ANZAC Diary – Wendy Essery with the diary of Private Reginald Lyons Donkin. Photo: Cody Fox
ANZAC Diary – Wendy Essery with the diary of Private Reginald Lyons Donkin. Photo: Cody Fox

DEAR DIARY: Bay woman shares treasured ANZAC writings

HERVEY BAY resident Wendy Essery says it is more important than ever to keep the memory of Anzac alive.

She does this through preserving the diary of Australian soldier Private Reginald Lyons Donkin, the man she would have known as her great uncle had he not been killed at Gallipoli.

His diary was written on scraps of paper and is now held at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra with Ms Essery retaining a copy.

Private Donkin’s diary details the Gallipoli landings and subsequent fighting.

“On reaching the shore we had no landing plank so we had to drop into the water waist deep, and even while we landed we had our first shell,” it read.

“A few dead lay about the beach in distorted heaps, and the ground was trodden up and equipment was lay about in disorder.

“All day I never saw any of our own officers – all out of action, dead or wounded and the sergeants also.”

He later describes the aftermath while being treated for injuries on a hospital ship.

“The everlasting sight of wounded and very often dead had a worse effect on me than the battle itself,” he wrote.

“The horrors of the trenches Sunday night comprised with the sights here have unnerved me completely.”

Private Donkin was killed in action at Lone Pine, August 15 1915.

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