Johnston’s Jolly Cemetery, Gallipoli

This article is about Johnston’s Jolly Cemetery and is one of a number of articles I have written about Gallipoli. I have also written guides to help you research soldiers who served in the British Army during the First World War:

Johnston’s Jolly Cemetery, Gallipoli

Johnston's Jolly Cemetery GallipoliJohnston’s Jolly Cemetery, Gallipoli was created after the war by concentrating graves found in the surrounding area. The cemetery contains the graves of 181 Commonwealth servicemen, unfortunately, 144 of the burials are unidentified. There are 36 special memorials in Johnston’s Jolly Cemetery to men who are believed to be buried there. The cemetery was named after Colonel, later Major-General, George Johnston who commanded the 2nd Australian Division Artillery, whose guns were placed opposite the cemetery to ”jolly up the Turks”.

The cemetery is on the right-hand side of the main road which runs across the Sari Bair ridge and is signposted. The closest parking is at the Lone Pine Memorial a short walk away, though there is also parking further up the road where you can buy drinks and snacks. In the photograph above the Lone Pine Memorial is just hidden by a tree on the right. I have written a separate article this memorial here: Lone Pine Memorial.

Lance-Corporal Taylor Johnston's Jolly Cemetery GallipoliAbove is the special memorial to Lance Corporal Edwin Hutchinson Taylor who was killed between 6 and 9 August 1915. Edwin, who had been born in Bangalore, India, had enlisted on 27 August 1914 and gave his trade as bush labourer. Regarding any previous military experience, Edwin had previously served with ”Frontiersmen Africa”. Edwin’s service record is available to view online and you can read it here: Edwin Hutchinson Taylor.

The epitaph chosen for Taylor’s headstone comes from the poem Horatius by Thomas Babington. This was a very well known poem of the day which described how Horatius and his two companions held the Sublician bridge against an Etruscan army to save Rome. The lines are frequently found on First World War headstones and below is the section of the poem most frequently quoted from:

Then out spake brave Horatius,
The Captain of the Gate:
To every man upon this earth
Death cometh soon or late.
And how can man die better
Than facing fearful odds,
For the ashes of his fathers,
And the temples of his Gods.Johnston's Jolly Cemetery GallipoliIn Johnston’s Jolly Cemetery, you’ll notice that many of the headstones do not have a precise date of death but cover two or three days. Most of the men buried in the cemetery lost their lives in the very bloody Battle of Lone Pine between 6 and 10 August 1915. Due to the chaotic conditions, it was not always possible to know which day a soldier had died on and this is reflected in the date inscribed on the majority of headstones in the cemetery. Opposite the cemetery, you’ll find the remains of ANZAC trenches.

Trenches near Johnston's Jolly Cemetery Gallipoli