THE LONE PINE
Lone Pine in Turkey, which is he second important place for Australians after the Anzac Cove, took its name from a single pine tree rising among the bushes.
n the morning of 25th of April 1915, Australian troops reached to Lone Pine range in isolated parties and held the hill till sunset on the 25th of April. Subject to heavy Turkish cannon fire, Australians wanted to retreat but they were stopped by Gordon Bennet, second commender of the 6th Battalion, who said to his soldiers: "we don't return, we all die here". Upon the words of Bennet, Australians started digging trenches. But by the end of the day al the Bennet's soldiers were killed. Lone Pine was the stage for fierce battles between Australian and Turkish and troops who named it "Bloody Range".
In August, Australian soldiers were ordered to have a misleading attack on the Turkish troops in the Lone Pine and surrounding areas. This was the part of the plan to keep the Turks busy in ths area and give chance to British Troops to land at Suvla Bay and Salt Lake areas. Lone Pine Battle contunied on this hill and in the tunnels four days. Nearly 7000 Turkish and Australian soldiers either got killed or wounded in this small territory. Australian sodiers won 7 Victorian Crosses in 2.5 days because of the heroism they performed there.
The details of this fierce battle was revealed when the region was visited by the members of Historical Mission who discovered the bones, uniform pieces, bronze numbers belonging to Australin soldiers fighting at Lone Pine.
Lone Pine was one of the three attacks planned in order to create a diversion for a British landing in Suvla Bay, and was carried out by the 1st Division, which consisted of the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd Brigades. At 5:30 pm on August 6th, 1915 these men attacked when the sun was at their backs, and in the Turkish eyes.
The first wave of men were astonished to discover that their objective, being the Turkish frontline, was completely covered in logs and earth. This gave the Turkish soldiers the opportunity to fire safely from a point blank range, and made entry for the Australians nearly impossible. C.E.W Bean, who was observing this scene from the Australian trenches described the soldiers as "a crowd not unlike that lining the rope around a cricket field". However it wasn't long before the men began to enter the communication trenches which were connected to the front trench allowing them to to join their comrades who had dragged off the heavy log cover at the front.
Wave after wave of Australians continued to enter the dark and deadly trenches that were crammed full of dying and fighting men. Because the fighting was so close, there was no room to use a bayonet or throw bombs. Instead, hands and the swords from the bayonets were the substitute weapons.
By six pm the same day the trenches were taken, but the ANZACs defended and endured the Turkish counter attacks on their former trenches for five days, eventually gaining complete control of the Lone Pine objective.
During the attack, many men ran over the top of the Lone Pine trenches to discover massive amounts of Turkish reinforcements waiting in the depression behind the font line. However they never lived to tell the tale as they were killed instantly. In 1920 these bodies were found and were commemorated on the Lone Pine Memorial dedicated to the missing.
Next time you visit the Australian War Memorial in Canberra, why not take a wander in the surrounding grounds and see if you can spot the 'Lone Pine'? This Pinus halepensis tree has a small fence around it, and a plaque that tells a fascinating story.
Two of our brave Australian soldiers brought back pine cones as souvenirs from the single large pine tree that was growing on a ridge in Turkey, where they fought during World War I.
Lance Corporal Benjamin Smith sent one pine cone home to his mother, who collected its seeds and grew two seedlings. Sergeant Keith McDowell carried his pine con& with him for the remainder of the war. When the war ended he gave the pine cone to his aunt, who held on to it for 'Len whole years before she decided to plant some seeds from it! She managed to grow four seedlings.
In 1990, (75 years later), two of these Lone Pine trees were taken all the way back to the original battlefield in Turkey and planted.
One seedling was planted at the Australian War Memorial in 1934 by the Duke of Gloucester and is still growing beautifully, as shown in the photograph. Each year, seeds are collected from this Lone Pine and sent to schools and organisations all over Australia to be planted! Those seeds sure have travelled!