Voices of Gallipoli
It’s only when your tongue actually rattles round in your mouth that you can say you are thirsty. That’s no fable. Actually rattling round in your mouth.
Eighty-eight-year old Vic Nicholson, with his wife his most attentive and awed listener, talked in his modest Palmerston North home in 1983. He saw Gallipoli out as a member of the doomed and decimated Wellington Infantry Battalion. Vic was nevertheless forthcoming, though he was, as it turned out, confiding his experience of Gallipoli, and especially of his hours on Chunuk Bair, for the first time. The gaps in his narrative were not due to failure of memory. Recall became too painful, and, and times too tearful for him to continue. It seemed Vic has been on Chunuk Bair for most of a century, with never a living soul in sight.
[Voices of Gallipoli] is largely a collection of [verbatim] narratives which tell how humble and mostly simple New Zealanders lived and died on Turkey’s Gallipoli peninsula for eight months in the year of 1915.
The testimonies were taken and recorded by New Zealand novelist Maurice Shadbolt. I’m reading them aloud, because I think it’s an important thing to do. I’m not trying to act, or be Vic. I’m just trying to say his words out loud so we can hear what he had to say.