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PLAQUE NO. 7... QUINN'S POST         

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Plaque Text. This was the most important and dangerous position on Anzac. Opposing forces were separated by at most 15 metres and in some places only by the width of a road. The Allied trenches ran from beneath the cemetery down into Monash gully while the Turkish trenches commenced just beyond the metal road and ran down into Mule gully. A network of trenches and tunnels riddled the area and exposure above these invited certain death. Hundreds died in futile attempts to take the other side's trenches.

Text from Gallipoli Plaques Book*
Loss of this position would have exposed both armies' rear positions. At this point the Allied and Turkish lines were separated by no more than 15 metres. So close were the trenches that the voices of the enemy were clearly audible. Because of this proximity, hand-made bombs (known as 'jam-fin bombs' and made from food tins and other scrap metal) were extremely deadly. often the best cricketers in an ANZAC unit were assigned the task of hurling these unpredictable missiles accurately into the enemy trenches. The Turks had hand grenades which were far more sophisticated and, it seemed to the ANZACs, in inexhaustible supply.

During the early months of the campaign the Turks had considerable control over the Allied position at Quinns Post. Turkish fire from Baby 700 and from opposite Courtney's Post, and even from Chunuk Bair, could be directed accurately onto this position. It was impossible for Allied soldiers to look over the parapets because Turkish fire would come from three sides, but the 'periscope rifle' eventually aided the Allies here. The periscope rifle was a local invention consisting of a rifle mounted in a wooden frame, with mirrors along which the firer could sight and aim; no longer, therefore, did Allied soldiers have to expose their heads above the trenches. This area remained under firm Allied control until the evacuation in December.

There was frequent rotation of units through Quinn's Post, to minimise the effects of the tension involved in defending this position. It was initially held by Australians, then briefly by units of the British Royal Naval Division. New Zealanders then took over and achieved wonders in making the area more comfortable and secure. The front line trench was spread in a semi-circle from the crest of the hill (just in front of the far wall of the cemetery), with listening posts fanning out towards the area now covered by the road. As at Steele's and Courtney's Posts, tunnelling was undertaken by both sides and, in these tunnels, explosives were detonated below both Allied and Turkish trenches.

So fierce was the fighting here that, at one stage, the Turkish command considered retiring from Quinn's and moving to the third ridge (Gun Ridge, which is visible behind you) about 1 kilometre to the east. Had this withdrawal been implemented, the whole Turkish front line along Second Ridge and up to Baby 700 would probably have been lost.

The steepness of the incline down into Monash Valley can be gauged if you stand at the cemetery wall and look down to the valley floor. Only with the aid of ropes could soldiers move up to just below this ridge line where the main support trench lay. Reserve troops camped on narrow ledges below the main trench, and were always at the ready to spring into action if the Turks attempted to cross the narrow gap now covered by the road. Although this distance looks small, it should be remembered that the Allied lines had machine guns sited at Courtney's Post, Russell's Top (which is the ridge on the other side of Monash Valley), and at The Nek (to your right and now marked by the cemetery), covering this position. Such crossfire would have made it suicidal to attack with large numbers across the ridge.

The next plaque, No. 8 ... The Nek can be reached by returning to the road and proceeding north for 500 metres, and then taking the left-hand sealed road signposted "Mehmet Cavus Sehiitligi" for a further 900 metres.

* - - This text is taken from "Gallipoli Plaques, A Guide to the Anzac Battlefield", by R.J.Bastiaan. 2nd Edition Published by ANRAB Pty. Ltd. 1991.

 



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