ROBERT MUNRO (BOB) FYFE

Private Bob Fyfe came from Rissington (in the hills west of Taradale) and embarked with the Main Body, NZEF with the Wellington Infantry Regiment. The first contingent of men who embarked for Egypt to serve with the NZ Expeditionary Force were called the "Main Body".

The Wellington Infantry Regiment embarked 16 October 1914 from Wellington, NZ aboard either HMNZT 03 (ss Maunganui) West Coast Company, or HMNZT 07 (ss Limmerick) Nos. 7 and 8 Platoon, or HMNZT 10 (ss Arawa) less West Coast Company and Nos. 7 and 8 Platoon.  The trip from NZ to Egypt followed:

  • Hobart 21 October 1914
  • Albany (Western Australia) 28 October 1914
  • Columbia (Ceylon) 15 November 1914
  • Aden 25 November 1914
  • Suez 1 December 1914
  • Alexandria 3 December 1914.

After a period of training in Egypt, the Wellington Infantry Regiment embarked for Gallipoli from Alexandria in April 1915 aboard ss Achaia (under command of Major H Hart) and s.s Itonus (under command of Lt Col. W G Malone). They served on the Gallipoli Peninsula until December 1915 when they were evacuated back to Egypt. The were subsequently sent to France.  He was eventually promoted to Staff Sergeant Major.

8 August 1915 - Wellington Infantry Regiment captured Chunuk Bair

Shadbolt, M. - Once on Chunuk Bair

In the early morning of August 8, 1915, 760 men of the Wellington Battalion, NZ Infantry Brigade, under the command of Lieutenant Colonel W. G. Malone, took the hill of Chunuk Bair above their Gallipoli beachhead and held it against overwhelming numbers of Turkish enemy; by midnight, when they were at last relieved, only 70 were without serious wounds - most were dead. Judged by any rational standard, their sacrifice marked only the futile climax of an appallingly mismanaged campaign. The Gallipoli venture, designed to break the deadlock of the Western Front by a sudden strike through the Dardanelles at Constantinople, the capital of Germany's Middle Eastern ally, had degenerated into a smaller scale version of the shambles in France and Flanders; here too men were being fed to machine guns with grotesque production-line regularity of trench-warfare. The thrust on the commanding heights of Chunuk Bair took the British Expeditionary Force as close as it came to control of the Dardanelles; but the initiative was wasted by the dilatory incompetence of General Stopford who, anxious for more artillery support, failed to reinforce the NZers, and held back 20,000 fresh troops of the British New Army on the beaches at Suvla Bay. The hilltop became a killing-ground: Chunuk Bair was a disaster. Subsequently, however, it was to be promoted as NZ's Agincourt, a small nation's fiery coming of age - our answer to the Australians' magnificent debacle at Lone Pine and The Nek.