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Track-making on Walker's Ridge


Troops construct a track up Walker’s Ridge, Gallipoli, May 1915.

The artillery landed and retained some horses at Gallipoli. But heavy equipment such as field guns had to be manhandled up the steep slopes. For example, 2nd Battery found it impracticable to use horses to get its guns to the top of Plugge’s Plateau:

[A] working party of infantry, some hundreds strong, was set to work to make a road … [T]he track was sufficiently prepared by evening to permit of the passage of the guns. Horses could not be employed on those sheer slopes, and accordingly, with long ropes and one hundred lusty men heaving in unison the guns were literally lifted up on to the plateau.

Lieutenant J.R. Byrne, New Zealand artillery in the field 1914–18 (1922), pp. 29-30

1st Battery’s guns were similarly manhandled up Walker’s Ridge to Russell’s Top.

Despite their limited usefulness at Gallipoli, some horses became casualties there. Two were wounded during early efforts to place 1st Battery’s guns. One of these horses may have been Finnigan, an artillery horse said to have been wounded twice at Anzac Cove which was later killed on the Western Front.

Several other Gallipoli ‘veterans’ are said to have later served on the Western Front. In this imagined dialogue between several transport animals, written by a New Zealand officer on the Western Front in 1916, a light draught horse recalls his ‘first taste of war’ at Gallipoli:

I came over from New Zealand with the New Zealand Artillery, and Gallipoli, or the Peninsula, as we call it, was my first taste of war…. For three months our lines were under shell-fire night and day and many a time I’ve seen a pal snuffed out when he was quietly feeding. There wasn’t a lot of work for us artillery horses there, for first of all we hadn’t much ground; and, secondly, it was mostly done by you mules, for climbing cliffs ain’t exactly in our line.

The Press, 28 November 1916, p. 8


Alexander Turnbull Library
Reference no: PAColl-0814-1-032
Permission of the Alexander Turnbull Library, National Library of New Zealand, Te Puna Matauranga o Aotearoa, must be obtained before any re-use of this image

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Track-making on Walker's Ridge, URL:, (Manatū Taonga — Ministry for Culture and Heritage), updated