The value of recorded oral history and the written word come together in Remembering Gallipoli: Interviews with New Zealand Gallipoli Veterans, by Christopher Pugsley and Charles Farrell.
The book is based on 131 surviving interviews made, mostly in 1982, of Gallipoli veterans as part of the research that was the backbone of the Maurice Shadbolt play Once on Chanuk Bair This and other material have been used in other books including Men of Gallipoli, by Charles Farrell, as well as in a TVNZ documentary. There are also a number of other historians and scholars that have benefited from the material which is carefully archived in a number of places, including the National Army Museum at Waiouru.
This book has been carefully constructed, so that the memories of the men are linked to the various battles and other significant aspects of the Gallipoli campaign. Sometimes the comments from a single veteran will appear in different chapters because the individual will have memories of a number of different incidents. This allows for the whole campaign to be understood chronologically. Thus instead of an historian’s prose, the story unfolds through the words of veterans who were there, while staying in line with how the campaign developed and ended.
Authors’ notes are used to fill in detail of events, creating context for the veterans’ comments. Pugsley and Farrell also contribute to the background and context with their introduction. In particular Pugsley traces how he got involved with the history of the Gallipoli campaign while still a serving officer in the Army.
Photographs are well used in this book, very often adding to the personal perspectives of veterans’ accounts.
Much of the collective memory is harrowing, some of it humorous in a black kiwi sort of way. But the real quality of this book is that it allows us 100 years later to “ hear the voices” that were at Gallipoli.
Review by Lincoln Gould
Remembering Gallipoli: Interviews with New Zealand Gallipoli Veterans
by Christopher Pugsley and Charles Ferrall
Published by Victoria University Press