This year the ANZAC Day Dawn Service at Gallipoli commemorated the centenary of the landing there of the Australian and New Zealand Imperial Expeditionary Forces at ANZAC Cove on the 25th April 1915.
Since it’s launch in 2012 Doing Our Bit: Mosman 1914-1918 has enabled the community to contribute stories, information and images of Mosman First World War servicemen and servicewomen.
While this book isn’t about the First World War it is a fascinating story about espionage in Mosman and the Second World War and may be of interest. In 1938 Swiss born Annette Wagner travelled to Australia from Madagascar and in no time had her own radio show where she was able to send coded messages
“Anyhow, I have commanded an Australian Division for nine months…”
These are the reported last words of Major General Sir William Throsby Bridges on board the hospital ship Gascon en route to Cairo on the 18th of May 1915. In the words of C. E. W Bean1, “he knew he was dying.”
A few days earlier, he had been picked out by a sniper in Monash Valley. The bullet had severed several major arteries in his thigh. Now gangrene had set in. His doctors knew that immediate amputation for this 53 year old man would be fatal, and it was better for nature to take its course, which in William Bridges’ case was 3 days.
His last recorded instruction “was that his regret should be conveyed to the Minister for Defence that his dispatch concerning the landing was not complete — he was too tired now.”
We can only surmise as to the mental processes of this proud man as he slipped in and out of consciousness. He may have remembered his life experiences and those closest to him, memories of time spent with his family and friends around Sydney’s foreshores, in particular his posting to Middle Head.