Hugh George Adams

Premiers Anzac Spirit School

by Jordan Hefferan, Reynella East College

Hugh Adams Before the War

Hugh George Adams was born on September 24, 1895, in Gawler, South Australia, to Lizzie (nee Schofield) and William Kearce Adams. He had four siblings, an older brother, William (born May 1, 1894) and three younger sisters, Lillian, Annie, and Clara. Hugh was educated at Broken Hill and Adelaide Public Schools, and he spent 2½ years in the Broken Hill Senior Cadets with his brother before enlisting on November 25, 1914.Hugh was especially close to his brother and often mimicked William in order to stay close to him. They only grew distant in their late teens, when Hugh moved back to Adelaide to live with his parents and William stayed in Broken Hill. Before signing up, Hugh worked as a clerk, and lived in Honey Street, Woodville North[1]. At that time he was unmarried.

Hugh George Adams

The Gallipoli Campaign and Australia’s Involvement

The Gallipoli Campaign was a planned attack on the Gallipoli Peninsula by the Allies. The aim was to seize the Gallipoli Peninsula, thus gaining control of the Dardanelles Waterway. This would enable the Allies to invade the capital of Turkey (one of Germany’s allies), Constantinople. Controlling the Dardanelles Waterway would also enable the Allies to transport supplies to Russia. 60,000 Australian troops and 18,000 New Zealand troops[2], who were training in Egypt, were called upon to participate. Alongside them, were the British and the French Army Corps.

In the previous month, there had been a failed naval attack by French and British forces to take hold of the Dardanelles, and this failure prompted the decision to make a land attack. On April 25, 1915, the ANZAC’slanded on Anzac Cove, with their British and French allies landing at Cape Helles, about 32 kilometres apart. The terrain at ANZAC Cove consisted of steep high cliffs covered by Turkishsnipers and machine guns.[3]

With uneven terrain and nowhere to take cover, troops scattered, making the job even easier for the Turkish. After the first day, 620 being Australians had been killed[4],this conflicts with Stanley whostates that only 101 Australiansdied that day[5]. They had only covered 900 metres. Despite this, they were told to push on.

The fighting lasted until December 20, 1915, when the lastAustralian troops were finally evacuated without a single loss of life; the evacuation was the most successful part of the whole campaign[6]. 11,440 ANZAC’s were killed (8,709 Australian and 2,731 New Zealanders) and some 33, 500 were injured[7].

Hugh Adams experiences in Gallipoli

Hugh George Adams enlisted in Adelaide, South Australia,on November 25, 1914, aged 19. He was given the service number 702, and was assigned to the 3rd Australian Light Horse Brigade, 9th Regiment. Hugh embarked from Melbourne, Victoria, on board the HMAT A52 Surada, onFebruary 11, 1914, bound for Egypt, arriving in the second week of December, 1914. At first, the Light Horse Brigade wasn’t considered suitable for the steep terrain of Gallipoli, but after the huge loss of soldiers within the first few weeks, they were deployed to Gallipoli on May 12, 1915.While Hugh was in Gallipoli, he quickly volunteered as a private in the infantry, in order to get to the front lines, and be closer to his brother, William, who was also fighting in Gallipoli, with the 7th Australian Infantry Battalion. While fighting on the front, Hugh managed to make the ambitious endeavourover to where his brother’s battalion was positioned. Then he received the grim news that would hurt him more than any shrapnel, bullet or bayonet. William had survived the brilliant charge uphill, but on the third day of being in the trenches, he was shot and killed.

William Thomas Adams

William Thomas Adams

Filled with grief, Hugh continued to fight on the front, and like many others, he contracted a severe case of influenza, and was sent to hospital in Malta.Once recovered, he went back to Gallipoli and returnedto his Regiment.

The 3rd Light Horse Brigade continued to play a major part in Gallipoli. Hugh’s regiment was fortunate to be the reserve regiment for the Brigade’s futile attack on the Nek on August 7. The plan was for the 8th and 10th Light Horse Battalions to take the enemy front. The attack was a disaster, and the 3rd Light Horse Brigade lost 234 men[8].

Although Hugh’s regiment didn’t participate in the Battle of the Nek, they did participate in the attack of Hill 60, one of the last major battles of Gallipoli. Hill 60 was a Turkish stronghold. The first attack on Hill 60 on August 21, 1915, by 4th Infantry Brigade (Australia), the NZ Mounted Rifle Brigade and the Connaught Rangers (Ireland), was a disaster, with the soldiers being ill-equipped. A second attack the next day resulted in 1,302[9] casualties. Anotherattack occurred onAugust 25, and used the remaining soldier’s from the first day, with the 9th and 10th Light Horse Regiments offering support.At midnight, 140 members of the 9th Light Horse charged alongside trenches held by New Zealanders towards Hill 60.For an unknown reason, the charge veered to the left and ended up in the Turkish Trenches and the men were subsequently killed. Another party, including Hugh, were to capture the trench from the western end. At first they were successful, but were driven back, and Hugh and his fellow soldiers had to fight to keep the last bit of trench they had left.[10]Just as they were losing strength, remaining New Zealander’s and men from the 18th dragged a machine gun in to the open and engaged with the enemy. The attack faded to bombing and sniping.The 9th Light Horse Regiment continued to play a defensive role in Gallipoli until it left December 20, 1915.Aside from Gallipoli, Hugh fought in Egypt, Palestine, and Jordan. Hugh reached the rank of Corporal, and was even a Prisoner of War in 1918. He returned home August 1, 1919, onboard the Argleshire.

Hugh’s Anzac Spirit

Hugh and some fellow mates and soldiers (He stands left)Hugh’s service shows ANZAC spirit in the ways of mateship, courage and endurance. With the service number 702, Hugh was one of the first Australian soldiers to sign up for the war, because he was ready and eager to fight with his fellow countrymen and allies. Upon arrival, Hugh had seen the mess the Landing at Gallipoli had become, but remained undeterred. Hugh must have had so much courage to volunteer for the front lines, to throw himself into the line of fire, courageously for his brother. It takes an extraordinary amount of love, mateship and loyalty to put someone else’s life before yours, but to Hugh, it was something trivial. With incredible determination and after enduring weeks of sitting under a rain of fire, living in cramped trenches, eating bad food, and literally fighting for his life,Hugh managed to get to William’s camp. Then: the news of William’stragic death.What surely would have made the news of William’s death harder to take, was the fact that Hugh would have to tell his parents. Due to poor communication during the war, Hugh’s parents were blissfully unaware of the grim reality that their son had been taken from them. Filled with grief, Hugh wrote to his parents the following week.

“God bless you, though, and cheer you up Mum: Bill died a hero fighting for his country, so be consoled with the knowledge that your first son died bravely in honour and glory to save his family and countrymen from an approaching enemy”.[11]

Hugh now had two wars to fight in: the war in his head as he struggled to come to terms with the death of his brother, and the war between the Allies and Central Powers. The brother Hugh had loved was gone forever, but despite this,Hugh never gave up; he pushed on with enormous strength, driven by the anger of his brother’s death, he continued to fight for his country and its people, showing an enormous amount of stoicism, despite being filled with grief.

William Thomas Adams last letter to Hugh

William Thomas Adams last letter to Hugh

 

The Great War’s impact on the community

Hugh returned to his normal life after the war. Like most ANZACs, he didn’t make a fuss over things, and didn’t want people to make a fuss over him. Hugh was lucky enough to return back to a loving family, who were grateful to have him back, as were many other families who had sent their ones to war. Families offered support to one another, and made connections with each other on deep levels. One connection Hugh’s family made was with the Kuhndt family. The two families grew very close, and it wasn’t long before Hugh grew smitten with their daughter, Ernstina Ivy Jane. They married in 1920. Although the war had taken so much happiness from Hugh, it returned eventually. Many other people of the community considered Hugh a hero, after volunteering for the front in Gallipoli, and they were proud to say that he was an ANZAC.Hugh was awarded the 1914-15 Star, which was unique considering only ANZAC Gallipoli Veterans received it, as well as the British Star and Victory Medal. Hugh and William are also listed on the new Returned and Services League Virtual War Memorial.

Hugh passed away April 16, 1969, aged 73. He had no children.

Anzac Spirit

The ANZAC spirit to me is something to have with pride. The ANZACs shaped Australia, to become the country it is today. Without them, the Australian identity would be significantly different. WWI was the time Australia was given an identity, a little piece of independence from Britain the Mother Country. Even after the family members of soldiers are long gone, it’s vital that we continue to remember and respect the ANZACs that fought for us, because without them, not just Australia, but the world, would be vastly different.The heroism soldiers showed has been passed down through generations and been displayed countless times in the last century.The ability to have a laugh in hard timesand make light of situations became a valuable and widely known trait of Australian and New Zealand people alike.The ANZAC Spirit is the characteristic of a quiet hero, one that shows tolerance, humour, compassion, loyalty and most importantly, a fierce amount of bravery when doing something for his mates, just as Hugh showed during his service. Never have I ever been more proud to be an Australian, and to live in the country that is a part of the unity called the ANZACs. Ultimately, the ANZAC’sare warriors.

ANZAC Spirit is all about being there for your mates.

Hugh G Adams - Commemorative Plaque

Hugh G Adams’s Memorial Plaque at Centennial Park, Columbarium, Wall 10, Niche 37. My photograph

 

 

 

 

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Gallipoli From Above, 2012, Television program (documentary), Presented by Hugh Dolan, The History Channel, July 31

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[1] See Appendix 4

[2]http://www.anzac.com/battle_of_gallipoli.html

[3] See Appendix 8

[4]http://www.anzacsite.gov.au/1landing/first-to-fall/

[5] Stanley P, 2014, Lost Boys of Anzac(p. 3), New South Publishing, Australia

[6]Willmott, H.P,2003, Ultimate Book of World War I (p.79) , Dorling Kindersley Limited, London

[7]https://www.awm.gov.au/encyclopedia/gallipoli/fatalities/

[8]http://www.anzacsite.gov.au/2visiting/walk_12nek.html

[9]http://www.awm.gov.au/events/conference/gallipoli_symposium/manera/

[10]https://www.awm.gov.au/units/event_100.asp

[11]http://www.awm.gov.au/collection/P06879.001