Voices from the Past

Lieutenant Colonel William George Malone

William George Malone was one of New Zealand’s outstanding soldiers of the Gallipoli Campaign. He was of solid build and stood over six feet tall. He shared his time between being a farmer, lawyer and devout family man and in 1914, achieved his lifelong ambition of going to war.

He had previous territorial service as commander of the 11th Regiment (Taranaki Rifles) whereby he introduced the now familiar ‘Lemon Squeezer’ hat, designed both to mirror the outline of Mount Taranaki and also to allow ‘run off’ in the rain.

At the outbreak of war in 1914 he was appointed to command the Wellington Infantry Battalion and at 56 proved to be both a forceful and efficient commander. Once at Gallipoli, he immediately began to impose order and although he pushed his men hard, he also fought his superiors to provide building materials and basic comforts to his men.

The Wellington Battalion played a pivotal role in the August offensive and the attack on Chunuk Bair. He would not expose his men to a daylight attack and delayed the attack until shortly before dawn. Malone’s battalion seized Chunuk Bair on 8 August and then skillfully defended the position from several Turkish counter-attacks. At around 5.00pm, Malone was killed by ‘friendly fire’ and his body remained on the slopes, one of the many New Zealanders who have no known grave. Initially he was made a scapegoat for the failure of the offensive but today, he is now recognised as an outstanding battalion commander.