Gallipoli 25th April 1915………. “They had just landed on the wrong beach, now known as Anzac Cove, there had been no previous intelligence or survey of the beach, and now amidst mass confusion, constant shrapnel and machine gun fire, snipers and the treacherous and unfamiliar terrain ahead of them, the entire military assault and the commanding officers were now completely on the back foot.
They were clearly unprepared and poorly equipped for the rapid change of circumstances and now they were looking at a possible military defeat on the first day. On this unfamiliar beach they arrived, meanwhile their was a rapidly growing number of wounded and dying soldiers surrounding them.
The wounded were in serious trouble, the ambulance and stretcher bearers ….. were at full stretch, unable to cope with the rapidly growing numbers of casualties, hundreds of men were lying wounded, groaning and screaming for hours while unattended…..”
This is the scene that confronted 24 Stanley Hense and the other sappers when they rowed ashore in readiness to secure the barrel piers in preparations for the evacuation of the wounded and dying…… Stanley had just turned 18.
Stanley Hense was a plumber from Burwood Sydney NSW. He wasn’t quite the right height at 5ft 5 ½” and on enlistment he stated he was 20 years old, Stanley hadn’t received permission from his parents to enlist and simply lied about his age. In fact Stanley was only 17 which made him the ” Kid “, but he was not quite the youngest member of the company. This honour would go to a 16 year old named Rudolph Jessen. Stanley Hense however openly celebrated his 18th birthday with his new mates in Egypt.
Copyright © Vance Kelly 2015