Anthony Gilpin, known as “Son”, was born in Ballarat, Victoria, in 1892, the son of Alexander Gilpin and his second wife Hannah. Anthony’s father was a prominent member of the Bendigo and Ballarat mining communities, and Anthony grew up attending the local state school.
In 1900, his older half-brother, Alexander, was killed in action during the Boer War in South Africa. Five years later, his father died unexpectedly on a trip to Melbourne. Shortly afterwards, Anthony Gilpin left Ballarat and went to work in Broken Hill.
Anthony Gilpin travelled from Broken Hill to Adelaide to enlist in the Australian Imperial Force shortly after the outbreak of war in August 1914. He underwent a period of training in Australia before leaving for active service overseas on board the troopship Ascanius. Private Gilpin went first to Egypt to continue his training before being sent to Gallipoli.
In the early hours of the 25th of April, 1915, the men of the 10th Battalion rowed silently towards the Turkish shore at what would become known as Anzac Cove.
The war diary of the battalion records that “no sound was heard, except the splash of the oars; we thought that our landing was to be effected quite unopposed but when our boats were within about 30 yards of the beach a rifle was fired from the hill in front of us above the beach, right in front of where we were heading for. Almost immediately heavy rifle and machine gun fire was opened upon us.”
The men finished rowing to the shore and dashed for the heights above the beach. Some men of the 10th Battalion reached the farthest inland that day but had to pull back through a lack of support.
At some point during the day, Sergeant Anthony Gilpin was killed in action. No record survives of the manner of his death. His body was never recovered, and today he is commemorated on the memorial to the Missing at Lone Pine.
He was 22 years old.
Anthony Gilpin is listed on the Australian War Memorial Honour Roll, among more than 60,000 Australians who died while serving in the First World War.
Meleah Hampton, Historian, Military History Section
Image: Soldiers disembarking at Anzac Cove 1915. Boats landing under fire, soldiers in the water, on the beach and climbing escarpment at Anzac Cove in 1915. Artist: William Beckwith McInnes