A letter from the trenches

On 17 April 1915, Hasan Ethem, a reserve Officer in the 57th regiment, wrote:

Bullets retrieved from Ariburnu (Anzac Cove).

I’m happy that I’m carrying out a wonderful and holy duty. I opened my eyes and looked towards the distance. I can see the green crops buckling, unable to resist the wind, almost acknowledging the letter my mother has sent me. It’s like they’re bowing to me, congratulating me on the letter I’ve received from mother.

I’m going to bring you here one day, mother. I’m going to show you the natural beauty of this place.

 Someone with a beautiful voice is bellowing the azan (Muslim call to prayer). How beautiful his voice is in these plains! Even the nightingale has fallen silent, the crops refusing to move, the stream standing still. Every one, every thing, the whole universe, is listening to this holy voice.

I opened my palms to the skies, and prayed. Oh, the Creator of Turks! You’ve given these lands to Turks. Allow the Turks to keep them. Oh, Almighty! The only wish of your soldiers is to rid the English and the French from these lands. May you grant us this holy wish, delivered to you by a lonely soldier on these grand plains.

Mother, this is the most beautiful place on earth. But there are no weddings on our native shores, if God willing we rid these lands of the enemy, we’ll have a wedding here, shall we?

Ethem was killed at Ariburnu (Anzac Cove) on 25 April 1915.

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