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Friday, 7 August 2015

Mr Bean's Other Typewriter - and his Unsaluted Gallipoli Bravery

It almost seems appropriate that at a time when Australians are marking the centenary of the Battle of Lone Pine I should finally track down a photograph of the great Australian war correspondent and historian Charles Bean at a typewriter. But it's not one of the Corona 3s Bean was known to have used at Gallipoli or on the Western Front (see also). It's a Bar-Lock portable. Judging by other images of Bean from this later period, the undated photo of him at a Bar-Lock would seem to have been taken some time in the late 1930s. The Bar-Lock portable was made between 1936-38. The photo of Bean below, with English poet John Mansfield, was taken in 1934:
Below, Bean in about 1950
Bean was the official Australian war correspondent in World War I and was later appointed Australia's first official war historian.
In relation to Bean's hugely detailed and constant coverage of the Battle of Lone Pine, fought 100 years ago this week, I am particularly intrigued by the fact that New Zealand newspapers gave extensive coverage to acts of bravery by Bean at Gallipoli at this time, yet these went largely unreported in Australian newspapers. One paragraph in which Donald Charles Junner praised Bean's bravery appeared in The Age in Melbourne, and another was contained in a lengthy letter from David Michael Benson, published in The Sunday Times in Perth, Western Australia.
The Age, Melbourne, July 13, 1915
From the very long letter from Benson published in the Perth Sunday Times, August 1, 1915
But the description of Bean's brave actions at Lone Pine, from a letter to London written by Bean's younger brother, John Willoughby Butler "Jack" Bean (1881-1964), was not printed in Australia. Jack Bean, an anaesthetist and a former house physician at St Bartholomew's Hospital in London, was the Australian 3rd Battalion's original medical officer. He was badly wounded at Gallipoli during the April 25, 1915, landings, and again at Lone Pine on this day on 1915. After that he was transferred to England, but later served on the Western Front. After retiring in 1946, he devoted himself to missionary work for the Bahá’í faith as a means to world government and peace.
Although Charles Bean was given the rank of captain, he was still considered a civilian, and therefore was not recommended for military bravery awards.
Jack Bean
Charles, left, and Jack Bean as schoolboys
This is what the Auckland Star published on August 11, 1915:
Donald Charles Junner (1893-1963), of Footscray, Melbourne.
Enlistment of David Michael Benson (1880-1962), of East Perth, Western Australia:
The General McCay referred to in the New Zealand newspaper stories was Northern Ireland-born Sir James Whiteside McCay (1864-1930), a federal minister for defence from 1904-05 and from 1907-13 commander of the Australian Intelligence Corps. On August 15, 1914, he was appointed to command the 2nd Infantry Brigade, Australian Imperial Force, and went against the tide of opinion by asserting that "This titanic struggle [World War I] cannot end early, nor easily". An uncompromising and therefore highly unpopular officer, he reached Egypt early in December 1914. In the first few hours at Gallipoli on April 25, 1915, McCay was shot twice through his cap and once through his sleeve.
At Krithia in May, McCay said to Bean, "This is where I suppose I have to do the damned heroic act" and scrambled on to the parapet shouting, "Now then, Australians! Which of you men are Australians? Come on, Australians!" ("I said in effect to them," he wrote home, "'Come and die', and they came with a laugh and a cheer.") McCay had his leg broken by a bullet, and it was smashed again in Egypt later in the campaign. But he went on to serve in the European theatre. Lieutenant-General Sir Brudenell White remarked that McCay was "one of the greatest soldiers that ever served Australia … greater even than [John] Monash".
The Battle of Lone Pine was fought between Australian and Ottoman Empire forces between August 6-10, 1915. It was part of a diversionary attack to draw Turkish attention away from the main assaults against Sari Bair, Chunuk Bair and Hill 971, which became known as the August Offensive
Reference in Junner's letter to him having previously "slighted" Charles Bean concerns annoyance felt by Australian troops in Egypt, in the lead-up to Gallipoli, over reports from Bean in which he revealed that some men were being discharged and sent home for indiscipline. Bean's bravery is mentioned in an article on the Australian War Memorial's website: "Two weeks after the [Gallipoli] landing he was recommended for a decoration for his bravery during the Australian charge at Krithia; as a civilian was ineligible for the award, so he was mentioned in dispatches instead ... He stayed on Gallipoli throughout the campaign, continually sending stories back to Australia and filling the first of the 226 notebooks he would amass by the end of the war."
Ken Inglis' entry on Bean in the Australian Dictionary of Biography adds, "His bravery became a legend, and erased whatever hostility remained from his dispatch about the first of the returned soldiers ... On August 6 [1915] he was hit by a bullet in the right leg. Determined not to be taken off to a hospital ship, he hobbled to his dugout and lay there until August 24, having the wound dressed each day, until he was well enough to get out and watch the fighting."
Bean, with a cockatoo at his feet, and his wife Ethel at Tuggeranong Homestead
Charles Edwin Woodrow Bean was born on November 18, 1879, in Bathurst, New South Wales. After World War I, in late 1919, he and his staff and their crates of records moved into Tuggeranong Homestead outside Canberra, to create The Official History of Australia in the War of 1914-1918. In 1921 he married Ethel Clara Young, a nursing sister at the Queanbeyan Hospital whom he first met when she visited Tuggeranong to play tennis. The first two volumes of the history, The Story of Anzac, appeared in 1921 and 1924. In the latter year he left Canberra, suffering from a kidney ailment. He had the kidney removed in England and later settled in Sydney, at Lindfield, in a house named Clifton. In 1956 he moved to Collaroy. Bean died at the Concord Repatriation General Hospital, August 30, 1968, aged 88.

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