My Great Great Great Uncle John
Before the lockdown, Miss Freeman's year 3-4 class at George Street Normal School in Dunedin were learning about the history of the Anzacs. Together they watched some videos, and thought about ways they could remember the Anzacs and why Anzac Day is important.
Lochie Grant (aged 8) and his family remember their ancestor John Geary every Anzac Day. This year to honour his great, great, great uncle John Geary, Lochie wrote about his uncle at Gallipoli.
My great, great, great Uncle John was born in 1887 in Portobello, Dunedin. His Mum and Dad were called Mary and William Geary and they always called their son Jack.
In 1914, when Uncle John was 27 years old, he joined the Otago Mounted Rifles 1st Maori Contingent. On the 16th of October 1914 he set sail on the SS Ruapehu which travelled from Port Chalmers to Egypt.
In Egypt the men practised their strategies for war amongst the pyramids. After a few months they set sail again for Gallipoli. The summer heat was stifling when Uncle John arrived at the beaches of Gallipoli. The plan was that the ANZACs would sneak up the mountain by the beach in the dark and take control of the highest summit called Chunuk Bair.
The problem was that the terrain was steep and rugged and it was nearly impossible to climb in the dark. When the sun rose, Uncle John and his battalion were still 1 kilometre from the top. They had nowhere to hide from the Turkish soldiers who had come up the other side of the mountain but tried their best to dig trenches and take cover for the rest of the day. In the pre-dawn darkness of the 8th August 1915, Uncle John and other ANZAC’s bravely fought off the Turkish soldiers until their rifles were too hot to hold. 140 soldiers from Otago alone were killed in this fight. One of these men was great, great, great Uncle John. He was 28 years old.
By Lochie Grant (8 years) 24 April 2020
Thank you to Lochie and Miss Freeman of George Street Normal School for sharing your writing with us.
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Cite this article
My Great Great Great Uncle John. Auckland War Memorial Museum - Tāmaki Paenga Hira. First published: 30 April 2020. Updated: 20 May 2020.