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On 20 December 1977, as Stanley Watson takes the slow train journey to family Christmas, memories from over 60 years ago play in his mind. He had been and still was a man of his time, as as steady, simple and direct as the railway lines he built.
As an engineer in the 28th Signalling Company, recently wed and with a young child, he knew it to be his duty to enlist as soon as war broke out in 1914. He left for Egypt in October and he knows his wife is pregnant as he reaches Gallipoli on 25 April 1915, a participant in that fateful landing that is writ large in Australian history.
He survived that landing to construct the first pier at Anzac Cove, from which the Anzacs withdrew on the nights of 18 and 19 December. For a long time, he was known as the last man to leave Gallipoli.
Watson's Pier is a beautifully told story as seen through the eyes of Stanley Watson, one of the leaders of the escape from Gallipoli. It draws on Watson’s story, his writing, oral history and the official war records.
While telling one man's remarkable experience of war for the first time, Watson's Pier challenges history on the final moments at ANZAC Cove and offers a new perspective on the meaning of Gallipoli.