Part of the Australian 1 Battalion resting ANZAC Cove, 25 April, 1915, photo by Lance Corporal C F Hamilton, reproduced from Charles Bean, Vol 12, 55

The 1 Infantry Battalion was part of first Australian Infantry Division and was made up of men from New South Wales. It was also among those troops who landed at Gallipoli on 25 April, 1915. An infantry division (the smallest infantry force which is complete with guns, ambulances, transport, etc.) consisted of three infantry brigades together with all the attendant arms.

It was accordingly decided that New South Wales should furnish the 1 Infantry Brigade (consisting of the 1st, 2 3, and 4 Australian Battalions, each 1,023 strong) ; Victoria the 2 Infantry Brigade (consisting of the 5, 6, 7, and 8 Battalions); and the remaining four States the 3 Brigade. Except for some of the time on Gallipoli the 1 Field Ambulance and the 1 Field Company were attached to the 1 Infantry Brigade.

The commander of the 1 battalion was Lieutenant Colonel Dobbin. Under him was Major Kindon and Major Swannell, an English International Footballer, who had immigrated to Australia. After landing at Gallipoli on 25 April 1915,  the 1 Battalion, under Kindon (second in command) and Swannell, made their way up to Plugge’s Plateau, a position already cleared of Turkish troops, and then on to reinforce Maclagan at ‘Russell’s Top’.

They made this position by 10 o’clock in the morning and then wound over ‘The Nek’ and made their way to the base of ‘Baby 700’ where the remnants Of Robertson’s and Lalor’s troops of the 3 Brigade had been driven Charles bean in his Official History records what followed … On this line the men of the 1st Battalion began to dig as quickly as they could. But on reaching the inland slope of the hill they came under heavy fire. The Turks had run off to a trench which showed as a brown line through the scrub ahead. Bullets whipped in among the Australians from the front and from the right flank. The only way to escape them was to lie still; and it was difficult while so doing, to keep up an effective fire.

Swannell had said just before landing that he felt sure this day would be his last, and this was proved to be true. While kneeling in order to show his men how to take better aim he was shot dead. During the rest of the afternoon the 1 Battalion was involved in the heavy fighting at the front of the ANZAC position near Margetts on the crest. Bean recounts … Almost every officer was killed or wounded, but Margetts still remained. On the right, down the inland slope of the hill where Kindon was engaged, the strain was becoming at least as great. The fire from the right continually increased. The line on Baby 700 was isolated, with both flanks in the air, and Turks were filtering in and accumulating somewhere on either side. Through this increasing torture Major Kindon lay in the line with his men, steadily puffing an old pipe. Beside him on his left a man of the 12th Battalion lay in the scrub firing. Presently a bullet zipped past from the right. The man’s head fell forward on his rifle-butt; his spinal column had been severed. From the direction of the shot Kindon knew that the Turks must have outflanked him on his right. By the strength of their determination and by that alone, officers and men were clinging to Baby 700. Reinforcements for Baby 700 were asked for again and again and although similar demands were received from every other part of the line, and especially from the right, it was realised by divisional headquarters on the beach that the position on the left was critical. General Bridges had suspected this immediately on landing, when he noticed the storm of rifle bullets still sweeping down Shrapnel Gully at 8 o’clock.

By the time the relieving force of New Zealander’s arrived in the afternoon Kindon seemed to have only four or five effective men left with him. The others who could not be seen were dead or wounded.

by-saGeoff Barker, Collection and Research Services Coordinator, Parramatta Council Heritage Centre, 2015

Charles Bean, official History of Australia in the War of 1914-1918, The Story of ANZAC, Volume 1, Halstead Press, 1942