The Last Man to Leave Gallipoli*
contributed by Michael Hall
The evacuation of Gallipoli was one of the major achievements of World War I. According to Charles Bean’s Official History, Fred Pollack was the last Australian off Gallipoli and only narrowly escaped being left behind.
“He had obtained permission for special reasons to have a rest in his dugout, having previously arranged with his mates to call him before they left. They, however, understood him to refer to a different dugout., and, having thoroughly searched the one in which he usually slept and found it empty, assumed that he had gone on to the beach. Pollack, waking later, found the area silent. He went along the trenches, but they were empty. Running to the shore, he found no sign of movement until at North Beach he came on men embarking on one of the last lighters and went with them.”
Pollack served with the 13th Battalion and later the 4th Machine Gun Battalion in France. He and his family moved to Canberra in the 1940s and lived at Ainslie. Pollack died in 1958 and is buried in Woden Cemetery.
As Ernest Murray is buried at St. John’s, it means that one of the first Anzacs to land, and the last to leave, lie at rest in Canberra.
*The last allied soldier to leave Gallipoli, was Englishman, Joe Maude.