7451 PRIVATE JOHN BELLINGHAM
8th Bn Highland Light Infantry
No known grave. Commemorated on the Helles Memorial, Gallipoli.
It would appear that John Bellingham's Father had taken the whole family away from Ballymoney to live in Scotland. At any rate they settled in a little village called Tarbrax, south of West Calder and it was here that the family grew up. John's father was a farm labourer. Much of the work was seasonable, like harvest time, or gathering potatoes, and then there were the coal mines. There was always plenty of work for willing young men to do and with the outbreak of hostilities in August 1914 there was now a new adventure to be followed up. John and his brother David enlisted together and both fought at Gallipoli.
He enlisted at Wood Muir and went with his unit to start what was going to be a very intensive and short training period. By the time his training was considered to be complete men were des- perately needed in Gallipoli, and he was trans- ported there as quickly as possible. It was not to last long. Sixteen days later he was dead, killed in a desperate attempt to take Gully Ravine.
Although John Bellingham is commemorated on the Helles Memorial as belonging to the 8th bat- talion of the Highland Light Infantry, this is not strictly correct. The 8th H.L.I. did not go over- seas as a unit, and very little is known about them. It would appear that John Bellingham was attached to another unit and was serving overseas with them. This other unit was more likely to have been a battalion of the Royal Scots Fus as it is this regiment which is mentioned after his name on the local war memorial in Scotland. He landed with his unit on the 12th of June 1915 in Gallipoli at Cape Helles. This was wild and dif- ficult country. Attacks by the Turks were taking a heavy toll of the British Forces who were find- ing it very hard going. They were pinned down in most cases on the beach or very close to it and the Turks were there in such numbers that it was extremely difficult to get a good attack under way and get away from the sea. They did even- tually work their way into the rugged hills and by 25th June were involved in an attack on Gully Ravine. This attack was supported by a heavy bombardment from the British ships out at sea,
but much of this fell short, and indeed some of it helped the Turks by falling on our own men. By Monday the 28th another fierce attack was in progress, again supported by the ships, and at 11.00am our troops attacked. It took five wag- gons working all out to take the wounded down to the beach and the relative safety of the hospi- tal ships. As usual the heat was unbearable and the flies, in black hordes, were simply awful. Most of the wounds were caused by shrapnel from the exploding shells and this caused a steady stream of casualties. Later that afternoon when the Turks attacked with rifle fire our troops were forced to dig in and try to hold the line. It was during this fighting that John Bellingham was killed. He has no known grave and is com- memorated on the Helles Memorial.