Reports by war correspondents at the landing

Excerpt from Ellis Ashmead-Bartlett's diary concerning military censorship

Ellis Ashmead-Bartlett
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The military censor's signature and stamp of approval together with thick blue pencil lines censoring much of the report sent by Ashmead-Bartlett to the Daily Telegraph in London reporting on the Gallipoli campaign. (In the collection of the State Library of NSW)

I was summonsed to G.H.Q to see Colonel Ward. I thought there were limits to human stupidity but now I know there are none. The censorship has now passed beyond all reason. They wont let you give expression to the mildest opinions on any subjects. They apply it to taste style poetry and events of which the enemy are by now fully cognisant and which have already appeared in the press. The long article I wrote on Lancashire Landing has been returned without a single word being passed. The reason is that they state it makes the people on W beach look as if they were afraid. I wrote the article to please those on W beach and they were tickled to death with it?

There are now at least four censors all of whom cut up your stuff. Maxwell starts it then Ward then General Braithwaite and finally Sir Ian Hamilton. All hold different views and feel it their duty to take out scraps. Thus only a few dry crumbs are left for the wretched public. The articles resemble chicken out of which a thick nutritious broth has been extracted. A private letter was not allowed to be sent because it was supposed to criticise the Authorities at Malta. Colonel Ward said 'I shall not have a friend left when the war is over. Already the Greeks on the Island threaten to murder me and I expect the Newspaper Editors will be waiting for me at home'. I heard this evening definitely that Winston is coming out. There is now a general activity everywhere in consequence. Well his blood be on his own head but if there is another big failure while he is here it will be the end of him and the existing Staff. I only hope he will use his influence to make them adopt a right and proper course. At any rate Sir Ian will be as potter's clay in his hands. An aviator came over and dropped a few bombs on us.

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