Wildlife at Gallipoli, December 1915


‘Bird and insect life is most interesting here… Larks can always be seen, and their presence seems to lessen in some degree the sordidness of war. One feels thankful that, no matter how many guns may be thundering, the noise is never sufficiently loud to drive away the birds.

‘They fly about heedless of the messengers of death, which ever and anon speed through the air. There are plenty of thrushes and crows and wagtails, while hawks, magpies, wild duck, quails, sand martins and many other kinds of birds may also be seen. Vultures too are fairly numerous and may be observed hovering high overhead. One of these vultures attacked two French soldiers the other day. It was captured and is to be seen chained up in the French lines. This vulture is a repulsive-looking bird, a fine specimen of its species. 

‘The Turks appear to keep dogs in their trenches and these can sometimes be heard barking at night. Wild cats are also about and one of our men shot a big one the other day. Frogs are also to be seen in great numbers in the swamps in the gully, and snakes, lizards, tortoises and centipedes are also to be met with. But so far I have not seen a Turk, dead or alive. The living ones keep well out of sight.’

Diary entry from Gallipoli, 6 December, 1915.

Lieutenant W Sorley Brown, 4th Battalion, King’s Own Scottish Borderers.

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