The Fryer Library's rare diary, written by a Turkish soldier who fought at Gallipoli, is now available to view online.
Donated in 1965, the diary dates from 1916 and was written in the Ottoman script by an officer named Refik. Initial investigations provided some insights into his life. In neat, precise handwriting he had transcribed Turkish poetry, documented philosophical and religious thought, sketched a map of Turkey and Germany and listed German words he was learning.
Subsequent efforts were undertaken to translate the diary into Modern Turkish and then into English. Once translated, the pages of the diary reveal the mind of an educated soldier in the last years of the Ottoman Empire. His writings offer profound thoughts on the nature of patriotism, knowledge, suffering and faith.
There are soldiers marching everywhere; there is no stopping the Ottoman soldier
Those who are injured or martyred are in the past now
Bullets raining down like roses; some flee for their lives; some fall over
Heroic soldiers advance; victorious; majestic
Refik Bey’s diary is one of the Fryer's significant First World War collections. Following digitisation by UQ Library, it is now available as an ebook.