HuSEYIN TOPAL AgA AND MAHMUT cULLOgULLARI

Village2
Huseyin and Mahmut’s village, Büyükkarapınar, Turkey, 2015
All told, in my family, five men went off to war, and only one returned alive after 1922. We know that Hüseyin Topal Ağa and Mahmut Çulloğullari, both died at Gallipoli. Our history is an oral one, and apart from details about their relative positions in society, we know very little about them, and certainly nothing about their service history, other than where they fell.

Hüseyin Topal Ağa, is my great grandfather on my mother’s side. His family were from Büyükkarapınar, a small village in the Taurus Mountains, in the state now known as Karaman in south-west Turkey. Hüseyin’s father was the village chief, or “aga”. Although poor, he was relatively wealthy compared to the other villagers. He would have had slightly better access to resources, like good boots. He went to war as an enlisted man.

Military records for soldiers from our area are incomplete, and often their deaths were recorded only if they died in active engagement with the enemy – that is, died being shot, bombed, or by bayonet etc. A third of all the Turkish deaths were due to disease – mostly dysentery and wound infection – and this is most likely how Hüseyin met his fate. He would therefore have been buried in an unmarked mass grave. I had no chance of finding him when I went to the Peninsular this year.

Mahmut Çulloğullari, a distant cousin by marriage into my mother’s family, also served at Gallipoli. Again, there is little known about Mahmut – he was a farm worker, an enlisted man. He was killed in action.

Remarkably, considering history and geography, I now have another Gallipoli veteran in my family – Major Ivan Brucker Sherbon, my Australian wife’s great uncle. The thought that these three men shared this terrible experience is both chilling and moving.

Ertunç Özen

JOHN ALEXANDER HUTCHISON

Jack Hutchison
Jack Hutchison, c. 1955

Jack Hutchison

Jack, ANZAC Day March, c. 1970
My grandfather John Hutchison, known as Jack, was born in Yarrawonga, Victoria, the first of Isabella and William Hutchison’s eight children. For many years the Hutchison family farmed on their land near West Wyalong. In 1910 the family moved to Daniel St, Granville where Jack worked as a telephone mechanic or linesman for the PMG. In October 1914, a few months short of his twenty-first birthday, Jack and his younger brother Will enlisted.

Private John Alexander Hutchison (Service # 858) of the 2nd Battalion, landed in Gallipoli on 25 April 1915. Jack was wounded in action twice in Gallipoli, on the second occasion a bullet passed through his left elbow joint. After recuperating in Egypt, he, along with many other 2nd Battalion Gallipoli veterans, joined the newly raised 54th Battalion.

William, who landed in Gallipoli with the 3rd Battalion, was killed in Shrapnel Valley in early July.

By July 1916 the 54th Battalion, as part of the 5th Division, made Australia’s debut on the western front launching a disastrous diversionary attack at Fromelles. Jack was promoted to Sergeant in September 1916; he was badly wounded in October, then again the following April. After being wounded a total of four times, Jack returned to Australia in late 1818; was awarded the Military Medal for ‘bravery in the field’ and discharged as ‘medically unfit’.

Jack returned to his job at the PMG; married Amey in 1928 and continued to live in Daniel St Granville for almost all his remaining years. He died in 1984 at the age of 90.

Lyn Tomlin

WILLIAM HUTCHISON

W.Hutchison4
Will Hutchison, September 1914
My uncle William was born in 1895, the son of William and Agnes Hutchison of Mulwala, Victoria.

After leaving school Will, as he was known, became a farmer working on his family’s farm in West Wyalong NSW. In 1910 the Hutchison family moved to Daniel St, Granville. William trained with the senior cadets and the citizen forces before enlisting with his older brother John in October 1914.

Private W. Hutchison (Service No. 2127) of the 3rd Battalion, aged 19, was killed on July 10,1915; the only casualty of a mine exploding near the Australian frontline on what was otherwise ‘a quiet day’. He was buried in Shrapnel Gully, 366 metres south east of Anzac Cove, Gallipoli.

On March 25,1916 his mother, Agnes received a package containing his pipe; tobacco pouch; an arm belt and a small purse containing coins.

Stuart Hutchison

References:

MUHiTTiN NAMi KANDEMiR

Muhittin Kandemir
Muhittin Nami Kandemir (sitting, on left) and fellow officers, Chanakkale Gallipoli, 1915

Muhittin Kandemir

Family, Ankara, 1966; back (l to r): Mualla Kandemir, Nurettin Yılmaz Kandemir, Hüseyin Yalçın Boğaçhan Kandemir, Şermin Kandemir; middle (l to r): Ayşe İhsan Kandemir, Cemil Cahit Kandemir, Muhittin Nami Kandemir holding Kaan Boğaçhan Kandemir; Tahsin Kandemir, Makbule Bilgen holding Ertuğrul Mehmet Kandemir; front (l to r): Can Refik Kandemir, Ali Galip Ufuk Kandemir. Born later in Australia: Timur Nami Kandemir and Gökhan Demir Kandemir

Muhittin Kandemir

Muhittin and Ayşe, Istanbul, c.1930
Born 1893 in Çengelköy, Istanbul Türkiye, my grandfather Muhittin was the battle-hardened commander of a battery at Chanakkale Gallipoli under the command of Mustafa Kemal, the supreme commander of the Turkish Armed Forces. He was charged with the responsibility of bombarding and sinking the invading battleships coming through the Dardanelles.

During his time in the Military Academy (Ordu Evi) where he was studying and later graduated as a chemical engineer, he was nick named ‘Toz Konmaz Muhittin’ or in English, ‘Dustless Muhittin’ for his impeccable cleanliness and tidiness and in particular for his command issue, knee-high, shiny and constantly polished boots.

In the heat of the Gallipoli battle, whilst responding in kind to a barrage of cannons, missiles and bullets, a massive rocket exploded next to him and his men, killing and injuring many. After three days, medics and other soldiers surveying and collecting the injured and the dead, noticed, sticking out of the debris, what they thought was a blown off leg still in its shiny boot. There could be no doubt that this was the boot known to many – the boot of Toz Konmaz Muhittin.

Very upset at the thought of him being killed and his leg blown off, the soldiers started to dig the leg out – to their shock, they found that not only was his body still attached to his leg but – after being buried head first in dirt, rubble and bodies for three days – he was alive!

After the Çanakkale Gallipoli battles Muhittin continued fighting, serving on several fronts and in the following struggle for independence. He spent three years receiving treatment in hospital for shell shock, was discharged and awarded two of the highest calibre bravery medals: Çanakkale, Gelibolu Savaşı Nişanı (Madalyası) (Gallipoli Bravery Medal) & Kurtuluş (İstiklâl) Savaşı Cumhuriyet Nişanı (Madalyası) (Republic of Türkiye Bravery Medal)

Muhittin lived a successful and happy family life. He married my grandmother, Ayşe İhsan and had two sons. The eldest son Nurettin Yılmaz Kandemir (my uncle), was born in 1933 and died in 1976. Nurettin had three sons: Cemil Cahit Kandemir: Tahsin Kandemir and Can Refik Kandemir. Muhittin and Ayşe’s youngest son, Hüseyin Yalçın Boğaçhan Kandemir (my father), was born 1936 and died in 2005. Hüseyin had five sons: Ali Galip Ufuk Kandemir; Ertuğrul Mehmet Kandemir; Kaan Boğaçhan Kandemir; Timur Nami Kandemir; Gökhan Demir Kandemir.

Sadly passing in 1972, we remember Muhittin and his two sons with honour and pride. His descendants, many Australian born, include great grandsons and great granddaughters and many more great, great grandsons and great, great granddaughters.

May God rest his soul and those of his sons.

Kaan Kandemir

MUSA KAZIM KOCABAg

Musa_Kemal
Musa (foreground) with Colonel Mustapha Kemal, Gallipoli, c.1915

Musa Kazım Kocabağ

Musa Kazım Kocabağ, c. 1930
This is the story of my great grandfather, Musa Kazım Kocabağ.

Musa was born in 1894 in Istanbul, an only child. He came from an educated family. Musa was handsome and strong, both he and his father were involved in Turkish wrestling. On joining the army in his early twenties he was made a member of the 19th Brigade Commander, Colonel Mustafa Kemal’s personal guard.

It is not well known, but my great grandfather is a very important Turkish soldier. My family recalls that at Gallipoli, during a missile attack on the 19th Brigade, Musa leapt in front of his Colonel, saving his life. The 19th Brigade held its’ position at Gallipoli till the Allies retreated and Kemal lived on to become the first President of the Republic of Turkey in 1923. He was later awarded the title Ataturk, ‘Father of the Turks’.

Though Ataturk was saved, Musa was badly wounded. He was made blind in one eye and was not able to serve again. He was devastated and, according to my great grandmother, who referred to him as ‘her lion’, this disappointment contributed to his early death.

Musa had five daughters and two sons. His descendants are very proud of him and very moved that far away in a different culture, Musa Kazım Kocabağ is being honoured in this way…I feel so proud of the Australian people, too.

Ebru Güngören

GEORGE NEWHOUSE

George Newhouse age 23 Harbord, Sydney N.S.W. P1
George Newhouse, age 23, Harbord, Sydney

The Boys

The Boys, Harbord, Sydney, 1914, George (at piano); brother Harry (seated far right)
This is the story of my great uncle George Newhouse. George was born in 1891, the eldest of John and Elizabeth Newhouse’s five children. George worked as a striker for Meadowbank Manufacturing Co., played the piano and like his brothers Harry and John, was a well-known Granville soccer player. He was 23 years old when he enlisted. His younger brother Harry enlisted shortly after.

John Newhouse, whose real name was Ubbe Shetsberg, was born in Hanover, Germany. He arrived as a seaman in Australia around 1879, married in 1889 and was naturalized an Australian in 1910. At the outbreak of WW1 Ubbe (John) received a letter from Germany telling him that his brother David’s sons had been drafted into the German Army and his niece was working in a tear gas factory. Anti German feelings were running high: Ubbe (John) was sacked from his job as a night watchman and advised by the police that he was to be interred as an Alien irrespective of him being naturalized. Two weeks after George enlisted, Ubbe’s (John’s) health was under considerable strain: waiting for internment, with Elizabeth sick in hospital and distressed at the thought of his son fighting his nephews, he died during an epileptic fit.

Private George Newhouse (Service # 1415), 4th Battalion, C Company landed under fire at ANZAC Cove on April 25,1915. Harry, also a member of the 4th Battalion, landed the following day. George was killed a few days later at Johnson’s Jolly. His body was never recovered. His name is inscribed on the Lone Pine Memorial at Gallipoli.

George’s name, incorrectly transcribed as ‘C. Newhouse’, is recorded on the stained glass memorial windows in St Marks Church, Granville. My mother, born in 1916, was given the middle name, Dardanelles, in memory of George’s resting place.

Dennis Overton

References:

HAROLD NEWHOUSE

Harry and Prime Minister
Harry and Bob Hawke, Anzac Day

Harry_Newhouse

Harry Newhouse, Anzac Day, 1995
This is the story of my great uncle Harry Newhouse. Harry was born in 1895, one of five children born to John and Elizabeth Newhouse. Harry left school at fourteen and worked on the railways as an engine cleaner. In 1914, following the death of his father and the enlistment of his brother George, he volunteered. He was nineteen. Harry landed at Anzac Cove on April 26, the day after his brother. A week later he learned that George had been killed.

Private Harry Newhouse (Service #1453), 4th Battalion, was dug in on Shrapnel Valley when a Turkish bullet hit his food tin, ricocheting into his forehead. After contracting pneumonia he was evacuated to a military hospital in Alexandria. He was on his way back to Gallipoli in October when he was struck down with malaria – he was sent back to Australia and discharged. Harry returned to work on the railways, married and had two children, Nola and (Young) George. Harry lived till he was 101 years old. In 1990 he visited his brother’s memorial at Lone Pine and in 1995 led Gosford’s Anzac Day March.

Harry’s thoughts were recorded in 1996 in preparation for the book The last ANZACS: Gallipoli 1915: “They think we became a nation, but they killed half the nation…not only did my brother get killed and a lot of our men, but there were 86,000 Turks killed. The Turks never did anything to us and we never did anything to the Turks. We did not think we were going to fight them, poor buggers. We were going to fight the Germans. I’m only here because I could sidestep better than George. What was it for? I don’t know. It should never have been…but you have to take your hat off to the Turks.”

Dennis Overton

References:

ERNEST FITZROY ROWLEY

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Ernest’s name, 6th from the top, left hand pane, WW1 Honour Roll, St Marks Anglican Church, Granville, NSW, Australia
British born Ernest Rowley, son of James and Mary Rowley of Guildford, was Choirmaster and Sunday School teacher at St Marks Anglican Church, Granville. He worked as a pattern maker for Clyde Engineering Company and was thirty-two and a widower when he enlisted.

Private E.R. Rowley (Service No. 843) of the 4th Battalion died on 30th April and was buried on a hill overlooking the landing place at Anzac Cove. Military Order No. 570 stated he had ‘performed [an act] of conspicuous gallantry or valuable service.’ The following article appeared in popular Parramatta newspaper, The Cumberland Argus & Fruitgrowers Advocate, on Saturday 12 June 1915:

‘On Sunday morning a memorial service was held at S. Mark’s, Granville, in commemoration of the late Ernest Fitzroy Rowley. The choral portion of the service was well rendered under the able guidance of the choirmaster, Mr. C. Gibb. The special anthem, “What are these arrayed in white robes?” was feelingly sung… Rev. A.E. Ross paid an eloquent testimony to the memory of Private Rowley; to the good accomplished by him at St. Mark’s as Sunday School teacher, choirmaster and devout worshipper, and whose work stood as a sure foundation of much that had since been accomplished, and which called for much thankfulness.

Feeling reference was made to the time — not long since— when the young hero led from that sacred building his happy bride, and whose mortal remains he few weeks later; and although there would be no home-coming for him here, yet those who mourned for him would find consolation in the thought of that happy reunion which awaited him beyond the grave. At the conclusion, the organist, Miss Enid Miliott played the “Dead March” from Saul,” whilst the congregation remained standing as a mark of respect.’

Ernest’s name and that of his younger brother Richard, killed in France in 1917, are recorded on the stained glass memorial windows in St Marks Church, Granville.

References:
  • Humphreys. C. 2015, Granville Roll of Honour: soldiers from Granville who died in world war 1, unpublished manuscript, Granville Historical Society, New South Wales
  • Cumberland Argus & Fruitgrowers Advocate, Sat 12 June 1915, p.12
  • http://discoveringanzacs.naa.gov.au/browse/person/304367

KADIOgLU SALiH

Bozdas Family
Family, Kuzguncuk, Istanbul, 1956 (l to r) Salih Bozdas (my uncle); Zehra Bozdas (my grandmother); Ahmet Bozdas (my grandfather); Ismail Bozdas (my father)
My great grandfather, Kadıoğlu Salih was born around 1875. He was a corporal in the Ottoman army, fighting with a field artillery cannon unit in defense of the Dardanelles. He was killed in 1915 during a naval bombardment by the allied forces.

His son, my grandfather, Ahmet Bozdas, also fought in WW1. Father and son were lucky to enjoy a ten-day break together in Istanbul just before the war started. This was the last time my grandfather saw his father.

My grandfather was a reserved person who never glorified the war. I have vivid memories of him describing the emotional and physical traumas the soldiers faced – the lack of food and water, no shoes, no sleep and the constant fear of being killed. He used to frequently mention one particular attack, where only 30 out of 2,000 soldiers survived. He was one of those thirty – along with his commander ‐ Mustafa Kemal Ataturk.

Although memories of wars can be forgotten as time passes, the courage and sacrifice of young soldiers who fought honourably for their beliefs should be remembered. Regardless of the human cost and the futility of war, I acknowledge and celebrate the special friendship that has developed between the Australian and Turkish people due to the Gallipoli Campaign.

I was elected President of the Turkish RSL Sub‐Branch in 2009. And in this capacity I organised the Turkish Sub-Branch’s participation in the 2009 and 2010 ANZAC Day marches in Sydney. I marched wearing my grandfather’s war veteran’s medals.

Metin Bozdas

IVAN BRUNKER SHERBON

Ivan Brunker Sherbon
Ivan Brunker Sherbon, 1914

Sherbon_RabaulGarrison

Ivan (back, third left) with Officers of the Rabaul Garrison, Australian Naval and Military Expeditionary Force, 1914
This is the story of my great uncle, Ivan Brunker Sherbon, one of three children born to William and Mary Ann Sherbon. At the outbreak of war Ivan was twenty one and working as a clerk in the wool department of Dalgety & Co. Sydney.

In August 1914, shortly after the British declared war on Germany, Ivan was appointed 2nd Lieutenant to H Company, 1st (Tropical) Battalion, a small volunteer force sent to seize and destroy German wireless stations in New Guinea. Early in 1915 he was promoted to Lieutenant. The Tropical Unit returned to Sydney and many of its soldiers, including Ivan, joined the 19th Battalion 5th Brigade, 2nd Division, Australian Imperial Force. Ivan was promoted to Captain and left for training in Egypt.

In August his battalion landed at ANZAC Cove and participated in the last action of the August Offensive – ‘the attack on Hill 60’ – before settling into defensive action in the trenches, defending Pope’s Hill until the ANZAC withdrawal on the night of 19 December.

After further training in Egypt, the 19th Battalion proceeded to France in
March 1916 and took part in its first major offensive around Pozieres between late July and the end of August 1916.

Captain Ivan Brunker Sherbon was twice recommended for a Military Cross for actions in the field in France and was made Temporary Major in August. After a spell in a quieter sector of the front in Belgium, the entire 2nd Division, which included the 5th Brigade, came south again in October. The 19th Battalion attacked near Flers mid November, in conditions that Charles Bean described as the worst ever encountered by the AIF. Ivan was shot while moving his company into line on 14 November 1916. He was posthumously awarded the Military Cross in Jan 1917 and his rank acknowledged as Major.

Two of my husband’s Turkish relatives also fought at Gallipoli – his great grandfather, Huseyin Topal Aga and distant cousin, Mahmut Çulloğullari. They both died there.

Kylie Özen

AHMET TOKDOgAN

Ahmet Tokdogan
Ahmet (in doorway) with Colonel Mustafa Kemal and officers, c.1915

Ahmet Tokdogan

Ahmet and his wife Emine Shalyon, c.1930
My father, Ahmet Tokdoğan, was born in Kosova in 1888. He fought for two years in the Ottoman Army during the first Balkan War in 1912; after their defeat he moved to Turkey.

At the outset of WW1 he was sent to Gallipoli, now a Corporal. In August 1915, a few months after the Allied ships started bombarding the coast he sustained shrapnel wounds to his leg, chest and arm. He spent seven weeks recovering in the Selimiye Barracks hospital in Istanbul and was then sent to fight in Palestine. At the end of the war, in 1919 he was married and went to fight against the Greek occupying forces in Izmir.

After the creation of the Republic of Turkey in 1923 my father served Mustapha Kemal Attaturk as a close aid, tactician and intelligence officer. During his retirement, every Wednesday, a car would pick him up and take him to military headquarters where he would translate military history from Arabic into Turkish.

He passed away in November 1977 at the age of ninety. He was a brave and good man. He advised, “be honest; love your country; love people”.

I am a long time member of Auburn RSL,Turkish sub branch.

Sevket Tokdoğan

SEYiT CAFER UcKAN

Seyit Cafer Uçkan1
Seyit Cafer Uçkan2
Seyit’s Medal of Independence of the Turkish Republic, 1920
This is a brief history of my grandfather Seyit Cafer Uçkan. Seyit was born in Beypazar, Ankara in 1902 – the year 1318 according to the Hijri calendar used at that time. He was recruited into army service as a young boy and served his country for four years at the Polatlı military base (for the injured) near Ankara.

At the Polatlı army base his duties were to attend to the soldiers bought there from the front line by providing first aid. While at the same time he was required to be ready for deployment to Çanakkale when required.

One of the stories my grandfather told was about a soldier he tended to at the base. This soldier, recalling a lack of water at the front, told him they were forced to drink water from wells created in the ground by the hoofs of horses.

When the war ended, all men who served at the Polatlı military base were given medals to commemorate their service during WW1 and the following Turkish Independence war.

After the war Seyit worked as a self-employed green grocer up until his retirement. He had six sons, my father being the eldest. His sons took over the business when he retired, eventually becoming wholesalers.

Seyit passed away in İsmetpaşa, Ankara at the age of 79. As I am the eldest son, of the eldest son of my grandfather, I now hold this Medal of Independence of the Turkish Republic with great honour in memory of my grandfather. This medal will be passed onto my eldest son.

Çetin Uçkan

FREDERICK ARTHUR WILLIAMS

Fred Arthur Willams
Fred Williams, August 1914
Fred was born in 1892, the youngest son of Edwin and Anna Williams of Blaxcell Street, Granville. He attended Granville Public School and did his citizen’s military service with the Scotch Highlanders and Artillery in Sydney. He worked as a plumber’s assistant at the Eveleigh railway workshops until his enlistment in late August 1914.

He sailed for Egypt in October with the 1st Brigade Australian Field Artillery where he was wounded in the left leg. In July he was sent to the Convalescent Camp in Alexandria. On his recovery he was sent to Gallipoli.

An entry in the Brigade’s official WW1 diary for 4 December 2015, notes that Gunner Frederick Williams (Service #342) aged 24, died in action at 16:10pm when Gun Battery 3’s position in Shrapnel Valley at Lone Pine was fired upon.
He was buried in Shrapnel Valley Cemetery.

Fred’s name is recorded on the stained glass memorial windows at St Marks Church, Granville.

References:
  • Humphreys. C. 2015, Granville Roll of Honour: soldiers from Granville who died in World War 1, unpubl. manuscript, Granville Historical Society, NSW
  • http://discoveringanzacs.naa.gov.au/browse/person/8381
  • AWM: ROH Circular, First World War Diaries, 1 Brigade Australian Field Artillery, December 1915
  • Cumberland Argus, 18 December 1915, p. 4