Heather Scale shares the story of her great uncle Private Harold Booker, who sailed on the Orvieto. Like many soldiers, he kept a diary of his service.
Great uncle Harold embarked from Melbourne on the HMAT Orvieto on 21 October 1914. He was in H Coy 5th Battallion, 2nd Infantry Brigade that landed on the shores of Gallipoli in the second wave at 7am on 25 April. I have his diaries and letters that capture when he joined the army and embarked on the Orvieto, arriving in Egypt and the landing in Anzac Cove and Cape Helles where, sadly, he was killed on the field on 8 May 1915.
The following is an excerpt from his diary just after his landing at Gallipoli.
Wednesday 28 April, 1915
Landed in Dardanelles Sunday (25th). Heavy work. Most inspiring sight. Am still alive for which I thank God from the bottom of my heart. Water plentiful also food at present. Cold night, miss the blankets but am glad to lie down anywhere. No wash for four days, am an awful sight torn and tattered clothing. Just realising what a terrible thing war is, far too horrible to describe. Am proud to be an Australian. Shrapnel for three days am beginning to get used to it. Very adept at “digging in” now! English navy wonderful also the aeroplane corp. Shall I make many more entries here.