AMID gunfire and the smoky morning haze, Camperdown’s Arthur Bartlett was one of the thousands of Australians to set foot on Gallipoli Peninsula that fateful day on April 25, 1915.
Exactly a century later, Warrnambool teenager Harry Price will return to the very place where his great-great-uncle risked his life for his country as Australia pauses to reflect on its wartime heritage.
Harry will join 79 other Victorian students as part of a state government delegation to Gallipoli on Anzac Day, leaving Melbourne for Istanbul next week. The 14-year-old took part in a statewide essay competition to explain the historical significance of Anzac Day and his family connections to the famed campaign.
Harry discovered he had five great-great-uncles involved in World War I; three served in France while two, including Arthur Bartlett, served in Turkey.
Unlike many Anzac soldiers, Arthur survived to return home to work as a Warrnambool butcher and lived a long and prosperous life, dying aged 94 in the 1980s.
“I wrote in my essay that what happened on the original Anzac Day was a big part of what it means to be Australian,” Harry said. “The battle over in Gallipoli really formed Australia because it was only a new country at the time.”
The Emmanuel College student pored through countless documents to investigate his family’s military history. Another one of his great-great-uncles, Darby William Mee, had an extraordinary three years abroad.
Mee fought on the French battlefields and was wounded by shrapnel to the forehead in August 1918.
Two mates, Wallacedale’s Harry Smith and Hamilton’s George Diwell, dragged Mee from no-man’s land back to safety under heavy German fire.
The year nine student said he was looking forward to retracing the steps of his ancestors on the Gallipoli Peninsula.
“I’m really, really lucky to be able to go on Anzac Day and be there for the 100-year celebration,” Harry said.
Harry’s proud father Garry Price said his son would be away for seven days and would also visit the Lone Pine site as part of the commemoration service.
“He’s always been interested in old war movies and local military history,” Mr Price said. “Harry will learn a lot from being there and seeing Gallipoli first hand.”