The Gallipoli Oak by Ian Dawson & Martin Purdy (Moonraker Publishing 2013, ISBN 978 9554472 1 1, paperback, 174pp, illustrated, £10)
When I first visited Gallipoli many years ago I came across a memorial at the foot of an English oak tree in the Redoubt Cemetery at Krithia to a young officer who had been killed there. I had often wondered what the story behind the tree and this memorial to Eric Duckworth was, and now this new book brings the background to it into sharp focus.
Duckworth was from a middle class Rochdale family who served with the local Territorial battalion, the 1/6th Lancashire Fusiliers, part of the 42nd (East Lancs) Division, as an officer commanding a platoon of men. The book is not just a chronicle of Duckworth’s short life, but it also retells the story and experience of the whole battalion during their trying time in the Gallipoli campaign of 1915. The book is highly readable and there are many accounts from local lads relating their experiences of the conditions at Gallipoli and the loss of local men; indeed in that respect it is a very personal account. The fascinating story of the tree, carried to Gallipoli in a bucket of water by Duckworth’s father in 1922 is also related and there is an excellent account of the Gallipoli battlefields in the 1930s which will be of interest to anyone with a fascination for the post-war battlefield pilgrimages.
A highly recommended account, and a book that has many unique photographs and a complete list of men from the unit who died at Gallipoli.
The book can be ordered from the authors: www.thegallipolioak.co.uk