed and cheered, and said: "We will never shoot you." Then the Australians began coming up, and said: "Good-bye old chap; good luck!" And the Turks said: "Oghur Ola gule gule gedejekseniz, gule gule gelejekseniz" ("Smiling may you go and smiling come again"). Then I told them all to get into their trenches, and unthinkingly went up to the Turkish trench and got a deep salaam from it. I told them that neither side would fire for twenty-five minutes after they had got into the trenches.

"Mons, Anzac and Kut", Aubrey Herbert, p. 125