DIARY OF SERGEANT L. CARR
19 WELLINGTON ROAD
A SERGEANTS LOG OF GALLIPOLI
The following pages represent a translation of a shorthand diary, kept
day by day from April 28th 1915 to January 1st 1916 - and relates accurately
and faithfully the various movements, engagements, bivouacs, etc. And
if I may say, the hardships and privations endured whilst serving my King
and Country on the Gallipoli Peninsula - probably more familiarly known
as the Dardanelles Campaign.
It is not intended to be a literary effort - there is absolutely nothing
of the fiction element about it nor intended - it is the voice of what
I could correctly describe as from the rank and file; as although a non-commissioned
officer, I naturally "mucked in" with the "boys" -
the rankers - the common soldiers who won the war.
There will be found in its pages what some of my friends will term a characteristic
artistic description of some of the beautiful surroundings. It is not
intended to be propaganda in its passport - but taking the Gallipoli Campaign
as a whole - I think few of you who read it will not be carried away with
any other idea than that this war was senseless and futile.
I hope you will enjoy it - if I may be permitted to use the word enjoy
- in fact I feel confident you will find same interesting - particularly
those of you who had friends or relations out there.
Back in our old haunt - Main Barracks Abbassia, Cairo, where we were first
housed when we landed in Egypt in September last.. We are tenanted with
the 6th Manchester after our few weeks under canvas at Heliopolis. Not
a great deal of room for two battalions in the space we previously occupied
with our own battalion, but it is much better than Heliopolis - Canvas
tents don't offer that protection against the sun and sand storms which
are so prevalent just now.
Our march to Helouan should have come off today at 6pm but was cancelled
at 5.30pm. There seems to be an air of suspicion about and everybody is
in a state of excitement. "C" Company have moved off to the
Suez Canal today.
With the Gun on the range at 6am until 9.15am ranging, grouping and a
general Machine Gun Practice. A rather intensive and sudden preparation
which gives one the impression that the end of our training is in sight
and that we shall be wanted somewhere very soon.
Arrived back in barracks to learn that we have to move probably to the
Dardanelles. The excitement seems to be magnified each hour and the air
charged with electricity. The only topic seems to be "when, where
Inspection of service dress, identity discs and kit generally, and the
rumour seems to be taking definite shape.
Further inspections today from 6am. Orders issued that no buttons are
to be cleaned until further orders. A rather remarkable order in view
of the spick and span regime of 7 months training at Cairo, Alexandria,
Ras-el-Tin and Heliopolis.
Iron rations will be issued out, consisting of 1lb Corned Beef, 1lb of
Biscuits, Oxo Cubes and tea and sugar.
Our Khaki drill is not to be worn, service dress only with Helmets. "C"
Company returned from the Suez this afternoon. So we are now at full strength
and all the troops - 5th and 6th and 7th and 8th Manchesters, 5th 6th
7th and 8th Lancashire Fusiliers and The East Lancashires should be in
fine fettle, with an opportunity of putting into practice our long training
- with route marches (not forgetting the third tower) and miniature battles.
All bustle and excitement again - everybody seem to be straining at the
leash and jumpy and jurky with inspections for this, that and the other.
Doing things now which should have been done in the first week of mobilization
at Cross Land and Turton.
More Orders - and as Orderly Sergeant for the Machine Gun Section, I seem
to be kept on the trot and full stretch most of the morning. Orders to
get kit bags and equipment together ready to move at a moments notice.
100 rounds of ammunition issued out.
Parade at 10pm with the Machine
Gun Section and travel with the first train at 11.30pm.
Although we are supposed to be in perfect health and condition, we are
just about murdered with full pack on. Dashing about like a Jack in the
Box all the evening and on parade all night fatigue work.
Entrained at 12.30am - from Abbassia sidings and after the usual "de
luxe" train journey from Cairo to Alexandria arrived at 6am. Guns
unloaded and packed them on board the S.S. "Karoa" (Glasgow)
but the Gun Section have to sail on the S.S. Nile, so we embarked on the
latter. There seems to be about 2,000 of us aboard and unavoidably packed
uncomfortably. We are packed on the boat deck amidst the smoke, soot and
grime. First bit of food received at 2.30pm since last nights tea. Roasted
Potatoes (2) with some frozen beef.
Were just settling down in our new abode at 5pm when orders were received
that the Machine Gun Section must travel by the S.S. "Koroa"
after all, so that meant still another move. The Army to a "T"
However the change appears to be for the better so far as personal comfort
is concerned so we were quite contentedly settled down at 6pm and interestedly
watched the departure of the S.S. "Nile". Got down to it on
the saloon deck at 10pm
Up at 6am just in time to see the departure of another troopship - all
aboard seemed in good spirits and a general carefree exchange of helmet
and hand waving.
We followed in the wake and sailed from there at 7am. I should think Alexandria
Harbour never presented a more warlike appearance as it does today, what
with troopships, destroyers and craft of all sizes and descriptions. The
quaysides choc a bloc with stores , ammunition , Guns, no wonder the Arabs
and Baksheesh boys are looking awestruck and bewildered.
Breakfast at 7.30 - parade at 10 and both guns mounted on the deck. Into
it this time I think. Another 100 rounds of ammunition issued out this
afternoon. Thats 200 each - so if every bullet finds a billet theres going
to be some tragedies.
Most of the afternoon spent filling all our spare belts and getting ready
Up early with a glorious sunrise and sighted land at 5am and was in view
all along. A chill wind blows and was a bit chilly on the deck with only
one blanket on last night.
A special guard mounted on the boat deck to watch for submarines and mines.
Hope they have some luck.
Nothing startling happened so far no escort arrived yet but shall probably
pick one up during the night. Expect to arrive sometime tomorrow. Down
to it at 9.30.
Woke up at 5.30am to find ourselves just right amongst them now. Heard
the first shots of the war fired - it seems quite thrilling and with dozens
of ships, cruisers, gun boats etc. knocking about we are slowly beginning
to realize that war is a grim business. Lt. Beason tells us that the Turks
are hemmed in between the Australians and the 29th Division. I think we
are going to reinforce this lot.
No idea where this place is but there appears to be plenty of troops and
life all round the coast.
Orders to get equipment on, dismount the two guns and get under way ready
A precarious and unsteady gangway connects the side of our boat with a
much smaller Pinnace and after a bit of shuffling and manoeuvring we are
suddenly carried alongside the S.S. "River Clyde". Each boat
load seems to get its quota of shells aimed at it and our baptism of war
I suppose and a shell burst within a dozen yards of our lot but we only
got a bit splashed.
Over the narrow doorway leading through the "River Clyde" is
the useful advice "Duck your Nuts". We had to get through and
rather fortunate that we are all more or less slim or a fairly stout fellow
would have become wedged in the doorway - what with equipment and our
However we touched land again and were marshalled into some improvised
shallow trenches awaiting the whole battalion disembarking.
Shells and bullets are whistling about and heavy firing going on all the
time and I feel sure I could taste some of them.
The troops on shore tell some terrible tales of the hard times they had
when forcing a landing and storming the cliffs. A glorious place here
for all that and as we moved away in single file to our bivouac we could
see the destroyed forts and little villages around the district. Wonderfully
interesting without a doubt but something to "chuck" would be
Gen. Ian Hamilton came amongst us in the early evening and appeared quite
friendly and "pally". He remembered the Lancashire Fusiliers;
he was with a Manchester Regiment in Ladysmith and he always had treasured
memories of their heroism. He felt sure we would uphold that reputation
especially as we came from Manchester and Salford.
Evidently words of comfort but we were more interested in the "grub"
which arrived at 7.30 - a tin of cooked meat - potato hash with an overdose
of preservatives in but we relished it and if the tin had only been edible
we could have eat that as well so hungry were we as it was our first bite
Got down to it in the shallow trenches at 8.30pm to the tune of a terrible
fire in the distance and the warships which we are overlooking are all
Roused at 2am - rations given out and were all moving away at 2.45. No
smoking - equipment tightened up to prevent rattling of water bottles
etc. no talking in the ranks and move as noiselessly as possible over
some very uneven ground - arriving in a beautiful valley at 5.30 - after
just avoiding walking through to the Turkish lines. Hard work carrying
the guns on stretchers and the nearer we get the closer the bullets seem
As the morning wears on the shells come whistling about in their hundreds
and things seem very unsafe. There seems to be a peculiar stillness amongst
us - an uncanny feeling - prompted probably by the wars horrors which
are grimly but silently told around here - by the dead troops, dead animals,
blood stained rifles and bayonets left lying about.
There is a New Zealand gun team near us in the shelter of the hillside
and they are working their gun like hell. It is fine morning but a nasty
cold wind blowing.
Orders received at 2pm that the Machine Gun Section have to go into action
and cover the 6th Battalion (Lancashire Fusiliers) advance.
Moved in single file across gorse and scrub down a cliff side and out
into the open country. A few minutes just under cover to enable us to
get our wind and quench our parched throats - we seemed horribly thirsty
with the exertions and apparent fear and dread of the unknown - and in
line we advanced - carrying two Machine Guns - tripods and belt boxes
fully loaded was collar work. That few seconds behind the first bush I
shall never forget - the whole Turkish Army seemed to have spotted us
and it was doubtless a couple of snipers.
We made good progress and after what seemed like a few miles advance we
got into action and were on targets galore - with the Turks retreating
from trench to trench until nightfall came on and we had to dig in on
the ground we had won.
Our first appreciation of our entrenching tools and we dug, dug, dug until
we could hardly move.
No slurp, no grub and very little water and we discarded our helmets at
the starting point so we present a bedraggled appearance no doubt.
Bayonets fixed, guns ready loaded and riled up and under arms all night.
"Pass the word along to "Stand to" - 2am and we are wondering
whether our last minute is to come. There is a terrible nerve-racking
rifle fire all night and shells are bursting all over. The noise is deafening,
and to add to the weirdness of it all there is a powerful search-light
somewhere ahead of our right front which flashes across the front every
few minutes and appears to turn the night into day.
It was a wonderful scene in the dim distance.
I think the 5th Battalion Fusiliers advance today and we are covering
them all the morning and well into the afternoon and they are evidently
making progress as the enemies fire is mounting considerably and are being
driven farther back. But we are paying the price for it - all our Battalions
are badly cut up but have done good work and seem to have the enemy on
the run again after yesterdays rout.
Both guns out of action at 3.30pm and as we were rushed so quickly into
the fighting our spare part boxes and limbers were left on the "Karoa"
so we cannot effect any repairs.
We had to make water in the barrel casing as the heavy firing we did had
evaporated all the water in it. Looked very humorous handing the corned
beef tin round to each man.
Little short of murder in here - dead and dying are lying about all over
and a poor Turk lies a dozen yards ahead of us wrapped in this blue overcoat
- his moans sound pitiful and looks as if his life is limited.
Brilliant sunshine all day and the Larks are up and singing with a seeming
silent mockery while we poor devils have had neither sleep, food nor wash
since leaving the transport - except for the tin of cooked meat.
Don't care how soon we do get something to eat and how soon we are relieved.
The shells and shots come whistling over our heads and makes us cowe down
a bit I can tell you.
Hope we can gain that "B" hill that we are after as if we can
get hold of that we ought to have the key to the situation and keep them
on the move.
"Pass the word along to retire along the trench" and we dismounted
the guns and moved from our position after having been there over 24 hours
with nothing to eat except what we could cadge from the 5th Battalion
chaps who were constantly passing us to their jumping off point.
Borrowed some spare parts and soon got our 2 guns in working order again.
Were just having a quiet rest at the advanced supply base and concluded
that we could get settled down for a few hours - but orders came through
that the whole Fusilier Brigade have to go to the base to re-organise
our shattered forces - so we moved off in the darkness at about 8pm over
some terrible undulated country and amidst a suitable hail of snipers
bullets - arriving at our first base at 11 o clock just in time to get
a tin of jam and some biscuits issued out, but no time to eat them as
we have to move off to our .................... base which we first arrived
at off the boats. It was a back breaking and a heartrending march - over
rocks and broken stones that seem like the forts which we have reduced
and to add to the burden, we were carrying guns and ammunition boxes so
we had a hell of a job - and no mistake and the old Turk with his several
cows and bullocks seemed to trudge alongside us as nonchalantly and easy.
Looked at my watch at 12.30 and I felt absolutely spent. Impossible to
move any further so some of the men and myself got down to it on the rocks
about a yard from the Aegean Sea. Woke up as soon as dawn broke and wended
our weary way to the base. After climbing and rolling about with a rifle
and belt box we eventually arrived at our Bivouac. First job after that
was to have a wash and shave- a wash with the lather brush as our water
was precious - the first since leaving the boat. Feel a bit better now
and it is 7 o clock. The bacon is being cooked and it smells appetising
to be sure. Just having my first decent smoke for four days - cigs are
worth their weight in gold - yesterday there was just a 2 inch dimp between
us and all six had a draw each.
Our first taste of war has left a nasty impression, I should imagine.
The pitiable sights we witnessed will go with us down to our graves. As
we were scurrying across the ground - up hill and down dale - to our jumping
off point - we encountered any amount of wounded - one young looking lad
with his arm smashed up was wild eyed and open mouthed and shouting "Mother
Oh Mother". Another fellow among the next batch - they seemed to
be coming along in half dozens - was beseeching us "Don't go lads
- its bloody murder down there - Don't go - and the blood trickling down
his face made him look more hideous and his words are ringing in my brain
yet. The medical chaps were working like Trojans - stemming the blood
from their wounded with bandages that looked already to have reached the
limit of their absorption. It was all sickening and heartbreaking reallly
- and all that before we had reached our jumping off point - a rough strewn
stony coast track apparently - with a thick bushy hedge alongside which
we were taking cover and quenching our parched lips from our water bottles.
Just ahead and out in the open there was an officer of the 29th Division
sauntering about quite carelessly to the edge of the cliff and back again
- we were only about 20 or 30 yards away from the edge of the cliffs with
a sheer drop into the sea. Could clearly see the revolver in his hand
- whether consciously or unconsciously he kept it in a position where
we could all observe it. The enemies machine guns - there was no mistaking
the regularity - swish, swish, swish - were playing constantly on the
point where we were converging from - and as we glanced through the gaps
in the hedge we could see the shrapnel shells bursting all over the plain.
It was a terrifying sensation - I don't think there was a word spoken
- we just seemed to look at each other then through the gaps in the hedge
and the expression on our faces told each other what our mouths couldn't.
But the 29th Division Officer inspired us - that may or may not have been
his mission - and we dashed out and over the open country in 50 yard bursts
- taking cover behind the few bushes scattered here and there. The incident
which unnerved me more than any of the previous gory sights happened after
about the third stretch when I almost bumped into my dear old pal Bob
Anderton - with an ugly gap at the top of his left arm - he was staunching
the blood with a bandage in his other hand and a R.A.M.C. fellow was assisting
him along. Poor Bob. I was dearer to him spiritually at that moment than
I had ever been in my life - the fellow I joined the Territorials with
in 1909 - we went through the A.C.O.'s class together - almost inseparable
at our Aldershot and Prestatyn camps. And the same in Egypt - we were
like Siamese twins - in fact Regt. Sergeant Major Robinson invariably
had us both in charge of the respective guards at Albasia barracks - if
Bob was on Quarter guard I would be on Main Guard and vice versa. It shook
me up from head to foot - and with every bursting shell that came near
us - I could picture myself getting one in the right arm to balance us.
It was a painful baptism of war without a doubt.
The Aeroplanes are busy overhead during the morning and the big guns are
still booming but the rifle fire seems to be farther away after our big
rush this last few days. We hope to capture that "B" hill before
the week is out.
All resting and recovering ourselves and the roll call shows quite a number
of familiar faces and names missing from the Battalion.
The cooks are busy at the bottom there getting some good corned beef stew
ready for dinner and whilst a less appetising sight on the windward side
of our bivouac looks as if some of the troops are making more room for
it. Our latrines are shallow trenches about a foot deep where they have
to stand astride and obey natures call. If it isn't closed at dinner time
I can see some of the more modest and tickled stomached heaving a bit.
Orders just issued that we must be prepared to move away at shortest notice
after 2 o clock.
Tea at 6 o clock biscuits and jam with an issue of cigarettes and a small
ration - about a good mouthful of rum.
Parade at 7.30 pm and moved off over some better ground - although the
guns and equipment don't get any lighter and our cramped positions yesterday
has made us all quite leg weary.
Stood with the limbers until 4.15am then made some tea and had a snack
of corned beef and biscuits.
Here we are in a very pretty spot - well wooded and sheltered. French
troops and artillery are scattered about in "lumps"- any amount
of Indian troops also. It seems more like a gathering of the clans, and
with some fine dug outs we are likely to live longer than the trench life
we experienced yesterday.
The French Artillery are playing hell with that "B" hill we
are after and we get a much better view and it looks unnaturally symmetrical
with a huge mound at the top of it.
There appears every prospect of another big battle coming off today by
the way the artillery are pounding away. The rifle fire seemed to drop
a bit during the night but is at normal again this morning.
The poor Australians have had a terrible cutting up judging by the dozens
of dead, dying and wounded the stretcher bearers are carrying away to
the hospital base. Feeling pretty fit and well just now and have been
able to get another wash. Got down to it at 8.30 after blankets (1) had
been dished out. Of course, as we may be wanted any minute we cannot take
our clothes off and when I got laid down I could feel the "Crawlies"
having a stroll round. I feel absolutely lousy with not having my clothes
off for such a long time.
Up at 4.30am and took advantage of the quiet morning by having a good
wash and examining my shirt I found about 20 of the best. Little black
things - I've no idea what they were but they feel like elephants the
way they walked around last night. Heard there was quite a heavy cannonade
during the night but I must have slept peacefully through it all.
The guns are cracking away quite early on but that "B" hill
looks most imposing and a most formidable task - it will want some taking
The hundreds of wounded Australians seam to form an endless stream as
they keep passing through our lines and all look in a pretty bad state.
They must have lost half their numbers by now.
Our killed and wounded was not so bad when one considers that it was a
veritable hell and literally swept by rifle, machine gun fire and that
Went on parade at 11 o clock - a bit of an inspection it was really intended
for but just as we were lined up, a shell burst about 30 yards ahead of
us. When another one burst in some bushes only a few yards away and smothered
some of us in dirt and debris, we had to clear off in a virtual stampede
to our dug-outs. It certainly seemed little short of madness to have us
massed out there in the full glare of the Hill.
Brilliant sunshine all morning and as our bivouac is right amongst dozens
of apple and pear trees it is beautiful. And if it was not for the shells
and bullets whistling about would be more like a picnic. We are nevertheless
getting more used to these death dealing shells and that nervy feeling
seems to be gradually wearing off
Stripped for the first time last night since landing and felt much better
after it, regardless of the hardness of the bed.
Breakfast at 8 - Bacon, biscuits and jam. Overhauled the guns and rifles
and took things easy. The usual cannonade seems to continue with a few
heavy explosions round the bivouac but otherwise nothing very startling
Orders issued in the late afternoon to get ready to move very shortly.
Moved out of our bivouac for the first line trenches at 7pm. It is a weird
and eerie job this morning - never a word is passed hardly - just a steady
tramp and stumble across the uneven ground until we reached a water course.
Traversed this for a couple of miles when one of our fellows got hit and
caused us to be cut off from the battalion. An officer wanted to show
us the way but not likely - he looked a bit fishy for my liking so I simply
hung on and followed the 7th Battalion Fusiliers - right across a terrible
field of fire - Thought my last minute had come. It was a terrifying journey
- for about 20 minutes we were digging our noses in the mud - we dare
not move so heavy and close seemed the rifle fire. To make matters worse
the rain started and we were soon more like water rats. When the firing
had quietened down somewhat we crawled forward gradually.
Arriving at the support lines about 1am feeling just about beat. Raining
heavily and the trenches are full of slutch. Moved further along and eventually
landed amongst the rest of the Battalion at about 5am.
Both guns mounted on the parapet with a good field of fire but very exposed
- and relieved the two Australian teams who have been here they say since
First job after that was to help Capt. Goodfellow of "C" Company
to lift one of his men who had been killed during the night out of the
trench. Hit last night with shrapnel. Not a very pleasant task after our
gruelling and arduous journey last night. Makes one hope the war will
not last long as it is little short of hell in here just now. How glorious
to be at home with the wife and baby and to be able to sit down to a decent
meal and a good cup of tea.
Firing has been going on all morning and the shots come whistling over
our heads most uncomfortably. Feeding on biscuits and jam. We lost about
a couple of dozen men last night what with snipers bullets etc. you have
a difficult task to get along safely. Just blown the tangent sight off
No.2 gun. They are not half crack shots - but suppose it was partly our
fault for having it up, although in our extreme excitement we overlook
Moved about half a mile farther along the trenches to take over two machine
guns of the Australians, which also brings us near the French who are
operating on our right. Terrific bombardment all afternoon and early evening
and we covered an advance of the Frenchmen. Evidently trying to straighten
the line as we seem to be several hundred yards ahead of them. Silhouetted
against the sky they presented a wonderful spectacle as they advanced
in line in extended order and although the Turks shrapnel was being powered
out their progress was decisive.
Got down to it between 11 and 12pm but had a job to sleep much - what
with the terrible noise and the "crawlies".
At the guns from 2am and watching the dawn break and a beautiful sunrise.
The day is just as fine as it was wet yesterday. Trench life is bad enough
in fine weather but with the pitiless rain we seem helpless in the mud
and slutch. A nice field of Poppies lies to the rear of our trenches and
I am writing this note to the tune of the beautiful larks song in a good
Captain Radford of "A" Company was shot in the neck last night
and now lies dead at the bottom of the trench. Any amount of dead lying
in front and behind us. Our breakfast bacon which the Australians kindly
left us has been lying alongside a dead Turk for a few days but it went
down with gusto for all that.
The Aeroplanes are busy again this morning - as also the stretcher bearers
and we seem to be having any amount of casualties during the last few
days. News just been passed along as official that Antwerp and Ostend
have been re-captured by the British, so thats a bit of good news.
One of the Turks gave himself up at the end of our position at 3.30. We
applied the usual active service regulations - blind folded him and led
him through the trenches. They look big fellows these Turks - for stature
and physical they would make two of our chaps.
"Pass the word along to keep a sharp look out" - which we did
from 6 o clock onwards. Evidently that Turk had disturbed our headquarters
and we were on tenterhooks until 11 o clock. Then tried to get down to
it, but no use and was stood to arms most of the night.
Heavy fire kept up all night but no counter attack developed. The enemy's
fire balls fairly light us up and their powerful searchlight is monotonously
accurate in its flash. Private Dixon the chap next to me got a bit of
a wound during the early morning and sent him down to the base.
Had a very pleasant surprise this morning after breakfast where the Company
sent along eight cigarettes. They are our most welcome friend out here.
Matches are very scarce - in fact everything is scarce bar the bullets
How senseless war seems amidst a glorious country like this - with Gods
own music. If we could only interpret the Lark's song I am sure it must
be trying to convey that impression to us all.
I don't know whether any of our fellows have a divining rod but one of
them has struck water and our tea we make with water - very limey and
milky coloured - taken from a hole sunk in the trench bottom.
The usual dinner - jam and biscuits and the tea tastes delightful - it
is a beautiful deception and makes us think we have milk in it.
A glorious starlet night with hardly a rustle of wind - not enough to
disturb the leaves of the old oak that stands defiantly just in front
of our trench - the bark has been knocked off the trunk with bullets.
The peace and quiet of a pleasant summer evening was badly disturbed about
11pm when a 90 minute terrific rife fire broke out all along the line
but eased off to normal.
Another ideal day and there seems a lull in the fighting in this section.
Perhaps the calm before the storm. Just heard officially that there are
37,000 prisoners taken at Ostend.
Also rumoured that there is a mail in today. Nothing much moving up to
lookout. Orders to dismount gun and re-join the section in our old position
so moved off at 2.30.
It seems a bit safer there too - the trenches are deeper and narrower
which affords better protection against that damned shrapnel.
The mail is in evidently as I have 8 letters to read over tea. Some consolation
for a miserable feast - jam and biscuits. Very busy time for the artillery
after 6 pm but quietened down towards 10. Tried to get down to it at 11
but the Turks night firing got us jumpy and were soon called out to "stand
to". Don't think we have had 24 hours sleep all told since arriving
Think of it - Sunday morning
and in the trenches whilst the people at home are basking in the Parks.
Sitting reading at their ease while we poor devils don't know which moment
is our last.
There is a pretty little village not more than half a mile away and the
more we look at it the more it reminds us of home and the artillery keep
pounding away at it. - but it looks so beautiful and peaceful. Probably
we shall be in it before very long.
A strong rumour about that we shall be returned tonight. Just had a call
from Sergt. Stan Whittle who was attached to us at Cairo. Seems to be
going on alright amidst this terrible strife. Immediately above here within
my sight is that poor chaps grave, that I helped Capt. Goodfellow to drag
along the trench when we first arrived in the trenches.
What a grave it is only a foot down - we cannot expose ourselves sufficiently
long to dig too deeply. Buried just as he fell - minus equipment and helmet.
The only reverence we could display was to put a sack over his face and
head - perhaps a tender feeling that the earth would not hurt his face.
These are the incidents which touch a man's heart however hard it is.
Plenty of shell fire all afternoon and another of our boys was killed.
Shot through the lungs.
Packed up and moved out of the trenches at 9pm. Relieved by the 5th Manchesters
and had a perilous journey moving. Met by a fusillade of bullets at one
corner of the Gulley - it seems a veritable death-trap no cover. The fire
was so heavy that we had to retire and man the trenches again. The Turks
naturally know every inch of the ground and where our exits from the trenches
to the Gulley (our main line of communication) are.
It subsided very considerably and we managed to get to our bivouac in
the early hours.
Dead beat to the world and I'll bet I was fast asleep in 5 minutes after
arriving. Up again at 6 o clock and found ourselves in a magnificent spot
- right in the midst of a barley field with fine healthy fruit trees all
round. It would be delightful out here only for the infernal war. Another
nice bright sunny day but we seem to be a bit nearer the fighting zone
than previous bivouacs. Hope the authorities allow us to get settled down
for a good long sleep - everybody is wearing a more or less jaded and
Shells are dropping perilously near our dug outs and we barely seem to
get away from them.
A lush diet for breakfast - Bacon and cheese. Not had any bread yet -
all hard biscuits - but we can eat anything. Our experience in changing
trenches will have created an indelible impression. I should imagine by
now. We would sooner charge in daylight but every move has to be done
at dark - we are not sufficiently forward get and always under observation
and fire. But even at night the enemies search-light makes us get down
in the gulley and the dozens of croaking toads and the glow of the glow
worms don't assist us in any way. It may seem absurd but one gets the
impression that the croaking toads give the enemy the "wire"
when troops are moving. Or is it their usual habit to croak at night time.
About the best and most peaceful sleep I have had for weeks last night
and found a difficulty in getting out at 5.15. But it was too good to
be true and we had a sudden ................... when we were ordered to
pack up again.
Parade at 7 o clock and moved away to another bivouac about a mile farther
on - supposed to be a rest camp and sheltered a little bit from the "B"
Hill by the contour of the ground but shells are bussing about nearby.
There was a heavy bombardment of that pretty little village of mine this
afternoon and it is smoking heavily again. We never seem to leave it alone
for very long. Although a rest camp - the men have to go on fatigue parties
making decent roadways for some big naval guns that are coming to our
assistance. And if signs and portents are anything to go by we shall want
A few more casualties in "A" Company and their total will soon
be as many as the rest of the Battalion put together. Still bombarding
the enemies position all along the line so got down to it at 9 o clock.
Up with the Lark at 6.30. A ration of Bread for breakfast this morning.
First white bread we have seen for 3 weeks. A small loaf about 6 inches
long and four inches square - one between three of us. Not much sustenance
there for growing lads but we cannot grumble.
All sunshine again today and on the whole life would not be half so bad
only for these cursed shells and spare bullets whisking about.
There was a bit of a Religious Service this morning on the sheltered side
of the valley here and quite an assembly went to make peace with their
Finished dinner at 5 o clock and were just feeling contented with ourselves
and enjoying the fine sun-down when we were ordered to pack up and move
again. We seem more like human pawns in this warlike game of chess and
the authorities appear to take a sheer delight in this .........................
removal - as soon as we get fixed up in some decent dug-outs we have to
move to another spot. However, we must conclude there is some strategy
in it all and we moved off at 7.30. Darkness again and we stumbled along
to some unknown place and after making a bit of head cover with our entrenching
tools, looked at my watch at 10.20 and got down to it.
In the dim distance we can plainly see that the pretty village burning
- it is a glorious starlet night with the mellow moon looking down upon
us quite serene - with not too much power and probably a good job for
us as we are very exposed.
Up at 5.30am amidst a veritable hail of shot and shells. They are bursting
within a matter of 50 yards all around us - and one never knows that the
next will be right in amongst us.
We had a few casualties last night whilst moving but not very many.
There is a little broken down farmstead about 100 yards ahead of our camp,
and the Artillery blokes seem to be taking care of some cocks and hens.
Some more bread this morning - I record the bread issues as it is a delightful
luxury apparently. The output is improving however as we have a loaf between
The transport chaps tell us it is a damned good job that we did move from
our last nights bivouac. It is practically a heap of sand now and even
some of the trees have been uprooted. Thank God for that. I could not
help recalling that tune "By The Babbling Brook" as I was having
a swill in a rather shallow but picturesque stream that runs below here
and which separates "A" Company from the rest of the Battalion.
Our drinking water we obtain from a pretty deep well a few dozen yards
away. It seems a trifle primitive turning the handle and hauling up a
bucket of water. It tastes beautiful and cool - like an iced drink.
The cigarettes ran out this morning but I keep managing to cadge one.
How this war seems to touch the hospitality of man. Thats the thing which
has appealed to me almost more than anything else - how everybody tries
to help one another.
That is the true spirit in these times.
Dinner at 6.30 and feeling quite fit and I don't suppose I shall be long
before I am in the land of slumbers - and I hope we shall not be disturbed
The old aeroplanes are out early today and never seem to tire of searching
for information of the enemies movements. Any amount of heavy shells kicking
about most of the morning and we are keeping low.
Sgt. Billie Birch was hit this dinnertime - a stray bullet apparently
and he is congratulating himself now on his good fortune of going down
to the base. Bathing parades have been instituted today and squads of
men are going to the sea for a swim. Rather a peculiar sight to see a
loaded rifle sling over the shoulder in place of the bathing suit. A daily
news bulletin has been issued out today - the Peninsula Press - printed
at S.H.2 by the R.E.'s Printing Section and amongst the various news items
is the information that there is a sign of mutiny amongst the Turks at
Constantinople so lets hope for the best.
Another sacred service at 6 pm amongst the beautiful foliage.
Rather cold wind blowing from the East which makes things very chilly.
Got down to it rather earlier tonight in our much improved dug out - our
leisure hours have been spent today digging ourselves in.
Woke up at 6 o clock through the rain beating down on us. A miserable
outlook this morning. Black ominous clouds are hovering about and a nasty
steady rain has set in.
Breakfast late on account of our numerous fatigue parties going out at
4 o clock laying lines on the West Road to Krithia (that village of mine
that we are constantly hammering at).
Shells are coming thick and heavy again all morning.
Orders sent along to dig the limbers in today so it seems as if we are
staying here for a short time at any rate.
Weather cleared up great at 2 o clock and the sun is hot as ever. Oh!
Give us the sun - rain is damned uncomfortable in these improvised dug
Several casualties today - stray bullets they call them. They haven't
strayed very far when they have put a few fellows out.
Not too fit today - nasty headache most of the time but eased a bit in
the afternoon. Home sick I suppose.
The aeroplanes are out again just now probably their last trip before
the night fall. News just been passed round that Italy has declared war
on Germany - perhaps that will hasten the end - but we appear to be getting
horribly involved now and will surely want a who's who of the belligerents
or we shall be fighting each other.
Almost in kip when Lt. Bidson came along and told us that we had to get
up and put our clothes ready to move at a moments notice. So of course
we had no option.
Thank God! We were not disturbed again however and I slept peacefully
through the night.
And to think it is Whit Sunday today - I wonder where we shall be next
Whit Sunday - hope we are all in the good old homeland - Yes before that.
Not much doing today so far - just a few shells to keep us reminded that
the war is still on. Perhaps the Turks are all on Church Parade.
Dinner over - the usual diet - Biscuits, cheese and jam. Rather a phenomenal
Sunday dinner to most of us I think but I suppose we have to be thankful
for what we do get.
A decided lull in the firing without a doubt.
Helmets are very conspicuous for their absence and only an occasional
one amongst the whole Battalion. The majority of us are wearing the old
balaclava or as an alternative - and a very useful one too - our mess
tin covers. They say necessity is the mother of invention and these mess
tin covers are extraordinarily adaptable as the flap just comes down on
the nape of the neck to shield it from the hot sun.
One of my special jobs now is to read out the Penninsula Press bulletin
to the boys and they fairly look forward to it.
Down to kip at 9 o clock.
Turned out rather miserable again this morning - nasty drizzle and by
the black sky overhead things look doubtful.
Very uneventful and quiet up to now but as I am writing this note they
have started sending a few shells at about 200 yards to our left so we
shall not complain if they continue at that distance. Nearly all fatigue
work just now - digging and delving and we are so experienced now that
we would put the navy to shame.
Beautiful afternoon with the sun as usual and what looked like being a
dismal day has turned out the reverse.
The Machine Gun Section have been practising getting a sight on the gun
with a periscope - rather a novel idea - but a general consensus of opinion
amongst the boys seems to be that we would risk being exposed for 6 seconds
rather than take all that time getting a periscope fixed up.
Pleasant evening again - a beautiful moonlight night with very little
wind blowing and alternating with the vicious crack of the stray bullets
overhead - we can hear those deathly ominous toads in the distance.
Down to it at 9 o clock.
Breakfast at 7 o clock - we develop quite a good appetite by the time
we get to "A" Company's lines - we are five or ten minutes walk
away - but the tragedy of it is that we cannot appease our appetite.
Search parties are detailed off today to find the Helmets we threw away
in our first advance. Evidently someone gave the order to discard them
on account of them offering better targets to the enemy so it was a case
of follow the leader - now of course we could do with them.
Anxiously awaiting the mail which I believe is due up today. Anything
to cheer one up is welcome in this clime - especially from the Homeland
- and as we have been under fire ever since we arrived here it gets on
ones nerves. Although this last day or two things have eased a great deal.
Finished our "sporting" dinner at 1.15. I call it sporting because
shells are whistling about all the time - generally some good distance
away though. Today however one came very close - so close that a nasty
ugly piece of it dropped within 5 yards of the 4 or us having dinner together.
It was a narrow escape without a doubt. We ought to be real sports soon
-what with sporting evacuations - sporting meals and sporting washes,
it is rather exciting all the time. But todays was about the most uncomfortable
meal we have had - what with the shells dropping perilously near us and
the rain also dropping rather heavily and to make matters worse Ted Taylor
in trying to cover us both up with the oil sheet caused quite a whole
lot of sand to drop in my tea.
Instructing Sgt. Andrews on the intricacies of the Machine Gun all the
afternoon. We seem to be ill fated for our meals today as we had barely
finished our Tea when a terrific storm broke out and by hell it didn't
half rain. It doesn't rain very often round this latitude, but when it
does - it rains. More like a cloud burst but our troubles had only just
started. That "Babbling Brook" of mine was now rapidly being
transformed into a raging torrent and impassable. After dodging about
for a time looking for a narrow part we made a jump for it and I managed
to cross with one leg - the other was up to the knee. After wading through
mud slutch and feeling anything but merry we arrived at our dug outs only
to find them submerged and most of our personal belongings floating about.
Nothing daunted we started baling the water out and prepared a bed for
the night. And what a bed it was - empty belt boxes in about 3 inches
of water - no outer covering - just as we stood and these things were
not a little damp.
To sleep it was impossible and we could not even turn over as the sharp
corner of the boxes were running in my hip.
About 11 o clock one of our Aeroplanes went up - it was such a clear moonlit
night . A terrible fire seemed to be kept up all night and strays were
swishing about galore.
My thoughts wandered to the earlier part of the evening - it was both
humorous and weird to see the different cargo floating down stream - bottles
of rum - biscuit tins - Dead Turks - Dead Tommies and goodness knows what.
There were any amount of killed and wounded as the enemy seemed to rejoice
in powering that shrapnel down whilst we were wandering about aimlessly
trying to cross.
Sun rose early - so did I. Tried to feel enthusiastic and merry but who
could? - picture a chap with plenty of money but no cigarettes - a pair
of wet socks and a feeling generally rheumatic its impossible.
Spent all the morning improving our dugouts. Soaked the remainder of the
water up with sacks and then dug another four inches down and the soil
seams quite hard underneath.
Any amount of casualties today - they never cease. Several killed and
wounded whilst on fatigue work making a roadway. A sudden bombardment
of our position started this afternoon and resulting in two killed. Was
changing my shirt at the time and a shell burst within a dozen yards -
right amongst some dixies and poor Corporal Lightfoot got a piece in his
head. He died at 7.30 and was laid to rest soon after. It's very short
notice - at 3 o clock we were all laughing and joking and a few hours
after two dead and buried. One never knows which moment is his last. Shells
were flying thick and heavy all night so was down to it at 9 o clock and
had a beautiful night's sleep. Could strip to it and quite different from
Enemies usual breakfast time shells coming down again. They seem to have
some objection to our having a meal in peace. It would be worth something
to have a meal without having to duck our head every few minutes.
Further inspired news in the Peninsula Press today - speaks well of the
troops operating in this neighbourhood.
King Sol resumes his normal rate of heat and there is very little outward
sign of the recent flood.
Late dinner at 6 o clock and an issue of cigs and rum. Thank God! For
the cigarettes - I have been making my own these last three days with
borrowed tobacco from the pipe smokers and pages torn out of my "Black
Cat" Dictionary. I never thought I should have much use for a dictionary
out here but it has turned out a real pal. The bulk of the words we use
are not embodied in a good dictionary.
Hear that the H.M.S. Majestic was sunk in the harbour this morning at
7 o clock and is now lying keel up in the water. The enemy has been rather
quiet for the last few hours but we are horribly superstitious by now
and always sense the storm after calm. 8 o clock and delightfully cool
and pleasant. If we don't get disturbed shall hope to get down to it very
soon. At home we sleep to the time of the baby - but out here we sleep
to the time of the bullets and shells.
Doomed to disappointment. First we were told to sleep in our full rigout
as a general advance was expected. The next thing we were ordered to get
up and dig proper shrapnel trenches at 10 o clock. About the hardest five
hours work we have ever done in our lives. Poor Red and myself were hard
at it from 10 till 3 - shells and stray bullets were whistling about all
the time but we stuck it through - working like steam navvies. The moon
looked down on us perhaps in mockery and fairly lit us up on the sky-line.
How pleased we were when the officer came along and old us we could get
down for a few hours sleep. But sleep I could not.
So I was more pleased when I heard the cocks astir in the farmstead. Breakfast
at 7 o clock - a meagre breakfast it was too - evidently the bacon had
got lost in the fat - but the fact remains that my portion was no bigger
than a 2 shilling piece. The commissariat seems to be failing us very
Fatigue parties are out today improving our dead comrades graves and where
possible putting barbed wire round.
I don't know whether a temporary
armistice has been declared, as was done the other day, but there is quite
a lull in the general proceedings from 12 to 2 and we took advantage of
the peaceful time by lounging in the shade of the old oak tree.
Rations are still on the small side - for dinner a piece of cheese and
I am sure I have put more on a mouse trap. Tea without sugar. And the
cooks look to be getting the usual ready - stew - if it wasn't for the
pieces of Fray Bentos floating about you'd swear is was washing up water.
Nothing doing much so was down at 9 o clock
Slept like a top until 7.15. After breakfast we paraded at the R.N.A.S.
for a lecture and instruction on the New Light Vickers Gun. Very interesting
and is a big improvement on the Maxim Machine Gun - the whole general
principle is the same but much lighter and not a lot heavier than a loaded
There were any amount of wounded passed us this morning and looks as if
the Manchester Regiment are having a rough spell just now. We were doing
a bit of laundry work this afternoon - washing our shirts, socks etc.
at the well - when a shrapnel shell burst just overhead with the result
that one of the fellows out of "C" Company got the full force
of it. We half carried and half dragged him into the nearest dug out but
he had so many wounds in his body that we could only wipe the blood away
with the shirt he had only two minutes before been washing. Two stretcher
bearers came along but it was only a question of time - he looked to be
slowly bleeding to death as he lay there motionless in the dug out . Rather
hard lines - we had only just been joking if the wife saw us washing our
apparel - and a matter of half an hour afterwards we were picking a grave
for him. We laid him to rest just as the darkness came along.
Very still quiet night disturbed only by the sudden outbursts of rifle
fire and over the drone and hum of the shots, comes a nearby sentries
challenge "Halt" who goes there? - a friendly answer and the
challenged proceeds on his way. Thats all that happens to disturb the
peace and stillness of the night.
The enemies shells are cracking and bursting early this morning so we
are all lying low and making ourselves scarce. Discretion is the better
part of valour.
Cigarettes are scarce and there is not an odd one amongst the whole Gun
Section we are suffering silently.
A report along that the "Goeben" and two Turkish Transports
were sunk last night - but rumours are so wild that we are getting doubtful.
The 5th and 6th Manchesters are in a pretty bad sector. There has been
an almost endless procession this afternoon of stretcher bearers carrying
dead and wounded along the gulley here.
A sudden parade at 2 o clock - for fatigue work on the beach - unloading
some boats of provisions, shells, ammunition etc. It appears the ..............
usually requisition for this class of work have ............ and have
been made prisoners.
It was quite a revelation too - where Angels feared to tread almost when
we first landed on this beach it was more like a huge manufacturing town.
Huge masses of stores of every description - with every branch of the
Army represented. But several well laid out plots hearing the word "Cemetery
remind us silently that we are at war. Hundreds of graves - from Private
to Lieutenant Colonel All side by side. Could just discern the hull of
the H.M.S. "Majestic" in the water.
Were finished at 5 o clock and marched smartly back to camp. Tea and dinner
combined at 7 o clock with an issue of cigarettes so we were well satisfied
and in good humour with ourselves.
Rained a little at 8.30 but cleared up later.
Took advantage of a beautiful morning - up at 5 o clock.
Breakfast over and there is very little doing - shells less prominent
than this last couple of mornings and we are feeling quite peaceful.
Inspection of Machine Guns - Rifles and Iron rations this afternoon and
everything in perfect trim.
Two of our sentries were caught asleep at their post last night and are
to be tried by Court Marshall. It is to be hoped the full rigour of the
active service regulations will not apply - shot at dawn. But they have
no excuse as we have had a lean time this last week - and although under
constant shell fire and consequently nervy - we have not been unduly fatigued.
Very quiet and pleasant evening - no moon out and the only lights to be
seen are the periodic night flares sent up from the firing line.
In kip at 10 o clock.
Tempus Fugit - here we are in June and no nearer the end. That "B"
hill is still in the enemies possession and we shall all be glad when
we are hoisting the Union Jack on it.
A beautiful June day - sunshine from 5 o clock . The aeroplanes are busy
again and are showing a very decided activity. Any amount of shells coming
over our place here and our artillery are replying in no uncertain manner.
Have just been reading ..................................... article in
the Weekly Dispatch. He seems to think the crisis will be over by the
end of this month. If he came out here he would change his mind - if its
over by next June we shall be lucky. We indulged in an extra heavy bombardment
after tea and our shells are literally cutting the hill away.
Just in the rear of our trenches one of those fellows caught sleeping
on sentry duty is doing his No.1 field punishment - young Rix - Private
Sydney Rix - looks quite pathetic - he is fastened to the wheel of our
Battalion water cart chained with both hands behind his back. The Crucifixion
we call it - Looks quite barbaric on the poor devil - but I suppose it
will teach the rest of us the necessary lesson. He has 2 hours daily like
As darkness comes along the stray bullets come zipping over our position
and evidently the Turks fire at random at night.
A minor bombardment again this morning and the Turks are giving us a Roland
for our Oliver. They are not to be out done.
Nearly all fatigue parties just now digging support trenches sufficiently
wide for a mule to walk up with supplies and ammunition. Was digging redoubts
- communication trenches etc. and have just been detailed to take charge
of a party of 50 men. Heavy shelling all afternoon and we are hugging
our trenches. Hope the Turks don't throw any shrapnel over the place we
are working on tonight.
Got away at 8 o clock and several narrow escapes going up the gulley.
Shots were rattling from each side. They fairly have a death knell zip
as they tear into the sides of the cliffs. Digging a redoubt immediately
behind the 3rd line trenches. A perfect hail of bullets whistling over
all the time - and to make the task more strenuous we had to drop flat
on our stomachs as each night flare went up in the front line so that
we should be unobserved - but the moon rises majestically at about 1 o
And so saved all the starlights. Just as our task was finished about 2
o clock one of the party got hit in the back.
Arrived back at our bivouac at 3.30 and feeling a bit jaded. Hardly worth
while getting down to it at that God forsaken hour but risked it and was
up again at 6.30 for breakfast.
Without cigs, but quite happy all things considered.
Those shrapnel being poured out again most of the morning.
I had quite a simple reminder of Crumpsall while out on that fatigue last
night. In the distance we could hear the Turks peculiar chant resembling
either singing or praying. For me it seemed more like the wailing days
in September at the Jewish Cemetery.
Orders to get packed up at 4 o clock ready to move sometime tonight.
Blankets handed in to the Quartermasters Stores and put our oilsheets
in our packs. Also 3 sandbags to be carried by each man so we look like
taking that "B" Hill before we are much older. Lets hope for
the best. 7 pm and everything ready for the great advance forward. Moved
off to the 3rd line trenches at 8 o clock - a smart march in single file
up the gulley and very soon came under a hail of bullets. Like this for
an hour and a half - then found our positions. Rather exposed for all
that. Now in charge of 2 guns which we mounted on the parapet and then
tried to have a sleep from 12 o clock.
But my facility of sleep wouldn't work - I could feel each "Crawler"
having its stroll round. It seems impossible trying to sleep in ones clothes
so little wonder I was wishing for daylight coming round. Up at 5 o clock
and boiled the water for breakfast - marmalade, bread and cheese.
Our casualties have started already - 1 man shot through the mouth and
killed outright. 3 men and 1 officer wounded. Terrific bombardment should
come off today and it almost seems as if it has started - both sides bombarding
heavily - and it is thrilling to keep bobbing up on the parapet watching
the result of our shells. They fairly churn the ground up leaving ugly
gaps here and there. The noise is deafening and terrifying to be sure
and each half hour seems to add to the thunderous din. Every British Gun
on the Peninsula and every Cruiser, Battleship and Dreadnought on the
Aegean Sea must surely be sending out their death dealing shells. My God
- nobody can live long in this surely - it isn't a bombardment its an
Moved again under cover of the trenches at 12.30 for the 2nd line. Terrible
sights and poor Hudson of "A" Company went stark mad and it
took 3 fellows to hold him down. Two more Officers put out of action during
Reached the 2nd line at 2 o clock - both Guns mounted to cover the attack
alongside the gulley. A fine field of fire - good close range and worked
like hell on the returning Turks. Had only been going about half an hour
when 50 or 60 Turks came rushing down the gulley - waving their handkerchiefs
and arms raised - most of them look unscathed but a few limping badly.
A small escort detailed off to march them down to the beach. Prisoners
camps. We seem to be advancing along the whole front and don't care how
soon we take that "B" hill. The sights we see coming down here
are terrible to behold - wounded Manchesters 6th 7th and 8th - Fusiliers
in dozens - one wounded man carrying another who has been shot in the
leg. What with the boom of the guns - Machine Guns - Rifles etc no wonder
men go mad.
A bit of marmalade and biscuits for tea at 7 o clock - but we cannot eat
- it chokes us - then some more nerve racking work.
Stood at the Guns all night through expecting the Turks to counter attack.
Turkish counter attack just before daylight - and our right flank retired
about 200 yards being short of ammunition. Any amount of Turks dead stream
in front but they are holding the ground and our line is bad on the right
flank. Bombs, shrapnel - shot and shell are swelling in the crescendo
- absolutely hell on earth in here and the sun shines through it all.
Breakfast at 7.30 consisting of what we can find round about. A tin of
bully and a bit of jam at the bottom of an old tin.
The one comforter we have out there is a cigarette and thank goodness
I have 15 to go at.
We have advanced a good distance but the "B" hill is still in
their hands. Dozens of Turkish Prisoners are coming down the gully again,
all more or less wounded one half dead.
Some of the trenches are ankle deep in an unpleasant white slutch. My
socks are quite wet and the constant chaffing has made my feet painfully
Received orders at 2 pm to go and take over the Navel Gun in the present
front line to the right flank - and what a heart rendering job it was
- some fearful sights - having to crawl over dead and dying - in some
places they had to serve as cover for us as we crawled along the 100 yard
gap in the line. Could not have got nearer to the ground and shots were
virtually skimming our backs. Took over the Gun and had a hard earned
rest. Feeling absolutely done - no smokes - no bread - no nothing.
We are in the Turks old trenches now and there are any amount of casualties
every minute - they make their trenches very wide and it does not afford
much cover from shrapnel. We are mixed up with the 7th Manchesters - Captain
....................... and his gallant men - looking like the rest of
us sick to death of the whole gory business. The sights over our parapet
are sickening - big greasy looking Turks stretched out and bloated - and
any amount of blood stained shirts and underclothing - note books - and
dubious of all descr4iptions in the trench bottom. One Turk looked to
be more dead than alive remarked as we passed him "Mercy Affendre"
We don't know what he meant.
Mounted the Gun at 8 o clock ready for the night and was standing by all
night through. A heavy rifle fire kept up but Turks have not advanced
Beautiful dawn - fired about 100 rounds at the snipers fire a little distance
behind the Turks front line. Don't know whether we brought any down but
we could plainly see the flash of their Gun.
Made a cigarette for myself from borrowed tobacco and tried to be enthusiastic.
Living on the generosity of the 7th Manchesters - cannot get in touch
with our own Battalion yet. Bread and marmalade issued out so let the
Just passed down the line that Austria has surrendered. I think that is
the second time we have heard that rumour.
Have just been informed by Capt. .......................... that they
are being relieved shortly by the 5th Manchester Regiment - so we are
now in for some real good "Wiggin" No relief for us yet but
believe the Battalion are operating the other side of the gulley and if
there is no severe attacks I must get in touch with them. The Manchesters
are looking after us alright though in the way of food.
Another nervy night - orders passed down to "Stand To" Turks
advancing - and although we opened out it was nothing more than a couple
of Turks dropping into our trench wounded and without even a tooth brush.
It clearly shows the state of our nerves. Stood to all night however.
Cleaned a belt in the early morning just to give them some impression
of our strength. It puts one in a much better frame of mind when daylight
Breakfast of some bacon which our friends the 7th Manchesters had left
behind - but will locate my Battalion during the morning.
Have developed quite a beard and feeling as filthy as it is possible to
feel - No wash for a few days - very little sleep - footsore and weary
- and still a long way off that "B" hill.
Just been down to the gully and found the Quartermasters Stores and managed
to "bag" a couple of loaves and a tin of pozzi, and to hear
the tragic news of the last 3 days fighting. My God! Biggest part of "A"
Company have been wiped out - 20 killed out of one platoon of "B"
Company. 16 of our officers killed and wounded yesterday and the day before.
Poor "Old Bill" and Major Baddeley out and our Lieutenant wounded.
Where will it all end - this fearful carnage - no place like home - its
slow murder out here.
My heart jumped on the way back from the stores when I noticed a grave
at the side of a .................... in memory of Sergeant Stan Whittle.
What a decent fellow he was. Feeling quite round shouldered with having
to keep awaiting developments.
Terrific bombardment from 6 o clock until 8 covering advance of the 9th
Manchesters on our left flank. They took two lines of trenches but had
to retire in disorder. In the same position as yesterday.
At the gun all night again but after that bombardment things settled down
a bit. One of the Turks shells burst right at the back of our trench and
absolutely buried us all. Thought my last minute had come when a big piece
of dirt dropped in my neck hole.
Rattled the usual belt off again at dawn to let them know we are awake.
Another one of my section hit last night. That brings our total up to
5 all told. Down at the 2 M. Stores where I went again for rations the
chief topic is poor "Old Bill" going west.
Old Bill by the way was our Commanding Officer - Colonel Fallows - I don't
know how he got his sobriquet because he was not old - more like a retired
schoolmaster who looked quite unimportant without his spurs. He always
rode a light grey little horse in Egypt. Rather sullen and stern he moulded
his raw material into remarkably good soldiers and I feel sure deep down
in our hearts we loved him.
Not much doing during the day - rifle fire along the line and the bombers
are kept busy just at the right of us here where we are holding the point
of the Turkish front line and a communication trench. Only a thick sand
bag barricade separates the two enemies and there is a constant exchange
Got the gun mounted at 8 o clock ready for night action.
Got down to it at 12 o clock and evidently had a good sleep until 2.30.
Then the dreaded call "Stand to" Had a nasty stoppage in the
gun when firing our usual dawn constitutional but only a bulged cartridge
so soon got it repaired.
Went down for breakfast rations just for a walk as I am feeling just about
jiggered and nerve racked - the sight of those dead bodies seems to make
our hearts heave.
Hear that Tom Hopkins has been wounded now so that leaves few N.C.O.'s
in "A" Company. Also Corporal Edgar gone down to the base with
shattered nerves. No wonder - it is a marvel that any of us can stick
it at all.
Little or no breakfast and seem absolutely off form somehow or other.
The only consolation is that it is a lovely day with a nice cool breeze
blowing and the Larks are constantly entertaining us with their beautiful
Hope the Turks don't bombard us again like they did the other night.
Had a couple of hours sleep during the night and feeling a we bit better
now. Can see our shells fairly cutting the earth up just beyond our trenches.
Hear on good authority there is a chance of a relief very shortly and
we shall not be sorry either - We are all lousy and filthy and badly wanting
a wash and shave; in fact a complete rest and change would work wonders
I am sure. How much would we give for a good hot bath and a change into
civilian clothes. Perish the thought.
Sent our navel gun down to the ............................ base this
afternoon it has earned a long rest and stood us in good stead. It has
been "wounded" twice and wears a thick patch of clay and a field
Plenty of rifle fire going on and I have just seen a chaps periscope hit
- these Turks are absolutely it as regards shooting. There isn't much
to aim at when a periscope is only just peeping over the top of the parapet.
Bursts of rapid rifle fire from the enemy kept us "standing to"
up till 11 o clock and then tried to get down to it for an hour or two.
Then "Stood to" until dawn from 3 o clock. Enemy fairly quiet
and "stand down - observers only" came along without much ado.
Hear that our Battalion were relieved yesterday and we are hoping for
the same during the day.
A fine sunny day - and the Turks are smelling putrid - the heat seems
to roast them and stirs the stink up.
Those shells again this morning but we seem to be getting used to them.
Fed up to the neck with it all if ever anyone was, what a terrible destructive
time these last 7 days have been. Practically the whole Battalion wiped
out - if ever the casualties are published - what tear shedding there
will be. But to have witnessed it all - it makes us shudder.
Our trench pals the 9th Manchesters have just been relieved and the only
thing we have is a promise to relieve us as soon as possible. Stood to
7.30 to 9 then down to it.
Up again at 2.30 and the early morning air feels chilly without overcoat
and especially after a bit of sleep.
Steady rifle fire and occasional bullets come very near the top of the
L/M/ Bill Ong was hit with shrapnel yesterday so that leaves only Sergt.
Major Sagar in the "A" Company and a mere handful of men.
Lieutenant Thorpe had a breakdown after the arduous times lately. One
can well understand it all. All the five of us here with our precious
machine gun are feeling and looking more or less ill. What with the dead
Turks - filthy flies and the miserable trench life. - a living death would
be more appropriate.
Just had a word with the Adjutant of the 6th Battalion Lancashire Fusiliers
who are in here now and he will enquire about our relief. Another night
in apparently as nobody turned up at "start to" - 8 o clock.
Nice sharp morning with the Larks singing merrily out above the sound
of the rifle shots, which, thank goodness were a bit more subdued than
O.C. Firing line instructs me to have breakfast over by 7 o clock - so
it sounds like some more on.
Hope to God! We have finished with attacks for a bit.
A good square meal would be more appreciated - we'd give the world for
a plate of porridge and a couple of eggs and bacon - and tea out of a
cup amidst some decent surroundings. Instead we are on bread and jam -
tea made from dirty water and the smell of the dead overpowers us almost.
This is our 9th day in here and everyone of us has been more or less ill
these last 3 days. I have just sent another chap down to the base through
"Heres a relief for you Sergeant " Good Lord" what a surprise.
The four of us could have jumped the ....................... nearly. Very
soon handed over and beat a hasty retreat to join the Battalion who are
having a quiet rest in the 4th line trenches. All resting on our guns
after about the most terrifying 10 days we have ever had in all our existence.
Living in a tomb cannot be compared with it - dead on top - dead at the
side and in fact, dead all around us. Neither wash nor shave for several
days and we must look hideous beings and worse luck we are far from home.
A good shower bath in the afternoon at the waterfall in the stream that
flows through the gulley of death - Kinthea Nullah is the correct map-
name - but it has spelt death for hundreds of poor souls. My feet are
painfully sore in spite of the many bandages round them.
Had aim to a good feed off boiled biscuits and jam. Tasted like pudding.
Down to it at 9.30.
Up early and feeling a bit more chirpier now, although shot and shell
is coming precious near our heads. We are developing hunch-backs with
having to keep low and ducking so much.
A very pleasant day and breakfasted well off boiled bacon and bread -
it tastes better away from that front line.
A quiet and peaceful smoke and then an hour with the lice. Its a filthy
business this "louse parade" that the boys have christened it
but there is a certain measure of humour in it and we've got to, as it
is for our personal comfort. Shirt first then the trousers.
The Battalion are moving out of here this afternoon for the firing line
but we are awaiting orders from Capt. Woolman the Brigade Machine Gun
Spent the afternoon looking through the accumulated copies of the Peninsula
Press, and reading them to the boys. No. 23 dated Saturday June 12th is
of extraordinary interest particularly two of the paragraphs:=
"Mr Acland, Financial Secretary to the Treasury, speaking in London
stated that the Government were authorising the spending of the Taxpayers
Money at the rate of £30 per second, and another headed "British
"Mr Asquith informed the House of Commons that the British Casualties
in Flanders and the Dardanelles up to the end of May were
Killed 3337 Officers 47015 Men
Wounded 6498 Officers 147472 Men
Missing 1130 Officers 52617 Men
Little wonder some of the fellows shout out in sheer exasperation "Bloody
Hell" and Harry Shaw asks the intriguing question. "What is
it all for"? £2000 per minute and those thousands of valuable
Rifle fire is gathering in momentum in the front line apparently otherwise
there is nothing much of note. In bed quite early.
Rather late getting up this morning but it was late when I got to sleep
on account of the lice. Yesterdays louse parade did not quell them seemingly
and I fear the more one finds the more one overlooks.
Went round to see Capt. Woolman at 10 o clock but nothing to do as yet
- just "stand by Carr" and we can do a lot of standing by.
Dozens of Staff Officers of various Highland Brigades up in the trenches
so it seems as if our resources are nothing like exhausted and there are
plenty of fresh troops knocking about.
Note from Capt. Woolman - he wants two teams of 6 and an N.C.O. by 4 o
clock that will leave 7 of us in here. Hope we are lucky enough not to
be wanted before the Battalion are relieved.
Fine night and the sun going down slowly - the shells are powering out
more than is usual for the evening.
Very cold and raining today. A difficult task giving rations out. Theres
hardly enough for one let alone 7. Not much doing and remarkably quite
considering our recent advance. Suppose the Turks are digging in again
ready for the next slaughter. We were always taught by the text books
that a good attack is the best defence; but not out here. One can almost
imagine the Turks calling out from around that "B" hill - (Achi
Babi) "Come up and be killed". Achi Babi Peak - thats the "B"
hill that we have been fighting for all this while - according to my map
is 591 feet above sea level. Translated, I believe Achi Babi means "I
defy." So it is evidently a matter of congratulations on the fellow
who christened it.
About the coldest night since we left England but with about 5 overcoats
over us were alright in our dug outs.
A bit warmer today and sun was out quite early on.
Breakfast over and beyond a bit of shrapnel and Lyaditte falling around
us there is little of note.
We all seem to be benefiting from our 4 days rest here and although ready
for the front line again we are hoping the B.M.S.O. has forgotten we are
Learn there are 8 more officers attached to the Battalion from the North
Staffordshire Regiment to replace our recent heavy losses so that doesn't
sound like getting a furlough I think.
Several heavy shells dropping perilously near us biggest part of the night.
Down to it at 9 o clock.
Another fine day . Was up early to draw the rations as usual.
Went to see Capt Woolman at 8.30 and instructed to get all the reserve
men from the companies as he has received 3 more guns and we have to man
them. Its a rather tall order as some of the fellows only had about 4
lessons on the Gun in Egypt.
Things are pretty quiet as regards shot and shell and the aeroplanes are
vying with the Larks for supremacy of the air. But for sheer beauty and
melody there is only one winner. They seem to tell us to be of good cheer.
More instructions from Woolman - get all the men in the 4th line trenches
so we packed up immediately and were in our abode at 4 o clock. Quite
a crowd of us now - 30 all told and it keeps one busy looking after them
all. He has allowed me two days to re-organise and to get 6 teams as best
A terrific bombardment from 7 o clock and then the 9th Manchesters did
an attack on our left flank. It was a magnificent spectacle from the 4th
line - but damned hard lines to see so many of our men getting knocked
out. Their objective was to take one of the Turks trenches but had to
retire and they allowed the enemy to take one of ours.
Shall never forget the splendour of the attack though - it is wonderfully
easy to be the lookers on for once in a way but another thing doing the
Things were brisk all night and heavy shells knocking about a bit too
close to be comfortable.
As I wended my way down the Gulley this morning for rations, I came across
plenty of last nights wounded - they looked in a pitiful state too. A
story without words. I have seen pictures of stirring battles and veritable
infernos but never did I dream I should witness them in reality as I did
It looked murderous but when one is involved in it himself he cannot realize
what it must look like from a distance. In fact, one hasn't time to think
properly - the brain won't function.
Yesterday Peninsula Press gives a very interesting extract from Mr Winston
Churchill's speech at Dundee on June 5th. Rather a sinister reflection
on the poor fleet operating in the Dardanelles though to say it is a surplus
and practically obsolete fleet, we don't think so. And the "Army
of Sir Ian Hamilton and the fleet of Admiral de Robeck are separated only
by a few miles of ridge and scrub" He hasn't seen Achi Babi Peak
- Achi Babi (I defy).
Another officer for my section - Lieutenant Vincent who was with us at
So we are at full strength again as far as numbers go but not in efficiency
- the majority of them have only a very elementary knowledge of the intricacies
of the Maxim Machine Gun - but will train em - we could train lions now
nearly. More shot and shells flying about and we are fairly pounding them
into that Hill.
Some of the fellows are getting ready for their blood thirsty looting
expeditions. They specialise on Australians - there are any amount lying
in the open around this sector - the Australian Officer is in biggest
demand. The boys say they are always sure of a decent haul. One came back
the other night with a fountain pen - safety razor - and two Australian
sovereigns - so that seems to have stirred the lust in some of the other
chaps. No words of warning can prevent it - they just slip out late on
and hope for the best. War seems a filthy gruesome job but I think this
is about the filthiest of the lot.
Was in kip about 10 o clock with the guns still crashing away.
Rations seem to be dwindling down a good deal just lately. The good old
............................ for dinner.
Not much doing today - occasional shelling but no remarkable activity.
The Aeroplanes seem most active though and will be obtaining quite good
vision of our shells dropping on the Turks trenches. The artillery are
getting a beautiful range by the looks of the explosions from our position.
Our new officer seems to think we shall be getting relieved shortly -
suppose that may mean anything.
Another picturesque night in the distance - bombs, night flares and rifle
fire - sounds and looks like Belle Vue. Guns booming all night.
5 o clock and the noise is deafening - gives one the impression we are
going to smash the whole Peninsula to smithereens. Marvellous how we can
exist amongst the maddening noise - there must be hundreds of artillery
guns cracking away just now.
No advance apparently but we have been shattering the enemies position
for a full 8 hours.
Officer instructs me to go to headquarters for another gun and have the
5 teams in the firing lines by 5 o clock. Hope to God they don't keep
us in 9 days again.
Managed to get four teams fixed up in good commanding positions and waiting
to dig ................... in which must have a right traverse.
The moon is troublesome for digging in - it is a beautiful bright night
with the firing line choc-o-bloc with troops and our five Machine Guns
make it a splendid defensive but by the massing here we sense another
sweep forward tomorrow.
Very soon finished our task once we got stuck into it and at 2.30 am I
reported "well dug in" It is a masterful position - sandbagged
and camouflaged by bracken and tree branches and we can traverse well
over to the right.
"Stand to" came down the line just as we were settling down
and was off for rations at "Stand down - Observers Only" at
4 o clock.
First up best dressed in barracks and the rule loses none of its truth
on Active Service I find. First come first served.
Have to take a sack for rations now there's so many of us and looks like
a grocers shop. What with loaves of bread, tins of jam and a Tobacco issue
today so we cannot really complain.
Any Gods amount of rumours - the Q.M. Stores in notorious for rumours.
The transport fellows who ply between the beach and our stores bring them.
They have heard on good authority that we are being relieved - that the
beach is alive with fresh troops and the Lord knows what. They know that
Sergt Hopkins and Corporal Corrigan are on board the SS ....................
Castle - that Sergt. Anderson is at Malta - and we cannot dispute them,
so when we get a Transport rumour we are half and half - we want to believe
it we must believe it - but I look back along the firing line and five
machine Guns in about 200 yards and a whole seething mass of troops with
loaded rifles and shiny bayonets just waiting and watching - always facing
First time we have seen a hostile Aeroplane up but it soon went back under
cover behind the "B" Bill.
Artillery fire has subsided very considerably and yesterdays 14 hours
bombardment must have been for moral purposes or a demonstration of some
sort as there is no attack developing in this sector.
In fact we had orders this afternoon to give 100 rounds of ammunition
back and also the surplus sand bags so the transport fellows are looming
in our minds again.
7 o clock and we are all ready for going somewhere even if it is only
to leave these damned trenches for a few days. "Stand to" came
along at 8 o clock so we do not look like realizing our hopes.
"Standing to" off and on until 12 o clock with sudden terrific
outbursts of rifle fire then tried forty winks.
Seemed to have had a decent rest though when "Stand to" came
along at 2.30
Very warm today and millions of flies about - big fat bellied blue bottles
all well fed and make eating or resting well nigh impossible.
Not much doing in the way of shells today so far - hope it remains so
for a few hours at any rate - it makes our headache all this rifle fire
and shells bursting about.
There must be some truth in the rumour as I have just had a notice from
the skipper that we shall be relieved at 7 pm. Handed two Guns over to
the relief and carried the other three down to the Gulley and loaded them
on panniers on the mules. And wended our weary way to the Transport lines.
Landed at 10 o clock and got down to it soon after, just as I was, after
Must have gone unconscious as I couldn't wake until 7.45 and then only
through the transport lad bellowing out that he had brought the rations.
Feeling better after that refreshing sleep and went over to our old bivouac
for our packs and a new helmet.
A fine change of shirt and socks - the first for 3 weeks and I felt like
two men. Another rumour that we are going to Lemnos for a couple of weeks
- a well earned rest after our nerve shattering time out here - only wish
we were going to "Blighty" - we'd give the world for a few weeks
in the homeland.
Occasional shells are dropping over here and one of our horses was killed
this morning with shrapnel Major Waterhouse hit in the back last night.
Also 1 man killed and 9 wounded whilst getting their packs from the Q.M.
Fine evening and finished packing and cleaning the Guns ready for our
voyage to Lemnos.
Down to it at 10 o clock - on a nice bit of hay in the dug out and a blanket
round me. Felt a real treat - the SS Newralia" bunks weren't in it
- clothes off first time for 3 weeks so no need for scratching and tossing
about biggest part of the night
Sunny and warm again this morning. Breakfast quite early and feeling a
good deal better now.
The vigilant Turks seem to have located us alright as they are sending
shells over most of the morning. One burst about 15 yards away so we are
Aeroplanes are busy again and we can see them very plainly circling over
No word as to moving yet but believe we shall clear sometime today.
A good big issue of cigs - 4 packets of Black Cat but the best present
of all was letter from home.
Shall have to discard my new patent cigarette maker now I have so many
cigs on hand.
Some ugly heavy explosive shells dropping a couple of hundred yards away
and the ground is fairly ripped open.
Beautiful evening and spent quite a time scanning the horizon through
the field glasses. The pretty village of Krithia and the hill to the right
of it both peep out prominently. Any amount of cold watered ground all
around - but quite nearer to us are any amount of immature cemeteries
which tell their own tale.. Down to it at 9 o clock after rustling the
hay about and making the "bed" - the beautiful starlit sky for
a ceiling and the four winds of heaven fanning our faces.
Big bombardment in the early hours this morning served as our alarm clock
and up quite early.
Hear that the big fire and huge clouds of smoke last night came from an
ammunition stores which our big guns had set fire to near Fort Chanak.
Received quite a rude shock this forenoon and dashed our hopes of a rest
to the ground. "We are going back into the firing line tonight "Sergeant"
and there wasn't even a tremor in Lieutenant Vincent's voice. Like a bolt
from the blue to us though, right on the very eve of our departure. The
General wanted good reliable and seasoned troops in the firing line as
an advance was coming off on our left front . Some of us can see the diplomacy
of these Army Generals by now. Moved off with the Guns packed on the mules
to the trenches at 5 pm.
Stood by until 7 and then took over our respective positions in the first
line again. Our position is covering a fine healthy Vineyard with the
Turks trenches about a couple of hundred yards away. Was rushing about
until nearly 12 o clock getting everything fixed up. Full pack and rifle
in the trenches means hard work - theres so little room passing backwards
and forwards. It gets one down.
Although tired and weary I could not manage a sleep and spent the night
looking round and helping the poor lonely observers in their lonely vigil.
It was a beautiful night - the moon shone down powerfully all through
and saves the O.C. firing line any amount of trouble in shooting those
starlights up. Looking back over the parados to the sea could discern
a beautiful glow on the water - just like a belt of Gold - evidently one
of the Hospital boards lying to with all lights ablaze. The quiet of a
glorious night being disturbed by the bullets and shells of the opposing
enemies, but the Turks are taking more care of their valuable ammunition
now and we don't get that terrific rifle fire kept up all night through
as in the early days of the campaign. Rations at 6 o clock are a good
couple of rounds of bread and bacon went down well.
More mail in this morning and was not disappointed - Two letters and two
lots of cigs. Snowed under now with Lady Nicotine and appear to have overcome
the temporary shortage.
Had a terrible job with the Gun tonight at "Stand to" - had
to strip it for a well earned rest. First for a couple of days.
Up again at "Stand to" - 2.30 for the usual hour before daylight
the most likely hour of the night when an attack is made - when, unless
one has been specially replenished, ones vitality is at its lowest. But
the Turks did not come over so was down to it again from 4 o clock until
half past five.
Orders from the Officer to be prepared for the probable attack on our
left flank and bombardment started exactly at 9 o clock developing murderously
up to 12 o clock - and then they were "over the top". If one
were blind one could tell the moment our boys were going over - a terrific
bombarding and shelling for 3 hours - a lull - and then a hundred enemy
rifles doing the made minute - 30 rounds per minute - there cannot be
any mistaking it - it is all so terribly automatic.
We could plainly see hundreds of Turks retiring up the Gulley but could
not get on them with the Gun worse luck - Latest official news passed
along the line that "4 lines of trenches captured - 200 prisoners
and 7 machine Guns and no wonder judging by the terrific bombardment -
it seemed to make the whole Peninsula . Don't know what our casualties
were but I should imagine they were pretty thick. We lost one man killed
at the Gun here - he was stood up in the trench and a shrapnel shell burst
just in front of our position.
Terribly hot day and having to stand to all day with our tunics and equipment
on its like a Turkish Bath in more senses than one. "Stood to"
all night and a good rapid fire right through.
Like that until dawn - but the Turks were evidently demoralized yesterday
and they have not as yet counter attacked. They invariably do make one
when we have taken any trenches off them. Rather dull and sultry towards
afternoon and its a real grill in the firing line.
The terrific bombardment yesterday must have disturbed the atmospheric
conditions I think.
Relieved by the 7th Battalion Lancashire Fusiliers at 7 o clock and went
back to the support trenches. Not much better from the nerve racking point
of view except that we are not worried with the incessant "stand
A big bombardment started at 8 o clock from the Turks side and a counter
attack at 9 o clock on our left flank endeavouring to regain some of the
ground they lost yesterday. Our artillery and guns are responding and
it made a glorious spectacle in the fading light to watch our shells bursting
near and over Krithia.
"Stood to" all night in the support trenches and the artillery
battle still going hot until 3 o clock and eased for an hour or so. Then
about 4 o clock another big fusillade of shells were poured out on our
right flank where the French troops are operating. We were absolutely
in hysterics watching the attacks and retreats of the Turks. With the
glasses on could plainly see the Turks falling in dozens before the trench
artillery. Then they seemed demoralized and retired in disorder for a
quarter of a mile or so. It is now 9 o clock am and things are as brisk
A fine hot day and the Aeroplanes areas busy as bees - buzzing about very
frequently and it is phenomenal for us to see. 7 of them up at once.
Setting our gun ready, cleaned, oiled and loaded ready for any emergency
that may crop up with all this activity. Officer has just paid us his
last visit for the night and instructs me to find an alternative position
for the Gun in case of eventuality.
Will get down to it at 10 o clock if all is well and hope for a more peaceful
night than last. A few more like that will drive us all crazy I fear.
Heavy thunder and lightening all night
Very dull day but things quieter than usual. Rations at 4.30 and an early
breakfast to avoid all the filthy flies which make eating a torture in
here. Its a common thing to fan the bread and jam with one hand whilst
putting it in the mouth with the other. Dead mens flies we call them -
if they grow any bigger they will be like small birds. They and the lice
are nearly a bigger curse than the Turks out here. Quite a lull in the
firing after these last few days and it almost seems the respective batteries
have spent themselves completely.
Remarkably uneventful early evening
and "Stand to" came along without much doing.
Down to it at 10 o clock but the lice were there in their thousands so
had to get up and have a smoke. Evidently they are having a war as it
felt more like a battalion parade of the little devils. Only wish they
would indulge in a bit of self annihilation.
Up at 5 o clock - a fine day with a gentle breeze blowing from the Sea
which makes life a bit more pleasant. The usual walk for rations livens
on up - still more so trying to issue them. Probably going into the firing
line again tonight for the usual 3 days. Reading the Peninsula Press out
to the boys and it is reported that the enemy is bringing very strong
reinforcements up from ..............moving in a northerly direction.
Thats apparently towards Krithia - so evidently the seasoned troops are
going to be wanted.
Artillery battles during the day but comparatively quite otherwise. All
ready toned and tuned up and moved away to the front line to relieve the
7th Battalion again.
"Stood to" 9.30 then "Observers only" - but not for
long as we were "Stood to" again at 10 o clock. The Turks must
have been trying to give us a shock as they set up a most terrific rifle
fire and recalling the report in the Peninsula Press we were all hot and
jumpy lest we were going to be pushed back into the Sea. Like this for
fully an hour but no attack launched, so after the firing had resumed
more normal proportions for night time "Observers only" came
along. Tried to get down for an hour at 12 o clock.
But no use and up again soon after through the rain beating down fiercely
on us in the trench. A terrible thunderstorm going on and the lightening
is playing noisily around the fixed bayonets. Heavy rain for half and
hour and we are like water rats in straight jackets with our equipment
on. And the rifle shots from both sides have a more vicious crack with
them when there is rain about.
Eased towards daylight and we are hung out to dry now
Very close and showery morning but the firing has died down. There is
this advantage when the elements are leasing themselves - its equal for
both sides - except perhaps the language only is different!
Another mail in and three letters from the Homeland and the usual packet
of cigs. Hear that poor Corporal Corrigan has succumbed to his wounds
and has been buried at sea. Martin Corrigan - a real thoroughbred Irishman.
About the biggest fellow on the Peninsula - 6ft 3ins in his stocking feet
and well proportioned with it. A Deep Sea Irishman and his reminiscences
and exploits were thrilling. It was Corrigan who used to tell his section
when coming out on the "Neuralia" passing through the Bay of
Biscay - with half the boat laid out with sickness - that it wasn't rough
until the lookout in the crows nest could wash his hands in the waves.
Most appropriate that a deep sea fisherman should be buried at Sea.
Quiet afternoon and early evening with most activity in the air - our
Aeroplanes are scouting round again for more information as to the whereabouts
of those reinforcements.
Hope the Turks are quieter tonight and we can then have an hours sleep.
"Stood to" from 8.30 onwards and news was passed down the line
that 50000 Germans have been captured near Metz. Another rumour I suppose.
Turks rifle fire seems very still but their shrapnel is being poured out
pretty freely. Several kilted regiments are bivouacked in the Gulley and
it almost seems as if a relief is coming for our division. Its to be hoped
so any way we have had a bit of a gruelling this last 9 weeks.
Nothing much doing after cleaning the Gun and Rifles.
The amount of shrapnel being thrown over gives one the impression that
the enemies reinforcements have brought some more guns with them. Its
unusual for them to lash their shells about like they have been doing
all afternoon. Unless they are after those Scotties - I don't suppose
they are one whit behind us in the intelligentsia department. One could
well appreciate after seeing our fine healthy looking Kilted Regiments
their enthusiastic reporter giving the version that "England is in
a deplorable way as they have several divisions of armed women on Gallipoli
They'll have a very rude awakening soon. All quit up to 9 o clock and
then the ................ Turks started again with their heavy rifle fire.
Eased off again and after those jokers had finished their "hate"
was down to it.
Up with a jerk at 2 o clock and more heavy firing from the Turkish line
almost gave one the impression that they were attacking in force.
Very heavy dew fell during the night and the mist over land and sea is
something out of the ordinary.
Plenty of shrapnel knocking about since early morning.
Quite a pleasant change in our diet this morning - eggs for breakfast.
Real eggs - not very big but anything for a change. One of my section
suggested the other day when rations were so painfully small that the
Q.M. S. give us a packet of Ants eggs. But real eggs my God! its a pity
to eat them.
Quiet and uneventful morning but a big influx of officers passing along
the firing line and rumours are rampant.
Hurriedly relieved at 4 pm and took two of our guns to headquarters and
handed them over to the 52nd Division.
Hoping thats the four runner of a good furlough in "Blighty"
Were all dumped down in the ........................ lines near the Gulley
and heard on good authority that we were to definitely leave for "Imbios"
Should have left a fortnight ago but we have found rumours are a lying
jade - but handing the Machine Guns over looks very roseate.
Down to kip at 10 o clock and slept on it.
Up at 5 o clock and a damned good swill - the first for a week and felt
much better for it. The sooner we do get to Imbios or somewhere the better
for us all as we are all wearing a jaded and haunted look. What with the
meagre rations - the lice eating us away - nerve racking shots and shells
- we must surely be on the verge of a nervous collapse.
Warm sunny day and standing by waiting for some definite orders.
Our air force is constantly being augmented and we counted eleven aeroplanes
up this morning - looks more healthy compared with the lonely one that
assisted us earlier on.
Exceedingly quiet generally all day - and but for the passing of 2 wounded
and the stretcher bearers carrying away two killed from the firing line
- things are very still.
Down to it rather earlier tonight.
Up early for another good healthy wash, shave and general clean up. We
are getting that feeling that we cannot sleep for being so filthy and
are afraid of reverting back to the pre-historic animal days. Its marvellous
how mentally and physically different we feel after a real good swill.
A few shells going over on their merciless errand and the enemy are replying
a bit. We generally have the initiative and give them 3 to 1.
It seems almost certain that we shall be in Imbios before many days are
We were right in the midst of dinner when and urgent call for my body
by the officer.
Received any amount of commands and orders - it fairly taxes my memory.
However we are to be relieved at 2.30 and load our remaining Guns on the
mules and move off to our old bivouac.
Thats where the old oak tree stands out so defiantly. We have pleasant
and unpleasant memories of this bivouac. Worked hard lading up and seeing
the various teams off. Fixed up alright at 5.30 and just in time for tea.
The Peninsula Press informs us that the big bombardment the other morning
was intended to be a general attack all along the front by the Turks.
About 5000 shells was poured out from all sides during the day but all
their attacks were repulsed and heavy losses incurred especially on the
French Sector. So the seasoned troops did well.
Nothing much doing just now and think of getting down to it very shortly.
Hope the Scotties don't get nervous tonight if the Turks start their usual
night fusillade of shots. They look very busy just now throwing up the
Up with the Larks at 4.30 and feeling better every day.
Working from 9 to 12 exchanging3 Guns with the 7th Battalion Fusiliers
and endeavouring to sort ourselves out after the jumble we got in on June
5th and ever since. I cannot say why the number on a Machine Gun should
matter - they are all Machine Guns and we are all our for the same purpose.
Some good heavy shells knocking about all morning ripping the ground open.
Shrapnel is quiet again though and the rifle fire in the distance seems
Big mail in this afternoon and just an odd one for me along with a few
Daily Sketches. Just what we are short of our here - some pictures of
Good Old England - we want to know how she is going on amidst it all.
Had quite a long talk with the skipper this afternoon and it appears that
we are to have 64 N.C.O.'s and men to complete establishment. We shall
have quite a Company to look after soon
Fine clear night with plenty of strays coming over and in bed at 10 o
Sun seems as powerful as ever and heralds another fine day.
Early breakfast and get on with packing our Gunds up ready for embarking
Our bad luck is still haunting us - one of my men badly wounded with shrapnel
and my second Sergeant Ramage was buried by a fall of earth in his dug
out and is suffering from shock and crushed ribs. Are hoping we can get
away without further casualties.
Orders to move away at 5.30 in single file 10 yards between each man.
It was with a mild thrill too that we cleared off and it was glorious
to think that we had seen the last of it for a while at any rate. My orders
were very explicit "Round the bend and follow the Indian Mule Transport
lines near the fort" and although badly out of condition after the
hard trench life it made the blood course through our veins more rapidly
to see the gigantic strides that have been made since May 5th that vital
day when we were hurled unceremoniously into the inferno
We moved steadily round by the for and although the Suns are now demolished
to a great extent one did not require much imagination to visualise how
formidable they must have been at one time of day. We could hardly realize
though that what was once the Turks most formidable Fortress - Sedd-ul-Bahr-
was now used as a bivouac for our troops.
Even underneath one of the big guns was a useful bed for several men of
the transport. In the fourground we could plainly see the remains of the
once seemingly pretty village of Sedd-ul-Bahr right underneath the Fort
as it were.
Carried the guns alongside the "River Clyde" and then boarded
the pinnace "North Star" bound for Imbros. Left the jetty at
11pm ajd anchored just under cover of land so that the Asiatic Side of
the Narrows could not range on us. About 250 of us on board a boat to
hold about a hundred.
But we had consolation during the night that we were anchored close to
the Hospital Ship which we had previously admired whilst in the firing
line. Tried to have a doss but precious little of it and we were away
on the briny at 4 am. And landed in Imbios Harbour at 6.30 amidst a moving
mass of Battleships, Cruisers and all classes of craft. We can occasionally
hear the rumble of the big guns in the distance but we are quite far enough
away to be able to rest at Peace. Landed on shore and -marched to our
camp being nicely settled down at 10 am. Our feelings are indescribable
and its a tonic - a veritable elixir of life to us to be able to breathe
God's pure air once again and feel that we can move about freely without
risking our lives every few seconds. We shall be new made men after a
couple of weeks here.
Any amount of stalls with Greeks in charge, at which we can purchase almost
anything and we had not been here long before we were whetting our appetites
with all the good things we had longed for on the Peninsula.
Had a good swim in the beautiful Blue Aegean Sea this afternoon and we
feel alive. Its like being brought back from the Dead.
Its worth something to be able to go to the Latrine without fear of being
hit with either shell or bullet.
Went on top of the cliffs in the evening and we could hardly describe
the beautiful picturesque view we had looking down at the Harbour and
low lying ground all aglow with vegetation. Nature in all its beauty -
a gloriously cool quiet evening. Wended our way back - deep breathing
with the ozone blowing sweetly into our faces and feeling very much alive
once again. Down to it at 9.30.
Lovely day again and getting ready for Church Parade at 10-15 in the field
adjoining our Camp. Seems months since we had the pleasure of attending
a service and was delightfully pleasant.
A few congratulatory words from our worthy Brigadier - Brigadier General
Frith - commanding the Lancashire Fusilier Brigade. He spoke very feelingly
- especially when he said there was plenty of hard work before us get.
Another stroll over the rocks and cliffs admiring the beautiful scenery
all round. We could plainly discern the coast line of the Submarine net
stretched across the harbour.
A dip in the Aegean Sea again at 4 o clock and feeling in rare trim.
Attended an informal service in the evening on the hillside - in the solemn
calm we could distinctly hear the boom of cannon in the dim distance.
Down to it at 10 o clock.
Up with the Lark again. The guns are still cracking away on the Peninsula
and we are thanking our lucky stars that we are far enough away from the
The Company have gone for an early morning dip in the sea but a good stripped
wash in the hard well water is good enough for me.
Parade at 8.45 for inspections of rifles and equipment by the Commanding
Officer, Lieut. Colonal H. Kirkby.
Then start instructing our new men on the Machine Gun.
Boiled rice appears to be a new regime on the menu whilst we are here,
its our mid-day meal now. Fattening us up a bit after the weight we have
all lost. Struck camp at 1.30 and removed to a ground nearer the sea.
Its the stern regulations of the army that the men must be kept occupied
- keep them on the move - irritate and annoy them. Don't allow them to
dwell on the past so we were settled down quite near to the sea and had
a lecture from the Brigadier at 5 o clock. More or less a renew of our
past 10 weeks work on Gallipoli.
Another saunter around the cliffs and were down to it at 10 o clock.
Several parades today first 6 o clock for physical jerks just to loosen
our limbs and again at 9 for more instruction on the Gun and was finished
for the day at 12 o clock. Mail in today and lucky enough to have a couple
of letters the despondency on the faces of the unlucky fellows.
We are getting very little news of the war in this quarter but believe
they have been advancing again on the Peninsula.
Lovely afternoon and ideal amongst the rocks again watching the beautiful
Aegean washing the pebbles - we could not help reflecting - how peaceful
and calm and natural everywhere seemed and yet within a few miles rages
one of the fiercest Battles in the whole history of man. If we could only
erase the past from our minds.
Witnessing the issue of letters and parcels after tea was full of poignancy
- it pained one to hear "Dead, Dead" "Wounded" "Missing"
etc. Letters and parcels from wives and sweethearts to their fellows who
have joined the great beyond.
An impromptu concert on the hillside in the early evening was heavily
attended and quite good talent displayed. The choruses were sung with
rare gusto but there was a remarkably sudden termination to the affair,
as the whole of the 7th Battalion were ordered to go and pack-up immediately
and be ready to move at a moment's notice.
Damned hard lines as we were just feeling recuperated and could have done
with another week at least to make us all really fit again.
Still duty calls and I suppose it is that which hold us together but to
say we are disappointed is to put it in its pleasantest form. The language
would have put the best Australian bushmen to shame.
7th Battalion cleared off at 10.30 pm to no one knows where, but probably
back to the land. Suppose we shall be following soon. There must surely
be something in that unlucky 13.
Talked matters over and then down to it at 11 o clock.
A rush to get on the 6 o clock parade for more jerks but we were not very
interested I imagine our thoughts were concentrated in another direction.
Finished our instruction at 10 for the day and the usual rumours are rampant
but there seems little doubt that we are going back to the land
Urgent orders to be packed up and parade at 2 o clock and the Battalion
were moving off the beach at 3 o clock. Not enough boats for the Gun ~Section
so we had to while the time away by having a last fond dip in the sea
and got away at 7 o clock. Plenty of room and quite different from when
we shipped across the other night. A pleasant sail and landed at "W"
beach at about 10 pm. As we disembarked we could plainly see the old night
flares going up in the firing line and a constant rifle fire gave us that
painful reminder that the war still waxes fiercely.
Marched to our bivouac and slept where I 'let' at 12 o clock.
Up early and a glorious fine hot day. Breakfast over at 8 and ready for
The General states that the four days rest so abruptly concluded will
not count and that we shall have our full 14 days "shortly".
Optimism is the key-note out on this hell hole, but several of our men
have gone for a long rest. Two men out of "A" Company hit- one
whilst coming up last night and the other whilst he was asleep.
Rumoured that we are wanted to make an attack in the centre as our flanks
have now made progress.
Busy cleaning Guns all morning and everything ready for moving off at
2 o clock.
Quiet afternoon and evening and was down to it at 9 o clock in the absence
of any definite orders. About the finest dug out I have been in on this
Peninsula - right in the Gulley of Death.
Officer instructs me to be ready for the guides at 4 o clock so that means
a good few hours latitude and will allow some correspondence - several
heavy howitzer shells are knocking about and we look like having a rough
The boys cannot help reflecting on the sudden termination of the rest
at Imbios and the reaction seems to have thrown them all into a despondent
air - and we cannot elevate them by suggesting the noble words "Seasoned
troops are wanted again."
The guides turned up prompt at 4 and we were ploughing our lonely furrow
up the familiar Gulley of Death - we have traversed every inch of if by
now and can almost tell if a stone is out of place.
Arrived at 5.30 in the most complicated position we have ever taken over.
The Turks trenches are only 40 yards away and bomb warfare night and day.
It looks very amateurish these wire netting frames put up at an angle
- on bird cages we call them, to prevent the bombs from doing their intended
There is a trench mortar in the next traverse to where we are stationed.
"Duck your Nuts" is indeed a bit of sage advice in this part
of the world. Up and doing all night and was helping the observers. One
hour on and three hours off and the night soon passes away.
Saw the dawn creep slowly in - a beautiful sight to watch the Eastern
Star gradually open and extend, so it seems, until figures in the distance
are easily discernible.
Not much rife fire but bombs still endless.
Spent most of the morning trying to find out exactly where we are. Not
much use with a Machine Gun if one does not know where he is. Quite a
maze of trenches and would do justice to any puzzle gardens at Belle Vue.
Had we understood Turkish we could have cleaned any amount of information
during the early hours. We could hear their "jibber jabber"
quite unmistakably at the at the dead of night.
The flies seem to have multiplied and they are here in thousands again
and the smell of the Dead - Tommies and Turks is positively chronic. It
is a smell entirely its own somehow or other. It fairly reeks in our nostrils.
Some of our poor fellows lie dead in the rear who have been there 6 weeks
at least - since the holocaust of early June.
Shells are whistling about all afternoon and the explosion of some of
them is so great that it has hurled several men off their feet and injured
"Stood to" at 8 o clock and soon after a terrific rifle fire
started from the Turks trenches. A wild rush and word passed down the
line that Turks were advancing all along the front. Only lasted about
half an hour and we repulsed them with heavy loss. About time we stood
on the defensive - it will be impossible for any troops to get very far
against our line and it will only mean more Turkish dead piling up in
no man's land.
They are evidently out for blood though as orders have just been issued
out at 10 o clock about Gas. If the enemy use Gas tonight every man must
use his respirator - stand to and shout "Gas" so that all within
hearing in the rear trenches will be on the alert. Sounds exciting and
sensational. Pity us poor B's shouting Gas with a gag over our mouths.
Twas ever thus. Chanced getting an hours sleep at 11 o clock
But was up several times before 3 o clock and was stood to until 4 and
things had quietened down a good deal "Thank God". there was
no necessity to shout Gas during the night. Surely we can do without that
brutal type of warfare - its bad enough in all conscience as it is - but
to add to the atrocities by using that frightful Gas.
Quiet morning and were all keeping a sharp look out when instructions
came along to be ready to move out of the firing line at 12 o clock.
Packed up and were relieved prompt to time by the 5th Battalion Lancs
Fusiliers and proceeded in full marching kit to the Gulley.
Rumour has it that we should be going to Imbios to complete our rest cure
but the order was cancelled at 4 o clock. Almost seems like a bogey that
rest at Imbios. A long conversation with the skipper at 10 o clock onwards
and was down to it about 11. Heavy firing going on all the time.
Wash and shave first for some days refreshed me somewhat and breakfast
at 7 o clock made one feel in a better frame of mind.
Anxiously awaiting orders to move somewhere and there are more excited
rumours flying about in the Battalion. Remarkable how we all cling to
the slightest ray of hope that we are leaving this terrible hell hole
- there is surely some irony in its official description - Cape Helles
- except that the two final consonants give it a more classic appearance.
A note from the O.C. Machine Gun of the 5th Battalion who relieved us
yesterday that they have had their gun put out of action with a couple
There is evidently some move on as there are hundreds of Kitcheners Army
men coming up the Gulley of Death this afternoon. Poor devils don't appear
to have many cigarettes so we acted the Good Samaritan and helped them
on the way. We have already experienced the mental torture of having to
spend a few days in the trenches without cigarettes or tobacco.
Skipper instructs me to be up early in the morning ready to move, so was
down to it at 10 o clock.
Up at 5 and was ready for an early breakfast before moving back to the
line at 8 o clock but evidently my instructions were a wash out as we
only had to take one of our Guns up to a position and the 5th Battalion
are manning it. Heavy cannonade all morning and developed very fiercely
towards late afternoon. The boys are feeling subdued and evidently another
onslaught is pre-occupying their minds. Kitcheners Army men - brand new
fresh troops coupled with the terrific bombardment all day today gives
us the straw in the wind.
The usual talk with the skipper and then to bed. My usual bed here consists
of my overcoat thrown on the ground - belt box for a pillow and my tunic
over my shoulders.
Dull day and the buzz of the dozens of aeroplanes is very distinct - they
are taking more risk this morning - flying much lower than is usual and
are evidently finding out the result of yesterdays cannonade - mostly
heavy stuff and enough to dislodge any gun and its emplacement.
Several casualties amongst Kitcheners men this morning judging by the
stretchers going down the Gulley. Another chap lies dead on the stretchers
near our Quartermasters Stores. One of our Companies cooks hit whilst
cooking his comrades breakfast.
The developments we were awaiting came at 4 o clock when an urgent message
was handed to me by the Machine Gun section runner. "Two teams to
go to the firing line immediately and take over No's 6 and 6a positions.
So was soon wending our way and located the positions. Not very pleasant
either - we had only taken over about 10 minutes when one of my lads had
the periscope hit - smashed the top mirror and zinc to pieces. The Turks
are about 40 yards away at this particular junction.
"Thats a Bomb" - quite a thrilling and active sector this without
a doubt. Further casualties in the Battalion during the day - our killed
and wounded are constantly growing and very shortly we shall be able to
go home in a yacht.
"Stand to" came and went quietly and were nevertheless on tiptoes
most of the night owing to the proximity of the enemy.
Pleasant day again and except for an occasional burst of machine gun fire
from some position in the rear of their second line, things are normal.
In the Gulley this morning for rations one could hardly realize the great
strides that have been made during the last 2 months.
When we were first out here we had to crawl up this Gulley on our hands
and knees - amidst fusillades of bullets - always at night time. Now whole
Battalions can come up in 4's. This morning it was a virtual hive of troops
- sleeping - cooking - and lying about as if on a Cooks tour.
The 6th East Lancashire Regiment are relieving the 5th Battalion Lancashire
Fusiliers who are in the trenches just now and I suppose we shall be in
for another few days at least.
A Heavy Artillery duel most of the day and quite an exciting afternoon.
We were all withdrawn from the firing line at 3 o clock to the support
lines and a terrific bombardment came off from them until 6 pm.
The Turks trenches are so near in this particular sector there is danger
of one of our shells happening to drop short - and if we have to be killed
the army authorities would evidently prefer it be one of the Turks shells
that did it!
Some bombardment it was too - the whole earth trembled beneath our feet.
Packed off back again at 6 o clock when the bombardment had ceased and
had quite a "Shepherds Hotel" tea - hard biscuits and a raw
onion. "Stood to" from 8 to 9 - then a walk to the ammunition
dump for another supply and was settling down at 11 o clock but Joey was
on the job and a horrific rifle fire kept up all night.
At 2 o clock it became absolute hell and the cross fires we get over here
made us keep low. 3 o clock and word is passed along the line that the
Turks are advancing on our right front. Fully expected we should have
been in the Sea in an hour or so but they were repulsed again after about
2 hours hard fighting. "No ground yielded. Turks casualties very
heavy was the next message to be passed down and in the early morning
things became quiet.
A pleasantly cool day and the aeroplanes are on their way round to see
if there is anything moving in the Turks trenches. Only thing of note
during the morning was a trench mortar - a savage looking little low gun
- in the next traverse to ours. Throwing about 50 bombs in the Turks trenches
about 40 yards away. It was a perfect range and we could see them bursting
right on the parapet and could distinctly hear the Turks jabbering in
their own peculiar tongue - probably shouting for Eaven and Assad their
stretcher bearers. Calm and quiet up to 2 o clock then another terrific
fire started and shrapnel poured out in their hundreds. A wild shout "Turks
advancing on the left In Force" and we were repulsing them with heavy
losses all the afternoon wave after wave came over but they made not the
slightest impression and they must have lost very heavily by the dead
and wounded lying between the trenches.
Two more attacks but we were jumpy and nervy towards 9 o clock when they
started more firing again. Broke away at 10 o clock as I have to go the
rounds of four machine Guns from 1 o clock to 3.
Roused at 1 o clock sharp and ready for my patrol. It was a beautiful
night- the moon shone down with powerful majesty and the crisp morning
air seemed to infuse life into ones soul. Quite a long stretch from one
position to another, with the snores of the sleepers and the hum or song
of the numerous observers alone to relieve the monotonous drone of the
rifle shots and occasional shells.
Another big outburst of rifle fire at 2 o clock but soon quietened down
and 3 o clock came along in quick time.
Stood to from 3 and the day dawned beautifully.
Hoping for a relief today which is about due.
A fellow out of the 6th East Lancs was killed in the next traverse.. He
was busy watching the bombs thrown from the Trench Mortar but evidently
one of the Turks was watching him.
Note from the skipper that my relief will be here at 6 o clock. Thats
good. Quite afternoon but some nasty heavy stuff going over to Ali Baba.
Our relief arrived at 6 and we had a hell of a time carrying guns and
boxes through the maze of trenches to the Gulley. We seem to come in one
way and out another to avoid congestion and assist in as smooth a movement
as possible in these narrow trenches.
Were all loaded up on the mules at 8 and cleared away. Just in time to
witness the very inspiring sight of "Stand to" by the East Lancs.
Glorious to see every man stood with fixed bayonets - shining like silver
in the lowering Sun - just to the right of a beautiful waterfall with
its small cascade of water dropping just a few feet. A veritable sight
for The Gods without a doubt. We cannot see ourselves do it and it is
appealing to one to see others do it. Landed in bivouac just at dark and
after a lot of running about getting the various teams fixed up0 was down
to it at 10 o clock.
Trousers off first time for a fortnight so I could sleep peacefully.
The army must be going on the downward path as regards rations. No bacon
so in lieu - a tin of ..................... resurrected Potato Hash. Rather
a peculiar breakfast ration anyway. Jam and biscuits for the rest of the
day. Evidently trying to get us savage so that we might bve tempted to
eat the Turks if we get near enough to 'em.
Shells falling fast and furiously near our place this morning and one
has to keep a bit low or pay the price. Thats one of the many things we
cannot fully appreciate and understand out here - one minute fully alive
and the next minute dead.
Several fellows have been hit this morning and I thought my last minute
was at hand as I was rearranging the Guns and getting them under cover.
A nasty "stocking footer" - they seem to give a shrill wistle
as they near the ground then a vicious rip rip rip and the earth is rent
asunder. This one came preciously near us and we were not long in scamp0ering
for our dug outs.
Waiting orders now along with the Battalion who have been resting a few
days now. Far too many heavies buzzing about and spent most of the time
in the dug out.
Lovely cool evening and was ready for 'bed' at 9 o clock.
Busy morning examining rifles and smoke helmets. Cannot help thinking
how appropriate it would be for someone to have rendered that pathetic
ballad "The Diver" - we looked more like divers with out headgear
Heavy shells from Fort Chanak are arriving with monotonous regularity
every few minutes and their land batteries seem ever so busy. The poor
old broken down farmstead seems to be the centre of attraction, but they
cannot reduce it any more surely. May be the Gun Team are envious and
jealous of the cocks and hens they had to abandon in the earlier days?
The trees all around here all bear an empty shell case which must be rung
loudly if Joe Turk starts using that dreaded Gas.
Several casualties again today and we seem to lose as many out of the
firing line as we do in.
Reinforcements just arrived for the Battalion from Crowborough - about
120 in all.
Bathing parade today and had quite a pleasant dip in the Sea on the French
beach this afternoon.
Reminds one of Llandudno with its pebbly beach and beautiful sandy foreshore
Quite as enjoyable as the swim though was a walk through the lines of
the French Troops. They resembled the old Arab village with the mud streets
and raised Dirt Tables. They seem far more imaginative and painstaking
25 casualties today by Lydaite from Asiatic Annie - the Jewel of Asia
and Fort Chanak the only fort in the Narrows that our Navy cannot reach
must have had some new gems in. Heavy fire up to a late hour irrespective
of the bright moon.
Rose early and quite a good swill helped to clear the cobwebs a bit.
The Turks have surely had quite a good supply of fresh guns and ammunition
sent in as they are fairly pouring it out on us this morning. The Quartermasters
Stores is right in amongst it too. A shell dropped not very far away and
the whole box and contents was whirled in the air. And by way of retaliation
we are dropping them right on top of Achi Babi again. Hear the Head Lad
has gone up to view our positions ready for the morrow so it sounds like
more duty more honour. Parade at 5 o clock for inoculation - against Cholera
this time - we shall be like so many tin whistles soon with punctures
Gave a short lecture to the officers of "A" Company (Captain
Faucus who has been transferred from the 7th Manchesters and his subalterns)
on the general idea of a machine gun.
Reading Sunday's Peninsula Press out to the boys seems a bit awe inspiring
to be sure.
No 66 Sunday July 25th 1915
Northern Section. An Inflammatory shell length about 15 inches by 3 inches
was fired by a noiseless Gun at our lines this afternoon. It burst making
holes on foot in diameter and setting alight the ground eight feet in
diameter which was easily extinguished.
Another paragraph reads:-
Last night, the Turks threw some liquid into one of the French Trenches
and then tried to ignite it with bombs but failed. The nature of the liquid
is unknown at present. This is the first time on the Peninsula that German
tricks have been tried.
Good God! noiseless Guns inflammatory shells and what seems tantamount
to a liquid fire. Is it really war these barbaric atrocities 0 it surely
cannot be the wild dream of some fantastic imagination or it would not
be in the Official news. Rather a diplomatic blunder I think putting this
in print and it must be calculated to have a bad moral effect on the troops.
And I was evidently lacking in my judgement in reading it out just prior
to getting down to it at 10 o clock.
The Battalion must be away by 7.30 this morning and I received instructions
from Lieutenant Vincent that we did not move until 2 o clock, "on
the left of No7 Sap". More shells again but quite normal compared
with the last day or two. All work loading up the mules and were away
soon after 2 o clock moving up the old Gulley and into the support lines
by 4 o clock. Then the usual waddle through the trenches and in position
by 5 o clock. Rather a tragic irony. I think that I use my old friends
grave, Sergt. Stan Whittle of the 5th Lancs Fus. as a guiding mark. He
seems to have a much smarter cross on now.
Stood to at 8 o clock to 9 and tried the guns out with a few rounds. One
was in rare trim but the other went wrong and had to strip it and change
the barrel - finished at 11 o clock. A nice moon light night and the bombs
and occasional flares add to the most vivid scene.
Stood to from 3 o clock and eagerly watched the dawn of another day. Not
much doing up to 8 o clock but that seems about the time our "friend"
wakes up and as the morning wears on the shells are pouring out again.
So much that we are keeping lower than usual. A Machine Gunman out of
the 7th Battalion was killed this morning - the best man they had.
Hear that Little Fich (L/Cpl Hammett) has joined the Battalion again so
he ought to cheer them up a bit. He was the Companies comedian out in
Abbasia. The Canteen Corporal expert - if there was one job he liked better
than another it was Canteen Corporal and he would be so drunk on the Orderly
Officers' Parade at "Lights Out" that he could hardly stand.
The usual "Stand to" 7.30 to 9 tonight as things were a bit
brisk and broke away soon after "Observers Only."
Had quite a change in rations today - Prunes, Sultanas and cooked cheese
for breakfast. We can hardly realise having such luxuries whilst in the
trenches so very near the Turks.
Things quiet again - almost too quiet to be real and Marley suggests that
perhaps the Turks are having Prunes and Sultanas.
Rumoured that we have made a big advance in the Persian Gulf so at 5 o
clock the whole firing line had to "Stand to" and each man and
Gun to fire one round and give a good hearty cheer - all that by way of
celebrating the advance. Sounded quite thrilling and gave one the impression
the war had concluded. I wonder what clever mentality truck that idea
- a fine way of wasting our ammunition.
It fairly frightened the Turks and they were restless all night through
- with bursts of rapid fire all the while.
"Observers only" came down at 10 o clock and I talked with the
off duty men until 11, to the sound of the whistling bullets.
Last day of the month - and to think it is only 4 days short of a year
since we got our armour on. It was greeted with a fine dawn and an early
hot sun. The usual "All Quiet Sir "in answer to the O.C. firing
lines question and thinking about breakfast.
Milk issued out today - milk - a tin between 8 - we had almost forgotten
such a thing existed - milk in our tea. We can't realize it - the authorities
are gradually bringing us back to earth - from our horrible nightmare
back to civilization. And Jimmy Faulkner reminds Shaw that thats why its
costing £30 per second and £200 per minute, to buy your Prunes,
Sultanas, Cheese, Rice and Milk.
The Artillery, Guns, Battleships and Cruisers are preparing for a big
bombardment by the looks of things. They are getting the ranges this morning
and afternoon and fairly pouring some stuff out.
Could see Johnny Turk building his parapet up after our shells had knocked
it down and we had a good bit of practice playing on the fellows working.
We had to duck every time one of our shells came over the rebound was
so great and pieces of shell came in our part of the trench. They seemed
to finish off at 6 o clock and very little doing after that.
Down to it at soon after 10 o clock and the skipper advises me that we
might be in here another 3 days yet before a relief is available.
Fine day with a return of the heavy shells going over this morning - some
real good heavy stuff which seems to rip holes in the ground all round
and unless the Turks have burrowed tunnels under the earth they must be
getting it pretty hot by now.
Our Battalion are getting relieved this afternoon by the 6th Fusiliers
but there are so many machine Guns (about 64) in this sector and all require
manning that we may have to wait for a relief.
We are all getting stale and weary again with being stationary so long.
The transport lads have more rumours today - not very inspiring either
- they report a huge movement of troops and that a fierce battle is to
come off very shortly and may last some days. Evidently we are out for
a decisive result and Achi Babi looks like falling. Lets hope so but it
still looks formidable and as its name implies, most defiant. In fact,
with the field glasses on it looks so well entrenched and fortified that
the nearer we get the greater the opposition. Ordered to move my position
at 8 o clock and we worked hard filling sand bags and generally digging
it in, to beat the moon. Finished about 11 o clock and were under the
impression we had been unnoticed when a sudden crack, crack, crack, seemingly
from one of their Machine Guns told us that they were on the look out.
Oh! The Turk is a cute cunning and keen eyed chap - never tell me he is
sullen and dreamy.
However, he did not trouble us very much and were at liberty to break
away at 12 o clock and the moon was rising majestically.
Suppose it is Bank Holiday in England today. Not much holiday out here
by the looks of things.
Congratulated ourselves on having a fine commanding position and were
busy all morning letting them have it hot to keep them down. Could see
early on some of the more daring Turks going out behind their 3rd Line
Trenches - almost looked like picking some fruit or other.
Big cannonade again all morning
and afternoon with some real coal boxes coming over by the dozen. The
boys seem convinced that we have never had any like those before. The
whole of our parapet seems to rock under the terrific vibration. Rumoured
that the big battle is coming off further up the coast and that another
landing is being affected at Suvla Bay. But the terrific din all over
here will want some other explanation I fear.
Heavy rifle fire all night and were stood to arms must of the time. Could
plainly see the bombs bursting to our left flank and coupled with the
night flares and the flash of the artillery lamps it made the black night
look must weird and we were glad when the dawn broke through.
Heralding another scorching hot day. Bombardment shows little sign of
abatement and at some periods of the morning the hideous din was deafening.
Still in the dark as to what the next move is exactly and another contrivance
attached to the Gun is arousing our curiosity. Traversing pegs - to prevent
us traversing to much either to the left or right. More adaptable to night
firing I should think.
Let the battle begin - evidently Sir Ian Hamilton is superstitious - May
6th June4/6 - July 6/11th and now August 3rd. He believes in the early
part of the month as the best time for attack.
Skipper came along and told me I could be relieved if I wanted to so of
course jumped at it - the rest of the team as sticking in through.
I have had enough of it these last 3 weeks and feel to be wanting a good
cleanse and change.
Cleared off at 7.30 and took up my quarters in the 2nd Supports - with
the team who are resting for 3 days.
Down to it at 9 o clock - away from the painful "Stand to" two
or three times per day and sometimes all night through.
First waken at 5.30 - then my usual constitutional for the rations.
Breakfast over by 8.30 and then a real good "louse" wash, shave
and felt a different man again. The world to get rid of those damned lice
- Ill swear they take cover in the pores of the skin. Another sniper has
avoided our careful watch again and is now busy laying them out in the
Gulley of Death. Seven hit whilst I was down for rations and one killed.
Not a bad bag for these dare-devil "Bashi Bazonkio" as these
chaps are called. It's their religion I believe, that if these fellows
are killed on the battlefield they are assured of going to heaven! So
they evidently think the risk is worth it. The Peninsula was littered
with 'em when we first landed out here - they were hidden in tree trunks
- shrubs - hidden in the gorse and looked most weird when they were killed.
Branches of trees or gorse in their hats, coats, trousers, in fact so
carefully camouflaged that we probably tumbled over some of them in our
A constant artillery battle and shelling all day again - some terrible
stuff going over too. One can almost feel sorry for the poor old Turk
when these bombardments come off.
Returned early tonight but may as well have got down at 12 o clock as
sleep was impossible - evidently the subconscious mind was working - visualizing
the past and wondering what the future holds in store.
Could sleep when it was time to be up. Fine day and another continuous
shelling going on. Orders from the Skipper to inspect all the men's field
dressings - Gas Helmets - Iron rations - etc. and then get all the teams
in the firing line and see that each Gun has 16000 rounds of ammunition.
The battle which the transport lads rumoured seems imminent with a batch
of orders like that. 16000 rounds of ammunition to each Gun - 4 Guns.
As Corporal Corrigan used to say "There's weather ahead boys there's
Moved right away and was dashing about until late at night - what with
more ammunition from the 125th Brigade ammunition dump sorting position
out and getting the teams settled down in a most congested fire line -
it was donkey work but was all fixed up towards 11 o clock and ready for
any great movement coming off.
Heavy rifle fire most of the night but no attack on either side yet. Feel
tired out and good for nothing - only 1 and a half days out after being
in - on and off - for 3 weeks.
Not much sleep and went for ration at 4 o clock. Early breakfast this
morning as urgent orders from Captain Woolmer the Brigade Machine Gun
Officer intimated something big is coming off - the first phase in this
huge battle. Quite a host of instructions to be carried out to the minute.
An advance on our left flank by the good old 29th Division - the Inniskilling
Fusiliers the 1st Lancashire Fusiliers - Royal Irish Fusiliers - and the
very cream of the British Regulars.
A brilliant day with very little breeze out and will not be very pleasant
making an advance in this terrific heat - but the 29th Division can advance
in anything. The trenches in this Sector of the British Front are all
numbered and the 29th are attacking H.B.
The artillery bombardment will commence at 2.20pm until 3.50. Two of my
Guns are to open continuous fire on H.B. from 3.15 until 3.50 - Cease
fire and await developments. Dinner at 1 o clock - biscuits and jam -
but who wants to eat. We are too excited and the morning has already felt
like a week - it is the struggle within.
Prompt to time 2.20pm our ships and artillery open out a terrific fire
- hell let loose - and pieces of our own shells were coming back into
our trenches pretty thick. Talk about a nerve racking experience - it
3.15 we opened out and kept a rapid fire until 3.50 - the time for the
boys to slip out - and what a glorious charge it was. To see the lads
in the smoky screen - plainly discern the steel tipped rifles and the
triangular pieces of tin fastened to their backs - glistening in the sunshine
- trench after trench they seemed to drop in until the contour of the
ground obscured them. Several knocked out in the charge and many of them
appeared to drop the rifle and crawl on hands and knees back to the trench
- but the first waves did not appear to suffer many casualties. Shortly
after, news was passed along the line that "All objectives had been
taken." So the first phase ended successfully. Counter attacks along
the whole front during the night but we repulsed them with heavy Turk
"Stood to" all night through.
Our turn tomorrow as short trench ladders are coming along the line.
Everything ready for our boys this morning. Breakfast at 6 o clock - "stand
to" 7. Artillery Bombardment from 7 to 9. Gaining in intensity until
10 o clock when the first wave goes up the ladders and over the parapet.
The official instructions are beautifully clear cut. We are in a sap running
forward west of the Vineyard and anxiously tumbling awaiting the appointed
The noble 8th Battallion Lancashire Fusiliers - in fact the whole Fusilier
Brigade and the Manchester Brigade.
Our own objective is a trench running through the Vineyard - about 150
yards away - not much in a running costume - but skeleton marching order
(all equipment without pack) a rifle with fixed bayonet - 300 rounds of
ammunition and a pair of army boots - phew - perish the thought.
The bombardment was beyond description - no words of mine could describe
it - the earth trembled under our feet and the suffocating fumes could
not have been worse at hill 60.
It was a living hell and must have added years to our lives. May 6th was
bad, June 4th worse - July 6th much worse, but this - Good God! it was
terrible and one almost wishes for a sudden termination of hostilities.
Wave after wave went over and everything was achieved by 11 o clock and
just as we were consolidating our new position - our left flank retired
to their original trench - evidently their ranks decimated and too thin
to hold out until the reinforcements could be pushed up.
But the Vineyard firing line was holding its own and was well forward.
Everything going well until 3 o clock when about 40 of our fellows holding
the Vineyard retired - through an unfortunate misunderstanding. They were
told to retire along the trench as they were running short of bombs at
the junction of the Turks communication trench and our new firing line
- and were getting bombed out of it, but the 40 fellows who got the order
retired over the trench instead of just along and there was an ugly gap
in what was already a very thin line. We sized the situation up immediately
and dashed through with our Machine Gun and covered the gap until the
men who retired were rallied and brought back again.
A big counter attack was launched at 5 o clock by the Turks but they were
hours late - we were well dug in and they met a murderous fire - our Gun
worked like hell - steaming like a boiling kettle and worked nearly white
hot - when crack! An ugly stoppage and examination revealed a short connecting
rod. Fortunately we had done our work and we stood and watched with abated
breath the few remaining enemy going back through the clumps of olive
groves a quarter of a mile in the distance.
Busy getting the Gun mended ready for an all night "Stand to"
and were all straight up before 11 o clock.
"Stood to" until 1 am.
Then an urgent order from the skipper to move about half a mile to our
right flank. Half past one and just beat to the whole wide world let alone
digging new positions. Had a fine walk - or stagger through the trenches
- our dead and dying - stepping stones - to view the frontage and general
weighing up form.
Our new position to cover a small nullah where the Turks may possibly
advance under cover. Tired, weary and heartsick we pushed on until dawn
filling sand bags and making our position as secure against these fellows
as possible. Finished work before clear daylight came along and no attacks
3rd night without sleep but had a couple of hours hard earned rest.
Down to the Gulley for rations at 7 o clock and could have fallen to sleep
stood up at the Quartermaster Stores.
Extra rations today - a Dixie lid full of fried bacon and any amount of
bread and we were ravenously feeding ourselves by 9 o clock. Yesterday
we forgot there was any necessity for food - we were half mad with the
torturous bombardment bursting our eardrums almost - the torturous attack
and the doubly torturous counter attacks of the enemy. We only drank water
and nibbled pieces of biscuits - we felt we had to do something - we could
hardly talk - just "bit'of Sergeant" Hi Bloody 'ot' "Whats
happening over there" "Retiring" "Hell".
This morning we are like wolves and as our casualties have not yet reached
the Quarter Master we have a whole pile of Bacon and Bread and doing justice
to it. Seems a bit ghoulish to think that we have to wait for a few hundred
killed and wounded before we can have our stomachs filled properly.
And now we have recovered our senses somewhat we can reflect. Shall never
forget the sights of yesterday - Arms, Legs - Heads blown off. The stretcher
bearers were overworked - they could not cope with the slaughter - our
position was more like a slaughter house - one fellow out of the 9th Manchester's
fell over the parapet just near us with half his shoulder torn away -
his face was flushed - breathing and panting and about all he could say
was "Shall I have to have it off". We tried to console him I
should think it will be off by now even though it seemed his worst fear.
Other fellows we could see farther along the trench slowly bleeding to
death - scared with their backs to the numerous buttresses along the line
here. Three of my section wounded - one the stretcher bearers think will
be fatal, another hit in each leg - and the third hit with a shell cap
while tending to still another wounded fellow near our parapet.
War in all its horrors - its all so sickening that I can hardly describe
my feelings. It was a living hell and the poor devils who escaped being
killed or wounded were gifted with providence without a doubt.
I hear that there are only about 10 Officers and a couple of hundred men
left in the whole Battalion. All the senior Officers have gone - Captain
Goodfellow - Captain Franklin - Captain Tayleur and the good God knows
Our inspection in the firing line by Brigadier General Frith accompanied
by Captain Woollmer the Brigade Machine Gun Officer - at 11 clock and
he thanks and compliments every Battalion on the fine show that was made
and the valiant manoeuvre in which we repulsed the many counter attacks
without yielding any ground.
What consolation after losing several hundred good lives and limbs. War,
the absurdity of War - it appeals to me more each day, I witness this
At the wide entrance from the Gulley to the communication trench that
leads to the support lines and through to the firing line - there are
piles of blanketed forms - all tied at each end and in the middle - and
one gets a peculiar feeling as we walk at the side furthest away from
them. They are some of our dead - all waiting for the mule carts tonight
to carry the corpses to the cemetery. I am carried away sometimes with
the feeling that some of us are more afraid and have a more eerie feeling
of our own dead than we are of the Turks living - it certainly makes us
creepy and that cold trickle down the spine is very real.
Sometimes we wish for the dawn to break - for daylight to come along when
we can see more clearly - when we feel more safe - now to show the quixotic
state of human nature we are more satisfied when the darkness comes over,
it enables us to forget in some small measure those bloody gory faces
we saw only so vividly yesterday.
There seems to be a general lull in the battle just now and normality
reached again - except that the 9th Manchesters are experiencing a rough
time at the junction of the Turks communication trenches and there has
been an incessant bombing night and day to the right of the Vineyard firing
A few of our batteries are sending an occasional volley of shells over
on the Turkish Supports. Things were still normal up to "Stand to"
8 o clock - when all of a sudden the enemy opened a terrific bombardment
of our firing line and by hell it wasn't half hot - lasted for about half
an hour and had visions of a cold douche in the Aegean before long. About
the first time since we arrived has he opened out with his artillery after
dusk - but he fairly gave it us and we were on pins feeling sure he was
going to launch an attack now we were so badly battered.
After 2 hours heavy rifle fire though things began to wear down to normal
and we were allowed to "Stand down - Observers Only" but no
one to go to sleep. Like this most of the night but no attack developed.
Opened out as usual - fine sunny day with the rifle fire still as brisk
as ever. All looking and feeling weak after the last 3 days gruelling,
and we are hoping last nights 2 hours rifle fire was the culminating point.
The only redeeming feature was to watch our chaps bombing them out as
fast as they could - first one of ours then one of theirs - a flicker
then a loud report and pieces of metal fly in all directions. Next the
stretcher bearers are wanted at the double.
Plenty of shelling and rifle fire all morning but are still standing fast
and we are so strongly dug in now that we shall want a bit of moving.
Had quite a big mail in from the homeland - a God send - seemed to act
as a tonic for our shattered nerves.
The Army are strategic - it stirs our hopes - a letter from home - and
gives our minds an uplift.
Turks fire getting hotter towards evening but tried to get down to it
at 10 o clock but no use. What with headache, a touch of dysentery and
no sleep I feel beat to the wire and don't care how soon we are relieved
out of this slow murder and slaughter.
Rather quieter this morning and the Guns, Rifles, Bomb attacks counter
attaks and the Lord knows what have at last spent themselves and we can
conclude that the second phase has passed off according to plan.
There is a distant rumble of big guns and evidently Suvla Bay is busy
now. The Kitcheners Army men are operating round there and it almost looks
as if our recent battles have been more or less bluff to keep the Turks
occupied on this side Achi Babi while they flank it. And thats about the
only way we shall take it - a mere rooky can see through the field glasses
that it will be well nigh impossible to take it with a frontal attack.
It must be fortified beyond imagination and positively honeycombed with
Some good news came along at 11 o clock that we are getting relieved shortly
and it seemed to act like magic.
I don't think the troops could bear the mental strain much longer and
although we are sowing remarkable endurance there must be a breaking point.
About 1 and a half days rest in 3 weeks is taxing the powers of resistance
to danger point. Relief landed at 12 o clock and we were soon handed over
and wending our weary tread to the Redoubt lines and were soon sorting
ourselves out. My legs quivered again underneath me as I staggered along
the familiar No7 Sap. Cigarettes and Lime Juice in the rations tonight
so they intend reviving us after the past few days.
Heavy bombardment from 8 o clock onwards and although the opportunity
presented itself I could not sleep. Must have developed insomnia now.
Bombardment seemed to go on well into 3 o clock and I was laid waiting
and watching for daylight.
No more attacks and thank God no more "Stand tos" in here so
I was up early for a general cleanse, shave and cleaned up, and breakfast
over at 8 o clock.
Busy checking the Guns, Inspecting Iron rations, Gas Helmets etc. and
everything all secure. Not much doing here but heard cannonade in the
distance is still rumbling - and our boys are apparently progressing round
Suvla. Aeroplanes are up on high in force again all morning and must be
getting any amount of information.
Very little of note in the early evening and was down to it earlier than
Must have slept peacefully all night as the first waken was 7 o clock
- the grub wanted sorting out. Felt a bit stronger too after the good
nights sleep. Several rumours via the transport lads again - ....................
has fallen and our Army round Suvla Bay has captured and occupied the
village of Maidos to. A reference to my official map of Gallipoli - sheet
1 - shows the absurdity of these rumours. Maidos looks miles away from
the seat of operations - right on the Turkish Side of the narrows - and
................... is on the Asiatic side. The logical conclusion is
that the Transport lads had S.R.D. instead of Lime Juice.
Artillery duel on this afternoon and rifle fire pretty busier than usual.
Nothing came of it though.
All quiet up to 7 o clock when another artillery duel opened out and the
rifle fire in the front line was deafening - orders came through to "Stand
to" Turks advancing on G12 and reinforcements were being rushed to
the firing line.
It shows the state we are in when we have to "Stand to" in the
fourth line. Things eased a great deal towards 9 o clock so had a try
to sleep but not much use.
And was up quite early again. That do last night told its tale this morning
when quite a string of wounded came trudging along the Gulley - looking
anything but happy. The Turks were driven back with heavy loss and did
not gain any ground.
Orders that we are to be relieved at 10 o clock - the whole division and
we are hoping we have seen the last of this terrible lot.
Where packing up our Guns and boxes etc. on the mule carts and cleared
out soon after 10 down to our bivouac. Took us a couple of hours to get
there and we were nearly at a standstill - what with the horrific heat
of the sun and our general run down condition we could not have gone much
We are bivouacked not far from the beach and it looks as if the whole
East Lancashire Division the noble 42nd Division is there. No further
casualties coming down and spent the afternoon checking the Guns, Belt
Boxes, Ammunition Boxes, Spare Parts to with a list of deficiencies to
draw from the Ordnance Stores.
Blankets issued out in the evening so that sounds like a good nights sleep
- with the trousers off the lice cannot crawl about ones legs - one can
stand the few dozen on his shirt.
Felt fifty percent better this morning and had about the best nights sleep
for weeks. Wash, shower, and clean up and feeling much better. It looks
tragic to scan round the Battalion now. We don't look much more than a
Company strong -certainly we only take up the space that used to be allotted
to one Company when we first landed. Gone are the familiar faces that
we once knew - Lt Cpl Hamnet (Little Fich) was only in it a few days -
Major Waterhouse missing - Sergt. Instructor Robinson in fact they all
seem to have gone and there will be some tear shedding and mourning in
Manchester and Salford when the list is published.
Asiatic Annie is incessant and sending a few heavy shells over near the
beach but the distance is so great that from the first report there is
plenty of time to take cover and a "listening post" is established
where a sentry blows his whistle when the first flash is seen. Just been
detailed to take charge of a fatigue party of 20 men for 2 o clock in
the morning. They seem to keep us well occupied even in bivouac. Hope
we waken in good time. Got down to it at 10 o clock - between those two
blankets of mine.
Rather anxiously surprised when I awoke and clear daylight was with us.
According to instructions I should have been in charge of a fatigue party
and all hard at work by this time. Learned that it was cancelled late
on but the Sentry was unable to find me to advise me accordingly. Thats
the advantage of a good dug out evidently.
Inspections of Gas Masks - Rifles etc. during the morning and went over
to the East Lancashire Reg. For a Gun and Box of ammunition to complete
the establishment so far as arms are concerned. Also drawing "human"
deficiencies for the respective Companies to replace the sections killed
and wounded recently.
Not much moving in the way of shells this afternoon and there appears
a slight lull in the operations. The S.M. wants 10 men out of the Section
for fatigue work at 11.15 pm for the beach - unloading hay, straw and
flour from the boats.
Was hardly worth getting down to it until I had seen them off.
Another good rest and peaceful sleep except for those filthy lice and
was up at 6 o clock. Well cleansed and breakfast over by 8 o clock and
First parade at 10.30 for inoculation - only those fellows who missed
the recent inoculation against cholera so I miss it. Only wish to God
they could inoculate us against these lice - it would be heavenly no doubt.
Little of note in regard to the war just now - an eerie calm and stillness
of big guns seems ominous. Hope they enact the third phase round Suvla.
We have no more news as to how they are progressing. Lime Juice again
tonight - it almost looks as if the Quartermaster General of the M.E.F.
is paraphrasing Dr Johnson old phrase - "Sherry for boys - Port for
men and ..... Lime Juice for heroes".
In kip rather earlier tonight - there is some charm about those two blankets
after the firing line and support trench "beds" that we have
Early breakfast 7 o clock and the transport fellows bring another batch
of rumours. I get the idea somehow that these fellows are being misused
- they ought to be in the espionage department if one exists out here.
They see this that and the other and evidently their powers of deductions
are concentrated on it and the outcome is brought along with the day's
rations. Now they have us nervy that there is something big coming off
soon in another sphere and we are left in wonderment as to what is going
to happen next.
The usual inspection at 9 o clock - Rifle Bayonets - Overcoats - Gas Helmets
- Iron Rations and kit generally. I have a list that would do justice
to a hosiers shop - Faulkner wants a shirt, Manley socks - Shaw a shirt
and socks - Sammy White has evidently eaten his corned beef from his Iron
Rations - and so on. Harry Smith and Holmes (two fellows from "....................)
The big guns are stilled again and except for a scorching hot sunny day
we are all seeming fit and much revitalised with the rest and peaceful
quiet and the Lime Juice issue. This singular liquid issue has created
any amount of discussion and speculation as to its real purpose. The single
fellows will have it that its real intention is for the marrieds (there
are just two of us married in my team thats Faulkner and myself) to dispel
any desire for a change of bedmate for an hour or so. We have to retaliate
and suggest that its legitimate purpose is purely medicinal to prevent
an outbreak of scurvy. But it is still a source of mystery.
Down to it quite early again.
Fine warm day again and busy cleaning the Guns, oiling up, and generally
getting prepared ready for anything moving. Fatigue party required from
the Machine Gun Section - 20 men - at 4 o clock just to keep us from withering
away I suppose.
A rumour passed round the camp- that a big battle has just concluded out
in France and that the Crown Prince as been captured along with his whole
Army Corps. If only some of these rumours were true the war would have
been over long ago.
A few heavy high explosions have been coming over today but all at a safe
distance. The first for a couple of days so evidently The Terrible Turks
have a new supply of shells in now.
It is a reminder that the war is still on our there at any rate.
A talk about things in general and down to it at 10 o clock and just tucked
in nicely when the Officer came along and instructed me to be up early
in the morning and attend at the Quartermasters Stores at 6 o clock.
Up early and was drawing the deficiencies requisitioned for the other
day for the Gun Section. Wearing the appearance of a universal provider
now. Full kit parade at 9 o clock for an inspection by the Brigadier and
we are thinking about those transport fellows again. An inspection on
Service at any rate usually heralds a move on.
The skipper (Lient. Vincent) has gone into hospital this morning - Dysentery
so I am on my own again.
Were just in the midst of dinner when urgent orders came through to get
the section ready for moving any minute. More like high explosive to most
of us and were hard at it until 3 o clock loading the mule carts.
Were away soon after 3 and followed the mules (quite appropriately) round
by the Coast and up the extreme left Gulley - quite a good long march
round and the troops found it very trying in the hot sun in full marching
order. Although we can hardly recognise the place it almost seems like
the ground we covered on that memorable day May 6th.
Several halts on route and were all settled in our dug outs on the hillside
by 10 o clock feeling more or less spent. No blankets now and the hard
ground feels doubly hard without them.
Up at 6 o clock and found ourselves overlooking a miniature cemetery which
is a grim reminder. From Colonel down to Private - the only distinction
seems to be a difference in crosses. And yet they all died a similar death.
A glance round the surrounding country soon impresses one with almost
impossible obstacles that the troops have had to surmount. Barbed wire,
8ft deep in the main Gulley presents formidable resistance and minor ravines
branching off to the Sea Cost - with treacherous low brushwood all emphasize
the hugeness of the task.
Guns all cleaned up and filled ready for any emergency but we are hoping
to stay here for a short time to enable us to find our bearings.
Shells are coming over our bivouac pretty freely but the dug outs are
fairly shell proof with our hillside a good protection. We have relieved
the 29th Division who we believe have gone round to Suvla.
Nullahs this afternoon and brought us out right on the shore - beautiful
freeze from the Sea and reminds one of strolling about the Great Orme
at Llandudno - except the big fleet of Battleships and Cruisers made the
appearance less peaceful.
Heavy shelling in the afternoon and early evening otherwise no attacks
or counter attacks. Ready for kip at 9 o clock.
The Battleships have been firing hard from early morning and either there
is a preparation for more attacks or they have some information of fresh
emplacements for big Guns. The aeroplanes are co-operating and a big batch
are up on high.
Another rumour that Germany are suing for peace now - only a rumour I
suppose. Urgent message from the C.O. that I go into the firing line tomorrow
with the four teams. Hope it keeps fine for us and that the terrible Turks
in this Sector are more merciful. But we don't mind defending - its the
best game out here. The attackers haven't a "Cat in Hells" chance.
A useful batch of reinforcements arrived from England - 3 officers and
112 N.C.O.'s and men. They'd have lived longer in England, I feel sure.
The bombardment is still developing and some of the Royal Garrison Artillery
are sending some stuff over to Achi Babi. Lively evening with a beautiful
silvery moon overhead, the bivouac is stilled and quiet - the army at
rest except an occasional sentry posted there and there to waken us all
up in case of need. The Turkish Rifle shots resound along the Gulley here
with a terrible vicious crack.
Sunday around again and we are all getting finally cleansed ready for
duty in the front line. Those reinforcements can congratulate themselves
on having some seasoned veterans amongst them - experience is the finest
teacher in ware-fare. The N.C.O.'s are unanimous in their op0inion that
some of the Text Book stuff - especially Infantry Training Regulations
- must go by the board after our active service experience. We realize
how little we know about the real thing.
We're all packed up and moved off at 1.15 up the Gulley - it was an education
too as we rounded each bend. There has been some initiative used around
this sector without a doubt. Looked more like a number of picture palaces
what with deep corrugated zinc sources here and there - next a Blanket
hurry up - all to obscure those Bashi Bazonki snipers who seem to avoid
our vigilance and to prevent them getting too many targets.
We also came across the first Turkish Cemetery we have seen out here and
by the looks of the high stone edifices it hardly looks like a Military
Cemetery. They surely would not have had time to have established those
high and low angular stones with inscriptions on.
Rather feel inclined to the opinion that it is a Civilian place for the
residents of Kuthia and Sedd-ul-Babi - on what was originally these villages.
Landed at the end of the support trenches and the Gulley at 3 o clock
and were soon unloaded and carrying Gun tripods etc. through to our positions.
Looks a wee bit hot round here and evidently the Turks consider it an
important point as there is a lavish display of extra stout barbed wire
entanglements ahead and especially at the Top of the Gulley. WE are trained
on the "J" Trenches of the Turks, and a bit of a bombardment
was on as we changed over. Beyond knocking some of their parapets down
there was nothing doing and no targets were presented. Our education is
apparently not completed in regard to the hundred and one horrors of warfare
as there is a strange looking device just in the rear here throwing "Flying
Pigs" over. Long iron containers - a glorified sausage shaped thing
with a sort of propeller in front. We are glad they are on our side too
- not half savage looking things and fairly whiz through the air.
Things were easy towards 8 o clock and we were "Stood to" until
9, then down to it.
Dawn came in quietly and only the rifle shots spoiled the quiet of the
morn. "Stand Down Observers Only" at 5 o clock just sufficiently
light to see ones face.
Shells and more "Flying pigs" buzzing about all morning but
very little rifle fire and no more advances yet. Hoping there won't be
any either - looks a bit of a treacherous and mysteriously honeycombed
My gun is mounted just near an artificial bridge - a few planks thrown
over across the top of the trench and it bears the notice "Any more
for Barton Bridge Before we Turn It" - evidently some wag from the
Salford area waxing humorous.
The Turks are terrors for digging and we spotted a party of thirty in
the distance - a beautiful range and we very soon scattered them. They
must surely have required the stretcher bearers.
Except for a sudden burst of rapid rifle fire on our right there is not
much moving and after a comparatively quiet evening was down to it soon
after "Stand Down"
Nice day break at 4.30 - our usual "Stand to" hour and bursts
of rapid rifle fire along the whole sector made us stand to longer than
usual. No attack developed and concluded the Turks were celebrating some
big achievement somewhere.
Machine Gun Officers visit over at 10.30 and believe we are getting relieved
sometime tomorrow and we are to proceed to Gulley Beach. We cannot accuse
the Army Authorities of not letting us get acquainted with this Peninsula.
We shall know every inch of it soon except the French side. It has put
the cat amongst the pigeons again and the boys seem convinced that it
means Suvla this time.
"Twill soon be a year since we left England's shore and a few weeks
in the homeland would rejuvenate us a bit. Lets hope for the best anyway.
"Pass the word along for the O.C. Firing Line" has just come
down the line and it appears one of the observers has noticed a big movement
in the Turks front line. Could just see the tips of hundreds of bayonets
over the parapet and we are keeping a sharp look out.
A quiet evening and no attack up to "Stand to" - 8 to 9 and
broke away with instructions to double the observers - that means 2 men
up for each team - 1 hour on and 2 hours off throughout the night.
"Stand to's come along Sergeant" "Right, what time is it?
"2 o clock". Two o clock! "Gods truth" "Dunno".
A heavy rife fire along the whole front was developing rapidly and although
we were throwing flares up hysterically there was no nocturnal attack.
Like this until daybreak and except for giving us all the shakes there
was nothing happened.
First note whilst having breakfast was that the relief would be here to
time. - 9 o clock - and we lost no time in clearing out. Guns and boxes
in the Gulley and loaded on the mule carts.
Gave us a bit of a gruelling too - not half a stretch right down to Gulley
Beach and fairly made us all sweat and we are all settled down in first
class dug outs - distributed all along the cliff sides overlooking the
beautiful briny. No shells can come round here - unless the British Navy
suddenly turn on us. Fellows are bathing and the sun shines down powerfully
- it is indeed glorious and a fine recompense for our recent troubles
and trials of the past few months.
German Battleships have been sent and the Lord only knows what, according
to the reports.
Lets hope so and lets hope we are here for a couple of weeks at least
- the sun is fast setting and a lovely cool breeze from the sea makes
us feel alive. Down to it at 10 o clock and feeling a wee bit tired so
should have no difficulty in sleeping especially having the ozone blowing
into us the while.
Fine morning - sea choppy - and only short of that familiar seaside touts
phrase "Fine Sailing Today Sir" - and we should imagine ourselves
on the usual summer holiday.
Any amount of Battleships, Cruisers and ..................... moving about
pretty freely all morning. Watch-dogs of the sea and we have a decided
feeling of security up here.
The usual bivouac inspections today - Rifles, Machine Guns, Iron Rations
etc. And probably finished for the day.
Were interestedly watching one of the cruisers firing a broadside in the
afternoon - doesn't half make a report either.
Hear that the Paymaster General is doing his bit today - it is only quite
fair he treated us occasionally and the Q.M.G. has treated us quite rationally
with his Lime Juice issue (this will always remain a mystery to my fellows
I fear) so we expect a sub from the Paymaster General.
High water at 4.30 pm and the Sea has quite a swish with it as it spends
itself against the rocks.
An hours lightening across the water in the early evening and it looked
quite vivid and picturesque in the distance.
A pleasant walk along the "Prom" and was back and down to it
about 10 o clock.
Just settled down when rain came down rather sharply so had to do a bit
of re-shuffling my forces of defence - sand bags and an oil sheet. Didn't
do very much fortunately.
Rather cold morning and the sea has quite a big swell on. Looks cold and
uninviting and a swim just now would pretty much freeze us.
Have to do 3 hours instruction on the Gun this morning to the backward
and new additions. A bit like barrack routine but we cannot complain -
its worth something to be able to go to the latrine in comfort. None of
the sap heads when we are in the firing line and none of the shallow trenches
where we stand astride in the full gaze of each other, with always the
haunting thought that we should be hit in a place where we could not reasonably
The Company is paying out the Subs at 9 o clock so we shall be able to
have a game of Pontoon or penny nap. Where just getting on with our instructions
at the Guns when we were suddenly taken on a fatigue party right up the
Gulley for picks and shovels - about 3 hours job so the morning wore on
Heavy firing by the cruisers all afternoon and Achi Babi must be feeling
it a bit just now.
Fine cool evening and the usual constitutional at 9 o clock. I was down
to it about 10.
Much colder this morning and the wind from the sea has quite a nip in
it early on. Must try and push on with our instructions this morning if
we don't get taken off again.
A big mail in today with plenty of cigarettes and quite a respectable
batch of letters from home.
Not much to report as regards the War out here - only 4 Turkish Transports
sunk so thats a detail.
Hear there is a canteen opened at the beach where we can purchase any
amount of foodstuffs so we look like having a good time if we are not
disturbed. We could just do with a change from the monotonous plum and
apple - Hard Biscuits - Stew and cheese. Blankets issued out this afternoon
so can have my trousers off - first time for a few weeks. Down to it at
9 o clock.
Still an autumn nip in the air and a bit chilly first thing.
More instruction this morning and seem to be making an impression on our
The war-ships are massing here this afternoon and the observation balloon
was up for an hour or so spotting the hits apparently.
Those letters in today and I seem to have some news from everyone. Shall
want a correspondence clerk soon to reply to them. Not much information
regarding the operations out here - except for the warships firing hard
we would not realize there was a war on.
Had quite an interesting debate in the evening about things in general
- especially the hotch potch the authorities have made of it out here.
Platt thinks it was foolhardy to come and knock the forts down in February
and decide to land troops end of April. "Why didn't they have the
bloody army here when they demolished the forts?" "We'd have
been garrisoning in Constantinople now".
"Oh ! Hi" Forester continues "its easy to criticize afterwards
- who's faults that? Kitcheners of course."
"Kitchener be buggared" "Its Churchill's - one of his pet
themes this Dardanelles business" "Don't you remember what the
Sergeant was reading out from the Peninsula Press a while ago - only a
few miles of ridge and scrub separates us from bringing the Turkish Empire
down and opening the Black Sea Ports - get the wheat going - get the Russians
moving" Platt is relentless and enthusiastic but he is keeping the
other fellows awake so Manly tactfully brings the curtain down by"
I don't care a damn who wins so long as its us."
Got down to it at 10 o clock and although the bed was hard - the blanket
was welcome and was quickly wrapped in it.
Five o clock and the day dawned beautifully. The sea is quite calm - more
like a mill pond. - but Cruisers are knocking about by the dozen and events
seem to be moving for a development of some sort or another.
Instruction again from 9.30 to 12 and from 2 to 3. Will soon have all
the men expert Gunners.
The only item of interest was just an odd Turk under escort coming along
the beach - fed up with the whole business and given himself up I suppose.
The Cruisers have been pouring out their broadsides all the afternoon
and the observation balloon is up taking stock. It would be more than
interesting to have a trip up there with a pair of good field glasses.
My usual evening stroll and was down to it at 10 o clock feeling pretty
Early breakfast this morning
- 6 o clock but sour bread, rotten tea and worse bacon doesn't give one
Fine calm day and the sea is exceptionally smooth.
Any amount of rumours again today - the most important that we are going
to Egypt again. Another lesser importance is that Bulgaria has declared
war on us this time, and Romania and Greece have declared war on Turkey.
So the plot thickens. - there is only America now - judging by the reports
we are getting out here - and we shall want somebody to make Ammunition
and Shells for all the belligerents. Quite day with little of note except
General Douglas the Commander of the 42nd Division passed along with his
equerry. And some of the optimistic fellows are coupling the incident
with the earlier report about Egypt.
It would be too good to be true. Pleasant evening with C.S.M. Sagar and
Company and then down to it at 11 o clock.
Still another month dawns and we are no nearer home or Constantinople
- and the war still wages on.
Very cold day and the sea is quite angry as it dashes its waves against
the rocks and boulders below here.
All the ships are firing hard all the morning again and signs are not
wanting that there is something behind this naval activity. Perhaps the
Kitcheners fellows have got the Turks on the run the other side Achi Baba.
The transport fellows don't seem to bring any information about the Suvla
We had just finished the afternoon instruction on the Gun when the skipper
came along and advised me that we are going up to the trenches tomorrow
That means up about 4 o clock apparently as it takes us about 2 hours
to clamber up - what with 4 Guns, 4 ~Tryp0ods 32 ammunition boxes - two
spare part boxes and all the paraphernalia.
However, more duty more honour and we hope it keeps fine for us anyway.
The army authorities don't believe in contentment - don't let the troops
get too content - we were just feeling our feet again and well tomorrow
morning at 7 o clock.
Tucked nicely in my lonely blanket at 10 o clock and making the best of
Up at 5 and were all bustling about from thence onwards to getting on
for half past seven, when the skipper came along in quite a white heat
"when I order you to more off at 7 o clock and you choose to move
next day" he wasn't half excited, but we were moving off back to
the land, before 8 and he retaliated in his own vindictive way by marching
us up about 4 miles of soft sand in the Gulley, without a stop. Only 22
finished the gruelling though and we were puffing and panting and sweating
like a lot of old men. The other nine were a good half an hour behind
us and they too looked pretty much creased out.
However, we were in position in goo time - 2 teams in "Y" Ravine
and 2 teams in ........... Ravine. This is not quite the firing line but
quite near - almost a support bivouac. They are two natural ravines running
from the main Gulley with a sheer decline down to the Sea Coast. Quite
healthy except for some shrapnel going high over to a part of the Cliff
side frittering out to sea. Plenty of stray bullets too come into the
cliff side occasionally. War ships are still firing hard but they are
now obscured from our view. Was down to it at 9 o clock but no blanket
now and the bed was hard.
The day came in with glorious sunshine and we almost felt to be in fairyland
when we looked round the bivouac. The hillsides look beautiful and picturesque
- we are in "Y" Ravine - so called because the undulation form
rather a badly shaped "Y" and various dug outs are distributed
on each side of the "Y" - with patches here and there of some
beautiful healthy looking foliage and adds to quite the prettiest spot
we have been in out here.
Went down to the coast line for a wash in the briny and then sat and watched
the tide come in and also the Cruisers evidently doing patrol duty up
and down the Coast.
The skipper came along during the morning and gladly broke the news that
hewas going into hospital with "Inflammation of the Guts". He
seemed quite pleased with himself too. I couldn't help recalling his outburst
yesterday "When I order you to move off at 7 o clock and you choose
to move next day" - evidently that forced march put him out. Thats
my third officer now - and if it wasn't for the fact that the Army don't
grant any separation allowances to a married subalterns wife - I might
have had a good chance now. Still, it would have been a hell of a jump
from Len to Sir! and from "Right Sergeant to Yes Sir!
Everything going normal until 5 o clock when they started lashing that
damned shrapnel about and one of my lads got a nasty piece in the head.
Sat on the edge of our dug out frying 4 eggs for tea. We soon bandaged
him up0 and was packed off to the base hospital. Might be on one of the
hospital boats now congratulating himself on his "luck". Down
to it after a lot of Rum at 9 o clock.
Fine day and breakfast at 5.30. More eggs that we bought at the beach
canteen with the bacon issue and eating like two men now. Things seem
rather quiet just now after last nights shrapnel outburst. Lets hope it
Hear that nearly all the regular Machine Gun Officers in the Fusilier
Brigade are either killed, wounded or sick in hospital, so we seem to
be touching out a bit.
A good cleanse again in the afternoon and just arrived back to receive
an urgent note to meet Capt. Woollman and "Mr" Smith at 5.30.
So we are hav8ing another officer very quickly this time.
Kept the appointment sharp at 5.30 and wended our way for a tour of the
trenches - viewing our positions for the morrow.
It looked as if the troops had had a pretty rough passage too in this
sector. Going through the mule trench there were any amount of bones sticking
out of the parapet - evidently the bare remains of legs, arms etc. and
very scant attention seems to have been paid to the poor devils who were
killed around here - or it may have been that the human parapet was necessary
again as was the case with us in the June 4th slaughter.
Quite a work of art though round here and it almost looks like ...............................................
Three of the positions are right overlooking the Sea and a fine healthy
breeze swoops up - so we ought to be healthy if we can do a bit of deep
breathing. Thats if Joey Turk lets us.
Landed back in bivouac at 8 o clock and quite ready for kip at 9.
Another Sunday and a fine delightful day - with the sea quite calm and
hardly sufficient wind out to ruffle ones hair.
Getting the guns oiled up and everything checked up ready for moving into
the firing line at 1 o clock. My new Officer - Mr Smith - Lt. Smith to
be correct - tells me he has had only 3 weeks course on Machine Gun work
at Bisley and that he will have to "leave a lot to us." Seems
quite a decent sort too and a bit of logic in him.
Dinner over and moved off smartly at 1 o clock arriving in our respective
positions at about 2.
The Turkish front looks powerfully entrenched and my rough sketch shows
a "Tunnelled Recreation Trench" - a big mound of Earth to the
left front is indicated on the sketch with the unintelligent word "PATCH"
- a mysterious patch too and they have the advantage that they are on
the higher ground. My team are about 200 feet above sea level and one
of the additional jobs we have to do at dusk to dawn, is to attend to
a Signal Service Lamp which shines out to sea all night to show the Cruisers
our firing line in case of any attacks in force.
"Stood to" from 7.30 and a terrific fire broke out on our right
- Turks advancing - but there was no advance in our sector. Word was passed
along at about 8 o clock that the Turks had advanced as far as the parapet
but were repulsed after heavy fighting kept a sharp look out until 10
o clock when things eased down and "Observers Only" enabled
us to break away.
"Stand To" came like a bomb at 4 o clock I felt so tired and
the fine day out that I have been lucky enough to claim seemed to pull
strongly, but it was "Stand to" and I was up and doing. Very
chilly too up in our elevated position at this unearthly hour. Not much
doing - just occasional bursts of rifle fire from both sides just to tell
us that another day has dawned.
We get a splendid panorama of the Sea and all it holds on top at any rate
- and the warships are dashing about rather briskly this morning.
Heavy cannonade again and seemed to develop into a minor bombardment of
the Turks second line trenches during the afternoon. Let the guns go for
a few minutes late on to keep them tuned up and they are all working beautifully
- and I don't think the Turks will get within striking distance if they
do come over. We have a fine field of fire and although the Guns are all
mounted on the top of the parapet they are well dug in and sandbagged.
"Stand to" came along at 7.30 am until 9 o clock and everything
quite normal observers were detailed off for the night. The lamp is shining
brightly seawards and the two cruisers glide along so beautifully and
smooth. They seem to turn in their own length almost.
Down to my hard clay bottomed bed at about 11 o clock.
Up at 3.45 for the usual "Stand to" from the O.C. Firing line.
Nasty cutting wind searching the Peninsula just now and about the first
time we have all shivered through the cold whilst we have been out here.
It seemed to take the shortest cut - right through us - and overcoats
and mufflers were the order of the day.
The dawn seemed lazy too this morning and it was well after 5 that any
real daylight came. Not much firing and no more attacks from "Joe".
They are evidently feeling the chill just as we are and the rife is cold
as we stand with bayonets fixed waiting and watching.
I sometimes think what an education it would be to be able to record the
thoughts of these fellows as we stand here dithering from head to foot
- just waiting and watching - 4 o clock in the morning - when heathens
and white people should be sleeping peacefully. No wonder Shaws satire
keeps reverberating "£2000 per minute"
"And all those thousands of valuable lines "Whats it all for?"
A good breakfast seemed to warm the blood a bit - bacon and tomatoes.
The bacon the army grant us and the tomatoes we have bought from the Canteen
- Tinned tomatoes and warmed up with the bacon it went down a treat.
The Turks indulged in a bombing raid in the early afternoon and fairly
put the wind up us. Just two wounded in "D" Company.
Another bombardment in the afternoon on our poor little Gun. Just looking
through the periscope to the right of our Gun position and thought I was
done for. About half a dozen high explosives burst all around the Gun
and its marvellous how they missed it. We were all smothered in dirt and
sand and had to dig one fellow out.
It was quite a rough half hour and the O.C. Firing line swore it was those
few bursts we sent through yesterday that made them try and find the Gun.
It fairly set the firing line going and it was some time before things
were at normal.
"Stood to" off and on until 10 o clock and just getting down
to it when the skipper came along with quite an interesting order.
At 2.30 the Artillery and War
ships are going to bombard the Turks trenches in our sector and the Machine
Guns and rifles have to co-operate. We open fire for 5 minutes - then
stop for five minutes - start again for 5 minutes and then wait for developments.
So there was something to think about before going to sleep.
"Sergeant - quarter past two" - I was warm and nicely asleep
too. The wind was more piercing than ever bitterly cold. Prompt at 2.30
we opened out with our 4 Machine Guns - Burst Rapid fire - the rifles
were cracking away and the noise enough to waken the dead. But where was
the Artillery and the Warships - our part of the programme went off alright
but no big guns boomed out. The only thing of note was the powerful search
light of the H.M.S. "Scorpion" - it seemed to turn Inky Black
night into day and fairly showed the Turkish Trenches up.
There was not much reply from the Turks and evidently the object of our
spectacular affair was to get some idea of the strength on this side the
Were stood too until five o clock and still very cold but our blood is
coursing through our veins faster after that early awakening.
Things were quieter during the morning and the Machine Gun Officer instructs
me to be ready for the relief sometime today.
Our 3 days will be up at 2 o clock so we might have a chance of cleansing
ourselves again. - no wash or shave for 3 days makes us look and feel
a bit weary.
One casualty in my team this dinner time. Forrester was doing his observation
- looking through the periscope and evidently had a bit too much of it
exposed. With a consequence that Joe Turk was looking too and just pipped
it, a few minutes after "Ned" was being escorted down to the
clearing station to have his cut face dressed. He looked more like a walrus
when he came back - patched up here and there.
Seven men out of "A" Company were bombed whilst being relieved
and one has since died. The others rather badly injured.
The relief arrived at 3 o clock and we were moving back to our reserve
positions in quick time - we change over this journey - 2 Teams in "Y"
Ravine and my other teams in Trolley Ravine.
An issue of Rum again tonight so it ought to warm us up a bit. A very
cold raw night - something like England just now I should imagine.
Up at 7 and just in time to see a fine big Troopship pass - looks to be
heading for Suvla - The Turks tried hard to hit her but couldn't reach.
Breakfast over and down to the sea again for a real good wash and clean
up. Its half ones life to be able to get the filth of the trenches off
one and to feel a bit decent again.
Examination of Guns, Rifles, Bayonets etc. by the new skipper and he seems
Nothing much doing in the way of shells and although this ravine is a
fraction nearer the firing line we seem less in the field of fire. Its
a beautiful Ravine - and gets its name Trolley Ravine from the trolley
which was used in the early days for pulling up the ammunition from the
beach. Fine chalky cliffs tower pretty high up on the far side from our
dug outs and quite a staircase of steps lead up to a wide ledge where
our biscuit tin latrine is situated. Our sanitary squad has been sadly
lacking in imagination - we can now sit down to it and evidently some
initiative has been used for the well-being of the Troops previously operating
We have one gun mounted during the day and trained on the Recreation Trench
at 1500 yards, but beyond ........ effect we cannot do much damage at
that distant range I think.
Quiet evening and feeling pretty fit although still very cold and a nice
tot of Rum will warm us up a bit. Down to it at 10 o clock
Up at 6 with another cold day and the usual army menu - fried bacon and
bread. Our tinned tomatoes and various entrees are now exhausted until
we can get down to the Beach Canteen for a fresh supply.
Rifle and Bayonet inspection at 10 o clock and finished for the rest of
The mail just in and a couple of letters from home and several parcels
amongst the boys so we look like having a good time amongst the pineapple
chunks - and the cake and chocolate. It was amusing to see one of the
parcels though - the Keatings Powder was all mixed up with the Chocolate
and Oxo Cubes and more or less wasted through lack of a bit of care in
the packing. They don't half get knocked about though and are all partially
Ran a couple of belts through
the Guns on the recreation Trench more to test the Guns than test the
vulnerability of those Terrible Turks. It sounds wonderfully inviting
that "Recreation Trench" - makes us wonder whether they have
a Gymnasium in that Tunnelled arrangement.
In bed at 9 o clock - its too cold sat lounging about - we'd give the
world for a nice hot fire in the grate.
Miserably cold at 5 o clock when I had to beat a nasty step up the stairway
Early breakfast and orders from the M.S.O to be ready for more duty in
the front line at 2 o clock.
Guns all cleaned up and went round the trenches with the Officer - looking
for alternative positions for No 2 and 3 Gun positions. The Turks seem
to specialize in periscopes as I saw another fellows get hit this morning
when going through the front line.
Very windy and the dust blowing about is like a smoke screen in the trenches.
All under way and moved smartly at 2 o clock getting into position at
3 o clock - a lovely position too this time. Its a specially constructed
position for a Machine Gun with a bomb proof iron shelter- and the Turks
can advance like hell here if they like. We are in a sector just right
of the Gulley now and more initiative has been used around here - as the
trenches are marked and christened. In the other sectors its a case of
left of No 7 Sap - right of No. 6 Sap and so on - here, we know where
we are. We arein Kimberley Road Support line - which is in the rear of
the firing line and joined there to by a "street" Watling Street.
And with such a wonderfully constructed position we have a chance now
- other positions have merely been thrown on the parapet with a few sand
bags as protection.
Tea over and were stood to at 7.30. Not half cold - we could have just
done with a cross country run to stir the circulation up a bit - but stood
still it goes through us. A small tot of Rum and broke away at 10 o clock.
No - dug out now - just the firing step to lay down on but under our shelter
we are a bit protected.
Stand to at 5 o clock and running noses seem to be in evidence. A bit
of a burst on the right here kept us on the look out but otherwise the
day broke very quickly. In the crisp air of the morning the rifle shots
have quite a different ring with them as they seem to whistle just over
Still very windy and dark ominous clouds don't add to the trench life
at all. Breakfast might warm us up a bit.
Rumours are buzzing about that our kit bags which we left at Alexandria
have been sent for - so it looks as if we are going to spend the Winter
out here - just digging and delving and waiting and watching.
Another big mail in and the postman should not have much difficulty in
locating us - Kimberley Road -
A minor bombardment during the afternoon but nothing very heavy came over
and there seems to be a general lull in this sector at any rate. I shouldn't
be surprised if there are only about a couple of hundred Turks facing
us in this sector and that the bulk of them are around Suvla way stemming
the Tide of Kitcheners Army.
"Stood to" from 7.30 to 9.30 then broke away again for the night.
Raining steadily today and our shelter is coming in very useful. But the
firing step soon gets greasy and slippery but "Stand Down" "Observers
only" at 5 o clock did not necessitate our using it. Turks all quiet
and fairly peaceful and apparently the rain has dampened their ardour
Breakfast at 6 and an urgent call "Stand to" rang down the line.
We started a terrific bombardment of the Turks trenches just ahead here
but only lasted about half an hour and no attack developed on either side.
Kept us both jumping however most of the morning and a general exchange
of bullets kept us on tip toes.
Quietened down a bit in the afternoon and accompanied the Officer on a
tour of the Navel Gun positions and reporting on same. There is a nasty
looking 12 pounder Gun in the rear of our position and looks formidably
dug in. Ought to do a bit of damage so close up and the poor old Turks
look like having a rough time.
Another "Rum" issue tonight and warmed us up a bit for stand
to from 8 to 9 - then down to it - one, two.
"Stand to" come along Sergeant" and the fellow who ......................
it ought to be "shot at dawn". 4 o clock and I can agree with
the Sentry. Not half cold - chattering teeth and shaky knees make us all
Just at daybreak our artillery started another big bombardment of the
Turks ahead - we seem to indulge in an early morning ............... just
as the Turks used to have their evening ........ in those early days of
the campaign. We can ..................... one of the Turks Communication
trenches and there seemed to be a big movement of their fellows in the
distance so we opened out and fired a couple of hundred rounds there.
The excitement warmed us up a bit and we must have given them a bit of
a raking. Could just do with a move like this every morning to let us
get the blood circulating.
Quietened down very considerably towards 8 o clock and "Observers
Only" came as a relief. One of the fellows on the 12 pounder had
his head blown off during this morning exchange of shells. The Turks are
not always asleep - in fact we find them quite as lively and enthusiastic
as ourselves - always on the look out for a section.
Officers visit over at 10 o clock and orders that we will be relieved
at 2.30 - then another 3 days in "Y" Ravine whilst the other
teams are in "Trolley Ravine."
We look forward to this. 3 days out - it enables us to get washed and
shaved and generally rejuvenated. 3 days dirt on makes us feel doubly
Relief arrived before time and we were soon away down to our bivouac "Y"
Ravine - more pleasant round here too without a doubt and away from those
infernal "Stand to's" three or four times a night.
A fine piece of Steak for tea and whiled the evening away replying to
all my unanswered letters. In kip at 9 o clock.
Had rather a rude awakening in
the early hours - raining steadily and felt a bit wet. With the knowledge
of that last deluge in May last I simply tucked myself in a bit better
with the oilsheet and overcoat and waited and watched again. With any
weight of rain I could see "Y" Ravine in a state of siege before
long but fortunately we did not get the torrential stuff and after an
hour or so it cleared up.
Nine o clock inspection and all over bar shouting. Three fellows of the
section obtained leave to go down to the beach for more luxuries from
the Canteen and we are hoping they have some luck.
Lazy afternoon and very little in the way of shells moving.
The only thing left at the Canteen is eggs - and we have 5 dozen to go
at - won't last long between 28 of us - but it means a couple of good
meals today and tomorrow.
Still very dull and peaceful and the bivouac is gradually swallowing up
its army ready for the great sleep after last nights interference from
Fine morning and very different from yesterday - its just as pleasant
today. Two eggs and the army bacon for breakfast and everything going
according to plan.
A rather minute inspection today of all our apparatus and burdens - Iron
rations, Gas Mask, Rife, Bayonet, Ammunition, Guns, Belts etc. evidently
preparatory to moving tomorrow as our 3 days will be up.
Then an hours instruction on a new idea - the one man range finder - and
will be very helpful, although the trenches of the Turks and their support
lines etc are all so close that we can pretty much gauge them.
Rumours are rampant that we are going on to the Gully Beach again and
goodness knows what. The transport fellows have not been too busy in their
rumours just lately but evidently there is another epidemic.
Cold night again and the clouds look laden with rain. Down to it at 10
Not much sleep though - evidently we are indulging too much in our new
rations and the digestion has got disturbed. And the lice don't induce
sleep - they seem to have a mass attack right at the bottom of the back
and then deploy down to behind the knees where the Putters fasten. Its
a thousand pities we could not drink something that would allow us to
exude some noxious gas and suffocate the little devils. There was quite
a fusillade of shots during the early hours and the shots fairly crack
in the side of the cliff - high up.
Suppose we shall be winding our way into the firing line again this afternoon
as our 3 days are up. Seems a strange idea lumbering Guns, Tripods and
boxes all that way simply because they have a different number on them
to those of the 5th and 6th Fusiliers who we alternatively relieve. It
would be far better to just relieve the respective teams and hand the
Guns etc. over. They are all precisely the same type of Gun. I cannot
see through it all.
Quiet all morning and have evidently struck oil as the skipper tells me
we are all getting relieved tomorrow - all the Fusilier Brigade and going
down to Eski Line.
Any amount of instructions to work to.
Cold evening and a lot of Rum was very welcome.
Up early - 5.30 and breakfast over at half past six we were all rushing
about getting everything in the Gulley and ready for limbering up when
the liaison Mule Carts came along. Just what we wanted was a bit of activity
to relieve the stagnation. On the move at 12 o clock down the Gulley and
a good sharp march brought us to the mysterious Eski Line. We had all
been wondering what place we would land in - and evidently it is our last
line of defence so well dug the trenches seem apparently stretch right
through the Peninsula from Eski Hissarlik in the narrows. We are right
amongst the Trenchmen and their own formidable 75's. Beautiful .......................
dale and huge masses of glorious heather in the essence of condition.
Reminds us of ............. in the days gone by. It was hard to realize
that we were at war in a beautiful country like this and scenes not a
little wanton to destroy the full vigour of nature by digging the place
Quite a mountainous climb to get into our positions but were all settled
down at 5 o clock and Tea shortly after gave us time to admire the glorious
foliage around.; Blankets issued out again and we look like being peaceful
for a day or two at any rate.
We feel more contented too - that we can now see Achi Babi. We had lost
sight of it completely this last few weeks. We cannot refrain from admiring
it - especially at night time - it looks so strong and powerful and with
the moon behind it (it seems to rise just the other side of the B hill)
it adds to the beauty.
Quite a sudden bombardment started at 11 o clock and was kept up fully
an hour, and we could not resist getting up and looking at our "Achi"
to see where the shells were letting. It looked wonderfully picturesque
in the distance.
Must have been nigh on 1 o clock when I got to sleep.
Glorious sunny morning - and I believe Sunday morning - although we get
a trifle confused in the days.
Breakfast over at 8 o clock and the usual inspection of Iron Rations etc.
with an unusual inspection of our Identity Discs. Several of the fellows
had them in their pockets - but there is only one recognised place and
thats tied round the neck. Marvellous little pieces of tin - ones whole
life history in the shortest and smallest compass. However it was a rather
There are two Trench Battalions about 50 yards in the rear of our part
of this Eski Line and they have been sending over their death dealing
weapons all morning. There is a terrific vibration after each shell. The
aeroplanes are up again and the Turks keep trying to hit them but seem
short. Just like so many tennis balls as the shots burst in a small puff
of smoke as it were.
We can hear that distant rumble of big guns and evidently another big
cannonade is going on the other side the hill.
Rather quiet evening and was in bed - a nice bed too - the hard ground
for a mattress - a good thick blanket round me and the overcoat serves
as the eiderdown. The beautiful star-lit sky for company and was soon
comfortable. The Skipper came around at 10 o clock and informed us that
an Airship would be coming over during the night and no-one had to fire
"Many Happy Returns, Ma" - my thoughts are of home now.
Very windy and cold today - nearly at freezing point up there - but breakfast
might warm us up a bit.
Quite a big party of troops going to Imbios this morning for some unknown
purpose - about 100 all told.
Started instructing the new fellows again this morning in readiness for
the next attack.
Plenty of heavy shells going to Achi Babi again most of the morning and
they are fairly ripping the ground up.
Apparently the Aeroplanes have brought more information along as to the
Turks activity this last day or two.
Very quiet generally and still cold and with the nights closing so quickly
- darkness comes down now about 7 o clock - we were ready for bed at 8
o clock - after the usual pow wow.
Twenty five today - and never been twenty five before - not much chance
of celebrating it out here unless the Q.M.S. dishes some more lime juice
Beautiful day and quite the other extreme - quite as warm as it was cold
Up at 7 o clock and had quite a good big breakfast - Sardines, Fried Onions
and Bacon. Not half a mixture - but hunger must be appeased and it went
down with gusto.
Seems to be quite a heavy bombardment of the Turks positions, developing
just now and the Aeroplanes are co-operating.
We fairly get the concussions from those Trench batteries just behind
The S/M wants a fatigue party tonight at 7.30 - collecting ammunition
from some Dead Turks who are still out in the open. Not a very appetising
job but a special rum issue will camouflage it a bit.
A beautiful moonlight night - the autumnal night that the poets dream
about - and a good sharp walk would make the body tingle - but out there
it would not be too healthy - Too many strays and spares knocking about.
Typical Autumn day - a quiet cold looking sun shimmering from 8 o clock
with a biting sharp wind blowing and fairly makes our nose run. Early
breakfast then the usual wash, shave etc. ready for 9 o clock rifle inspection.
Instruction on the Guns until dinner from 10 o clock.
It was interrupted for a while though - we were all more interested in
a big Air Duel between the respective Aeroplanes - and we could very distinctly
hear their Machine Guns cracking away like all that.
Didn't have the satisfaction of counting those that came down - looked
a case of all noise and nothing for it.
The Turks are getting quite active
in the air apparently - they tried quite a big raid on Imbios this morning
so the reports comes round, but no mention of what damage was done.
The latest news from the firing line is that we blew a mine up this morning
and after half an hours hand to hand fighting we occupied one of the Turks
trenches. Plenty of Artillery Fire whilst the attack was on and it seemed
as if every battery in this section was working.
Not much doing in the evening and after a lot of Rum was down to it about
9 o clock.
The cold merciless in intensity and we are all shivering very badly this
morning even with Great Coats and Mufflers on.
A couple of eggs and some hot tea soon warmed us up though and during
the usual instgruction this morning the Officer broke the news that we
would be going up to the firing line again tomorrow. We are always interested
in a move to the firing line - the difference in the fellows bearing is
so great as to be almost felt.
We wonder what the near future holds for us - whether we shall be treated
as we were treating others in the June attack - the July attack and the
August affair - whether we shall be used for a parapet or stepping stones
- its an eerie feeling.
But we smile through it all and we are in noble Company - The Larks and
Linnets - any amount of them are still with us giving us an occasional
song and we marvel they are not driven to despair with all the Guns and
Bombs Shells etc. knocking about day long. Then there is the Earth with
its beautiful foliage just now in perfect trim - a rather cold Sun these
days - and the Sea. What more do we want.
The activity grows in the front line and the heavy shells and bombs sound
very brisk. Wonder how things are progressing round that "B"
Hill. Our information is very scant and we are hoping they have not gone
................... like they have here.
Bitterly cold night and were getting down to it at 8 o clock wondering
how we should go on tomorrow.
Fine day and still terribly cold and Faulkner wants to know when the army
are going to issue muffs and fuss! Or hot water bottles wouldn't be so
bad. It would be worth something to see a big hot fire burning.
All very busy from 6 o clock onwards and all limbered up by 8 ready to
move to our destination. The guides met us about 9.30 at the Support Trenches
in the Gulley and we were all handed over and relief completed by 11 o
Quite a new sector of this long winding British Line of Khaki. The new
initiative to which we had all been so foreign before we came around this
side of the Peninsula is still apparent. Our Gun is mounted on the parapet
between Manchester Road and Colne Road. These are two communication trenches
that join the front line with the first and second support lines. A short
distance to our left is Inniskilling Inch - it juts away almost square
on from our part of the firing line.
Not a bad position and except for a constant bombing at the bird cage
just at the end of Inniskilling Inch things are normal.
Some heavy shells dropping ahead in the evening heralding "Stand
to" from the O.C. Firing line. We are standing to earlier now the
nights are closing in - between 7 and 8. Our usual talk up to 9 o clock
then broke away but were back again between 10 and 11 as a big bombardment
to the right here made us "Stand to" again.
Nothing came about however but it was so cold that one is much warmer
stamping about and waiting for the early morning "Stand to"
which came along at 4.30.
Still very quiet and the only interest is aerial activity - any amount
of Aeroplanes up and some of the enemies anti-aircraft Guns are making
............... efforts to keep them at a good altitude. Quite exciting
watching those tiny balls of smoke burst up above. They look very near
but might easily be hundreds of yards away.
Army rations are going to wrack and ruin just lately - for dinner we have
a spoonful of rice and on fig - that wont feed us. Another attack would
help the commissariat I suppose - it is only after a big loss of troops
that we have our fill; but we are hardly inhuman to wish for a repetition
of June and August. There is always the thought lurking behind our minds
that some fellows may be eating our rations.
An extra heavy bombing raid this afternoon caused several casualties to
our left here and stretcher bearers are busy patching the wounded.
A hot cup of coffee with the nightly rum issue in it helped us over "Stand
to" at 9 o clock.
Up at 2 o clock and visited the
3 other Guns up to 4 o clock. "Stand to" half past 5 and dawn
came along quickly without much firing from either side. The cold spell
seems to be dampening our ardour and even the observers don't indulge
in that constant firing as recently.
Some big heavy shells are dropping in the rear of our trenches during
the morning and another battery of Guns seems to have made their appearance
with the Turks.
We were amusing ourselves this afternoon and amusing the Turks as well
I suppose - until the O.C. Firing line came along and .............................
We were pushing our jam tins filled with dirt on top of the parapet for
Joey to have a shot at. Evidently the O.C. could not see the joke - he
thought it a "Damned silly game." The Turks thought so too as
they did not take the challenge.
Officer advises me that we shall probably be relieved tomorrow and retire
to Eski Line again. It seems a long tramp for 3 days in.
Rumoured that our battalion is being attached to the Manchester Brigade
from tomorrow so it sounds like settling down for the Winter out here.
Heavy rifle fire from 6 o clock and we were hurriedly ordered to "Stand
to" and like this until 8 o clock. Nothing doing though and merely
let the Guns run a bit to loosen their lock and bearings.
A beautiful moon shining all the time and the Bomb display was simply
great at the Bird Cage. Just got settled down at 10 o clock.
Just got settled down at 10 o clock when the East Lancashire Officer came
along and wanted to see about the relief tomorrow. 9.30 would suit me
alright so got down again.
A rude awakening at 2 o clock - "Something doing here Sergeant I
think" - the observers seeing things. Watched intently but the bushes
which were seemingly creeping forward so stealthily had been there ever
since taking over - in fact they'd probably been there for years. But
at darkness if one looks at an object too long one can imagine it moving.
It is a peculiar feeling and yet I make it a hard and fast rule that the
men get acquainted immediately with the foreign ground purposely for their
night time observations.
Very cold just now and didn't bother getting down again with "Stand
to" so near.
Dawn came in with some heavier rife fire from the Turks trenches but no
signs of any attack. Black ominous clouds are low overhead and just starting
to rain. Hope it keeps off to enable us to get away and relieved.
It makes things rather awkward being with 2 Teams being relieved at 9.30
and the other two at 2 o clock.
Our relief arrived to time and we were shortly in the Gulley with the
2 guns etc and whiled the time away until the rest of the section came
along at 3 o clock.
Then a trudge down to Eski Line but on the opposite side from where we
were last time. It is a steeper ascent from the Gulley and quite a batch
of French Artillery here.
Some good news passed round at night that we had made a big advance in
France and taken 20,000 prisoners.
In consequence we had to celebrate the occasion by cheering madly and
generally making a big noise. The rife fire from the front lines was absolutely
deafening and the roar of cannon and big Guns added to the scene.
A mouthful of rum and was asleep in the deep at 10 o clock. Blankets -
and the clothes off means all the difference between a sleep and simply
"Down to it."
Up at 7 o clock amidst our splendid surroundings - its worth something
to be up there and with a much warmer wind the war isn't so bad after
Inspection of Guns, Gas Masks etc. at10 o clock and ready for anything.
Quite a string of wounded coming down the Gulley this morning and it almost
looks as if the Turks have been having a minor attack. Or else that celebration
last night has resulted in some of our chaps getting a share of the Turks
celebration as well. Its remarkable how a quick sharp burst from any part
will travel in quick time along the whole sector.
Asiatic Annie or the Jewel of Asia as the big Gun at Fort Chanak is invariably
referred to has been exchanging shells with some of our big guns all day
and although her shells are quite a respectable distance away, they leave
a nasty ugly tear in the earth.
The skipper tells me we shall be going up again for more duty on Friday
- and probably for 15 days this time.
That sounds more sensible - it can easily be arranged for 3 in the front
line, 3 first support and 3 days in the second support. Then repeat the
process for front line and first support. We could have done this weeks
ago instead of messing us about from one place to another - the very moving
like that fatigues us.
A big bombardment for an hour from 6 to 7 and the firing line sounds busy
again. Down to it at 8 o clock.
More shells knocking about again this morning and the Turks seem to be
lashing it about in plenty. Evidently another boat load of ammunition
has come in.
The aeroplanes have come out of their shells too and the air looks quite
alive with them. None of the Turks have made an appearance though.
The buzz of the engines high up in the heavens is intermingled with the
beautiful song of the Larks that seem to be revelling in the warmer weather
just now. But it is a painful contrast to be sure.
Quite afternoon and early evening and had just got tucked in the blanket
about 8 o clock when the skipper came along quite excitedly and told me
that as the Turks had blown a mine up, we have to get up and dress and
sleep in our clothes ready to move off at a moments notice. We seem to
be getting awfully panicky and evidently in a terrible state - holding
about 12,000 Turks back with the East Lancs Division numbering about 4,000.
Could not get to sleep after that sudden setback.
Up[ early and find that "C" Company have moved off to the firing
line and we are all ready to move farther up the Gulley.
Taking advantage of the easy day by writing to my various correspondents.
It is hardly fair to always send the Field Service Card - with 3 strokes
of the pen and we are all alive - the Green envelopes are better and it
is only one in a thousand that gets censored I should imagine.
Heavy bombardment from 4 until 6 and the enemy replied with some real
beauties right in front of our dug-outs. Made us feel a bit anxious too.
Talk about Coal boxes - these looked like the Coal mine itself.
Note from the skipper to have everything ready for moving at 8 o clock
sharp in the morning.
A nice lot of Rum and a share of "Neds" Cake he has received
in his parcel of good things and down to it at 9 o clock. Quite an Autumnal
night - with the moon looking quite sharp and a crispness in the air that
makes the stray bullets resound again.
Everywhere enveloped in a thin veil of mist at 6 o clock and everything
Work on the Guns - getting them oiled up finally and into the Gulley for
our trek to the firing line.
Two eggs and some of the army bacon for breakfast and it ought to give
us a good foundation.
All ready after our breakfast and were moving away at 9 o clock sharp.
There appears to be a general movement of troops and the French Batteries
whom we have been in such close proximity with lately have been drafted
off to Serbia this morning.
In position at 11 o clock and all handed over - things are going to be
very lively too in there. Quite a new sector to the right of the Gulley
Ravine and the various communication trenches and support lines are all
christened. Union Street, Diggle Street, - Ashton under Lyne Street -
almost makes us feel we are somewhere round Ashton and Stalybridge instead
of Cape Hellos - Gallipoli.
Any amount of bombs kicking about and bird cages - those simple looking
wire netting contraptions stuck on top of the sandbagged buttress - are
to the right and left of us. According to my official plan of this sector
the line looks painfully zig zag. In fact from our corner here the firing
line ............... right away and for quite a hundred yards runs back
parallel with the Gulley Ravine.
Had not been in position long and a piece of metal dropped on "Ned"
but no damage done. They are only about 50 yards away at one point of
our field of fire and it's about the worst Gun position I have ever seen.
The Turks seem to enjoy bombing and there was an exceptionally heavy raid
in the afternoon - about 40 bombs over in quick time.
"Stood to" from 7 until 9 and then broke away but sleep is going
to be a bit hazardous here so I merely watched the moon slowly rise in
the clouds about 11 o clock. Meantime the rifle fire broken by the Turks
peculiar wailing interested me.
Up at 4 o clock and were "Stood to" until 5.30. A nice cool
dawn broke and augurs well for a fine day.
Breakfast over at 8 and busy weighing up the foreground through the periscope.
About the tightest corner we have been in for some time - according to
my plan it is called "Worcester Gap" - evidently the Worcester
Regiment out of the gallant 29th Division had christened - and it was
quite appropriately named too. Something like Worcester Sauce - very hot.
We are adjoining the R.M.L.I.'s - they seem to be operating just to our
right - and one of their stretcher bearers has doctored my knee up a bit.
Must be going bad or something - he calls it blood poison but feels better
now after the bandage round it.
Terrible bombardment in the afternoon on the Turks positions and shells,
bombs flying pigs etc are coming over by the dozen so we are keeping low
and looking pleasant - as pleasant as we can under the circumstances.
Continued until 6 o clock then tea and ready for anything.
Darkness seemed to bring a decided lull in the bombardment and things
have settled down again to the usual bombs and a steady rifle fire.
Down to it about 11 o clock.
Must have had a few hours sleep as I had to get a jerk in it at 4.30 "Stand
to" hour. A bit damp and chilly this morning but events are rather
Word passed down the line that the Turks morale is very low just now and
that we must keep a sharp look out for any prisoners who may be likely
to give themselves up. Lets hope they come over in force.
The most notable thing is a parcel of letters for the Machine Gun Section
and was soon handing out the cheerful news. It makes such a difference
a letter from the homeland.
A bit of a bombardment on in the late afternoon but nothing doing in the
way of prisoners and we were stood to arms at 6 o clock as a very heavy
rifle fire broke out on our right flank and we learned after that a Turkish
attack had been made on a sap head but they were repulsed with loss. Doesn't
sound like weakening of any morale, I think, when they are making attacks.
They would not have got as far as they did if it hadn't been for that
silly message - our fellows would think they were giving themselves up.
We were all breezy until a late hour and it must have been 10 o clock
when observers only came and we broke away. The firing step is damned
hard though and its not much use getting down to it.
Damp daybreak and a nasty ground mist slowly rising. "Stood to"
from 4 to 5 then get going with the bacon and onions for breakfast and
went down A1.
The officers usual inspection at 9 o clock and he had hardly cleared away
when the Turks started a hurricane bombardment of our Gun position. It
was a veritable hell for half an hour and I can hardly remember exactly
what did happen.
Was just looking through the
periscope when Shaw relieved me and in a couple of minutes - Crack, and
all I remember for a few minutes after sandbags and parapet had dropped
on my head and neck, was a terrific explosion. I rolled down the trench
in a daze and felt as if my head was off but came round a bit and looked
back - My God what a sight - Shaw was lying in the bottom of the trench
lifeless - Young Sammy White was reared against the parapet with a dozen
wounds in his body and one as big as my hand under his heart. The suddenness
of it all left us bewildered - only a few minutes before we were a happy
Gun Team and now two men practically dead. Young White's body was so battered
that he cannot possibly recover. Shaw's was a peaceful death - not a mark
on him - he just lay there lifeless. We are still left wondering how we
all escaped a similar fate and surely the hand of Heaven was holding us.
The trench was .................... and after the dead and wounded had
been carried away and we were gradually recovering our senses we were
hard at work clearing the debris and getting the sand bags in position.
Another team relieved me at 2 o clock and I was glad to get away from
the place for a day or two.
We are now in a support line about 50 yards in the rear of that ominous
"Worcester Sap" and we were "Stood to" at 7 o clock
when the Officer came along with the news that Shaw had been buried In
Geogheghan's Bluff Cemetery during the afternoon and Young White had since
My head is numbed and my ears are whistling yet and I laid down on my
hard sand bag pillow at 9 o clock but could not sleep for the thoughts
of our experience earlier in the day.
"Stood to" from 3 o clock - about an hour earlier than usual
as we were going to blow a mine up.
It only came off at 5 and the tremor of the earth was very distinct. Like
a miniature earthquake and there was some terrific bombing and rifle fire
The sun shining brilliantly most of the morning and quite a warm pleasant
We can do a bit of firing from our present position across the Gulley
and having spotted a few of those terrible Turks we were at it quite early
My head seems pretty much the same again- not much feeling there - think
the nerves must be paralysed or something.
Any amount of bombs knocking about at the bird cages in the afternoon
but generally quiet otherwise.
"Stood to" from 7 o clock until 9 then down to it.
Skipper round in the early hours to tell us that another mine is being
blown up at 8 o clock. Early breakfast in consequence and we are all "Stood
to" waiting developments. The Gun is trained on the approximate position
in case the Turks are there in force and we can get a target.
Very prompt at 8 o clock the mine went up but no tremor. The huge mess
of dirt displaced has left quite a big crater. No targets offered but
did a bit of rapid fire soon after to keep the gun in condition.
An artillery duel in the afternoon and the Turks are giving as much as
they are taking. No weakening of morale amongst their artillery men apparently
and there is no shortage of ammunition. We have long thought that half
the official messages we get passed down the line are inspired - army
stratagem to maintain our spirits.
Officer tells me we shall be moving tomorrow to our position just near
Barton Bridge where we were about a month ago.
Cool evening with the enemy unusually quiet and were "Stood to"
from 7 to 9 then down to it.
Must have slept peacefully and no turn outs during the night. A cold "Stand
to" this morning and a slight Autumnal mist covers the ground which
makes things seem colder.
The transport fellows bring the encouraging news along that there are
any amount of fresh troops down at "W" beach so we look like
moving a bit towards that "B" hill. If we have to rely on undermining
our way there it will take about 10 years - we had almost thought that
thats about our only hope judging by the dozens of mines going up.
All serene at 2 o clock and were handing over to the East Lancs and moving
back to "Any more for Barton Bridge before we turn it". We don't
look to have moved an inch here and even the notice has not been replenished.
A bit more activity here though and heavy rifle fire up to 6 o clock.
Then a succession of "Stand to's" all the night through. Flying
pigs, high explosives and shells of all descriptions were going over our
heads at intervals..
Up for the 4th time at 3.30 and did not break away again until 6 o clock.
Heavy rifle fire from the Turks irrespective of our all night long minor
They've got some right dug outs evidently and looks as if we could utilize
our shells and efforts somewhere else. After all our bombardments they
seem very powerfully manned by the rifle fire from their side.
Its a bit of a hot quarter just now but we have a better position than
Dull day and the low lying clouds look laden with juice.
More flying pigs and shells during the morning greeted our Battalion who
are relieving the 8th Manchester's.
Nothing moving much in the afternoon except some heavy shells hurtling
through the air. They sound like thunder rumbling and we do not appear
to have heard these sort before. The boys think there must be some new
Gun boats come along to try their hand. We are all so seasoned now that
we seem to tell instinctively whether we have any new Guns co-operating
- we know each kind of shell even.
As we were "Stood to" 7 o clock a terrific wind and rain storm
rose up and we were all soon drenched and trenches sticky and greasy.
Felt like drenched rats and had to "Stand to" until 10 o clock
- very heavy rifle fire and were slipping and floundering on the firing
Miserable in the rain sodden trenches and although "Observers only"
came along about 10 o clock we could only stand and lean against the para........
Very pleased when "Stand to" came along at 5 o clock - the rain
has cleared off nicely and a cool wind blowing from the Sea will soon
help to dry things up a bit.
Any amount of those new troops buzzing about the Gulley - Sussex Yeomanry
apparently. Might have a chance if they've brought their horses but not
unless. Gives one the idea that we should have had a Horse Regiment here
in June I will bet the Australian Light Infantry who were out at Mena
near the Pyramids would have gobbled Kuthia and Achi Babi up nearly if
they'd been in Kuthia Nullah on June the 5th. The Turks were surrendering
in dozens against us, so with the Australian Light Horse nearby they'd
have packed up long ago.
Quite a pleasant afternoon = the sun is hot and drying our great coats
and equipment for us beautifully. A decided lull in the whole sector on
both sides and evidently the Turks are hung out to dry like ourselves.
"Stand to" from 6.30 to 9 then down to it and it is just as
comfortable tonight as it was reverse last night.
A peaceful sleep evidently as the first waken was when the observer was
giving me the nudge "Stand to" 4 o clock.
Cold sharp morning and the sun is a trifle belated in making its appearance.
All quiet up to 10 o clock when the Trench Batteries started throwing
some stuff over. About a hours bombardment of the Turks "J"
trenches on which we are trained. No attacks yet.
Those Sussex Yeomanry fellows seem to be taking to the trenches alright
but they don't look to relish their biscuits and tea. Quite a change for
some of them I should imagine. Still its either that or nothing. The Q.M.S.
is not too lavish with the rations and even that department seems to have
cracked up now. In fact if it wasn't for the staff we buy at the Beach
Canteen we should be living on sand and the smell of dead bodies. Forrester
used to say "Its the worst bloody Army I've ever been in".
The Turks have been retaliating this afternoon and quite a batch of high
explosions came over but no damage. We used to talk about the damned shrapnel
but High Esr. Is worse.
Quiet evening and the usual two hours "Stand to" came and went
without any further trouble.
Cold again tonight and was down to it about 10 o clock.
The usual visit of the Officer at "Stand to" 4 to 5 he tells
me we shall be relieved this afternoon and change over to an entirely
new position in the second line supports. Lets hope its a bit quieter
at any rate. Should probably be our last 4 days now to complete the 14
all told. We get a bit weary and jaded too with the monotonous "Stand
to's" and we seem to be holding the Peninsula so thinly now that
we have to stand to in the Second Line Support.
Previously we have been able to have a complete rest in this line but
its all hands on deck now.
Quiet morning and except for a few of those flying pigs lashing about
things are quite normal.
All ready at 2 o clock for our new abode and were settling down quite
comfortably when a nasty shower soon damped our ardour and made a sorry
mess of the trenches. It is a very chalky subsoil just in this position
and after a drop of rain we soon churn about 5 or 6 inches of white slutch
up. Cleared off at about 4 o clock however and will soon be dried up if
the wind sticks it.
I seem to have touched lucky too in the way of a day out. It must have
been a Turkish Officer's its so well dug in the trench side. Plenty of
room to stretch the legs out and quite a variety of Turkish inscriptions
carved in the chalky sides.
The usual evening shells coming over towards 6 o clock so I made good
use of the day out without question.
Very cold stand to and were away at 9 o clock with a small tot of rum
to warm the innards a bit.
We are all feeling the cold more than a bit and a couple of miles run
round would have been more appreciated than our cold feet stood still
The Observers say there has been some very heavy firing round the other
side the hill during the night but there is not much moving here.
The artillery opened out a bit in the late morning but otherwise tings
Another batch of letters in today and everything seems A1. How very eager
everybody is to receive a letter from home and the smiling faces as they
read the news.
A minor bombardment of our support lines across the Gulley by the Turks
in the afternoon got us all breezy and were stood to arms for an hour
awaiting development in our sector.
Nothing doing however and concluded that the Turks must be relieving or
some other stunt on.
Quiet evening and were breaking away at 9 o clock.
Phoh! The world for a good hot fire or a nice feather bed. Its nearly
freezing us all this morning - 4 o clock - and the wind cuts from all
sides. Breakfast at 6 o clock - fried bacon and dry bread and the tea
could do with warming up a bit by the time we get it up here from the
A surprise note from the skipper to the effect that I will be relieved
at 10 o clock by the Susdsex Yeomanry and were here prompt to time and
spent the morning with them pointing out the objectives we are trained
on and giving them an insight into trench life generally.
Quite decent fellows too and were soon handing out photographs taken on
the Sussex Downs with their horses.
They won't appreciate the service life out here I feel sure but they will
feel at home so far as the beauty of this Peninsula is concerned - especially
if they get in Trolley Ravine or "Y" Ravine and Eski Line.
We wished them jolly good luck and left them to it. Now in the 3rd supports
and thanking God that we have finished with "Stand to." Its
the soldiers curse out here - that and the lice.
An artillery demonstration at ten past seven - a big fire and then the
artillery opens out. It petered out into a very tame affair however and
were getting down to it at 8 o clock.
Thank goodness we had no "Stand to" this morning and we were
able to sleep on until 7 o clock.
The artillery demonstration was a failure last night - and we hear that
the termination was so abrupt and tame owing to one of the batteries being
badly ranged and resulted in one man killed and 8 badly wounded in our
own firing line.
Went round with the officer visiting all the gun teams and inspecting
rifles etc. until 11 o clock and then viewed two positions we have to
take up tonight for some hair-brained stunt.
Just near the crater where the Turks blew up a mine last night - they
are only 20 yards away. We've just got to blow their sand bags down and
await results - easy.
Not much doing today but hear that there were several casualties in their
mine explosion. The Turks are evidently retaliating in this underground
warfare and is not to be outdone.
An urgent note from the skipper at 9 o clock "Don't bother about
those two positions near the Crater" - relieved us a little and after
making some elaborate arrangements we had to dismount the guns and retire
to our support line.
The runner came along again at 10 o clock with instructions that the Turks
will be exploding a mine ay minute and one of ours is going up at 11 o
clock prompt - "Stand by" - Nothing developed up to 12 o clock
so was down to it and to hell with the mines.
Did not waken until 6.30 and orders through that the Machine Gun Section
will be relieved today.
Early breakfast and wended my way to . Geogheghan's Bluff to view our
position in the new bivouac. Seemed to set my blood working a bit too
- some smart dug-outs for the Gun Section - just overlooking the Cemetery
which looks quite formidable.
Several artillery duels this morning and the Turks are replying quite
furiously and we feel convinced that they have been reinforced in this
department. Not half chucking the shrapnel over the Gulley here.
Were all on the move by 11 o clock and after a bit of a tussle carrying
guns etc. were all settled safely down by 1 o clock.
Wash, shave and general clean up and feeling pretty fit after the 14 days
gruelling up there. A leisurely afternoon soliloquising on past events
and paid our respects to Shaws and Young Whites' graves. They are buried
respectably - quite a neat separate grave now with decent wooded crosses
A good sharp walk in the evening down the Gulley towards the beach about
2 miles was thoroughly enjoyable. All types and branches of this huge
~Empire army were scattered about - the Indians squat down here and there
with their small fires making their famous Chippatitis - the forge with
old hammer and anvil seemed to ring out like peals of Cathedral Bells
- lines of mules all foraging and resting for tomorrows ration pulling
- in fact it was a most picturesque and exhilarating walk and I wended
my way back to our bivouac feeling mentally refreshed at any rate and
had it not been for the numerous stray bullets whizzing about and that
beautiful Cemetery, one could wonder whether we were really at war. Down
to a decent bed at 10 o clock - 1 blanket and a good dug-out and the clothes
off first time this last 3 weeks.
Feeling better after that good sleep - in fact it was hard work getting
up this morning. I felt so warm and cushy .
A general inspection this morning of all our Kit - from Iron rations down
to the spare socks etc.etc. and any amount of deficiencies.
Next human deficiencies to replace our casualties - two killed, one wounded
and two hospitalized. And so on - the merry go round - instruction for
the backward and when we get the new men from the companies more of it.
There is a monotonous regularity about this army of ours.
Officer suggests that we mount a Gun on the top of the hill side here
so that we can fire at the enemies aeroplanes should they come a bit too
low. Nothing definite decided yet - suppose we shall have to get official
sanction from the Brigade Headquarters.
Have to find a fatigue party of 10 men for 1 o clock in the morning. A
rather unearthly hour for a fatigue party and a bit severe on the fellows
too. In kip a wee bit earlier.
Saw the fellows off prompt to time - bitterly cold and getting almost
unbearable - and was down to it again for a couple of hours.
Cold daybreak and don't like the looks of the sky. Quiet on this sector
apparently and the respective artillery and big guns seem stilled this
morning. Waiting for each other presumably.
The fatigue party arrived back at 8 o clock all looking healthy and in
form for breakfast. They have been working on a mine underneath the Turks
support trenches. Some of them don't like the job either - its suffocating
them and its so long that they think it should be a specialised job for
I think the 5th Manchesters - the Wiganers - would be more at home on
Theres a church service on this morning lower down the Gulley - about
the first we have had since Imbrios I think and must attend it.
Replying to my various correspondence in the afternoon while the poor
fatigue party are all unconscious after their arduous work.
Another 10 men wanted for a similar task apparently at 1.30 so they all
look like getting a share. One of my team is trying his hand at cooking
tonight - he has made some pancakes and went down fine. Like some rare
luxury to be sure. It demonstrates very clearly that if our Cook Sergt.
Was enterprising he could make our meals more appetising.
Facilities are bad certainly but its the same old stew, for dinner, -
the old corned beef washing up water - the same old bread and jam for
tea - no variety only what we create ourselves. After all these months
we should have a field kitchen to enable us to have something different
- the Commissariat seems to be very commonplace.
Saw the fatigue party off at 1.30 and then to sleep until 7. Cold, dull
wet day and things a wee bit miserable. Orders to start running Section
like the Companies.
Orders to start running our section like the Companies. Sick Reports.
Orderly Sergeants and the usual barrack routine. Perhaps a straw in the
wind that we are going to simply mark time here and more or less garrison
what few miles of the Gallipoli Peninsula we are holding on to.
New party just arrived back and tell me that the Turks exploded another
mine in the early hours this morning just near the sap in which they were
working. Caused a bit of panic amongst the troops. It must be a bit of
a nerve wracking feeling too - going up with terra firma. War eh! what
a game it is. It appears to most of us what an idiotic game it is to dig
holes in the side of a trench for a few weeks and then blow it up! The
utter idiocy of the whole proceedings. However, carry on the good work!
Quite another lull in the other proceedings - shrapnel, big Guns and Cruisers
etc. are ominously quiet and the war seems to have been suddenly transferred
to the underground.
Another stroll down the Gulley at night to stretch the lets and freshen
the mind up a bit and was down to it at 11 o clock and with no fatigue
to get away should have an uninterrupted sleep all being well.
Up early and the usual toilet over was feeling fit and well.
Have to mount the Gun on the hill top and was busy sorting out a likely
position - any amount of beautiful heather up there and gorse bushes fairly
Cannot see much hope of creating an effective position for a Machine Gun
- we cannot get the correct elevation. However, we dug deep and made quite
a table top position well secluded and we are all mounted and manned ready
for the more daring Turks who venture too low - it would be quite thrilling
to bag an aeroplane or two tour already long list of mementos.
The Turks artillery are showing signs of activity just now and some high
explosives are dropping about the Gulley. We are well obscured from the
observers up here but a couple of high explosives in the right place would
count a bit.
Dismounted at 5 o clock and no victims to report.
Rumours are rampant again tonight and we should clear off the Peninsula
any day now from all accounts. Lets hope its true anyway as we seem to
be making no progress and the Turks keep giving us a hammering at the
top of the Gulley here. They have been bombarding the support trenches
and various barricades all the afternoon.
Cool evening and was down to my blanket bed at 10 o clock.
Another undisturbed peaceful sleep and the weather seems more settled
and decidedly warmer this morning.
The grave diggers are getting some more graves ready in this little Cemetery
of ours but at this pace it will soon be getting quite formidable. Evidently
some victims of the heavy Turkish bombardment last night.
The only consolation is that the fellows are getting buried more respectably
now - they are all wrapped in a blanket and tied at these places. Looks
a bit awe inspiring but better than the early days when we could just
give them about a couple of feet depth and as reverently as possible lay
them in just as they were.
Young White and Shaw will have company at their side now - poor devils
- we often talk about them - heroes in silence and obscurity. One could
almost write of Harry Shaw that on his spiritual flight through the Ether
he was still murmuring "£2000 per minute and now my young valuable
life" "What's it all for?"
Orders just come through from headquarters to be ready to move at short
notice so perhaps the transport fellows are correct.
The Gun mounted on the Anti-Aircraft position is not having much work
to do although several enemy planes have been up during the morning but
their observation seems to be confined to the Narrows and across to Imbios.
Heavy bombardment in the afternoon of the whole sector and working into
a veritable inferno towards early evening. Quietened down when darkness
approached and except for those vicious strays cracking across the Gulley
from our dug outs, things seem normal and was down to it again tonight
at 11 o clock but have to sleep fully dressed in view of the earlier order
and not quite as peaceful.
No movement of troops evidently but quite an early string of wounded coming
down the Gulley.
A rumour that the Turks blew up another mine last night and that five
fellows out of the 5th Fusiliers are buried yet. There is no getting away
from the fact, the Turks are trying their damnedest to take the initiative
They are fairly pouring some stuff out again during the morning and its
a case of dug outs only.
"Don't mount the aircraft Gun today Sergeant we may have to move
suddenly" - events seem to be developing and tending to get us all
The Cooks seem to be getting the usual dixies of bully beef stew ready
for us - they cook right alongside the cemetery - so we are all right
Quiet afternoon and writing to my various correspondents to let them know
that up to October 21st I am still alive, and an urgent call from headquarters
on the hillside here settles our minds a little. Be ready to move tomorrow
morning at 10 o clock, to Gulley Beach - that's certainly a step nearer
the sea and safety and away from the fortuitous shells and bullets. Hoping
we shall not be long before we are well away to Egypt.
No one to strip tonight again so it means another restless night.
Up with the dawn at 5 o clock and it was a bit chilly having a wash in
the canvas bucket - but first there gets the cleanest water. By the time
half a dozen of us have swilled the dirt off the waters getting a bit
All pretty fit and ready for the Indians with their mule carts and were
away soon after 10 and with a smart "Eyes Right" to Geogheghan's
Bluff Cemetery we were trudging down the Gulley landing in our position
at 12 o clock.
Up on the heights again and overlooking the briny - a few hundred yards
farther along the Coast towards the scene of activity than the previous
journey we had on this beach but still fine and healthy and more decent
Digging the guns into a decent position and were able to enjoy the restful
ozone and calm sea towards 5 o clock.
Our old friends the "Scorpions" and any amount of battleships
are under our gaze again and we look across the water through the field
glasses and Imbios peeps out in the distance. All troops are anxiously
awaiting the next move - but we have a more tranquil feeling here - we
can sleep and rest peacefully now away from the High ..................
and all those death dealing weapons. Down to it early on and let the war
Much cooler now we are nearer the water and the usual inspection this
morning. All apparatus and itineraries - Guns - Rifles - Gas Masks etc.
etc. all reported in perfect order.
Instruction on the Gun for our new additions otherwise quite an easy time.
The Warships are firing hard today hammering away at our old Achi Babi
I suppose. By the hundreds of Tons of Steel and gunpowder we must have
poured into it during the past 6 months its really marvellous how there
is anything left of it but the last time we looked at it through the field
glasses it looked quite unscathed and still as defiant as ever. And if
the Turks have done as much digging as we have during the last six months
they'll want some finding.
A fair sized rum issue brought and it made a wonderful night cap - very
cold night and was soon snug in my blanket and asleep in the deep.
Very cool again and a glance at the Sea dashing its waves against the
rocks below here seems to increase the feeling that a good warm fire just
for ten minutes would be more than appreciated.
Breakfast of the usual fried bacon and bread and will push on with our
The warships seem to have the usual quota of shells to fire away and they
are throwing a few over to Achi Babi apparently .
We don't get much information of how they are faring around Suvla and
Fishermans Hat but should imagine that they are at a deadlock otherwise
we should be pushing on from Cape Helles. And that distant rumble seems
to have ceased unless its all infantry work now. The authorities have
had a strange reticence the whole of the campaign about that new landing.
The old observation balloon has gone up this afternoon and the Cruiser
nearby is sending broadsides out very frequently.
Quiet evening and still very cold especially with the nights drawing in
so quickly now.
Early instructions from the Q.M. today to take an indent of the size of
hats my section take.
Not to see whether any of them have shrunk or if any of them have the
proverbial swelled head. We are going to be issued out with Winter Service
Caps - that doesn't sound like Egypt. I tell my more anxious fellows that
it sounds as if we are going to be drafted out to the Russian front now.
Hope for the best anyhow.
Practice all morning on mounting and dismounting the Guns - its easy on
the beach - but it wasn't on May 6th with that damned shrapnel crashing
Finished for the day at 12 o clock and leave granted to 3 of the section
to step along to the beach canteen for more luxuries. If we are resting
we must keep eating and army rations are not feeding us - we are hungry
and simply bursting and grinding our teeth for a real good burst out.
Not much luck though - there
must be other hungry devils nearer to the canteen as the only thing left
is about half a dozen string of figs - but anything for a change so we
shall be gnawing figs for a few days.
Much colder tonight and was down to it early on.
Must have gone unconscious during the night as the ration carriers were
pulling the blanket off me at 7 o clock - about the first waken. Cannot
neglect the grub - a few loaves and tins of pozzi soon sorted out. Cigarettes
in the issue again but they were mouldy - some old stock apparently that
they are throwing out to the British Soldiers on the assumption that they
will smoke anything. But we are well supplied with cigarettes now that
the postal authorities know we are here.
Cold raw day and things are very nasty - no war news and the warships
are just dashing about here and there but their big guns are silent. An
hours lecture this afternoon on the advantages and disadvantages of a
Machine Gun - and I could have added quite a lot on the advantages and
disadvantages of a war. Our old friend Platt is in hospital now - sick
- and if he'd have been here he would have been harping on his familiar
"Why didn't they have the bloody Army there when they demolished
The various smaller craft are all clearing back to their base by the looks
of things - ready for the submarine precautions which our Glorious Navy
seem to put in operations towards nightfall. The 2 Cruisers are also getting
into position for their nights patrol higher up the Coast - and we can
still sit and visualize that familiar lamp burning brightly but to Sea.
Another tot of rum and was down to kip at 10 o clock.
Cold and grey skies greeted us this morning and the autumn seems to be
wearing a wintery appearance. We seem to get the very extremes out here
- mild one day, sunny the next and then quite a tinge of frost in the
The various craft look peacefully busy from a early hour this morning
are virtually the army of occupation and bringing over their loads of
shells and stores.
Not much doing today so far - our aeroplanes are up in force ever ready
to pick up some information of the Turks bringing up reinforcements.
Instruction ever at 1 o clock and all over bar the shouting.
Watched the................. firing this afternoon and generally taking
it easy. No sign of moving apparently either one way or the other and
things are quite uneventful.
Bitterly cold night perished up here and was snug in the dug out at 10
An urgent note from the skipper early on this morning seems to dash our
hopes of clearing off this hell hole to the ground. We are to go into
the firing line again tomorrow afternoon - take over the Worcester Sap
position - Worcester Sap - were some very unpleasant thoughts of that
place - but we will stick it through -
Instruction finished early and a final inspection of Gas Masks, Guns,
Iron Rations etc. and Guns tuned up ready for the morrow.
We are born grumblers and there seems a general lack of enthusiasm amongst
the boys at the turn of events. With some of those earlier rumours we
have been carried away a little bit too far I fear and now the rude awakening
had arrived the chagrin is unmistakable. "Why don't you set your
minds at rest - you're here for the bloody Winter" Faulkner's telling
some of the fellows "and you're nothing to shout about - you're getting
kept you keep getting a few shillings back money - and a Rum issue nearly
every night". A rejoinder comes from another dug out nearby "
"That's poor consolation - if they'd bring some of those girls from
the Wazzah and the Bull Ring to do the bloody Can Can for us it wouldn't
be so bad.
And so on - its most amusing to overhear the back chat amongst the fellows
from my dug out when they are getting down to it.
Must have been late when I got off to sleep - the swish of the water below
here and thinking of the morrow must have disturbed me.
Up early and a final cleanse before the bacon breakfast seemed to refresh
me ready for the move back to the land.
Blankets rolled up and handed over to the quartermasters stores and just
watching the British Navy at work.
The observation balloon is up again - seems just a few dozen feet up with
a thin line attached to the basket and moored to the boat. They can evidently
see all that is wanted as the warship sends out her broadsides.
Parade at 1 o clock and the 4 Guns are loaded up on two of the Indian
mule carts and retracing our steps to moving round and up the old Gulley
again. A couple of halts en route and we are soon landed by the support
And the war is unmistakably on yet - we were greeted by a fusillade of
shells trying to batter our barricade down at the gulley end of the supports.
Its a huge thick sand-bag barricade which not only offers some good protection
whilst we are moving up but also obscures the view of those ever watchful
Turks on the much higher ground.
Landed in our positions at about 4 o clock and our fear and dread of Worcester
Sap is no more.
Quite a transformation and not before time as I had seen some Machine
Gun positions but never like the one we were in before.
We are now in a sort of duplicate firing line - still a parapet position
but we have a good chance - and a better field of fire . My rough sketch
A Turkish Trench in front 100 yards range
B Fork of Nullah half left 300 yards range
C Short Sand bag Barricade left of Nullah 450 yards range
D Point of Turkish line 600 yards range
So we have four objectives and an uninterrupted field of fire plus a position
where we can operate.
The Turks artillery is gradually gaining the ascendency - they are hammering
away in the Gulley and have evidently tuymbled to our usual relieving
day Friday. Things are comparatively quiet just ahead except for an exchange
of rifle shot.
"Stand to" 6 o clock until about 10 on and off - with the rifle
fire getting heavier but no attacks. Fairly mild tonight and a real autumnal
evening - the lazy moon is rising high in the distance and I kept the
observer company until well into midnight
The usual "Stand too - very man" along the line but everything
normal and quiet at 4 o clock. Dawn came along cold and except for occasional
bombs and rifle shots we could not complain. Broke away at 6 and a stroll
down to the Gulley for rations and were all ready for breakfast by 7 o
clock. Rations are a bit slender too these days - we seem to be getting
starved to death nearly - just when we could do with a bit extra to combat
"Stood to" most of the morning and a heavy bombardment of this
sector by the Turks sounded disturbing but there has not been any attack
yet. They are fairly giving us a pasting though and they are quite as
strong as us in artillery pieces.
Like this until 4 o clock and a sudden lull in the proceedings - were
all sweating on an attack coming from Joey but nothing came over and it
fizzled out to quite a normal evening.
Back again at 7 o clock for our usual hour before dark and orders to double
the observers at 9 o clock get us all hot and jerky.
Broke away at 10 and was doing my patrol of the other three guns until
2 o clock.
Heavy rifle fire brought the dawn in quicker than usual for the troops
as we were all stood to again at 3.30 - very heavy firing along the whole
line but still Joe seems to hesitate about coming over. Opened the Gun
out on Fork of the Nullah when daylight came along as a decided movement
of bayonets seemed to be showing over the parapet of their communication
Don't know what damage we did but it was a lovely range. Perhaps the Turks
relieve on Sunday on the assumption that we Christians are too busy on
Church Parades to observe them.
Quiet afternoon and busy with the field glasses looking the frontage over.
It seems really remarkable that with all these troops facing us one cannot
see the least sign of life ahead. Just an occasional shovel peeping over
the parapet shows that they are constantly busy digging themselves in
The respective batteries are stilled again waiting for the next bomb and
everything is generally normal.
A tot of rum just before "Stand to" was very welcome and all
quiet observers only came along to enable us to break away at 9 o clock.
November ushered in amidst an eerie calm and were "Stood to Arms"
at 5 o clock but nothing moving from the Turkish side. Quiet cool morning
and was away for rations early on.
Breakfast over and the usual overhaul of belts, rifles etc. All tuned
up to perfection and the Turks are welcome.
Another Turkish bombardment of the Gully and support French entrances
resulted in a few victims - they are fairly sliding it along and their
batteries seem close up too - some of those deathly high explosives just
seem to slip out and bang, bang, there's no warning about 'em.
Our artillery is pounding the Turks J Trenches this afternoon - evidently
trying to find those forward Guns of theirs - but we cannot reach them
as they are retaliating with vigour and there seems a terrific effort
to gain the superiority.
Rife fire is deafening too across the Gulley but our sector is still calm.
The Turks are exceptionally strong and powerful just at the Top of the
Gulley and apparently concentrating on it as one of the most important
points of our front. They have a big advantage over us - we are right
at the bottom of a gradual incline there.
"Stand to" came along very early tonight 5 o clock and that
terrific bombardment this afternoon is disturbing our headquarters. Heavy
rifle fire along the whole front but we were not called upon to do any
defending. Observers doubled for the night at 10 o clock and broke away
for an hour or two.
Chilly first thing and going the rounds at 2 o clock am was an eerie business.
Night flares up at very frequent intervals but no movement at all.
"Stand to" at 5 and let the Gun go for a few minutes to keep
it tuned up in case any big attack from H.13c the nearest point of the
In the Gulley this morning for rations there were any amount of ominous
blankets tied up ready for the mule carts to take them down to the Cemetery.
Hear that the Turks made an attack about 7 o clock last night on one of
our Sap heads over at Inniskilling and after several attacks and counter
attacks we are still holding it.
Things still seem hot too over that part of the Sector and another terrific
bombardment in progress most of the morning.
Officer advises me to change the team this afternoon and we shall be moving
back to our support line position.
Were all handed over at 3 o clock and with a different outlook now - lands
a bit of rapid fire on various objectives but the ranges are fairly distant.
Quiet evening and were stood to from 7 to 8 and broke away.
Up at 1 and patrolling the 3 Gun position until 3 o clock then a couple
of hours nap until the usual stand to at 5 o clock.
Still quiet and uneventful and just seems a question of waiting and watching.
The Turks seem to be resting on their oars after their unusual activity
the other night. But it has had the desired effect of gingering us all
up a bit - there is a sentry at each end of the numerous communication
trenches now and I was taken aback a little bit this morning in the early
hours when I was challenged "Halt who goes there." Nearly swallowed
Chilly day and not much sun out - almost seems to be spending itself gradually
and we are feeling the pinch a bit just now.
Quiet on all the fronts this afternoon and beyond an isolated battery
sending out some heavy stuff just ahead here there is quite a peaceful
atmosphere. Hoping it remains so for a day or two.
A tot of rum at "Stand to" just to keep the cold out and was
breaking away towards 9 o clock.
Very amusing to watch the troops at "Stand to" this morning.
A bitterly cold day and after a bit of a nap on the firing step the blood
seems very thin and as a quick means of stirring ourselves up and giving
the lice a shaking we simply hold the end of each coat sleeve in the hand,
and tug away - we can get any amount of friction on.
Still quiet and uneventful from the Turks trenches but the usual Gulley
bombardment continues and their activity seems to give one the impression
they expect an attack being launched from this point and they are giving
us all the jumps - frightening us all at their apparent strength at this
Our big guns retaliated this afternoon and the J trenches across the Gully
from here are getting a right hammering. A veritable smoke screen rises
from each concussion and the parapets on their second line supports are
very much reduced.
Instructions came down the line to keep a sharp look out as a mine is
going up at 7 o clock. Tea over by 5 o clock and the whole firing line
and first supports "Stood to" from 6 o clock onwards.
Prompt to time the mine went off and we opened out the Gun on the Fork
of the Nullah just ahead of the mine position - could not see the effect
as the dust rose in clouds from the displacement and there looks an ugly
Rifle fire heavy just afterwards and evidently some Turks are exposed.
Were stood to until 10 o clock and a terrific rifle and machine gun fire
developed on the right flank but no attack developed.
Must have been well into the morning when we were allowed to "Stand
Down" and the spectacular firing was wearing down to normal.
Very cold up there and the great coats are well up the neck - could really
do with some foot warmers to stand on instead of this cold firing step.
Things are quite normal during the morning and a mail up with the rations
will enable us to make a few minutes acquaintance with the homeland. I
think a couple of weeks in England would enable us to wipe out and forget
the past 6 months to some extent. But it looks a long way off yet and
our worthy Brigadier spoke not only feelingly but very truthfully when
he told us at Imbios that we had a lot of hard work before us.
Artillery and big guns are ominously quiet today and both sides are evidently
being replenished. I should think ours will be reserving their energy
for tonight - that's if we do happen to celebrate the noble 5th of November.
We have not had any celebrations since we took the Crown Prince and his
Army Corps - so one is quite due now.
Nothing doing up to "Stand to" 6.30 to 8 o clock and the usual
talk with the boys off duty and was down to it at 10 o clock.
A cold dawn but everything quite calm and peaceful and was away for rations
quite early on.
Rumours that Suvla is being or has been evacuated and that Anzac is also
being abandoned. So we look like being left on our own poor Cape Helles.
It all seems such a terrible chapter in the history of the Old Flag -
I can still hear Platt the philosopher asking his dug out companions "Why
didn't they have the bloody army here when they demolished the Forts".
"We'd have been garrisoning Constantinople by now."
Instead of which - where are we? About 4 or 5 miles on a stretch of the
Peninsula - dozens of Cemeteries full of Britain's Youth - and still a
few miles from Achi Babi even. What a terrible hotch potch has been made
of the whole programme - dabbling here, dabbling there - too many irons
in the fire and now we are holding on the Cape Helles.
Suppose we have a chance of getting some reinforcements now and either
make it a sink or swim job or evacuate this hole.
Evidently the Turks are under the impression we are going to have another
do on here as their artillery are pounding away again down the Gulley
and where they used to send 6 they are now able to send 60 shells. There
is a 10 feet high and about the same thickness barricade jutting out from
our 3rd line supports to half way across the Gulley - good thick sand
bag barricade and this seems to engage most of the attention of the Turks.
They are peppering it all the morning and where our fellows used to take
it easy, they have now to go at the double - so hot is it getting.
Firing line all quiet though and its perhaps safer up here just now -
opened the gun out again to keep the lock moving alright and we don't
fear any attack from Joey. "Stand to" came and went very quickly
7 to 8 and were soon breaking away.
Dawn came very slowly this morning and the black - grey skies look to
be wanting to weep on us. Rifle fire brisk in front here and all on tip
toes looking for the opportunity of opening out on H.Bc. Nothing doing
however and Joey Turk is being discreet.
Officer advises me that we will be relieved tomorrow and that we move
back to Gully Beach - suppose for the usual few days rest and change of
Artillery is opening out a bit and a mutual battle for supremacy with
the Turks evidently equal in quantity as they are extending their activity
and some high Ex. is slipping over from their support lines apparently
trying to locate Worcester Sap again. We seem to have had a much smoother
passage than last time we were in that position.
No attack yet and were "stood to" from 6 o clock to 8 without
being troubled. A tot of rum again and was down to it about 9 o clock
- bombs and rife fire coupled with the many lights from the front line
made a wonderful scene.
Called out at about 2 o clock - with Turks rife fire very heavy and the
flares from our firing line made a continuous rain of starlights which
lit up the whole section of this Peninsula. Coupled with about 200 shells
over the Gulley and we were trembling at the knees - wondering what was
happening in H.Bc. Like this until 4 o clock and then a sudden calm but
no sign of any attack. Stood by the Gun intently watching the parapet
lit up by, it seemed like, dozens of our flares until dawn came along
and no movements whatever from the Turks. Evidently testing our strength
on this side and I should think they were satisfied that we are well manned
by the return rifle fire we gave them.. It fairly put the breeze up us
though and I'll bet there were some parched mouths and trembling hands.
About the first time I have felt like cracking up and was damned glad
when daylight came along. We can see what's happening now but in the middle
of the night - its ................... nearby.
Things are normal again just now and the old aeroplanes are up in force
hovering over this sector - hope they can get some information of the
reinforcements that came along during the night.
All ready for moving at 2 o clock and was handed over and down the Gulley
in extra quick time, with the mule carts lying handy and we lost no time
in getting away at the double round by that barricade.
A few halts farther down and were landed on the beach by 4 o clock. In
the same place that we left a week or so ago and hoping to have another
decent clean up - we are all filthy and lousy again and feeling more or
less shot although we have not had as strenuous a time as usual.
Blankets issued out and a bit of rum and was down to it by the beautiful
briny about 9 o clock.
About the only time we can really be courageous when we are up here. If
Holmes calls out "Stand to from the O.C. Firing line" - we can
say "Tell the Officer to go to Hell". We are away from those
damned "Stand to's" and although very cold we can breathe more
The good old British Navy is under our very nose - at least that obsolete
fleet that Winston talked about in the Peninsula Press a while ago and
they look quite busy along with the numerous other craft dashing about
hither and thither - all on some set errand and get through any amount
Usual inspections this morning - all the gamut - rifles, bayonets, iron
rations, gas helmets etc. The iron ration biscuits seem to get the worst
and most deficient and there is a general replacement when out of the
line. Those hard dry biscuits taste like some refreshing luxury when patrolling
these 4 gun positions between 1 and 3 in the morning and the lonely observers
find them awfully sustaining as they rear themselves on the parapet peering
into the unknown as it were.
A good clean up and the usual louse and feeling a bit refreshed already.
No naval demonstration as yet and the Monitors are quite still.
Heavy rainstorm broke over here early afternoon and we were uncomfortably
wet in our dug outs. Like a cloudburst again and we are feeling sorry
for the poor devils in the front line. We have painful recollections of
that last storm when it nearly washed us all off. When the Goddess of
Nature gets her rag out she fairly gives us all a drenching in this clime.
Torrential rain for about an hour and we are all tucked in our ground
sheets as well as we can.
Cleared off at about 4 o clock and we are busy retrenching the sides of
our dug outs.
Fatigue parties wanted for the morrow. 7 men at 7.45am. 10 men and 1 N.C.O.
for 12.45 and 5 men for 5.15pm so we shall soon be working again on our
Down to it early on - lovely moon out shining down on us - cool breeze
from the sea and the Aegean Sea washing those rocks and stones at the
Early breakfast on account of that early fatigue party and taking things
easy. Fine life an N.C.O.'s in the army you watch the other fellows work
Note from the Q.M. Stores this morning to draw deficiencies. Not half
an assortment - 12 shirts - 14 pairs of socks. 1 pair putties - 2 tunics
and 1 towel. More like a hosiers shop now than a dug out.
Urgent note from the skipper to hand a couple of Guns and Tripods over
to the Ordnance Corp's Depot in the Gulley. Looks a bit suspicious and
we have not had any recent rumours from the transport fellows; most of
us have given up the idea of a furlough either at Imbios or England I
Got away with them at 3 o clock and was a bit hazardous going up the Gulley.
The slutch is about a foot deep and the poor mule had a job to get along
through it. That flood yesterday has made a right mess of things - the
fellows tell us that water carts and big corrugated tanks in which we
had been storing fresh water were washed down the Gulley about a couple
And the first fatigue party arrived back and it appears they have been
working on the barricade at the top of the Gulley here. The weight of
water was so heavy yesterday that it washed most of the sandbags away.
It has taken weeks to fortify that barricade and yet it was washed down
in a few minutes yesterday. And the Turks are fairly lashing the shells
about all morning they tell me.
We are all feeling a bit pleased that we are on our rest just now.
Not much doing from the water and was down to it about 10 o clock.
A bit chilly this morning before breakfast but warmed up soon after.
Quite still morning and spent most of the time cleaning the Guns and completing
the belts etc.
A note from the skipper however is disturbing and we are to go to Essex
Barricade - in reserve - tomorrow.
That flood has put the wind up the authorities by the looks of things
as we are generally "out" 14 days. However duty calls and we
are hoping Jupiter will have finished his watering can and that the Turks
are more lenient with their shells.
The Cruisers are sending out some broadsides most of the afternoon but
we miss our familiar friend the observation balloon. Feeling pretty fit
and bit cleaner but still the lice are here in plenty. The boys swear
those grey backs shirts are lousy to start with because although most
of us have changed we still feel ..............
Down to it in my lovely blanket and making the best of it as I shall not
have its acquaintance for a week or two now.
The cold is getting more intense now and either our blood is getting thin
or our rations are not feeding us. It seems to pierce the great coats
even. We'll have to get away early today as the latest advices are that
the Gulley of ours is axle deep in places in a good thick slutch and is
getting nicely churned up after every movement of transport and troops.
The Gun boats are at it early this morning and fairly pouring some stuff
over the hill.
Were away on our trek up the river of mud and slutch by 10 o clock and
it was collar work without a doubt rests were numerous and by Geogheghan's
Bluff we had to unload and complete the journey carrying the 2 Guns and
Boxes. Not half a mess just now and it will want some weeks of sun to
dry this lot up.
Met by a few hundred shells at the Sandbag barricade and where we used
to have a rest and a smoke we have to get a move on now in single file.
They must have a dozen more batteries up just now and they arn't half
giving us a bashing - almost looks as if Joe Turk has taken the initiative
from us in this Sector at any rate.
Landed in position about 1 o clock - Essex Barricade - quite a long winding
trench stretching from the Gulley for a couple of hundred yards. In reserve
and Guns mounted on the parapet in fairly well obscured positions, but
the Turks are fairly lashing that shrapnel about all day and they have
no doubt that Friday is the relieving day.
We have any amount of objectives but one requires the field glasses on
to see any sign of life. Our nearest objective is about 500 yards across
the Gulley to our right front and we can open out occasionally.
Quiet evening and we are away from those infernal "stand to's"
so can keep ourselves warmer jumping about a bit.
Down to it about 10 o clock.
Like mid winter today and the cold is freezing us all nearly. It wants
quite a jerk to get off the firing strip just now.
Usual inspection over at 9 o clock and spent most of the morning looking
the Turks intricate trenches over. Nothing moving at all but the recent
mines have left some ugly craters just at the point of the Gulley. Let
the Guns go a bit to warm them up in case of needs.
A terrific bombardment all morning and the noise is deafening up here.
The Gulley is still the centre of the Turks attraction and our batteries
are retaliating on their second line.
Hear that the M.S. Officer has been wounded in the neck by shrapnel whilst
crossing the Gulley this morning so we are on our own again. That's the
fourth officer - 2 wounded and 2 sick in hospital.
The Turks are getting quite a big bag of killed and wounded by their continuous
bombardment of the Gulley it is our only means of communication for this
sector and the orderly men have a hell of a job getting through the periodic
barrage of shells with a Dixie of tea and a lid full of bacon. But the
troops must be fed - an army fights on its stomach and evidently Joe Turk
doesn't intend us having too much peace in this department.
Still painfully cold and a tot of rum tonight was about the best "meal"
of the day. Not much use getting down to it - its too cold to sleep -
so spent the night in Company with the Sentries and watching events over
towards the firing line - looks wonderful from our position - an occasional
very light shoots up and quite a big rain of red and white balls fall
from the sky almost. The rifle fire is continuous and the Turks nightly
bombardment of the barricade adds to the effect.
Quite heavy rifle fire on the right greeted the dawn and almost sounds
as if there has been a minor attack either by our fellows or the Turks.
Not much doing ahead here although we opened both guns out for a few bursts.
Another mail up with the early morning rations and we can while the morning
away reading and replying to our various correspondents.
Any amount of shells coming over our heads and we are keeping low - apparently
the Turks are going to bombard every yard of this sector by the looks
of things and where they sent only 6 to our 16 the position is revered
If we sent half a dozen over they are certain to respond with 16 and with
being on the higher ground they have a double advantage.
Will be relieving the other two teams in the firing line tomorrow and
we seem to have decided on a much better system with two teams simply
taking our two guns in the front line and then merely changing teams.
Much better than lugging all four guns about.
A bit of a lull in the bombardment during late afternoon and we were able
to breathe more freely.
Another rum issue and chanced a couple of hours from 11 o clock.
Hear that a new menace has been added to the long list of horrors that
we poor devils are enduring out here. Frost bite. Several fellows out
of the firing line were removed today suffering from frost bite and I
am not surprised - it's too cold to stretch oneself out of the firing
step these nights. Heavy frost these last few nights and we are all more
or less perished. Could do with braziers in the Trenches to warm ourselves
up a bit.
Breakfast early and were packing up ready to relieve the two teams in
the front line.
Not a bad position - well to the left of Manchester Road - a short communication
trench journey on firing line with the first support line. A bird cage
about 50 yards to our left and the bombs have an unpleasantly vicious
swing with them.
We have a good field of fire and it looks as if the Turks will have a
pretty rough time if they come on in force.
Heavy bombardment on all afternoon and some of our shells are fairly churning
the parapets up in their second line - "Stand to" 6.30 until
8 o clock and broke away soon after "Observers Only,"
5 o clock "Stand to" and shaking from head to foot with the
biting wind. Heavy rifle fire along the whole line and if the Turks had
come over we should have soon warmed ourselves up. Nothing doing in the
way of attacks however and were stood down soon after 6 o clock. Cooked
cheese for breakfast but by the time the firing line get it its quite
Any amount of frost bite cases again and it wants some effort to get the
Hear there are more reinforcements arrived from England so it looks as
if we are to stick it out on here.
The Turks Batteries are busy hammering our reserve lines all morning and
they are giving us a taste of our own medicine. They have evidently brought
more war material from Suvla and Anzac and by the hundreds of shells going
over they sound as if their guns are now wheel to wheel across this Sector.
All quiet in the respective firing lines up to 6 o clock and we are hoping
it will continue.
"Stood to" until 8 o clock and broke away for the night soon
Called out at 3 o clock - "Stood to every man". Night Flares
were shooting up every few dozen yards but beyond a deafening rifle fire
and dozens of shells over our support trenches. There's no attack developed.
Continued until daylight came along but concluded that the Turks are putting
the wind up us now that the initiative is changing hands.
A stint like that every morning wouldn't be so bad - we forget the coldness
of the atmosphere and we are all soon sweating wondering if we are to
be pushed back into that horrible gulley.
Its very evident they are not going to be caught napping if we happen
to decide on evacuating Cape Helles as well.
Hear that a bit of a raid by a handful of Turks on one of our Sap heads
around the South Barricade - just to the right of our old Worcester Sap
- was the cause of the rude awakening in the early hours this morning
he seems to be getting more daring and enterprising just now and evidently
these Terrible Turks are more confident now.
The Aeroplanes are up in force this afternoon and paying quite a lot of
attention just ahead here. Trying to locate those new batteries that are
doing so much damage down the Gulley. Hope they are lucky but my impression
is that the Turks have some runways from behind this incline that we are
at the bottom of and can soon run a few guns in position then back again.
Or is it a case of Recreation Tunnel again? I was always doubtful about
that mysterious Tunnel we were trained on just ahead of Trolley Ravine.
Quiet evening and were "Stood to" from 6.30 to 8.30 but only
a steady rifle fire and were away soon after a tot of rum.
Not disturbed until the usual "Stand to" about 5 o clock and
the Turks are far more tranquil this morning.
Still bitterly cold and we are all shivering badly. If only King Sol would
radiate some of his Summer heat again! We seem to be gradually withering
and wilting away with the cold.
Not much doing after breakfast and the aeroplanes are up again scouting
for more information - but the Gulley bombardment conveniently ceases
when our air scouts are over this sector.
Were just taking things easy when a sudden bombardment of the firing line
had us all up and "standing to." High explosive coming over
the gun position thick and heavy and we were digging ourselves in the
trench side and our noses glued to the periscopes. No attack developed
but several wounded higher along the trench here. They are giving us a
right pasting just now and that familiar cry "Pass the word along
for stretcher bearers" makes our blood curdle a little bit.
Quietened off towards early evening and we were back again for the usual
"Stand to" about 7 o clock. The rifle fire and bombs are stronger
than usual and evidently we are in for a brisk night. O.C. Firing line
instructs me to double the observers at 10 o clock so it looks as if we
are getting a bit windy.
Nothing doing during the night - just a steady rifle fire and the usual
bomb display to the left here and dawn came along cold and quickly.
Will be moving back to the Barricade during the morning for our usual
4 days change over.
The usual "Turkish demonstration all morning - they are quite perky
about it too - shrapnel and High Explosive and it makes us wonder what
an advance would be like in the face of a barrage each as they can effect
on the Barricade across the Gulley. Quite a strategic position seemingly
and the Turks have concentrated a large part of their forces on it. A
good big wedge drawn right up the Gulley here would cut the major position
of their right front off completely - that's if we could make the sweep
forward we did on June 4th last. But the price would be heavy and our
resources don't appear too strong.
Our relief arrived at 11 o clock and we were back again in reserve - we
can relax a little bit here and take it easier.
Could all do with a good sprint as far as the Bluff and back to warm our
marrow a bit. Quite frosty and a real wintry nip in the air.
Down to it at 10 o clock with the distant rifle fire sounding quite fierce.
The rifle shots seem magnified at night time.
Up early 6 o clock and I miss that early morning stroll for rations now.
We have an orderly man for each team detailed off the night before to
bring the rations along now.
A lather brush wash and shave was a bit of an experience in the cold of
a raw wintry day this morning but it .................. us up a bit. We'd
give something for those Abbasia shower baths now - it seems like a dream
when we think of those halcyon days - to slip along at reveille and have
5 minutes under that warm Nile water.
The Guns seem stilled this morning and evidently the Turks are hauling
a further supply of ammunition along.
Let the gun go for a few bursts at the trench just over the crater. It
keeps us in form and with recent apparent stagnation so far as attacks
and counter attacks go there is a danger of going stale.
Some heavy stuff going over in the afternoon and almost looks as if the
Cruisers are throwing their broadsides over. Cannot see any effect as
they seem to be dropping the other side the incline at the top end of
Quite an inky dark sky overhead and the bombs and night flares looked
wonderfully picturesque from our prominent position here. Down to it about
11 o clock.
Had a good restful night and the air doesn't seem quite as raw as the
last few nights but still cold enough to make our minds visualize the
glorious pleasure of a good warm coal fire blazing away in the fire grate.
Another terrific bombardment all along the Gulley and evidently Joe Turk
objects to the troops rations coming up without a perilous journey for
the orderly men.
They are fairly striking over the Barricade just now but don't seem to
have the effect one would imagine although we lose a few fellows occasionally.
Quietened off after breakfast and the aeroplanes are up on high doing
the daily rounds.
Our land batteries are now retaliating for the Turks early morning hate
and it seems a veritable competition as to who can chuck the most over
- but the hideous din is getting us all nervy and the noise is simply
deafening. Would to God we could just leave it all for a couple of weeks
- the hideous shrieking bursting shrapnel - High Explosives - Heavy Howitzer
Shells that seem to rip up the whole ground up - bombs and even the rifle
fire is getting monotonously nerve racking but it has the best music about
it. We shall be a body of nervous physical wrecks if we can stick it out.
Another firework night in the distance - bombs flickering and bursting
and the night flares shooting up periodically.
Up and doing at 6 o clock but
evidently no attacks on the firing line as the sentries say there was
nothing outstanding during the night.
Cold and cheerless again in here and we seem to be wasting the best part
of our lives on this infernal war. And although we haven't Shaw here now
to keep jocularly remarking "£2000 per minute" - we seem
to get the idea that it's a totally idiotic way of putting ones time in.
But we have to keep on doing it - just aiming at some fellow's scalp which
is about the only part we have ever seen of him. Or sometimes aiming at
nothing in the hope that we have hit something. What a game it is!
And the Turks keeping pounding and battering away down the Gulley and
one of the shells had quite a big bag this morning - several killed and
wounded. Except for those attacks - we are beginning to wonder if it isn't
really safer in the front line than in the Supports and the close up reserve
bivouacs. They are certainly not giving us any peace and by the hundreds
of shells over this morning only, if we don't get a move soon we shall
have every inch of this Sector under shell fire. It's about the hottest
time they have given us for a good long time.
Much calmer in the evening but some of their batteries are still concentrating
on that barricade.
A tot of rum and was down to it about 11 o clock.
Early breakfast - more cheese and they have been rather more generous
this morning. Quite a big Dixie lid full and if there had been one apiece
we could have eaten it.
All ready for moving this morning for more duty in the front line in the
fourth position from the Gulley.
Let the gun go for a few bursts to loosen its limbs as it were and to
be quite sure that it is not getting eary of the life as we are.
Turks are not as savage this morning and the firing line sounds normal.
Away at 11 o clock and took over a position quite new. We have pretty
much traversed the whole Peninsula I should imagine by now - from the
French side in ............... last right across to the observation lamp
on the opposite side. Quite a good position well sandbagged and protected.
We are right past the bird cage where the bombs are whizzing about which
we have admired whilst in reserve. A pretty good stretch too from Manchester
Road and the rough sketch handed over shows more objectives than we shall
have time to fire on. I fear. Only 8 Targets - from A to J but E 7 F represent
our own firing line across to the extreme right.
The frontage looks fairly flat too so we have a good chance if the Turks
Cold evening and were "Stood to" from 6 o clock onwards until
"Observers only" allowed us to break away.
All quiet during the night apparently and only a steady rifle fire and
the bombs bursting to the right here disturbed the stillness.
Cold grey dawn and we were swinging our arms a bit to get the circulation
"Stand Down" at 7 o clock and just waiting for breakfast.
The artillery are at it just now and the Turks support trenches ahead
here must be feeling the pinch - looking through the periscope is quite
interesting - can see the effect on some of their trenches - clouds of
dust and dirt goes up in the air with each burst. Cannot see any sign
of life though and although we have two trenches on the sketch which we
can emplade they must be that deep that the Turks are lost in them.
Firing line quite calm and the Turks have been retaliating during the
afternoon with their batteries. They won't be subdued and give as much
as they take just now.
"Stood to" about 6 o clock with rifle fire rather heavy for
the time of the night.
Kept us guessing as to what was happening over at Inniskilling Jack and
we were not breaking away until 10 o clock.
Out again at about 2 o clock with the firing lines shrieking away with
rifles, but no movement ahead at all. ........... lights were going up
every few seconds and gave us a clear view of the foreground.
Were breaking away after about
an hour and the Turks fire subsided very considerably. "Stood to"
again from 6 o clock and it wasn't half cold. Our breath freezes as we
More high explosions to the left here and the Turks are sharing it round
a bit now - giving us all a taste and we were digging our noses in the
parapet a little bit. There's a death rattle with every shell as it merely
slips out and then a terrific bang. They don't seem to come very far either.
Had quite an enjoyable interlude this morning when a new Chaplain came
amongst us - just freshly over from England - he was kept busy telling
us how the old Country is going along amidst all this terrible horror
thrust upon us. Quite a cheery soul - he was soon singing a couple of
the latest songs for the boys. Trying to teach them the Chorus. He didn't
carry any rifle or sword and I don't suppose any pistol - sang froid if
you like - made us all wonder and envy him - going about the firing line
unarmed and yet except that he looked much cleaner and fresher he was
clad not unlike us - and the Turks wouldn't be able to see his collar
just showing above his Tunic. An Army Chaplain.
A big exchange of shells all afternoon with the Turks winning in quantity
but the firing line is escaping all the turmoil. The hideous pandemonium
we get; but either our nerves are hardened to it or perhaps we cannot
get them any more shattered.
"Stood to" about 6.30 until 8 and away soon after.
Up at 5.30 for the usual hour before dawn but only an occasional bomb
at the cage and a burst of rifle fire otherwise everything below normal
than for this last few days.
Early note from the B.M.S.O. to ready to more at 10 o clock along with
the other teams and the battalion .
Were quickly handed over and away to the Barricade to join the other teams
and eventually landed in the Gulley. Still very thick in slutch and a
bit of a job in single file with full pack, rifle and ammunition box dodging
that Barricade. Any amount of high ex and shrapnel overhead and we are
soon windy now. Landed in Geogheghans Bluff and just one casualty.
A bit better down here and we shall be able to get sorted out and tighten
our muscles up a bit. Almost feel as if we are coming to pieces.
One man one blanket and we shall have a sleep tonight thats if the Turks
don't start their beg drive to push us all off.
In kip early on but the cold is past bearing nearly and although the dug
outs are very sheltered - dug right in the side of the hill and rolled
in a blanket with the great coats on us we feel it, not half.
Slep quite peacefully and the hard bed nevertheless pulled a bit at 7
o clock. A real good swill regardless of the icy cold water and was feeling
Breakfast at 8 o clock and simply resting with the time my own.
Overhauling the 2 guns and spare parts etc. most of the morning while
the Turks are at their usual hate over the Gulley there.
Our little Cemetery here is growing aplace and Shaw and Sammy White have
quite been surrounded by new graves.
A few wounded going down the Gulley this afternoon almost looks as if
the Turks are not entirely wasting their ammunition.
Our batteries are cracking away as I write this note and it's to be hoped
we are bagging a few of those Terrible Turks.
A bitterly cold evening and were soon getting down to it put the Tunic
on tonight to try and keep the shoulders covered.
The Turks are at it early on with their usual bombardment and it seems
to be working into a veritable inferno as the morning wears on. The poor
Gulley up here is getting raked with shells of all descriptions.
Inspections of all apparatus and Iron Rations, Gas Helmets etc and making
ourselves scarce for the rest of the morning.
Seems to be an addition to the diet today our stew contains some preserved
vegetables now - carrots and turnips and various cereals all very crisp
and miniature but swelling when boiled up and gives a bit of thickening
power to the watery stew.
It's about time they gave us something to fill us up a bit and keep the
arctic cold out. Only short of a few suet dumplings in and it would be
The aeroplanes are out again this afternoon having a look round but they
don't seem to be able to locate those ferocious guns which appear to be
concentrated at the top of the Gulley there.
Some real good heavy stuff coming over Geogheghans Bluff during the afternoon
and a couple of Lyddite dropped right in this little cemetery of ours.
They didn't half churn the graves up and some of the wooden crosses will
get mixed up a bit. It looked humorous to see the cooks scamper up their
little ....... to shelter whilst the machine gunners were shouting to
them to "Hang on to those bloody dixes" as they were boiling
the water for tea.
It also looked a bit callous to see the graves battered like that and
as Jimmy Faulkner remarked "They can't kill the poor buggers again."
Quiet evening and was getting down to my hard day bed and rolled in the
single blanket about 10 o clock.
Woke up about 2 o clock through the cold and found the blanket under a
thin film of hail and snow and after trying to tuck myself in a bit better
must have gone off again as the next waken was 6 o clock to find the ground
covered with a mantle of snow - first we have seen for a couple of years
and it looked cold but beautiful. The little cemetery just hidden away
in a natural beauty with the small wooden crosses standing out in a mild
The icicles are hanging down from the sides of the cliff on the left here
and the whole scene around gives us a bit of a thrill. We didn't know
it could freeze and snow in this clime.
But the Turks don't like it evidently and they seem anxious to stain it
with English blood if they can.
They are throwing it over thick and heavy this morning and they are traversing
the whole length of the Gulley with shrapnel. Their only bag is a couple
of mules and the poor Johnny driver with his puggaree round his head looks
quite excited and bewildered. His eyes stood out of his head nearly as
he took cover in our dug out until the bombardment eased down.
No stew for dinner as the wells from which we obtain the water are all
frozen up so we have a pleasant change - biscuits and jam. Plum and Apple
for the troops and Blackcurrant for the Officers. They say it's an ill
wind that blows nobody good - and biscuits and jam for dinner had quite
an appetising taste compared with biscuits and jam for tea.
A decided lull in the artillery on both sides during the afternoon and
evening came round a bit milder and we are hoping that the blizzard of
last night will not be repeated and that we can expect some warmer weather.
That tot of rum must have warmed me up a bit and I feel quite fresh after
the good sleep last night. Seems a bit warmer this morning and the bashful
sun is doing its best to make the air warmer. It is still tinged with
Red in the middle of the morning but tends to unfreeze us all.
The Turks have overslept too as their bombardment is confined to only
two or three batteries this morning and we can move about more freely.
A Mail in this morning and a batch of letters from home is very welcome.
One of the fellows is sporting a few forget me knots that his girl has
sent him and has to put up with good natured chaff from some of the other
Nothing doing in the afternoon and wrote to a few of my correspondents
as there is a rumour about that we shall be moving very soon but we have
no indication where to. We are all so weary and sick of it that we have
got past that stage of caring whether its up or down.
The weather is decidedly cooler and that icy blast seems to have left
Down to it about 10 o clock with a terrific rifle fire in the distance.
Evidently the Turks have not made any big advance as we are still peaceful
in Geogheghans Bluff and that terrific fire in the trenches last night
must have been another demonstration.
Breakfast early and busy looking the guns over again in readiness for
Heavy bombardment going on most of the morning and we appear to be holding
our own just now so far as artillery is concerned. We have still a ray
of hope that we are as strong in this department. The air seems alive
almost and we are hugging our dug outs just now - there's trouble for
the fellows who try and stop some of this stuff they are lashing about.
There is no sign of an abatement in this artillery duel as the afternoon
wears on and a profound impression has been created on our H.Q. as orders
just issued that every man must stay fully dressed tonight. That means
a good time for the lice - they love to be nice and cosy in their own
A talk about things in general and down to it about 11 o clock with the
rifle fire brisk in the front line but the artillery has gone back behind
Not disturbed during the night and we breathe again. Quite mild today
with a general lull in the proceedings - just a few wounded heavily bandaged
going down to the base hospital for a well earned rest.
Instructions from H.Q. to be ready to move tomorrow back down the Gulley.
It seems the right direction apparently and we are doing as the philosophers
advise - keep a radiant face and a ray of hope in the heart.
Batteries are opening out a bit in the afternoon but not that searching
howling mass of stuff that we endured yesterday. Quite a big fleet of
Aeroplanes up all the afternoon doing their noble duty. I don't know whether
they get much information as the Turks will be at it again tonight.
Another tot of Rum tonight and was down to it at 9 o clock and we don't
care if it snows.
All ready early on for our trek down to the Zig Zag. Sounds a new place
and evidently a bit of a maze judging by the name.
Strong rumours about that Lord Kitchener is in the neighbourhood - to
weigh up the strategic position I suppose. Hope he goes round Worcester
Sap and Inniskilling Jack - he'll open his eyes a bit.
Quite mild again and considering its Friday and the Turks apparently know
there is always a big movement of troops about they have not started that
hurricane bombardment yet. Hope they don't either.
Away at 11 o clock behind the mule cart and landed at the Zig Zag in about
half and hour. A mountainous climb from the Gulley with a long winding
trench as our abode. Lancashire Street its correct name and we are evidently
a 2nd reserve line with Geogheghans Bluff as the 1st reserve. Not as many
shells over here and we can knock about much better. Expect being in here
for a week to complete our 14 days out and then - dear old Blighty. Would
be pretty much impossible to hope to celebrate Xmas at home. We dare not
dwell on the idea - we should lose our heads.
Calm and quiet early evening and was getting down to it early on.
Up with a jerk and was soon cleaned up waiting for the usual breakfast
menu Fried Bacon. We miss that beach canteen just now and a few eggs would
have gone down nicely with that bacon.
Now the arctic weather seems to have gone over we had some undervests
and pants issued out this morning. Real good heavy woollen things too.
Could have just done with these a month or two ago when we were nearly
frozen to death on the firing step. However we have no fear for winters
icy blasts now and we seem pretty much rigged out for the winter.
Not much moving today - a very decided calm seems to reign down here and
we ought soon to be rejuvenated and our shattered nerves restored a little
at any rate all the original members of the Gun Section (about 4 all told)
look about 5 years older than when we first came on here and about 3 stone
lighter. Another 8 months of this life would make us old men.
Cool tonight and was getting the 'bed' ready quite early.
A bit cushy with those woollies on now and felt like a bug in a rug when
daylight came on.
Breakfast a bit later this morning but tasted all the better for it.
Inspections again this morning Identity discs - Iron Rations, Gas Helmets
and all the warlike apparatus that we have to carry. We used to ridicule
those Bashi Bazonkies - those dare devil snipers - about their religion.
On our bits of tin we have R.C. - C of E - Wes. And we keep going up to
the firing line and killing em and they keep killing some of us - without
any thought I imagine about our religion. No wonder some of the fellows
reflect on what it all means - R.C. - C of E - Wes.
Some heavy lyddite shells are
coming over here this afternoon and uncomfortably near enough to keep
us down. If we get out of the range of their damned shrapnel they seem
to be able to reach us with that explosive stuff. It ripples the ground
up all round.
Fatigue parties going out tonight from the Battalion but the Gun Section
have been missed this time.
Down to kip after a tot of rum about 9 o clock.
Cooler again this morning but early breakfast soon got the blood coursing
a bit. Overhauling the guns most of the morning in readiness for our next
duty in the line. Any amount of aeroplanes overhead, must be spotting
for the big guns which have been pouring over their heavy stuff from early
Almost sounds like another great attack coming off shortly as the cruisers
are joining in and the din is thunderous as we seem to be right in the
line of flight of those heavy shells. Not much reply from the Turks and
they are apparently resting on their oars whilst our fleet of aerplanes
Fatigue party of 20 men and N.C.O. wanted from the Gun Section for 11
pm. So it looks as if there is some more on. Hope it keeps fine for us
The Turks are taking up the challenge this afternoon and throwing a bit
of high Ex over the trenches here.
Quite a tornado of shells in the late afternoon and we are hugging the
cover afforded by the trenches.
Eased off very considerably by dark and was not long in getting tucked
in and down to it. Terrific din higher up the Gulley and I am hoping the
Fatigue party will have got down to their task safety.
The artillery are at it earlier than ever this morning and we seem to
be doubling our efforts to smash something up to atoms. We are obscured
by the contour of the ground just here in the Zig Zag but evidently someone
is getting a slating.
Fatigue party have been working on another mine under the Turks trenches
it appears - and from what they say it looks almost like a tunnel to Kithia
it is so formidable. They are all convinced that something is going to
go up when the gelignite is fixed right enough.
A bit of a nip in the autumnal air this morning and it seems like another
arctic spell moving over this region.
Another issue today - cardigan jackets and winter service caps - the army
are fairly nursing us now and we don't care if it snows again. We could
just do with the same enthusiasm in the gut department and it wouldn't
be a bad ware at all. A good square meal would do some of us good but
the commissariat department are doing their best I suppose.
The big guns are still firing hard and the Turks are giving our firing
line a hammering judging by some of the wounded going down the Gulley
They have evidently got the wire that Kitchener is out here and hoping
to bag him as well. Hope not or it will be a case of "Deathy of our
Lord" as the Syppo Kids used to shout out in Abbasia when Lord Roberts
Cool and quiet evening but the turmoil sounds thick and heavy over towards
the front line. Down to it about 9 o clock.
Not much sign of like around here at 6 o clock. The Battalion sleeps well
and those new issues of underclothes are inducing lethargy. But the big
guns open out again early on and the cannonade seen gets the troops aster.
A meagre breakfast and could have easily put the whole sections issue
away. Evidently the Q.M.S. doesn't think we are earning our keep whilst
The Turks are chucking some nasty stuff over here again and makes us shudder
to think what would be the spectacle if one just dropped in the right
(or wrong) place. I could see the stretcher bearers busy.
Mail up this afternoon and goad to hear that things are alright in the
old homeland. Its marvellous the different bearing we take on after the
letters are handed out. A few parcels knocking about amongst the section
so we might have a share and a chance of augmenting the array of rations.
Perhaps the Q.M.S. is aware of the parcel mail and uses the usual strategy
in giving the troops food out.
Getting the 'bed ready' early on.
Urgent note from H.Q. to be ready to move at short notice so spent the
early morning checking Guns and ammunition in readiness. Inspection of
Masks , Iron Rations etc. and everything perfect.
A big artillery and all morning again and the guns are barking quite savagely.
Hope there is a lull in events if we have to go through the Gulley barrage
- it doesn't sound too healthy just now.
The weather is quite ideal though and seems more like a beautiful spring
day rather than nearly winter. The Gulley is still thick in slutch though
and it will be collar work carting those two guns and boxes about.
Some wounded going along the bottom are not too encouraging. They tell
us that the Turks are smashing the firing line parapet and supports every
hour or so. Looks as if we are in for a rough passage this journey. Trying
to put the wind up us perhaps.
In bed early but the clothes on tonight will not be as comfortable.
All ready early on for our move back to the land. Orders to move at 9
o clock to Essex St West so a last long swill and clean up will go towards
easing the burden a bit. Moving day seems to be definitely established
as Friday - we have had this day now for 2 mo9nths at least.
Were under way prompt to time and moved at a slow pace behind the mule
cart well laden. The slutch gets deeper higher up and had to unload at
Geogheghans Bluff and continue the journey carrying Gun Tripods and ammunition
A suitable tornado of shells greeted us as we neared the barricade and
it was a slow treacherous process dodging round that sand bag buttress.
It was pretty bad the last time we were up here but My God! They are giving
us a hell of a time now. Hundreds of shells of all descriptions the whole
of the morning and it was well after 11 o clock before we were landed
in Essex St. West. A short communication trench joins us with Essex barricade
where we were on the last occasion.
A fine commanding position too but they might have picked a more appropriate
position. We are about 10 yards to the left of a well set out latrine
- evidently an old gun position - with four biscuit tins and quite a comfortable
smooth long seat.
God help the poor dysentery cases if the Turks start trying to find our
little Gun. It will be far more effective than the M.O.'s chlordane and
The enemy's artillery have never been so savage as today and they have
ear marked Friday without a doubt. Hear that the Battalion have caught
it pretty hot too with any amount of casualties.
Mild night and were stood to from 6 to 8 with the old familiar verey lights
throw up in the front line and hundreds of Turks shells coming over. Broke
away soon after "Observers" only.
"Stand to" - half past six and the raw morning air cuts a little
bit. No attacks yet evidently from either side but heavy rifle fire brought
the dawn quickly. Let the gun go when daylight came round - just above
the craters at the top end of the Gulley but could not see any sign of
Breakfast over by 9 o clock and busy looking the frontage over. Looks
to get more intricate every day and the debris from the dozens of mines
which have been recently exploded make the Gulley through the Turks lines
here look as if a few hundred loads of dirt have been dropped from the
A terrific bombardment of our position here started about 10 o clock but
the enemy were a bit wide. The biscuit tins got it instead and it is fortunate
for us that the sanitary squad had just been round. Natures call can only
be answered at night just now and it is too precarious a job during the
day in this latrine.
But the Turks are not confining their attention to Essex St. West - the
whole of this part of the Peninsula is getting it's quota. They are lashing
some stuff about all morning - almost like a longitudinal barrage for
a few hundred yards of the support lines and gulley.
Another Officer attached to the Gun Section now. Lient. Barnett. Quite
a youthful fellow but his "Sarnt Carr" gives me the impression
that he has had some regular teaching him. The regular army fellows havn't
time to say Sergeant its "Sarnt". Will get to like him I think.
Went round the four positions in the afternoon with him and all quiet
in the front line.
The Gulley barrage has subsided very much and were taking things easy
after tea until the usual "Stand to" 6 o clock.
"Stand Down" about 8 o clock and were just breaking away when
quite a big movement of troops came through to our trench. All the details
and Q.M.S.'s orderlies - Cooks and the lord knows who. Choc a bloc in
here just now and evidently we are getting windy, or else there's something
The usual hour before dawn came around with nothing out of the ordinary.
The details have returned to our headquarters and it has left us all wondering
what the idea was.
The Turks day long artillery and high explosive bombardment seems to be
shaking the O.C.'s confidence a bit and we are evidently expecting a big
Turkish attack or else Kitchener has arrived and mustn't see too much
man power wasted!
A host of instructions from our new Officer for the M.G. Section in case
of hostile attack. Item 'G' is interesting and looks as if the Terrible
Turks anticipates using Gas. It reads "In case of Gas attack all
guns will be withdrawn from positions under the parapet and will occupy
positions on the parapet.
I should think the crisis is at hand - everything points to a conclusion
one way or the other and our artillery are opening out very heavily this
afternoon, with a whole fleet of aeroplanes up.
An urgent note from the Skipper to get the gun and team in the firing
line and rebuild a position which has just been shattered by shell fire.
It looks damned hot too we're standing by until dark.
Worked hard until the early hours filling sand bags and digging in and
were "Standing to" at 5 o clock. That Officer of ours only looks
small but he has some backbone - he was over the top with us during the
night helping with the Sand bags and camouflaging the Gun.
"Colne Post" is the name of our position - we are in about the
middle of a sap 10 yards long running at right angles from the firing
line and we cover the various craters across the gulley. The Cawley crater
seems to stand out very prominently and we are only about 50 yards away.
We are told that this emplacement
was condemned on the 8th by the Manchester's Brigadier (Big Gen. Elliott)
and was shattered by shell fire yesterday when one man was killed and
the rest wounded so we are keeping low. Have not to do any firing unless
the Turks advance so we look like raking them in a bit if they decided
to come over.
The artillery is blasting out again most of the morning but things are
quite steady in here. Would not be so bad was it not for the filthy stink
coming up and I see us getting the gas masks on if it gets any worse.
Must be a burial ground for the Turks or one of their latrines but it's
a bit ripe for all that.
Heavy rifle fire from our left
front had us all sweating a bit in the afternoon but nothing develop0ed.
The atmosphere seems pretty thick though and one can almost sense some
trouble brewing. The Turks don't seem to like this marking time business
and are inviting us over the top again. Hope to God its their turn next.
All quiet again towards "Stand to" 6.30 and were breaking away
about 8. Three men at the Gun throughout the night as precautionary measures.
Were called out twice before the official "Stand to" at about
5 o clock. The Turks artillery have been pounding our supports all night
through and must have sent out thousands of shells. The rifle fire also
sounded very heavy and although we were all fit and ready for them there
was no life at all moving over. They seem pretty strong though and are
fairly putting the breeze up us. I never remember so much demonstration
without an attack developing. Our very lights fairly made the whole firing
front light up in a lovely blaze of Red and White fire balls.
As the morning wears on the artillery duel is increasing and the air seems
alive with shrapnel and high explosive. Cannot see either side living
very long under this terrible fire if there is an attack.
We have an artillery Sergeant observer near our position - spotting for
his battery - and he is very generous with his bottle of Rum. He is rejoining
his battery this afternoon so he is leaving us this surplus rum. Must
be the Q.M. with a big issue like that.
Word from the skipper to dismount the Gun and retire to our old position
in Essex St West - and were not long in carrying out the instructions.
Just settled down nicely when "Stand to" came along about 6.30
and the skipper instructs me to arrange a patrol of five gun positions
- 4 of ours and one of the 5th L.F.'s. during the night. Plenty of activity
again tonight and the Terrible Turks are not giving us much peace - bombs
are flickering ahead here at the two bird cages and the verey lights are
Out on my round at 2 o clock until four. Lovely night and the moon was
looking down quite clearly. All quite normal with the enemy rifle fire
strong across the Gulley. Had a difficulty in locating the 5th Battalion
Gun. They were snug in a deep tunnel to the rear of our front line and
if it hadn't been for the sentry on duty at the sap leading to the support
line I think I should have missed them.
"Stand to" came and went without anything shocking and the usual
morning bombardment from the Turks lines seems to be the usual regime
since we last came up. But each day seems to show a decided increase in
their artillery pieces unless they are all rapid firing. There are some
very heavy shells dropping in the Gulley to our right here - 9.2's and
they are cutting holes in the slutchy ground. They are something like
the Asiatic Annie stuff by the concussion they hit the earth.
Our aeroplanes have been tirelessly scouting overhead all the afternoon
and our artillery are now retaliating on the whole of the Turks support
trenches in this sector - the parapets are getting badly battered just
ahead but no targets offered.
The duel was so hot that we were "Standing to" at about 4 o
clock fully expecting a show of some sort after an hours tension.
Quietened down a bit and were "Stood to" again for the hour
before dusk from 6.30 to about 8 o clock. Down to it at 10 o clock for
a couple of ours.
I was well away and could have slept a bit 12 o clock came round and was
on my night patrol until 2.
Quite a thrilling experience pushing along through the support lines and
communication trenches then through the firing line in the middle of the
night. A peculiar weird feeling obsesses one as he is about half way through
Manchester Street not a soul one was on the other - just a succession
of "pings" over the trench top some stray bullets slipping over.
2 o clock soon came along and was relieved and down to it again until
"Stand to" about 6 o clock.
Breakfast late this morning as the Turks are battering the Gulley and
makes cooking and orderly mens task very hazardous. Any amount of casualties
from all accounts and we shall soon have a mere handful of men left.
Officers inspection over by 10 o clock and busy oiling the guns and completing
Quite an ideal day which is some recompense after the arduous last few
weeks, and the Turks are taking the air apparently as their batteries
are only firing a few shells over during the afternoon. It seems marvellous
where they are getting all their guns and ammunition from - we always
thought they were more or less impoverished for a lengthy war but they
look like outdoing us on here at any rate.
A lull in the evenings late tonight
and "Stand to" except for some rifle fire in the front line
was quite tame and were breaking away at 8 o clock. On patrol 10 to 12
tonight so did not bother getting down to it.
A lively "Stand to" at 5 o clock with rifle fire and artillery
booking away. The noise is simply deafening and the flares look quite
vivid just in the front line. Still standing fast however and no attacks
to repulse. The Turks are evidently more windy than us judging by the
hysterical firing in the early hours.
Let the Gun go for a few bursts of rapid fire to keep her oiled up and
works beautifully. Cannot see the Turks getting very far against us with
our 8 belts to slip into them.
Urgent orders from the Skipper that we are to relieve the 5th Battalion
L.F's at Spithead position this afternoon. That's the position I had a
difficulty to find the other night.
Some Lyddite and high Ex being thrown over this morning but the Turks
are not maintaining that early morning furore. It seems to be our turn
now and there supports are getting the full force of our numerous batteries.
Were all ready packed up and moved away at 3 o clock to take over the
Spithead position. Looks quite mysterious. A long tunnel about 8 yards
long with a table top position right through and Gun mounted in the open.
Just a few sand bags for protection and three branches - gorse and bushes
thrown over to camouflage it a bit. Something akin to that Turkish recreation
trench that we had on our stretch over at trolley ravine - but not much
recreation in it. It's a bit full with five of us in. Still it's fairly
protected against the winds and except for that big gap at the front it
would be fairly shell proof. We are about 30 yards to the rear of our
firing line and covering the Crawley Crater area - the same field of fire
as Colne Post except about 70 yards longer range. And as young Cotton
remarks "if the Turks come over we can give em some bloody lead."
It's the only position on this Peninsula I should imagine where we can
"Stand to" sat down. If we stand up in the open here we shall
be very soon spotted so the two on duty are near the Gun whilst the others
are in the Tunnel. Looks like the black hole of Calcutta nearly.
Things were normal at the hour before dusk and were settling down nicely
by 10 o clock when another night fusillade of shots rang out on the firing
line and we were up and doing in quick time. The verey lights fairly show
the crater up and gives us quite a clear view but nothing materialised
and were breaking away by 11 o clock.
The easiest patrol of the batch 4 to 6 which includes about half an hour
of the official "Stand to" quite a chill wind out early on but
cushy in Spithead. Not much doing up to breakfast but quite a fusillade
of heavy stuff dropping at the bottom here.
The Turks are giving us all a bit of a shaking up too this morning and
there is some real thick and heavy shells dropping around us. We are cowed
down in the Tunnel like five rats and it soon gets smelly and stuffy -
sweat, candle grease and smoke is a bit of a mixture - reminds us of some
of those bazaars out in the narrow dingy streets of Cairo with that peculiar
oriental smell all its own.
We can just see the backs of the fellows in the front line as we appear
to be just a bit elevated.
Quite a mild day and the aeroplanes are up over this sector spending any
amount of time overhead and keeping much lower than usual. Our artillery
are opening out in the afternoon and quite a tirade of shelling all afternoon
until 5 o clock when a pleasant lull came over the proceedings and we
can take in the air again. Feels rare and refreshing after a few hours
in the dungeon.
A note from the Skipper to patrol the guns from 2 o clock to 4 in the
morning. Hope the Turks are more peaceful tonight.
"Stand to" 6 o clock
and heavy rifle fire and shelling from the Turks kept me on the physical
qui vive from then onwards. No attacks from the Gulley however but we
sent a few single shots to test the Gun and she is in rare condition.
"Observers only" at about 8 o clock and were shaking the blankets
up ready for the night.
Called out before 12 o clock "Stand to every man" rang down
the line and the thunderous noise of the rifles and guns seemed to spell
a big attack from the Turks. It was quite thrilling to be out in the open
ground just hear the gun and watch our verey lights thrown up over the
Gulley but no attack developed and concluded that they were evidently
retaliating for our yesterdays terrific pummelling of their supports.
It was a relief when 2 o clock came along to get away from that evil stinking
dungeon but it was with a parched mouth and trembling knees that I wended
my weary tread through these saps to the barricade and through to the
firing line then back again to Spithead. I seemed to have difficulty in
ejaculating the one word "Friend" out to the various sentries
at the various communication trenches.
Had just time for a couple of cigarettes before the official "Stand
to" 5 o clock and the day dawned quite cool and quietly except for
an outburst well over to the right here.
Breakfast over early and busy cleaning the Gun and wiping the dew off
ready for any movement across the craters.
An urgent note from the Skipper is disquieting. Something big coming off
this afternoon. Overhaul the Gun, spare parts and belts and hold 5000
rounds of ammunition over and above the loaded belts.
We have eight belts each with 460 rounds in the sockets so that means
about 9000 rounds all told. Intensive bombardment from 12 to 3. Then a
mine is to be exploded at 3. Next a wave of bayonets - a wave of bombers
- another wave of bayonets and a final wave of bombers. And the last instruction
is cryptic "Stand fast! Lend all support possible".
Busy overhauling the Gun and ammunition replenished also a green petrol
tin of water. If we fire about 9000 rounds through our little machine
Gun we shall boil a drop of water and it won't be much use handing the
corned beef tin round seven of us like we had to do in May last.
Were all serene by 11 o clock and the orderly men are along with the dinner.
Some thin weak looking stew and there is not much demand for it. We must
be excited or else it isn't sufficiently inviting. "Won't you have
a drop Cotton" "No thanks Sergeant". "How about you
Manley" "I don't want any Sergeant" Harry Smith and Jimmy
Faulkner are having two helpings - bombardments don't seem to put them
off their food - About two of the coolest fellows out here I should think.
Prompt to time the bombardment has started - the front line is "Standing
to" - the steel tipped rifles we can discern from our position here.
Harry Smith is lying full length on his stomach peering through the bottom
glass of the periscope which we have crudely fastened to the trench side
just right of the Gun.
The mine was terrific and it almost felt as if some unknown spirit had
lifted this part of the Peninsula up and dropped it just as suddenly.
The whole tunnel seemed to vibrate with the explosion - but the shell
fire was more terrifying and for 3 hours we dare barely breathe. Short
shells - duds- and badly fused ones were dropping all around the Gun position
but we opened out prompt as the first wave went over but the displacement
made by the explosion of the mine made it well nigh impossible to observe
The Turks fire and bombardment was murderous and if ever Hell was let
loose it was surely from 3 o clock to 7 with the whole of his sector under
a veritable blanket of screeching howling shells of every description.
We achieved the objective - a Turkish trench about 40 yards ahead and
not more than 60 yards long.
Were "Stood to" all night long with the rifle fire still as
brisk as ever but the bombardment has ceased. Just breaking away ready
for kip when another terrific fusillade broke out about 10 o clock - "Turks
attacking" came along the line and we fired a couple of belts right
through just over the crater.
It was a half sleepy and half awake Gun team that "Stood to"
this morning. All looking and feeling spent after yesterday's efforts.
No more counter attacks during the night and we are still holding on to
the Turkish trench.
Shall never forget the 19th of December and it has surely indelibly impressed
itself on our memories. Even the elements joined in the torturous din
- and with the thunder and lightning in the early hours was about the
most weird scene I have ever witnessed.
The Turkish artillery is still active and our support lines and the Gulley
just below us are both getting the full force of it. Busy clearing up
the debris all morning and overhauling the Gun. It doesn't look any the
worse for its onslaught of yesterday and the O.C.firing line tells me
it looked more like a bonfire from their line last night.
The enemy are not to be outdone and they dropped about 20 - 9.2 shells
within a few feet of each other in the new crater and we seem to be paying
pretty dearly for our few yard gain. What looked like dozens of arms and
legs going up in the air after one of the shells had exploded in our original
front line was a few dozen pairs of Jack Boots going up. But we are having
heavy casualties with each shell and must have lost a good hundred killed
and wounded this last day or two.
The early evening brought a decided calm and we are hoping to God we have
a much quieter night than last.
Were breaking away about 8 o
clock - with two men at the Gun and 5 of us in the tunnel. The verey lights
are going up every few minutes - bombs flickering and bursting and a weird
night generally. No instructions about patrolling so can have a few hours
Not much sleep though as the Turks opened out hysterically about 2 o clock
and we were stood by the Gun most of the night. No attacks however and
we seem to be fairly entrenched again in our new position.
Cool at "Stand to" 5 o clock and there is an ominous quite on
both sides. Hope it keeps so for a bit at any rate - we all seem to be
nervy and jerky.
The orderly men tell us that there are dozens of new graves being dug
in Geogheghans Bluff from all accounts and another few near attacks like
the last we shall have the place full of English dead. Looks as if we
have reached a deadlock here - if we take a few yards of Turkish ground
we have to pay a heavy price.
Orders just sent round to inspect all the men's Gas Masks. Hope to God
the Turks don't send any Gas over whilst we are in this Tunnel.
Afternoon brought another terrifying bombardment from the Turks and hundreds
of high explosive are searching the whole sector. We are hugging the dungeon
a little bit and waiting and watching.
No attacks yet and were "Standing to" earlier tonight.
A quiet night thank the Lord and must have snatched a few hours sleep
as "Stand to" came along about 5 o clock. A steady rifle fire
from the Turks front line and they are evidently satisfied with the situation.
Looking through our Tunnel just before dawn gives one a peculiar thrill
- must be something akin to a corridor in hell - with the verey lights
at the front line a matter of 50 yards ahead showing the frontage up in
a strange Red and White glow amidst a hideous din of rifle and machine
Feeling sick and weary today - don't care how soon we are relieved - crawling
about this Tunnel and the filthy smells after a couple of hours in is
enough to choke one.
We are getting such a terrible hammering night and day from those Turkish
batteries that we seem defenceless and almost at the mercy of the enemy.
All because we didn't have the bloody army here when we demolished the
forts - as Platt used to argue.
There is an air of strangeness about in the afternoon - everything stilled
and quiet and we are left wondering what it all means.
"Stand to" came along at 6 o clock with the rifle fire gaining
in intensity but no movement from the crater trenches and were getting
down to it by 10 o clock, but another order from the firing line had no
all out again before 12 o clock and had to open out on the Turks front
We are all getting the wind up by now and it only wants a few bursts of
rapid fire from the Turks and its "Stand to". The troops must
be in a terrible windy condition and if only Joey Turk could be amongst
us he would enjoy it. We had been up and doing twice before the official
"Stand to" came along at 5 o clock.
Only wish to God they would come over in force and have a final decision.
The suspense and strain is telling on us and we shall soon be half mad
with all the shell fire and irritating "Stand to".
There has been a fearful barrage all morning on our rear trenches and
the terrible Turks must be expecting another thrust forward. They have
every inch of ground covered nearly and that crater just beyond here is
getting its full share of the 9.2's.
The killed and wounded is mounting steadily and the Gulley is crowded
with stretcher bearers.
No sign of any abatement and the afternoon wears on slowly with the Turkish
artillery in a decided superiority. Although our tunnel is an evil smelling
filthy abode still we owe it something for its wonderful protection from
those dozens of high explosives. One dropped perilously near the Gun though
and we had to dismount and rebuild the sand bags up.
All ready camouflaged and oiled up before "Stand to". 6 o clock
and comparatively calm for the evening. Observers detailed off for the
night and hope for a better night.
Nothing doing before the hour before dawn and can rest on our oars a bit.
Our artillery opening out as the full daylight comes along but we don't
seem to lash as much stuff over as the Turks. Aeroplanes are over again
apparently spotting for our Guns but we are trusting to providence that
we shall be relieved before the next do.
Quite an artillery duel developed during the morning and it is almost
a repetition of the agonising nerve shattering din of the 19th.
A note from Lient. R.E.F. Bennett to retire at 8 p.m. with Gun and belt
boxes etc. is more cheering but no word as to who is relieving us. Had
the breeze up a bit too when I was reading it - fearing it was another
mine up and waves of bayonets and bombers again. This is our second day
in the corridor to hell and we are just about sick to death of it all.
Fourteen days rest will be very welcome and the Authorities seem to be
coming to their senses a bit by relieving at dark.
Things are wearing down a bit towards "Stand to" and we are
all ready for our retirement to Eski Line East. Opened the Gun out for
a bit by way of celebration and were dismounted and away from the hell
hole prompt at 8. No relief arrived however but we left the blankets in.
It was a wearisome journey carrying Gun and tripod with 8 belt boxes -
staggering, slipping and rolling about just beat to the wide. My legs
were quivering beneath me and I felt it hard work to keep going. Rests
were the chief order of the night and we had a good long rest where I
thought the spare bullets did not reach - and lo! and behold - the R.A.M.C.
fellows at the dressing station were in full blast. Had it not been for
their songs we should have found it hard to realize that it was Christmas
Eve. It was a mockery - "Peace on Earth" Good will to men."
Think of it. No wonder our thoughts carried us back to the dim past. We
staggered farther on and after another mountainous climb we were settled
down safely in Eski Line East.
It was a glorious crisp moonlight night and nearly 12 o clock when we
had dumped our tackle down.
We were all so tired and weary that we did not trouble about Christmas
Eve - it could have been Pancake Tuesday for all we cared and we simply
slept where we dropped.
Up again at 6 o clock and a good
wash and clean up - the first for a week went some little way towards
reassuring us a bit. And the fresh air smells like some refreshing perfume
compared with our Spithead tunnel.
Busy cleaning the Guns and checking up all morning and away from the terrible
war zone we can move about with a certain amount of freedom.
As we are attached for rations and discipline to the 5th Battalion Lancashire
Fusiliers we cannot have our Christmas Pudding which the Daily News have
sent out for the troops, until tomorrow and our Xmas dinner consists of
a mess tin full of Corned Beef Stew. A Merry Christmas eh! Its enough
to reduce us all to tears. If it wasn't for the pieces of Bull Beef floating
about the stew looks more like washing up water. But it's either that
A strong rumour going about that we shall be clearing off the Peninsula
any minute. My God! We shall never believe it.
Cold night with the silvery moon high up over our dear old Achi Babi -
its beautiful to have another look at it. Down to it early on and a blanket
round me will be able to sleep better.
Feeling a trifle better this morning and found it difficult to get out
at 7 o clock.
Not much doing around here but there is no forgetting the war out here
- the guns are blasting forth all the morning and it almost sounds like
a roaring tornado at the top end of the Gulley
Although the rumour of clearing off here persists there is no definite
sign get. Hoping to God we can get away from it - if it's only for a few
weeks. Solitude and quiet to replenish our nevous energy.
The Christmas Pudding was worth waiting for and although we could not
drink the health of the Daily News we have done the next best thing -
we've "eaten" their health.
Uneventful afternoon and spent most of the time writing to the homeland.
A mouthful of rum at night was very welcome and was getting wrapped in
my blanket early on. The rifle fire sounds very heavy and evidently they
are having a bit of a rough time up there yet.
Undisturbed night and the recent strenuous effects seem to be wearing
off gradually. We look more like men again than those badly battered pieces
of humanity stagging along the Gulley.
Inspections this morning of all the apparatus and busy replenishing the
Iron rations etc. Doesn't sound like going off I think.
Another fierce cannonade higher up the Gulley sounds uninspiring but we
appear to be outside the danger zone.
Urgent instructions to hand the blankets in by 3 o clock gives us a new
hope and orders to parade in full marching order at 6 o clock makes us
all excited and we feel that the persistent rumour is soon to be an accomplished
No abatement in the Turkish shelling however and we must be having a rough
time of it at the Barricade just now but the terrible crescendo of the
19th will want some beating.
Were lined up in the Gulley before 6 o clock and moved down the river
of mud and slutch prompt to time and reached the Lancashire Landing without
casualties but orders came through that we had to stand fast. After four
hours on the beach watching the Aegean Sea washing the pebbles and wondering
whether we were going to be doomed to disappointment were ordered on the
move again and we heard officially that we should have embarked at the
French Beach but then terrific Guns at Fort Chanak were playing hell with
it so we had to leave from "W" beach.
Even here the Jewel of Asia could not leave us alone and almost to convey
that they knew what was happening they dropped one of those shells right
on one of the wooden jetties that we were using and broke it in half.
It was not half trilling to get half way to the jetty and the observers
whistle made us scarper back again until the shell had burst. The flash
from the Gun can clearly be seen by the observer specially detailed off
for the job and there is sufficient time to take cover.
However we were safely planted down on the S.S. Ermine - all the Fusilier
Brigade - or the badly battered remnants of it I should say and were "hove
to" just under cover of the land. We could see the lights of the
Firing Line farther along the Coast just ahead of Trolley Ravine and the
two cruisers were patrolling the Coast as industriously as ever - turning
so beautifully smooth without the noise even of a small cockle boat.
It was not until daylight that we could have a sigh of relief and wave
a farewell to the Peninsula. Very cold too on board but after about 5
hours trip were landed in Mudros Harbour and disembarked very quickly
with a wearisome tramp from one place to another until we were safety
housed under canvas.
There is an uncanny lack of hilarity and enthusiasm among the troops -
about 5 or 600 of us all told. Few of us can fully realize the new lease
of life that we have been given from that hell hole - that 8 months horrible
nightmare. Or it may be that we are all obsessed with that peculiar almost
indescribable feeling which must have penetrated each of us last night
as we swung over the cliffs and gave a parting glance at Achi Babi.
The scene was magnificent - the beautiful silvery moon seemed almost to
rest right on the top of that "B" hill - and magnified its defiance.
Its powerful outline was only comparable with the silhouette of the Rock
of Gibraltar as we all saw it on that September morn of 1914 when the
whole harbour seemed hidden in a thin sea mist.
Whether our peculiar feeling was a sort of quit respect for our brave
pals who we were to leave for ever on this Peninsula - pals who we had
grown up with - who we had worked alongside - and fought alongside - who
had shared our joys and sorrows in some cases since our childhood days
- or whether it was th haunting thought that we were going to stumble
at the last hurdle - I know not. Under some of those terrifying bombardments
- with shells of every calibre whistling through the air - knocking the
parapets down - killing men at our side - we were stunned and could hardly
speak to each other - now without those hideous noises and pictures we
still find difficulty in speaking. We seem more cowed than on Cape Helles
and yet we can breathe again. We are far away from those shrieking shells
and those "Stand to's" that have nearly worn us out - we are
in Mudros about 50 miles away from Gallipoli. It resembles Imbrios in
its military and naval activity and the harbour is choc-o-block with craft
of a much larger and more important class.
It is here where the G.O.C.Sir Ian Hamilton commanding the British Expeditionary
Force of the Mediterranean and his staff is quartered. On board the S.S.
Aragon - and rumour has it that divers will be necessary to clear the
empty whisky bottles and debris of every description from her sides before
she can take off! It may just be another rumour as the Aragon looks big
enough and quite capable of moving anything - even a whole distillery
let alone a few hundred whisky bottles.
The place itself however seems quite barren of any life and vegetation
- just a mere stretch of plain quite flat and water logged.
We march about half a mile for a wash in an apparent stagnant pool - but
we are satisfied that we can have a daily wash and shave instead of one
every 2 or 3 weeks.
Most of the day we have given over to checking our Guns and ammunition
etc. and a general clean up with an especially long de-louse parade.
Blankets issued out and with seven men per tent we should be able to keep
each other warm. Down to it about 10 o clock.
Parade at 7 for the ablution at the stagnant pool and all ready for breakfast
by 9 o clock.
Instruction on the Gun and general Gun mounting practice to prevent us
dwelling too much on the past and I suppose to endeavour to re-kindle
that barrack-like discipline which has been so nearly jeopardised after
8 months of real active service - when the shells and bullets and lice
brought us all down to that same level of humanity - because those destructive
elements were not respecter of rank or breading.
The only incident of note was the presence in our camp of a Red cross
Nurse - the first while woman we have seen for about 8 months - its worth
something to just see a female after all this time. The apparent phenomena
was not without its quota of rude remarks and sallies amongst these fellows.
Harrison thinks "it would be worth something to just smell her drawers."
Evidently they are all finding their souls and passions again after the
turmoil since April 28th last.
Jackson's nobility prompts him to remark "that he would be ashamed
of lying in the same bed - he is so lousy."
It has undoubtedly stirred the emotions and our little camp is more animated
- we owe the dear little Red Cross Nurse a deep debt for being so courageous
- or perhaps the reaction is wearing off us a trifle.
The candles are burning brightly in the various bell tents - and the jingle
of money assures one after a walk round the camp that the troops are still
able to enjoy their "Pontoon" and "Banker".
Quite chilly this morning on the early wash parade but a quick march back
and we are feeling more manly and much better physically and mentally.
More instruction and fatigue jobs down at the harbour. Another party are
detailed off to go for a hot bath to some hutments a couple of miles away.
War news is non existent - the war may have concluded for all we know
here - we are segregated so it seems from the rest of the world - recuperating
slowly - soon we shall be fully recovered in a physical sense - but not
in a material sense - we shall surely never be able to erase from our
minds the past eight months on Gallipoli and I suppose we may or our children
may at some very distant date be able to read in the History Books of
that glorious chapter in British History when the 29th Division did the
impossible - climbed the rocks and cliffs of a place called Cape Helles
- to effect a landing and endeavour to force the Dardanelles - how the
Sea around those famous landing places - the French Beach . Lancashire
Landing - and "W" Beach was coloured a deep crimson with British
Blood and the brushwood and plains of Gallipoli were strewn with graves
and cemeteries of English, Australian, New Zealand, Indian and French
dead. But Platts query will not be answered - "Why didn't they have
the bloody Army there when they demolished the Forts" - nor poor
Harvey Shaw's secret which he took with him on his spiritual flight through
the Ether - £2000 per minute - and all those valuable lives - "What's
it all for" Perhaps the Angels may have reminded him that it was
because a madman murdered another man at Sarajevo in June 1914 - and if
the plane of intelligence is much higher up there than here, he may easily
understand the connection.
Another boat load of troops in from the Peninsula and it almost looks
as if we have evacuated it now. We don't hear anything definite in this
respect - nor any rumours about going home for a furlough.
Nothing very eventful happening and it is going to be a very quiet New
Years Eve. Apparently the Q.M. has even left the Rum so we shall be quite
sober - unless we can raid the S.S. Aragon - Don't suppose we can hold
any hope for an invitation to the jollification on board - we all seem
quite satisfied with our lot however and more than thankful to be alive.
We are gradually recovering our senses after these few days comparative
calm and quiet.
New Year dawned quietly and if it had not been for the dozens of Sirens
from the various boats we should never have known anything different.
Time can work wonders - 12 months ago we were feasting off suckling pig
and Turkey with whisky, Rum and Beer as our liquid. Now we could do with
only a look at that repast in Abbasia - instead we have stew and chlorinated
tea - and if we are very lucky we get a piece of the corned beef in it
from the dinner. Much depends on the rapidity of the orderly men - there
is generally a competition as to who can get the Dixie back to the coo
Our turn this afternoon for the delousing station and paraded the Machine
Gun section to the hutments. Quite a good hot bath - about a dozen galvanised
hip baths in the hut and as we were washing ourselves - another party
were running the hot soldering irons up the seams of our trousers to kill
the lice and eggs. The fellows say the Grand National wasn't in it and
any amount of humour out of the disgusting job.
We have started the New Year well - washed off the filth and stink of
Gallipoli trenches and if only the delousing idea has worked we should
have annihilated a few million lice.
Human beings once more and we feel that we could go into respectable company
again - in fact when we sit and reflect on the past 8 months we feel to
have solved the Biblical query "How can a man enter ....... and be
born again." If we have not been born again we have entered a new
life not without hope for the future - and not without hope that the past
has at least taught us one thing transcending all others - the utter absurdity
of war - the folly - the futility and idiocy of it all - for the lack
of command over the temper of a mere handful of men. And when the day
of reckoning arrives probably those same men will be sat around the inevitable
polished table to be calmed and reasonable. War eh! The absurdity of it
all - what better example than the Gallipoli Campaign.