Descendents of WWI Digger to fly to Gallipoli for 100th anniversary

Penny Reynolds with her great grandfather's war medals and Bible
Penny Reynolds with her great grandfather's war medals and Bible

IT will be an emotionally-charged trip to Gallipoli next year for the 100th anniversary of the historic landing for Malvern Springs Primary School deputy principal Penny Reynolds and her mother Jeannette Gaspar.

The pair, who were randomly drawn by ballot to make the trip in April, will honour Ms Reynolds’ great-grandfather James Rule, a World War I digger in the 11th Battalion who survived the carnage to return home.

It will be her mother’s first overseas trip.

Mr Rule landed at Gallipoli on April 25, 1915 as part of a covering force for the initial attack. He came ashore at about 4.30am.

According to Ms Reynolds, he never really spoke about the experience. But he told Mrs Gaspar and some aunts later that the battle seemed poorly planned and weapons and food were lacking, with not every solider supplied a rifle.

Mr Rule was evacuated from Gallipoli in December 1915 but did not return to WA until 1918.

‘My grandfather was 24 when he signed up, which was a bit older than most of the men,’ she said.

‘I thought I knew a lot about the war, but the more I have researched the Gallipoli landing in preparation for my trip, the more I discovered about my grandfather’s experience which, sadly, must have been very traumatising.

‘Fortunately, he survived and came back to Australia; otherwise I wouldn’t be here.’

Ms Reynolds said she felt both excited and privileged to be able to travel to Gallipoli. ‘It will be a special trip’