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pursuits us on all fronts, soft torture of the soldier, here as well, which alternates with the
torments of the oriental dusts.
The growing morning give them an immaterial appearance and made them, -strangely- larger than man. Ghosts of a very pure knightly sentiment, they commanded respect and it touched us deeply.They had been picking up their wounded in no man’s land and we let them do it hoping they would also collect their dead. These terrible unhumain focus points which are these corpses in no man’s land, dissolving in this terrible stench under the heath.
“French front line at Kereves Dere”, picture reproduced from “Gallipoli”, Robert Rhodes James, p. 231.
In the early hours of the morning, the Turks have returned some of our wounded up to our parapet. They were dressed in fatality with a slight colour of mud, the famous mud that with
has led our battalion into battle. A vision. Tall, slender, white, revolver in his hand like a sceptre of
sovereignty, symbol of the dignity of a race. Everybody crawled out of the
trenches and started moving forward. The Turks withdrew and those who had
not been able to rush and hide in the communication trench were falling in
large numbers. But once again we did not have sufficient men to occupy the
trench and hold it in front of their second line.We returned to ours.
Then, a turk got up. Calmly he went back to his post and started looking for something which he then showed us. It were his shoes. He was so extre-mely calm that none of us wanted to shoot him.
“Fights in the Orient”, (Paris-1917), Captain Canudo, p. 55.
back to silent witnesses
"French casualty”, picture reproduced from “Gallipoli”, Robert Rhodes James, p. 231.
There only remained the French. At
6 o’clock, with drums beating and bugles sounding the
charge, they surged forward across Kereves Spur , their red and blue
uniforms showing up with terrible clarity. ‘It was terrifying, astounding
and overwhelming’, an eyewitness related. For a moment it seemed that they
had at last overrun the enemy trenches. ‘No living man has ever seen so
strange a vision as this’, Hamilton wrote; ‘ In its disarray, in its rushing
to and fro; in the martial music, shouts and evolutions…
It seemed it truly seemed as if the tide of blue, grey, scarlet specks was submerging the enemy’s strongholds.’ At this point the Turks covered the spur with high explosive shell, ‘the puppet figures we watched began to waver’, and, as ‘night slid down into the smoke’, as Hamilton wrote, the French were seen to be falling back to their old trenches.
”Gallipoli”, Robert Rhodes James, p. 154-55.
Last updated : 15/06/07
They also found some of our wounded and brought them to us. This simple
beautiful gesture and the
contact of our hands on these broken bodies –they to give, we to take- have been
our only language. We are ennemies. We are not supposed to speak.
“Fights in the Orient”, Paris-1917), Captain Canudo, p. 46-47.