Grammar at Gallipoli, a 100 year commemoration of Old Boys at Gallipoli showcases the incredible stories of the 174 BGS Old Boys who were present at the ANZAC landings at Gallipoli. The 95-page book, is a product of endless hours of work by a committee of students and staff, which pays tribute to each of those brave men, including the 28 who were killed at the landing. It tells stories of the boys' life at BGS, their journey overseas, and battles of the Gallipoli campaign. Scores of moving photographs sourced from the Australian War Memorial, Powerhouse Museum, The State Library, and our own archives accompany the equally moving text.
Order your copy here: http://bit.ly/1HP6WaH Cost: $25, including postage
BGS' Gallipoli story
THIS year marks the centenary of the Gallipoli landings in 1915. This important event in Australia's history is one that we at BGS share both as fellow citizens and, in a more direct sense, as custodians of the memory of those Old Boys who participated.
The connection with our school community is strong. More than 170 of our Old Boys served at Gallipoli. It was the first major campaign of World War One that our boys fought in. It was a campaign that brought home the reality of war as the casualty list mounted. It was the melancholy duty of the third BGS Headmaster, Mr Bousfield, to read out the names of those boys wounded, missing or killed in action. There were great tales of heroism, but also tales of horror and sadness.
In total, 1020 Old Boys enlisted and served in the Great War. In a small school where the enrolment never rose above 300 that figure is quite remarkable. Of those 1020 men 178 Old Boys and Masters died. At Gallipoli 28 of our Old Boys were to die. It is those boys who will be the main focus of a special commemorative book, Grammar at Gallipoli. The following stories are a taste of what has been collected.
Many of our Old Boys enlisted in the 9th Battalion at Enoggera and were in the Gallipoli landing at 4.30am, April 25. It was at the landing that nine Old Boys were killed. Among them was 20-year-old Tommy Ford. He had played in BGS First XV Rugby only two years before, and was in the first wave on the beach. Bravely carrying full kit and rifle and under Turkish fire, he scrambled up the steep cliffs of Anzac Cove. An hour later he had made it a mile inland, only to be cut down by the Turkish counter-attack soon after dawn. His body was never recovered.
Like Ford, the promise of youth was taken from Ray Shirley. The BGS Magazine in 1915 reported that Shirley 'the famous tennis player, has been seen chasing two Turks with a bayonet! We feel sure he enjoyed it, because before he left Brisbane, he told us that he enjoyed a good scrap'. As it transpired, he had been killed at the landing. A BGS classmate, James Atkinson, who was later killed in action in France in 1918, said he last saw Shirley during the charge up until midday. He had stopped for a rest and never saw him again. His father thought him to be a prisoner in Constantinople, and like many had to suffer the long wait to confirm his son's fate.
The direct encounters with the enemy proved the bravery of our boys. When Tom Robertson was instructed by a Turk officer 'Surrender you are prisoners', Lieutenant Robertson replied 'Prisoners be damned! Let them have it boys'.
A further 145 boys fought in the campaign and they too will be acknowledged in Grammar at Gallipoli, with a full list of their service. Twenty-one of those boys who survived went on to fight on the western front or in Egypt and lose their lives. Such was the enthusiasm to enlist that Sam Hawkins managed to sign-up when he was only 17. Colin Drane, too, signed up 11 days before his 18th birthday, and served at Gallipoli with his brother Claude. In total, 17 teenagers, not much older than our Year 12s, fought in the Dardanelles.
Ninety-nine years ago we remembered our Old Boys by building an honour board in the Great Hall. Ninety-one years ago we built the War Memorial Library. This year we will capture their stories in print in Grammar at Gallipoli, along with a rededication of our memorials, and our usual services in the week leading up to ANZAC Day.
Order your copy of Grammar at Gallipoli here: http://bit.ly/1HP6WaH