National Army Museum, Waiouru, New Zealand : Military History & Army War Museum

The Battle for the Daisy Patch

1st NZ Brigade at Cape Helles during WWI (NAM 1992-776)

1st NZ Brigade at Cape Helles during WWI (NAM 1992-776)

On 5th May 1915 the New Zealand Infantry Brigade were shipped to Cape Helles south of the Gallipoli landing site. After the failure of the landing the ANZACs along with the French artillery and British, prepared for the Second Battle of Krithia, also known as the battle for the Daisy Patch.

On May 8th after an unsuccessful artillery barrage, the New Zealand infantry moved into attack across an open piece of ground. The ground was the ‘Daisy Patch’ but would also be referred to as the “Gardens of Hell”.

In the words of Walter (Bill) Leadley of the Canterbury Battalion, (in Gavin McLean, Ian McGibbon and Kynan Gentry (eds), The Penguin Book of New Zealanders at War, Penguin, Auckland, 2009, p.136)

I watched the 12th Nelson Company make an advance over open country called the Daisy Patch. There was absolutely no cover for them. They lost their commanding officer, and several men were casualties.

Ray Lawry then Came up and led the 2nd Company over the same place, with a good dash. He got through safely, setting a fine example of courage to the men. He is a plucky beggar.

Our turn to go across came next, and we went over the top in good order with the best of luck. At once we were greeted with a terrible fusillade of rifle and machine gun fire, which was deadly.

The man on my right had his brains shot out into his face, and the chap on my left was shot through the stomach.

Halfway across the patch I tripped over a root and fell down. I lay still for two or three minutes until I had recovered my breath. Then the bullets started plugging up the earth all around me so I got up again and made for the Turkish trench as hard as T could go.

I reached it without being hit, but almost dropping with weakness. There was no room in the trench for me so I jumped into a river bed close by and found a safe place.

The attack at the Daisy Patch was unsuccessful due to the Turkish machine gun and artillery fire causing heavy casualties. The ground was not taken and the New Zealanders retreated as best they could. The 3 day operation had cost the Allies 6,500 men (800 of these men were ‘Kiwis’) in gaining just half a kilometre of ground of no major significance.

“They go forward whenever they are ordered although they know in many cases they are walking to their death.” 8/1039 Private Peter M Thompson, Otago Battalion

Visit the new exhibition “Gallipoli: Ripping Yarns from the Peninsula” which features several soldiers who fought at the Daisy Patch plus information and images of the battle.