Captain Reginald William Everett - 11th Australian Infantry Battalion
Posted by blacksmith, Friday, 12 September 2014
Profile images from the National Library of Australia.
Gallant Heroes Of The Dardanelles.
The Sun Sunday 19 September 1915.
Western Mail Friday 12 March 1915
The Gone A Million Club.
Sunday Times Sunday 22 August 1915 p 3
Follow the links to Australian War Memorial, Department Of Veterans' Affairs, State Library of W.A., University of N.S.W., and NLA `Trove` websites to view the images and other articles as they appeared in the newspapers of the day.
Gallant West Australians. Tribute By An Officer.
Captain R. Everett, who returned recently on furlough from Gallipoli, has many exciting tales to tell of the gallantry and fearlessness of the members of the Third Brigade, who rushed the razor-back hills and held them for days, "barely." as he puts it by the skin of their teeth."
Captain Everett carefully avoids mention of any of his own actions, but the men of "D" Company are determined that the people here shall know of the part he played in effecting a permanent landing.
Some of "D Company are now in the General Hospital Fremantle, and in conversation with them a representative of the "West Australian" learned that Captain Everett, Lieutenant Selby, and Captain Denton on several occasions during the first nine days saved the landing force being driven back, and that the work done has been recognised by the granting of a distinguished Service Medal to Captain Denton.
Just how that distinction was earned is described by a wounded private as follows : "When we landed, as you well know, we went hell for leather after the Turks. They didn't stop, nor did we, until we came upon their well established trench lines known by us as the chess board, behind what we now call Courtney's Post.
About April 28 Captains Everett and Denton and Lieut. Selby gathered us together under their command, and Captain Everett roared at us, "if you don't all want to be sent to kingdom come to-night, dig for your lives".
The advice seemed to be well meant, so we all dug holes in the ground at the top of a sharp-edged hill, and when we were comparatively safe we joined the holes by tunnels, broke in the surface, and so made a long trench.
Then we found that there were about 100 of us, including representatives from twelve different units. From where we were we could see right into the Turkish trenches in the valley, and we had some fine rifle practice.
Some of us started to count the number of victims falling to our rifles, but grew tired when we got into double figures.
It was here that Everett, Selby, and Denton put in fine work.
The two former took up an observation post on the crown of the hill, from which position they were able to watch the movements of the Turks below.
The enemy's objective was a passage in the hills known to us as Nicholson's Neck, which, if occupied, would have meant the annihilation of the invading party.
For nine days the Turks, commanded by German officers, and equipped with about one hundred machine guns, hammered away at the vital position, and on one day they made three severe atacks.
Everett and Selby saw all this, and every time the enemy prepared for a move they sent word down to Denton, who, in his dugout, telephoned the information to the fleet, and at once a bombardment opened and forced the enemy back. It was not a simple matter to stem those attacks, and on one occasion we heard Selby exclaim, "Good God; we're gone.
The left is breaking, and the right has been smashed." We all expected to be seeing the sun for the last time, but the fleet roared louder than ever, and the attack failed. It was a terrible time, and goodness only knows how Everet end Selby stuck at it.
The former was caught on his wristlet watch by a sniper, but the leather case deflected the bullet. Selby, too, was wounded "
Captain Everett also told something of what he saw while at the observation post. Equipped with a fine pair of glasses he had an uninterrupted view of the position of the enemy for miles round. "Although," he said, "I was about a mile and a half to two miles inland.
I could see the fleet distinctly, and it was good to see the result of their fire.
We were most depressed when the Triumph went, and those of us who were on the crest of the hill saw the whole occurrence.
The Triumph had been helping us wonderfully, and we bore a kind of special affection for her. Her sinking was a sight difficult to forget.
At the time she was torpedoed she was dealing with one of the enemy's guns, and was getting quite the better of the duel, when suddenly there was a muffled boom, a cloud of brown smoke, and the cry went up.
There goes the old Triumph.
Destroyers came racing np from all directions, and commenced taking off the crew. She gradually heeled over and turned completely upside down in ten minutes ; then, after lying bottom up for nine minutes, dived and disappeared.
The Turkish batteries opened fire with shrapnel on the destroyers the whole time they were taking off the crew, but everything was done in perfect order.
"One cannot review his experiences with out feeling a thrill of pride for some of the men with whom he has been, fighting. There were innumerable instances of bravery, which will never be related, but there are some which I feel the people at home should know of. Mention must be made of the great coolness and courage of Major Drake Brockman.
That officer was foremost in the advance, and worked assiduously in distributing: his battalion, and in the subsequent fighting, when we were held by the Turks and had to entrench under heavy fire.
He also led a party including Captain Bage and Lieutenant Selby, out in front of our trenches under the enemy's fire to mark out a new line of trenches.
During the operation Captain Bage was killed and Lieutenant Selby wounded, while Major Drake Brockman escaped with a few bullets through his clothing.
"No doubt word of the bravery of Dr. Brennan has already reached home, and I can only add my full endorsement to all that has been said of the 'fighting doctor,' as he is known.
He was everywhere where the bullets were thick, and several times took charge of men and led attacks, noticeably in the surprise attack up the cliffs of Gaba Tepe.
He and the stretcher bearers have made a name which will live through history.
On one occasion when I was going to General Trottman's headquarters I had to cross a fire-swept region.
I saw a private soldier fall with a wound in his chest. No sooner had the man dropped than a couple of stretcher bearers were beside him, rendering first aid and getting ready to move him out of the danger zone.
The bullets and shells were whistling, all round, and one of the bearers was killed.
The other continued to dress the wounds, and succeeded in carrying out his difficult task. That is only one incident of a kind which go on day after day by men who, under usual conditions, would be carrying on their work behind the lines.
"A sample of Australian pluck and endurance that came under my notice, and which I have reported to the headquarters staff, was the action of Private McLeod of the 12th Battalion.
We were on Courtney's at the time, during the week following the landing. Men were falling fast, and at one machine gun near me no less than seventeen of the section were put out of action.
Eventually McLeod was the only man left, and he called out to me for a volunteer to help feed the machine.
A private named Smith, of the same battalion, quickly answered, and I asked him if he knew anything about a machine gun.
"No," he said "but I'll jolly soon learn". He crawled over to McLeod, who instructed him how to feed the magazine, and soon the gun was pelting away again.
The next I heard of the couple was again from McLeod, who reported that his gun had been put out of action, and asking for orders. I told him to dismantle the machine and go and get his wounds dressed. He was covered in splinters and abrasions.
Smith crawled back safely to his trench, and McLeod grabbed a spare rifle and took a place in the trench. When last I saw him he had an impromptu bandage round each hand, and was sitting behind a dug- out, calmly enjoying a smoke.
"Private Reynolds, of the 12th Battalion, was the limit for endurance.
For days at a stretch he continued to carry water up the steep, razor-back hills, to the firing line and machine guns.
He seemed never to get fatigued, and, although quite a lad, apparently had no fear. Day after day he would be seen with a string of water-bottles round his shoulders, climbing the hills despite a heavy sniping fire.
Only on one occasion did I see him rest, and that was on the top of a hill. I gave him a tot of rum to revive him, and off he went again to the wells. When I left the position he was still going strong.
"These are but a few instances of how the Australians behaved under fire, and when one knows that it is the characteristic feature of both officers and men, is it little wonder that we have met with success?"
From The West Australian Friday 3 September 1915.
Captain Reginald William Everett - 11th Australian Infantry Battalion
Posted by blacksmith, Sunday, 14 September 2014
On Wednesday evening last the Claremont Roads Board, together with such past members as could be gathered together met in the board's office to do honour to Captain R. W. Everett, of the gallant eleventh, who was for many years a member and for two years chairman of the board.
The office had been transformed, partly by the aid of bunting kindly lent by the Public Works Department, but chiefly by the most artistic end effective work of Mesdames Kinninmont, Martin, and Finey, the result of whose efforts presented a charmingly pretty picture. The chairman of the board (Mr. J. R. Kinninmont) presided, and Mr. A. E. Sanderson represented the Public Works officials.
Laudatory speeches were delivered, and the chairman, in the name of the board and the district, presented Captain Everett with a gold wristlet watch to take the place of the one destroyed by a bullet at the front.
The captain, in replying, thanked those present for the gift, and stated that when he returned to the front the reception he had been given and the sentiments expressed on all sides would be told to his comrades in arms, and would go far to remove the unfortunate impression made upon the Western Australian troops by the fact that they were the only ones who received no congratulatory telegrams after the historic landing upon the Gallipoli Peninsula.
Dainty refreshments, elegantly set out amidst a bower of flowers, were partaken of, and the whole evening possessed a true spirit of enthusiasm which must have been very gratifying to the guests the members had assembled to honour.
The West Australian Tuesday 7 September 1915.
Captain Reginald William Everett - 11th Australian Infantry Battalion
Posted by blacksmith, Monday, 15 September 2014
The Goal Of Gallipoli. Warfare Underground.
Submarines have introduced war under water; shrapnel end high explosives have developed war underground.
Capt. Everett, who was in the famous landing at Gaba Tepe, had over two months on the peninsula, and can describe vividly the life and fighting in the trenches.
"You have had innumerable descriptions of our descent upon Gallipoli," he protested to “The Sunday Times"interviewer. It was a great achievement, and will live in history. Therefore, it will bear repetition.
Well, I don't know that I can add anything to what has appeared.
As you may know; I was, in the 11th Battalion, which was in the same Brigade as the 9th and 10th Battalions. We went with the first expeditionary troops, and had a great preparation in Egypt.
Then we went to the island of Lemnos, where we had the finishing touches put upon us. For instance, we trained in mountain and hill fighting, and rehearsed the embarkation and debarkation from the ships and boats, so that when we reached Gaba Tepe we knew exactly what to do.
"Our battalion was on thee battleship London, the men and officers of which could not do too much for us. They gave up their berths to us, and looked after us like fathers and mothers.
It was a magnificent sight to see the battleships and cruisers steaming away from Lemnos. "We practised on the cruiser, where each company had a marked place on the deck to line up, and at 9 o'clock we turned in for a few hours' sleep and rest.
We had a service, before battle, which was most impressive, and brought home to us the business we were on. A little after midnight we were but, and had a hot meal and a tot of rum. Were the lads all eager?
Doubly eager. They wanted to get to the Turks; and they did too.
It was that very, eagerness, which made the landing such a success.
But in the boats. They were as steady as rocks. Before we got near the shore a light shone away to the right.
That was the Turks' signal. Then a single shot rang out and after that, the bullets and shrapnel chipped the water all round. It was that, strange light before the dawn, and I stood up in the boat to have a look ahead when a bullet cut right through my putties and grazed the skin of my shin.
I was mighty glad that it was not an inch more or I might have been put out of action.
As soon as the boats touched the bottom, out jumped our men.
One naval officer said the Australians dived into the water and came up with fixed bayonets. It was almost like that.
Then there was the rush across the narrow foreshore and up the cliffs and ridges. Our fellows were irresistible.
They scrambled up and up and bayonetted the Turks out of their trenches and after them again.
We had them on the run all right, and would have gained the whole position only that we were weak on our extreme left.
Poor Lalor was killed there.Leading his men? "Oh, yes; he was intrepid; but our lines were too thin there.
We wanted another 10,000 men, and we should have won the whole of the south of the peninsula." Well, you did wonderfully well, anyhow. "It was the Australians and New Zealanders' initiative that did it.
Without that we should not have accomplished so much.
Platoons and even men became isolated, and had to act on their own.
The way they held on and met the Turkish fire was a revelation.
The Turks had six to one advantage in machine guns; but the rapid loading and firing of our men was remarkable. There is no doubt the men were grand." But it all resolved itself into trench fighting subsequently.
"I should say it was underground fighting-sapping, and mining, and countermining.
In some cases the opposing forces were only 15 yards apart.
Then it was a case of bomb-throwing by hand-something like `googly' bowling at cricket.
The trick was to lob the bomb, describing a high arch, into the enemy's trenches, with just sufficient force to explode before they could throw it back. Some of our fellows became very expert in catching the Turks' bombs and throwing them back, all in one action.""Requires nerve?" "Yes, but the Australians haven't got nerves.
I have seen one of our fellows strolling along with a pipe in his mouth, while shells were falling all about. One shell dropped fairly close and spattered him with dirt. All he did was to remove his pipe, look in the Turks' direction, and remark that they were blooming illegitimates.
"Another was walking down a valley quite leisurely, with the snipers clipping the scrub and ground all around.
There was a chorus of advice from our lines: 'Run to the left`, ' Jump to the right.'
All he did was to look pained as though to say.
How the devil can I hear you when you are all yelling at once?"
"Then he quietly walked on."These snipers appear to be a nuisance?
"They are. They come out at night and crawl to within 20 yards of our trenches, where they lie low for hours and hours, waiting for a man to appear at a loophole. Then they get him.
A chap was standing at a loophole, as if taking aim. He seemed a long while, and one of our men went over and found he was dead-shot clean through the eye.
"One day I was taking observations through a loophole with field-glasses when a bullet struck the leather over my wrist-watch, It must have been the least bit on the angle, and the leather being tough deflected the bullet sufficiently to prevent it from going clean through my wrist."
Our fellows are a little reckless, we are told.
"Yes. We are always wanting them against getting near the loopholes, for the Turks have got machine-guns and rifles trained on them, and they are continually taking pot shots.''But our men are doing the same.
"They are, certainly! They go out at night and crawl into the Turkish lines, and account for a few.
Sometimes they rush in and bayonet the Turks out of their trench, but the Turks simply run to enfilading trenches where they have machine-guns, so that the Australians cannot hold the trench they may have won.
I fancy that is what happened the other day at Hill 70."
Do you think we can take the peninsula? "We can, certainly; but it will be a tough job.
It would have been easier if we had had more men at the outset. Of course, it is easy to be wise after the event. Still, it is only a question of time. The Turks are good and plucky fighters, but our men are their masters.
General Hamilton is a great commander, and our officers are a fine, resourceful lot of men."
Capt, Everett, who was at "Courtney's Post" for two months, got dysentery so seriously that he had to be invalided away.
He is recovering, and hopes to return to the front in a few weeks time. Early in the campaign he was reported missing, though not officially. It appears a shell threw up a lot of earth and smothered him in debris.
Some of the Australians concluded that he was out, but fortunately he extricated himself.
Meanwhile, the rumor spread that he had been killed, and the news was conveyed to Mrs. Everett.
His battalion has recently been dubbed “The Golden Eleventh”.
Sunday Times Sunday 12 September 1915.