Gallipoli Diary, Volume 2
by Ian Hamilton
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As to the coming attack, the tone of the Conference was hopeful. They agreed that the nut was hard for our enfeebled forces to crack, but they seemed to think that if we were once to get the enemy on the run, with the old 29th Division and the new, keen Yeomanry on their heels, we might yet go further than we expected. One Brigade of the 29th Division has been brought round from Helles to put shape and form into the 53rd Division. Peyton's men are to be attached to the Irish Division. There is a new spirit of energy and hope in the higher ranks but the men have meanwhile been aimlessly marched and counter-marched, muddled, and knocked about so that their spirit has suffered in consequence.

No end of Yeomen on the beaches; the cream of agricultural England. Many of them recognized me from my various home inspections. Would like very much to have had a war inspection, but the enemy gunners are too inquisitive.

De Lisle tells me he has now been round every corner of Suvla and that the want of grip throughout the higher command has been worse than he dared to put on paper. To reorganize will take several weeks; but we have to try and act within two or three days.

Skeen told us that when the Turks stuck up a placard saying Warsaw had fallen, the Australians gave three hearty cheers.

The chief trouble in making plans for the coming attack lies in the want of cover on, and for a mile inland of, the Suvla Bay beaches. The whole stretch of the flat land immediately East and South of the Bay lies open to the Turkish gunners. This is no longer a serious drawback if the men are holding lines of trenches. But when the trench system is not yet in working order, and they want to deploy, then it is so awkward a factor that I would have been prepared to turn the whole battle into a night attack. The others were not for it. They thought that the troops were not highly enough trained and had lost too many officers to be able to find their way over this country in the darkness. They are in immediate touch with the men: I am not.

Lindley asked if he might walk with me to the Beach, and on the way down he told me frankly his Division had gone to pieces and that he did not feel it in himself to pull it together again. Very fine of him to make a clean breast of it, I thought, and said so: also advised him to put what he had told me into writing to de Lisle, when we will relieve him and I promised for my part, to try and fit him with some honourable but less onerous job.

On Hammersley's report, Sitwell, Brigadier of the 34th Brigade, 11th Division, has just been relieved of his command.

19th August, 1915. Imbros. Sat sweating here, literally and metaphorically, from morn till dewy eve. King's Messenger left in the evening. Altham came over from Mudros. He stays to-night and we will work together to-morrow when the mails are off my mind.

Hankey dined and left with the King's Messenger by the Imogene. He has been a real help. The Staff has never quite cottoned to the chief among us takin' notes, but that is, I think, from a notion that it is not loyal to Lord K. to press the P.M.'s P.S. too closely to their bosom. From my personal standpoint, it will be worth anything to us if, amidst the flood of false gossip pouring out by this very mail to our Dardanelles Committee, to the Press, to Egypt and to London Drawing Rooms, we have sticking up out of it, even one little rock in the shape of an eye-witness.

A shocking aeroplane smash up within a few yards of us. A brilliant young Officer (Captain Collet of the R.F.C.) killed outright and three men badly hurt.

20th August, 1915. Stayed in my tent keeping an eye on to-morrow. Put through a lot with Altham. Am pressing him to hurry up with his canteens at Helles, Anzac and Suvla. In May I cabled the Q.M.G. begging him either to let me run a canteen on the lines of the South African Field Force Canteen, myself; or, to run it from home, himself; or, to put the business into the hands of some private firm like the Mess and Canteen Company, or Lipton's, or Harrods or anything he liked. In South Africa we could often buy something. In France our troops can buy anything. Here, had they each the purse of Fortunatus, they could buy nothing. A matter this, I won't say of life and death, but of sickness and health. Now, after three months without change of diet, the first canteen ship is about due. A mere flea bite of L10,000 worth. I am sending the whole of it to the Anzacs to whom it will hardly be more use than a bun is to a she bear. Only yesterday a letter came in from Birdie telling me that the doctors all say that the sameness of the food is making the men sick. The rations are A.1., but his men now loathe the very look of them after having had nothing else for three months. Birdie says, "If we could only get this wretched canteen ship along, and if, when she comes she contains anything like condiments to let them buy freely from her, I believe it would make all the difference in the world. But the fact remains that at present we cannot count on anything like a big effort from the men who have been here all these months."

De Robeck came over at 4 p.m., by formal appointment, to talk business, and deadly serious business at that! He has heard, by cable I suppose, that the people at home will see him through if he sees his way to strike a blow with the Fleet. He takes this as a pretty strong hint to push through, or, to make some sort of a battleship attack to support us. De Robeck knows that when the Fleet goes in our fighting strength goes up. But he can gauge, as I cannot, the dangers the Fleet will thereby incur. Every personal motive urges me to urge him on. But I have no right to shove my oar in—no right at all—until I can say that we are done unless the Fleet do make an attack. Can I say so? No; if we get the drafts and munitions we can still open the Straits on our own and without calling on the sister Service for further sacrifice. So I fell back on first principles and said he must attack if he thought it right from the naval point of view but that we soldiers did not call for succour or ask him to do anything desperate: "You know how we stand," I said; "do what is right from the naval point of view and as to what is right from that point of view, I am no judge."

The Admiral went away: I have been no help to him but I can't help it.

Hardly had he gone when Braithwaite (who had heard what was in the wind by a side wind) came and besought me to try and induce the Admiral to slip his battleships at the Straits. All the younger men of war are dying to have a dash, he said. That's as it may be but my mind is clear. If a sailor on land is a fish out of water, a soldier at sea is like a game cock in a duckpond. When de Robeck said on March 22nd he wanted the help of the whole Army that was quite in order. He would not have been in order—at least, I don't think so—had he said in what manner he wanted the Army to act after it had got ashore. We are being helped now by the Navy; daily, hourly: we could not exist without the Fleet; but it is not for me to say I think the battleships should or should not take chances of mines and torpedoes.

Brodrick is quite seedy. We are all afraid he won't be able to stick it out much longer although he is making the most heroic efforts. In the morning I attended the funeral of young Collet, killed yesterday so tragically. A long, slow march through heavy sand all along the beach to Kephalos; then up through some small rocky gullies, frightfully hot, until, at last, we reached a graveyard. The congregation numbered many of the poor boy's comrades who seemed much cut up about his untimely end.

The P.M. has answered my cable to Lord K. asking for 45,000 rifles to fill up and for 50,000 fresh rifles. K. is in France, he says, and I will have my answer when he gets back. The 5th Royal Scots are down to 289 rank and file. I have just cabled about them. Something must be done. Certainly it must be "out" for that particular unit if they don't very soon get some men. The War Office still refer to them as a Battalion!

21st August, 1915. Sailed for Suvla about 1 o'clock with Braithwaite, Aspinall, Dawnay, Deedes, Ellison, Pollen and Maitland. The first time I have set forth with such a Staff. Not wishing to worry de Lisle, I climbed up to the Karakol Dagh, whence I got something like a bird's eye view of the arena which was wrapt from head to foot in a mantle of pearly mist. Assuredly the Ancients would have ascribed this phenomenon to the intervention of an Immortal. Nothing like it had ever been seen by us until that day and the cloud—mist—call it what you will—must have had an unfortunate bearing on the battle. On any other afternoon the enemy's trenches would have been sharply and clearly lit up, whilst the enemy's gunners would have been dazzled by the setting sun. But under this strange shadow the tables were completely turned; the outline of the Turkish trenches were blurred and indistinct, whereas troops advancing from the AEgean against the Anafartas stood out in relief against a pale, luminous background.

As a result of our instructions; of conferences and of the war council we had got our plan perfectly clear and ship-shape. Everyone understood it. The 10th Division was Corps reserve and was lying down in mass about the old Hill 10 in the scrub. We had to trust to luck here as they were under the enemy's fire if they were spotted. But very strict orders as to keeping low and motionless had been issued and we had just to hope for the best. The Yeomanry were also Corps reserve at Lala Baba where they were safe. But when they advanced, supposing they had to, they would have to cross a perfectly open plain under shell fire. This was the special blot on the scheme but there was no getting away from it. There was no room for them in the front line trenches and communication trenches to the front had not yet been dug.

As to the attack:—on the extreme right the Anzacs and Indian Brigade were to push out from Damakjelik Bair towards Hill 60. Next to them in the right centre the 11th Division was to push for the trenches at Hetman Chair. On the left centre the 29th Division were to storm the now heavily entrenched Hill 70. Holding that and Ismail Oglu Tepe we should command the plateau between the two Anafartas; knock out the enemy's guns and observation posts commanding Suvla Bay, and should easily be able thence to work ourselves into a position whence we will enfilade the rear of the Sari Bair Ridge and begin to get a strangle grip over the Turkish communications to the Southwards. From the extreme left on Kiretch Tepe Sirt by the sea, to Sulajik where they joined the 29th Division the 53rd and 54th Divisions were simply holding the line.

Only the broad outline of the fighting was visible through the dim twilight atmosphere and I have not yet got any details. Our bombardment began at 2.30 and lasted till 3 p.m., very inadequate in duration but the most our munitions would run to. Then, to the accompaniment of quick battery salvoes of shrapnel from the enemy and a heavy rattle of musketry, the whole line from about a mile due East of the Easternmost point of the Salt Lake down to Damakjelik Bair, nearly two miles, began to stir and move Eastwards. We had the joy of seeing the Turks begin to clear out of the trenches on Hill 70, and by 3.30 p.m. it seemed as if distinct progress was being made: about that time it was I saw the Yeomen marching in extended order over the open ground to the South of the Salt Lake in the direction of Hetman Chair. The enemy turned a baddish shrapnel fire on to them, and although they bore it most unflinchingly, old experience told me that their nervous fighting energy was being used up all the time. If only these men could have been brought within charging distance, fresh and unbroken by any ordeal! But here was just one of the drawbacks of the battlefield and no getting over it.

After a bit, I went down to de Lisle and found him sitting on a little spur about fifty yards from his own Headquarters with one of his Staff Officers. He was smoking a pipe—quite calm. There is usually nothing to be said or to be done once our war dogs have been slipped. A soldier might as well try to correct the aim of his bullet after he has pulled the trigger! Whilst I was there we heard—probably about 4.30—that the 11th Division had captured the Turkish first line trenches which run North and South of Hetman Chair. Real good news this. We were considerably bucked up. Climbed back to Karakol Dagh but, from that time onwards, could make out nothing of the course of the battle save that Ismail Oglu Tepe was not yet taken. As to Knoll 70, it was completely shrouded in dust and smoke. Sometimes it seemed as if the Turkish guns were firing against it; sometimes we thought they were our own. Far away by Kaiajik Aghala things looked well as many enemy shrapnel were bursting there or thereabouts showing our men must have got home. By 6.30 it had become too dark to see anything. The dust mingling with the strange mist, and also with the smoke of shrapnel and of the hugest and most awful blazing bush fire formed an impenetrable curtain.

As the light faded the rifles and guns grew silent. So I clambered down off my perch and went again to de Lisle's post of command where I found him still sitting. He had seen no more than I had seen. The bulk of our reserves had been thrown in. No more news had come to hand. All was quiet now. Our role, in fact, was finished, and Marshall, the man on the spot, by now held our destinies in his hands. Firm hands too. The telephone was working all right and I told de Lisle to try and get a message through to him quickly saying that I hoped he would be able to dig in and hold fast to whatever he had gained. I have no fears about de Lisle's nerve; nor of Marshall's.

Went on board and sailed for Headquarters, through darkness made visible by the fires blazing on the battlefield. No shooting. Got on the wires and found no news from Anzac nor more from de Lisle. Crossed backwards and forwards the best part of the night between my tent and the G.S. tent, but de Lisle had heard nothing definite enough to report. Brodrick still has fever. Ruthven has been wounded.

22nd August, 1915. Suvla gone wrong again; Anzac right. Left G.H.Q. at 11 o'clock with Braithwaite, Commodore Keyes, Captain Phillimore, Aspinall, Beadon, Freddy and Val in the Arno and went direct to Anzac. There I picked up Birdie and heard the Anzac part of the battle. The Indian Brigade have seized the well at Kabak Kuyu, and that fine soldier, Russell, fixed himself into Kaiajik Aghala and is holding on there tooth and nail. There was fighting going on there at the moment but Russell is confident. How delightful it is to have to deal with men who are confident!

This success of old Cox's is worth anything. The well alone, I suppose, might be valued at twenty or thirty thousand a year seeing it gives us beautiful spring water in free gift from Mother Earth instead of very dubious fluid conveyed at God only knows what cost from the Nile to Anzac Cove. If we can only hold on to Kaiajik Aghala, then the road between Anzac and Suvla will be freed from the sniper's bullet.

Went on to Suvla and landed with all my posse, remaining in consultation with Corps Headquarters till 3.30.

Our attack on Hill 70 and Ismail Oglu Tepe has failed. The enemy has dug himself well in by now and, therefore, we depended far more on our gun fire than we did on the 7th, 8th, 9th and 10th. Unfortunately, the bombardment seems to have been pretty near futile—not the fault of the gunners, but simply because, on the one hand, the mist interfered with the accuracy of their aim, on the other, shortage of shell prevented them from making up for inaccuracy by quantity. Then the bush fires seem to have come along in the most terrible fashion and interposed between our brave 29th and the Turks. The ancient Gods fought against us yesterday:—mist and fire, still hold their own against the inventions of man. Last but not least, all are agreed the fine edge of the 11th Division has been at last blunted—and small wonder: there is no use attacking any more with the New Army until it has been well rested and refreshed with new drafts.

So far de Lisle has no clear or connected story of the battle. The 29th Division say they were shouldered off their true line of attack by the 11th Division, then driven in by the fire; the 11th Division, on their side, say that the Yeomen barged into them and threw them off their line. Had we been able to dig in we would have made good a lot of ground. But Marshall, not showy or brilliant but one of my most sound and reliable soldiers, decided, although he knew my wishes and hopes, that the troops had got themselves so mixed up and disorganized that it would be imprudent. So orders were issued by him, on the battlefield, to fall back to the original line. There was neither use nor time to refer back to de Lisle and he had to come to the decision himself. I am quite confident he will be able to give good reasons for his act. Many of the men did not get the order and were still out at daylight this morning when they were heavily attacked by the Turks and fell back then of themselves into their old trenches. Another case of "as you were." We have lost a lot of men and can only hope that the Turks have lost as many. I don't think for a moment they did, not at least in the Suvla Bay sphere, but Cox and Russell claim to have accounted for a very great number of them in their first retreat and in their counter-attacks in the Southern sector of the battle.

23rd August, 1915. Imbros. Not one moment, till to-day, to weigh bearing of K.'s message of the 20th instant,—the message sent me in reply to my appeal for 50,000 fresh troops and 45,000 drafts. In it K. tells me that a big push is going to take place in the Western theatre, and that I "must understand that no reinforcements of importance can be diverted from the main theatre of operations in France." Certain named transports are carrying, he says, more troops to Egypt, and he hopes Maxwell will be able to spare me some. If we can't get through with these we must hang on as best we may.

To-day it has been up to us to try and bring home to the Higher Direction the possible effects of trying to do two things at once; i.e., break through in France and break through here. We are to stand aside for a month or so just when we have made a big gain of ground but not the decisive watershed gain; when the Turks, despite their losses in life, shell, trenches and terrain, are shaken only; not yet shattered.

K. sees all the Allied cards—we don't. But we do know our own hand. We know that our Navy have now come clean down on the AEgean side of the fence, and have determined once for all to make no attack on their own. We have the feel of the situation in our bones and it was up to us—I think it was—to rub it in that although the British War Direction may decree that the Dardanelles are to hang on without further help, indefinitely, yet sickness is not yet under their high command, nor are the Turks.

So Dawnay, who is making a name for himself as a master of plain business diction, was told off to draft me an answer to the War Office which should remove as many beams as possible out of their optics. He overdid it: the whole tone of it indeed was despondent, so much so that, as I told Braithwaite, a S. of S. for War getting so dark a presentment of our prospects would be bound to begin to think it might be better to recall the whole expedition. So I rewrote the whole thing myself:—

* * * * *

"(No. M.F. 578). From General Sir Ian Hamilton to Secretary of State for War. We will endeavour to do the best possible with forces at our disposal; we quite understand reason for your inability to send us reinforcements necessary to bring operations to a successful conclusion, and thank you for putting it so plainly. After the failure of the IXth Corps to take prompt action after landing I took immediate steps to persevere with plan in spite of absence of surprise and reinforced northern wing with 2nd Mounted Division from Egypt and XXIXth Division from Cape Helles. These movements and the necessary reorganization of the IXth Corps formations which had become very mixed took time, so that I was not able to renew the attack until 21st August.

"By then enemy positions in Ratilva Valley had been immeasurably strengthened and I was confronted with the difficulty that if I could not drive the Turks back between Anafarta Sagir and Biyuk Anafarta my new line from right of old Anzac position to sea coast North-east of Suvla Bay would be more than I could hold with the troops at my disposal. It would thus be a case of giving up either Anzac Cove or Suvla Bay. Therefore, as a preliminary step to my fresh offensive I determined to mass every man available against Ismail Oglu Tepe which position it was necessary for me to capture whether as a first step towards clearing the valley, or, if this proved impossible and I was thrown on the defensive, to secure comparative immunity from shell fire either for Suvla Bay or Anzac Cove.

"De Lisle planned the attack well. The LIIIrd and the LIVth Divisions were to hold enemy from Sulajik to Kiretch Tepe Sirt, and XXIXth Division and XIth Division were to attack Ismail Oglu Tepe with two Brigades of Xth Division and the IInd Mounted Division (5,000 rifles) in corps reserve. I arranged that General Birdwood should co-operate by swinging his left flank to Susak Kuyu and Kaiajik Aghala.

"The troops attacked with great dash and stormed the lower slopes of the hill in spite of strong entrenchments, but I regret to say they were not able to attain their objective nor even to consolidate the position gained and yesterday found the whole line back in their original trenches except the left of the Australians where one battalion of Gurkhas and new Australian Battalion continue to hold Susak Kuyu. Casualties not yet to hand, but I fear they amounted to some 6,000 in all. This renewed failure combined with the heavy total casualties since 6th August, and the fact that sickness has been greatly on the increase during the last fortnight has profoundly modified my position, and as you cannot now give me further reinforcements it is only possible for me to remain on the defensive. Naturally, I shall keep on trying to harry the Turks by local attacks and thus keep alive the offensive spirit but it must be stated plainly that no decisive success is to be looked for until such time as reinforcements can be sent.

"The total casualties including sick since 6th August amount to 40,000, and my total force is now only 85,000, of which the fighting strength is 68,000. The French fighting strength is about 15,000. Sick casualties are becoming abnormal chiefly owing to troops other than late arrivals being worn out with hardship and incessant shell fire, from which even when in reserve they are never free. Where Anzac evacuated 100 a day they are now evacuating 500, where Royal Naval Division evacuated 10 they are now evacuating 60. The result is that I have only some 50,000 men in the North to hold a line from the right of Anzac to the sea North-east of Suvla, a distance of 23,000 yards.

"When there is no serious engagement, but only daily trench fighting, the average net wastage from sickness and war is 24 per cent. of fighting strength per month. The Anzac Corps, the XXIXth Division and the XLIInd Division are very tired and need a rest badly. Keeping these conditions in view, it appears inevitable that within the next fortnight I shall be compelled to relinquish either Suvla Bay or Anzac Cove, and must also envisage the possibility of a still further reduction of my front in the near future. Taking the first question of abandoning Anzac Cove and closing to the North, Suvla Bay is now netted and comparatively secure from torpedo attack. Further, it offers certain facilities for disembarkation in winter gales. It has, therefore, some decided advantages but though I should be able to hold it safely at present, it would present no facilities for further contraction of my line to meet the future wastage of my force. On the other hand, by retiring South of Suvla I could first hold a line Lala Baba—Yilghin Burnu—Kaiajik Aghala, and then, when normal wastage diminished my strength below this limit I could, if necessary, withdraw into the original Anzac position. For these reasons it must probably be Suvla and not Anzac which must be given up, though on account of its advantages as indicated above, and on account of the moral effect of retiring, you may rely on my not relinquishing it a single day before I am compelled.

"I do not wish to paint a gloomy picture. It is a simple problem of arithmetic and measurement. On the basis of normal wastage and the present scale of drafts my total fighting strength by the middle of December, including the French, will be only, say, 60,000. Of this force, a certain percentage must of necessity be resting off the peninsula, and the remainder will only suffice to hold Cape Helles and the original Anzac line unless, of course, the enemy collapses. Until now, however, the Turks replace casualties promptly, although frequently by untrained men. Also our other foe, sickness, may abate, but seeing how tired are the bulk of my force, I doubt if it would be wise to reckon on this."

At 11.15, red hot from France, there arrived in camp Byng (to command the 9th Corps), Maude and Fanshawe (to command Divisions); also Tyrrell and Byng's A.D.C., Sir B. Brooke, nephew of my old friend, Harry Brooke. All three Generals remained for lunch and then the two Divisionals made off respectively to the 11th and 13th Divisions. Byng and Brooke stayed and dined. These fellows seem pretty cheery. Maude especially full of ardour which will, I hope, catch on.

24th August, 1915. Imbros. Been resolving yesterday's long cable. How often it happens that a draft letter, if only it is well put, fixes the mind into its grooves. My words were brighter than Dawnay's but the backbone was not really me. No one knows better than myself that a great deal more than arithmetic or measurement will be needed to make me give ground at Suvla. The truth is, it is infinitely difficult to spur these high folk on without frightening them; and then, if you frighten them, you may frighten them too much. That's why cables are no substitutes for converse.

To a Commander standing in my shoes, the forces of the infidels are not one half of the battle. The wobblers sit like nightmares on my chest. "Tell them the plain truth" cries conscience. What is the plain truth? Where is it? Is it in Dawnay's draft, or is it in my message, or does it lie stillborn in some cable unwritten? God knows—I don't! But one thing at least is true:—to steer a course between an optimism that deprives us of support and a pessimism that may wreck the whole enterprise, there indeed is a Scylla and Charybdis problem, a two-horned dilemma, or whatever words may best convey the notion of the devil.

The blessed cable is now lying on the well-known desk where K. will frown at it through his enormous spectacles. Then he calls the Adjutant-General and tells him Hamilton must be mad as all his formations are full to overflowing and yet he says he is 45,000 short. Next enters the Master-General of the Ordnance with a polite bow and K. tells him Hamilton must be delirious as he keeps on raving for shell, bombs, grenades although as he, Von Donop, knows well, he has been sent more guns and explosives than any man has ever enjoyed in war. Impossible to be so disrespectful to the Field Marshal or so inconsiderate to their department as to reject the soft impeachment. How easily do the great ones of this world kid themselves back into a comfortable frame of mind! Then K. stalks off to the Dardanelles Committee.

Turns out that Cox and Russell did even better than Birdwood had thought in the fighting on the 21st and the morning of the 22nd. They have killed more Turks and the line held runs well out to the North-east and quite a good long way to the North of Kaiajik Aghala.

Byng left to take over his command. Davies came over from Helles and stayed for dinner.

The Imogene sailed in with Mails. News by wireless of German Naval defeat in the Baltic and Italian declaration of war against Turkey. Well, that part at least of K.'s aspirations has come off; we have dragged in Italy. Now—will she send us a contingent?

Davies dined. With his ideas still framed on Western standards he puts it forcibly, not to say ferociously, that we must, must, must be given our fair share of trench mortars, bombs and gun ammunition. Fresh from France he watched the artillery preparation at Helles and (although we had thought it rather grand) says we simply don't know what the word bombardment means. Instead of seeing, as in the Western theatre, an unbroken wall of flame and smoke rising above the enemy trenches about to be stormed, here he saw a sprinkling of shells bursting at intervals of 20 yards or so—a totally different effect. And yet the Turks are as tough as the Germans and take as much hammering!

When I read the British Press, starved and yet muzzled, I feel as if I could render my country no better service than to kill my friend the Censor and write them one or two articles.

By surprise either Army can bulge in a sector of the opposing lines but, until one Army loses its moral, neither Army can break through. An engine will be found to restore marches and manoeuvres but, at this historic moment, our tactics are at that stage. To break through, Armies must advance some six or seven miles; otherwise they can't bag the enemy's big guns. But, the backbone of their attack, their own guns, can't support them when they get beyond five or six miles. The enemy reserves come in; they come at last to a stop. A three or four mile advance should be easy enough, but, in the West, that would mean just three or four miles of land; nothing more. But here, those three or four miles—nay, two or three miles—(so ineffective in France) are an objective in themselves; they give us the strategical hub of the universe—Constantinople!

Suppose even that by paying the cost in lives we did succeed in driving the Germans over the Rhine, still we stand to gain less than by taking this one little peninsula! A quarter of the energy they are about to develop for the sake of getting back a few miles of la belle France could give us Asia; Africa; the Balkans; the Black Sea; the mouths of the Danube: it would enable us to swap rifles for wheat with the Russians; more vital still, it would tune up the hearts of the Russian soldiery to the Anglo-Saxon pitch.

Victory by killing Germans is a barbarous notion and a savage method. A thrust with small forces at a weak spot to bring the enemy to their knees by loss of provinces, resources and prestige is an artistic idea and a scientific stroke: the one stands for a cudgel blow, the other for rapier play.

We take it for granted that we have to "push" in France and Flanders; that we have to exhaust ourselves in forcing the invaders back over their own frontiers. Whereas, content to "hold" there, we might push wherever else we wished.

I can well understand that a Frenchman should say, "Let the world go hang provided I get back my Patrie, whole; undivided and at once." Indeed, only the other day, one of the best French Generals here, after speaking of the decisive, world-embracing consequences of a victory at the Dardanelles, went on to say, "But we ought to be in France." Seeing my surprise he added, "Yes, I am quite illogical, I admit, but until our nine departements are freed from the Boche, world strategy and tactics may go to the devil for me."

Have been writing my weekly budget. Part of my letter to K. harks back to the first Suvla landing, and tries to give him a better notion of the failure to profit by the enemy's surprise. Not that I have yet got any very clear conception of the detail myself. No coherent narrative does, in fact, exist. New troops, new Staff, new Generals, heavy losses, have resulted in the confusions, gaps and contradictions still obscuring the story of those first few days.

Now that I am getting more precise news about what fighting there was, it seems clear that this great mass of young, inexperienced troops failed simply because their leaders failed to grasp the urgency of the time problem when they got upon the ground, although, as far as orders and pen and ink could go, it had been made perfectly clear. But, in face of the Turk, things wore another and more formidable shape. Had Lord Bobs been Commander of the 9th Corps; yes, just think of it! How far my memory carries me back. Every item needed for the rapid advance: water, ammunition, supplies and mules closely and personally checked and counter-checked. Once the troops landed a close grip kept on the advance. At the first sign of a check nothing keeps him from the spot. The troops see him. In an hour they are up upon the crest.

So far, so good. We had not another Lord Bobs and it would not have been reasonable of us to expect him. But when I come to the failure of the 21st, where I have a seasoning of Regulars—as well as a commander of energy—still we do not succeed. This time, no doubt, the enemy were on the scene in force and had done ten days' digging; the non-success, in fact, may be traced to the loss of the element of surprise; energy, in fact, was met by preparation. The battle had to be fought like a manoeuvre battle and yet the enemy were ready for us, more or less, and already fairly well entrenched. Since the morning of the 7th the chances had been rising steadily against us. Still, even so, the lack of precise detail baffles me almost as much as in the case of the first Suvla landing.



25th August, 1915. Imbros. Davies left for Helles at mid-day. Was to have gone with him but heard that Bailloud with Captain Lapruin would like to see me, so stayed to receive them.

Have got K.'s answer to my cable pointing out the probable results of his declared intention of sending us no "reinforcements of importance" during an indeterminate period.

"(No. 7315, cipher). From Earl Kitchener to General Sir Ian Hamilton. Your No. 578. You will, I hope, fully discuss the situation described by you with Birdwood and the Generals who have just joined you, and, when a thorough examination on the ground of the whole state of affairs has been made, give me the opinion at which you arrive.

"It has been a sad disappointment to me that the troops have not been able to do better, and that the drafts and reinforcements sent out to you and Egypt, excluding any you have drawn from Egypt, amounting from 6th August to 47,000, have not proved sufficient to enable you to contemplate holding your positions."

Braithwaite and I have been electrified by this reference to 47,000 drafts and reinforcements: it is so much Greek to us here: had there been any question of reinforcements coming to us on that scale, my 578 of 23rd August would never have been sent.

On the heels of this has followed another:—

* * * * *

"(No. 7319, cipher). From Earl Kitchener to General Sir Ian Hamilton. My No. 7315. I hope that the result of your deliberations will reach me by Friday morning, as the decision to be taken is one of considerable importance."

I have replied off the reel:—

* * * * *

"(No. M.F. 588). From General Sir Ian Hamilton to Earl Kitchener. With reference to your telegrams Nos. 7315 and 7319. I feel sure you cannot think I would be capable of sending a telegram of such import as my No. M.F. 578 without the deepest consideration and sense of my personal responsibility which remains unaffected by any amount of conferences with my subordinate commanders. I was careful in this instance, however, to discuss the situation on the spot with both Corps Commanders concerned and I then cabled you my considered opinion. I constantly visit both Suvla and Anzac and have personally thoroughly examined the state of affairs. In view of your telegram No. 7172, cipher, I do not understand your allusion to 47,000 drafts and reinforcements from 6th August as we have not been advised of any such number as 47,000. I felt bound to lay the case plainly before you as to what might have to be undertaken, though I do not contemplate giving up any position one hour before I need. If the present wastage from sickness continues, however, and if my cadres are allowed to fall below their present attenuated strength I may be compelled to undertake such a step as I have indicated."

Bailloud arrived at tea time. Away from Piepape he is another person. At dinner, he cracked jokes even about serious things like the guns of Asia.

Brodrick was carried off to the Hospital ship. The doctors think there should be no real danger. We shall all miss him very much; as an aide he has been A.1.; sympathetic and thoughtful.

Braithwaite dined to meet Bailloud.

26th August, 1915. After clearing my table and taking early lunch, started off in the Arno with C.G.S., Pollen, Freddie and Val. Sailed for Suvla and went up straight to see Byng, brought by the whirl of Fortune's wheel from a French chateau to a dugout. During the two days he has been here, he has been working very hard. I hope he may not too regretfully look back towards la belle France. Our old "A" Beach was being briskly shelled as we walked down to our boats. Between Hill 10 and the sea there were salvoes of shrapnel falling and about every thirty seconds a big fellow, probably a six incher, made a terrible hullaballoo. The men working at piling up stores "carried on."

When we got back to G.H.Q. there was a heavy thunderstorm in progress. Mail bag closed 9.30.

During our inspection at Suvla this "Personal" from K. to myself has been deciphered:—

* * * * *

"(No. 7337, cipher). From Earl Kitchener to General Sir Ian Hamilton. Personal. I considered it advisable, that as the decision the Government may have to come to on your No. 578 is one of grave importance, the Generals out there should previously fully consider the situation on the Gallipoli Peninsula; hence my No. 7315. It was intended to obviate any possibility of overlooking points and in such cases two or more heads sometimes elucidate matters that might otherwise be missed or not given due weight to. It was in no way intended thereby to detract from the importance of your views on the subject or to minimise your personal responsibility for them.

"I have no idea of the French Generals' views on the matter, and you were apparently not fully considering the drafts and reinforcements that were being sent out.

"A detailed telegram is being sent you from the office of the 47,000 men mentioned in my No. 7315.

"I hope that the return of Younghusband's Brigade from Aden to Egypt will still further increase these in a day or two (less one battalion).

"But you should look on the forces in Egypt and your own as a whole, allowing, of course, for the proper defence of Egypt, when you take the general situation at the Dardanelles into consideration.

"Do you think the Navy could do anything more than they are already doing to help the situation? I hear it is thought that they could land heavy naval 6-inch guns on positions such as those in square 92 M and other points, and might threaten from Aja Liman the main road of Turkish supplies between Karna Bili and Solvili (by gunfire from ships) and also bring a heavy and effective shell fire on the Turkish positions at and behind Anafarta. There is a cabinet to-morrow."

I would much like to sleep over this cable—so plain seemingly; really so obscure. At face value, how splendidly it simplifies the Dardanelles problem! Had I been, all along, as this cable seems to make me, the C.-in-C. of the Eastern Mediterranean with Maxwell administering my Egyptian Base, then, humanly speaking, this entry would have been dated from Constantinople. But am I? I can't believe it even now, with the words before me. Anyway, whether by my own fault or those of others, one thing is certain, namely, that up to date there has been misunderstanding. Now, the Cabinet of to-morrow forces me to send a momentous wire without too much time to think it over. To clear my brain let me set down the sequence of facts as they have so far appeared to me:—

* * * * *

Less than a week ago—20th inst.—K. cables me he is sending certain units to Egypt and certain other units to the Dardanelles. The units and their ships are named. He says there is going to be a big push in France and that I must look to these troops, earmarked for the Dardanelles, plus any I "can obtain from Egypt" to carry on. He winds up by saying, "It is hoped the troops going to Egypt will enable Maxwell to send you more fighting men on your demand."

This same assumption that the G.O.C., Egypt, and myself are two equals each having equal command over his own troops, is fully borne out by another cable of the 21st August. My cable of 23rd August is based on these messages; i.e. on the idea that we must carry on here for a good long time to come with very little to help us. Then comes K.'s of the 25th telling me he is sorry 47,000 drafts and reinforcements he has sent to Maxwell and myself since 6th August are not going to be enough to enable me to hold on. But no one can make head or tail of these 47,000 drafts and reinforcements; no one can run them to ground. He has notified me the units and the ships, but the total coming to Maxwell and myself don't tot up to that figure, much less the portion of them detailed for the Dardanelles.[11] Now comes to-day's cable in which Egypt is spoken of as being mine, and the fatness thereof. Taking this message per se, any one might imagine I could draw any troops I liked from that country provided that I thought I was leaving enough to defend the Suez Canal: and, apparently, the 47,000 men are about to make an effort to materialize inasmuch as we are told that details are being wired us. Finally, Younghusband's Brigade sails to help us!

27th August, 1915. Imbros. As there is a Cabinet to-day I had to get off my answer last night. In it I have made a desperate effort to straighten out the tangle:—

* * * * *

"(No. M.F. 589). From General Sir Ian Hamilton to Earl Kitchener. On returning from Suvla I have just found your No. 7337, cipher. I hope there may be no misunderstanding as to meaning or intention of my No. M.F. 578. I asked in my No. M.F. 562 for such drafts and reinforcements as I considered necessary for the campaign to be brought to a conclusion before the winter began. You told me in your No. 7172 that you could spare no more reinforcements beyond those mentioned therein, and that if I could not achieve success with these I must remain on the defensive for some considerable time. I explained situation in my No. M.F. 578, and said that the question was one of arithmetic and measurement. I was anxious to hold all I had got and to gain more, but I required all my available force at the present time merely to hold what I had got. I pointed out that meanwhile a large proportion of my troops were urgently in need of rest, and sickness was so great that unless reinforcements were sent out my force would soon be too small for the number of yards of front to be held. In that case, i.e., if reinforcements could not be spared, but in that case only, it would be necessary to contract my line. This welcome news of 47,000 reinforcements, however, alters the whole situation. Such a number will do much to complete my diminished cadres, and should materially lessen sick rate by giving more chance of taking tired troops out of the trenches. Byng can certainly remain where he is at present, and will even be able to rest some of the tired XXIXth Division, while the arrival of the Australian Brigade will give General Birdwood a similar chance of resting some of his troops.

"General Birdwood meanwhile is to make a further advance to-morrow on the left flank, to gain possession of important tactical feature, which will eventually help an advance when the time arrives. Byng is getting everything in order and has infected all around him with his own energy and cheeriness and has quickly grasped the whole situation.

"In communication with Maxwell I find I can have seven Territorial Force units and the Scottish Horse, and now I have your welcome news of Younghusband's Brigade. Please believe I am the last man in the world to give up anything we have gained except under direct necessity, which I trust may now never arise. The Navy is supporting me to its full capacity. The guns of the four ships in Suvla Bay take on the Turkish positions you mention almost as well as and certainly more safely than if they were landed and placed where you suggest. Moreover, Navy cannot lend those guns unless I supply the detachments to work them from the Naval Division, and the latter is fully employed at present and cannot spare the men. We are constantly sending ships round to Aja Liman to fire at enemy positions from there, but I know you realize that one must not rely too much upon effective fire on land targets from ships which are not moored, as is the case in Suvla Bay.

"I have not consulted the French General about the situation in the North as he is at the Southern end and on the right of the line there. He thinks more of Asia than of these operations in which he has no troops engaged, but I discussed the matter with him only last night. Before I sent my No. M.F. 578 I discussed every point closely for two hours with the Corps Commanders."

In the evening my A.G. brought me the promised details of the 47,000 drafts and reinforcements. He has gone into the detail in proper A.G. spirit, namely, as an arithmetician rather than a tactician. The result has given us a shock! 10,000 men of the 54th Division and 4,000 drafts are shown in the War Office cable as being still due to come to me as reinforcements whereas they had actually landed on the Peninsula; had, indeed, been shown in my total fighting strength of 68,000 in my original cable, M.F. 578 of 23rd August, and are, too many of them, alas already hors de combat. Here is the passage sent four days ago:—"The total casualties including sick since 6th August amount to 40,000, and my total force is now only 85,000 of which the fighting strength is 68,000." In this 68,000 were included 14,000 of the men shown in subsequent War Office cables as being drafts and reinforcements on their way to the Dardanelles!

So my A.G. has become a bit suspicious about the balance of the 47,000. On paper, he says, it looks as if I might expect to draw from Egypt and England 30,000 reinforcements, but—he remarks sententiously—"we know by now that paper is one thing and men are different." As to Younghusband's Brigade, it turns out they cannot be employed here: too many Mahomedans. Have sent the following reply:—

* * * * *

"(No. M.F. 595). From General Sir Ian Hamilton to Secretary of State for War. With reference to your telegram No. 7337, cipher. Have now received details of the 47,000 drafts and reinforcements in your No. 7354 cipher, and I find that this figure includes nearly 10,000 men of the LIVth Division and 4,234 drafts, all of whom had been landed on the peninsula when I wrote my No. M.F. 578, and were reckoned in the total fighting strength of 68,000 mentioned in that telegram. The statement, however, shows that I can expect from England and Egypt during the next six weeks a total of some 29,000 reinforcements, including new formations and two battalions of non-fighting lines of communication troops.

"This is a better situation than I was led by your 7172, cipher, to expect, and you may rely on me to do the best I can with this addition to my present very depleted strength. I hope, however, you realize that whereas my British Divisions are now more than 55,000 rifles below their establishment only 17,000 of these 29,000 are drafts, and before the last of the drafts can arrive these divisions will have lost another 25 per cent. of their remaining number by normal wastage.

"In regard to Younghusband's Brigade, I learn that the three battalions are practically half Mahomedans, and I am advised that it is better if it can be avoided not to use Mahomedans so near the heart of Islam. Would it not be possible to exchange these for some Hindu regiments in France?"

These cables give us an uncomfortable feeling that the people at home wish to regard us as stronger than we are—a different thing from wishing to add to our strength.

On the other hand, another sort of message has come in which sheds a ray of hope across our path so darkened at many other points:—

"(No 7372, cipher). From Earl Kitchener to General Sir Ian Hamilton. Although it is understood that we do not at present see our way to change the recent decision not to send any fresh complete divisional units, we wish to have all the material possible on which to form a judgment from time to time. Therefore, will you please telegraph me your opinion, from the point of view of the military and strategical situation now existing on the peninsula, as to the prospects there are, after the experience you have recently had, of our achieving the main objective of turning the Turks out and what force you would consider would be required to do this."

Taylor of the G.S. lunched. A big parcel mail came in. Brodrick is to be sent to Alexandria.

28th August, 1915. Imbros. Braithwaite and I both feel we must take time to think over last night's last cable and I have wired to say so.

Cox's attack on Knoll 60 to the North-east of Kaiajik Aghala came off well. The New Zealanders under Russell and the Connaught Rangers did brilliantly. Fighting is still going on.

A reply from the War Office to mine of last week wherein I pointed out that the once splendid 5th Battalion Royal Scots had fallen from a strength of 1,000 down to 289. They have had no one since the campaign began. To-day the Battalion is just over 250—a Company! Now I am officially told that "no reinforcements can be found for the 1/5th Battalion of Royal Scots." This is the Battalion which did so well about 11 o'clock on the dreadful night of the 2nd May. I shall cable the Lord Provost of Edinburgh. If we could get into touch with the human beings of Edinburgh they would help us to keep a battalion like the Royal Scots on their legs even if they had to break up half a dozen new formations for the purpose.

Freddie and I dined with de Robeck on board H.M.S. Triad. The V.A. was well pleased with my cable of the 26th.

29th August, 1915. Imbros. Last night two cables:—

* * * * *

"(No. 7414, cipher. C.I.G.S.). From War Office to General Headquarters, Mediterranean Expeditionary Force. Reference your No. M.F.Q.T. 2737. The two Territorial Force battalions originally detailed—see my No. 7172 of 20th August—to sail in the Orsova will be taken by the Ceramic. Of these, the 2/5th Devons is only about 700 strong and contains a large percentage of recruits, while the 1/6th Royal Scots contains about 40 per cent. partially trained men and a new Commanding Officer who has only just been appointed. Until it has had further training neither battalion is fit for anything more than garrison duty. I suggest that under these circumstances the Ceramic should proceed direct to Egypt."

"(No. 7401, cipher, 554/A.3.). From War Office to Inspector-General of Communications, Mediterranean Expeditionary Force. We are receiving from Malta and Alexandria very large demands for materials and explosives for making grenades. The supply of these seriously interferes with our manufacture of grenades. At present we are hoping to send you 30 to 40,000 grenades weekly and this figure will be increased. When the materials already sent out to Malta and Alexandria have been used up, can the manufacture of grenades at those places cease? Please reply at once; the matter is urgent."

Do what I will my pen carries me away and I find myself writing like an ill-conditioned "grouser." As an old War Office "hand" I ought to know—and I do know—the frightful time of stress under which Whitehall labours. But, just look at these two cables, you innocent and peaceful citizen of a thousand years hence! The residue of the famous 47,000 rifles sent me by the Adjutant-General are now being valued by the official valuer, the Chief of the Imperial General Staff. In all our calculations the 2/5th Devons has hitherto masqueraded as an efficient battalion at full strength. Figures are sometimes more eloquent than words!

As to the second cable, that deals us a worse blow. Seeing clearly, at last, we should extract no hand grenades from the War Office, we turned to Maxwell and Methuen, who have interested themselves in our plight and have been making us so many that, with what we ourselves can add to their manufacture, we are at last beginning to make things hum in the Turkish trenches. Then in comes this War Office cable to crush our nascent industry and give us in exchange some pious aspirations.

There is no good making any trouble about the hand grenades. As to the two raw battalions, I am asking they be sent, raw and weak as they are, as I can train them in the trenches much better and more quickly than they could be trained in Egypt or England.

Church Parade; office work; sailed over to "K" Beach; inspected Clearing Stations and walked up to site for new camp. Then back to G.H.Q., to meet the V.A. and Roger Keyes. They remain the best of friends always.

This evening we were all in good form owing to the news from Anzac. Knoll 60, now ours throughout, commands the Biyuk Anafarta valley with view and fire—a big tactical scoop.

30th August, 1915. Imbros. Still good news from Anzac. Seeing that the stunt was on a small scale, we seem to have got into the Turks with a vengeance. In falling back as well as in counter-attacking after we had taken Hill 60, the enemy were exposed to the fire from our trenches along the Kaiajik Dere. Birdie declares that they have lost 5,000. We have taken several machine guns and trench mortars as well as some fifty prisoners. Have sent grateful message to all on the spot.

At 10.30 four Russian Officers made their salaams. They are to report how things are going, and they seem to have the usual quick Slav faculty for grasping essential points combined, no doubt, with the usual Slav slackness which lets them go again. I told them everything I knew. They told us that our landing had saved the whole Army of the Caucasus; that the Grand Duke knew it and that His Imperial Highness bitterly regretted that, first of all, sheer lack of supplies; afterwards the struggles in Galicia and Poland, had prevented Istomine and his Army Corps from standing by to help.

At 1.30 the C.G.S., Deedes, Val., Freddy and I crossed to Helles in the Arno. Had a hard afternoon's walking, going first to 8th Corps Headquarters; next to the Royal Naval Division and last to the 52nd Divisional Headquarters. Returned to the 8th Corps Headquarters and there met Bailloud. He is now full of good cheer. Got back to Headquarters without adventure or misadventure.

Have cabled home a suggestion made to me by Mahon, that the 16th Irish Division at home might be used to fill up the gaps in the units of the 10th Division out here.

31st August, 1915. After early lunch, left in the Arno for Suvla. With me were Braithwaite, Manifold, Freddy and Val. Walked up to the 9th Corps Headquarters and saw Byng. I am very anxious indeed he should work his men up into the mood for making a push. He charms everyone and he is fast pulling his force together. Maude, Fanshawe, and de Lisle seem to be keen to do something, but Byng, though he also is keen, has the French standards for ammunition in his head. He does not think we have enough to warrant us in making an attack. Also, he does not realize yet that if he is going to wait until we are fitted out on that scale he will have to wait till doomsday.

Walked to de Lisle's Headquarters and saw him, and on to the 11th Divisional Headquarters where I met Fanshawe and Malcolm. With them I climbed back on to Karakol Dagh and sat me down on the identical same stone whereon I sweated blood during that confused and indecisive battle of the 21st August. From the Karakol Dagh I got a very fair idea of our whole trench system. On either flank we hold the hills; elsewhere we are on the flat. The 11th Division have recovered and only need drafts to be as good a formation as any General could wish to command. In the evening I left in the Arno carrying off with me de Lisle and Captain Hardress Lloyd to dine and stay the night. Quentin Agnew also dined.

My first feeble little attempt to act on K.'s assumption that Egypt and its army are mine has fallen a bit flat. The War Office promptly agreed to my taking these two weak, half-trained battalions, the 1/6th Royal Scots and 2/5th Devons, to be trained in my trenches. That was yesterday. But the Senoussi must have heard of it at once, for Maxwell forthwith cables, "The attitude of the Senoussi is distinctly dangerous and his people have been latterly executing night manoeuvres round our post at Sollum." To me, the night manoeuvres of these riff-raff seem ridiculous. But distance, perhaps, has lent its enchantment to my view.

The quibble that the troops in Egypt are mine has been broken to pieces by my first touch! I have renounced the two battalions with apologies and now I daresay the Senoussi will retire from his night manoeuvres round Sollum and resume his old strategic position up Maxwell's sleeve.

1st September, 1915. Imbros. Remained at Headquarters working. Wrote, amongst other things, to K. as follows:—

* * * * *

"I have just finished two days' hard physical exercise going round visiting Egerton and Paris with Davies, and Fanshawe and de Lisle with Byng. At Helles everything is quite right although they have only troops enough there for the defensive. They are getting a lot of stores in, and the really only anxious feature of the situation is the health of the men who are very, very tired right through, having had no sort of relief for months, and who go sick in large numbers.

* * * * *

"Fanshawe is first class. Full of go and plans, he will, if the Lord spares him, be a real treasure. Maude and Mahon I am going to see after Mail-day, and then I shall hope to inspect our new captured position on the left of Anzac.

"I do not know if they showed you the cable saying Hammersley has gone home very ill with a clot of blood in his leg. He has to lie perfectly prostrate and still, so I am told, as the least movement might set it loose and it would then kill him. Evidently he was not really fit to have been sent out on service. And this was the man, remember, on whom, under Stopford, everything depended for making a push.

"This Suvla Bay country, a jungle ringed round by high mountains, is essentially a country for Boers or for Indian troops. De Lisle and others who have watched them closely in India, say that a native soldier on the Peninsula (although there, too, he goes to pieces if he loses his Officers and under too prolonged a strain) is worth at least two Indian soldiers in France. The climate suits him better, but, most of all, the type of enemy is more or less the sort of type they are accustomed to encounter. Not Sahibs and Ghora Log in helmets but Mussalman Log in turbans. As to the South Africans there can be no two opinions, I think, that they would stand these conditions better than those of Northern Europe. Indeed, we have one or two Boers serving now with the Australians, and they have done extremely well."

Some of K.'s questions take my breath away. I wish very much indeed he could come and spend a week with me. Otherwise I feel hopeless of making him grasp the realities of the trenches. On the 30th of August he cables, "If required, I could send you a fresh consignment of junior Officers. Or have you sufficient supernumerary Officers to fill all casualties?" I have replied to him that, in my four regular Divisions, I am short of 900 effective Officers in the Infantry alone. To meet my total shortage of 1,450 Officers I have twenty-five young gentlemen who have lately been sent out here to complete their training!

De Lisle and Hardress Lloyd sailed back to Suvla in the evening.


[Footnote 11: As will be seen further on the 47,000 actually panned out at 29,000, of whom two battalions were at once diverted to Egypt, whilst two other battalions turned out to be non-fighting formations.—IAN H., 1920.]



2nd September, 1915. Imbros. An ugly dream came to me last night. My tent was at Imbros right enough, and I was lying in my little camp bed, and yet I was being drowned, held violently under the Hellespont.

The grip of a hand was still on my throat; the waters were closing over my head as I broke away and found myself wide awake. I was trembling and carried back with me into the realms of consciousness an idea that some uncanny visitor had entered my tent. Already the vision was fading. I could visualize the form of the presence, but the face remained hidden in shadow. Never had I suffered from so fearful a dream. For hours afterwards I was haunted by the thought that the Dardanelles were fatal; that something sinister was a-foot; that we, all of us, were pre-doomed.

Dreams go by contraries. Strange that so black a night should be followed by a noon so brilliant—so brilliant beyond compare.

K. cables the French are going to send three or four Divisions to work with us along the Asiatic mainland. From bankrupt to millionaire in 24 hours. The enormous spin of fortune's wheel makes me giddy!

These French Divisions will be real Divisions: must be; they have no others.

O, Hallelujah!

"The sending of a force of three or four Divisions to operate on the Asiatic mainland, independent as regards command, but in close relation with the British forces on the Peninsula, is being considered by the French Government. They will require an exclusively French military base at Mitylene, and us to help with transport and fleet.

"So far I have not discussed any details with the French, and have simply told them we shall be delighted to have the help, which would be given by such an expedition, towards the solution of the Dardanelles problem.

"Presumably they would require their two divisions now at Cape Helles. What forces would you require to relieve them? I have asked Sir John French if the XXVIIth and XXVIIIth Divisions could be spared for this purpose.

"Wire me any points that you think I had better settle with the French authorities."

Deo volente we are saved; Constantinople is doomed. How clearly stand forth the mosques and minarets of the Golden Horn.

Mr. Murdoch, an Australian journalist, paid me a visit to thank me for having stretched a point in his favour by letting him see the Peninsula. Seemed a sensible man.

Glyn and Holdich dined: both clever fellows in different ways. Dawnay and Glyn after dinner left for England. Dawnay goes to explain matters first hand to K. Next to my going home myself, or to K. himself coming out here, this is the best I can do. Dawnay is one of the soundest young officers we have, but he is run down physically (like most of us) and jaded. He should benefit by the trip and so should the rumour-mongers at home.

3rd September, 1915. Imbros. Two cables: one to say that the news about the French Divisions must be kept dark; the other, in reply to a question by me, refusing to let me consult de Robeck on the matter. So Braithwaite and I had to make out our cable expressing our delight and thankfulness, and advising how the troops might best be used entirely on our own.

The cable took some doing but got it off my chest by mid-day and then sailed with Ellison, Braithwaite and Val by the Arno to Suvla. We landed this time on Lala Baba instead of at our usual Ghazi Baba. Every five minutes the Turks plumped one six-incher on to the beach. But nobody now seems to mind. A lot of Generals present; Byng, Mahon, Marshall, Maude and Peyton. Mahon took me up to the top of Lala Baba and showed me the disposition of his division. He kindly asked us all to tea at his Headquarters but as someone added that Ashmead-Bartlett was going to take a cinema photo of the scene I thought I would not be thus immortalized. The Scottish Horse were bivouacking on the beach; they have just landed but already they have lost a member or two of their Mess from shell fire. No wonder they looked a little bewildered, but soon they will shake down. When we got back to the Arno we found she had been hit by shrapnel, but no damage.

Things at Suvla are pulling together. No one gave me more confidence than Maude. His mind travels beyond the needs of the moment. He is firmly convinced that no very out-of-the-way effort by the Allies is needed to score a big point in the War Game and that our hold-up here is not a reality but only a hold-up or petrefaction of the brains of the French and of our Dardanelles Committee. I longed to tell him he was doing them both, especially the French, an injustice, and that four splendid divisions were as good as on their way, but I had to content myself with saying to him and to all the Generals that I was overjoyed at a piece of news received yesterday.

4th September, 1915. Imbros. Life would be as ditchwater were it not stirred to its depths by K.'s secret cable. Sailed over with Freddie at 11.30 to "K" Beach and inspected the 88th Brigade. Had given orders to the Arno to stand by and to take me over to Anzac in the afternoon, but the weather was so bad that I could not get off to her in the motor boat.

At 7.15 p.m. the V.A. sent his picket boat for me and Freddie and I went on board the Triad. At 10 p.m. she started for Mudros.

5th September, 1915. H.M.S. "Triad." Mudros. Anchored at Mudros at 6 a.m. Breakfast over, was met by Altham, Colonel McMunn and Captain Stephens who took me ashore. There I met Lindley, now commanding the troops on the island; also General Legge (commanding the 2nd Australian Division); Lord Dudley and Colonel Forster. Lindley seems pleased at having been given this command; says he feels like a man out hunting who has a bad fall but alights on his feet, and Altham tells me he is doing the work very well. Dudley, too, seemed full of business and contented with his lot.

The moment I got through the reception stunt I set myself to work like a nigger at the Red Cross stunt:—that's how people talk now-a-days. Saw the 15th Stationary Hospital; the 110th Indian Field Ambulance; "C" Section of No. 24 British Indian Hospital; ate a hearty lunch; inspected 1st Australian Stationary Hospital. Walking round a Hospital and seeing whether things are clean and bright is a treat but trying to cheer people up and give a fillip to all good works—that implies an expenditure of something vital and leaves a man, after a few hours, feeling the worse for wear.

By 4.45 the day's task was well over so refreshed myself by some right soldier business reviewing the 4th Gurkhas under Major Tillard—a superb battalion—1,000 strong!!! Had forgotten what a full battalion looks like. At 5.45 wound up by inspecting a huge Convalescent Depot under Colonel Forde and got back to the Triad just in time for dinner. Wemyss dined also.

6th September, 1915. H.M.S. "Triad." Mudros. After breakfast sailed over to Mudros West; Lindley met me, also a host of doctors. Walked to No. 3 Australian Hospital with an old acquaintance whose Italian name slips my memory at the moment; then to No. 2 Australian Stationary Hospital; then to Convalescent Depot of Lowland Division. At 12.30 ran down to my launch and was swiftly conveyed to lunch on board the Europa with Admiral Wemyss. Such a lunch as a lost voyager may dream of in the desert. Like roses blooming in a snowdrift, so puffs and pies and kickshaws of all rarest sorts appeared upon a dazzling white tablecloth, and then—disappeared. We too had to disappear and sail back to Mudros West again. Horses were waiting and I rode to No. 18 Stationary Hospital and made a thorough overhaul of it from end to end; then tea with the Officers of No. 1. In No. 3 Australian General were eighty nurses; in No. 3 Canadian Stationary seven nurses; in No. 1 Canadian Stationary twenty-four nurses. Since Lady Brassey descended in some miraculous manner upon Imbros, they were the first white women I had seen for six months. Their pretty faces were a refreshing sight: a capable crowd too: all these Hospitals were in good order, but the sick and wounded in charge of the girls looked the happiest—and no wonder. The Canadian Medicos are fresh from France and discoursed about moral. Never a day passed, so they said, in France, but some patient would, with tears in his eyes, entreat to be sent home. Here at Mudros there had never been one single instance. The patients, if they said anything at all, have showed impatience to get back to their comrades in the fighting line. We discussed this mystery at tea and no one could make head or tail of it. In France the men got a change; are pulled out of the trenches; can go to cafes; meet young ladies; get drinks and generally have a good time. On the Peninsula they are never safe for one moment (whether they are supposed to be resting or are in the firing line) from having their heads knocked off by a shell.

Returned to the Triad in time for dinner.

Admiral vexed as his motor boat has gone ashore. Bowlby is with it trying to get it off.

The French Admiral commanding the Mediterranean Fleet has just sailed in.

7th September, 1915. Imbros. At 9.30 left the Triad to call on Admiral de la Perriera on board the Gaulois. Thence to H.M.S. Racoon (Lieutenant-Commander Hardy) and started back for Imbros, where we arrived in time for tea.

8th September, 1915. Imbros. Trying to clear a table blocked with papers as a result of my two days' trip. Have written to K. as the Mail bag goes to-morrow. Have told him I have had a nice letter from Mahon, thanking me for allowing him to rejoin his Division and saying he hopes he may stay with them till the end. Have given him all my Mudros news and have sent him a memo. submitted to me by Birdwood showing how much of the sickness on the Peninsula seems due to the War Office having hung up my first request for a Field Force Canteen.

Here is one of the enclosures to Birdwood's memo.:—

* * * * *

"N. Z. and A. Division.

I desire to draw attention to the remarkable drop in the sick evacuations from this Brigade as shown by the following figures:—

August 28 — 59. " 29 — 64. " 30 — 58. " 31 — 17. Sept. 1 — 2. " 2 — 6.

I am convinced that this amelioration, and the observable improvement in the condition of the men are largely to be attributed to the distribution, on August 30 and 31 of Canteen Stores, providing a welcome change of dietary.

I strongly recommend that every effort be made to maintain such Canteen supplies.

(Sd.), MONASH."

9th September, 1915. Imbros. At 9.30 Admiral de la Perriera returned my call. At 11.50 Braithwaite, Freddy and I went aboard the Gaulois.

A five course lunch and I had to make a speech in French.

When I got back I found that General Marshall, commanding the 53rd Division, had come over from Suvla to stay with me. Lancelot Lowther dined; he told us all the important things he was doing.

10th September, 1915. Imbros. Lancelot Lowther left with the Mails at 7 a.m., glad, I suspect, to shake from his feet the sand of these barbaric Headquarters.

Not easy to get Marshall to loosen his tongue about the battle of the 21st, and he would not, or could not, add much to my knowledge. The strength of Marshall depends not on what he seems but upon what his officers and men know. He has got his chance amidst the realities of war. In peace, except by a miracle, he would never have risen above the command of a Battalion. The main reason I cannot draw him about the battle of the 21st is, beyond doubt, that he does not want to throw blame on others.

Marshall is a matter-of-fact, unemotional sort of chap, yet he told the sad tale of young O'Sullivan's death in a way which touched our hearts. O'Sullivan was no novice where V.C.s were the stake and the forfeit sudden death.

11th September, 1915. Imbros. Ran across in the motor boat to see the 86th Brigade under Brigadier-General Percival. Went, man by man, down the lines of the four battalions—no very long walk either! These were the Royal Fusiliers (Major Guyon), Dublin Fusiliers (Colonel O'Dowda), Munster Fusiliers (Major Geddes), Lancashire Fusiliers (Major Pearson).

Shade of Napoleon—say, which would you rather not have, a skeleton Brigade or a Brigade of skeletons? This famous 86th Brigade is a combination. Were I a fat man I could not bear it, but I am as unsubstantial as they themselves. A life insurance office wouldn't touch us; and yet—they kept on smiling!

12th September, 1915. Imbros. The C.O.'s, Geddes, Pearson, Guyon and O'Dowda, lunched: an ideal lot; young, ardent, on the spot. Marshall left by the Suvla trawler. Windy day, but calmer in the evening and at night rained a little.

13th September, 1915. Imbros. Crossed again with Freddie Maitland and inspected the 87th Field Ambulance (Highland Territorials from Aberdeen) under Colonel Fraser. Became so interested the dinner hour was forgotten—a bad mark for a General. Much pleased with the whole show: up to date, and complete in all respects. Got back lateish. Altham dined. Sat up at business till midnight.

Dictated a long letter to Callwell, Director of Military Operations at the War Office, on the suicidal behaviour of the Military Censor. In South Africa, my Chief of the Staff's latchkey let many a clandestine tit-bit slip through to keep interest alive in England. K. regularly, when the mails came back to roost, went for me, but the messages had got home and done their duty as good little tit-bits should. The B.P. cannot work up the full steam of their war energy when the furnaces of their enthusiasms are systematically damped down; shut off from any breath from outside. Your sealed pattern censor sees nothing beyond the mischief that may happen if the enemy gets to know too much about us; he does not see that this danger is negligible when compared with the keenness or dullness of the nation.

General Headquarters, Medtn. Expeditionary Force, 13th September, 1915.

"Dear Callwell,

"I am about to commit an atrocity by writing to an overworked man on a subject which may seem to him of secondary importance. Still, to the soldiers out here, the said subject means encouragement or discouragement coming to them through the medium of their home letters,—so vital a factor in victory or failure that the thought emboldens me to proceed.

"Our misfire of last month came within only a fine hair's breadth of the grand coup and caused us proportionately bitter disappointment at the moment. Yet, looking back over the whole affair in a more calm and philosophical spirit, any General, I think, would now be bound to admit that in some respects at least fortune had not been too unkind.

"The Australians and New Zealanders have been extricated from what by all the laws and traditions of war, was, in theory, an untenable position; their borders have been enlarged; the heights they hold have become more elevated and commanding; they have been entirely released from shelling on the one flank and, on the other, the shelling has dwindled away to next door to nothing. North of them again we have captured a more or less practicable winter harbour, and have extended our grip on the coastline. From the extreme South point of Anzacs to their extreme North was formerly 2-3/4 miles. From the extreme South point of Anzacs to our extreme North point (along which there is inter-communication) is now 13 miles. Thus we force the enemy to maintain a much larger number of troops on the Peninsula (where he is already slowly bleeding to death under the stress of his supply and transport difficulties) or else dangerously to weaken parts of his line.

"As to the fighting by which this has been accomplished, there is nothing from beginning to end that any army need be ashamed of. Every word I sent home in my Proemial cables might have been published without raising a blush to the cheek of the most ardent Imperialist. In saying this I do not, of course, assume that raw troops could tackle a totally strange and uncomfortable proposition with the swift directness and savvy of veterans. The feat performed by the Australians and New Zealanders was of the class of the storming of the heights of Abraham, only it was infinitely, infinitely more difficult in every respect.

"On the other side, still assuming the philosophical mantle, consider what might have happened. Had the Australians and New Zealanders been average troops, they would perhaps have burst through the first series of wire entanglements and trenches, but they would not have stormed the second, still less the third, fourth, fifth or sixth lines. Again, had the Turks got the smallest inkling of our intention, the landing at Suvla Bay would have failed altogether, and the New Armies would have been virtually smashed to pieces without being able to show any quid pro quo.

"We soldiers out here have then it seems to me, much for which to thank God on our bended knees. That, at least, is my personal attitude.

"How is it then that our letters from home are filled with lamentations and that, having just gained a proportionately very large accretion of territory, we see headlines in the papers such as 'The Gallipoli standstill,' whereas it does not seem to occur to anyone to speak about 'The French standstill'?

"Well, I will tell you. The system upon which the Press Bureau approaches the eagerly attentive ear of the British Public is the reason.

"Why I begged the War Office to change the method by which I sent copies of my Proemial cables to Maxwell was that I found he (animated, of course, by the best intentions) was improving the successes and minimising the failures. The finishing touch was given when, one day, he inserted the phrase 'The enemy is demoralized and has to submit by day and by night to our taking his trenches.' Obviously, even the most stupid fellaheen after reading such a sentence must, in the course of time, begin to ask himself how, if trenches are being easily taken by day and by night, we still remain on the wrong side of Achi Baba!

"Turning now to the Press Bureau and our landing, there was nothing in that landing, as I have just said, which need have caused sorrow to a soul in the British Isles excepting, of course, the deplorable heavy casualties which are inseparable now from making any attack. But, on the 23rd of August a correspondent cables to an American paper a sensational story of a decisive victory, which the Press Bureau must have known to be a tissue of lies. Had the lies taken the shape of disasters to the British there would not, from the point of view of us soldiers, have been the smallest objection to publishing them. Suppose Mr. X, for instance, had said that the landing did not succeed, and had been driven off with immense slaughter? Apart from the fact that such a cable would have made many poor women in England unhappy for a few hours, the fabrication would have done us positive good: when the truth was known the relief would have been enormous, we would have gained handsome recognition of what had actually been done, and German inspired lies would have been discounted in future.

"But there is no moral in the world that can stand against a carefully engineered disappointment. When you know perfectly well that the spirits of the people are bound to be dashed down to the depths within a few days, it is unsound statesmanship surely so to engineer the Press that you raise those selfsame spirits sky high in the meantime. To climb up and up is a funny way to prepare for a fall! If you know that your balloon must burst in five minutes you use that time in letting out gas, not in throwing away ballast. If you want to spoil a man's legacy of L500 tell him the previous evening he has been left L50,000!

"As I began by saying, do please forgive me, my dear Callwell, for taking up your most precious time. But you are more in touch with this particular business than anyone else at the War Office and, from your large mindedness, I feel sure you will be able to spare me some sympathy, and perhaps even get some recognition for the general principle I herewith put forward:—

* * * * *

"(1). Do not too curiously censor false alarmist reports put about by the enemy. Let the papers publish them with a query and then smash them as soon as this can be done with positive certainty.

"(2). Mercilessly censor any report which you think is, even in the smallest degree, overstating your own case.

"The system needs courage but, with the British Public, it would pay!

"Yours sincerely, (Sd.), "IAN HAMILTON."

As suspense had, by now, become unbearable, cabled home asking S. of S. to "let me know, as soon as you can safely do so," when the new divisions may be expected. I tell him I have "informal" news from the French but dare not take action on that.

14th September, 1915. Imbros. Mails in with Ward as King's Messenger. Captain Vitali (Italian liaison officer) and Captain Williams dined. Vitali is worried about his status. He was told in the first instance he was to be liaison officer between General Cadorna and myself. On this understanding we agreed to his coming to our Headquarters. Once he was here the Italian Government (not Cadorna he is careful to explain) said he must be permanently attached to us. Vitali feels himself in a false position as he thinks that,—had we known, we might not have let him come. Personally, I am quite glad to have him; but we did not have much talk as, immediately after dinner, Braithwaite brought me the decipher of Lord K.'s answer to my reminder to him. This has greatly saddened me and takes up the whole of my thoughts.

"(No. 7843, cipher). From Earl Kitchener to General Sir Ian Hamilton. Reference your No. M.F. 630. I have just returned from France where I went to settle up the questions asked in that telegram which were in a very indefinite state owing apparently to a decision having been arrived at by the French Government without reference to their military advisers. The outcome of my meeting with Millerand, Joffre and Sarrail was that the French force of four Divisions proposed to be sent to the Dardanelles cannot leave until the result of the approaching offensive in France is determined. If it be as successful as hoped for your position in the Dardanelles would naturally be affected favourably. It is hoped that the issue will be clear in the first few days of October, and if indecisive, that by 10th October two of our Divisions may be at Marseilles for embarkation to be followed closely by the four French Divisions. The embarkation and transport of so large a force would, it is thought, take about a month, but this has still to be worked out in detail, so that by about the middle of November would be the time when all would be ready.

"In the meantime, as transport is available, I shall continue to send you reinforcements and drafts of which you are fully informed, up to 20th instant, and on which you should alone calculate.

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