Category Archives: Dardanelles

William Harringay (Henry) Neate

William Harringay Neate
Private 1343

5th Battalion Australian Infantry A.I.F.

 Division 6

William Harringay Neate, is recorded as William Henry Neate, on the headstone of the family grave number 6789.  The inscription states that he was “Killed in Action at Anzac” on 19th May 1915 aged 32.

It is believed that his father, also called William, served in the British Army prior to the Great War, he was born in Bradfield, Berkshire and his sister, Sarah, who lived with the family in 1901 was born in Tilehurst, Reading.  William’s mother was Mary A Neate. It has not been possible to discover futher details about William Harringay Neate although in 1901 he was living with his mother and father in Gosport. He was then 19 but no occupation was given.

 The Gallipoli landings took place on the 25th April 1915.  Until 6th May there was persistent heavy fighting with serious losses on both sides.  It became obvious by the 9th May that the troops would need time to reorganise and strengthen their positions.  Among the heat and flies and constant sniper fire the Anzacs dug to improve the depth of gullies and trenches.  For safety periscopes were in constant use.  In many places the front lines were only yards apart and in No-Mans land the decaying bodies of Turkish soldiers rotted in the sun.  The Turkish commanders Essad and Kemel gave up their vision of driving the Anzacs into the sea and planned, instead, to mount a full scale attack.  40,000 Turks were assembled quietly during the 18th May in gullies and valley’s along the front line.  During the 18th the Turkish guns became eerily silent and reports from aircraft informed the allies that Turkish reinforcements were moving across the peninsula.  The attack was set for 3.30a.m. but,  forewarned of an imminent attack because of the light gleaming from fixed bayonets, the Australians themselves began firing at 3a.m.  All along the line the Turks were met with rifle and machine gun fire, many Australians jumping on the parapets to get a better aim.  By noon the attack was called off and Turkish casualties numbered 10,000 including 3,000 dead or grievously wounded in No-Mans land.  The cries of the injured and the stench on the dead was so appalling that on the 20th May an Australian Colonel hoisted a Red Cross flag.  The Turks shot at the flag but shortly after sent out men to apologise and Red Crescents were raised, an Armistice was agreed and in the following days the battlefield was cleared. 

William Henry Neate was killed during the attacks. He is buried at Shrapnel Valley Cemetery, Turkey, Location Plot III. Row C. Grave 15.

Shrapnel Valley (or Shrapnel Gully) runs from the west side of the Lone Pine Plateau, behind Maclagan’s Ridge, south-westwards to the sea near Hell Spit (Queensland Point).  The upper part of Shrapnel Valley was called Monash Gully (after Sir John Monash, then commanding the 4th Australian Infantry Brigade). The main valley obtained its name from the heavy shelling of it by the Turks on the 26th April, 1915. It was an essential road from the beach upwards. Wells were sunk and water obtained from it in small quantities; on the South side of its lower reaches were camps and depots; and gun positions were made near the mouth of it. The cemetery was made mainly during the occupation, but partly after the Armistice by the concentration of isolated graves in the Valley. There are now nearly 700, 1914-18 war casualties commemorated in this site. Of these, over 80 are unidentified and special tablets are erected to commemorate 21 soldiers from Australia and two from the United Kingdom for whom there is evidence of burial in the cemetery. The cemetery covers an area of 2,824 square metres and the South-East side which borders the gully is enclosed by a concrete retaining wall.

William Edward Davis Wellbelove

William Edward Davis Wellbelove
Driver 616069
20th Bde.  Ammunition Column
1st/1st Berkshire Royal Horse Artillery

 Division 40

William Edward Davis Wellbelove, is commemorated on a family memorial.  Grave number 8790.  He was related to Joseph Davis AIF, who is commemorated on the same headstone.  The grave number is 8790.  The Berkshire Family History classification if 40C11.

William was the eldest son of William Edward and Dora Wellbelove, of 30, Crescent Road, Reading.   He was an old boy of the Reading Blue Coat School.

William died in Number 17 General Hospital Alexandria, after contracting malaria and developing pneumonia.  He died on the 29th October 1918, aged 23. He is buried in the Alexandria (Hadra) War Memorial Cemetery, Egypt.  Location E.99. 

 Alexandria was a great Anglo-French base camp and hospital centre.  Casualties were brought to Alexandria from the islands and men came to the camps in Alexandria when on leave from campaigns in the desert.

John Weeks

John Weeks
Second Lieutenant
11th Battalion  Devon Regiment attached to Hampshire Regiment

 Division 8

Weeks John photo Weeks J Royal Edward ship

John Weeks home address was 39, Northumberland Avenue, Reading.  He joined the army in Exeter  in September 1914 and was quickly awarded a commission. Census evidence suggests that he was a law clerk in 1911 and boarding with a family in Exmouth. His father was William Weeks; his name is on John Weeks attestation papers.

 John Weeks was 26 years of age when he was lost at sea in the “Royal Edward” disaster, 13th August 1915.  The transport ship was carrying 1,380 officers and troops and a ship’s crew of 220 officers and men, when it was sunk by a German submarine in the Ægean Sea with great loss of life.  Only 600 were saved.  The disaster was particularly tragic, because so many lives were lost.  The men had spent a long time in training.  In the report the men were described as “burning to meet the foe”.  The ship’s destination was  the Gallipoli peninsula.  Details outlining the history of the ship and how it was sunk can be found on Wikipedia.

 John Weeks was buried in Syra New British Cemetery, Greece.  The grave location II.A.5.  The cemetery is on an island in the Cyclades, about 75 miles south-east of Athens.  The cemetery was made in 1921, to take the scattered British War graves from the islands of the Cyclades.  In total there are 111 War Graves registered. 

The commemoration on the grave in the cemetery has been recorded by the Berkshire Family History Society but the author has mislaid the details of the headstone inscription.