‘Thus ends that fateful day that took all my mates away’
Quinn’s Post was established on the afternoon of April 25 by a New Zealand machine-gun crew and taken over by Australians the next day. It quickly earned a reputation for being the most dangerous place on Anzac.
Captain Hugh Quinn of North Queensland took over command as Chaplain Frederick Wray made the first of almost daily trips to bury the dead at Quinn’s. His chilling diary records part of the regular toll:
April 28: Reached lines on Quinn’s Corner… at 2.30am buried 29, including two NZ officers.
April 30: Quinn’s Corner – buried 5 men.
May 1: Buried 9 at Quinn’s Corner.
May 2: Buried 7 at Gully cemetery and 3 at Quinn’s Corner
May 3 – An awful day. The 16th were enfiladed by machine guns and did not hold their trenches … the 16th lost 400 out of 600, the 13th 200. Saw a sniper get 7 out of 8 at Quinn’s Corner … I buried 8
Quinn’s Post was on the northern edge of the front line along Second Ridge. Beyond was Deadman’s Ridge, from which the enemy could fire into the side of the post from three sides. The Turks had only to advance a few meters from the trenches ahead, capture Quinn’s, and the whole Anzac area could be lost.
An Anzac head raised above any Quinn’s Post trench invited a sniper’s bullet. A week after the landing, Lance Corporal George Campbell Stupart of Maryborough was among eight men killed when machine gun fire destroyed their sandbagging and raked one of the vulnerable forward trenches, killing or wounding all men in a position that was held for only one day.
Captain Cyril Frederick Corser: Dear Mr Stupart: George … died a noble death with very many of his friends. We were very badly cut up at the time, as the Turks made a desperate attempt to break through our lines but failed. We had had very heavy losses but feel confident that the enemy’s losses must be greater. George got a bullet through the head and another just about the heart. His sufferings would have been small. He was in a trench with seven or eight others. The whole lot were wiped out, either killed or wounded through a machine gun firing on them. They were very comfortable with their sandbags around them; (machine guns) simply tore the sandbags with their fire and emptied them, then played on the men. Other plucky fellows came up and took their places. They also gave us a warm time with hand grenades, which they throw into and about our trenches. I was wounded dodging one of these bombs …. M.C., Maryborough WBB Historical Society, Letters from the Front Line.
Drummer Cpl Syd Porter: All our precautions could not prevent the snipers from the rear. Dick Dunsden, was shot through the head, and Stan Brier, who was beside me, was shot through the neck; they both died and were buried straight away. It fairly broke me up when they were taken away. They had an awful time in the next trench in the afternoon. It was only separated by a small hole to pass orders through. They were enfiladed by machine gun fire … Jim Sullivan got shot through the stomach. Next to him L/Cpl Stupart was shot through the head. L/Cpl Seymour, also Pte Scott, were shot through the head. Six others besides were killed and they were buried when darkness fell, before we abandoned the trenches. This ends that fatal day of the 30th, which took all my mates away. I will not forget it, as long as I live. M.C., Maryborough WBB Historical Society, Letters from the Front Line.
Hugh Fulton: I can fully understand how all will feel that know George – still, who could wish for a finer death than to die for our King and empire? I sympathise with you, sir. I know how my mother and dad felt when they got the report of my brother’s death in Belgium. Four of us are still fighting for our empire. M.C., Maryborough WBB Historical Society, Letters from the Front Line.
Sgt Bob Hunter, writing from hospital in Malta to George’s brother Lorne: The poor fellow was in a trench 25 yards to the left of the trench I was in charge of and about 3pm received this message: ‘Pass the word to Sgt Hunter that George Stupart and Sgt Dinny Taylor (Bundaberg) were just shot in the head.’ … the Turks were keeping us hopping. When things got a little quieter I got relieved for a few minutes to see the bodies, but I was too late as the remaining men had orders to abandon and fill the trench in; so they took their pay books and identification discs and buried both where they fell, on top of a hill called Quinn’s Post. Poor George never spoke a word after getting hit and I don’t suppose he would have wished anything better than being buried where he fell. You have lost a good brother and Australia has lost a brilliant soldier, of which she cannot afford to lose too many. He was well liked by comrades and officers … I have lost one of my best pals.
– M.C., Maryborough WBB Historical Society, Letters from the Front Line.