One of Janet Hadley's six great uncles who fought in World War One, Gordon Appleyard. Photo Campbell Gellie / The Observer
One of Janet Hadley's six great uncles who fought in World War One, Gordon Appleyard. Photo Campbell Gellie / The Observer Campbell Gellie

Gordon Appleyard thought to be one of Gallipoli first 15

THIS year Boyne Island resident Janet Hadley discovered that one of her great uncles, Gordon Appleyard, is thought to be one of the first 15 Australian soldiers to land at Gallipoli.

Gordon Appleyard was one of six brothers to fight in the First World War.

>> What does Anzac Day mean to you? Email us here

A book on the Appleyard's family history and wartime correspondence says Gordon fought with the 9th Australian Infantry Battalion that was the first to land at Gallipoli on April 25.

The 9th battalion was raised within weeks of the declaration of war in August 1914 and those soldiers embarked two months later. After training, the battalion arrived in Egypt in early December before heading to Turkey.

They landed at 4.28am 100 years ago today. Gordon fought with the 9th battalion in Turkey for several months before he became ill and was sent to hospital in England.

He regained his health and was given the option to go home or return to the front.

"He told his commanding officer that he had a brother over at the front, whom he would like to find, and felt it was his place to be there fighting beside him," the family history book reads.

"Fate unfortunately played her part, and Gordon was killed on August 24, 1916, before he had the chance to meet up with his brother Charles."

A document in the Australian Red Cross Society Wounded and Missing Enquiry Bureau files, 1914-18 War, dated more than two years after his death, state Gordon's mother "has never had any report beyond the bare report that he died of wounds on the 24th August, 1916".

It reads: "...his mother is particularly anxious to get information that is available concerning his death and burial".

Gordon's brother Charles also died that year, on November 15. He was awarded a military award for bravery.

In a letter to Charles' wife Rose, close friend L.G. Short wrote that Charles had the ability to use his head in the presence of danger.

"He was so fearless that men used to say he had no nerve which is only another word for saying he had self-control," the letter reads.

"(In a) position of sore danger, and with 12 men he held a position for a week 500 yards in front of our trenches.

"I had hoped to see him in London and was deeply grieved to hear of his death.

"Of course of his private life I knew nothing; but if it was equal to his soldier's career you have lost an unreplaceable companion."

Janet Hadley said her mother always told her that two of her uncles died in the war but that was all she had ever known.

"I wish I had all of the original documents and I want to get in touch with other family members to find out what they have," she said.

"These men paid such a great sacrifice and they should never be forgotten. I always go to a (Anzac Day) service but this year I will be going to my first dawn service to show my respect for everyone who fought."

The four brothers who returned home from the war were Ernest, Allan, D'Arcy, and Leopold.

>> Will you be attending one of the dawn services and marches around the Gladstone region? You can share your photos, videos and stories with us and our readers by clicking here.



Get on board this popular Gladstone fun run

Premium Content Get on board this popular Gladstone fun run

Technicolour fun is coming to Gladstone’s Marina Parklands.

LIVESTREAM ACTION: 3 Power players to watch tomorrow

Premium Content LIVESTREAM ACTION: 3 Power players to watch tomorrow

Gladstone Power U14 basketball coach Michael Beamish has selected three players he...

Speeding gives away drink-driver twice

Premium Content Speeding gives away drink-driver twice

James Mark Abercrombie was caught twice in two months.