Thursday, 27 August 2015


Private Horace Hamilton Dyason

'B' Section, Field Ambulance, NZ Medical Corp

Evacuated from Gallipoli due to illness 27/08/15

My Great-Grandfather

Horace is the gentleman standing. Unfortunately we do not know who his friend is

Perhaps he is one of the lucky ones. Able to escape the horrors of the peninsular, but having read about the evacuations and conditions on the hospital ships... I'm not sure it was much respite (he was evacuated to HMHS Assaye). There was probably little respite until he arrived in port to be taken to hospital. At least he was only ill and not seriously wounded.

I wonder what he was thinking and feeling at the time. Relief? Worry? Fear? He's only 21 and has been on active service for 4 months prior to illness forcing his evacuation. He would have seen and heard some of the worst of it with helping clear the wounded.....

Although active service ends here, his army service certainly doesn't.

From here it is hospital and recovery. One part of which is becoming a cook at Lady Godley's house (extra pay even!). After a period of recovery my Great-Grandfather rejoins the NZMC at Tel-el Kebir in 1916 where they are shipped to England in preparation for arrival on the Western front. 

It's here that he contracts tonsillitis, so he gets to remain in England recovering. Once well, it's service as a batman to one of the Officers and, later on as the war ends, a cook. He ends the war as a Corporal and returns home mid-1919 for a quiet life with the railways. He passed away aged 85. His passing was about 9 months before I was born.

Not a bad innings.

I realise this post is pretty personal. In some ways, I've just written it to capture what I've learned about Horace. But, also to share and remember with the centenary of the Great War. Perhaps it's even to just inspire a little for you to research your family history?

Earlier in August, I posted briefly about the Chunuk Bair assault.

Whilst looking back over my photos from my trip to Gallipoli, I wondered where my Great-Grandfather may have been at that time.

Since then, I found this book online: The NZ Medical Service in the Great War

When I read through the short section on the the August offensive, I found a few reference's to 'B' section....

6/8/15 4:30pm
The other subsidiary attacks from Quinn's. Pope's, and the Nek were unsuccessful and very costly. The dressing stations and Ambulance bearers in Monash's Gully were fully occupied during that night in clearing to the Australian C.C.S. on the beach.

7/8/15. 3.50 a.m
About this time wounded were coming down to the M.D.S. from Walker's Ridge as a result of an attack on the Nek by the 8th Australian Light Horse who had extraordinarily heavy casualties, the greater number being killed. "B" Section of the New Zealand Field Ambulance in Monash Gully was still fully occupied by casualties from Quinn's and Pope's.

8/8/15 'B' section is stationed in Monash Gully

From here, there is so much happening as the assaults and counter assaults happen, events are hard to follow, but from what I can gather...

9/8/15 3pm
'B' section remains at Walkers Ridge

That night the New Zealanders were relieved on Chunuk Bair, coming back to the main position on Rhododendron Spur, now somewhat more organised as a defensive line. At 1 a.m. on the 10th a further 80 men of the 5th reinforcements were detailed as stretcher bearers and at 3 a.m. Captain A. V. Short with "B" section bearers of the New Zealand Field Ambulance moved out under orders to join O'Neil's party; all wounded in the Chailak Dere were away before daylight.

I've walked through those battlefields. But during the day and without having to carry wounded mates out under fire. I can only imagine.

I just wish I knew a little more about where Horace may have been prior to visiting the Gallipoli peninsular. Even just a chance to ask a few questions....

Going back further in the book, I found a few interesting insights on the actual landings...

The Landing at Anzac, April 25th.
The Gosler with the New Zealand Field Ambulance aboard sailed for Kaba Tepe at 9 a.m., preceded by the majority of the transports, passed the mouth of the Dardanelles where the 29th Division was landing under the cover of the guns of the Fleet, and anchored off Kaba Tepe at 3 p.m. on Sunday afternoon. Both A.D.'sM.S. had landed early on Anzac beach, both still in ignorance of the final medical arrangements, both most grievously employed. On the deck of the Gosler the bearers were standing to, medical equipment in readiness. The beach landing places were being shelled; the great war ships in rear of the Gosler were pounding the distant hills; a few shells were falling into the sea amongst the transports. Presently the destroyer Foxhound came alongside—she could take 500 men on her decks easily—Major O'Neil and his bearers scrambled down on board her. Each man had three days rations and a ground sheet to carry besides his usual equipment; number fours of squads carried extra water bottles; each bearer carried firewood and some extra dressings. The bearers and the tent subdivision men parted with careless greetings; things did not appear to be going well on the beach—the situation was obscure—the landing places and the slopes above under heavy shell fire.

Later on in the notes

At Capt. Craig's post there were many wounded lying on stretchers. They had received attention, were dressed and ready for evacuation. One of them, an officer of the Auckland battalion, greeted the bearers:—"My God we are glad to see you fellows—there are hundreds of wounded chaps up on the hills." 

It's hard to fathom what would have been going through the minds of any of the men landing that morning, let alone what thoughts my Grand-Grandfather would have had stepping onto those beaches.

One line that stood out from what he told my mother....
"You're scared, but you don't have time to be scared. You just have to get in and out!"

Thanks for reading.

EDIT: Adding a link to an earlier post relating to this - "Off on an adventure?"

Sunday, 23 August 2015


I'd almost forgotten that this place existed... Motat. I'm sure it's been over 20 years since I was last there. Not sure it's changed much either :-)

Since it had been so long, we figured it would be a good place to head to for another photography challenge.

I met up with Mark G at the Aviation part of Motat (Rob wasn't allowed to look at planes...) and then caught up with Rob and his wife Yvonne at the main Motat site.

The main thing I wanted to see in the aviation part was the Lancaster...

But the Bomber Command memorial is also here along with a statue of Sir Keith Park.

A few other shots from the exhibit:

And a couple of models on display (Fleet Air Arm):

The bonus of going to Motat was that a return tram ride is included in your ticket price (the tram takes you from one site to the other).

Then it was into the main site. Lots of old stuff! :-) So lots of B&W or sepia made easy with Silver Efex Pro 2.

Ummm what?

The "kids" having fun

A good fun day. I'm glad I took my tripod, particularly around the Lancaster. I found I couldn't be too bothered using it much around the rest of Motat and it just became a hassle.

The one thing that I should have taken was my polariser! Didn't even think about it as it's normally packed with all my camera stuff anyway.... but I took my smaller bag. It would have been interesting to try using the polariser to overcome some of the glare in a few of the photos.

As for Motat, it was still pretty cool. Although some parts are looking a little tired and old. Pretty cheap day out with $16 for entry to both sites and the tram ride included. I don't feel the need to head back for some time though.

Interested in feedback as always.

Thanks for looking :-)

Sunday, 16 August 2015

How the West wasn't won

A change in pace and scenery with gaming this weekend.

We've been keen and have been talking about doing a small Legends of the Wild West campaign of and on for a while now.

This time it's for real. We've actually got our posse's organised and all ready to go. 'Til Rob came down with the dreaded lurgy (get well soon Rob! :-) )

So instead of starting the campaign today, we played a few games to remember how to play the game. Always a good place to start.... :-)

Phil had his Outlaw's. Mark and I are both fielding Lawmen.

My posse is:

Sheriff Bullock (repeating rifle + six-gun)
Deputy Blondie (repeating rifle)
Deputy Wild Will (repeating rifle)
Vigilante Tuco (six-gun)
Vigilante Cheyenne (six-gun)
Vigilante Sol (shotgun)
Citizen Ol Timer (six-gun)
Citizen Morton (six-gun)

Can anyway guess where the names are from...? :-)

Mark and Phil were already playing a game when I arrived (I have no idea of what their posse's consisted off).

A few shots of their game/posse's:

Their game took forever, but it was finally High Noon when Phil and I lined up for the next game...

Until we realised all the extra rules that the actual duel at High Noon had.... so it was back to setting up for a standard High Noon mission. My Lawmen trying to run Phil's Outlaws out of town.

Both of us positioned riflemen to cover the road. Phil's Outlaws trying smashing through the buildings to utilise the cover whilst my Lawmen skirted through alleyways to gain cover...

In the end the better aim of the Lawmen won the day as Outlaw casualties mounted. They quickly broke and headed for the hills, a few less in number now.

What I didn't know was that one of the Outlaws was the brother of another Lawmen. Mark's Lawmen now had a Vendetta to settle..... no amount of reasoning that the law had been broken was going to suffice. They were out for blood!

Sheriff Bullock quickly ordered his Lawmen to barricade the store and the men took position.

Soon, the shootin started. First blood to Bullock and his posse. Mark wasn't mucking around though and moved his Lawmen in closer for the kill....

One of my Deputies falls and my Lawmen posse start collapsing their defense back to the store. This was it. All or nothing. All guns blazing!

The amount of firepower being expended is amazing! But can I kill anything!? Nope. A few enemy Lawmen are knocked out, but they're still closing and starting to flank the store.

I'm forced out and have no choice but to bring the biff. Again, I'm winning the fights, but can I cause a wound!? Nope. Mark is though and my numbers are starting to thin.

And thin past breaking point now. Sheriff Bullock is tough though and he's gonna go down fighting rather than just give in to this unjust vendetta. Even surrounded, he refuses to break and still fights back...

Only to have Mark's cowardly Lawmen bring him down....

Who will protect the town now!? 

Fair play to Mark. He made his hits count where I couldn't. The game should have been won a few a turns earlier, but I just could not convert hits to wounds to get Mark past his posse's break point.

All good fun and good practice for the real campaign.

Sheiff Bullock and co will be back! :-)