The Sydney Mail, Wednesday, 6 October 1915. The scene in front of the Australian lines at Johnston’s Jolly and along Second Ridge on the morning of 24 May 1915, the day of the truce to bury the dead of the failed Turkish attack of 19 May. According to the paper, the picture was taken by a ‘Private Meek … with a small pocket camera’. The wider shot of the same view in the Australian War Memorial collection shows it was taken by an Ernest Ross of the 2nd Battalion, NSW. [AWM H16397]

Despite the consolidation of the Anzac position, Turkish leaders did not give up on their hope of driving the invaders back to the sea. To make up for terrible losses during the Battle of the Landing, thousands of Turkish reinforcements were brought to Gallipoli in preparation for a hopefully devastating attack along the whole of the Anzac line. The main weight of the attack was prepared for those sections considered most vulnerable, such as at Quinn’s Post, where opposing trenches were only metres apart, and a breakthrough would make the whole Anzac line untenable. Fortunately for the Anzacs, the Turks lost the element of surprise when Royal Naval Air Service reconnaissance aircraft observed these reinforcements making their way across the peninsula. There was also an ominous slackening of normal Turkish fire on 18 May, the day before the planned assault. When it began, in the darkness of the morning of 19 May, the Anzacs were ready.

Between 3.30 am and noon on 19 May, Turkish soldiers hurled themselves at their enemies. As always in this war, when close-packed masses of men attempted to storm strong trench positions defended by thousands of riflemen and machine guns, disaster ensued. Thousands were killed or wounded within metres of the Anzac line, but nowhere was it breached. It was calculated that more than 948,000 rounds of rifle and machine-gun bullets were fired at the Turks.

When the attacks ceased, the scene was horrific. Charles Bean wrote:

... the dead and wounded lay everywhere in hundreds. Many of those nearest to the Anzac line had been shattered by terrible wounds inflicted by modern bullets at close ranges. No sound came from that terrible space.

Of the 42,000 Turkish soldiers involved, 3000 lay dead along the ridge and another 10,000 had been wounded. That day gave new Turkish names to positions on the Anzac battlefield -- Kanli Sirt, Bloody Ridge; Kirmezi Sirt, Red Ridge; and Shehidlar Tepe, Martyrs Hill. Anzac losses amounted to 160 killed and 468 wounded.

Within days, the bodies lying out in no-man's-land, along Second Ridge and elsewhere were rotting in the sun. The smell became unbearable. A truce was arranged for 24 May to bury the dead, and for a few brief hours the firing ceased as Turks, Australians and New Zealanders moved hundreds of corpses intol arge, hastily dug pits.

Bodies of men killed in earlier struggles along the ridge were also discovered and buried. Private Albert Facey of the 11th Battalion, from Western Australia, worked with the burial parties:

Most of us had to work in short spells as we felt very ill ... The whole operation was a strange experience -- here we were, mixing with our enemies, exchanging smiles and cigarettes, when the day before we had been tearing each other to pieces ... Away to our left there were high table-toped hills and on these there were what looked like thousands of people. Turkish civilians had taken advantage of the cease-fire to come out and watch the burial.

From that time forward the Anzacs gained a new appreciation of their adversaries. They were soldiers like themselves, bound to the business of war, but experiencing equally its brutalities and sufferings.