OUS Victoria - Post Work Panacea

A group of Oxford alumni gathered at the Henley Club in Melbourne at the end of May to hear Rhodes Scholar Josh Funder talk about his book, Watson’s Pier, recently launched to commemorate the 100 year anniversary of the campaign at Gallipoli.

Tattered chairs, a raffish club and a long rainy trek down a dark lane on a winter's night didn't deter a terrific group gathering at the Henley Club for OUS Victoria's first "Post Work Panacea" event where we had a terrific discussion of Watson's Pier.

The book tells the story of the campaign that almost destroyed the Anzacs and the escape that saved a nation. Stan Watson was among the first ashore at Gallipoli on 25 April 1915, and survived battle, fear and disease to build the pier at Anzac Cove from which so many men later escaped. He faced what seemed like an impossible mission: to get every man out alive.

Watson never claimed to be the last man to leave Gallipoli, but through to the very end he played his part and became a hero. Sixty-two years to the day after he stepped away from that fatal shore, Watson takes a slow train to visit his family for Christmas and decides to finally share (tell) his life story.

George Feast, convener of the event, made the introductions - thanks to Aron D'Souza, founder of the Henley Club, for hosting us. One of the highlights of the evening was meeting Kathie Derham Moore, granddaughter of Brudenell White - who was architect of the evacuation from Gallipoli. White died in a plane crash as he assumed leadership of Australian military forces during World War II so she didn't have a chance to hear his stories directly. 

Kathie's mother, Rosemary Derham, wrote The Silence Ruse, an account of the evacuation which became an important reference for Watson's Pier. Kathie wore an Anzac pin White had sent home to her grandmother from London towards the end of the Great War. I hope that Watson's Pier can contribute to our understanding of the remarkable evacuation and Brudenell White's genius in conception of it.

Joshua V Funder Ph.D (St Catherine's, 1996)
Joshua Funder is Stanley Watson’s great grandson and lives in Melbourne with his wife and two children.