29347 - 29 OCTOBER
DESPATCH dated 15th October 1915
29354 - 5 NOVEMBER
CAMPAIGN - NAVAL MENTIONS
DESPATCH dated 22 September 1915
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Office, London, S.W., 5th November, 1915.
The following despatch has been received by the Secretary
of State for War from the Commander-in-Chief,
Mediterranean Expeditionary Force:
Headquarters, Mediterranean Expeditionary
Force, 22nd September, 1915.
In continuation of my Despatch of the 26th of August, 1915,
I have the honour to submit herewith the
following additional names of Officers,
Non-commissioned Officers and Men whose
services, during the operations described
therein, I consider deserving of special
I have the honour to be, Your Lordship's
most obedient Servant,
IAN HAMILTON, General, Commander-in-Chief,
Mediterranean Expeditionary Force.
Paris, Colonel Second Commandant (temporary Major-General)
A., C.B., Royal Marine Artillery.
Mercer, Colonel Second Commandant (temporary
Brigadier-General) D., Royal Marine Light
Trotman, Colonel Second Commandant (temporary
Brigadier-General) C. N., Royal Marine Light
Backhouse, Commodore O., Royal Navy.
Bangor, Temporary Lieutenant-Colonel M. R. C., Viscount,
Royal Marines (Major, Reserve of Officers).
Gaskell, Fleet Surgeon A., Royal Navy.
Wilberforce, Temporary Major. W., Royal Marines.
Saunders, Temporary Major M., Royal Marines (Captain,
Lawson, Temporary Captain J. H., Royal Marines.
Hurford, No. .Ply./5935 Acting Serjeant-Major A., Royal
Marine Light Infantry (now Quartermaster and
Honorary Lieutenant, Royal Marines).
Carr, No. Z/731 R.N.V.R. London Able Seaman A. R., 1st
King, Lieutenant-Commander (temporary Commander) H. D.,
McGrath, Lieutenant P. W., R.N.V.R. (killed - 24 June
McHardy, Lieutenant G. G., R.N.V.R.
Faithfull, R.M.B./122 Bandmaster, 1st Class, W. E.
Hutton, R.F.R./B/2497 Leading Seaman P.
Eyes, R.F.R./B/106114 Stoker J.
Shipman, 10/3430 R.N.V.R., London, Able Seaman C.
Evans, Lieutenant-Commander H. C., R.N.V.R. (killed - 5
Carpenter, Lieutenant R. J., Royal Marines.
Tepper, Lieutenant R. H., R.N.V.R.
Rice, Sub-Lieutenant E. V., R.N.V.R. (missing - 13 July
Langworthy, D/204218 R.N. Chief Petty Officer G. (killed -
13 July 1915).
Dursley, D/ 300239 Leading Seaman J.
Thomas, Mersey Z/172, R.N.V.R., Able Seaman E.
Lewe, R.F.R./B/4989/Dev./S.S. 107035, Stoker H.
Wilson, Temporary Lieutenant-Colonel L. O., D.S.O., M.P.,
Royal Marines (Captain, Berkshire Royal Horse
Ramsay-Fairfax, Lieutenant-Commander W. G. A., Royal Navy.
Rush, Lieutenant H. H., R.N.V.R.
Little, Sub-Lieutenant H. W., R.N.V.R. (killed - 19
Tomson, Z/1205 R.N.V.R., London, Petty Officer G.
Hann, Z/918 R.N.V.R., London, Petty Officer C. S.
Reid, K.P. 375 R.N.V.R. Able Seaman J.
Chalkley, Z/965/L. R.N.V.R. Able Seaman R.
Collins, Temporary Lieutenant-Colonel C. G., Royal Marines.
Isgar, Lieutenant-Commander R. C. D., R.N.V.R.
Browne, Lieutenant-Commander C. R., R.N.V.R.
Parkes, Sub-Lieutenant (temporary Lieutenant) K. E.,
Chrystall, Sub-Lieutenant H. M., R.N.V.R.
Loney, Dev./298231, R.F.R./B/5259, Stoker T. J.
Coxon, K.X./553 R.N.V.R., Leading Seaman T.
Montgomery, 2216. R.N.V.R., Leading Seaman W.
Kennedy-Craufurd-Stuart, Temporary Lieutenant-Colonel C.,
Royal Marines (Captain, Indian Army).
Asquith, Lieutenant-Commander A. M., R.N.V.R.
Lister, Temporary Lieutenant Hon. C. A , Royal Marines
(died of wounds - 28 August 1915).
Dodge, Lieutenant J. B., R.N.V.R.
Cockey, Lieutenant L. H., R.N.V.R.
Baker, Sub-Lieutenant F., R.N.V.R. (killed - 4 June
Marlow, Ch/6670/R.M.L.I. Colour-Serjeant C. E.
Cole, Dev./S.S./100113 Chief Petty Officer W. S. (now
Milton, Po./ 163358 Chief Petty Officer Wm.
Frost, Ch./SS/100407 Ch./R.F.R./B/5489 Leading Seaman G.
Crabtree, S/3137 Private J. (medical unit).
Jones, Lieutenant - Commander S. G., R.N.V.R.
Ashley, Lieutenant John, R.N.V.R.
Turner, K.P.942. R.N.V.R. Leading Seaman Stephen.
Borrowman, Clyde/5/2407.R.N.V.R. Leading Seaman James.
Spearman, Commander A. Y. C. M., Royal Navy (killed - Commanding
Officer, 4 June 1915).
Woodford, Bristol Z/80 Chief Petty Officer C. J., R.N.V.R.
Jack, Clyde Z/663 Petty Officer T., R.N.V.R. (killed - 19
Parsons, Colonel Second Commandant C. McN., Royal Marine
Chater, Second Lieutenant (temporary Lieutenant) A. R.,
Royal Marine Light Infantry.
Bruce, R.F.R./A/631/R.M.L.I. Colour-Serjeant G. H.
Hoare, Ch./8036 Colour-Serjeant H., R.M.L.I, (now Temporary
Lieutenant, Royal Marines).
Daborn, Ch./15285 R.M.L.I. Private W. A. E.
Stockley, Captain H. H. F., Reserve of Officers, Royal
Marine Light Infantry.
Channer, Captain H. W., Royal Marine Light Infantry.
Syson, Captain A. E., Reserve of Officers (Royal Marines).
Empson, Second Lieutenant (temporary Lieutenant) R. W. H.
M., Royal Marines (killed - 1 May 1915).
Gibbs, Acting Serjeant-Major C. J., R.M.L.I.
Lamacraft, Po./15425 R.M.L.I. Serjeant E. J.
Welch, Po./12543 Serjeant J. J. (died of wounds - 28
Willcox, Po./16936 R.M.L.I. Serjeant F. (killed - 13
Moss, Po./S/57 R.M.L.I. Private H.
Matthews, Colonel Second Commandant G. E., C.B., Royal
Marine Light Infantry.
Bewes, Major A. E., Royal Marine Light Infantry.
Conybeare, Second Lieutenant (temporary Lieutenant) C. B.,
Royal Marine Light Infantry.
Wills, Ply./7270 R.M.L.I. Serjeant G. E.
Kirbell, Ply./11418 R.M.L.I. Lance-Corporal W.
Morgan, Ply./9975 R.M.L.I. Private J.C.
Millett, Temporary Lieutenant H., Royal Marines.
Yarrow, Po./8028/R.M.L.I. Colour-Serjeant A.
Butt, Ply./17013/R.M.L.I. Private S. W. V.
Atkins, Ply./16971/R.M.L.I. Private H.
Carey, Temporary Lieutenant-Colonel A. B., Royal Marines
(Major, Royal Engineers).
Rugg, Temporary Captain L. H., Royal Marines.
Lamb, Temporary Lieutenant E. H., Royal Marines.
Roe, Lieutenant R. H., Royal Marines.
Garnham, 457 Serjeant W. F. (now Temporary Lieutenant,
Blake, 432 Corporal C. S.
Kerr, 235 Lance-Corporal A. D.
Damant, 433 Sapper E. L.
Best, 694 Sapper E.
Spittle, Temporary Major G. H., Royal Marines.
Hilditch, Temporary Lieutenant G. W., Royal Marines.
Andrews, No. 171 Serjeant S. B.
Murray, No. 200 Sapper J. H.
Paton, No. 564 Sapper James.
Taylor, Temporary Major O. J., Royal Marines.
Hartley, O.N.131564 Chief Petty Officer T. J.
Bourne, 154237 Petty Officer B.
Fleming, Staff Surgeon A. F., Royal Navy.
Pratt, Temporary Surgeon John, Royal Navy.
Hiney, S/3081 Corporal J. A.
Foxell, Temporary Surgeon H. L. G., Royal Navy.
Ibbotson, S/3155 Acting Serjeant S.
Lowes, S/3433 Private P.
Sterland, S/3202 Private F. (killed - RM Medical Unit,
6 June 1915).
Finch, Fleet Surgeon E. J., Royal Navy.
Aimers, S/3351 Corporal J. N.
Bulman, S/3286 Lance-Corporal H.
Holmes, Temporary Major F., Royal Marines.
Lintott, S/1810 Quartermaster-Serjeant J.
French, Major A. H., D.S.O., Royal Marine Light Infantry.
Baker, No, Po./7718 Colour-Serjeant C. W. G., R.M.L.I.
Naval Armoured Car Section.
Whalley, Lieutenant-Commander A. E., R.N.V.R.
de St. Leger, Sub-Lieutenant R. J. M., R.N.V.R.
Trussell, F/1175 Chief Petty Officer Mechanic A. G.
Johnstone, F/1930 Petty Officer Mechanic F. W.
Westmuckett, F/829 Petty Officer Mechanic G. S. F.
Beresford, F/1429 Petty Officer Mechanic G. De la P.
Hollinghurst, F/1386 Petty Officer Mechanic C. S.
29422 - 31
FRONT - NAVAL MENTIONS
DESPATCH dated 30 November 1915
Office, 1st January, 1916.
The following despatch has been received by the Secretary
of State for War from the Field-Marshal
Commanding-in-Chief the British Army in
Headquarters, 30th November, 1915.
SIR, In accordance with the last paragraph of my Despatch
of the 15th October, 1915, I have the honour
to bring to notice the names of those whom I
recommend for gallant and distinguished
service in the field.
I have the honour to be, Sir, Your
J. D. P. FRENCH, Field-Marshal,
Commanding-in-Chief The British Army in
Littlejohns, Commander A. S.
Man, Commander J.
Rowand, Commander A., D.S.O.
Hamilton, Captain D. M.
Macgregor, Captain Sir M., Bart.
Marescaux, Acting Captain A. E. H.
Cragg, Lieutenant N. H. (killed - HMS Victory (Naval
Siege Guns), 20 September 1915)
Strange, Assistant-Paymaster C. S.
Forster, Captain A. L., D.S.O.
Raikes, Major G. L.
Barr, Captain E. H.
Stokes, Captain (temporary Major) W. N.
Summers, Temporary Captain F., Royal Marines.
Robinson, Temporary Lieutenant F. L., Royal Marines.
Cuming, Temporary Lieutenant T., Royal Marines.
Leaf, Temporary Captain H. M.
Naval Volunteer Reserve.
Guest, Lieutenant Hon. L. (attached to Royal Naval Division
Kerr, Lieutenant-Commander B.
Neilson, Lieutenant G. C.
Ball, No. O.N.F.528 Chief Petty Officer C. C.
Smith, No. O.N.F.527 Petty Officer E.
by Army lists)
ARMY DESPATCH dated 11
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War Office, 6th
following despatch has been received by the
Secretary of State for War from General Sir Ian
1, Hyde Park Gardens, London,
W. 11th December, 1915.
the understanding of the operations about to be
described I must first set forth the situation
as it appeared to me early in July.
three days' battle of the 6th-8th May had shown
that neither of my forces, northern or southern,
were strong enough to fight their way to the
Narrows. On the 10th of May I had cabled asking
that two fresh divisions might be sent me to
enable me to press on and so prevent my attack
degenerating into trench warfare. On the 17th of
May I again cabled, saying that if we were going
to be left to face Turkey on our own resources
we should require two Army Corps additional to
my existing forces at the Dardanelles. The 52nd
(Lowland) Division had been sent me, but between
their dates of despatch and arrival Russia had
given up the idea of co-operating from the coast
of the Black Sea. Thereby several Turkish
divisions were set free for the Dardanelles, and
the battle of the 4th June, locally successful
as it was, found us just as weak, relatively, as
we had been a month earlier.
June Your Lordship became persuaded of the
bearing of these facts, and I was promised three
regular divisions plus the infantry of two
Territorial divisions. The advance guard of
these troops was due to reach Mudros by the 10th
of July; by the 10th of August their
concentration was to be complete.
the impracticable, I had already narrowed down
the methods of employing these fresh forces to
one of the following four:
Every man to be thrown
on to the southern sector of the Peninsula to
force a way forward to the Narrows.
Disembarkation on the
Asiatic side of the Straits, followed by a march
A landing at Enos or
Ebrije for the purpose of seizing the neck of
the isthmus at Bulair.
Reinforcement of the
Australian and New Zealand Army Corps, combined
with a landing in Suvla Bay. Then with one
strong push to capture Hill 305, and, working
from that dominating point, to grip the waist of
As to (a)
I rejected that course:
Because there were limits to the numbers which
could be landed and deployed in one confined
Because the capture of Krithia could no longer
be counted upon to give us Achi Baba, an
entirely new system of works having lately
appeared upon the slopes of that mountain -
works so planned that even if the enemy's
western flank was turned and driven back from
the coast the central and eastern portions of
the mountain could still be maintained as a
bastion to Kilid Bahr.
Because, if I tried to disengage myself both
from Krithia and Achi Baba by landing due west
of Kilid Bahr, my troops would be exposed to
artillery fire from Achi Baba, the Olive
Grove, and Kilid Bahr itself; the enemy's
large reserves were too handy; there were not
fair chances of success.
to (b), although much of the Asiatic coast had
now been wired and entrenched, the project was
still attractive. Thereby the Turkish forces on
the peninsula would be weakened; our beaches at
Cape Helles would be freed from Asiatic shells;
the threat to the enemy's sea communications was
obvious. But when I descended into detail I
found that the expected reinforcements would not
run to a double operation. I mean that, unless I
could make a thorough, whole-hearted attack on
the enemy in the peninsula I should reap no
advantage in that theatre from the transference
of the Turkish peninsula troops to reinforce
Asia, whereas, if the British forces landed in
Asia were not strong enough in themselves
seriously to threaten Chanak, the Turks for
their part would not seriously relax their grip
upon the peninsula.
cut the land communications of the whole of the
Turkish peninsular army, as in (c), was a better
scheme on paper than on the spot. The naval
objections appeared to my coadjutor, Vice-Admiral
de Robeck, well-nigh insurmountable.
Already, owing to submarine dangers, all
reinforcements, ammunition and supplies had to
be brought up from Mudros to Helles or Anzac by
night in fleet-sweepers and trawlers. A new
landing near Bulair would have added another 50
miles to the course such small craft must cover,
thus placing too severe a strain upon the
capacities of the flotilla. The landing promised
special hazards owing to the difficulty of
securing the transports and covering ships from
submarine attack. Ibrije has a bad beach, and
the distance to Enos, the only point suitable to
a disembarkation on a large scale, was so great
that the enemy would have had time to organise a
formidable opposition from his garrisons in
Thrace. Four divisions at least would be
required to overcome such opposition. These
might now be found; but, even so, and
presupposing every other obstacle overcome, it
was by no manner of means certain that the
Turkish army on the peninsula would thereby be
brought to sue for terms, or that the Narrows
would thereby be opened to the Fleet. The enemy
would still be able to work supplies across the
Straits from Chanak. The swiftness of the
current, the shallow draft of the Turkish
lighters, the guns of the forts, made it too
difficult even for our dauntless submarine
commanders to paralyse movement across these
land-locked waters. To achieve that purpose I
must bring my artillery fire to bear both on the
land and water communications of the enemy.
brings me to (d), the storming of that
dominating height, Hill 305, with the capture of
Maidos and Gaba Tepe as its sequel.
the very first I had hoped that by landing a
force under the heights of Sari Bair we should
be able to strangle the Turkish communications
to the southwards, whether by land or sea, and
so clear the Narrows for the Fleet. Owing to the
enemy's superiority, both in numbers and in
position; owing to underestimates of the
strength of the original entrenchments prepared
and sited under German direction; owing to the
constant dwindling of the units of my force
through wastage; owing also to the intricacy and
difficulty of the terrain, these hopes had not
hitherto borne fruit. But they were well
founded. So much at least had clearly enough
been demonstrated by the desperate and costly
nature of the Turkish attacks. The Australians
and New Zealanders had rooted themselves in very
near to the vitals of the enemy. By their
tenacity and courage they still held open the
doorway from which one strong thrust forward
might give us command of the Narrows.
the naval point of view the auspices
were also favourable. Suvla Bay was but one mile
further from Mudros than Anzac, and its
possession would ensure us a submarine-proof
base and a harbour good against gales, excepting
those from the south-west. There were, as might
be expected, some special difficulties to be
overcome. The broken, intricate country - the
lack of water - the consequent anxious supply
questions. Of these it can only be said that a
bad country is better than an entrenched
country, and that supply and water problems may
be countered by careful preparation.
a man of the reinforcements had arrived my mind
was made up as to their employment, and by means
of a vigorous offensive from Anzac, combined
with a surprise landing to the north of it, I
meant to try and win through to Maidos, leaving
behind me a well-protected line of
communications starting from the bay of Suvla.
point which had to be fixed in advance was the
date. The new troops would gain in fighting
value if they could first be given a turn in the
trenches. So much was clear. But the relief of
the troops already holding those trenches would
have been a long and difficult task for the Navy,
and time was everything, seeing that everywhere
the enemy was digging in as fast as he possibly
could dig. Also, where large numbers of troops
were to be smuggled into Anzac and another large
force was to land by surprise at Suvla, it was
essential to eliminate the moon. Unless the
plunge could be taken by the second week in
August the whole venture must be postponed for a
month. The dangers of such delay were clear. To
realise them I had only to consider how notably
my prospects would have been bettered had these
same reinforcements arrived in time to enable me
to anticipate the moon of July.
and date having shaped themselves, the
intervening period had to be filled in with as
much fighting as possible. First, to gain
ground; secondly, to maintain the moral
ascendency which my troops had by this time
established; thirdly, to keep the enemy's eyes
fixed rather upon Helles than Anzac.
out my ammunition allowance, I found I could
accumulate just enough high explosive shell to
enable me to deliver one serious attack per each
period of three weeks. I was thus limited to a
single effort on the large scale, plus a
prescribed unceasing offensive routine, with
bombing, sniping and mining as its methods.
action of the 12th and 13th of July was meant to
be a sequel to the action of the 28th June. That
advance had driven back the Turkish right on to
their second main system of defence just south
of Krithia. But, on my centre and right, the
enemy still held their forward system of
trenches, and it was my intention on the 12th
July to seize the remaining trenches of this
foremost system from the sea at the mouth of the
Kereves Dere to the main Sedd-el-Bahr-Krithia
road, along a front of some 2,000 yards.
our right the attack was to be entrusted to the
French Corps; on the right centre to the 52nd
(Lowland) Division. On the 52nd Division's front
the operation was planned to take place in two
phases: our right was to attack in the morning,
our left in the afternoon. Diversions by the
29th Division on the left of the southern
section and at Anzac were to take place on the
same day, so as to prevent the enemy's reserves
from reinforcing the real point of attack.
7.35 a.m., after a heavy bombardment, the
troops, French and Scottish, dashed out of their
trenches and at once captured two lines of enemy
trenches. Pushing forward with fine élan the
1st Division of the French Corps completed the
task assigned to it by carrying the whole of the
Turkish forward system of works, namely, the
line of trenches skirting the lower part of the
Kereves Dere. Further to the left the 2nd French
Division and our 155th Brigade maintained the
two lines of trenches they had gained. But on
the left of the 155th Brigade the 4th Battalion,
King's Own Scottish Borderers, pressed on too
eagerly. They not only carried the third line of
trenches, but charged on up the hill and beyond
the third line, then advanced indeed until they
came under the "feu de barrage" of the French
artillery. Nothing could live under so cruel a
cross fire from friend and foe, so the King's
Own Scottish Borderers were forced to fall back
with heavy losses to the second line of enemy
trenches which they had captured in their first
this fighting telephone wires from forward
positions were cut by enemy's shell fire, and
here and there in the elaborate network of
trenches numbers of Turks were desperately
resisting to the last. Thus though the second
line of captured trenches continued to be held
as a whole, much confused fighting ensued; there
were retirements in parts of the line, reserves
were rapidly being used up, and generally the
situation was anxious and uncertain. But the
best way of clearing it up seemed to be to
deliver the second phase of the attack by the
157th Brigade just as it had originally been
arranged. Accordingly, after a preliminary
bombardment, the 157th Brigade rushed forward
under heavy machine-gun and rifle fire, and
splendidly carried the whole of the enemy
trenches allotted as their objective. Here,
then, our line had advanced some 400 yards,
while the 155th Brigade and the 2nd French
Division had advanced between 200 and 300 yards.
At 6 p.m. the 52nd Division was ordered to make
the line good; it seemed to be fairly in our
night long determined counter-attacks, one after
another, were repulsed by the French and the
155th Brigade, but about 7.30 a.m. the right of
the 157th Brigade gave way before a party of
bombers, and our grip upon the enemy began to
therefore decided that three battalions of the Royal
Naval Division should reinforce a fresh
attack to be made that afternoon, 13th July, on
such portions of our original objectives as
remained in the enemy's hands. This second
attack was a success. The 1st French Division
pushed their right down to the mouth of the
Kereves Dere; the 2nd French Division attacked
the trenches they had failed to take on the
preceding day; the Nelson Battalion, on
the left of the Royal Naval Division attack,
valiantly advanced and made good, well supported
by the artillery of the French. The Portsmouth
Battalion, pressing on too far, fell into
precisely the same error at precisely the same
spot as did the 4th King's Own Scottish
Borderers on the 12th, an over-impetuosity which
cost them heavy losses.
1/5th Royal Scots Fusiliers, commanded by
Lieutenant-Colonel J. B. Pollok-McCall; the
1/7th Royal Scots, commanded by
Lieutenant-Colonel W. C. Peebles; the 1/5th
King's Own Scottish Borderers, commanded by
Lieutenant-Colonel W. J. Millar; and the 1/6th
Highland Light Infantry, commanded by Major J.
Anderson, are mentioned as having specially
distinguished themselves in this, engagement.
the upshot of the attack was this. On our right
and on the French left two lines had been
captured, but in neither case was the third, or
last, line of the system in their hands.
Elsewhere a fine feat of arms had been
accomplished, and a solid and enduring advance
had been achieved, giving us far the best sited
line for defence with much the best field for
machine-gun and rifle fire we had hitherto
obtained upon the peninsula.
machine-gun and 200 prisoners were captured by
the French; the British took a machine-gun and
329 prisoners. The casualties in the French
Corps were not heavy, though it is with sorrow
that I have to report the mortal wound of
General Masnou, commanding the 1st Division. Our
own casualties were a little over 3,000; those
of the enemy about 5,000.
17th July Lieutenant-General Hunter Weston,
commanding the 8th Corps, left the peninsula for
a few days' rest, and, to my very deep regret,
was subsequently invalided home. I have already
drawn attention to his invincible
self-confidence; untiring energy and trained
I was anxious to give the Commander of the new
troops all the local experience possible I
appointed Lieutenant-General Hon. Sir Frederick
Stopford, whose own Corps were now assembling at
Mudros, temporarily to succeed
Lieutenant-General Hunter Weston, but on July
24th, when General Stopford had to set to work
with his own Corps, Major-General W. Douglas,
General Officer Commanding 42nd Division, took
over temporary command of the 8th Corps; while
Major-General W. R. Marshall, General Officer
Commanding 87th Brigade, assumed temporary
command of the 42nd Division.
one other action need be mentioned before coming
to the big operations of August. On the extreme
right of Anzac the flank of a work called
Tasmania Post was threatened by the extension of
a Turkish trench. The task of capturing this
trench was entrusted to the 3rd Australian
Brigade. After an artillery bombardment, mines
were to be fired, whereupon four columns of 50
men each were to assault and occupy specified
lengths of the trench. The regiment supplying
the assaulting columns was the 11th Australian
10.15 p.m. on 31st July the bombardment was
opened. Ten minutes later and the mines were
duly fired. The four assaulting parties, dashed
forward at once, crossed our own barbed wire on
planks, and were into the craters before the
whole of the debris had fallen. Total
casualties: 11 killed and 74 wounded; Turkish
the time this action was fought a large
proportion of my reinforcements had arrived,
and, on the same principle which induced me to
put General Stopford in temporary command at
Helles, I relieved the war-worn 29th Division at
the same place by the 13th Division under
Major-General Shaw. The experiences here gained,
in looking after themselves, in forgetting the
thousand and one details of peace soldiering and
in grasping the two or three elementary rules of
conduct in war soldiering, were, it turned out,
to be of priceless advantage to the 13th
Division throughout the heavy fighting of the
now it was time to determine a date for the
great venture. The moon would rise on the
morning of the 7th at about 2 a.m. A day or two
previously the last reinforcements, the 53rd and
54th Divisions, were due to arrive. The first
day of the attack was fixed for the 6th of
the date was decided a certain amount of
ingenuity had to be called into play so as to
divert the attention of the enemy from my main
strategical conception. This - I repeat for the
sake of clearness - was:
To break out with a rush from Anzac and cut
off the bulk of the Turkish Army from land
communication with Constantinople.
To gain such a command for my artillery as to
cut off the bulk of the Turkish Army from sea
traffic whether with Constantinople or with
Incidentally, to secure Suvla Bay as a winter
base for Anzac and all the troops operating in
the northern theatre.
schemes for hoodwinking the Turks fell under two
heads: First, strategical diversions, meant to
draw away enemy reserves not yet committed to
the peninsula. Secondly, tactical diversions
meant to hold up enemy reserves already on the
peninsula. Under the first heading came a
surprise landing by a force of 300 men on the
northern shore of the Gulf of Xeros;
demonstrations by French ships opposite Mitylene
along the Syrian coast; concentration at
Mitylene; inspections at Mitylene by the Admiral
and myself; making to order of a whole set of
maps of Asia in Egypt, as well as secret service
work, most of which bore fruit. Amongst the
tactical diversions were a big containing attack
at Helles. Soundings, registration of guns,
etc., by Monitors between Gaba Tepe and Kum
Tepe. An attack to be carried out by Anzac on
Lone Pine trenches, which lay in front of their
right wing and as far distant as the local
terrain would admit from the scene of the real
battle. Thanks entirely to the reality and
vigour which the Navy and the troops
threw into them, each one of these ruses was, it
so turned out, entirely successful, with the
result that the Turks, despite their excellent
spy system, were caught completely off their
guard at dawn on the 7th of August.
settled upon the manner and time of the
diversions, orders had to be issued for the main
operation. And. here I must pause a moment to
draw your Lordship's attention to the
extraordinary complexity of the staff work
caused by the unique distribution of my forces.
Within the narrow confines of the positions I
held on the peninsula it was impossible to
concentrate even as much as one third of the
fresh troops about to be launched to the attack.
Nor could Mudros and Imbros combined absorb the
whole of the remainder. The strategic
concentration which precedes a normal battle had
in my case to be a very wide dispersion. Thus of
the forces destined for my offensive, on the day
before the battle, part were at Anzac, part at
Imbros, part at Mudros, and part at Mitylene.
These last three detachments were separated
respectively by 14, 60 and 120 miles of sea from
the arena into which they were simultaneously to
appear. To ensure the punctual arrival of all
these masses of inexperienced troops at the
right moment and spot, together with their
material, munitions, stores, supplies, water,
animals and vehicles, was a prodigious
undertaking demanding not only competence, but
self-confidence; and I will say for my General
Staff that I believe the clearness and
completeness of their orders for this
concentration and landing will hereafter be
studied as models in military academies. The
need for economy in sea transport, the
awkwardness and restriction of open beaches, the
impossibility of landing guns, animals or
vehicles rapidly - all these made it essential
to create a special, separate organisation for
every single unit taking part in the adventure.
A pack mule corps to supply 80,000 men had also
to be organised for that specific purpose until
such time as other transport could be landed.
to water, that element of itself was responsible
for a whole chapter of preparations. An enormous
quantity had to be collected secretly, and as
secretly stowed away at Anzac, where a
high-level reservoir had to be built, having a
holding capacity of 30,000 gallons, and fitted
out with a regular system of pipe's and
distribution tanks. A stationary engine was
brought over from Egypt to fill that reservoir.
Petroleum tins, with a carrying capacity of
80,000 gallons, were got together, and fixed up
with handles, &c., but the collision of the
"Moorgate" with another vessel delayed the
arrival of large numbers of these just as a
breakdown in the stationary engine upset for a
while the well-laid plan of the high-level
reservoir. But Anzac was ever resourceful in
face of misadventures, and when the inevitable
accidents arose it was not with folded hands
that they were met.
to Suvla Bay, it was believed that good wells
and springs existed both in the Biyuk, Anafarta
Valley and in Suvla Plain. But nothing so vital
could possibly be left to hearsay, and although,
as it turned out, our information was perfectly
correct, yet the War Office were asked to
despatch with each reinforcing division water
receptacles for pack transport at the rate of
half a gallon per man.
sheet-anchor on which hung the whole of these
elaborate schemes was the Navy. One tiny
flaw in the perfect mutual trust and confidence
animating the two services would have wrecked
the whole enterprise. Experts at a distance may
have guessed as much; it was self-evident to the
rawest private on the spot. But with men like Vice-Admiral
de Robeck, Commodore Roger Keyes, Rear-Admiral
Christian and Captain F. H. Mitchell
at our backs, we soldiers were secured against
any such risk, and it will be seen how perfect
was the precision the sailors put into their
hour was now approaching, and I waited for it
with as much confidence as is possible when to
the inevitable uncertainties of war are to be
added those of the weather. Apart from feints,
the first blow was to be dealt in the southern
that theatre I had my own Poste de Commandement.
But upon the 6th of August attacks in the south
were only to form a subsidiary part of one great
concerted attack. Anzac was to deliver the
knock-down blow; Helles and Suvla were
complementary operations. Were I to commit
myself at the outset to any one of these three
theatres I must lose my sense of proportion.
Worse, there being no lateral communication
between them, as soon as I landed at one I was
cut off from present touch with both of the
others. At Imbros I was 45 minutes from Helles,
40 minutes from Anzac, and 50 minutes from
Suvla. Imbros was the centre of the cable
system, and thence I could follow each phase of
the triple attack and be ready with my two
divisions of reserve to throw in reinforcements
where they seemed most to be required. Therefore
I decided to follow the opening moves from
Helles the attack of the 6th was directed
against 1,200 yards of the Turkish front
opposite our own right and right centre, and was
to be carried out by the 88th Brigade of the
29th Division. Two small Turkish trenches
enfilading the main advance had, if possible, to
be captured simultaneously, an affair which was
entrusted to the 42nd Division.
bombardment the infantry assaulted at 3.50 p.m.
On the left large sections of the enemy's line
were carried, but on our centre and right the
Turks were encountered in masses, and the
attack, pluckily and perseveringly as it was
pressed, never had any real success. The 1st
Battalion, Essex Regiment, in particular forced
their way into the crowded enemy trench opposite
them, despite the most determined resistance,
but, once in, were subjected to the heaviest
musketry fire from both flanks, as well as in
reverse, and were shattered by showers of bombs.
Two separate resolute attacks were made by the
42nd Division, but both of them recoiled in face
of the unexpected volume of fire developed by
dark officer's patrols were sent up to ascertain
the exact position of affairs. Heavy Turkish
counter-attacks were being pressed against such
portions of the line we still retained. Many of
our men fought it out where they stood to the
last, but by nightfall none of the enemy's line
remained in our possession.
set-back was in no wise the fault of the troops.
That ardour which only dashed itself to pieces
against the enemy's strong entrenchments and
numerous, stubborn defenders on the 6th of
August would, a month earlier, have achieved
notable success. Such was the opinion of all.
But the moral, as well as the strength
of the Turks, had had time to rise to great
heights since our last serious encounters with
them on the 21st and 28th of June and on the
12th of July. On those dates all ranks had felt,
as an army feels, instinctively, yet with
certitude, that they had fairly got the upper
hand of the enemy, and that, given the
wherewithal, they could have gone on steadily
advancing. Now that self-same, half-beaten enemy
were again making as stout a resistance as they
had offered us at our original landing !
recovery of the Turks there were three reasons:
one moral, one material, and one fortuitous.
news of the enemy's advance on the Eastern
front had come to hand and had been advertised
to us on posters from the Turkish trenches
before we heard about it from home.
new divisions had come down south to Helles to
replace those we had most severely handled.
enemy trenches selected for our attack were
found to be packed with troops and so were
their communication trenches, the reason
being, as explained to us by prisoners, that
the Turkish Commander had meant to launch from
them an attack upon us. We had, in fact, by a
coincidence as strange as it was unlucky,
anticipated a Turkish offensive by an hour or
two at most!
enough, next morning, the enemy in their turn
attacked the left of the line from which our own
troops had advanced to the assault. A few of
them gained a footing in our trenches and were
all killed or captured. The remainder were
driven back by fire.
the aim of my action in this southern zone was
to advance if I could, but in any case to
contain the enemy and prevent him reinforcing to
the northwards, I persevered on the 7th with my
plans, notwithstanding the counter-attack of the
Turks which was actually in progress. My
objective this time was a double line of Turkish
trenches on a front of about 800 yards between
the Mal Tepe Dere and the west branch of the
Kanli Dere. After a preliminary bombardment the
troops of the 125th Brigade on the right and the
129th on the left made the assault at 9.40 a.m.
From the outset it was evident that the enemy
were full of fight and in great force, and that
success would only be gained after a severe
struggle. On the right and on the centre the
first enemy line was captured, and small parties
pushed on to the second line, where they were
unable to maintain themselves for long. On the,
left but little ground was gained, and by
l11a.m. what little had been taken had been
relinquished. But in the centre a stiff battle
raged all day up and down a vineyard some 200
yards long by 100 yards broad on the west of the
Krithia road. A large portion of the vineyard
had been captured in the first dash, and the
East Lancashire men in this part of the field
gallantly stood their ground here against a
succession of vigorous counter-attacks. The
enemy suffered very severely in these
counter-attacks, which were launched in strength
and at short intervals. Both our Brigades had
also lost heavily during the advance and in
repelling the fierce onslaughts of the enemy,
but, owing to the fine endurance of the 6th and
7th Battalions of the Lancashire Fusiliers, it
was found possible to hold the vineyard through
the night, and a massive column of the enemy
which strove to overwhelm their thinned ranks
was shattered to pieces in the attempt.
8th August Lieutenant-General Sir F. J. Davies
took over command of the 8th Army Corps, and
Major-General W. Douglas reverted to the command
of the 42nd Division. For two more days his
troops were called upon to show their qualities
of vigilance and power of determined resistance,
for the enemy had by no means yet lost hope of
wresting from us the ground we had won in the
vineyard. This unceasing struggle was a supreme
test for battalions already exhausted by 48
hours' desperate fighting and weakened by the
loss of so many good leaders and men; but the
peculiar grit of the Lancastrians was equal to
the .strain, and they did not fail. Two
specially furious counter-attacks were delivered
by the Turks on the 8th August, one at 4.40 a.m.
and another at 8.30 p.m., where again our
bayonets were too much for them. Throughout the
night they made continuous bomb attacks, but the
6th Lancashire Fusiliers and the 4th East
Lancashire Regiment stuck gamely to their task
at the eastern corner of the vineyard. There was
desperate fighting also at the northern corner,
where the personal bravery of Lieutenant W. T.
Forshaw, 1/9th Manchester Regiment who stuck to
his post after his detachment had been relieved
(an act for which he has since been awarded the
V.C.), was largely instrumental in the repulse
of three very determined onslaughts.
the morning of the 9th August things were
quieter, and the sorely tried troops were
relieved. On the night of the 12th/13th the
enemy made one more sudden, desperate dash for
their vineyard - and got it! But, on the 13th,
our bombers took the matter in hand. The Turks
were finally driven out; the new fire trenches
were wired and loopholed, and have since become
part of our line.
two attacks' had served their main purpose. If
the local successes were not all that had been
hoped for, yet a useful advance had been
achieved, and not only had they given a fresh,
hard fighting enemy more than he had bargained
for, but they had actually drawn down Turkish
reinforcements to their area. And how can a
Commander say enough for the troops who, aware
that their task was only a subsidiary one,
fought with just as much vim and resolution as
if they were storming the battlements of
will now proceed to tell of the assault on
Chunuk Bair by the forces under General
Birdwood, and of the landing of the 9th Corps in
the neighbourhood of Suvla Bay. The entire
details of the operations allotted to the troops
to be employed in the Anzac area were formulated
by Lieutenant-General Birdwood, subject only to
my final approval. So excellently was this vital
business worked out on the lines of the
instructions issued that I had no modifications
to suggest, and all these local preparations
were completed by August 6th in a way which
reflects the greatest credit, not only on the
Corps Commander and his staff, but also upon the
troops themselves, who had to toil like slaves
to accumulate food, drink and munitions of war.
Alone the accommodation for the extra troops to
be landed necessitated an immense amount of work
in preparing new concealed bivouacs, in making
interior communications, and in storing water
and supplies, for I was determined to put on
shore as many fighting men as our modest holding
at Anzac could possibly accommodate or
provision. All the work was done by Australian
and New Zealand soldiers almost entirely by
night, and the uncomplaining efforts of these
much-tried troops in preparation are in a sense
as much to their credit as their heroism in the
battles that followed. Above all, the water
problem caused anxiety to the Admiral, to
Lieutenant-General Birdwood and to myself. The
troops to advance from Suvla Bay across the
Anafarta valley might reckon on finding some
wells - it was certain, at least, that no water
was waiting for us on the crests of the ridges
of Sari Bair! Therefore, first, several days'
supply had to be stocked into tanks along the
beach and thence pumped up into other tanks
half-way up the mountains; secondly, a system of
mule transport had to be worked out, so that in
so far as was humanly possible, thirst should
not be allowed to overcome the troops after they
had overcome the difficulties of the country and
the resistance of the enemy.
the nights of the 4th, 5th, and 6th August the
reinforcing troops were shipped into Anzac very
silently at the darkest hours. Then, still
silently, they were tucked away from enemy
aeroplanes or observatories in their prepared
hiding places. The whole sea route lay open to
the view of the Turks upon Achi Baba's summit
and Battleship Hill. Aeroplanes could count
every tent and every ship at Mudros or at
Imbros. Within rifle fire of Anzac's open beach
hostile riflemen were looking out across the
Aegean no more than twenty feet from our
opposing lines. Every modern appliance of
telescope, telegraph, wireless was at the
disposal of the enemy. Yet the instructions
worked out at General Headquarters in the
minutest detail (the result of conferences with
the Royal Navy, which were attended by
Brigadier-General Skeen, of General Birdwood's
Staff) were such that the scheme was carried
through without a hitch. The preparation of the
ambush was treated as a simple matter by the
services therein engaged, and yet I much doubt
whether any more pregnant enterprise than this
of landing so large a force under the very eyes
of the enemy, and of keeping them concealed
there three days, is recorded in the annals of
troops now at the disposal of General Birdwood
amounted in round numbers to 37,000 rifles and
72 guns, with naval support from two
cruisers, four monitors and two destroyers.
Under the scheme these troops were to be divided
into two main portions. The task of holding the
existing Anzac position, and of making frontal
assaults therefrom, was assigned to the
Australian Division (plus the 1st and 3rd Light
Horse Brigades and two battalions of the 40th
Brigade); that of assaulting the Chunuk Bair
ridge was entrusted to the New Zealand and
Australian Division (less the 1st and 3rd Light
Horse Brigades), to the 13th Division (less five
battalions), and to the 29th Indian Infantry
Brigade and to the Indian Mountain Artillery
Brigade. The 29th Brigade of the 10th Division
(less one battalion) and the 38th Brigade were
held in reserve.
most simple method of developing this
complicated series of operations will be first
to take the frontal attacks from the existing
Anzac position, and afterwards to go on to the
assault on the more distant ridges. During the
4th, 5th and 6th of August the works on the
enemy's left and centre were subjected to a slow
bombardment, and on the afternoon of the 6th
August an assault was made upon the formidable
Lone Pine entrenchment. Although, in its
essence, a diversion to draw the enemy's
attention and reserves from the grand attack
impending upon his right, yet, in itself, Lone
Pine was a distinct step on the way across to
Maidos. It commanded one of the main sources of
the Turkish water supply, and was a work, or,
rather, a series of works, for the safety of
which the enemy had always evinced a certain
nervousness. The attack was designed to heighten
work consisted of a strong point d'appui on
the south-western end of a plateau, where it
confronted, at distances varying from 60 to 120
yards, the salient in the line of our trenches
named by us the Pimple. The entrenchment was
evidently very strong; it was entangled with
wire, and provided with overhead cover, and it
was connected by numerous communication trenches
with another point d'appui known as
Johnston's Jolly on the north, as well as with
two other works on the east and south. The
frontage for attack amounted at most to some 220
yards, and the approaches lay open to heavy
enfilade fire, both from the north and from the
detailed scheme of attack was worked out with
care and forethought by Major-General H. B.
Walker, commanding 1st Australian Division, and
his thoroughness contributed, I consider,
largely to the success of the enterprise.
action commenced at 4.30 p.m. with a continuous
and heavy bombardment of the Lone Pine and
adjacent trenches, H.M.S. “Bacchante"
assisting by searching the valleys to the
north-east and east, and the Monitors by
shelling the enemy's batteries south of Gaba
Tepe. The assault had been entrusted to the 1st
Australian Brigade (Brigadier-General N. M.
Smyth), and punctually at 5.30 p.m. it was
carried out by the 2nd, 3rd and 4th Australian
Battalions, the 1st Battalion forming the
Brigade reserve. Two lines left their trenches
simultaneously, and were closely followed up by
a third. The rush across the open was a regular
race against death, which came in the shape of a
hail of shell and rifle bullets from front and
from either flank. But the Australians had
firmly resolved to reach the enemy's trenches,
and in this determination they became for the
moment invincible. The barbed wire entanglement
was reached and was surmounted. Then came a
terrible moment, when it seemed as though it
would be physically impossible to penetrate into
the trenches. The overhead cover of stout pine
beams resisted all individual efforts to move
it, and the loopholes continued to spit fire.
Groups of our men then bodily lifted up the
beams and individual soldiers leaped down into
the semi-darkened galleries amongst the Turks.
By 5.47 p.m. the 3rd and 4th Battalions were
well into the enemy's vitals, and a few minutes
later the reserves of the 2nd Battalion advanced
over their parados, and driving out, killing or
capturing the occupants, made good the whole of
the trenches. The reserve companies of the 3rd
and 4th Battalions followed, and at 6.20 p.m.
the 1st Battalion (in reserve) was launched to
consolidate the position.
once the Turks made it plain, as they have never
ceased to do since, that they had no intention
of acquiescing in the capture of this capital
work. At 7.0 p.m. a determined and violent
counter-attack began, both from the north and
from the south. Wave upon wave the enemy swept
forward with the bayonet. Here and there a
well-directed salvo of bombs emptied a section
of a trench, but whenever this occurred the gap
was quietly filled by the initiative of the
officers and the gallantry of the men.
enemy allowed small respite. At 1.30 that night
the battle broke out afresh. Strong parties of
Turks swarmed out of the communication tranches,
preceded by showers of bombs. For seven hours
these counter-attacks continued. All this time
consolidation was being attempted, although the
presence of so many Turkish prisoners hampered
movement and constituted an actual danger. In
beating off these desperate counter-attacks very
heavy casualties were suffered by the
Australians. Part of the 12th Battalion, the
reserve of the 3rd Brigade, had therefore to be
thrown into the melee.
hours later, at 1.30 p.m. on the 7th, another
effort was made by the enemy, lasting
uninterruptedly at closest quarters till 5 p.m.,
then being resumed at midnight and proceeding
intermittently till dawn. At an early period of
this last counter-attack the 4th Battalion were
forced by bombs to relinquish portion of a
trench, but later on, led by their commanding
officer, Lieutenant-Colonel McNaghten, they
killed every Turk who had got in.
the 8th of August advantage was taken of every
cessation in the enemy's bombing to consolidate.
The 2nd Battalion, which had lost its commanding
officer and suffered especially severely, was
withdrawn and replaced by the 7th Battalion, the
reserve to the 2nd Infantry Brigade.
5 a.m. on 9th August the enemy made a sudden
attempt to storm from the east and south-east
after a feint of fire attack from the north. The
7th Battalion bore the brunt of the shock, and
handled the attack so vigorously that by 7.45
a.m. there were clear signs of demoralisation in
the enemy's ranks. But, although this marked the
end of counterattacks on the large scale, the
bombing and sniping continued, though in less
volume, throughout this day and night, and
lasted till 12th August, when it at last became
manifest that we had gained complete ascendency.
During the final grand assault our losses from
artillery fire were large, and ever since the
work has passed into our hands it has been a
favourite daily arid nightly mark for heavy
shells and bombs.
was Lone Pine taken and held. The Turks were in
great force and very full of fight, yet one weak
Australian brigade, numbering at the outset but
2,000 rifles, and supported only by two weak
battalions, carried the work under the eyes of a
whole enemy division, and maintained their grip
upon it like a vice during six days' successive
counter-attacks. High praise is due to
Brigadier-General N. M. Smyth and to his
battalion commanders. The irresistible dash and
daring of officers and men in the initial charge
were a glory to Australia. The stout-heartedness
with which they clung to the captured ground in
spite of fatigue, severe losses, and the
continual strain of shell fire and bomb attacks
may seem less striking to the civilian; it is
even more admirable to the soldier. From start
to finish the artillery support was untiring and
vigilant. Owing to the rapid, accurate fire of
the 2nd New Zealand Battery, under Major Sykes,
several of the Turkish onslaughts were
altogether defeated in their attempts to get to
grips with the Australians. Not a chance was
lost by these gunners, although time and again
the enemy's artillery made direct hits on their
shields. The hand-to-hand fighting in the
semi-obscurity of the trenches was prolonged and
very bitterly contested. In one corner eight
Turks and six Australians were found lying as
they had bayonetted one another. To make room
for the fighting men the dead were ranged in
rows on either side of the gangway. After the
first violence of the counter-attacks had
abated, 1,000 corpses - our own and Turkish -
were dragged out from the trenches.
the severity of our own casualties some partial
consolation may be found in the facts, first,
that those of the enemy were much heavier, our
guns and machine-guns having taken toll of them
as they advanced in mass formation along the
reverse slopes; secondly, that the Lone Pine
attack drew all the local enemy reserves towards
it, and may be held, more than any other cause,
to have been the reason that the Suvla Bay
landing was so lightly opposed, and that
comparatively few of the enemy were available at
first to reinforce against our attack on Sari
Bair. Our captures in this feat of arms amounted
to 134 prisoners, seven machine-guns, and a
large quantity of ammunition and equipment.
frontal attacks from the existing Anzac
positions were not so fortunate. They fulfilled
their object in so far as they prevented the
enemy from reinforcing against the attack upon
the high ridges, but they failed to make good
any ground. Taken in sequence of time, they
included an attack upon the work known as German
Officer's Trench, on the extreme right of our
line, at midnight on August 6-7, also assaults
on the Nek and Baby 700 trenches opposite the
centre of our line, delivered at 4.30 a.m. on
the 7th. The 2nd Australian Brigade did all that
men could do; the 8th Light Horse only accepted
their repulse after losing three-fourths of that
devoted band who so bravely sallied forth from
Russell's Top. Some of the works were carried,
but in these cases the enemy's concealed
machine-guns made it impossible to hold on. But
all that day, as the result of these most
gallant attacks, Turkish reserves on Battleship
Hill were being held back to meet any dangerous
development along the front of the old Anzac
line, and so were not available to meet our main
enterprise, which I will now endeavour to
first step in the real push - the step which
above all others was to count - was the night
attack on the summits of the Sari Bair ridge.
The crest line of this lofty mountain range runs
parallel to the sea, dominating the
underfeatures contained within the Anzac
position, although these fortunately defilade
the actual landing-place. From the main ridge a
series of spurs run down towards the level
beach, and are separated from one another by
deep, jagged gullies choked up with dense
jungle. Two of these leading up to Chunuk Bair
are called Chailak Dere and Sazli Beit Dere;
another deep ravine runs up to Koja Chemen Tepe
(Hill 305), the topmost peak of the whole ridge,
and is called the Aghyl Dere.
was our object to effect a lodgment along the
crest of the high main ridge with two columns of
troops, but, seeing the nature of the ground and
the dispositions of the enemy, the effort had to
be made by stages. We were bound, in fact, to
undertake a double subsidiary operation before
we could hope to launch these attacks with any
real prospect of success.
The right covering force was to seize Table
Top, as well as all other enemy positions
commanding the foothills between the Chailak
Dere and the Sazli Beit Dere ravines. If this
enterprise succeeded it would open up the
ravines for the assaulting columns, whilst at
the same time interposing between the right
flank of the left covering force and the enemy
holding the Sari Bair main ridge.
The left covering force was to march
northwards along the beach to seize a hill
called Damakjelik Bair, some 1,400 yards north
of Table Top. If successful it would be able
to hold out a hand to the 9th Corps as it
landed south of Nibrunesi Point, whilst at the
same time protecting the left flank of the
left assaulting column against enemy troops
from the Anafarta valley during, its climb up
the Aghyl Dere ravine.
The right assaulting column was to move up the
Chailak Dere and Sazli Beit Dere ravines to
the storm of the ridge of Chunuk Bair.
The left assaulting column was to work up the
Aghyl Dere and prolong the line of the right
assaulting column by storming Hill 305 (Koja
Chemen Tepe), the summit of the whole range of
recapitulate, the two assaulting columns, which
were to work up three ravines to the storm of
the high ridge, were to be preceded by two
covering columns. One of these was to capture
the enemy's positions commanding the foothills,
first to open the mouths of the ravines,
secondly to cover the right flank of another
covering force whilst it marched along the
beach. The other covering column was to strike
far out to the north until, from a hill called
Damajelik Bair, it could at the same time
facilitate the landing of the 9th Corps at
Nibrunesi Point, and guard the left flank of the
column assaulting Sari Bair from any forces of
the enemy which might be assembled in the
whole of this big attack was placed under the
command of Major-General Sir A. J. Godley,
General Officer Commanding New Zealand and
Australian Division. The two covering and the
two assaulting columns were organized as
Covering Column, under Brigadier-General A. H.
Russell.- New Zealand Mounted Rifles Brigade,
the Otago Mounted Rifles Regiment, the Maori
Contingent and New Zealand Field Troop.
Assaulting Column, under Brigadier-General F.
E. Johnston.- New Zealand Infantry Brigade,
Indian Mountain Battery (less one section),
one Company New Zealand Engineers.
Covering Column, under Brigadier-General J. H.
Travers.- Headquarters 40th Brigade, half the
72nd Field Company, 4th Battalion, South Wales
Borderers, and 5th Battalion, Wiltshire
Assaulting Column, under Brigadier-General
(now Major-General) H. V. Cox.- 29th Indian
Infantry Brigade, 4th Australian Infantry
Brigade, Indian Mountain Battery (less one
section), one Company New Zealand Engineers.
Reserve.- 6th Battalion, South Lancashire
Regiment, and 8th Battalion, Welsh Regiment
(Pioneers) at Chailak Dere, and the 39th
Infantry Brigade and half 72nd Field Company
at Aghyl Dere.
right covering column, it will be remembered,
had to gain command of the Sazli Beit Dere and
the Aghyl Dere ravines, so as to let the
assaulting column arrive intact within striking
distance of the Chunuk Bair ridge. To achieve
this object it had to clear the Turks off from
their right flank positions upon Old No. 3 Post
and Table Top.
No. 3 Post, connected with Table Top by a razor
back, formed the apex of a triangular piece of
hill sloping gradually down to our No. 2 and No.
3 outposts. Since its recapture from us by the
Turks on 30th May working parties had done their
best with unstinted material to convert this
commanding point into an impregnable redoubt.
Two lines of fire trench, very heavily
entangled, protected its southern face - the
only one accessible to us - and, with its head
cover of solid timber baulks and its strongly
revetted outworks, it dominated the approaches
of both the Chailak Dere and the Sazli Beit
Top is a steep-sided, flat-topped hill, close on
400 feet above sea level. The sides of the hill
are mostly sheer and quite impracticable, but
here and there a ravine, choked with scrub, and
under fire of enemy trenches, gives precarious
foothold up the precipitous cliffs. The small
plateau on the summit was honeycombed with
trenches, which were connected by a
communication alley with that underfeature of
Sari Bair, known as Rhododendron Spur.
other stratagems the Anzac troops, assisted by H.M.S.
"Colne," had long and carefully been
educating the Turks how they should lose Old No.
3 Post, which could hardly have been rushed by
simple force of arms. Every night, exactly at 9
p.m., H.M.S. "Colne" threw the beam of her
searchlight on to the redoubt, and opened fire
upon it for exactly ten minutes. Then, after a
ten minutes' interval, came a second
illumination and bombardment, commencing always
at 9.20 and ending precisely at 9.30 p.m.
idea was that, after successive nights of such
practice, the enemy would get into the habit of
taking the searchlight as a hint to clear out
until the shelling was at an end. But on the
eventful night of the 6th, the sound of their
footsteps drowned by the loud cannonade, unseen
as they crept along in that darkest shadow which
fringes a searchlight's: beam - came the right
covering column. At 9.30 the light switched off,
and instantly our men poured out of the scrub
jungle and into the empty redoubt. By 11 p.m.
the whole series of surrounding entrenchments
the capture of Old No. 3 Post was fairly under
way, the remainder of the right covering column
carried on with their attack upon Bauchop's Hill
and the Chailak Dere. By 10 p.m. the
northernmost point, with its machine-gun, was
captured, and by 1 o'clock in the morning the
whole of Bauchop's Hill, a maze of ridge and
ravine, everywhere entrenched, was fairly in our
attack along the Chailak Dere was not so cleanly
carried out - made, indeed, just about as ugly a
start as any enemy could wish. Pressing eagerly
forward through the night, the little column of
stormers found themselves held up by a
barbed-wire erection of unexampled height, depth
and solidity, which completely closed the river
bed - that is to say, the only practicable
entrance to the ravine. The entanglement was
flanked by a strongly-held enemy trench running
right across the opening of the Chailak Dere.
Here that splendid body of men, the Otago
Mounted Rifles, lost some of their bravest and
their best, but in the end, when things were
beginning to seem desperate, a passage was
forced through the stubborn obstacle with most
conspicuous and cool courage by Captain Shera
and a party of New Zealand Engineers, supported
by the Maoris, who showed themselves worthy
descendants of the warriors of the Gate Pah.
Thus was the mouth of the Chailak Dere opened in
time to admit of the unopposed entry of the
right assaulting column.
the attack on Table Top had been launched under
cover of a heavy bombardment from H.M.S.
"Colne." No General on peace manoeuvres
could ask troops to attempt so break-neck an
enterprise. The flanks of Table Top are so steep
that the height gives an impression of a
mushroom shape - of the summit bulging out over
its stem. But just as faith moves mountains, so
valour can carry them. The Turks fought bravely.
The angle of Table Top's ascent is recognised in
our regulations as "impracticable for infantry."
But neither Turks nor angles of ascent were
destined to stop Russell or his New Zealanders
that night. There are moments during battle when
life becomes intensified, when men become
supermen, when the impossible becomes simple -
and this was one of those moments. The scarped
heights were scaled, the plateau was carried by
midnight. With this brilliant feat the task of
the right covering force was at an end. Its
attacks had been made with the bayonet and bomb
only; magazines were empty by order; hardly a
rifle shot had been fired. Some 150 prisoners
were captured as well as many rifles and much
equipment, ammunition and stores. No words can
do justice to the achievement of
Brigadier-General Russell and his men. There are
exploits which must be seen to be realised.
right assaulting column had entered the two
southerly ravines - Sazli Beit Dere and Chailak
Dere - by midnight. At 1.30 a.m. began a
hotly-contested fight for the trenches on the
lower part of Rhododendron Spur, whilst the
Chailak Dere column pressed steadily up the
valley against the enemy.
left covering column, under Brigadier-General
Travers, after marching along the beach to No. 3
Outpost, resumed its northerly advance as soon
as the attack on Bauchop's Hill had developed.
Once the Chailak Dere was cleared the column
moved by the mouth of the Aghyl Dere,
disregarding the enfilade fire from sections of
Bauchop's Hill still uncaptured. The rapid
success of this movement was largely due to
Lieutenant-Colonel Gillespie, a very fine man,
who commanded the advance guard consisting of
his own regiment, the 4th South Wales Borderers,
a corps worthy of such a leader. Every trench
encountered was instantly rushed by the
Borderers until, having reached the
predetermined spot, the whole column was
unhesitatingly launched at Damakjelik Bair.
Several Turkish trenches were captured at the
bayonet's point, and by 1.30 a.m. the whole of
the hill was occupied, thus safeguarding the
left rear of the whole of the Anzac attack.
was an encouraging sample of what the New Army,
under good auspices, could accomplish. Nothing
more trying to inexperienced troops can be
imagined than a long night march exposed to
flanking fire, through a strange country,
winding up at the end with a bayonet charge
against a height, formless and still in the
starlight, garrisoned by those spectres of the
imagination, worst enemies of the soldier.
left assaulting column crossed the Chailak Dere
at 12.30 a.m., and entered the Aghyl Dere at the
heels of the left covering column. The surprise,
on this side, was complete. Two Turkish officers
were caught in their pyjamas; enemy arms and
ammunition were scattered in every direction.
grand attack was now in full swing, but the
country gave new sensations in cliff climbing
even to officers and men who had graduated over
the goat tracks of Anzac. The darkness of the
night, the density of the scrub, hands and knees
progress up the spurs, sheer physical fatigue,
exhaustion of the spirit caused by repeated
hairbreadth escapes from the hail of random
bullets - all these combined to take the edge
off the energies of our troops. At last, after
advancing some distance up the Aghyl Dere, the
column split up into two parts. The 4th
Australian Brigade struggled, fighting hard as
they went, up to the north of the northern fork
of the Aghyl Dere, making for Hill 305 (Koja
Chemen Tepe). The 29th Indian Infantry Brigade
scrambled up the southern fork of the Aghyl Dere
and the spurs north of it to the attack of a
portion of the Sari Bair ridge known as Hill Q.
broke and the crest line was not yet in our
hands, although, considering all things, the
left assaulting column had made a marvellous
advance. The 4th Australian Infantry Brigade was
on the line of the Asma Dere (the next ravine
north of the Aghyl Dere) and the 29th Indian
Infantry Brigade held the ridge west of the Farm
below Chunuk Bair and along the spurs to the
north-east. The enemy had been flung back from
ridge to ridge; an excellent line for the
renewal of the attack had been secured, and
(except for the exhaustion of the troops) the
auspices were propitious.
to the right assaulting column, one battalion,
the Canterbury Infantry Battalion, clambered
slowly up the Sazli Beit Dere. The remainder of
the force, led by the Otago Battalion, wound
their way amongst the pitfalls and forced their
passage through the scrub of the Chailak Dere,
where fierce opposition forced them ere long to
deploy. Here, too, the hopeless country was the
main hindrance, and it was not until 5.45 a.m.
that the bulk of the column joined the
Canterbury Battalion on the lower slopes of
Rhododendron Spur. The whole force then moved up
the spur, gaining touch with the left assaulting
column by means of the 10th Gurkhas, in face of
very heavy fire and frequent bayonet charges.
Eventually they entrenched on the top of
Rhododendron Spur, a quarter of a mile short of
Chunuk Bair -i .e., of victory.
seven a.m. the 5th and 6th Gurkhas, belonging to
the left assaulting column, had approached the
main ridge north-east of Chunuk Bair, whilst, on
their left, the 14th Sikhs had got into touch
with the 4th Australian Brigade on the southern
watershed of the Asma Dere. The 4th Australian
Brigade now received orders to leave half a
battalion to hold the spur, and, with the rest
of its strength, plus the l4tn Sikhs, to assault
Hill 305 (Koja Chemen Tepe). But by this time
the enemy's opposition had hardened, and his
reserves were moving up from the direction of
Battleship Hill. Artillery support was asked for
and given, yet by nine a.m. the attack of the
right assaulting column on Chunuk Bair was
checked, and any idea of a further advance on
Koja Chemen Tepe had to be, for the moment,
suspended. The most that could be done was to
hold fast to the Asmak Dere watershed whilst
attacking the ridge north-east of Chunuk Bair,
an attack to be supported by a fresh assault
launched against Chunuk Bair itself.
9.30 a.m. the two assaulting columns pressed
forward whilst our guns pounded the enemy moving
along the Battleship Hill spurs. But in spite of
all their efforts their increasing exhaustion as
opposed to the gathering strength of the enemy's
fresh troops began to tell - they had shot their
bolt. So all day they clung to what they had
captured and strove to make ready for the night.
At 11 a.m. three battalions of the 39th Infantry
Brigade were sent up from the general reserve to
be at hand when needed, and, at the same hour,
one more battalion of the reserve was dispatched
to the 1st Australian Division to meet the drain
caused by all the desperate Lone Pine fighting.
the afternoon the position of the two assaulting
columns was unchanged. The right covering force
were in occupation of Table Top, Old No. 3 Post
and Bauchop Hill, which General Russell had been
ordered to maintain with two regiments of
Mounted Rifles, so that he might have two other
regiments and the Maori Contingent available to
move as required. The left covering force held
Damakjelik Bair. The forces which had attacked
along the front of the original Anzac line were
back again in their own trenches. The Lone Pine
work was being furiously disputed. All had
suffered heavily and all were very tired.
ended the first phase of the fighting for the
Chunuk Bair ridge. Our aims had not fully been
attained, and the help we had hoped for from
Suvla had not been forthcoming. Yet I fully
endorse the words of General Birdwood when he
says: ''The troops had performed a feat which is
kudos is due to Major-Generals Godley and Shaw
for their arrangements; to Generals Russell,
Johnston, Cox, and Travers for their leading;
but most of all, as every one of these officers
will gladly admit, to the rank and file for
their fighting. Nor may I omit to add that the
true destroyer spirit with which H.M.S.
"Colne" (Commander Claude Seymour, R.N.)
and H.M.S. "Chelmer" (Commander Hugh T.
England, R.N.) backed us up will live in the
grateful memories of the Army.
the course of this afternoon (7th August)
reconnaissances of Sari Bair were carried out
and the troops were got into shape for a fresh
advance in three columns, to take place in the
were composed as follows:
Column, Brigadier-General F. E. Johnston.-
26th Indian Mountain Battery (less one
section), Auckland Mounted Rifles, New Zealand
Infantry Brigade, two battalions 13th
Division, and the Maori Contingent.
Left Columns.-Major-General H. V. Cox.- 21st
Indian Mountain Battery (less one section),
4th Australian Brigade, 39th Infantry Brigade
(less one battalion), with 6th Battalion South
Lancashire Regiment attached, and the 29th
Indian Infantry Brigade.
right column was to climb up the Chunuk Bair
ridge; the left column was to make for the
prolongation of the ridge north-east to Koja
Chemen Tepe, the topmost peak of the range.
attack was timed for 4.15 a.m. At the first
faint glimmer of dawn observers saw figures
moving against the sky-line of Chunuk Bair. Were
they our own men, or were they the Turks?
Telescopes were anxiously adjusted; the light
grew stronger; men were seen climbing up from
our side of the ridge; they were our
own fellows - the topmost summit was -ours!
the right General Johnston's column, headed by
the Wellington Battalion and supported by the
7th Battalion, Gloucestershire Regiment, the
Auckland Mounted Rifles Regiment, the 8th Welsh
Pioneers, and the Maori Contingent, the whole
most gallantly led by Lieutenant-Colonel W. G.
Malone, had raced one another up the steep.
Nothing could check them. On they went, until,
with a last determined rush, they fixed
themselves firmly on the south-western slopes
and crest of the main knoll known as the height
of Chunuk Bair. With deep regret I have to add
that the brave Lieutenant-Colonel Malone fell
mortally wounded as he was marking out the line
to be held. The 7th Gloucesters suffered
terrible losses here. The fire was so hot that
they never got a chance to dig their trenches
deeper than some six inches, and there they had
to withstand attack after attack. In the course
of these fights every single officer, company
serjeant-major, or company
quartermaster-serjeant, was either killed or
wounded, and the battalion by midday consisted
of small groups of men commanded by junior
non-commissioned officers or privates. Chapter
and verse may be quoted for the view that the
rank-and-file of an army cannot long endure the
strain of close hand-to-hand fighting unless
they are given confidence by the example of good
officers. Yet here is at least one instance
where a battalion of the New Army fought right
on, from midday till sunset, without any officers.
the centre the 39th Infantry Brigade and the
29th Indian Brigade moved along the gullies
leading up to the Sari Bair ridge - the right
moving south of the Farm on Chunuk Bair, the
left up the spurs to the north-east of the Farm
against a portion of the main ridge north-east
of Chunuk Bair, and the col to the north of it.
So murderous was the enemy's fire that little
progress could be made, though some ground was
gained on the spurs to the north-east of the
the left the 4th Australian Brigade advanced
from the Asmak Dere against the lower slopes of
Abdul Rahman Bair (a spur running due north from
Koja Chemen Tepe) with the intention of wheeling
to its right and advancing up the spur.
Cunningly placed Turkish machine-guns and a
strong entrenched body of infantry were ready
for this move, and the Brigade were unable to
get on. At last, on the approach of heavy
columns of the enemy, the Australians, virtually
surrounded, and having already suffered losses
of over 1,000, were withdrawn to their original
position. Here they stood at bay, and, though
the men were by now half dead with thirst and
with fatigue, they bloodily repulsed attack
after attack delivered by heavy columns of
stood matters at noon. Enough had been done for
honour and much ground had everywhere been
gained. The expected support from Suvla hung
fire, but the capture of Chunuk Bair was a
presage of victory; even the troops who had been
repulsed were quite undefeated - quite full of
fight - and so it was decided to hold hard as we
were till nightfall, and then to essay one more
grand attack, wherein the footing gained on
Chunuk Bair would this time be used as a pivot.
the afternoon the battle slackened, excepting
always at Lone Pine, where the enemy were still
coming on in mass, and being mown down by our
fire. Elsewhere the troops were busy digging and
getting up water and food, no child's play, with
their wretched lines of communication running
within musketry range of the enemy.
evening the New Zealand Brigade, with two
regiments of New Zealand Mounted Rifles and the
Maoris, held Rhododendron Spur and the
south-western slopes of the main knoll of Chunuk
Bair. The front line was prolonged by the
columns of General Cox and General Monash (with
the 4th Australian Brigade). Behind the New
Zealanders were the 38th Brigade in reserve, and
in rear of General Monash two battalions of the
40th Brigade. The inner line was held as before,
and the 29th Brigade (less two battalions), had
been sent up from the general reserve, and
remained still further in rear.
columns for the renewed attack were composed as
Column, Brigadier-General F. E. Johnston.-
26th Indian Mountain Battery (less one
section), the Auckland and Wellington Mounted
Rifles Regiments, the New Zealand Infantry
Brigade, and two battalions of the 13th
Column, Major-General H. V. Cox.- 21st Indian
Mountain Battery (less one section), 4th
Australian Brigade, 39th Brigade (less the 7th
Gloucesters, relieved), with the 6th Battalion
South Lancashire Regiment attached, and the
Indian Infantry Brigade.
Column, Brigadier-General A. H. Baldwin,
Commanding 38th Infantry Brigade. - Two
battalions each from the 38th and 29th
Brigades and one from the 40th Brigade.
1 column was to hold and consolidate the ground
gained on the 6th, and, in co-operation with the
other columns, to gain the whole of Chunuk Bair,
and extend to the south-east. No. 2 column was
to attack Hill Q on the Chunuk Bair ridge, and
No. 3 column was to move from the Chailak Dere,
also on Hill Q. This last column was to make the
main attack, and the others were to co-operate
4.30 a.m. on August 9th the Chunuk Bair ridge
and Hill Q were heavily shelled. The naval guns,
all the guns on the left flank, and as many as
possible from the right flank (whence the
enemy's advance could be enfiladed), took part
in this cannonade, which rose to its climax at
5.15 a.m., when the whole ridge seemed a mass of
flame and smoke, whence huge clouds of dust
drifted slowly upwards in strange patterns on to
the sky. At 5.16 a.m. this tremendous
bombardment was to be switched off on to the
flanks and reverse slopes of the heights.
Baldwin's column had assembled in the Chailak
Dere, and was moving up towards General
Johnstone's headquarters. Our plan contemplated
the massing of this column immediately behind
the trenches held by the New Zealand Infantry
Brigade. Thence it was intended to launch the
battalions in successive lines, keeping them as
much as possible on the high ground. Infinite
trouble had been taken to ensure that the narrow
track should be kept clear, guides also were
provided; but in spite of all precautions the
darkness, the rough scrub-covered country, its
sheer steepness, so delayed the column that they
were unable to take full advantage of the
configuration of the ground, and, inclining to
the left, did not reach the line of the Farm -
Chunuk Bair till 5.15 a.m. In plain English,
Baldwin, owing to the darkness and the awful
country, lost his way - through no fault of his
own. The mischance was due to the fact that time
did not admit of the detailed careful
reconnaissance of routes which is so essential
where operations are to be carried out by night.
now, under that fine leader, Major C. G. L.
Allanson, the 6th Gurkhas of the 29th Indian
Infantry Brigade pressed up the slopes of Sari
Bair, crowned the heights of the col between
Chunuk Bair and Hill Q, viewed far beneath them
the waters of the Hellespont, viewed the Asiatic
shores along which motor transport was bringing
supplies to the lighters. Not only did this
battalion, as well as some of the 6th South
Lancashire Regiment, reach the crest, but they
began to attack down the far side of it, firing
as they went at the fast retreating enemy. But
the fortune of war was against us. At this
supreme moment Baldwin's column was still a long
way from our trenches on the crest of Chunuk
Bair, whence they should even now have been
sweeping out towards Q along the whole ridge of
the mountain. And instead of Baldwin's support
came suddenly a salvo of heavy shell. These
falling so unexpectedly among the stormers threw
them into terrible confusion. The Turkish
commander saw his chance; instantly his troops
were rallied and brought back in a
counter-charge, and the South Lancashires and
Gurkhas, who had seen the promised land and had
seemed for a moment to have held victory in
their grasp, were forced backwards over the
crest and on to the lower slopes whence they had
where was the main attack - where was Baldwin?
When that bold but unlucky commander found he
could not possibly reach our trenches on the top
of Chunuk Bair in time to take effective part in
the fight he deployed for attack where he stood,
i.e., at the farm to the left of the New
Zealand Brigade's trenches on Rhododendron Spur.
Now his men were coming on in fine style and,
just as the Turks topped the ridge with shouts
of elation, two companies of the 6th East
Lancashire Regiment, together with the 10th
Hampshire Regiment, charged up our side of the
slope with the bayonet. They had gained the high
ground immediately below the commanding knoll on
Chunuk Bair, and a few minutes earlier would
have joined hands with the Gurkhas and South
Lancashires and, combined with them, would have
carried all before them. But the Turks by this
time were lining the whole of the high crest in
overwhelming numbers. The New Army troops
attacked with a fine audacity, but they were
flung back from the height and then pressed
still further down the slope, until General
Baldwin had to withdraw his command to the
vicinity of the Farm, whilst the enemy, much
encouraged, turned their attention to the New
Zealand troops and the two New Army battalions
of No. 1 Column still holding the south-west
half of the main knoll of Chunuk Bair. Constant
attacks, urged with fanatical persistence, were
met here with a sterner resolution, and
although, at the end of the day, our troops were
greatly exhausted, they still kept their footing
on the summit. And if that summit meant much to
us, it meant even more to the Turks. For the
ridge covered our landing places, it is true,
but it covered not only the Turkish beaches at
Kilia Leman and Maidos, but also the Narrows
themselves and the roads leading northward to
Bulair and Constantinople.
evening our line ran along Rhododendron Spur up
to the crest of Chunuk Bair, where about 200
yards were occupied and held by some 800 men.
Slight trenches had hastily been dug, but the
fatigue of the New Zealanders and the fire of
the enemy had prevented solid work being done.
The trenches in many places were not more than a
few inches deep. They were not protected by
wire. Also many officers are of opinion that
they had not been well sited in the first
instance. On the South African system the main
line was withdrawn some twenty-five yards from
the crest instead of being actually on the
crestline itself, and there were not even
look-out posts along the summit. Boer
skirmishers would thus have had to show
themselves against the skyline before they could
annoy. But here we were faced by regulars taught
to attack in mass with bayonet or bomb. And the
power of collecting overwhelming numbers at very
close quarters rested with whichever side held
the true skyline in force. From Chunuk Bair the
line ran down to the Farm and almost due north
to the Asma Dere southern watershed, whence it
continued westward to the sea near Asmak Kuyu.
On the right the Australian Division was still
holding its line and Lone Pine was still being
furiously attacked. The 1st Australian Brigade
was now reduced from 2,900 to 1,000, and the
total casualties up to 8 p.m. on the 9th
amounted to about 8,500. But the troops were
still in extraordinarily good heart, and nothing
could damp their keenness. The only discontent
shown was by men who were kept in reserve.
the night of the 9th-10th, the New Zealand and
New Army troops on Chunuk Bair were relieved.
For three days and three nights they had been
ceaselessly fighting. They were half dead with
fatigue. Their lines of communication, started
from sea level, ran across trackless ridges and
ravines to an altitude of 800 ft., and were
exposed all the way to snipers' fire and
artillery bombardment. It had become imperative,
therefore, to get them enough food, water, and
rest; and for this purpose it was imperative
also to withdraw them. Chunuk Bair, which they
had so magnificently held, was now handed over
to two battalions of the 13th Division, which
were connected by the 10th Hampshire Regiment
with the troops at the farm. General Sir William
Birdwood is emphatic on the point that the
nature of the ground is such that there was no
room on the crest for more than this body of 800
to 1,000 rifles.
two battalions of the New Army chosen to hold
Chunuk Bair were the 6th Loyal North Lancashire
Regiment and the 5th Wiltshire Regiment. The
first of these arrived in good time and occupied
the trenches. Even in the darkness their
commanding officer, Lieutenant-Colonel Levinge,
recognised how dangerously these trenches were
sited, and he began at once to dig observation
posts on the actual crest and to strengthen the
defences where he could. But he had not time
given him to do much. The second battalion, the
Wiltshires, were delayed by the intricate
country. They did not reach the edge of the
entrenchment until 4 a.m., and were then told to
lie down in what was believed, erroneously, to
be a covered position.
daybreak on Tuesday, 10th August, the Turks
delivered a grand attack from the line Chunuk
Bair-Hill Q against these two battalions,
already weakened in numbers, though not in
spirit, by previous fighting. First our men were
shelled by every enemy gun, and then, at 5.30
a.m., were assaulted by a huge column,
consisting of no less than a full division plus
a regiment of three battalions. The North
Lancashire men were simply overwhelmed in their
shallow trenches by sheer weight of numbers,
whilst the Wilts, who were caught out in the
open, were literally almost annihilated. The
ponderous mass of the enemy swept over the
crest, turned the right flank of our line below,
swarmed round the Hampshires and General
Baldwin's column, which had to give ground, and
were only extricated with great difficulty and
very heavy losses.
it was our turn. The warships and the New
Zealand and Australian Artillery, the Indian
Mountain Artillery Brigade, and the 69th Brigade
Royal Field Artillery were getting the chance of
a lifetime. As the successive solid lines of
Turks topped the crest of the ridge gaps were
torn through their formation, and an iron rain
fell on them as they tried to re-form in the
here only did the Turks pay dearly for their
recapture of the vital crest. Enemy
reinforcements continued to move up Battleship
Hill under heavy and accurate fire from our
guns, and still they kept topping the ridges and
pouring down the western slopes of the Chunuk
Bair as if determined to regain everything they
had lost. But once they were over the crest they
became exposed not only to the full blast of the
guns, naval and military, but also to a
battery of ten machine-guns belonging to the New
Zealand Infantry Brigade, which played upon
their serried ranks at close range until the
barrels were red hot. Enormous losses were
inflicted, especially by these ten machine-guns;
and, of the swarms which had once fairly crossed
the crest line, only the merest handful ever
straggled back to their own side of Chunuk Bair.
this same time strong forces of the enemy
(forces which I had reckoned would have been
held back to meet our advance from Suvla Bay)
were hurled against the Farm and the spurs to
the north-east, where there arose a conflict so
deadly that it may be considered as the climax
of the four days' fighting for the ridge.
Portions of our line were pierced, and the
troops driven clean down the hill. At the foot
of the hill the men were rallied by Staff
Captain Street, who was there supervising the
transport of food and water. Without a word,
unhesitatingly, they followed him back to the
Farm, where they plunged again into the midst of
that series of struggles in which generals
fought in the ranks and men dropped their
scientific weapons and caught one another by the
throat. So desperate a battle cannot be
described. The Turks came on again and again,
fighting magnificently, calling upon the name of
God. Our men stood to it, and maintained, by
many a deed of daring, the old traditions of
their race. There was no flinching. They died in
the ranks where they stood. Here Generals
Cayley, Baldwin, and Cooper and all their
gallant men achieved great glory. On this bloody
field fell Brigadier-General Baldwin, who earned
his first laurels on Caesar's Camp at Ladysmith.
There, too, fell Brigadier-General Cooper, badly
wounded; and there, too, fell Lieutenant-Colonel
M. H. Nunn, commanding the 9th Worcestershire
Regiment; Lieutenant-Colonel H. G. Levinge,
commanding the 6th Loyal North Lancashire
Regiment; and Lieutenant-Colonel J. Garden,
commanding the 5th Wiltshire Regiment.
this supreme struggle the absolute last two
battalions from the General Reserve were now
hurried, but by ten a.m. the effort of the enemy
was spent. Soon their shattered remnants began
to trickle back, leaving a track of corpses
behind them, and by night, except prisoners or
wounded, no live Turk was left upon our side of
same day, 10th August, two attacks, one in the
morning and the other in the afternoon, were
delivered on our positions along the Asmak Dere
and Damakjelik Bair. Both were repulsed with
heavy loss by the 4th Australian Brigade and the
4th South Wales Borderers, the men of the New
Army showing all the steadiness of veterans. Sad
to say, the Borderers lost their intrepid
leader, Lieutenant-Colonel Gillespie, in the
course of this affair.
evening the total casualties of General
Birdwood's force had reached 12,000, and
included a very large proportion of officers.
The 13th Division of the New Army, under
Major-General Shaw, had alone lost 6,000 out of
a grand total, of 10,500. Baldwin was gone and
all his staff. Ten commanding officers out of
thirteen had disappeared from the fighting
effectives. The Warwicks and the Worcesters had
lost literally every single officer. The old
German notion that no unit would stand a loss of
more than 25 per cent, had been completely
falsified. The 13th Division and the 29th
Brigade of the 10th (Irish) Division had lost
more than twice that proportion, and, in spirit,
were game for as much more fighting as might be
required. But physically, though Birdwood's
forces were prepared to hold all they had got,
they were now too exhausted to attack - at least
until they had rested and reorganised. So far
they had held on to all they had gained,
excepting only the footholds on the ridge
between Chunuk Bair and Hill Q, momentarily
carried by the Gurkhas, and the salient of
Chunuk Bair itself, which they had retained for
forty-eight hours. Unfortunately, these two
pieces of ground, small and worthless as they
seemed, were worth, according to the ethics of
war, 10,000 lives, for by their loss or
retention they just marked the difference
between an important success and a signal
times I had thought of throwing my reserves into
this stubborn central battle, where probably
they would have turned the scale. But each time
the water troubles made me give up the idea, all
ranks at Anzac being reduced to one pint a day.
True thirst is a sensation unknown to the
dwellers in cool, well-watered England. But at
Anzac, when mules with water "pakhals" arrived
at the front, the men would rush up to them in
swarms, just to lick the moisture that had
exuded through the canvas bags. It will be
understood, then, that until wells had been
discovered under the freshly-won hills, the
reinforcing of Anzac by even so much as a
brigade was unthinkable. The grand coup had not
come off. The Narrows were still out of sight
and beyond field gun range. But this was not the
fault of Lieutenant-General Birdwood or any of
the officers and men under his command. No
mortal can command success; Lieutenant-General
Birdwood had done all that mortal man can do to
deserve it. The way in which he worked out his
instructions into practical arrangements and
dispositions upon the terrain reflect high
credit upon his military capacity. I also wish
to bring to your Lordship's notice the valuable
services of Major-General Godley, commanding the
New Zealand and Australian Division. He had
under him at one time a force amounting to two
divisions, which he handled with conspicuous
ability. Major-General F. C. Shaw, commanding
13th Division, also rose superior to all the
trials and tests of these trying days. His calm
and sound judgment proved to be of the greatest
value throughout the arduous fighting I have
for the troops, the joyous alacrity with which
they faced danger, wounds and death, as if they
were some new form of exciting recreation, has
astonished me - old campaigner as I am. I will
say no more, leaving Major-General Godley to
speak for what happened under his eyes: " I
cannot close my report," he says, "without
placing on record my unbounded admiration of the
work performed, and the gallantry displayed, by
the troops and their leaders during the severe
fighting involved in these operations. Though
the Australian, New Zealand, and Indian units
had been confined to trench duty in a cramped
space for some four months, and though the
troops of the New Armies had only just landed
from a sea voyage, and many of them had not been
previously under fire, I do not believe that any
troops in the world could have accomplished
more. All ranks vied with one another in the
performance of gallant deeds, and more than
worthily upheld the best traditions of the
the Sari Bair ridge was the key to the whole of
my tactical conception, and although the
temptation to view this vital Anzac battle at
closer quarters was very hard to resist, there
was nothing in its course or conduct to call for
my personal intervention.
conduct of the operations which were to be based
upon Suvla Bay was entrusted to
Lieutenant-General The Hon. Sir F. Stopford. At
his disposal was placed the 9th Army Corps, less
the 13th Division and the 29th Brigade of the
believed that the Turks were still unsuspicious
about Suvla and that their only defences near
that part of the coast were a girdle of trenches
round Lala Baba and a few unconnected lengths of
fire trench on Hill 10 and on the hills forming
the northern arm of the bay.. There was no wire.
Inland a small work had been constructed on
Yilghin Burnu (locally known as Chocolate
Hills), and a few guns had been placed upon
these hills, as well as upon Ismail Oglu Tepe,
whence they could be brought into action either
against the beaches of Suvla Bay or against any
attempt from Anzac to break out northwards and
attack Chunuk Bair. The numbers of the enemy
allotted for the defence of the Suvla and
Ejelmer areas (including the troops in the
Anafarta villages, but exclusive of the general
reserves in rear of the Sari Bair) were supposed
to be under 4,000. Until the Turkish version of
these events is in our hands it is not possible
to be certain of the accuracy of this estimate.
All that can be said at present is that my
Intelligence Department were wonderfully exact
in their figures as a rule and that, in the case
in question, events, the reports made by
prisoners, etc., etc., seem to show that the
forecast was correct.
for the landing of the 9th Corps at Suvla were
worked out in minute detail by my General
Headquarters Staff in collaboration with the
staff of Vice-Admiral de Robeck, and every
precaution was taken to ensure that the
destination of the troops was kept secret up to
the last moment.
concentrated at the island of Imbros the spirit
and physique of the 11th Division had impressed
me very favourably. They were to lead off the
landing. From Imbros they were to be ferried
over to the Peninsula in destroyers and
motor-lighters. Disembarkation was to begin at
10.30 p.m., half an hour later than the attack
on the Turkish outposts on the northern flank at
Anzac, and I was sanguine enough to hope that
the elaborate plan we had worked out would
enable three complete brigades of infantry to be
set ashore by daylight. Originally it had been
intended that all three brigades should land on
the beach immediately south of Nibrunesi Point,
but in deference to the representations of the
Corps Commander I agreed, unfortunately, as it
turned out, to one brigade being landed inside
first task of the 9th Corps was to seize and
hold the Chocolate and Ismail Oglu Hills,
together with the high ground on the north and
east of Suvla Bay. If the landing went off
smoothly, and if my information regarding the
strength of the enemy were correct, I hoped that
these hills, with their guns, might be well in
our possession before daybreak. In that case I
hoped, further, that the first division which
landed would be strong enough to picket and hold
all the important heights within artillery range
of the bay, when General Stopford would be able
to direct the remainder of his force, as it
became available, through the Anafartas to the
east of the Sari Bair, where it should soon
smash the mainspring of the Turkish opposition
the 22nd July I issued secret instructions and
tables showing the number of craft available for
the 9th Corps commander, their capacity, and the
points whereat the troops could be disembarked;
also what numbers of troops, animals, vehicles,
and stores could be landed simultaneously. The
allocation of troops to the ships and boats was
left to General Stopford's own discretion,
subject only to naval exigencies,
otherwise the order of the disembarkation might
not have tallied with the order of his
factors governing the hour of landing were:
First, that no craft could quit Kephalos Bay
before dark (about 9 p.m.); secondly, that
nothing could be done which would attract the
attention of the enemy before 10 p.m., the
moment when the outposts on the left flank of
the Anzac position were to be rushed.
Stopford next framed his orders on these secret
instructions, and after they had received my
complete approval he proceeded to expound them
to the general officer commanding 11th Division
and general officer commanding 10th Division,
who came over from Mudros for the purpose.
in the original landing, the luck of calm
weather favoured us, and all the embarkation
arrangements at Kephalos were carried out by the
Royal Navy in their usual ship-shape
style. The 11th Division was to be landed at
three places, designated and shown on the map as
A, B, and C. Destroyers were told off
for these landing-places, each destroyer towing
a steam lighter and picket-boat. Every light was
to be dowsed, and as they neared the shore the
destroyers were to slip their motor-lighters and
picket-boats, which would then take the beach
and discharge direct on to it. The
motor-lighters were new acquisitions since the
first landing, and were to prove the greatest
possible assistance. They moved five knots an
hour under their own engines, and carried 500
men, as well as stores of ammunition and water.
After landing their passengers they were to
return to the destroyers, and in one trip would
empty them also. Ketches with service launches
and transport lifeboats were to follow the
destroyers and anchor at the entrance of the
bay, so that in case of accidents or delays to
any one of the motor-lighters a picket-boat
could be sent at once to a ketch to pick up a
tow of lifeboats and take the place of a
disabled motor-lighter. These ketches and tows
were afterwards to be used for evacuating the
"Endymion" (below - Photo Ships)
and H.M.S. "Theseus," each carrying a
thousand men, were also to sail from Imbros
after the destroyers, and, lying off the beach,
were to discharge their troops directly the
motor-lighters - three to each ship -were ready
to convey the men to the shore, i.e., after
they had finished disembarking their own loads
and those of the destroyers. When this was done
- i.e., after three trips-the motor
lighters would be free to go on transporting
guns, stores, mules, etc.
following crafts brought up the rear:
ketches, each towing four horseboats carrying
four 18-pounder guns and twenty-four horses.
ketch, towing horse-boats with forty horses.
sloop "Aster," with 500 men, towing a lighter
containing eight mountain guns.
ketches, towing horse-boats containing eight
18-pounder guns and seventy-six horses.
towed by a tank steamer, were also timed to
arrive at A beach at daylight. When they had
been emptied they were to return at once to
Kephalos to refill from the parent water-ship.
specially fitted-out steamer, the "Prah," with
stores (shown by our experience of 25th April to
be most necessary) -i.e., waterpumps,
hose, tanks, troughs, entrenching tools, and all
ordnance stores requisite for the prompt
development of wells or springs - was also sent
much detail I have felt bound, for the sake of
clearness, to give in the body of my despatch.
The further detail, showing numbers landed,
etc., etc., will be found in the appendix and
originally I conceived the idea of these
operations, one of the first points to be
weighed was that of the water supply in the
Biyuk Anafarta valley and the Suvla plain.
Experience at Anzac had shown quite clearly that
the whole plan must be given up unless a certain
amount of water could be counted upon, and,
fortunately, the information I received was
reassuring. But, in case of accidents, and to be
on the safe side, so long ago as June had I
begun to take steps to counter the chance that
we might, from one cause or another, find
difficulty in developing the wells. Having got
from the War Office all that they could give me,
I addressed myself to India and Egypt, and
eventually from these three sources I managed to
secure portable receptacles for 100,000 gallons,
including petrol tins, milk cans, camel tanks,
water bags and pakhals.
these were lighters and water-ships, all under naval
control. Indeed, by arrangement with the
Admiral, the responsibility of the Army was
confined to the emptying of the lighters and the
distribution of the water to the troops, the Navy
undertaking to bring the full lighters to the
shore to replace the empty ones, thus providing
a continuous supply.
3,700 mules, together with 1,750 water carts,
were provided for Anzac and Suvla - this in
addition to 950 mules already at Anzac.
Representatives of the Director of Supplies and
Transport at Suvla and Anzac were sent to allot
the transport which was to be used for carrying
up whatever was most needed by units ashore,
whether water, food or ammunition.
statement, though necessarily brief, will, I
hope, suffice to throw some light upon the
complexity of the arrangements thought out
beforehand in order, so far as was humanly
possible, to combat the disorganisation, the
hunger and the thirst which lie in wait for
troops landing on a hostile beach.
the evening of 6th August the 11th Division
sailed on its short journey from Imbros
(Kephalos) to Suvla Bay and, meeting with no
mischance, the landing took place, the brigades
of the 11th Division getting ashore practically
simultaneously; the 32nd and 33rd Brigades at B
and C beaches, the 34th at A beach.
surprise of the Turks was complete. At B and C
the beaches were found to be admirably suited to
their purpose, and there was no opposition. The
landing at A was more difficult, both because of
the shoal water and because there the Turkish
pickets and sentries - the normal guardians of
the coast - were on the alert and active. Some
of the lighters grounded a good way from the
shore, and men had to struggle towards the beach
in as much as four feet six inches of water.
Ropes in several instances were carried from the
lighters to the shore to help to sustain the
heavily accoutred infantry. To add to the
difficulties of the 34th Brigade the lighters
came under flanking rifle fire from the Turkish
outposts at Lala Baba and Ghazi Baba. The enemy
even, knowing every inch of the ground, crept
down in the very dark night on to the beach
itself, mingling with our troops and getting
between our firing line and its supports.
Fortunately the number of these enterprising
foes was but few, and an end was soon put to
their activity on the actual beaches by the
sudden storming of Lala Baba from the south.
This attack was carried out by the 9th West
Yorkshire Regiment and the 6th Yorkshire
Regiment, both of the 32nd Brigade, which had
landed at B beach and marched up along the
coast. The assault succeeded at once and without
much loss, but both battalions deserve great
credit for the way it was delivered in the inky
darkness of the night.
32nd Brigade was now pushed on to the support of
the 34th Brigade, which was held up by another
outpost of the enemy on Hill 10 (117 R and S),
and it is feared that some of the losses
incurred here were due to misdirected fire.
While this fighting was still in progress the
11th Battalion, Manchester Regiment, of the 34th
Brigade was advancing northwards in very fine
style, driving the enemy opposed to them back
along the ridge of the Karakol Dagh towards the
Kiretch Tepe Sirt. Beyond doubt these Lancashire
men earned much distinction, fighting with great
pluck and grit against an enemy not very
numerous perhaps, but having an immense
advantage in knowledge of the ground. As they
got level with Hill 10 it grew light enough to
see, and the enemy began to shell. No one seems
to have been present who could take hold of the
two brigades, the 32nd and 34th, and launch them
in a concerted and cohesive attack. Consequently
there was confusion and hesitation, increased by
gorse fires lit by hostile shell, but redeemed,
I am proud to report, by the conspicuously fine,
soldierly conduct of several individual
battalions. The whole of the Turks locally
available were by now in the field, and they
were encouraged to counter-attack by the signs
of hesitation, but the 9th Lancashire Fusiliers
and the 11th Manchester Regiment took them on
with the bayonet, and fairly drove them back in
disorder over the flaming Hill 10.
the infantry were thus making good, the two
Highland Mountain batteries and one battery,
59th Brigade, Royal Field Artillery, were landed
at B beach. Day was now breaking, and with the
dawn sailed into the bay six battalions of the
10th Division, under Brigadier-General Hill,
perhaps I may be allowed to express my gratitude
to the Royal Navy for their share in
this remarkable achievement, as well as a very
natural pride at staff arrangements, which
resulted in the infantry of a whole division and
three batteries being landed during a single
night on a hostile shore, whilst the arrival of
the first troops of the supporting division,
from another base distant 120 miles, took place
at the very psychological moment when support
was most needed, namely, at break of dawn.
intention of the Corps Commander was to keep the
10th Division on the left, and with it to push
on as far forward as possible along the Kiretch
Tepe Sirt towards the heights above Ejelmer Bay.
He wished, therefore, to land these six
battalions of the 10th Division at A beach and,
seeing Brigadier-General Hill, he told him that
as the left of the 34th Brigade was being hard
pressed he should get into touch with General
Officer Commanding 11th Division, and work in
support of his left until the arrival of his own
Divisional General. But the Naval
authorities, so General Stopford reports, were
unwilling, for some reason not specified, to
land these troops at A beach, so that they had
to be sent in lighters to C beach, whence they
marched by Lala Baba to Hill 10, under fire.
Hence were caused loss, delay and fatigue. Also
the angle of direction from which these fresh
troops entered the fight was not nearly so
remainder of the 10th Division, three battalions
(from Mudros), and with them the G.O.C.
Lieutenant-General Sir B. Mahon, began to
arrive, and the Naval authorities having
discovered a suitable landing place near Ghazi
Baba, these battalions were landed there
together with one battalion of the 31st Brigade
which had not yet been sent round to "C" beach.
By this means it was hoped that both the
brigades of the 10th Division would be able to
rendezvous about half a mile to the north-west
of Hill 10.
the defeat of the enemy round and about Hill 10,
they retreated in an easterly direction towards
Sulajik and Kuchuk Anafarta Ova, followed by the
34th and 32nd Brigades of the 11th Division and
by the 31st Brigade of the 10th Division, which
had entered into the fight, not, as the Corps
Commander had intended, on the left of the 11th
Division, but between Hill 10 and the Salt Lake.
I have failed in my endeavours to get some live
human detail about the fighting which followed,
but I understand from the Corps Commander that
the brunt of it fell upon the 31st Brigade of
the 10th (Irish) Division, which consisted of
the 6th Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, the 6th
Royal Irish Fusiliers, and the 6th Royal Dublin
Fusiliers, the last-named battalion being
attached to the 31st Brigade. By the evening
General Hammersley had seized Yilghin Burnu
(Chocolate Hills) after a fight for which he
specially commends the 6th Lincoln Regiment and
the 6th Border Regiment. At the same time he
reported that he was unable to make any further
progress towards the vital point, Ismail Oglu
Tepe. At nightfall his brigade and the 31st
Brigade were extended from about Hetman Chair
through Chocolate Hills, Sulajik, to near Kuchuk
day Sir B. Mahon delivered a spirited attack
along the Kiretch Tepe Sirt ridge, in support of
the 11th Battalion Manchester Regiment, and,
taking some small trenches en route, secured and
established himself on a position extending from
the sea about 135 p., through the high ground
about the p. (sic) of Kiretch Tepe Sirt,
to about 135 Z. 8. In front of him, on the
ridge, he reported the enemy to be strongly
entrenched. The 6th Royal Munster Fusiliers have
been named as winning special distinction here.
The whole advance was well carried out by the
Irishmen over difficult ground against an enemy
- 500 to 700 Gendarmerie - favoured by the lie
of the land.
was very hot, and the new troops suffered much
from want of water. Except at the southernmost
extremity of the Kiretch Tepe Sirt ridge there
was no water in that part of the field, and
although it existed in some abundance throughout
the area over which the 11th Division was
operating, the Corps Commander reports that
there was no time to develop its resources.
Partly this seems to have been owing to the
enemy's fire; partly to a want of that nous
which stands by as second nature to the old
campaigner; partly it was inevitable. Anyway,
for as long as such a state of things lasted,
the troops became dependent on the lighters and
upon the water brought to the beaches in tins,
the distribution of this water to the advancing
troops was a matter of great difficulty, and one
which required not only well-worked-out schemes
from Corps and Divisional Staffs, but also
energy and experience on the part of those who
had to put them into practice. As it turned out,
and judging merely by results, I regret to say
that the measures actually taken in regard to
the distribution proved to be inadequate, and
that suffering and disorganisation ensued. The
disembarkation of artillery horses was therefore
at once, and rightly, postponed by the Corps
Commander, in order that mules might be landed
to carry up water.
now General Stopford, recollecting the vast
issues which hung upon his success in
forestalling the enemy, urged his Divisional
commanders to push on. Otherwise, as he saw, all
the advantages of the surprise landing must be
nullified. But the Divisional Commanders
believed themselves, it seems, to be unable to
move. Their men, they said, were exhausted by
their efforts of the night of the 6th-7th and by
the action of the 7th. The want of water had
told on the new troops. The distribution from
the beaches had not worked smoothly. In some
cases the hose had been pierced by individuals
wishing to fill their own bottles; in others
lighters had grounded so far from the beach that
men swam out to fill batches of water-bottles.
All this had added to the disorganisation
inevitable after a night landing, followed by
fights here and there with an enemy scattered
over a country to us unknown. These pleas for
delay were perfectly well founded. .But it seems
to have been overlooked that the half-defeated
Turks in front of us were equally exhausted and
disorganised, and that an advance was the
simplest and swiftest method of solving the
water trouble and every other sort of trouble.
Be this as it may, the objections overbore the
Corps Commander's resolution. He had now got
ashore three batteries (two of them mountain
batteries), and the great guns of the ships were
ready to speak at his request. But it was lack
of artillery support which finally decided him
to acquiesce in a policy of going slow which, by
the time it reached the troops, became
translated into a period of inaction. The
Divisional Generals were, in fact, informed
that, "in view of the inadequate artillery
support," General Stopford did not wish them to
make frontal attacks on entrenched positions,
but desired them, so far as was possible, to try
and turn any trenches which were met with.
Within the terms of this instruction lies the
root of our failure to make use of the priceless
daylight hours of the 8th of August.
it may be correct to say that in modern warfare
infantry cannot be expected to advance without
artillery preparation. But in a landing on a
hostile shore the order has to be inverted. The
infantry must advance and seize a suitable
position to cover the landing, and to provide
artillery positions for the main thrust. The
very existence of the force, its water supply,
its facilities for munitions and supplies, its
power to reinforce, must absolutely depend on
the infantry being able instantly to make good
sufficient ground without the aid of the
artillery other than can be supplied for the
purpose by floating batteries.
is not a condition that should take the
commander of a covering force by surprise. It is
one already foreseen. Driving power was
required, and even a certain ruthlessness, to
brush aside pleas for a respite for tired
troops. The one fatal error was inertia. And
in the evening of the 7th the enemy had
withdrawn the few guns which had been in action
during the day. Beyond half a dozen shells
dropped from very long range into the bay in the
early morning of the 8th, no enemy artillery
fired that day in the Suvla area. The guns had
evidently been moved back, lest they should be
captured when we pushed forward. As for the
entrenched positions, these, in the ordinary
acceptance of the term, were nonexistent. The
General Staff Officer whom I had sent on to
Suvla early in the morning of the 8th reported
by telegraph the absence of hostile gun-fire,
the small amount of rifle fire, and the enemy's
apparent weakness. He also drew attention to the
inaction of our own troops, and to the fact that
golden opportunities were being missed. Before
this message arrived at general headquarters I
had made up my mind, from the Corps Commander's
own reports, that all was not well at Suvla.
There was risk in cutting myself adrift, even
temporarily, from touch with the operations at
Anzac and Helles; but I did my best to provide
against any sudden call by leaving Major-General
W. P. Braithwaite, my Chief of the General
Staff, in charge, with instructions to keep me
closely informed of events at the other two
fronts; and, having done this, I took ship and
set out for Suvla.
arrival at about 5 p.m. I boarded H.M.S.
"Jonquil," where I found corps
headquarters, and where General Stopford
informed me that the General Officer commanding
11th Division was confident of success in an
attack he was to make at dawn next morning (the
9th). I felt no such confidence. Beyond a small
advance by a part of the 11th Division between
the Chocolate Hills and Ismail Oglu Tepe, and
some further progress along the Kiretch Tepe
Sirt ridge by the 10th Division, the day of the
8th had been lost. The commander of the 11th
Division had, it seems, ordered strong patrols
to be pushed forward so as to make good all the
strong positions in advance which could be
occupied without serious fighting; but, as he
afterwards reported, " little was done in
this respect." Thus a priceless twelve hours had
already gone to help the chances of the Turkish
reinforcements which were, I knew, both from naval
and aerial sources, actually on the march
for Suvla. But when I urged that even now, at
the eleventh hour, the 11th Division should make
a concerted attack upon the hills, I was met by
a non possumus. The objections of the
morning were no longer valid; the men were now
well rested, watered, and fed. But the
divisional commanders disliked the idea of an
advance by night, and General Stopford did not
care, it seemed, to force their hands.
it came about that I was driven to see whether I
could not, myself, put concentration of effort
and purpose into the direction of the large
number of men ashore. The Corps Commander made
no objection. He declared himself to be as eager
as I could be to advance. The representations
made by the Divisional Commanders had seemed to
him insuperable. If I could see my way to get
over them no one would be more pleased than
by Commodore Roger Keyes and Lieutenant-Colonel
Aspinall, of the Headquarters General Staff, I
landed on the beach, where all seemed quiet and
peaceful, and saw the Commander of the 11th
Division, Major-General Hammersley. I warned him
the sands were running out fast, and that by
dawn the high ground to his front might very
likely be occupied in force by the enemy. He saw
the danger, but declared that it was a physical
impossibility, at so late an hour (6 p.m.), to
get out orders for a night attack, the troops
being very much scattered. There was no other
difficulty now, but this was insuperable; he
could not recast his orders or get them round to
his troops in time. But one brigade, the 32nd,
was, so General Hammersley admitted, more or
less concentrated and ready to move. The General
Staff Officer of the division, Colonel Neil.
Malcolm, a soldier of experience, on whose
opinion I set much value, was consulted. He
agreed that the 32nd Brigade was now in a
position to act. I, therefore, issued a direct
order that, even if it were only with this 32nd
Brigade, the advance should begin at the
earliest possible moment, so that a portion at
least of the 11th Division should anticipate the
Turkish reinforcements on the heights and dig
themselves in there upon some good tactical
taking upon myself the serious responsibility of
thus dealing with a detail of divisional tactics
I was1 careful to limit the scope of the
interference. Beyond directing that the one
brigade which was reported ready to move at once
should try and make good the heights before the
enemy got on to them I did nothing, and said not
a word calculated to modify or in any way affect
the attack already planned for the morning. Out
of the thirteen battalions which were to have
advanced against the heights at dawn four were
now to anticipate that movement by trying to
make good the key of the enemy's position at
once and under cover of darkness.
have not been able to get a clear and coherent
account of the doings of the 32nd Brigade; but I
have established the fact that it did not
actually commence its advance till 4 a.m. on the
9th of August. The reason given is that the
units of the brigade were scattered. In General
Stopford’s despatch he says that, ''One company
of the 6th East Yorks Pioneer Battalion
succeeded in getting to the top of the hill
north of Anafarta Sagir, but the rest of the
battalion and the 32nd Brigade were attacked
from both flanks during their advance, and fell
back to a line north and south of Sulajik. Very
few of the leading company or the Royal
Engineers who accompanied it got back, and that
evening the strength of the battalion was nine
officers and 380 men."
their retirement from the hill north of Anafarta
Sagir (which commanded the whole battlefield)
this 32nd Brigade then still marked the
high-water level of the advance made at dawn by
the rest of the division. When their first
retirement was completed they had to fall back
further, so as to come into line with the most
forward of their comrades. The inference seems
clear. Just as the 32nd Brigade in their advance
met with markedly less opposition than the
troops who attacked an hour and a half later,
so, had they themselves started earlier, they
would probably have experienced less opposition.
Further, it seems reasonable to suppose that had
the complete division started at 4 a.m. on the
9th, or, better still, at 10 p.m. on the 8th,
they would have made good the whole of the
heights in front of them.
night I stayed at Suvla, preferring to drop
direct cable contact with my operations as a
whole to losing touch with a corps battle which
seemed to be going wrong.
dawn on the 9th I watched General Hammersley's
attack, and very soon realised, by the
well-sustained artillery fire of the enemy (so
silent the previous day), and by the volume of
the musketry, that Turkish reinforcements had
arrived; that with the renewed confidence caused
by our long delay the guns had been brought
back; and that, after all, we were forestalled.
This was a bad moment. Our attack failed; our
losses were very serious. The enemy's enfilading
shrapnel fire seemed to be especially
destructive and demoralising, the shell bursting
low and all along our line. Time after time it
threw back our attack just as it seemed upon the
point of making good. The 33rd Brigade at first
made most hopeful progress in its attempt to
seize Ismail Oglu Tepe. Some of the leading
troops gained the summit, and were able to look
over on to the other side. Many Turks were
killed here. Then the centre seemed to give way.
Whether this was the result of the shrapnel fire
or whether, as some say, an order to retire came
up from the rear, the result was equally fatal
to success. As the centre fell back the steady,
gallant behaviour of the 6th Battalion, Border
Regiment, and the 6th Battalion, Lincoln
Regiment, on either flank was especially
noteworthy. Scrub fires on Hill 70 did much to
harass and hamper our troops. When, the 32nd
Brigade fell back before attacks from the slopes
of the hill north of Anafarta Sagir and from the
direction of Abrijka they took up the line north
and south through Sulajik. Here their left was
protected by two battalions of the 34th Brigade,
which came up to their support. The line was
later on prolonged by the remainder of the 34th
Brigade and two battalions of the 159th Brigade
of the 53rd Division. Their right was connected
with the Chocolate Hills by the 33rd Brigade on
the position to which they had returned after
their repulse from the upper slopes of Ismail
of the units which took part in this engagement
acquitted themselves very bravely. I regret I
have not had sufficient detail given me to
enable me to mention them by name. The
Divisional Commander speaks with appreciation of
one freshly-landed battalion of the 53rd
Division, a Hereford battalion, presumably the
1/1st Herefordshire, which attacked with
impetuosity and courage between Hetman Chair and
Kaslar Chair, about Azmak Dere, on the extreme
right of his line.
the night of the 8th/9th and early morning of
the 9th the whole of the 53rd (Territorial)
Division (my general reserve) had arrived and
disembarked. I had ordered it up to Suvla,
hoping that by adding its strength to the 9th
Corps General Stopford might still be enabled to
secure the commanding ground round the bay. The
infantry brigades of the 53rd Division (no
artillery had accompanied it from England)
reinforced the 11th Division.
August 10th the Corps Commander decided to make
another attempt to take the Anafarta ridge. The
11th Division were not sufficiently rested to
play a prominent part in the operation, but the
53rd Division, under General Lindley, was to
attack, supported by General Hammersley. On the
10th there were one brigade of Royal Field
Artillery ashore, with two mountain batteries,
and all the ships' guns were available to
co-operate. But the attack failed, though the
Corps Commander considers that seasoned troops
would have succeeded, especially as the enemy
were showing signs of being shaken by our
artillery fire. General Stopford points out,
however, and rightly so, that the attack was
delivered over very difficult country, and that
it was a high trial for troops who had never
been in action before, and with no regulars to
set a standard. Many of the battalions fought
with great gallantry, and were led forward with
much devotion by their officers. At a moment
when things were looking dangerous two
battalions of the 11th Division (not specified
by the Corps Commander) rendered very good
service on the left of the Territorials. At the
end of the day our troops occupied the line Hill
east of Chocolate Hill-Sulajik, whilst the enemy
- who had been ably commanded throughout - were
still receiving reinforcements, and, apart from
their artillery, were three times as strong as
they had been on the 7th August.
were issued to the General Officer Commanding
9th Corps to take up and entrench a line across
the whole front from near the Azmak Dere,
through the knoll east of the Chocolate Hill, to
the ground held by the 10th Division about
Kiretch Tepe Sirt. General Stopford took
advantage of this opportunity to reorganise the
divisions, and, as there was a gap in the line
between the left of the 53rd Division and the
right of the 10th Division, gave orders for the
preparation of certain strong points to enable
it to be held.
54th Division (infantry only) arrived, and were
disembarked on August 11th and placed in
reserve. On the following day - August 12th - I
proposed that the 54th Division should make a
night march in order to attack, at dawn on the
13th, the heights Kavak Tepe-Teke Tepe. The
Corps Commander having reason to believe that
the enclosed country about Kuchuk Anafarta Ova
and the north of it was held by the enemy,
ordered one brigade to move forward in advance,
and make good Kuchuk Anafarta Ova, so as to
ensure an unopposed march for the remainder of
the division as far as that place. So that
afternoon the 163rd Brigade moved off, and, in
spite of serious opposition, established itself
about the A. of Anafarta (118m. 4 and 7), in
difficult and enclosed country. In the course of
the fight, creditable in all respects to the
163rd Brigade, there happened a very mysterious
thing. The I/5th Norfolks were on the right of
the line, and found themselves for a moment less
strongly opposed than the rest of the brigade.
Against the yielding forces of the enemy Colonel
Sir H. Beauchamp, a bold, self-confident
officer, eagerly pressed forward, followed by
the best part of the battalion. The fighting
grew hotter, and the ground became more wooded
and broken. At this stage many men were wounded
or grew exhausted with thirst. These found their
way back to camp during the night. But the
Colonel, with 16 officers and 250 men, still
kept pushing on, driving the enemy before him.
Amongst these ardent souls was part of a fine
company enlisted from the King's Sandringham
estates. Nothing more was ever seen or heard of
any of them. They charged into the forest, and
were lost to sight or sound. Not one of them
ever came back.
night march and projected attack were now
abandoned, owing to the Corps Commander's
representations as to the difficulties of
keeping the division supplied with food, water,
etc., even should they gain the height. General
Birdwood had hoped he would soon be able to make
a fresh attack on Sari Bair, provided that he
might reckon on a corresponding vigorous advance
to be made by the 11th and 54th Divisions on
Ismail Oglu Tepe. On August 13th I so informed
General Stopford. But when it came to business,
General Birdwood found he could not yet carry
out his new attack on Sari Bair - and, indeed,
could only help the 9th Corps with one brigade
from Damakjelik Bair. I was obliged, therefore,
to abandon this project for the nonce, and
directed General Stopford to confine his
attention of strengthening his line across his
present front. To straighten out the left of
this line General Stopford ordered the General
Officer Commanding the 10th Division to advance
on the following day (15th August), so as to
gain possession of the crest of the Kiretch Tepe
Sirt, the 54th Division to co-operate.
30th and 31st Infantry Brigades of the 10th
Irish Division, were to attack frontally along
the high ridge. The 162nd Infantry Brigade of
the 54th Division were to support on the right.
The infantry were to be seconded by a
machine-gun detachment of the Royal Naval
Air Service, by the guns of H.M.S.
"Grampus" and H.M.S. "Foxhound" from
the Gulf of Saros, by the Argyll Mountain
Battery, the 15th Heavy Battery, and the 58th
Field Battery. After several hours of indecisive
artillery and musketry fighting, the 6th Royal
Dublin Fusiliers charged forward with loud
cheers, and captured the whole ridge, together
with eighteen prisoners. The vigorous support
rendered by the naval guns was a feature of this
operation. Unfortunately, the point of the ridge
was hard to hold, and means for maintaining the
forward trenches had not been well thought out.
Casualties became very heavy, the 5th Royal
Irish Fusiliers having only one officer left,
and the 5th Inniskilling Fusiliers also losing
heavily in officers. Reinforcements were
promised, but before they could arrive the
officer left in command decided to evacuate the
front trenches. The strength of the Turks
opposed to us was steadily rising, and had now
the evening of the 15th August General Stopford
handed over command of the 9th Corps. The units
of the 10th and 11th Divisions had shown their
mettle when they leaped into the water to get
more quickly to close quarters, or when they
stormed Lala Baba in the darkness. They had
shown their resolution later when they tackled
the Chocolate Hills and drove the enemy from
Hill 10 right back out of rifle range from the
had come hesitation. The advantage had not been
pressed. The senior Commanders at Suvla had had
no personal experience of the new trench
warfare; of the Turkish methods; of the
paramount importance of time. Strong, clear
leadership had not been promptly enough applied.
These were the reasons which induced me, with
your Lordship's approval, to appoint
Major-General H. de B. De Lisle to take over
had already seen General De Lisle on his way
from Cape Helles, and my formal instructions -
full copy in Appendix - were handed to him by my
Chief of the General Staff. Under these he was
to make it his most pressing business to get the
Corps into fighting trim again, so that as big a
proportion of it as possible might be told off
for a fresh, attack upon Ismail Oglu Tepe and
the Anafarta spur. At his disposal were placed
the 10th Division (less one brigade), the 11th
Division, the 53rd and 54th Divisions - a force
imposing enough on paper, but totalling, owing
to casualties, under 30,000 rifles.
fighting strength of ourselves and of our
adversaries stood at this time at about the
following figures: Lieutenant-General Bird wood
commanded 25,000 rifles, at Anzac;
Lieutenant-General Davies, in the southern zone,
commanded 23,000 rifles; whilst the French corps
alongside of him consisted of some 17,000
rifles. The Turks had been very active in the
south, doubtless to prevent us reinforcing Anzac
or Suvla; but it is doubtful if there were more
than 35,000 of them in that region. The bulk of
the enemy were engaged against Anzac or were in
reserve in the valleys east and north of Sari
Bair. Their strength was estimated at 75,000
Turks then, I reckoned, had 110,000 rifles to
our 95,000, and held all the vantages of ground;
they had plenty of ammunition,, also drafts
wherewith to refill ranks depleted in action
within two or three days. My hopes that these
drafts would be of poor quality had been every
time disappointed. After weighing all these
points, I sent your Lordship a long cable. In it
I urged that if the campaign was to be brought
to a quick, victorious decision, large
reinforcements must at once be sent out. Autumn,
I pointed out, was already upon us, and there
was not a moment to be lost. At that time (16th
August) my British divisions alone were 45,000
under establishment, and some of my fine
battalions had dwindled, down so far that I had
to withdraw them from the fighting line. Our
most vital need was the replenishment of these
sadly depleted ranks. When that was done I
wanted 50,000 fresh rifles. From what I knew of
the Turkish situation, both in its local and
general aspects, it seemed, humanly speaking, a
certainty that if this help could be sent to me
at once we could still clear a passage
for our fleet to Constantinople.
may be judged, then, how deep was my
disappointment when I learnt that the essential
drafts, reinforcements and munitions could not
be sent to me, the reason given being one which
prevented me from any further insistence. So I
resolved to do my very best with the means at my
disposal, and forthwith reinforced the northern
wing with the 2nd Mounted Division (organised as
dismounted troops) from Egypt and the 29th
Division from the southern area. These
movements, and the work of getting the 9th Corps
and attached divisions into battle array took
time, and it was not until the 21st that I was
ready to renew the attack - an attack to be
carried out under very different conditions from
those of the 7th and 8th August.
enemy's positions were now being rapidly
entrenched, and, as I could not depend on
receiving reinforcing drafts, I was faced with
the danger that if I could not drive the Turks
back I might lose so many men that I would find
myself unable to hold the very-extensive new
area of ground which had been gained. I
therefore decided to mass every available man
against Ismail Oglu Tepe, a sine qua non to
my plans whether as a first step towards
clearing the valley, or, if this proved
impossible, towards securing Suvla Bay and Anzac
Cove from shell fire.
scheme for this attack was well planned by
General De Lisle. The 53rd and 54th Divisions
were to hold the enemy from Sulajik to Kiretch
Tepe Sirt while the 29th Division and 11th
Division stormed Ismail Oglu Tepe. Two brigades,
10th Division, and the 2nd Mounted Division were
retained in Corps Reserve. I arranged that
General Birdwood should co-operate by swinging
forward his left flank to Susuk Kuyu and Kaiajik
Aghala. Naturally I should have liked still
further to extend the scope of my attack by
ordering an advance of the 9th Corps all along
their line, but many of the battalions had been
too highly tried, and I felt it was unwise to
call upon them for another effort so soon. The
attack would only be partial, but it was an
essential attack if any real progress was to be
made. Also, once the Anafarta ridge was in my
hands the enemy would be unable to reinforce
through the gap between the two Anafartas, and
then, so I getting on.
special objective was the hill which forms the
south-west corner of the Anafarta Sagir spur.
Ismail Oglu Tepe, as it is called, forms a
strong natural barrier against an invader from
the Aegean who might wish to march direct
against the Anafartas. The hill rises 350 feet
from the plain, with steep spurs jutting out to
the west and south-west, the whole of it covered
with dense holly oak scrub, so nearly
impenetrable that it breaks up an attack and
forces troops to move in single file along goat
tracks between the bushes. The comparatively
small number of guns landed up to date was a
weakness, seeing we had now to storm trenches,
but the battleships were there to back us, and
as the bombardment was limited, to a narrow
front of a mile it was hoped the troops would
find themselves able to carry the trenches and
that the impetus of the charge would carry them
up to the top of the crest. Our chief difficulty
lay in the open nature and shallow depth of the
ground available for the concentration for
attack. The only cover we possessed was the hill
Lala Baba, 200 yards from the sea, and Yilghin
Burnu, half a mile from the Turkish front, the
ground between these two being an exposed plain.
The 29th Division, which was to make the attack
on the left, occupied the front trenches during
the preceding night; the 11th Division, which
was to attack on the right, occupied the front
trenches on the right of Yilghin Burnu.
some freak of nature Suvla Bay and plain were
wrapped in a strange mist on the afternoon of
the 21st of August. This was sheer bad luck, as
we had reckoned on the enemy's gunners being
blinded by the declining sun and upon the
Turkish trenches being shown up by the
evening light with singular clearness, as would
have been the case on ninety-nine days out of a
hundred. Actually we could hardly see the enemy
lines this afternoon, whereas out to the
westward targets stood out in strong relief
against the luminous mist. I wished to postpone
the attack, but for various reasons this was not
possible, and so, from 2.30 p.m. to 3 p.m. a
heavy but none too accurate artillery
bombardment from land and sea was directed
against the Turkish first line of trenches,
whilst twenty-four machine-guns in position on
Yilghin Burnu did what they could to lend a
3 p.m. an advance was begun by the infantry on
the right of the line. The 34th Brigade of the
11th Division rushed the Turkish trenches
between Hetman Chair and Aire Kavak, practically
without loss, but the 32nd Brigade, directed
against Hetman Chair and the communication
trench connecting that point with the south-west
corner of the Ismail Oglu Tepe spur, failed to
make good its point. The brigade had lost
direction in the first instance, moving
north-east instead of east, and though it
attempted to carry the communication trench from
the northeast with great bravery and great
disregard of life, it never succeeded in
rectifying the original mistake. The 33rd
Brigade, sent up in haste with orders to capture
this communication trench at all costs, fell
into precisely the same error, part of it
marching north east and part south-east to Susuk
the 29th Division, whose attack had been planned
for 3.30 p.m., had attacked Scimitar Hill (Hill
70) with great dash. The 87th Brigade, on the
left, carried the trenches on Scimitar Hill, but
the 86th Brigade were checked and upset by a
raging forest fire across their front.
Eventually pressing on, they found themselves
unable to advance up the valley between the two
spurs owing to the failure of the 32nd Brigade
of the 11th Division on their right. The brigade
then tried to attack eastwards, but were
decimated by a cross fire of shell and musketry
from the north and south-east. The leading
troops were simply swept off the top of the
spur, and had to fall back to a ledge south-west
of Scimitar Hill, where they found a little
cover. Whilst this fighting was in progress the
2nd Mounted Division moved out from Lala Baba in
open formation to take up a position of
readiness behind Yilghin Burnu. During this
march they came under a remarkably steady and
accurate artillery fire. The advance of these
English Yeomen was a sight calculated to send a
thrill of pride through anyone with a drop of
English blood running in their veins. Such
superb martial spectacles are rare in modern
war. Ordinarily it should always be possible to
bring up reserves under some sort of cover from
shrapnel fire. Here, for a mile and a half,
there was nothing to conceal a mouse, much less
some of the most stalwart soldiers England has
ever sent from her shores. Despite the critical
events in other parts of the field, I could
hardly take my glasses from the Yeomen: they
moved like men marching on parade. Here and
there a shell would take toll of a cluster;
there they lay; there was no straggling; the
others moved steadily on; not a man was there
who hung back or hurried. But such an ordeal
must consume some of the battle-winning fighting
energy of those subjected to it, and it is lucky
indeed for the Turks that the terrain, as well
as the lack of trenches, forbade us from letting
the 2nd Mounted Division loose at close quarters
to the enemy without undergoing this previous
too heavy baptism of fire.
that the 11th Division had made their effort,
and failed, the 2nd South Midland Brigade
(commanded by Brigadier-General Earl of
Longford) was sent forward from its position of
readiness behind Yilghin Burnu, in the hope that
they might yet restore the fortunes of the day.
This brigade, in action for the first time,
encountered both bush fires and musketry without
flinching, but the advance had in places to be
almost by inches, and the actual close attack by
the Yeomen did not take place until night was
fast falling. On the left they reached the
foremost line of the 29th Division, and on the
right also they got as far as the leading
battalions. But, as soon as it was dark, one
regiment pushed up the valley between Scimitar
Hill and Hill 100 (on Ismail Oglu Tepe), and
carried the trenches on a small knoll near the
centre of this horseshoe. The regiment imagined
it had captured Hill 100, which would have been
a very notable success, enabling as it would the
whole of our line to hang on and dig in. But
when the report came in some doubt was felt as
to its accuracy, and a reconnaissance by staff
officers showed that the knoll was a good way
from Hill 100, and that a strongly-held
semi-circle of Turkish trenches (the enemy
having been heavily reinforced) still denied us
access to the top of the hill. As the men were
too done, and had lost too heavily to admit of a
second immediate assault, and as the knoll
actually held would have been swept by fire at
daybreak, there was nothing for it but to fall
back under cover of darkness to our original
line. The losses in this attack fell most
heavily on the 29th Division. They were just
am sorry not to be able to give more detail as
to the conduct of individuals and units during
this battle. But the 2nd South Midland Brigade
has been brought to my notice, and it consisted
of the Bucks Yeomanry, the Berks Yeomanry, and
the Dorset Yeomanry. The Yeomanry fought very
bravely, and on personal, as well as public,
grounds I specially deplore the loss of
Brigadier-General Earl of Longford, K.P.,
M.V.O., and Brigadier-General P. A. Kenna, V.C.,
same day, as pre-arranged with General Birdwood,
a force consisting of two battalions of New
Zealand Mounted Rifles, two battalions of the
29th Irish Brigade, the 4th South Wales
Borderers, and 29th Indian Infantry Brigade, the
whole under the command of Major-General H V.
Cox, was working independently to support the
Cox divided his force into three sections; the
left section to press forward and establish a
permanent hold on the existing lightly-held
outpost line covering the junction of the 11th
Division with the Anzac front; the centre
section to seize the well at Kabak Kuyu, an
asset of utmost value, whether to ourselves or
the enemy; the right section to attack and
capture the Turkish trenches on the north-east
side of the Kaiajik Aghala.
advance of the left section was a success; after
a brisk engagement the well at Kabak Kuyu was
seized by the Indian Brigade, and, by 4.30, the
right column, under Brigadier-General Russell,
under heavy fire, effected a lodgment on the
Kaiajik Aghala, where our men entrenched, and
began to dig communications across the Kaiajik
Dere towards the lines of the 4th Australian
Brigade south of the Dere. A pretty stiff bomb
fight ensued, in which General Russell's troops
held their own through the night against
superior force. At 6 a.m. on the morning of the
22nd August, General Russell, reinforced by the
newly-arrived 18th Australian Battalion,
attacked the summit of the Kaiajik Aghala. The
Australians carried 150 yards of the trenches,
losing heavily in so doing, and were then forced
to fall back again owing to enfilade fire,
though in the meantime the New Zealand Mounted
Rifles managed, in spite of constant
counter-attacks, to make good another 80 yards.
A counter-attack in strength launched by the
Turks at 10 a.m., was repulsed; the new line
from the Kaiajik Aghala to Susuk Kuyu was
gradually strengthened, and eventually joined on
to the right of the 9th Army Corps, thereby
materially improving the whole situation. During
this action the 4th Australian Brigade, which
remained facing the Turks on the upper part of
the Kaiajik Aghala, was able to inflict several
hundred casualties on the enemy as they
retreated or endeavoured to reinforce.
the 21st of August we had carried the Turkish
entrenchments at several points, but had been
unable to hold what we had gained except along
the section where Major-General Cox had made a
good advance with Anzac and Indian troops. To be
repulsed is not to be defeated, as long as the
commander and his troops are game to renew the
attack. All were eager for such a renewal of the
offensive; but clearly we would have for some
time to possess our souls in patience, seeing
that reinforcements and munitions were short,
that we were already outnumbered by the enemy,
and that a serious outbreak of sickness showed
how it had become imperative to give a spell of
rest to the men who had been fighting so
magnificently and so continuously. To calculate
on rest, it may be suggested, was to calculate
without the enemy. Such an idea has no true
bearing on the feelings of the garrison of the
peninsula. That the Turks should attack had
always been the earnest prayer of all of us,
just as much after the 21st August as before it.
And now that we had to suspend progress for a
bit, work was put in hand upon the line from
Suvla to Anzac, a minor offensive routine of
sniping and bombing was organised, and, in a
word, trench warfare set in on both sides.
24th August Lieutenant-General the Hon. J. H. G.
Byng, K.C.M.G., C.B., M.V.O., assumed command of
the 9th Army Corps.
last days of the month were illumined by a
brilliant affair carried through by the troops
under General Birdwood's command. Our object was
to complete the capture of Hill 60 north of the
Kaiajik Aghala, commenced by Major-General Cox
on the 21st August. Hill 60 overlooked the Biyuk
Anafarta valley, and was therefore tactically a
very important feature.
conduct of the attack was again entrusted to
Major-General Cox, at whose disposal were placed
detachments from the 4th and 5th Australian
Brigades, the New Zealand Mounted Rifles
Brigade, and the 5th Connaught Rangers. The
advance was timed to take place at 5 p.m. on the
27th of August, after the heaviest artillery
bombardment we could afford. This bombardment
seemed effective; but the moment the assailants
broke cover they were greeted by an exceeding
hot fire from the enemy field guns, rifles, and
machine-guns, followed after a brief interval by
a shower of heavy shell, some of which, most
happily, pitched into the trenches of the Turks.
On the right the detachment from the 4th and 5th
Australian Brigades could make no headway
against a battery of machine-guns which
confronted them. In the centre the New
Zealanders made a most determined onslaught, and
carried one side of the topmost knoll.
Hand-to-hand fighting continued here till 9.30
p.m., when it was reported that nine-tenths of
the summit had been gained. On the left the 250
men of the 5th Connaught Rangers excited the
admiration of all beholders by the swiftness and
cohesion of their charge. In five minutes they
had carried their objective, the northern
Turkish communications, when they at once set to
and began a lively bomb-fight along the trenches
against strong parties which came hurrying up
from the enemy supports and afterwards from
their reserves. At midnight fresh troops were to
have strengthened our grip upon the hill, but
before that hour the Irishmen had been
out-bombed, and the 9th Australian Light Horse,
who had made a most plucky attempt to recapture
the lost communication trench, had been
repulsed. Luckily, the New Zealand Mounted
Rifles refused to recognise that they were
worsted. Nothing would shift them. All that
night and all next day, through bombing, bayonet
charges, musketry, shrapnel, and heavy shell,
they hung on to their 150 yards of trench. At 1
a.m. on August 29th the 10th Light Horse made
another attack on the lost communication
trenches to the left, carried them, and finally
held them. This gave us complete command of the
underfeature, an outlook over the Anafarta Sagir
valley, and safer lateral communications between
Anzac and Suvla Bay.
casualties in this hotly contested affair
amounted to 1,000. The Turks lost out of all
proportion more. Their line of retreat was
commanded from our Kaiajik Dere trenches, whence
our observers were able to direct artillery fire
equally upon their fugitives and their
reinforcements. The same observers estimated the
Turkish casualties as no less than 5,000. Three
Turkish machine-guns and forty-six prisoners
were taken, as well as three trench mortars, 300
Turkish rifles, 60,000 rounds of ammunition, and
500 bombs. Four hundred acres were added to the
territories of Anzac. Major-General Cox showed
his usual forethought and wisdom.
Brigadier-General Russell fought his men
narrative of battle incidents must end here.
From this date onwards up to the date of my
departure on October 17th the flow of munitions
and drafts fell away. Sickness, the legacy of a
desperately trying summer, took heavy toll of
the survivors of so many arduous conflicts. No
longer was there any question of operations on
the grand scale, but with such troops it was
difficult to be downhearted. All ranks were
cheerful; all remained confident that, so long
as they stuck to their guns, their country would
stick to them, and see them victoriously through
the last and greatest of the crusades.
the 11th October your Lordship cabled asking me
for an estimate of the losses which would be
involved in an evacuation of the peninsula. On
the 12th October I replied in terms showing that
such a step was to me unthinkable. On the 16th
October I received a cable recalling me to
London for the reason, as I was informed by your
Lordship on my arrival, that His Majesty's
Government desired a fresh, unbiased opinion,
from a responsible Commander, upon the question
of early evacuation.
bringing this dispatch to a close I wish to
refer gratefully to the services rendered by
certain formations, whose work has so far only
been recognised by a sprinkling of individual
might be written on the exploits of the Royal
Naval Air Service, but these bold flyers
are laconic, and their feats will mostly pass
unrecorded. Yet let me here thank them, with
their Commander, Colonel F. H. Sykes, of the Royal
Marines, for the nonchalance with which
they appear to affront danger and death, when
and where they can. So doing, they quicken the
hearts of their friends on land and sea - an
asset of greater military value even than their
bombs or aerial reconnaissances, admirable in
all respects as these were.
them I also couple the Service de I'Aviation
of the Corps Expeditionaire d'Orient, who
daily wing their way in and out of the shrapnel
under the distinguished leadership of M. le
Armoured Car Division (Royal Naval Air
Service) have never failed to respond to
any call which might be made upon them. Their
organisation was broken up; their work had to be
carried out under strange conditions - from the
bows of the "River Clyde," as independent
batteries attached to infantry divisions, etc.,
etc.- and yet they were always cheerful, always
ready to lend a hand in any sort of fighting
that might give them a chance of settling old
scores with the enemy.
I come to the Royal Artillery. By their constant
vigilance, by their quick grasp of the key to
every emergency, by their thundering good
shooting, by hundreds of deeds of daring, they
have earned the unstinted admiration of all
their comrade services. Where all fought so
remarkably the junior officers deserve a little
niche of their own in the Dardanelles record of
fame. Their audacity in reconnaissance, their
insouciance under the hottest of fires, stand as
a fine example not only to the Army, but to the
nation at large.
feature of every report, narrative or diary I
have read has been a tribute to the stretcher
bearers. All ranks, from Generals in command to
wounded men in hospital, are unanimous in their
praise. I have watched a party from the moment
when the telephone summoned them from their
dug-out to the time when they returned with
their wounded. To see them run light-heartedly
across fire-swept slopes is to be privileged to
witness a superb example of the hero in man. No
braver corps exists, and I believe the reason to
be that all thought of self .is instinctively
flung aside when the saving of others is the
services rendered by Major-General (temporary
Lieutenant-General) E. A. Altham, C.B., C.M.G.,
Inspector-General of Communications, and all the
Departments and Services of the Lines of
Communication assured us a life-giving flow of
drafts, munitions and supplies. The work was
carried out under unprecedented conditions, and
is deserving, I submit, of handsome recognition.
General Altham were associated Brigadier-General
(temporary Major-General) C. R. R. McGrigor,
C.B., at first Commandant of the Base at
Alexandria and later Deputy Inspector-General of
Communications, and Colonel T. E. O'Leary,
Deputy Adjutant-General, 3rd Echelon. Both of
these officers carried out their difficult
duties to my entire satisfaction.
Military Secretary, Lieutenant-Colonel S. H.
Pollen, has displayed first-class ability in the
conduct of his delicate and responsible duties.
I take the opportunity of my last dispatch to
mention two of my Aides-de-Camp - Major F. L.
Magkill-Crichton-Maitland, Gordon Highlanders,
Lieutenant Hon. G. St. J. Brodrick, Surrey
have many other names to bring to notice for
distinguished and gallant service during the
operations under review, and these will form the
subject of a separate communication.
now, before affixing to this dispatch my final
signature as Commander-in-Chief of the
Mediterranean Expeditionary Force, let me first
pay tribute to the everlasting memory of my dear
comrades who will return no more. Next, let me
thank each and all, Generals, Staff, Regimental
Leaders, and rank and file, for their wonderful
loyalty, patience, and self-sacrifice. Our
progress was constant, and if it was painfully
slow - they know the truth. So I bid them all
farewell with a special God-speed to the
campaigners who have served with me right
through from the terrible yet most glorious
earlier days - the incomparable 29th Division;
the young veterans of the Naval Division;
the ever-victorious Australians and New
Zealanders; the stout East Lancs, and my own
brave fellow-countrymen of the Lowland Division
have the honour to be, Your Lordship's most
HAMILTON, General, Commander-in-Chief,
Mediterranean Expeditionary Force.
- 25 JANUARY 1916
following names are added to the list of
officers, warrant officers, non-commissioned
officers and men recommended for
gallant and distinguished service in the Field
in the despatch from the Field-Marshal
Commanding-in-Chief, the British Army in
France, dated 30th November, 1915, which
was published in the London Gazette dated
Saturday, 1st January, 1916:
Commander H. C., D.S.O.
Royal Marine Artillery.
Captain D. L.
Temporary Captain G.
Temporary Captain E. H.
Second Lieutenant (temporary Lieutenant) D. M.
No. R.M.A/3673 Acting Serjeant-Major Warrant
Officer, 1st Class, F.
R.M.A./622(S) Motor Driver F.
by Army lists)
- 28 JANUARY 1916
GALLIPOLI CAMPAIGN - NAVAL
ARMY DESPATCH dated 11
War Office, London, S.W.,
28th January, 1916.
following despatch has been received from
General Sir Ian Hamilton, G.C.B.:
1, Hyde Park Gardens, London,
W., 11th December, 1915.
have the honour to submit herewith a list of the
names of the officers and men whose services I
wish to bring to your Lordship's notice in
connection with the operations described in my
despatch of 11th December, 1915.
have the honour to be, Your Lordship's most
in Army lists)
Royal Naval Division.
Hon. A. G. V. Peel, Bedfordshire Yeomanry
(temporary Major, Royal Marines).
(temporary Major) E. F. P. Sketchley, D.S.O.,
Royal Marine Light Infantry.
G. P. Lathbury, Royal Marine Light Infantry.
(temporary Captain) A. C. M. Paris, Oxfordshire
and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry (temporary
Captain, Royal Marines).
D. King, Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve.
Sir J. H. Campbell, Bt.
N. F. Wells.
Po./109000/R.F.R./B/6878 Petty Officer T. Bell.
789/R.M.B. Band Corporal J. Allen.
Acting Leading Seaman D. Bullen, Royal Naval
E. G. Evelegh, Royal Marine Light Infantry
E. M. Sharer, Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve.
F. H. F. Startin, Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve
(died of wounds).
Z/337 Petty Officer C. R. Barker, Royal Naval
Able Seaman G. N. Peel, Royal Naval Volunteer
Z/1878/R.N.V.R., Chief Petty Officer A. B. Boyes
Ch./S.S./108682 R.F.R./B/10680 Leading Seaman W.
G. Soper (killed).
Ch./281686 R.F.R./B/4929 Petty Officer F.
Ch./S.S./104758 R. F. R./B/8544 Leading Seaman
Ch./S/224 Private R. McIlvenny, Royal Marine
Ch./S/448 Private F. E. Dowson, Royal Marine
Second Commandant F. W. Luard, Royal Marine
Light Infantry (killed).
Major J. A.
M. A. Clark, Royal Marine Light Infantry.
Lieutenant C. H. F. Woolley, Royal Marines.
Second Lieutenant F. A. Erskine, Royal Marines
Lieutenant (temporary Lieutenant) E. B. C.
Dougherty, Royal Marines (killed).
Serjeant J. C. Dunn, Royal Marine Light
Serjeant M. W. Minter, Royal Marine Light
Ch./8882/458 R.F.R. Private C. R. Bell, Royal
Marine Light Infantry.
Po./17401 Private R. H. Johnson, Royal Marine
Light Infantry (died of wounds).
G. Weller, Royal Marine Light Infantry.
Lieutenant M. C. Browne, D.S.C., Royal Marines.
Lieutenant (temporary Lieutenant) F. C. Law,
Corporal A. R. Grainger.
Ply./15925 Corporal J. McDowall.
Ply/S/468 Private J. H. Wilks.
Ply./17604 Private P. E. Bruguier (dead).
Ply./S/390 Private A. Prince (died of wounds).
Ply./16743 Private W. Scott (killed).
Ply./16368 Private H. Mills, Royal Marine Light
Infantry (died of wounds).
Captain E. H. Lamb, D.S.C., Royal Marines.
H. W. Laws, D.S.O., Royal Naval Volunteer
R. K. Morcom.
Serjeant G. A. Burn.
1st Field Ambulance.
Deal/S/3157 Staff-Serjeant B. J. Carr.
Deal/S/3154 Private H. Slater.
2nd Field Ambulance.
Deal/S/3146 Serjeant S. T. Gething.
3rd Field Ambulance.
Deal/S/3251 Staff-Serjeant D. Booth.
Lance-Serjeant F. Wolstenholme.
Lance-Corporal W. A. Wilson.
(from Gazette 29810, dated
31 October 1916)
Royal Naval Division
(temp Maj ) R D H, R.M.L.I.
Tagg, Capt E
J B , R.M.L.I.
Capt F C , M.B. , R A M C
(temp Lt Col ) N O , R.M.L.I.
Temp Lt Col G H , R.M.
Lt Commander E W, R.N.V.R.
Temp Lt Commander W M, R.N.V.R.
Lt F S, R.N.V.R.
Temp Lt Commander P S, R.N.V.R.
Temp Lt C A , R.M.
Lt T N, R.M.
Temp Lt A B, R.M.
Lt Commander C S , R.N.V.R.
Sub Lt R , R.N.V.R.
Temp Surg E S , R.N.
Staff Surg A T , R.N.
Staff Surg C E C, M.B., R.N.
Lt E B , R.M.
Capt H B, R.M.
Lt J , R.N.V.R.
- 17 MARCH 1916
INDIAN ARMY ACTION, TOCHI
ARMY DESPATCH dated 1 October
- 24 MARCH 1916
SUPPLEMENTARY ARMY DESPATCH
dated 10 March 1916
(Additions and Corrections to
Despatch in No. 29429)
- 4 APRIL 1916
ARMY DESPATCH dated 1 January
War Office, 5th April,
following Despatch from General Sir John Nixon,
K.C.B., relative to the operations in
Mesopotamia from the middle of April to the end
of September, 1915, has been forwarded by the
Government of India for publication:
I.E.F. "D," 1st January,
General Sir John Nixon, K.C.B., A.D.C.
General, Commanding Indian Expeditionary Force
Chief of the General Staff, Army Headquarters,
have the honour to forward a report on the
operations of the Forces under my command for
the period from the middle of April, 1915, up to
the end of September, 1915.
The floods of last season, which are said to
have been the highest for 30 years, formed an
inland sea of water and reeds varying from two
to six feet deep, which extended for 40 miles
north of Qurnah, down to Basrah, and stretching
from Nasiriyah in the west to Hawizeh (50 miles
north-east of Qurnah) in the east. Consequently,
until the subsidence of the floods at the end of
July, operations in this area were of an
During the month of April a Brigade at Ahwaz,
first under Major-General Davison, and
subsequently under Brigadier-General Lean, had
been containing a hostile force consisting of
some eight battalions of Turks with eight guns
and about 10,000 Arab auxiliaries, which had
advanced from Amarah via Bisaitin and Khafajiyah
(on the Kharkeh Eiver) into Persian Arabistan.
this time another British Detachment was at
Qurnah, where it had been opposed since January
by a Turkish force of some six battalions with
10 guns and the usual following of Arab
tribesmen, which had descended the Tigris from
the defeat of the Turks at Barjisiyah (20 miles
south-west of Basrah) on 14th April the hostile
forces in the vicinity of Basrah had been
dispersed and driven to Nasiriyah, enabling me
to take active measures against the enemy
detachments on the Karun and on the Tigris.
decided to deal first with the former and placed
Major-General Gorringe in command of the
Directly the Turks had been defeated at
Barjisiyah the concentration of the 12th
Division up the Karun was commenced. The Turkish
force near Ahwaz retreated across the Kharkeh
River on hearing of the defeat of their army at
Gorringe followed in pursuit. By the 7th May the
12th Division and the Cavalry Brigade had
reached Illah on the Kharkeh. This river was 250
yards wide with a rapid and deep stream, which
presented a formidable obstacle to the passage
Gorringe overcame the difficulties of passage
and skilfully crossed his troops and guns to the
other bank. The Turks continued their retreat
towards Amarah on discovering that our column
had crossed the river.
Gorringe now found himself under the necessity
of dealing with a recalcitrant and pugnacious
branch of the Beni Taruf Arabs, who had
identified themselves very strongly with the
down the Kharkeh River operating on both banks.
Melliss commanded the column on the right bank
and Brigadier-General Lean that on the left
occasion of the successful attack on the Arab
stronghold, Kharajiyah, in extremely hot
weather, when the temperature in tents was 120
degrees, was a display of dogged gallantry and
devotion on the part of the troops engaged.
other intrepid deeds was the exploit of Subadar
Major Ajab Khan and 20 men of the 76th Punjabis,
who swam the river under heavy fire, and brought
back a boat in which troops were ferried across
until sufficient were collected to assault a
stout mud fort which was strongly held.
After the defeat and dispersion of the hostile
tribesmen who had molested his advance, General
Gorringe, in accordance with my instructions,
made a series of demonstrations with a portion
of his force from Bisaitin against the Turkish
force which lay between him and Amarah. This
action was in co-operation with the impending
advance of our detachment from Qurnah (commanded
by Major-General Townshend) on Amarah. It had
the desired result of preventing reinforcements
from joining the Turkish forces on the Tigris in
time to oppose General Townshend's advance. It
was largely due to these demonstrations that the
enemy's retreat up the Tigris, after their
defeat on 31st May, was so precipitate, and that
General Townshend was enabled to enter Amarah
practically unopposed. The Turkish force
opposing General Gorringe was so delayed in its
march to Amarah that when it eventually reached
there it was surprised by General Townshend, who
was already in occupation of the town. A part of
the advance guard was captured and the remainder
had to seek safety in dispersion with the loss
of two guns.
General Gorringe's operations extended over a
period of seven weeks. As a result, Persian
Arabistan had been cleared of the enemy, and the
Arab tribes forced to submit, thus enabling the
pipe line to be repaired and normal conditions
to be resumed at the Oil Fields, and most
effective assistance had been given to General
Townshend's advance from Qurnah.
I consider that General Gorringe showed marked
ability and determination in conducting these
operations. The successful result is due to his
able leadership and to the zeal and energy
displayed by all ranks under his command.
troops were compelled to undergo severe
exertions, and overcame many obstacles during
very hot and trying weather with undiminished
resolution and zeal that was admirable.
While the 12th Division was advancing by the
Karun and Kharkeh Rivers, preparations were in
progress for an advance up the Tigris by the 6th
Division under command of Major-General
Townshend. Owing to the limited amount of river
transport available at that time the movement
and collection of troops was a slow and
difficult process, and the flooded country
around Qurnah presented many problems which
required careful attention before operations
could be commenced.
"Bellums" - long, narrow boats of the country -
were collected and armoured with iron plates, to
be used for carrying infantry to the assault of
the enemy's positions; troops were trained in
punting and boat work; various types of guns
mounted on rafts, barges, tugs and paddlers;
floating hospitals had to be improvised, and
many other details of construction and equipment
had to be thought out and provided for.
the end of May preparations for the advance were
The Turkish force was entrenched north of Qurnah
on islands formed where high ground stood out
from the inundation which covered all lower
fortified localities were in two groups, the
most southerly group forming an advanced
position some two miles from the British lines;
the main position being some three miles further
to the north.
state of the country rendered it a position of
some strength, necessitating a carefully
organised attack in successive phases by
combined naval and military operations.
Townshend's plan was to capture the advanced
position by a frontal attack combined with a
turning attack against the enemy's left flank,
supported by the naval flotilla and the
artillery afloat, and that on land within the
In the early morning of 31st May, after a heavy
preparatory bombardment, the infantry advanced
to the attack in the flotilla of improvised war
"bellums," supported by admirably directed
17th Infantry Brigade, commanded by
Lieutenant-Colonel Climo, 24th Punjabis, made
the frontal attack. The 22nd Punjabis and the
Sirmur Sappers and Miners, under
Lieutenant-Colonel Blois Johnson, 22nd Punjabis,
captured One Tree Hill, on the enemy's left
flank, and enfiladed Norfolk Hill, the first
objective of the 17th Infantry Brigade, which
was carried at the point of the bayonet by the
1st Battalion, Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire
Light Infantry, after poling their boats for
over a mile through thick reeds and landing
waist deep in water.
The bold action of the mine-sweepers,
which preceded the naval sloops and armed
tugs, enabled the latter to keep pace with
the troops, and their fire, combined with that
of the Royal Artillery ashore and afloat,
ensured the capture of the whole of the enemy's
advanced position by noon.
was entirely due to careful preparation and
organisation of artillery fire of all kinds that
our casualties were very few.
operations form a good example of the
co-operation of the Royal Navy with
infantry and artillery.
An aeroplane reconnaissance on the morning of
1st June discovered that the enemy had evacuated
his main position, and was in full retreat up
Naval Flotilla, led by H.M.S. “Espiegle"
(Captain Nunn, R.N.), pushed in pursuit,
followed by the shipping with troops.
the morning of 2nd June, when some 10 miles
below Qalat Salih, the deeper-draught vessels
could proceed no f urtther owing to shoal water,
and the pursuit was continued by the naval
armed tugs. Up to this time the “Espiegle"
had engaged and sunk the Turkish gunboat
"Marmaris," and had captured two steamers and a
number of lighters laden with munitions and
Qalat Salih was reached on the afternoon of the
2nd June, and after some hostile troops outside
the town had been dispersed the pursuit was
"Comet" (Captain Nunn, R.N.), with General
Townshend on board, and three armed tugs,
occupied Amarah in the afternoon of 3rd June,
capturing there some 700 troops and 40 officers.
This is a most excellent instance of courage and
pertinacity in pursuit, and very creditable to
all who took part in it.
leading infantry (2nd Battalion, Norfolk
Regiment) of the 6th Division arrived at Amarah
at 6.30 a m. on 4th June, not a moment too soon,
as the inhabitants were beginning to realise the
size of the force which had cowed them into
submission on the previous day.
The captures resulting from the action at
Qurnah, the pursuit and the occupation of
Amarah, included 17 guns, 2,718 rifles, 1,773
prisoners, four river steamers (exclusive of the
gunboat "Marmaris" and another steamer, which
was sunk), a number of lighters and boats,
besides quantities of ammunition and stores.
weather throughout these operations was
intensely hot - a sweltering sun all day,
followed by still and sultry nights; but in
spite of this the spirit and energy of all ranks
I consider that General Townshend carried out
these operations in a highly creditable manner.
His prompt and vigorous pursuit is worthy of
high praise, and it was largely due to his dash
and enterprise that Amarah was entered
part played by General Gorringe's force to help
General Townshend's operations has been
described in an earlier part of this despatch.
Immediately after the capture of Amarah,
preparations were taken in hand for the capture
of Nasiriyah, on the Euphrates, the dominant
place on this flank. Its importance lies in the
facts that it is the base from which a hostile
force threatening Basrah must start; it is the
centre from which influence can be exercised
among the powerful Arab tribes which lie along
the Euphrates; standing at one end of the Shatt
Al Hai, it closes communication between the
Tigris and Euphrates, and is thus of strategic
value; and, lastly, it was the headquarters of
the civil administration of a large part of the
To General Gorringe and his troops was allotted
this objective. The route from Qurnah to
Nasiriyah is by water, through the low-lying
valley of the Old Euphrates Channel for 30 miles
to Chahbaish; across the Hammar Lake for 15
miles to its western side, thence by the Haqiqah
- a tortuous channel, some 50 yards wide and 15
miles long - until the main channel of the
Euphrates is reached some 25 miles below
Nasiriyah. From Qurnah to Chahbaish, deep
draught vessels can go up the old Euphrates;
beyond this, at the time the operations
commenced, on 27th June, the Hammar Lake was
passable by all river steamers drawing less than
5 feet, as far as the entrance to the Haqiqah
Channel. By the middle of July the channel
across the lake held little more than 3 feet of
water, and only the smallest steamers could
cross. In many cases steamers were aground for
days at a time, and the small tugs fitted as
gunboats could only be taken across by removing
guns, ammunition, armour plating, fuel and
water, and using light-draught stern wheelers to
tow them. Later, troops and stores could only be
transported in "bellums," which for some
distances had to be dragged over mud and water
Haqiqah Channel was blocked by a solidly
constructed "Bund" half a mile from its
entrance to the Lake, which had to be removed
before the passage could be used by shipping.
Above its junction with the Haqiqah the
Euphrates has an average width of 200 yards.
Along its banks are numerous gardens, patches of
cultivation, and several small villages within
walled enclosures. On the left bank, belts of
date palms, with an occasional fringe of willow
trees, are the prevailing features. On the right
bank the country is more open. During July,
except for a belt of dry ground along the river
banks a few hundred yards wide, on either side
the country was completely under water. Numerous
irrigation channels intersect this belt of dry
land at right angles to the river, presenting a
series of obstacles to an advance. Such was the
nature of the country where the Turks offered
their main opposition to our advance on
On 26th June General Gorringe's Force was
concentrated at Qurnah, and proceeded on the
27th June across the Hammar Lake, preceded by gunboats
under command of Captain Nunn, R.N. Hostile
armed launches above the Haqiqah bund were
driven back. The bund was occupied, and the work
of demolition commenced.
the 28th a channel 150 feet wide and 4 feet deep
was made. The rush of water through the opening
created a strong rapid, almost a cataract, up
which parties of men were successful in hauling
up the naval craft on the 29th.
was not until the 4th July that all vessels and
troops were passed over the Haqiqah obstruction,
and established about two and a half miles from
the junction with the Euphrates. Covering this
entrance, reconnaisances proved that the enemy
had established themselves with guns on the
right bank of the Euphrates commanding both
banks of the Haqiqah, and the mine field which
they had prepared about a mile down it.
21. At 4.45 a.m. on 5th July
the 30th Infantry Brigade, commanded by
Major-General Melliss, advanced to attack the
enemy; on the left bank, the 76th Punjabis and
the 24th Punjabis, the latter moving in bellums
through the inundation accompanied by the 30th
Mountain Battery. The 2/7th Gurkhas supported by
the 1/4th.Hants moved up the right bank.
Considerable opposition was encountered,
especially on the left bank, and it was not
until 1.20 p.m. that our troops forced the enemy
on the right bank of the Euphrates to hoist the
The 24th Punjabis had to carry
their bellums across some 60 yards of dry land
before they could cross the Euphrates to take
possession of the enemy's position and battery.
After the right bank had been cleared our Naval
craft were able to sweep for mines, an
operation rendered easier for us as a captured
Turkish Officer assisted to indicate their
By 9 p.m. the Channel was
clear. The ships came up and the troops
22. The detachment of the enemy
which had opposed our advance consisted of 1,000
regular Turkish troops, 2.000 Arabs, four guns
and two Thorneycroft launches armed with pom
poms. Four guns and 130 prisoners fell into our
hands at a cost to us of 26 killed and 85
The second phase of these
operations was commenced on the morning of 6th
July by the occupation of Suk-Esh-Sheyukh by
Captain Nunn, with two gunboats, and afterwards
the whole flotilla moved up the Euphrates.
23. The Turks had taken up a
series of positions astride the river about five
miles below Nasiriyah, with both flanks resting
on marshes. In front of their trenches were
broad deep channels difficult to turn or
The ground on the right bank
was devoid of cover; that on the left bank
fringed by a narrow belt of palms.
24. General Gorringe
established his force some two miles below the
enemy's advanced positions and occupied
entrenchments on both banks. Up to the 13th July
continual reconnaissances were made and our
entrenchments gradually extended nearer to the
25. On the night of 13th/14th
an attack was made by our troops on both banks.
On the right bank we secured an entrenched
position within 400 yards of the Turkish
trenches. A gallant attempt by the 24th Punjabis
under Lieutenant-Colonel Climo, supported by
four guns of the 30th Mountain Battery under
Captain E. J. Nixon, to capture some sandhills
behind the enemy's right flank met with
unexpectedly strong opposition, and they were
attacked in rear by Arab tribesmen and had to
The Mountain guns covering the
withdrawal rendered invaluable support.
26. Until the 23rd, General
Gorringe was perfecting arrangements for his
decisive attack. Gun positions were moved
forward, infantry trenches extended and
communications improved. The working parties
were subjected to a continual fire, but our
snipers established ascendancy over those of the
enemy. The heat night and day throughout was
27. At 5 a.m. on 24th July the
attack was launched. By 7.30 a.m. the 12th
Infantry Brigade operating on the left bank of
the river had occupied the enemy's advanced
trenches at Miyadiyah. The 30th Infantry Brigade
then pushed its attack up the right bank,
covered by well-directed artillery fire, and by
9.30 a.m. had captured the advanced trenches
after forcing the passage of the Mejinineh
Channel. During this operation the gunboat
"Sumana," carrying bridging material, fought her
way up to the entrance of the creek under a very
heavy fire, and, supported by the fire from the
gunboats, the 17th Company Sappers and Miners
threw a bridge across.
28. The attack was continued by
both banks. The main position was captured by
noon, in spite of a stubborn resistance. The
enemy clung to their trenches where some 500
were killed. After reorganising, the troops
pushed forward to the Sadanawiyah position - the
enemy's final line of defence, which .was also
captured. During the attack at Sadanawiyah
Captain Nunn, in the "Shushan," a small
sternwheeler, laid his ship alongside hostile
trenches on the river bank and engaged them at
29. By 6.30 p.m. the enemy was
in full retreat across the marshes, and our
troops bivouacked on the position they had won.
Severe losses had been
inflicted on the enemy, while our casualties
were not heavy considering the nature of the
fighting, the total number of our killed and
wounded being under 600.
Our captures included over
1,000 prisoners, 17 guns, five machine-guns,
1,586 rifles, and quantities of ammunition and
Nasiriyah was occupied on the
25th without further opposition.
30. General Gorringe conducted
the task assigned to him with skill and
determination, and his troops responded to the
strenuous calls that were made upon them in a
gallant and devoted manner.
Seldom, if ever, have our
troops been called upon to campaign in more
trying heat than they have experienced this
summer in the marshy plains of Mesopotamia.
But the spirit of the troops
never flagged, and in the assault of the
entrenchments which the Turks thought
impregnable, British and Indian soldiers
displayed a gallantry and devotion to duty
worthy of the highest traditions of the Service.
31. I have to place on record
the excellence of the work performed by the
officers and men of the Royal Flying Corps,
whose valuable reconnaissances materially
assisted in clearing up the situation before the
battle of the 24th July.
32. And I have to express my
deep appreciation of the valuable and
whole-hearted co-operation of the officers and
men of the Royal Navy under the command
of Captain Nunn, D.S.O., Senior Naval Officer.
It was in a great measure due to the excellent
work performed by the Royal Navy that these
amphibious operations, like those at Qurnah, at
the end of May, were brought to so successful a
33. The capture of Nasiriyah
had established British control on the western
side of the Basrah Vilayet, but the district
lying north of the line Amara-Nasiriyah still
remained outside our control, and strong Turkish
forces under Nur-Ed-Din Bey were reported to be
concentrating at Kut-al-Amarah, at the junction
of the Shatt-al-Hai with the Tigris, the
possession of which strategic centre is
necessary for the effective control of the
jiorthern part of the Basrah Vilayet. Nur-Ed-Din
has attempted to cause a diversion by pushing
strong detachments to within thirty miles of
Amarah, while my principal attention was
concentrated on the Euphrates.
The defeat of Nur-Ed-Din and
the occupation of Kut-al-Amarah became my next
objective as soon as Nasiriyah was secured, and
I commenced the transfer of troops towards
Amarah on the following day.
34. After the month of June the
Shatt al Hai ceases to be navigable for some six
months, and the only line of advance by water on
Kut-al-Amarah is by the River Tigris.
On the 1st August a detachment
from the 6th Division, accompanied by a naval
flotilla, occupied Ali al Gharbi. Covered
by this detachment, the concentration of the 6th
Division under General Townshend for the advance
on Kut-al-Amarah was carried out.
35. The transfer of troops from
the Euphrates to the Tigris was a slow process,
owing to the difficulties in crossing the
shallow Hammar Lake during the low-water season.
By the 12th September the force
was concentrated at Ali al Gharbi. Thence the
advance was continued by route march along the
river bank, accompanied by a naval flotilla
and shipping, until Sannaiyat (some eight
miles below the enemy's position covering
Kut-al-Amrah) was reached on 15th September.
Intense heat prevailed during the period of this
march, with temperatures ranging from 110
degrees to 116 degrees in the shade. The column
remained halted at Sannaiyat until 25th
September, receiving reinforcements during this
36. A few skirmishes had taken
place between our cavalry and that of the enemy,
and constant naval and air
reconnaissances were made. Accurate information
was gained regarding the dispositions of the
The work performed by the Royal
Flying Corps during this period was invaluable.
37. Nur-Ed-Din Bey's Army lay
astride the river some seven miles N.E. of Kut
and eight miles from General Townshend's Force
at Sannaiyat. It occupied a line naturally
favourable for defence, which, during three or
four months of preparation, had been converted
into a formidable position.
On the right bank the defences
extended for five miles southwards along some
mounds which commanded an extensive field of
fire. The river was blocked by a boom composed
of barges and wire cables commanded at close
range by guns and fire trenches. On the left
bank the entrenchments extended for seven miles,
linking up the gaps between the river and three
marshes which stretched away to the north. The
defences were well designed and concealed,
commanding flat and open approaches. They were
elaborately constructed with a thoroughness that
missed no detail. In front of the trenches were
barbed wire entanglements, military pits, and
land mines. Behind were miles of communication
trenches connecting the various works and
providing covered outlets to the river, where
ramps and landing-stages had been made to
facilitate the transfer of troops to or from
ships, while pumping engines and water channels
carried water from the river to the trenches.
38. Nur-ed-din's Army held this
position: one division being on each bank, with
some Army troops in reserve on the left bank,
near a bridge above the main position. A force
of Arab horsemen was posted on the Turkish left
flank; most of the Turkish regular cavalry were
absent during the battle on a raid against our
communications at S'haikh Saad.
39. On the 26th September
General Townshend advanced to within 4 miles of
the Turkish position. His plan was to make a
decisive attack on the left bank by enveloping
the Turkish left with his main force, but in
order to deceive the enemy as to the direction
of the real attack, preliminary dispositions and
preparatory attacks were made with the object of
inducing the Turks to expect the principal
attack on the right bank.
40. On the morning of the 27th
our troops advanced by both banks. The principal
force, on the right bank, made a feint attack on
the trenches south of the river, while the left
bank detachment entrenched itself within 3,000
yards of the enemy. Meanwhile a bridge had been
constructed, and under cover of night the main
force crossed from the right bank and deployed
opposite the enemy's left flank.
41. On the morning of the 28th
September a general attack was made against the
enemy on the left bank. The 18th Infantry
Brigade, under Major-General Fry, with its left
on the line of the river, made a pinning attack,
while Brigadier-General Delamain, commanding the
16th and 17th Infantry Brigades, advanced in two
columns against the enemy's left, one column
being directed frontally against the flank
entrenchments while the other moved wide round
the flank and attacked in rear. General
Delamain's right flank was protected by the
42. The first troops to enter
the enemy trenches were the 1st Battalion,
Dorsetshire Regiment, 117th Mahrattas and 22nd
Company Sappers and Miners, who made a brilliant
assault, well supported by the Artillery, and
soon after 10 a.m. captured a redoubt and
trenches on the enemy's extreme left, inflicting
heavy losses and taking 135 prisoners.
43. A combined attack by the
16th and 17th Infantry Brigades was then made,
and, after hard fighting, during which the enemy
made several unsuccessful counter-attacks, the
whole of the northern part of the enemy's
position was in our hands by 2 p.m.
44. General Delamain
reorganised his troops on the captured position
and gave them a much-needed rest, as they were
exhausted by the great heat, the long march and
hard fighting. After a brief rest General
Delamain moved his column southwards to assist
the 18th Infantry Brigade by attacking the enemy
opposed to it in rear. Before this attack could
develop strong hostile reserves appeared from
the south-west, in the direction of the bridge.
General Delamain immediately changed his
objective and attacked the new troops, supported
by his guns firing at a range of 1,700 yards.
45. The sight of the
approaching enemy and the prospect of getting at
him in the open with the bayonet put new life
into our Infantry, who were suffering from
weariness and exhaustion after their long and
trying exertions under the tropical sun. For the
time thirst and fatigue were forgotten. The
attack was made in a most gallant manner with
great dash. The enemy were routed with one
magnificent rush, which captured four guns and
inflicted heavy losses on the Turks. The enemy
fought stubbornly, and were saved from complete
destruction by the approach of night.
46. General Delamain's troops
bivouacked for the night on the scene of their
victory about two miles from the river, both men
and horses suffering severely from want of
water, as the brackish water of the marshes is
undrinkable. In the morning the column reached
the river, and the horses got their first water
for forty hours.
47. Throughout the battle the Naval
Flotilla co-operated with the land attack
from positions on the river. Late in the evening
of 28th, led by the "Comet"
(Lieutenant-Commander E. C. Cookson, R.N.,
Acting Senior Naval Officer), the flotilla
advanced upstream and endeavoured to force a
passage through the boom obstruction. The ships
came under a terrific fire from both banks at
close range. The "Comet " rammed the boom, but
it withstood the shock.
was shot dead while most gallantly attempting to
cut a wire cable securing the barges.
48. The Turks evacuated their
remaining trenches during the night and escaped
along the bank of the Tigris. On the morning of
the 29th a pursuit was organised, troops moving
in ships preceded by cavalry on land.
The Cavalry, consisting of four
weak squadrons, overtook the enemy on 1st
October, but had to wait for the support of the
river column, as the Turks were making an
orderly retreat, covered by a strong rearguard
with infantry and guns.
49. The progress of the river
column was so delayed by the difficulties of
navigation due to the constantly shifting
shallows in the river that it was unable to
overtake the retreating enemy.
When the ships reached Aziziyah
on 5th October, the enemy had reached their
prepared defensive position at Ctesiphon,
covering the road to Baghdad, where they were
50. The Turks lost some 4,000
men in casualties, of whom 1,153 were prisoners
captured by us. In addition we took 14 guns and
a quantity of rifles, ammunition and stores.
Considering the severity of the fighting our
casualties were comparatively small. They
amounted to 1,233, including a large proportion
of men only slightly wounded.
51. The defeat of Nur-ed-din
Bey completed the expulsion of Turkish troops
from the Basrah Vilayet. Apart from material
gains won at Kut-al-Amarah, our troops once
again proved their irresistible gallantry in
attack, and added another victory to British
arms in Mesopotamia.
52. I am glad to place on
record my appreciation of the ability and
generalship displayed by Major-General C. V. F.
Townshend, C.B., D.S.O., throughout these
operations. His plan for turning the Turkish
left was the manoeuvre whereby the position
could best be captured without incurring very
53. Brigadier-General Delamain,
who commanded the main attack, showed himself to
be a resolute and resourceful commander. His
leadership during the battle was admirable.
54. The troops under the
command of Major-General Townshend displayed
high soldierly qualities, and upheld the
reputation they have earned during, this arduous
55. The conduct of the Infantry
in the attack was particularly noteworthy. They
were set a task involving prolonged exertion and
endurance, and performed it with an alacrity and
resolution which must have been most
disconcerting to the enemy.
56. The Artillery has
established a high reputation for good shooting.
The Infantry rely on their accuracy and skill;
during the attack they welcome the close support
of the guns, and press forward with the
narrowest margin dividing them from the curtain
of bursting shells, in a manner that is a
tribute to their comrades in the Artillery.
57. The services of the Royal
Flying Corps, not only during the battle but
also in the frequent reconnaissances which
preceded the fighting, also call for notice.
The Flying Officers displayed
courage and devotion in the performance of their
duties, which were often carried out under a
heavy fire. The accurate information obtained
during air reconnaissances was of the utmost
value in planning the defeat of the enemy, and
the remarkable skill and powers of observation
displayed by Flight Commander Major H. L.
Reilly, Royal Flying Corps, contributed in no
small degree to the success of the operations.
58. The work of the Royal
Navy fully maintained the high standard
they have established in these rivers. I much
regret the loss of Lieutenant-Commander E. C.
Cookson, whose gallant act has already been
59. Acknowledgments are due to
the excellent work done by the Commanders and
personnel of the river steamers for their
unremitting work in connection with operations
on the rivers of Mesopotamia.
60. Accompanying this despatch
is a list of officers and men whose names I wish
to bring to notice in connection with the
operations undertaken during the period under
JOHN NIXON, General, Commanding I.E.F. "D."
OPERATIONS KHAFAJIYAH - 24th
April-19th June, 1915
Royal Navy names)
OPERATIONS AMARA - 31st May-4th
in Army lists)
Lieutenant G. E.
Sub-Lieutenant R. H.
Captain W., D.S.O.
Lieutenant I. M.
Lieutenant M., D.S.O.
Royal Indian Marine.
Lieutenant B. C.
Lieutenant A. R. C.
EUPHRATES OPERATIONS - 26th
June-25th July, 1915
in Army lists)
Lieutenant H. F.
Lieutenant W. V. H.
Lieutenant C. H.
Captain W., D.S.O.
Lieutenant-Commander A. G.
Commander C. R.
Royal Indian Marine.
Lieutenant C. R.
Commander A., D.S.O.
Commander C. S.
OPERATIONS KUT-AL-AMARA - 28th
in Army lists)
Lieutenant - Commander E. C., D.S.O. (killed).
Lieutenant W. V. H.
Royal Indian Marine.
Lieutenant-Commander C. R.
Royal Naval Air Service.
Lieutenant V. G.
War Office, 5th April,
Government of India has forwarded for
publication in the London Gazette the
undermentioned list of officers and men whose
names have been mentioned in despatches
from the General Officer Commanding for services
in connection with the operations in Mesopotamia
from 6th November, 1914, up to 14th April,
A. G. Seymour, R.N.
Royal Indian Marine.
B. C. Marsh.
Hired Transports and River
W. Coope, s.s. "Elephanta."
R. Elton, s.s. "Umaria."
S. Kilner, s.s. "Ekma."
S. L. Mills, R.N.R., s.s. "Varela."
S. Reddock, s.s. "Erinpura."
J. Swanson, s.s. "Torilla."
H. Cowley, river steamer "Mejidieh."
C. P. D'Eye, river steamer "Blosse Lynch."
W. Lyte, river steamer "Shushan."
Sczulezewski, river steamer "Malamir."
Hasan Bin Ghulami, river steamer "Salimi."
Tahir Bin Bangui, river steamer "Mozaffari."
Marconi Operator, s.s. "Varela."
by Army lists)
- 7 APRIL 1916
GALLIPOLI CAMPAIGN -
and SALONIKA ARMY
ARMY DESPATCH dated 17
and area - click to enlarge
War Office, London, S.W.,
10th April, 1916.
following despatch has been received by the
Secretary of State for War from General Sir C.
C. Monro, K.C.B.:
Headquarters, 1st Army,
France, 6th March, 1916.
have the honour to submit herewith a brief
account of the operations in the Eastern
Mediterranean from the 28th October, 1915, on
which date I assumed command of the
Mediterranean Expeditionary Force, until the 9th
January, 1916, when in compliance with your
directions, I handed over charge at Cairo to
Lieut.-General Sir Archibald Murray, K.C.B.,
the 20th October in London, I received your
Lordship’s instructions to proceed as soon as
possible to the near East and take over the
command of the Mediterranean Expeditionary
duty on arrival was in broad outline:
To report on the military situation on
the Gallipoli Peninsula.
To express an opinion whether on purely
military grounds the Peninsula should be
evacuated, or another attempt made to carry
number of troops that would be required,
(1) to carry the Peninsula,
(2) to keep the Straits open,
(3) to take Constantinople.
days after my arrival at Imbros, where the
headquarters of the M.E.F. was established, I
proceeded to the Peninsula to investigate the
military situation. The impressions I gathered
are summarised very shortly as follows:
positions occupied by our troops presented a
military situation unique in history. The mere
fringe of the coast line had been secured. The
beaches and piers upon which they depended for
all requirements in personnel and material were
exposed to registered and observed Artillery
fire. Our entrenchments were dominated almost
throughout by the Turks. The possible Artillery
positions were insufficient and defective. The
Force, in short, held a line possessing every
possible military defect. The position was
without depth, the communications were insecure
and dependent on the weather. No means existed
for the concealment and deployment of fresh
troops destined for the offensive - whilst the
Turks enjoyed full powers of observation,
abundant Artillery positions, and they had been
given the time to supplement the natural
advantages which the position presented by all
the devices at the disposal of the Field
material factor came prominently before me. The
troops on the Peninsula had suffered much from
It was not in the first place possible
to withdraw them from the shell-swept area as
is done when necessary in France, for every
corner on the Peninsula is exposed to hostile
They were much enervated from the diseases
which are endemic in that part of Europe in
In consequence of the losses which they
had suffered in earlier battles, there was a
very grave dearth of officers competent to
take command of men.
In order to maintain the numbers needed
to hold the front, the Territorial Divisions
had been augmented by the attachment of
Yeomanry and Mounted Brigades. Makeshifts of
this nature very obviously did not tend to
arguments, irrefutable in their conclusions,
convinced me that a complete evacuation was the
only wise course to pursue.
It was obvious that the Turks could hold
us in front with a small force and prosecute
their designs on Baghdad or Egypt, or both.
An advance from the positions we held could
not be regarded as a reasonable military
operation to expect.
Even had we been able to make an advance in
the Peninsula, our position would not have
been ameliorated to any marked degree, and an
advance on Constantinople was quite out of the
Since we could not hope to achieve any purpose
by remaining on the Peninsula, the appalling
cost to the nation involved in consequence of
embarking on an Overseas Expedition with no
base available for the rapid transit of
stores, supplies and personnel, made it urgent
that we should divert the troops locked up on
the Peninsula to a more useful theatre.
therefore I could see no military advantage in
our continued occupation of positions on the
Peninsula, I telegraphed to your Lordship that
in my opinion the evacuation of the Peninsula
should be taken in hand.
I proceeded to Egypt to confer with Colonel Sir
H. McMahon, the High Commissioner, and
Lieut.-General Sir J. Maxwell, Commanding the
Forces in Egypt, over the situation which might
be created in Egypt and the Arab world by the
evacuation of the Peninsula.
Egypt I was ordered by a telegram the War Office
to take command of the troops at Salonika. The
purport of this telegram was subsequently
cancelled by your Lordship on your arrival at
Mudros, and I was then ordered to assume Command
of the Forces in the Mediterranean, east of
Malta, and exclusive of Egypt.
on these instructions, I received approval that
the two Forces in the Mediterranean should be
designated as follows:
The original Mediterranean Expeditionary
Force, which comprised the Forces operating on
the Gallipoli Peninsula and those employed at
Mudros and Imbros as the “Dardanelles Army,”
under Lieut.-General Sir W. Birdwood, K.C.B.,
etc., with headquarters at Imbros.
The troops destined for Salonika as the
“Salonika Army,” under Lieut.-General Sir B.
Mahon, K.C.B., with headquarters at Salonika.
Staff of the original M.E.F. was left in part to
form the Dardanelles Army, and the remainder
were taken to make a General Headquarter Staff
for the increased responsibilities now assumed.
Other officers doing duty in this theatre with
the necessary qualifications were selected, and,
with no difficulty or demands on home resources,
a thoroughly efficient and adequate Staff was
was selected as being the most suitable site for
the establishment of headquarters, as affording
an opportunity, in addition to other advantages,
of daily consultation with the Inspector
General, Line of Communications. The working of
the services of the Line of Communications
presented difficulties of an unique character,
mainly owing to
the absence of pier and wharfage accommodation
at Mudros and the necessity of transferring
all Ordnance and Engineer Stores from one ship
the submarine danger;
delay caused by rough weather.
association with General Altham was therefore
most imperative, and by this means many
important changes were made which conduced to
greater efficiency and more prompt response to
the demands of fighting units.
narrative of the events which occurred in each
of the two Armies is now recorded separately for
facility of perusal and reference.
in October the 10th Division, under
Lieut.-General Sir B. Mahon, K.C.B., was
transferred from Suvla to Salonika, and fully
concentrated there. The dislocation of units
caused by the landing on the Peninsula and the
subsequent heavy fighting which occurred
prevented this Division being despatched intact.
The organisation of the Infantry and the Royal
Engineers was not disturbed, but the other
services had to be improvised from other
Divisions as found most accessible.
arrival of the 10th Division had been preceded
by two French Divisions under General Sarrail,
whose Force was subsequently augmented by
another Division. These three Divisions were
then moved into Servia under the understanding
arranged between the Allies Governments, which
was to the effect that the French Forces were to
protect the railway between Krivolak and Veles,
and to ensure communication with the Servian
Army, whilst the British were to maintain the
position from Salonika to Krivolak, and to
support the French Right. If communication with
the Servian Army could not be opened and
maintained, the Allied Forces were to be
this object, two Battalions of the 10th Division
were moved from Salonika on 27th October, and
took over the French front from Kosturino to
Lake Doiran. The remainder of the Division was
sent to Servia on 12th November and following
days, and took over the French front eastwards
task of moving troops into Servia and
maintaining them there presented many
difficulties. No road exists from Salonika to
Doiran, a few miles of road then obtains, which
is followed within a few miles by a track only
suitable for pack transport. Sir B. Mahon had
therefore to readjust his transport to a. pack
scale, and was dependent on a railway of
uncertain carrying power to convey back his guns
and all wheeled traffic in case of a withdrawal,
and to supply his troops whilst in Servia.
soon afterwards reinforcements commenced to
arrive. The disembarkation of these new
divisions was an operation which taxed the
powers of organisation and resources of the
staff at Salonika to the highest degree
possible, and it speaks highly for their
capacity that they were able to shelter and feed
the troops as they arrived.
November and the early part of December the 10th
Division was holding its position in Servia, and
the disembarkation of other divisions was
proceeding with difficulty.
order to gain time for the landing of the
troops, and their deployment on the positions
selected, I represented to General Sarrail and
Sir B. Mahon the urgent need of the divisions
withdrawing from Servia being utilised as a
covering force, and retaining their ground as
such until the Forces disembarking were
thoroughly in a position to hold their front.
had been evident for some time that the power of
resistance of the Servian Armies was broken, and
that the Allied Forces could afford them no
material assistance. It was also clear from all
information received that the position of our
troops was becoming daily more precarious owing
to a large German-Bulgarian concentration in the
Strumniza Valley. I, therefore, again pressed
General Sarrail to proceed with his withdrawal
from the positions he was holding. The British
Division operating as it was, as the pivot upon
which the withdrawal was effected, was compelled
to hold its ground until the French Left was
our withdrawal was completed the 10th Division
was heavily; attacked on the 6th, 7th, and 8th
December, by superior Bulgarian Forces. The
troops had suffered considerably from the cold
in the Highlands of Macedonia, and in the
circumstances conducted themselves very
creditably in being able to extricate themselves
from a difficult position with no great losses.
The account of this action was reported by wire
to you by General Mahon on the 11th December: no
further reference is therefore necessary to this
soon as I was informed that the 10th Division
was being heavily pressed, I directed Sir B.
Mahon to send a Brigade up the railway line in
support, and to hold another Brigade ready to
proceed at short notice. The withdrawal was,
however, conducted into Greek territory without
further opposition from the Bulgarians.
the operation of disembarkation at Salonika was
being carried out with all possible speed, and
the Greek Authorities through their
representative from Athens, Colonel Pallis, were
informed by me that we intended to proceed to
the defensive line selected. This intimation was
received in good part by the Greek Generals.
They commenced to withdraw their troops further
to the East where they did not hamper our plans,
and they showed a disposition to meet our
demands in a reasonable and friendly spirit.
dealing with the events above enumerated, I
desire to give special prominence to the
difficulties to which General Sir B. Mahon was
exposed from the time of his landing at
Salonika, and the ability which he displayed in
overcoming them. The subjoined instances,
selected from many which could be given, will
illustrate my contention, and the high standard
of administrative capacity displayed by the
G.O.C. and his Staff:
From the date on which the 10th Division first
proceeded into Servia until the date of its
withdrawal across the Greek frontier,
personnel, guns, supplies and material of all
kinds had to be sent up by rail to Doiran, and
onwards by march, motor lorries, limbered
ransh and pack animals. This railway,
moreover, was merely a single track, and had
to serve the demands of the local population
as well as our needs. The evacuation of the
wounded and sick had to be arranged on similar
lines, yet the requirements of the troops were
The majority of the Divisions were sent
without trains to Salonika, most units without
first line transport; in spite of this, part
of the Force was converted into a mobile
condition with very little delay.
The complications presented by the
distribution and checking of stores, supplies,
ammunition, etc., discharged from ships on to
quays, with insufficient accommodation or
storehouses, and with crude means of ingress
and egress therefrom, and served by a single
road which was divided between the French and
ourselves, constituted a problem which could
only be solved by officers of high
administrative powers. I trust, therefore,
that full recognition may be given to my
recommendation of the officers who rendered
such fine service under such arduous
THE DARDANELLES ARMY.
my arrival in the Mediterranean theatre a
gratifying decline in the high rate of sickness
which had prevailed in the Force during the
summer months had become apparent. The wastage
due to this cause still, however, remained very
Corps Commanders were urged to take all
advantage of the improved weather conditions to
strengthen their positions by all available
means, and to reduce to the last degree possible
all animals not actually required for the
maintenance of the troops, in order to relieve
the strain imposed on the Naval Transport
the month of November, beyond the execution of
very clever and successful minor enterprises
carried out by Corps Commanders with a view to
maintaining an offensive spirit in their
commands, there remains little to record -
except that an increased activity of the Turkish
artillery against our front became a noticeable
the 21st November the Peninsula was visited by a
storm said to be nearly unprecedented for the
time of the year. The storm was accompanied by
torrential rain, which lasted for 24 hours. This
was followed by hard frost and a heavy blizzard.
In the areas of the 8th Corps and the Anzac
Corps the effects were not felt to a very marked
degree owing to the protection offered by the
surrounding hills. The 9th Corps were less
favourably situated, the water courses in this
area became converted into surging rivers, which
carried all before them. The water rose in many
places to the height of the parapets and all
means of communications were prevented. The men,
drenched as they were by the rain, suffered from
the subsequent blizzard most severely. Large
numbers collapsed from exposure and exhaustion,
and in spite of untiring efforts that were made
to mitigate the suffering, I regret to announce
that there were 200 deaths from exposure and
over 10,000 sick evacuated during the first few
days of December.
reports given by deserters it is probable that
the Turks suffered even to a greater degree.
this period our flimsy piers, breakwaters and
light shipping became damaged by the storm to a
degree which might have involved most serious
consequences, and was a very potent indication
of the dangers attached to the maintenance and
supply of an army operating on a coast line with
no harbour, and devoid of all the accessories
such as wharves, piers, cranes and derricks for
the discharge and distribution of stores, etc.
the latter end of the month, having in view the
possibility of an evacuation of the Peninsula
being ordered, I directed Lieutenant- General
Sir W. Birdwood, Commanding the Dardanelles
Army, to prepare a scheme to this end, in order
that all details should be ready in case of
sanction being given to this operation.
had in broad outline contemplated soon after my
arrival on the Peninsula that an evacuation
could best be conducted by a subdivision into
first during which all troops, animals and
supplies not required for a long campaign should
second to comprise the evacuation of all men,
guns, animals and stores not required for
defence during a period when the conditions of
weather might retard the evacuation, or in fact
seriously alter the programme contemplated.
third or final stage, in which the troops on
shore should be embarked with all possible
speed, leaving behind such guns, animals and
stores needed for military reasons at this
problem with which we were confronted was the
withdrawal of an army of a considerable size
from positions in no cases more than 300 yards
from the enemy’s trenches, and its embarkation
on open beaches, every part of which were within
effective range of Turkish guns, and from which
in winds from the south or south-west, the
withdrawal of troops was not possible.
attitude which we should adopt from a naval
and military point of view in case of
withdrawal from the Peninsula being ordered, had
given me much anxious thought. According to
text-book principles and the lessons to be
gathered from history it seemed essential that
this operation of evacuation should be
immediately preceded by a combined naval and
military feint in the vicinity of the Peninsula,
with a view to distracting the attention of the
Turks from our intention. When endeavouring to
work out into concrete fact how such principles
could be applied to the situation of our Forces,
I came to the conclusion that our chances of
success were infinitely more probable if we made
no departure of any kind from the normal life
which we were following both on sea and on land.
A feint which did not fully fulfil its purpose
would have been worse than useless, and there
was the obvious danger that the suspicion of the
Turks would be aroused by our adoption of a
course, the real purport of which could not have
been long disguised.
the 8th December, consequent on your Lordship’s
orders, I directed the General Officer
Commanding Dardanelles Army to proceed with the
evacuation of Suvla and Anzac at once.
of action was imperative, having in view the
unsettled weather which might be expected in the
Aegean. The success of our operations was
entirely dependent on weather conditions. Even a
mild wind from the south or south-west was found
to raise such a ground swell as to greatly
impede communication with the beaches, while
anything in the nature of a gale from this
direction could not fail to break up the piers,
wreck the small craft, and thus definitely
prevent any steps being taken towards
had, moreover, during the gale of the 21st
November, learnt how entirely we were at the
mercy of the elements with the slender and
inadequate means at our disposal by which we had
endeavoured to improvise harbours and piers. On
that day the harbour at Kephalos was completely
wrecked, one of the ships which had been sunk to
form a breakwater was broken up, and the whole
of the small craft sheltered inside the
breakwater were washed ashore. Similar damage
was done to our piers, lighters and small craft
at Suvla and Anzac.
Birdwood proceeded on receipt of his orders with
the skill and promptitude which is
characteristic of all that he undertakes, and
after consultation with Rear-Admiral Wemyss, it
was decided, provided the weather was
propitious, to complete the evacuation on the
night of the 19th-20th December.
the period 10th to 18th December the withdrawal
proceeded under the most auspicious conditions,
and the morning of the 18th December found the
positions both at Anzac and Suvla reduced to the
while the evacuation of guns, animals, stores
and supplies had continued most satisfactorily.
arrangements for the final withdrawal made by
Corps Commanders were as follows:
was imperative, of course, that the front line
trenches should be held, however lightly, until
the very last moment and that the withdrawal
from these trenches should be simultaneous
throughout the line. To ensure this being done,
Lieutenant-General Sir W. Birdwood arranged that
the withdrawal of the inner flanks of corps
should be conducted to a common embarking area
under the orders of the G.O.C., 9th Corps.
the rear of the front line trenches at Suvla the
General Officer Commanding 9th Corps broke up
his area into two sections divided roughly by
the Salt Lake. In the Southern Section a
defensive line had been prepared from the Salt
Lake to the Sea and Lala Baba had been prepared
for defence, on the left the second line ran
from Kara Kol Dagh through Hill 10 to the Salt
Lake. These lines were only to be held in case
of emergency - the principle governing the
withdrawal being that the troops should proceed
direct from the trenches to the distributing
centres near the Beach, and that no intermediate
positions should be occupied except in case of
Anzac, owing to the proximity of the trenches to
the Beach, no second position was prepared
except at Anzac Cove, where a small keep was
arranged to cover the withdrawal of the rearmost
parties in case of necessity.
good fortune which had attended the evacuation
continued during the night of the 19th-20th. The
night was perfectly calm with a slight haze over
the moon, an additional stroke of good luck, as
there was a full moon on that night.
after dark the covering ships were all in
position, and the final withdrawal began. At
1.30 a.m. the withdrawal of the rear parties
commenced from the front trenches at Suvla and
the left of Anzac. Those on the right of Anzac
who were nearer the Beach remained in position
until 2 a.m. By 5.30 a.m. the last man had
quitted the trenches.
Anzac, 4 18-pounder guns, 2 5-inch howitzers,
one 4.7 Naval gun, 1 anti-aircraft, and
2 3-pounder Hotchkiss guns were left, but they
were destroyed before the troops finally
embarked. In addition, 56 mules, a certain
number of carts, mostly stripped of their
wheels, and some supplies which were set on
fire, were also abandoned.
Suvla every gun, vehicle and animal was
embarked, and all that remained was a small
stock of supplies which were burnt.
in December orders had been issued for the
withdrawal of the French troops on Helles, other
than their artillery, and a portion of the line
held by French Creoles had already been taken
over by the Royal Naval Division on the
12th December. On the 21st December, having
strengthened the 8th Corps with the 86th
Brigade, the number of the French garrison doing
duty on the Peninsula was reduced to 4,000 men.
These it was hoped to relieve early in January,
but before doing so it was necessary to give
some respite from trench work to the 42nd
Division, which was badly in need of a rest. My
intention, therefore, was first to relieve the
42nd Division by the 88th Brigade, then to bring
up the 13th Division, which was resting at
Imbros since the evacuation of Suvla, in place
of the 29th Division, and finally to bring up
the 11th Division in relief of the French.
Helles would then be held by the 52nd, 11th and
13th Divisions, with the Royal Naval Division
and the 42nd Division in reserve on adjacent
the 24th December, General Sir W. Birdwood was
directed to make all preliminary preparations
for immediate evacuation, in the event of orders
to this effect being received. On 28th December
your Lordship’s telegram ordering the evacuation
of Helles was received, whereupon, in view of
the possibility of bad weather intervening, I
instructed the General Officer Commanding
Dardanelles Army to complete the operation as
rapidly as possible. He was reminded that every
effort conditional on not exposing the personnel
to undue risk should be made to save all
60-pounder and 18-pounder guns, 6-inch and 4.5
howitzers, with their ammunition and other
accessories, such as mules and A.T. carts,
limbered ransh, etc. In addition, I expressed my
wish that the final evacuation should be
completed in one night, and that the troops
should withdraw direct from the front trenches
to the beaches, and not occupy any intermediate
position unless seriously molested. At a meeting
which was attended by the Vice-Admiral and the
General Officer Commanding Dardanelles Army, I
explained the course which I thought we should
adopt to again deceive the Turks as to our
intentions. The situation on the Peninsula had
not materially changed owing to our withdrawal
from Suvla and Anzac, except that there was a
marked increased activity in aerial
reconnaissance over our positions, and the
islands of Mudros and Imbros, and that hostile
patrolling of our trenches was more frequent and
daring. The most apparent factor was that the
number of heavy guns on the European and Asiatic
shores had been considerably augmented, and that
these guns were more liberally supplied with
German ammunition, the result of which was that
our beaches were continuously shelled,
especially from the Asiatic shore. I gave it as
my opinion that in my judgment I did not regard
a feint as an operation offering any prospect of
success. Time, the uncertainty of weather
conditions in the Aegean, the absence of a
suitable locality, and the withdrawal of small
craft from the main issue for such an operation
were some of the reasons which influenced me in
the decision at which I arrived. With the
concurrence of the Vice-Admiral, therefore, it
was decided the Navy should do their
utmost to pursue a course of retaliation against
the Turkish Batteries, but to refrain from any
unusually aggressive attitude should the Turkish
guns remain quiescent.
Sir W. Birdwood had, in anticipation of being
ordered to evacuate Helles, made such complete
and far-seeing arrangements that he was able to
proceed without delay to the issue of the
comprehensive orders which the consummation of
such a delicate operation in war requires.
primarily arranged with General Brulard, who
commanded the French Forces on the Peninsula,
that in order to escape the disadvantages of
divided command in the final stage, the French
Infantry should be relieved as early as
possible, but that their artillery should pass
under the orders of the General Officer
Commanding 8th Corps, and be withdrawn
concurrently with the British guns at the
the 30th December, in consequence of the
instructions I had received from the Chief of
the General Staff to hand over my command at
Alexandria to Lieutenant-General Sir A. Murray,
who, it was stated, was to leave England on the
28th December, I broke up my Headquarters at
Mudros and proceeded with a small staff,
comprising representatives of the General Staff,
the Quartermaster-General and Adjutant-General
branches, on H.M.S. “Cornwallis” (below,
in 1908 - Maritime Quest) to Alexandria.
The rest of the Staff were sent on in front so
as to have offices in working order when my
successor should arrive.
the meantime the evacuation, following the same
system as was practised at Suvla and Anzac,
proceeded without delay. The French Infantry
remaining on the Peninsula were relieved on the
night of the 1st-2nd January, and were embarked
by the French Navy on the following
nights. Progress, however, was slower than had
been hoped, owing to delays caused by accident
and the weather. One of our largest horse ships
was sunk by a French battleship, whereby the
withdrawal was considerably retarded, and at the
same time strong winds sprang up which
interfered materially with work on the beaches.
The character of the weather now setting in
offered so little hope of a calm period of any
duration, that General Sir W. Birdwood arranged
with Admiral Sir J. de Robeck for the assistance
of some Destroyers in order to accelerate the
progress of re-embarkation. They then determined
to fix the final stage of the evacuation for the
8th January, or for the first fine night after
the 8th Corps had maintained the offensive
spirit in bombing and minor operations with
which they had established the moral superiority
they enjoyed over the enemy. On the 29th
December the 52nd Division completed the
excellent work which they had been carrying out
for so long by capturing a considerable portion
of the Turkish trenches, and by successfully
holding these in the face of repeated
counter-attacks. The shelling of our trenches
and beaches, however, increased in frequency and
intensity, and the average daily casualties
continued to increase.
method of evacuation adopted by
Lieutenant-General Sir F. J. Davies, K.C.B.,
Commanding 8th Corps, followed in general
outline that which had proved successful in the
Northern Zone. As the removal of the whole of
the heavy guns capable of replying to the
enemy’s artillery would have indicated our
intentions to the enemy, it was decided to
retain, but eventually destroy, one 6-inch
British gun and six French heavy guns of old
pattern which it would be impossible to remove
on the last night. General Brulard himself
suggested the destruction of these French guns.
first step taken as regards the withdrawal of
the troops was the formation of a strong
Embarkation Staff and the preparation of
positions covering the landings, in which small
garrisons could maintain themselves against
attack for a short time should the enemy become
aware of our intention and follow up the
the Hon. H. A. Lawrence, commanding the 52nd
Division, was selected to take charge of all
embarkation operations. At the same time the
services of various staff officers were placed
at the disposal of the General Officer
Commanding, 8th Corps, and they rendered very
General Officer Commanding, 13th Division,
selected and prepared a position covering Gully
Beach. Other lines were selected and entrenched,
covering the remainder of the beaches from the
sea north of Sedd-el-Bahr to “ X “ Beach
inclusive. Garrisons were detailed for these
defences, those at Gully Beach being under the
General Officer Commanding, 13th Division, and
those covering the remainder of the beaches
being placed under the command of a selected
Officer, whose headquarters were established at
an early date, together with those of the
General Officer Commanding, Embarkation, at
the withdrawing troops passed within the line of
these defences they came under the orders of the
General Officer Commanding, Embarkation, which
were conveyed to them by his staff officers at
addition to these beach defences four lines of
defence were arranged, three being already in
existence and strongly wired. The fourth was a
line of posts extending from De Tott’s Battery
on the east to the position covering Gully Beach
on the west.
time fixed for the last parties to leave the
front trenches was 11.45 p.m., in order to
permit the majority of the troops being already
embarked before the front line was vacated. It
was calculated that it would take between two
and three hours for them to reach the beaches,
at the conclusion of which time the craft to
embark them would be ready.
Naval arrangements for embarkation were
placed in the hands of Captain C. M. Staveley,
R.N., assisted by a staff of Naval officers at
each place of embarkation.
the 7th January the enemy developed heavy
artillery fire on the trenches held by the 13th
Division, while the Asiatic guns shelled those
occupied by the Royal Naval Division.
The bombardment, which was reported to be the
heaviest experienced since we landed in April,
lasted from noon until 5 p.m., and was intensive
between 3 p.m. and 3.30. Considerable damage was
done to our parapets and communication trenches,
and telephone communications were interrupted.
At 3.30 p.m. two Turkish mines were sprung near
Fusilier Bluff, and the Turkish trenches were
seen to be full of men whom their officers
appeared to be urging to the assault. No attack,
however, was developed except against Fusilier
Bluff, where a half-hearted assault was quickly
repulsed. Our shortage of artillery at this time
was amply compensated for by the support
received from fire of the supporting squadron
under Captain D. L. Dent, R.N. Our
casualties amounted to 2 officers and 56 other
ranks killed, and 4 officers and 102 other ranks
8th January was a bright, calm day, with a light
breeze from the south. There was every
indication of the continuance of favourable
conditions, and, in the opinion of the
Meteorological Officer, no important change was
to be expected for at least 24 hours. The
Turkish artillery were unusually inactive. All
preparations for the execution of the final
stage were complete.
embarkation was fixed at such an hour that the
troops detailed for the first trip might be able
to leave their positions after dark. The second
trip was timed so that at least a greater
portion of the troops for this trip would, if
all went well, be embarked before the final
parties had left the front trenches. The numbers
to be embarked at the first trip were fixed by
the maximum that could be carried by the craft
available, those of the second trip being
reduced in order to provide for the possibility
of casualties occurring amongst the craft
required to carry them.
numbers for the third trip consisted only of the
parties left to hold front trenches to the last,
together with the garrisons of the beach
defences, the Naval and Military beach
personnel and such R.E. personnel as might be
required to effect the necessary repairs to any
piers or harbour works that might be damaged.
7 p.m. the breeze freshened considerably from
the south-west, the most unfavourable quarter,
but the first trip, timed for 8 p.m., was
despatched without difficulty. The wind,
however, continued to rise until, by 11 p.m.,
the connecting pier between the hulks and the
shore at “W” Beach was washed away by heavy
seas, and further embarkation into destroyers
from these hulks became impracticable. In spite
of these difficulties the second trips, which
commenced at 11.30 p.m., were carried out well
up to time, and the embarkation of guns
continued uninterruptedly. Early in the evening
reports had been received from the right flank
that a hostile submarine was believed to be
moving down the Straits, and about midnight H.M.S.
“Prince George,” which had embarked 2,000
men, and was sailing for Mudros, reported she
was struck by a torpedo which failed to explode.
The indications of the presence of a submarine
added considerably to the anxiety for the safety
of the troop carriers, and made it necessary for
the Vice-Admiral to modify the arrangements made
for the subsequent bombardment of the evacuated
1.50 a.m., Gully Beach reported that the
embarkation at that beach was complete, and that
the lighters were about to push off, but at 2.10
a.m. a telephone message was received that one
of the lighters was aground and could not be
refloated. The N.T.O. at once took all
possible steps to have another lighter sent in
to Gully Beach, and this was, as a matter of
fact, done within an hour, but in the meantime
at 2.30 a.m. it was decided to move the 160 men,
who had been relanded from the grounded lighter,
to “W” Beach and embark them there.
2.40 a.m. the steadily increasing swell caused
the N.T.O. the greatest anxiety as to
the possibility of embarking the remainder of
the troops if their arrival was much deferred.
3.30 a.m. the evacuation was complete, and
abandoned heaps of stores and supplies were
successfully set on fire by time fuzes after the
last man had embarked. Two magazines of
ammunition and explosives were also successfully
blown up at 4 a.m. These conflagrations were
apparently the first intimation received by the
Turks that we had withdrawn. Red lights were
immediately discharged from the enemy’s
trenches, and heavy artillery fire opened on our
trenches and beaches. This shelling was
maintained until about 6.30 a.m.
from four unserviceable fifteen-pounders which
had been destroyed earlier in the month, 10
worn-out fifteen-pounders, 1 six-inch Mark VII.
Gun, and 6 old heavy French guns, all of which
were previously blown up, were left on the
Peninsula. In addition to the above, 508
animals, most of which were destroyed, and a
number of vehicles and considerable quantities
of stores, material, and supplies, all of which
were destroyed by burning, had to be abandoned.
would have been possible, of course, by
extending the period during which the process of
evacuation proceeded to have reduced the
quantity of stores and material that was left
behind on the Peninsula, but not to the degree
that may seem apparent at first sight. Our
chances of enjoying a continuity of fine weather
in the Aegean were very slender in the month of
January; it was indeed a contingency that had to
be reckoned with that we might very probably be
visited by a spell of bad weather which would
cut us off completely from the Peninsula for a
fortnight or perhaps for even longer.
ammunition and material to a certain degree had
therefore to be left to the last moment for fear
of the isolation of the garrison at any moment
when the evacuation might be in progress. I
decided therefore that our aim should be
primarily the withdrawal of the bulk of the
personnel, artillery and ammunition in the
intermediate period, and that no risks should be
taken in prolonging the withdrawal of personnel
at the final stage with a view to reducing the
quantity of stores left.
entire evacuation of the Peninsula had now been
completed. It demanded for its successful
realisation two important military essentials,
viz., good luck and skilled disciplined
organisation, and they were both forthcoming to
a marked degree at the hour needed. Our luck was
in the ascendant by the marvellous spell of calm
weather which prevailed. But we were able to
turn to the fullest advantage these accidents of
Sir W. Birdwood and his Corps Commanders
elaborated and prepared the orders in reference
to the evacuation with a skill, competence and
courage which could not have been surpassed, and
we had a further stroke of good fortune in being
associated with Vice-Admiral Sir J. de
Robeck, K.C.B., Vice-Admiral Wemyss, and a
body of Naval Officers whose work
remained throughout this anxious period at that
standard of accuracy and professional ability
which is beyond the power of criticism or cavil.
Line of Communication Staff, both Naval and
Military, represented respectively by
Lieutenant-General E. A. Altham, C.B., C.M.G.,
Commodore M. S. FitzMaurice, R.N., principal
Naval Transport Officer, and Captain H. V.
Simpson, R.N., Superintending Transport Officer,
contributed to the success of the operation by
their untiring zeal and conspicuous ability.
members of the Headquarters Staff showed
themselves, without exception, to be officers
with whom it was a privilege to be associated;
their competence, zeal and devotion to duty were
uniform and unbroken. Amongst such a highly
trained body of officers it is difficult to
select and discriminate. I confine myself,
therefore, to placing on record the fine
services rendered by:
(temporary Major-General) Arthur Lynden
Lynden-Bell, C.B., C.M.G., Chief of General
(temporary Major-General) Walter Campbell,
C.B., D.S.O., Deputy Quartermaster-General,
(temporary Brigadier-General) W. Gillman,
C.M.G., D.S.O., Brigadier-General, General
Major (temporary Lieutenant- Colonel) G. P.
Dawnay, D.S.O., M.V.O., General Staff;
whilst bringing to notice the names of these
officers to whom I am so much indebted, I trust
I may be permitted to represent the loyal,
cordial, and unswerving assistance rendered by
General J. M. J. A. Brulard, Commanding the
French Troops in the Peninsula.
concluding this inadequate account of the events
which happened during my tenure of command of
the Forces in the Eastern Mediterranean, I
desire to give a brief explanation of the work
which was carried out on the Line of
Communications, and to place on record my
appreciation of the admirable work rendered by
the officers responsible for this important
the Dardanelles Peninsula it may be said that
the whole of the machinery by which the
text-books contemplate the maintenance and
supply of an army was non-existent. The zone
commanded by the enemy’s guns extended not only
to the landing places on the Peninsula, but even
over the sea in the vicinity.
beaches were the advanced depots and refilling
points at which the services of supply had to be
carried out under artillery fire. The landing of
stores as well as of troops was only possible
under cover of darkness.
sea, the ships, lighters and tugs took, in fact,
the place of railways and roads, with their
railway trains, mechanical transport, etc., but
with this difference, that the use of the latter
is subject only to the intervention of the
enemy, while that of the former was dependent on
the beaches and the Base at Alexandria, 800
miles to the south, the Line of Communications
had but two harbours, Kephalos Bay on the island
of Imbros, 15 miles roughly from the beaches,
and Mudros Bay, at a distance of 60 miles. In
neither were there any piers, breakwaters,
wharves or store houses of any description
before the advent of the troops. On the shores
of these two bays there were no roads of any
military value, or buildings fit for military
usage. The water supply at these islands was,
until developed, totally inadequate for our
Peninsula landing places were open beaches.
Kephalos Bay is without protection from the
north, and swept by a high sea in northerly
gales. In Mudros Harbour, transhipment and
disembarkations were often seriously impeded
with a wind from the north or south. These
difficulties were accentuated by the advent of
submarines in the Aegean Sea, on account of
which the Vice-Admiral deemed it necessary to
prohibit any transport or store ship exceeding
1,500 tons proceeding north of Mudros, and
although this rule was relaxed in the case of
supply ships proceeding within the netted area
of Suvla, it necessitated the transhipment of
practically all reinforcements, stores and
supplies - other than those for Suvla - into
small ships in Mudros Harbour.
Suvla and Anzac, disembarkation could only be
effected by lighters and tugs, thus for all
personnel and material there was at least one
trans-shipment, and for the greater portion of
both two trans-shipments.
notwithstanding the difficulties which have been
set forth above, the Army was well maintained in
equipment and ammunition. It was well fed, it
received its full supply of winter clothing at
the beginning of December. The evacuation of the
sick and wounded was carried out with the
minimum of inconvenience, and the provision of
hospital accommodation for them on the
Dardanelles Line of Communication and elsewhere
in the Mediterranean met all requirements.
above is a very brief exposition of the extreme
difficulties with which the officers responsible
were confronted in dealing with a problem of
peculiar complexity. They were fortunate in
being associated in their onerous and anxious
task with a most competent and highly trained Naval
Staff. The members of the two Staffs
worked throughout in perfect harmony and
cordiality, and it was owing to their joint
efforts that the requirements of the troops were
so well responded to.
accordance with the instructions received from
your Lordship by telegram on 10/1/16, I had the
honour of telegraphing the names of the
undermentioned Officers who rendered most
valuable and distinguished service in connection
with the evacuation of Gallipoli, to be
specially submitted for His Majesty’s gracious
consideration for promotion and reward, viz:
with Army commanders)
H. Mitchell, D.S.O., R.N., Naval Adviser at
Edwin Unwin, R.N., V.C., attached to
Headquarters, Dardanelles Army.
the course of a few days I propose to forward
recommendations for gallant and distinguished
conduct performed by officers and men in the
period under reference.
have the honour to be, Your Lordship’s most
C. MONRO, General
- 10 MAY 1916
ARMY DESPATCH dated 17
War Office, 10th May,
following despatch from General Sir John Nixon,
K.C.B., on the operations in Mesopotamia in
October, November, and December, 1915, has been
forwarded by the Government of India for
General Headquarters, I.E.F.
"D.," 17th January, 1916.
From General Sir John Nixon,
K.C.B., A.D.C., General, Commanding Indian
Expeditionary Force "D."
To The Chief of the General
Staff, Army Headquarters, India.
have the honour to forward a report on the
operations in Mesopotamia during the months of
October, November and December, 1915.
In my last despatch I described events up to
October 5th. On that date the Turkish Army under
Nur-Ed-Din, which had been defeated at
Kut-Al-Amarah, had reached a previously-prepared
position astride the Tigris at Ctesiphon, where
it received reinforcements; and our advanced
troops under Major-General Townshend reached
Aziziyah (30 miles east of Ctesiphon).
During the next six weeks reinforcements,
supplies, and transport animals were brought up
to Kut and Aziziyah preparatory to a further
advance up the Tigris. These preliminary
movements were inevitably slow on account of the
difficulties of navigation during the low water
season, which delayed the passage of shipping.
Throughout this period of preparation frequent
skirmishes took place with the enemy, who had
pushed out advanced detachments to Zeur and
Kutunie, seven and 14 miles respectively above
The Cavalry Brigade and one Infantry Brigade
advanced from Aziziyah on 11th November, and
occupied Kutunie without opposition. On the 18th
November General Townshend had concentrated the
whole of his force and the shipping at Kutunie..
On the 19th November the advance was continued,
moving by both banks of the river, and Zeur was
occupied. The enemy's advanced troops withdrew
towards Ctesiphon after offering slight
opposition. On 20th November the force on the
left bank reached Lajj (nine miles from
Ctesiphon); the shipping and the right bank
detachment arrived on the 21st, the latter
crossing the river and joining the main body on
the left bank.
The Turkish position at Ctesiphon lay astride
the Tigris, covering the approach to Baghdad,
which is situated some 18 miles to the
north-west. The defences had been under
construction for some months. They consisted of
an extensive system of entrenchments forming two
main positions. On the right bank the front
position extended from the river for about three
miles in a S.W. direction; the second line
trenches lying some five miles further upstream.
On the left bank a continuous line of
entrenchments and redoubts stretched from the
river for six miles to the north-east; the left
flank terminating in a large redoubt. On this
bank the second line was about two miles behind
the front position and parallel to it for three
miles from the Tigris, thence it turned
northwards to the Dialah River. Close to the
Tigris, on the left bank and midway between the
two defensive lines, was situated the Arch of
Ctesiphon - a prominent landmark.
mile in rear of the second line of trenches a
bridge of boats connected the two wings of the
Turkish Army. Further in rear, the Dialah River,
near its junction with the Tigris, was bridged
at two points, and entrenchments commanded the
General Townshend's concentration at Aziziyah
accurate information had been obtained by aerial
observation regarding the position of the
The officers employed on these reconnaissances
displayed the same intrepidity and devotion to
duty that has been commented on in previous
despatches. Unfortunately during the actual
period of the battle at Ctesiphon a series of
accidents deprived the Royal Flying Corps of
several officers and machines. Among those
forced to descend within the enemy's lines was
Major H. L. Reilly, a Flight Commander of
exceptional ability, who has much distinguished
service to his credit.
It was reported that the enemy had over 13,000
regular troops and 38 guns in the Ctesiphon
position. There were reports of the early
arrival of further reinforcements. Though
information on this point was indefinite and
lacked confirmation, it was advisable that there
should be no delay in attacking and defeating
Nur-Ed-Din before the arrival of possible
General Townshend, after a night march from
Lajj, on 21st/22nd November attacked the hostile
position on the left bank at the centre and on
the north-east flank. A severe fight lasted
throughout the day, resulting in the capture of
the front position, and more than 1,300
troops pressed on and penetrated to the second
line, capturing eight guns and establishing
themselves in the enemy's trenches. Here they
were subjected to heavy counterattacks by fresh
troops. The captured guns changed hands several
times. Finally they had to be abandoned, as
shortly before nightfall it was found necessary,
owing to diminished numbers, to order the
withdrawal of our troops from the forward
positions to which they had penetrated back to
the first position.
On the 23rd November our troops were reorganised
in the position they had captured, and the work
of collecting the numerous casualties was
to heavy losses in killed and wounded it was
inadvisable to renew the offensive.
is no doubt that the Turkish troops who had
fought on the previous day were in no condition
to resume the fight. The battlefield was
littered with their killed and wounded, and many
of the trenches were choked with dead. The 45th
Turkish Division which had held the front
trenches was practically destroyed. But
reinforcements came up, and heavy attacks were
made all along General Townshend's line
throughout the night 23rd/24th November. These
were repulsed, and the enemy must have lost
On the 24th November wounded and prisoners were
evacuated from Ctesiphon to Lajj, where the shipping
flotilla was banked in; and General
Townshend consolidated the position he had taken
up on the battlefield. His left flank, which had
been near the Ctesiphon Arch, in advance of the
main position, moved back into the general
alignment. Owing to the interruption of a water
channel which had supplied the trenches on the
northeast flank our troops there suffered from
want of water; so the right flank was brought
nearer the river. This movement was successfully
effected under the cover of an offensive
movement pushed out from the centre of the
position. The enemy displayed little activity
throughout this day, except for shell fire. Most
of this came from guns on the right bank, which
prevented the steamers advancing upstream from
On the 25th November the remainder of the
wounded were sent back to Lajj. Up to this time
it appeared from hostile movements to their rear
- reported by air reconnaissance - that the
Turks contemplated a retirement from their
remaining positions. But apparently they
received fresh reinforcements on the 25th.
During the afternoon large columns were seen
advancing down the left bank and also inland, as
if to turn our right flank; while hostile
cavalry threatened our rear.
General Townshend was nine miles from his
shipping and source of supplies at Lajj, faced
by superior forces of fresh troops. He decided
to avoid an engagement, and, under cover of
night, withdrew to Lajj. Here he remained during
A position so far from bases of supply, with a
vulnerable line of communication along the
winding shallow river was unfavourable for
defence. It was necessary to withdraw further
downstream to a more secure locality until
conditions might enable a resumption of the
General Townshend withdrew unmolested during the
night of 27th/28th to Aziziyah.
the 29th the Cavalry Brigade, under
Brigadier-General Roberts, east of Kutunie
engaged and drove back the enemy's advanced
mounted troops who were attacking a stranded
gunboat. The 14th Hussars and the 7th
(Hariana) Lancers made a successful charge. Some
140 casualties were inflicted on the enemy.
On the morning of 30th, continuing the
retirement, the main force halted at Uram Al
Tubal; a mixed brigade under Major-General Sir
C. Melliss pushing on towards Kut to deal with
hostile mounted troops which had interrupted the
passage of steamers at Chubibat about
twenty-five miles below Kut.
The troops had to remain at Umm Al Tubal as the
ships were in difficulties in shoal water in
this vicinity and the enemy's whole force came
up during the night. They attacked in great
strength at daylight on 1st December.
fierce fight ensued, the Turks losing heavily
from our artillery fire at a range of 2,500
yards. General Townshend took advantage of a
successful counter-attack made by the Cavalry
Brigade against a column which attempted to
envelop his right flank, to break off the fight
and retire by echelons of Brigades. This was
carried out in perfect order under a heavy shell
fire, and by mid-day the enemy had been shaken
off. General Townshend reports that it was
entirely due to the splendid steadiness of the
troops and to the excellency of his Brigadiers
that he was able to repulse the enemy's
determined attacks and extricate his force from
the difficult situation in which it was placed.
mixed Brigade, commanded by General Melliss,
consisting of: 30th Infantry Brigade, 1/5th
Hants (Howitzer) Battery R.F.A., and the 16th
Cavalry, which had been despatched to Chubibat
on the morning of 30th November, was recalled on
the night of 30th November/1st December. This
Brigade marched 80 miles in three days,
including the battle of December 1st. At the end
of it their valour and discipline was in no way
diminished and their losses did not include a
After a march of 30 miles, Shadi was reached on
the night of 1st/2nd December, and on the
morning of 3rd December General Townshend was
installed at Kut-Al-Amarah, where, it was
decided, his retirement should end.
The Naval flotilla on the Tigris
operated on the left flank of the troops
throughout the operations that have been
described. From November 22nd to November 25th
the gunboats from positions below Bustan (two
miles east of Ctesiphon) were engaged against
hostile artillery, particularly against
concealed guns on the right bank which prevented
ships from moving above Bustan.
During the retreat from Ctesiphon to Kut the gunboats
under Captain Nunn, D.S.O., Senior Naval
Officer, rendered valuable services in
protecting the steamers and barges and in
assisting when they grounded. The Naval gunboats
were employed at this work day and night,
frequently under fire from snipers on both
to numerous loops and twists in the course of
the river, it was impossible for the flotilla to
remain in touch with the troops during the
On the-evening of the 28th November, "Shaitan"
went aground about eight miles above Aziziyah
and could not be refloated. Throughout November
29th, "Firefly" (below - Photo
Ships) and "Shushan"
salved "Shaitan's" guns and stores under heavy
sniping from both banks, until the situation was
relieved in the afternoon by the action of the
Cavalry Brigade which has already been referred
hull of "Shaitan" eventually had to be
abandoned, as the Turks opened fire with guns on
the ships which had remained behind.
On the occasion of the Turkish attack on the
morning of December 1st, at Um Al Tubal, "Firefly"
and "Comet" made good practice with
lyddite at a large body of Turks at a range of
3,000 yards. The ships came under a heavy and
accurate shell fire, and, at 7 a.m., a shell
penetrated the boiler of "Firefly," disabling
her. H.M.S. "Comet" (Captain Nunn) took
"Firefly" in tow, and in endeavouring to turn in
the narrow river, both ships took the ground.
"Firefly" was got clear and sent drifting
downstream; but "Comet" would not move from the
bank, against which she had been wedged by "
"Sumana" came up and made several
unsuccessful attempts to drag "Comet" off the
bank. The enemy's fire increased in intensity;
they brought up several field guns to short
range; the ships were surrounded by Turkish
troops and fired on at a range of 50 yards.
"Comet" and "Firefly" were badly damaged and on
fire. They were abandoned after the guns had
been rendered useless and the crews were taken
on board "Sumana," which succeeded in effecting
“Sumana" did most valuable work in salving
shipping which had got into difficulties further
Throughout these operations Captain Nunn,
Lieutenant Eddis, who was wounded, and all
officers and men of the Naval Flotilla
behaved with great coolness and bravery under
most trying circumstances.
The valour of the troops who fought under
General Townshend at the battle of Ctesiphon is
beyond praise. The 6th Division exhibited the
same dauntless courage and self-sacrifice in the
attack that has distinguished it throughout the
campaign in Mesopotamia.
dash with which the Indian troops (enlisted from
all parts of India} have attacked a stubborn foe
in well-entrenched positions, I attribute
largely to the confidence with which they have
been inspired by the British battalions of the
forced by greatly superior numbers to act on the
defensive, and during the retreat to Kut, under
the most trying conditions, the troops responded
to the calls made on them with admirable
discipline and steadiness.
proved themselves to be soldiers of the finest
These fine troops were most ably commanded by
Major-General C. V. F. Townshend, C.B., D.S.O. I
have a very high opinion, indeed, of this
officer's capabilities as a commander of troops
in the field. He was tried very highly, not only
at the battle of Ctesiphon, but more especially
during the retirement that ensued. Untiring,
resourceful, and even more cheerful as the
outlook grew darker, he possesses, in my
opinion, very special qualifications as a
is imperturbable under the heaviest fire and his
judgment is undisturbed.
With great regret, I have been forced, by
reasons of ill-health, to resign the command of
the British Forces in Mesopotamia - an
appointment I have had the honour of holding
during the past nine months.
order to complete the record of events during my
period in command, I will now give a brief
narrative of the operations on the Tigris from
the time that General Townshend's Force reached
Kut-Al-Amarah on December 3rd until the date of
my departure from Mesopotamia.
When General Townshend reached Kut on December
3rd, measures were taken to withstand a siege
until the arrival of relief from reinforcements
which were coming from overseas.
were improved. Shipping was despatched to
Basrah, evacuating the sick and wounded, and
also the Turkish prisoners (1,350 were captured
at Ctesiphon and all were safely brought away in
tug "Sumana" was the only vessel left at
Cavalry Brigade and a convoy of transport
animals were marched down to Ali Al Gharbi,
before the enemy could effect an investment.
Cavalry left on December 6th. On that day the
enemy closed on the northern front, and by
December 7th the investment of Kut was complete.
The cavalry at Ali Al Gharbi was reinforced with
infantry and guns from Basrah. Behind this
advanced detachment a force under the command of
Major-General F. J. Aylmer, V.C., was collected
on the line Amarah-Ali Al Gharbi, for the relief
of Kut as soon as its concentration was
The entrenched camp at Kut is contained in a "U"
shaped loop of the Tigris; the town stands at
the most southerly end of the peninsula so
formed. The northern defences are some 3,200
yards from the town; the peninsula is about a
mile in width.
detached post was established at a small village
on the right bank of the river opposite Kut.
East of the town was a bridge of boats, covered
by a bridge head detachment on the right bank.
On December 8th, the enemy carried out a heavy
bombardment from three sides, and Nur-Ed-Din
Pasha called upon General Townshend to
On December 9th, our detachment on the right
bank, covering the bridge, was forced to retire
before a heavy attack. The enemy occupied the
right bank at the bridge head.
the night, December 9th/10th, the bridge was
successfully demolished by a party gallantly led
by Lieutenant A. B. Matthews, R.E., and
Lieutenant R. T. Sweet, 2/7th Gurkha Rifles.
During the following days Kut was subjected to a
continuous bombardment and several attacks were
beaten off. The enemy's losses were heavy,
especially in the abortive attacks on December
12th, when, it is estimated, their casualties
amounted to 1,000.
Operations were then conducted on the lines of
regular siege warfare. A redoubt at the
north-east corner of the defences became the
special objective of Turkish shell fire and
On the night of December 14/15th a successful
sortie was made against trenches facing the
detached post on the right bank, and, on the
night, December 17th/18th, two sorties, from the
redoubt previously referred to, cleared the
enemy's nearest trenches. About thirty Turks
were bayonetted and ten were captured.
Heavy fire was concentrated on the redoubt
during the night December 23rd/24th and
throughout the 24th. The parapet was breached
and the Turks effected an entrance, but they
were driven out by a counter-attack, leaving 200
dead behind. Attacks were renewed later, and
throughout the night of December 24th/25th a
fierce struggle took place around the redoubt.
The enemy again effected a lodgement, but by
morning they had been ejected and the assault
was finally defeated.
No decisive attacks have been attempted by the
Turks since their failure at Christmas, which,
it is reported, cost them about 2,000
On December 28th a movement of troops, which was
continued for several days, took place from the
Turkish main camp (six miles above Kut) to
Shaikh Saad - which had been occupied by enemy
mounted troops for some time.
On January 4th, General Aylmer's leading troops,
under Major-General Younghusband, advanced from
Ali Al Gharbi towards Shaikh Saad, moving by
Younghusband's column got in touch with the
enemy on the morning of January 6th. The Turks
were entrenched astride the Tigris,
three-and-a-half miles east of Shaikh Saad. An
attempt to turn Turkish right flank did not
succeed owing to presence of hostile cavalry and
Arabs in superior force on this flank.
General Aylmer arrived on morning of January 7th
with the remainder of his force and ordered a
general attack; Major-General Younghusband
commanding on the left bank and Major-General
Kemball on the right bank.
heavy fighting lasted throughout the day. By
evening the enemy's trenches on the right bank
had been captured and some 600 prisoners and two
the left bank our troops were entrenched
opposite the enemy, who still held their
positions on that bank. Attempts to turn their
left flank had been checked by counter
enveloping movements from the north.
The troops were very fatigued next day and
little progress was made.
January 9th, the Turks were forced to abandon
their remaining positions and retired upstream,
followed by General Aylmer's force. But heavy
rain now fell, making the alluvial soil of the
roads almost impassable, and prevented active
operations for the next two days. It is
estimated that the enemy's losses during the
three days' fighting at Shaikh Saad amounted to
The enemy fell back about ten miles, to the Wadi
- a tributary which joins the Tigris on the left
bank. They took up a new position behind the
Wadi and on the right bank of the Tigris,
opposite the mouth of the Wadi.
General Aylmer concentrated his whole force on
the left bank and attacked the Wadi position on
the 13th. After hard fighting the Turks were
driven out on the 14th and retired five miles
further west and entrenched across a defile
bounded on the north by a marsh and on the south
by the Tigris. They were followed to this
position by General Aylmer's force.
Throughout these operations the weather was very
bad. The heavy rain and high wind caused great
discomfort to the troops and made movement by
land and by river most difficult. Up to January
17th there was no improvement in the weather and
active operations were at a standstill.
As, owing to ill-health, I am about to
relinquish command of Indian Expeditionary Force
"D" I desire to place on record my warm
appreciation of the able and devoted assistance
afforded me by the Staff at General Headquarters
and Officers of the various Administrative
Services and Departments.
wish specially to bring forward the names of the
following officers who have rendered very
commanders and Corps listed)
must be remembered that as a port Basrah has no
facilities for the discharge of stores or the
disembarkation of troops and animals. The
officers of the Royal Indian Marine
consequently have had no easy task in
improvising wharves and berths, and dealing with
the large number of transports which have
recently arrived and have had to be unloaded
with the utmost expedition. They have,
nevertheless, overcome these many difficulties,
and the greatest credit is due to them for what
they have accomplished.
officers and crews of the Tigris steamers
belonging to Messrs. Lynch Brothers and of the
other river craft have always displayed
gallantry of a high order in bringing their
ships on, often under heavy fire, and it is not
too much to say that without this assistance,
and the indefatigable manner in which they have
worked, that the movements of troops and
supplies would not have been possible.
names of the following officers, all of whom
have performed good service, are brought to the
notice of His Excellency the Commander- in-Chief
in Army list)
Lieutenant-Commander C. R., R.I.M.
Commander (temporary Captain) W. B.
Lieutenant A. G., R.I.M.
Lieutenant B. C., R.I.M.
have the honour to be, Sir, Your obedient
NIXON, General, Commanding Indian
Expeditionary Force "D."
From the Commander-in-Chief,
East Indies Station, to the Secretary of the
"Proserpine," 10th January,
reference to the operations on the Tigris
comprising the attack on Ctesiphon and
subsequent withdrawal, be pleased to acquaint
the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty that I
consider much credit is due to Captain Wilfrid
Nunn, C.M.G., D.S.O., for having effected this
retreat in the face of a much superior force
with so little loss.
abandonment of "Comet" and "Firefly''
was unavoidable, and was accomplished in a
highly seamanlike manner under heavy fire.
In connection with the above I have the honour
to bring to Their Lordships' notice the names of
the following Officers and men:
George E. Harden, R.N.
Lionel C. P. Tudway, D.S.C., R.N.
Sub-Lieutenant John G. Wood, R.N.R.
Driver, 1st Class, Saidu Hoosein, of "Comet."
Officer, 1st Class, James Keay, O.N. 167367,
Officer, 1st Class, H. John Wheeler, O.N.
179098, of "Sumana."
Ernest Guy, O.N. 7679 A., R.N.R.
Frederick J. Hanson, O.N. 313904, of
R. H. PEIRSE, Vice-Admiral,
- 26 MAY 1916
WESTERN FRONT OPERATIONS
ARMY DESPATCH dated 19 May
War Office, London, S.W.,
29th May, 1916.
following Despatch has been received by the
Secretary of State for War from General Sir
Douglas Haig, G.C.B., Commanding-in-Chief, the
British Forces in France:
General Headquarters, 19th
I have the honour to report the operations of
the British Forces serving in France and Belgium
since 19th December, 1915, on which date, in
accordance with the orders of His Majesty's
Government, I assumed the Chief Command.
I desire to acknowledge here the valuable
assistance rendered by the naval transport
officers on the Lines of Communication.
They have worked with and for the Army most
untiringly, efficiently, and with the utmost
also desire to acknowledge the indebtedness of
the Army to the Royal Navy for their
unceasing and uniformly successful care in
securing the safety of our transport service on
have the honour to be, Your Lordship's most
HAIG, General, Commander-in-Chief, The British
Forces in France.
- 30 MAY 1916
ARMY DESPATCHES, first dated
9 October 1914
War Office, 30th May,
DESPATCHES ON OPERATIONS OF THE
TSINGTAU EXPEDITIONARY FORCE.
[Despatch No. 1.]
From Brigadier-General N. W.
Barnardiston, M.V.O., to the War Office.
Investing Line before
Tsingtau, 9th October, 1914.
have the honour to report that the force under
my command embarked at Tientsin on the 19th
September in the hired transports "Kwang Ping,"
"Shao Shing " and "Shuntien," and, escorted from
Taku Bar by H.M.S. "Triumph" and the
torpedo-boat destroyer "Usk," arrived at
Wei-hai-wei at 2.15 p.m. on 20th September.
number of mules necessary to complete our
requirements in transport, which had been
purchased by Captain Knaggs, Indian Army, were
there embarked, that officer offering valuable
assistance both there and also on disembarkation
at Lao Shan Bay.
s.s. "Shenking," chartered by the Naval
Authorities as a hospital carrier, for
conveyance of sick and wounded to Wei-hai-wei,
joined us, and the whole left at 4.0 p.m. on
leaving, I inspected the arrangements made by Captain
House, R.N., and Fleet-Surgeon Clarke, on
the hospital carrier, and also on shore for the
reception of the sick and wounded. These two
officers, especially the last named, deserve the
greatest credit for the excellent arrangements
made to meet all our requirements.
Shan Bay was reached at 2 p.m. on 22nd
September, and arrangements were made with H.M.S.
"Triumph," the Japanese Navy and the
Military Disembarkation Authorities for the
disembarkation of the Force on the following
on 23rd September, the 2nd Bn. South Wales
Borderers disembarked at 8 a.m., followed by
stores, ponies, mules and carts, &c. The men
worked hard and cheerfully at landing and
stacking stores, &c., and the entire
disembarkation was accomplished by 6 a.m. on
24th September, with the exception of Base
stores not immediately required, which were left
on board the s.s. "Kwang Ping" in anticipation
of a change of Base, to Sha-tzu-kou Bay, within
about 10 miles of the lines of investment.
24th September was spent in transferring stores
from landing place to Base Supply Depot.