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

Italian ‘Kiwi’ Falls at the Daisy Patch

Captain Ateo Frandi

Captain Ateo Frandi

Ateo Guisto Leale Frandi was born in Pisa, Italy on 4 May 1874 to parents Aristodemo and Annunziata, who on 15 December 1875, decided to take their three children and leave Livorno on the Toscano Coast aboard the SS Gutenberg, arriving in Wellington on 23 March 1876.

Ateo would grow up on the West Coast and in Wellington and prior to the outbreak of World War One, Ateo was working as a Piano Tuner for D.I.C. in Wellington. He also had an interest in the army and had completed military service in the Volunteers and Territorial Force for 24 years (Wellington City Rifles and Zealandia Rifle Volunteers).

Ateo Frandi enlisted on 12 August 1914 (age 40) and after several months training embarked from Wellington on 15 December 1914 arriving in Suez, Egypt, on 28 January 1915.

Stationed at Zeitoun Camp, Ateo completed two and a half months of training before leaving Egypt for Lemnos and then landing at Anzac Cove on the evening of 25 April 1915, along with the rest of the Wellington Battalion.

The Wellingtons would ‘dig in’ and wait for further orders, which would send them down the coast as part of a wider Anzac force.

Their objective was the village of Krithia, which had been the target of a failed previous attack. On 5 May, the New Zealand Infantry Brigade and the 2nd Australian Brigade were shipped to Helles to reinforce General Hamilton’s efforts to capture Achi Baba (the Second Battle of Krithia).

The landscape was significantly different to the scrubby hills of Anzac. There were rolling fields, many cultivated, and there were daisies and poppies, and clumps of fir trees (the ensuing battle would be known as the “Daisy Patch”).

On Saturday the 8th of May, the New Zealanders and the Australians attacked Krithia. At 10.30 am the Wellington Battalion moved forward from the left of the ground, allowing five paces between each man in line and 50 paces between successive lines. As with the other New Zealand sectors, they soon came under intensive long-range machine gun fire and shrapnel which caused a number of casualties, but in true spirit, the men kept moving forward holding their lines.

As they courageously continued, many men were caught in the vicious crossfire as they advanced over the open fields of daisies and during this attack Captain Ateo Frandi was killed. He was seen to stand up from a crouched position, give orders to his men, and move forward in the face of unyielding fire. His men followed but a Turkish sniper’s bullet hit Ateo in the head and he died instantly. He was 41. His body would never be recovered and he is commemorated on the Twelve Tree Copse Memorial at Gallipoli.

His name is also engraved on one of the carillon bells, named Krithia at the National War Memorial in Wellington and his full story is on display at the National Army Museum in Waiouru.