An Australian General's Death

The following account of the death of General Bridges, from the official Press Correspondent with the Australian Imperial force at the Dardanelles has been published in the Commonwealth Government Gazette.

General Bridges was wounded whilst on his way to visit the firing line. At one point the path was close in the rear of the lines, and was rather exposed to the fire of the enemy's sharp shooters. General Bridges was usually careless of his personal safety, almost to the point of recklessness.

From the first day, when he made his daily inspections of the Australian line, he utterly ignored personal danger, and would stand up in full view of the enemy's position.

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He often chaffed members of his staff who were careful. On the first day, a man standing beside him was shot dead. Later on however the warnings of his staff appeared to have more effect. Once or twice the General consented to take cover when shrapnel was bursting right over him.

On this particular morning, Saturday May 15th(1915), it was noticed that the General was exercising especial precaution. As he walked up towards a particular position which he wanted to inspect, he had to pass several turns of a path down which bullets were falling pretty thickly.As he went along, men in dressing stations and others at bends of the roads warned, "you had better run across here sir" For once the General accepted advice and ran across. Presently he reached a corner where there was the dressing station of a certain battalion. The General stood talking, pulled out a cigarette, and lit it. He remained smoking for sometime, then turned to his staff and said " Well, we must make another run for it" He ran round the corner through the scrub towards the next cover, some yards away, but just before he reached it he fell hit.

Help was instantly at hand.

The doctor went forward, stooped down hurriedly, attended the wound and brought the General into cover. The bullet had cut two large arteries in the thigh. If the doctor had not been present he would certainly died in a few seconds from loss of blood. Only the instantaneous attention of the skilled surgeon who rapidly found the arteries prevented immediate death. The General's first words when he was brought in very white and weak were "Don't carry me down. I don't want any of your fellows to run into danger". He was told that it was absolutely necessary to carry him down, but still he endeavoured to prevent the stretcher-bearers from risking their lives by carrying him. However his objections were of course over ruled. All traffic along the trench was ordered temporarily to cease, and the solitary stretcher was carried down through the danger point. The enemy, probably because they saw it was a party carrying a wounded man, did not fire any shots in this direction till the stretcher had passed.

"We have noticed that the Turk, whilst not always a scrupulous or humane fighter, has sometimes acted very fairly and humanly. It probably depends upon the individual."

The General was taken off to the Hospital ship where his staff visited him ..He died a few days later.