April 25 marks the centenary of the Gallipoli Landings, an event which many believe shaped our nation. Several Waverley College men participated in that campaign, including Edgar Fitzgerald (enrolled 1910) who was killed on the first morning.
Edgar was the son of a publican, born near Young in 1894. At 16, his parents sent him to Waverley College to finish his school years; in his final year, he won the Junior University prizes for History and Geometry. Ed was working as a clerk when he enlisted in the 1st AIF about two weeks after war was declared. Private Fitzgerald left Sydney with the first wave of enlistments on 20 October 1914 aboard the A 14 HMAT Euripides. As a New South Welshman, he became part of 4th Battalion, which arrived in Egypt on 2 December 1914. We can imagine him in camp around the Pyramids, and perhaps on leave in Cairo, as the troops were prepared for battle in the Dardanelles campaign. On 25 April 1915, 4th Battalion was part of the second and third waves ashore at Anzac Cove. It was here that Ed Fitzgerald was killed. Two others lost their lives later in the Gallipoli campaign.
Other Waverley College men saw action at Gallipoli. Dr Gordon Lowe, one of two Waverley College medical men who served with the Australian Army Medical Corps, was on duty at the 3rd Australian General Hospital on Mudros, off Gallipoli, after the August Offensive. Henry Flynn, Basil Hill, Samuel Martin and Harold Wainwright sustained wounds or contracted serious illnesses during the Gallipoli campaign which ended their participation in the war, while John Dugan, Rupert Gannon, Leslie Gallagher, Stanley Gow, Robert Green, James Courbarron and Francis Wood suffered wounds from which they recovered, and went on to serve elsewhere. Patrick Burke and William Molloy both served with the field ambulances at Gallipoli and continued this service on the Western Front. All of them survived the war. Peter O’Reilly served at Gallipoli from the landing in April until October, as did Thomas Westbrook; both officers were killed during the Second Battle of Bullecourt in May 1917. Bernard McTague, who was killed in June 1917, also served at Gallipoli.
As the nation pauses to remember the centenary of that first ANZAC Day, let us remember the Waverley College men involved.