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[Page 429]

For weeks prior to the evacuation of Anzac & Suvla Bay, by our forces, things denoted that troops would be shortly withdrawn from that area.

The rumour that went the rounds to account for the gradually clearing of hospitals, removal of troops & the diminution of Ordnance & supplies, was that the garrison was to be reduced by ½ owing to winter approaching & a reserve force kept on the Island of Imbros, about 5 miles off the coast.
I must say this gossip seemed to satisfy mostly everyone & if the departing troops were not off for a rest then Salonica must be their destination.

Then the news, that 1 gun per battery was moved during one night. Still we never thought of such a thing as evacuation.

On 15th of Dec. 5 days before we finally left, no doubt as to what was going to be done, existed.

I happened to be near Mule Gully where the Ordnance Dept had their stocks & witnessed a sight which perhaps reminded me of a Bargain Sale at Winns. [Winns Department Store, Newcastle, NSW.]
An officer announced that the stores were "open to the public" & immediately the yard was a mass of struggling soldiers. Cases were burst open & if the contents was not needed, then others were serched. Gum boots, revolvers, ankle boots, water-proof

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