Gallipoli Diary, Volume 2
by Ian Hamilton
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In the Gulley we met a swarm of old friends from Kent; Brigadier-General Clifton-Browne, an officer whose command I had inspected both at Potchefstroom and near Canterbury, with a Brigade of West and East Kent and Sussex Yeomen. They made a brave showing, but he tells me some of them have caught this wretched enteritis already. Amongst others, I spoke to Douglas, commanding the East Lancashire Division, Major Edwards of the Sussex Yeomanry, Major Sir S. Scott and Colonel Whitburn of the West Kent Yeomanry, Colonel Lord Guilford, East Kent Yeomanry. A cheerier crowd no one could wish to meet. If these are the type of men who spin black yarns for home wear, I can only say that not the most finished actors could better disguise their despair. General King, R.A., rode part of the way back with us.

After all this hard exercise, got back to the Arno in a lather of sweat about 6 o'clock carrying Davies with me. Leslie Wilson, commanding the Hawke Battalion, had gone sick to-day, so sent him a telegram after dinner to the Hospital ship Somali, telling him his trenches had been found in apple-pie order.

11th October, 1915. Bad night with this beastly complaint. De Robeck came up at 11 o'clock to see me. He has had a message from the Admiralty asking him what number of extra troops could be maintained on the Peninsula if the units there now were brought up to strength. The Admiral asked me for the figures and the A.G. brought them over. My force as a whole is as near as may be to half strength. Half of that half are sick men. We have 100,000 men on the Peninsula, 50,000 of whom are unfit: if the unfits were up to strength there would be 200,000 men on the Peninsula as well as excitement and movement which would greatly reduce the disease. Bearing in mind that the Anzacs have been well supported by their Governments and that their units are fairly strong, these figures show what wait-and-see-sickness has meant to British Regiments.

The tone of this Admiralty question had seemed cheerful: almost as if the Higher Direction were thinking of putting us on our legs but, in the evening, another cable from K. gave a different and a very ominous complexion to the future:—

"From Earl Kitchener to General Sir Ian Hamilton. What is your estimate of the probable losses which would be entailed to your force if the evacuation of the Gallipoli Peninsula was decided on and carried out in the most careful manner?

"No decision has been arrived at yet on this question of evacuation, but I feel that I ought to have your views.

"In your reply you need not consider the possible future danger to the Empire that might be thus caused."[15]

If they do this they make the Dardanelles into the bloodiest tragedy of the world! Even if we were to escape without a scratch, they would stamp our enterprise as the bloodiest of all tragedies! K. has always sworn by all his Gods he would have no hand in it. I won't touch it, and I think he knew that and calculated on that when he cabled. Anyway, let K., cat or Cabinet leap where they will, I must sleep upon my answer, but that answer will be NO!

Just as I am turning in, a cable from the S. of S. saying, "there is an idea that Sir John Maxwell is not sending you as many troops as he might from Egypt. Have you any complaints on this score?" Rather late in the day this "idea." Certainly, I have never made any "complaints" and I don't mean to do so now. The War Office have only to look up their returns and see how many men are being maintained to defend us from the Senoussi!

Maxwell has never had less than 70,000 troops in Egypt, a country which might have been held with 10,000 rifles—ever since we landed here, that is to say. My troops can sail back to Egypt very much faster than the Turks—or the Senoussi for that matter—can march to the Canal.

In the same cable the S. of S. asks what is the cause of the sick rate and remarks that, "some accounts from the Dardanelles indicate that the men are dispirited." Small wonder if they were! When they see two Divisions taken away from the Peninsula; when their guns can't answer those of the enemy; when each unit finds itself half-strength, and falling—why then, tumbling as they do to the fact that we won't get through till next year, they ought to be unhappy. But the funny thing is that the Cabinet, the Secretaries of State, are the people who are "dispirited" and not the people out here. If the P.M. could walk round the trenches of the Naval Division at Helles, or if K. could exchange greetings with the rank and file at Anzac and Suvla, they would find a sovereign antidote for the blues and would realize that it was they who were down-hearted and not the men at the Dardanelles. There was an old French Colonel, killed at Gravelotte; he had studied the classic world battles and he shows that it was never the front line who gave way first, but always the reserves:—they, the reserves, watched bloodshed in cold blood until they could stand it no longer and so took to their heels whilst the fighting men were still focussed upon victory. Not the enemy in front but the friends behind are the men who spread despondency and alarm.

Charley Burn has arrived on the Imogene with Dawnay.

Davies went back to Helles after tea. Dawnay says K. was most interested in him and most charming to him all through his stay until his last interview just before he started on his return journey. K.'s manner then, he said, had changed—so much so as to give him an impression that the great man was turning, or was being turned, against all of us out here. K.'s conduct at the first meetings is in full harmony with his message sent to Braithwaite for me by Fitz about a fortnight ago, saying I possessed his fullest confidence. The change of manner was marked and Dawnay is sure he made no mistake about it. But nothing has happened since the date of Dawnay's arrival and departure save a very well engineered withdrawal of the 10th and the French Divisions for which, in point of fact, we have all been rather expecting congratulations. Dawnay thinks some queer things are happening. He could—or would—say nothing more.

12th October, 1915. Imbros. Early in the morning got off my answer to K.'s evacuation cable. The elements, the enemy and ourselves are the three factors of the problem. Were I to measure my problem by the night flitting of the Irish and French Divisions (who lost neither man nor beast in the process), I could guarantee that we would shoot the moon with the balance of the force smoothly, swiftly and silently. That is to say, supposing the Turks and the weather remain constant. But these are two most inconstant things: no one can tell how a Turk will behave under any given conditions; the Turks themselves do not know how they will behave: the weather now is written down by the meteorologists for sudden changes; for storms. Unsettled weather is due and ought to be reckoned upon. Imagine a blow coming up from the South when the evacuation is half way through. That does not seem to be, and is not, any great stretch of imagination. Well then, having so imagined, we get a disaster only equalled in history by that of the Athenians at Syracuse: a disaster from which the British Empire could hardly hope to recover.

Twice backwards and forwards to the General Staff Marquee with the draft of my guesses, my first being that we would probably lose 35 to 45 per cent. But the General Staff have also been consulting their oracle and were clear for 50 per cent. Months of the most anxious calculations will not get a white man one whit forrarder in seeing into the brains of an Asiatic Army or in forecasting Mediterranean weather. Safest to assume that both brains and weather will behave as the German General Staff would wish them to behave rather than as they chanced to behave when the French and Irish went off a few days ago. So have ended by taking the Staff's figure because any figure being, in any case, the wildest of shots, their shot best suits my views on the issue.

"From General Sir Ian Hamilton to Earl Kitchener. Our losses would depend on such uncertain factors, enemy's action or inaction, weather, question whether we could rely on all troops covering embarkation to fight to the last, that impossible to give you straight answer especially until I have permission to consult Admiral. Once discussing this very problem with General Gouraud, we came to the conclusion that at Cape Helles we must sacrifice two divisions out of total of six divisions and Cape Helles easiest of three places to get away from. My opinion now is that it would not be wise to reckon on getting out of Gallipoli with less loss than that of half the total force as well as guns, which must be used to the last, stores, railway plant and horses. Moral of those who got off would fall very low. One quarter would probably get off quite easily, then the trouble would begin. We might be very lucky and lose considerably less than I have estimated. On the other hand, with all these raw troops at Suvla and all these Senegalese at Cape Helles, we might have a veritable catastrophe."

Do the men toying with the idea of bringing off our men not see that thereby the Turks will be let loose somewhere; not nowhere? Do they not see that if they are feeling the economic pinch of keeping their side of the show in being, the Turks, much weaker economically, must be feeling it much more—!

* * * * *

It was a relief to get this perilous stuff off my chest, and in a brighter frame of mind, sailed for Anzac on the destroyer Lewis. We took biscuits and bully beef with us but the hospitable sailors insisted on regaling us with a hot meal. Sat in cabin all the way as usual writing up my record. Freddie tells me that these studious habits of mine have started the shave that I spend my time composing poetry, especially during our battles!

At Anzac Birdwood took us round the trenches and underground passages about Russell's Top and Turk's Head, held by the 5th Brigade, 2nd Division, under Legge. Half way up to Russell's Top was the 3rd Battery Australian Field Artillery:—talked with Major King, the C.O. Next unit was the 20th Infantry Battalion under Major Fitzgerald. Colonel Holmes, commanding the 5th Infantry Brigade, and Wilson, his Brigade Major, took us through their cave dwellings. Ex-westerners say that in France they have nothing to touch these Australian tunnellings. In one place they are boring into a crater only 20 feet from the Turkish trench. There is nothing unusual in the fact, but there is in the great depth they are going down so as to cross the danger zone far below the beaten track of mines and counter-mines. On the steep slope in another place there is a complete underground trench running parallel to, and only a short bomb-throw from, a Turkish trench. We went through it with a lantern. Sandbags, loopholes, etc., all are there, but blind! They are still veiled from view by several feet of clay. To-morrow night the Anzacs are going to chip off the whole upper crust of earth, and when light dawns the Turks will find a well equipped trench, every loophole manned, within bombing range of their own line.

Other notables met with were Major Murphy of the 20th Infantry Battalion, Major Anderson (an old friend) commanding the Australian Field Artillery, and Captain Perry Oakdene, the Engineer Officer on the job. Saw Birdie and returned in the destroyer about 6.30. The day had been so quiet that it would have been almost dull had it not been for the sightseeing—hardly a shot was fired by Turk or Anzac with either gun, trench mortar or rifle.

Bishop Price, the Bishop of North China, and Charlie Burn, King's Messenger, dined. The quietness of the Bishop was remarkable.

Have cabled the S. of S. for War in answer to his enquiries about the causes of the sickness, and as to whether Maxwell is not holding up my share of troops in Egypt, saying:—(1) that "constant strain and infection by dust and flies" have caused the sickness but that the men are getting better; (2) that "we have been under the impression that drafts meant for us and due to us have been retained in Egypt; also, that men discharged fit from Hospitals have been held back, but I have represented this last point to Maxwell personally as I always feel I am not the person to gauge Maxwell's needs. On 27th September, I asked him to send up all available Australian—New Zealand Army Corps drafts and reinforcements, and, as you already know, am at present in telegraphic correspondence about these reinforcements coming straight here without being kept in Egypt for training at all."

At 10.40, after clearing my table, went with Ellison, Taylor, and Freddie on board H.M.S. Lefroy (Commander Edwards) and steamed for "V" Beach. Enjoyed a fine luncheon with Brulard and then started off for the trenches. At Morto Bay we were met by Captain de Bourbon, a big handsome man with the characteristic Bourbon cut of countenance. He took us first to the chateau whence we worked down along the trenches to where our extreme right overlooks the Kerevez Dere. General Faukard was here and he thinks that we ought easily to get complete mastery of both sides of the Kerevez Dere as soon as we get the means and the permission to shove ahead again. When we do that the advance will let our Fleet another half mile up the Straits and the "spotting" for the ships' guns will double their value in the Narrows. From the Kerevez Dere we worked along the fire trenches towards the French centre and then, getting to a sheltered strip of country, walked back across the open to the second line. From the second line we made our way, still across the open, to the third line, over a heather covered strip. No one ever moves here by daylight except in double quick time as there is always danger of drawing a shell either from Asia or from Achi Baba and so it was that "Let the dead bury the dead" had been the motto and that we met many corpses and skeletons. Merciful God, what home tragedies may centre in each of these sinister bundles. But it is the common lot—only quicker. Here, too, we found excavations made by the French into a burial ground believed to be of the date 2,500 B.C. The people of that golden age had the sentimental idea of being buried in couples in big jars. A strange notion of our Allies unburying quiet people who had enjoyed dreamless rest for 2,000 years whilst, within a few yards, their own dead still welter in the parching wind.

Had meant to run across and see Davies but time had slipped away and so we made tracks for H.M.S. Lefroy, and on back here to G.H.Q., where a letter from Callwell was laying in wait as a refresher after my fatigues.

Callwell begins by saying he encloses a document written by my late visitor, Mr. K. A. Murdoch, although "there are certain statements in this which are palpably false," and although Dawnay has pointed out to him at the War Office "a number of passages in it which are wholly incorrect as matters of actual fact." He says, Lord K., "who has not had time to read it yet," thinks I ought to be given a chance of defending myself.

Callwell goes on to write about the Press Censorship and my plea for publicity and then says he dislikes the Salonika stunt "because I am not quite clear of where we are going to, and the immediate result at the present is to take away from you troops that you can ill spare." Also, because "we may be involving ourselves in operations on a great scale in the heart of the Balkans, the result of which it is very difficult to foresee."

Godley dined. Captain Davidson, R.N., the Senior Naval Officer in harbour now, is a real Godsend. He looks after us as if we were Admirals of the Fleet.

Have now read, marked, learnt and inwardly indigested Callwell's enclosure; viz., the letter written by Mr. K. A. Murdoch to the Prime Minister of Australia. Quite a Guy Fawkes epistle. Braithwaite is "more cordially detested in our forces than Enver Pasha." "You will trust me when I say that the work of the General Staff in Gallipoli is deplorable." "Sedition is talked round every tin of bully beef on the Peninsula." "You would refuse to believe that these men were really British soldiers ... the British physique is very much below that of the Turks. Indeed, it is quite obviously so. Our men have found it impossible to form a high opinion of the British K. men and Territorials. They are merely a lot of childlike youths, without strength to endure or brains to improve their conditions." "I shall always remember the stricken face of a young English Lieutenant when I told him he must make up his mind for a winter campaign." "I do not like to dictate this sentence, even for your eyes, but the fact is that after the first day at Suvla an order had to be issued to Officers to shoot without mercy any soldier who lagged behind or loitered in an advance."

Well, Well! I should not worry myself over the out-pourings of our late guest, who has evidently been made a tool of by some unscrupulous person, were it not that Mr. Asquith has clothed the said out-pourings in the title, number, garb and colour of a verified and authentic State paper. He has actually had them printed on the famous duck's egg foolscap of the Committee of Imperial Defence, and under his authority, as President and Prime Minister, they have been circulated round the Government and all the notables of the Empire without any chance having been offered to me (or to K.) of defending the honour of British Officers or the good name of the British Rank and File. K. tells Callwell I should be given the opportunity of making a reply. Not having read it himself he has not yet grasped the fact that he also should have been given the opportunity of making a reply to the aspersions upon his selections. As for me, by the time my answer can get home and can be printed and circulated the slanders will have had over a month's start in England and very likely two months' start in Australia, where all who read them will naturally conclude their statements must have been tested before ever they were published in that impressive form.

Here we see an irresponsible statement by an ignorant man and I instinctively feel as if it were being used as one more weapon to force Asquith's hand and to ruin our last chance. I only hope it may not prove another case of, "Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth!"

Certain aspects of this affair trouble my understanding. The covering note (dated 25th September) which encloses the letter to the Prime Minister of Australia (dated 23rd September) is addressed by Mr. Murdoch to Mr. Asquith by name. In that covering note Mr. Murdoch says, "I write with diffidence, and only at Mr. Lloyd George's request." Within three days (so great the urgency or pressure) Mr. Asquith causes—as he, President of the Committee of Imperial Defence, alone can cause—the covering note as well as the seven or eight thousand words of the letter to be printed and circulated round the big wigs of Politics, as well as (to judge by the co-incident hardening of the tone of this mail's papers) some of the Editors. Not one word to me as to Mr. Murdoch's qualifications or as to the truth or falsity of his statements, until these last have been a week in circulation. Then, I receive; first, a cable saying unofficial reports had come in censuring my General Staff and that I had better, therefore, let Braithwaite go; secondly, a cable asking me whether the absurd story of my having ordered my own soldiers to be shot "without mercy " is well-founded; thirdly, a bad last, the libellous letter itself.

Yet Mr. Asquith did know the paper contained some falsehoods. He may have attached weight to Mr. Murdoch's tale of the feelings of French soldiers at Helles (although he never found time to go there): he may have believed Mr. Murdoch when he says that Sir John Maxwell "has a poor brain for his big position"; that "our men feel that their reputation is too sacred to leave in the hands of Maxwell"; that Sir William Birdwood "has not the fighting quality or big brain of a great General"; that General Spens was "a man broken on the Continent" (although he never was broken and never served on the Continent); that "Kitchener has a terrible task in getting pure work from the General Staff of the British Army, whose motives can never be pure, for they are unchangeably selfish"; that "from what I saw of the Turk, I am convinced he is ... a better man than those opposed to him" (although, actually, Mr. Murdoch saw nothing of the Turks). The P.M. may have taken these views at their face values: even, he may have swallowed Mr. Murdoch's picture of the conscientious Altham "wallowing" in ice whilst wounded were expiring of heat within a few hundred yards; but Mr. Asquith has seen the K. Army and, therefore, he cannot have believed that these soldiers have suddenly been transformed into "merely a lot of childish youths without strength to endure or brains to improve their conditions."

Once more; these reckless scraps of hearsay would not be worth the paper they are printed on were it not that they are endorsed with the letters C.I.D., the stamp of the ministerial Holy of Holies. Only the Prime Minister himself, personally, can so consign a paper. Lord K. and I were both members of the C.I.D., and members of long standing. For the President to circularize our fellow members behind our backs with unverified accusations is a strange act, foreign to all my ideas of Mr. Asquith. On this point Callwell is quite clear: the Murdoch letter was published to the C.I.D. on the 28th ult. and Callwell writes on the 2nd inst., and says Lord K. "has not had time to read it yet."[16] But nothing else is clear. In fact, the whole thing is foreign to all my ideas of Mr. Asquith. He does not need to work the C.I.D. oracle in this way. As P.M. he has only to speak the word. He does not work the Press oracle either: not his custom: also he likes K. The whole thing is a mystery, of which I can only say with Hamlet—"miching mallecho; it means mischief."

14th October, 1915. Imbros. Colder than ever. We are told that the winter will kill the flies and that with their death we shall all get hearty and well. Meanwhile, they have turned to winged limpets.

Being Mail day as well as rough, stuck to camp. My friend England sailed into harbour in the Chelmer and came up to lunch. In the evening he took Godley back to Anzac. Duncannon came to dinner. I have made him liaison officer with the French in place of de Putron who has gone to Salonika with Bailloud.

As to the Murdoch unpleasantness, I began an expose to be sent to the Governor General of Australia; another to the Secretary of the C.I.D. But Pollen, Braithwaite and Dawnay (the last of whom had been shown the document whilst he was at home, though he had said nothing to me about it) thought this was to make much ado about nothing. They cannot believe Lord K. will trouble himself about the matter any further and they think it best handled in lighter vein. Is K. still the demi-God, that is the question? Anyway, there is simply no time this Mail to deal with so many misstatements, so that has settled it.



"I have read Mr. Murdoch's letter with care, and I have tried to give it my most impartial consideration and not to allow myself in reply to be influenced in any way by the criticisms he may have felt himself bound to make upon myself personally.

"What does this letter amount to? Here we have a man, a journalist by profession, one who is quick to seize every point, and to coin epithets, which throw each fleeting impression into strongest relief. He comes armed with a natural and justifiably enthusiastic admiration for everything connected with the Commonwealth to which he belongs, and ready to retail to his Minister or his public anything that can contribute to show the troops they have sent in an heroic light.

"Here he obtains his first sight of war and of the horrors and hardships inseparable from it. He finds men who have just been through some of the hardest fighting imaginable and who have suffered terrible losses; he finds probably that very many of those whom he hoped to see, certainly many of those of whose welfare their motherland would wish to hear, are killed, wounded or laid up with illness,—he finds all this and he becomes very deeply depressed. In such an atmosphere Mr. Murdoch composes his letter, a general analysis of which shows it to be divided, to my mind, into two separate strata.

"First an appreciation in burning terms of the spirit, the achievements, the physique and all soldierly qualities of the Australian Forces. Secondly, a condemnation, as sweeping and as unrelieved as his praise in the first instance is unstinted, of the whole of the rest of the force. I myself as C.-in-C., my Generals, my Staff, Lines of Communication, Sir John Maxwell and General Spens at the Base, even the British soldiers collectively and individually, are all embraced in this condemnation which is completed by the inclusion of the entire direction of the Forces at home, both Naval and Military.

"Where all are thus tarred with the same brush, I am content to leave it to the impartial reader to decide what reliance can be placed on Mr. Murdoch's judgment. My own feeling certainly is that in his admiration for the Australian Forces, and in his grief at their heavy losses (in both of which feelings I fully share) he has allowed himself to belittle and to criticize us all so that their virtues might be thrown into even bolder relief.

"With Mr. Murdoch's detailed points I do not propose to deal, nor do I think you expect me to do so. On every page inaccuracies of fact abound. The breaking of Spens on the Continent, a theatre of war he has never visited; the over-statement of our casualties by more than 40 per cent.; the acceptance as genuine of a wholly mythical order about the shooting of laggards—really the task would be too long. As to the value of Mr. Murdoch's appreciation of the strategical and tactical elements of the situation you can yourself assess them at their true value.

"Finally, I do not for one moment believe the general statement put forward to the effect that the troops are disheartened. Neither that statement nor the assertion that they are discontented with the British Officers commanding them has the slightest foundation in fact.

"Believe me, "My dear Callwell, "Yours very sincerely, (Sd.) "IAN HAMILTON.

"P.S.—I attach correspondence showing how Mr. Murdoch's visit arose. I believe I exceeded my power in giving him permission to come but I was most anxious to oblige the Australian Prime Minister and Senator Pearce. You will see that he promises faithfully to observe any conditions I may impose. The only condition I imposed was that he should sign a declaration identical with that which I attach. He signed and the paper is in my possession."


"Dear Sir,

"On the advice of Brigadier-General Legge I beg to request permission to visit Anzac.

"I am proceeding from Melbourne to London to take up the position of managing editor of the Australian news cable service in connection with the London Times and at the Commonwealth Government's request am enquiring into mail arrangements, dispositions of wounded, and various matters in Egypt in connection with our Australian Forces. I find it impossible to make a complete report upon changes that have been suggested here until I have a better knowledge of the system pursued at base Y, and on the Mainland, and I beg of you, therefore, to permit me to visit these places.

"I should like to go across in only a semi-official capacity, so that I might record censored impressions in the London and Australian newspapers I represent, but any conditions you impose I should, of course, faithfully observe.

"I beg to enclose (a) copy of general letter from the Prime Minister and (b) copy of my instructions from the Government. I have a personal letter of introduction to you from Senator Pearce, Minister of Defence.

"May I add that I had the honour of meeting you at the Melbourne Town Hall, and wrote fully of your visit in the Sydney Sun and Melbourne Punch; also may I say that my anxiety as an Australian to visit the sacred shores of Gallipoli while our army is there is intense.

"Senator Millen asked me to convey his most kindly remembrances to you if I had the luck to see you and in case I have not I take this opportunity of doing so.

"As I have only four weeks in which to complete my work here and get to London a 'collect reply by cable to C/o Colonel Sellheim, Australian Intermediate Base, Cairo, would greatly oblige.

"I have the honour to be, "Sir, "Your obediently, (Sd.) "KEITH A. MURDOCH.

"C/o Colonel Sellheim, C.B., "A.I.F. Intermediate Base, "Cairo. "August 17, 1915."


"This letter will serve to introduce Mr. Keith Arthur Murdoch, a well known journalist, of Melbourne, who is proceeding to Europe to undertake important duties in connection with his profession.

"Mr. Murdoch is also undertaking certain inquiries for the Government of the Commonwealth in the Mediterranean Theatre of War. And for any facilities which may be rendered him to enable him the better to carry out these duties I shall be personally obliged.

(Sd.) "ANDREW FISHER, "Prime Minister."


"Mr. Keith A. Murdoch,

"Alfred Place, Melbourne.

"The Minister desires that you furnish a report upon the following matters together with any suggestions for improvements.

"1. Arrangements for the receipt and delivery of letters, papers and parcels to and from members of the Australian Imperial Force.

"2. Arrangements for the receipt and delivery of cablegrams to and from members of the Australian Imperial Force.

"3. Arrangements for notifications to the Department in Australia of the disposition of Australian Wounded in Hospitals.

"4. Suggested despatch of special expert corps to Hospitals.

"5. Frauds by impersonation at cable offices.

(Sd.) "T. TRUMBLE, "Acting Secretary for Defence."

When I got this, I hesitated. Evidently the writer was not accredited as a war correspondent and his remark about having written me up in the Sun and in Punch did not count for much. But I was anxious then, as ever, that as many journalists as possible should be put into a position for seeing the fine things the troops had done and were doing; I noted the emphasis laid by the writer upon his acceptance of the censorship, and so I took upon myself to exceed my powers and asked Braithwaite to cable to Mr. Murdoch:—

* * * * *

"This cable is your authority to come to G.H.Q. at once whence you will be sent to Anzac.

C.G.S., Medforce."

Mr. Murdoch landed on the 2nd instant and on that date signed the following declaration:—

* * * * *


I, the undersigned, do hereby solemnly undertake to follow in every particular the rules issued by the Commander-in-Chief through the Chief Field Censor, relative to correspondence concerning the forces in the Field, and bind myself not to attempt to correspond by any other route or by any other means than that officially sanctioned.

Further, in the event of my ceasing to act as correspondent with the British Forces, I will not during the continuance of the War join the forces of any other Power in any capacity, or impart to anyone military information of a confidential nature or of a kind such that its disclosure is likely to prejudice military operations, which may have been acquired by me while with the British Forces in the Field, or publish any writing, plan, map, sketch, photograph or other picture on military subjects, the material for which has been acquired by me in a similar manner, unless first submitted by me to the Chief Field Censor for censorship and passed for publication by him.

(Signature of Correspondent)................

* * * * *

15th October, 1915. Imbros. Bitter cold. The whole camp upside down and all the Staff busy with their shift of quarters to the other side of the Bay.

Altham has been at Salonika and came over to report how things were going there. Remembering the accusation of "wallowing" in ice, I nearly touched him for a Vanilla cream.

As to Salonika, he tells me that, so far, the occupation has been a travesty of any military operation. No plan; no administration; much confusion; troops immobile and likely to sit for weeks upon the beach. The Balkan States Intelligence Officers are on the spot and grasp the inferences. Until the troops landed they were not quite sure whether some serious factor was not about to be sprung upon them: now they are quite sure nothing can happen, big or small, beyond our letting a lot of our bayonets go rusty. Sarrail has been implored by the Serbians to push his troops up into their country, but he has been wise enough to refuse. How can he feed them? On the top of it all, the conduct of the Greeks seems fishy. As to the Bulgarians, they have already thrown off the mask. Although Salonika is going to be our ruin, I can still spare some pity for Sarrail.

Have heard from Birdie who at last gives me leave to see his Lone Pine section. Until now I have never been able to get him to let me go there. Too many bombs, he says, to make it quite healthy for a Commander-in-Chief.

16th October, 1915. Imbros. Had just got into bed last night when I was ferreted out again by a cable "Secret and personal" from K. telling me to decipher the next message myself. The messenger brought a note from the G.S.—most of whom have now gone across to the other side of the Bay—to ask if I would like to be awakened when the second message came in. As I knew the contents as well as if I had written it out myself, I said no, that it was to be brought me with the cipher book at my usual hour for being called in the morning. When I had given this order, my mind dwelt awhile over my sins. Through my tired brain passed thought-pictures of philosophers waiting for cups of hemlock and various other strange and half-forgotten antique images. Then I fell asleep.

Next morning, Peter Pollen came in with the cipher book and the bow-string. I got K.'s message pat in my dreams last night and here it is, to a word, in black and white:—

* * * * *

"The War Council held last night decided that though the Government fully appreciate your work and the gallant manner in which you personally have struggled to make the enterprise a success in face of the terrible difficulties you have had to contend against, they, all the same, wish to make a change in the command which will give them an opportunity of seeing you."

How far we have travelled, in spirit, since K. sent me his September greetings with spontaneous assurances of complete confidence! Yet, since then, on the ground, I have not travelled at all—have indeed been under the order of the Dardanelles Committee to stand still.

Charles Munro is to relieve me and brings with him a Chief of Staff who will take Braithwaite's place. On my way back I "might visit Salonika and Egypt" so as to be able to give the Cabinet the latest about the hang of things in these places.

When I go, Birdie is to take my place pending Munro's arrival.

De Robeck must give me a cruiser so that we may start for home to-morrow. The offer of a jaunt at Government expense to Salonika and Egypt leaves me cold. They think nothing of spending some hundreds of pounds to put off an awkward moment. What value on earth could my views on Salonika and Egypt possess for people who have no use for my views on my own subject!

After breakfast, read K.'s cable over once more. "A War Council," it seems, decided to make the change. Did the War Council also appoint Munro? K. did not appoint him—anyway. Munro succeeded me at Hythe. In 1897 I was brought home from Tirah to Hythe by Evelyn Wood in order that I might keep an eye on the original ideas which, from India under Lord Roberts, had revolutionized the whole system of British musketry. I left Hythe on the outbreak of the South African War and during that war Munro went there.

He was born with another sort of mind from me. Had he been sent out here in the first instance he would never have touched the Dardanelles, and people who have realized so much may conclude he will now clear out. But it does not follow. Munro's refusal to attempt a landing in the first instance would have served as the foundation stone for some totally different policy in the Near East. That might perhaps have been a good plan. But to start a campaign with me and try to carry it on with Munro has already been tried and found hardly fair to either of us. The intention of whoever selected Munro is so to use him as to force K. to pull down the blinds. But they may be mistaken in his character.

One thing is sure: whenever I get home I shall do what I can to convince K. that the game is still in his hands if only he will shake himself free from slippery politics; come right out here and run the show himself. Constantinople is the only big big hit lying open on the map at this moment. With the reinforcements and munitions K., as Commander-in-Chief, would have at his command, he can bring off the coup right away. He has only to borrow a suitable number of howitzers and aeroplanes from the Western front and our troops begin to advance. Sarrail has missed the chance of twenty generations by not coming here. Let K. step in. In the whole of the Near East his name alone is still worth an Army Corps. My own chance has gone. That is no reason why my old Chief should not himself make good. I told the War Council we held at Suvla before the battle of the 21st August that if the Government persisted in refusing me drafts and munitions—if they insisted on leaving my units at half-strength—then they would have to get someone cleverer than myself to carry out the job. Well, it has come to that now. K. looms big in the public eye and can insist on not being starved. He must hurry up though! Time enough has been lost, God knows. But even to-day there is time. Howitzers, trench mortars, munitions, men, on a scale France would hardly miss,—the Asiatic side of the Straits would be occupied—and, in one month from to-day, our warships will have Constantinople under their guns. If K. won't listen to me, then, having been officially mis-informed that the War Council wish to see me (the last thing they do wish), I will take them at their word. I will buttonhole every Minister from McKenna and Lloyd George to Asquith and Bonar Law,—and grovel at their feet if by doing so I can hold them on to this, the biggest scoop that is, or ever has been, open to an Empire.

Rather a sickly lunch. Not so much the news as the Benger's on which we all feasted for our stomach's sake. Birdie came over at 4 p.m. with Ruthven. Both his A.D.C.s are sick. I am going to ask him to take on young Alec McGrigor. Peter and Freddie will come home with Braithwaite and myself. What a true saying,—a friend in need is a friend indeed. Were I handing over to Birdie for good I should feel unalloyed happiness in his well-deserved success.

At tea Ellison, Braithwaite, Bertier, Colonel Sykes and Guest appeared. They looked more depressed than I felt. I had to work like a beaver before I could brighten them up. "I'm not dead yet," I felt inclined to tell them, "no, not by long chalks." What I did say to one or two of them was this:—"My credit with Government is exhausted; clearly I can't screw men or munitions out of them. The new Commander will start fresh with a good balance of faith, hope and charity lodged in the Bank of England. He comes with a splendid reputation, and if he is big enough to draw boldly on this deposit, the Army will march; the Fleet will steam ahead; what has been done will bear fruit, and all our past struggles and sacrifices will live."

Dined with Freddie on the Triad. De Robeck and Keyes were all that friends can be at such a moment.

17th October, 1915. H.M.S. "Chatham" (At sea). A pretty beastly day within and without. For the within part, all sorts of good-byes to put pain into our hearts; for the without, a cold drizzle chilling us all to the bone.

At 10.30 Brulard and his Staff came over; also Generals Byng and Davies with their Staffs. After bidding them farewell; a function whereat I was grateful to the French for their lightness of touch, I rode over with Braithwaite and the A.D.C.s to the new Headquarters at Kephalos to say good-bye to my own Staff. Although I had meant to live there until we drove the Turks far enough back to let us live on the Peninsula, I had found time to see my little stone hut built by Greek peasants on the side of the hill:—deliciously snug. To-day, this very day, I was to have struck my tent and taken up these cosy winter quarters; now I move, right enough, but on the wrong road.

The adieu was a melancholy affair. There was no make-belief, that's a sure thing. Whatever the British Officer may be his forte has never lain in his acting. So, by 2.30, I made my last salute to the last of the old lot and boarded the Triad. A baddish wrench parting from de Robeck and Keyes with whom I have been close friends for so long. Up to midnight de Robeck had intended coming home too. Keyes himself is following me in a day or two, to implore the Cabinet to let us at least strike one more blow before we haul down our flag, so there will be two of us at the task.

I wrung their hands. The Bo'sun's whistle sounded. The curtain was falling so I wrung their hands once again and said good-bye; good-bye also to the Benjamin of my personal Staff, young Alec, who stays on with Birdie. A bitter moment and hard to carry through.

Boarded the Chatham (Captain Drury-Lowe) and went below to put my cabin straight. The anchor came up, the screws went round. I wondered whether I could stand the strain of seeing Imbros, Kephalos, the camp, fade into the region of dreams,—I was hesitating when a message came from the Captain to say the Admiral begged me to run up on to the quarter deck. So I ran, and found the Chatham steering a corkscrew course—threading in and out amongst the warships at anchor. Each as we passed manned ship and sent us on our way with the cheers of brave men ringing in our ears.

* * * * *



"On handing over the Command of the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force to General Sir C. C. Munro, the Commander-in-Chief wishes to say a few farewell words to the Allied troops, with many of whom he has now for so long been associated. First, he would like them to know his deep sense of the honour it has been to command so fine an Army in one of the most arduous and difficult Campaigns which has ever been undertaken; secondly, he must express to them his admiration at the noble response which they have invariably given to the calls he has made upon them. No risk has been too desperate; no sacrifice too great. Sir Ian Hamilton thanks all ranks, from Generals to private soldiers, for the wonderful way they have seconded his efforts to lead them towards that decisive victory, which, under their new Chief, he has the most implicit confidence they will achieve."


[Footnote 14: I think I hardly knew how often till I came to read through my diary in cold print. But all the time I was conscious, and am still more so now, of K.'s greatness. Still more so now because, when I compare him with his survivors, they seem measurable, he remains immeasurable.

I wish very much I could make people admire Lord K. understandingly. To praise him wrongly is to do him the worst disservice. The theme can hardly be squeezed into a footnote, but one protest must be made all the same. Lord Fisher gives fresh currency to the fable that K. was a great organizer. K. hated organization with all his primitive heart and soul, because it cramped his style.

K. was an individualist. He was a Master of Expedients; the greatest probably the world has ever seen. Whenever he saw any organization his inclination was to smash it, and often—but not always—he was right. This may sound odd in Anglo-Celtic ears. But most British organizations are relics of the past. They are better smashed than patched, and K. loved smashing.—IAN H., 1920.]

[Footnote 15: Lord K.'s reason for putting in this last paragraph may be obscure unless I make it clear. As explained in a previous footnote, Lord K. knew that I knew his strong personal view that the smashing blow to our military reputation which would be caused by an evacuation of the Dardanelles must, in course of time, imperil our hold upon Egypt. Therefore, for the moment, it was necessary to warn me that the problem must be considered in the purely military, tactical, aspect.—IAN H. 1920.]

[Footnote 16: Lest anyone should imagine there is any privilege or secrecy attached to this document it may be well to explain that all the best passages came back to me from Melbourne in due course; often with marginal comment.—IAN H., 1920.]



The first landing of British troops at Cape Helles took place on 25th April, 1915. On arriving at that place during the first week in May, I found that heavy fighting had occurred without ceasing from the time of the disembarkation. Having come straight from the Headquarters Staff of the 2nd Army in France, where the question of artillery ammunition was a constant source of anxiety to all the higher commanders, I at once set to work to discover what reserves remained in the hands of G.H.Q. and what the daily expenditure had been since the landing. The greatest difficulty was experienced in obtaining figures of expenditure from the units, so constant had been the fighting, which still continued, and so great the casualties, and consequent confusion in reckoning expenditure. Yet, after some delay, sufficient information was obtained to enable me to demonstrate with certainty that, if such severe fighting continued, the Force would soon be in danger of losing their artillery support.

On the 4th May a cable was sent, I believe, to Lord Kitchener saying that ammunition was becoming a very serious matter owing to the ceaseless fighting; pointing out that 18 pr. shell were a vital necessity and that a supply promised by a certain ship (I believe the S.S. Funia) had not turned up. A day or two later, a cable was received by G.H.Q. saying munitions were never calculated on a basis of prolonged occupation of the Peninsula, and that the War Office would have to reconsider the whole position, if more was wanted. If I remember aright, the cable finished by saying, "It is important to push on." A few days later a cable was received saying the War Office would not give us more ammunition until we submitted a return of what was in hand. The compilation of that cut-and-dried return in the midst of a desperate battle was a distracting and never-to-be-forgotten effort, but there was no help for it: no return, no shells; that was the War Office order. The ammunition still in hand lay mostly in the holds of the ships at Mudros, 60 miles away, and did not lend themselves to easy counting; while the actual expenditure was, for reasons already given, an intricate problem indeed.

Continuous cables on the subject of ammunition passed during the next few days between G.H.Q. and the War Office, all of which passed through my hands and some of which I drafted for superior authority. I cannot remember their sequence and not always their purport, but I distinctly remember about the 10th or 11th May a cable being received from Lord Kitchener saying ammunition for Field Artillery was being pushed out via Marseilles. I think the figures given were about ten or twenty thousand rounds of 18-pr. and some one thousand rounds of 4.5 howitzer H.E., but I am not sure.

The fact that does remain indelibly impressed on my mind is that I am convinced from the cables that passed through my office that no provision had been made by the War Office to keep up a regular supply of artillery ammunition to the Dardanelles Expedition. The W.O. authority appeared to have given a bonus of ammunition when the Expedition sailed, and to have been somewhat taken aback and annoyed by the fact that a sure and continuous supply should afterwards be demanded.

On 29th May I left G.H.Q. on appointment as Brigadier-General to command all the artillery at Cape Helles, in which capacity I served till September, i.e. through all the big attacks and counter-attacks of June, July and August. In this capacity I was brought face to face with all the deficiencies in artillery materiel and ammunition, of which the following were the most important.

Although there was only one Battery of 4.5 and one Battery of 6-in. howitzers at Helles there was always an extreme deficiency of howitzer H.E. ammunition. So great was the shortage that immediately on taking up my command I found it necessary to issue a most stringent order that no howitzer on Cape Helles was ever to fire H.E. without my personal authority. When the Turks attacked, 18-prs. and 15-prs. were to support the Infantry with shrapnel; howitzers were only to be used with my personal permission and then were only to fire shrapnel. All howitzer H.E. was to be used exclusively for supporting British attacks by bombarding the Turkish trenches before and during such activities. Throughout the above months, constant appeals were made to me by Infantry Commanders to bombard the Turkish trenches with H.E. in order to retaliate for the loss our men had suffered from the Turkish guns using H.E. Such requests I had invariably to refuse.

There were fifty-six 18-prs. at Helles, when I assumed command on the 29th May, and subsequently they were increased to seventy-two at the end of July. Except for 640 rounds of H.E., which was fired off during the 4th June battle, no more H.E. arrived till the end of July.

Never during my command did the total number of rounds of 18-pr. ammunition at Helles ever reach 25,000. Before one of our attacks, with very careful previous husbanding, the total used perhaps to reach 19,000 to 23,000. The total amount I could therefore allot justifiably for the artillery preparation before an attack of our four British Infantry Divisions never exceeded 12,000 rounds; as from 6,000 to 7,000 must necessarily be kept in reserve to assist in beating off the determined hostile counter-attacks. As I remarked at the beginning of this paper, artillery ammunition was a constant anxiety to the higher commanders on the Western Front also, but never, I believe, had Infantry to attack with so little artillery support as the above. My position in France did not give me any inside knowledge of the details of artillery supply, but in one action at St. Eloi (near Ypres) on 14th or 15th February, in which only 27th Division was concerned, the artillery of this Division (so the C.R.A. informed me) alone fired 10,000 18-pr. rounds in one night. At a similar action at the same place by the same division about a month later the divisional artillery fired, I believe, a slightly larger amount. Again, at Neuve Chapelle, in February, 1915, each Division had its own divisional artillery and the ammunition expenditure worked out to 150 rounds per 18-pr. gun. These official figures were shown me a few days after the battle by the G.O.C., 2nd Army.

In comparing the ammunition expenditure of France in 1915 and in the Dardanelles, the enormous discrepancy in the number of 18-prs. per Division must be taken into account. Reckoning on the scale of the number of 18-prs. allotted to a British Division in France, we had at Helles little more than sufficient 18-prs. for one Division, yet with this number we had to give artillery support to four Divisions. As to the French artillery at Helles, they could always reckon on being able to expend 40,000 to 45,000 rounds when their two Divisions attacked.

The complete absence of H.E. was severely felt, as shrapnel were of little use for destroying trenches, machine gun emplacements, etc. Therefore, in each and every British attack, success was jeopardized and our infantry exposed to cruel losses, because, firstly, there was not sufficient ammunition to prepare their attack, and, secondly, there was no H.E. (except for howitzers) to destroy the machine guns in their emplacements. The latter, therefore, inflicted great losses on our Infantry in their advance.

Our unfortunate position did not escape the notice of the French, who used at times generously to place under my command some of their field guns and howitzers, but in the latter they were also lamentably deficient, and in ammunition they were, themselves, during May and early June, none too well provided, although towards July their reserves grew more sufficient. The British deficiency in ammunition, however, was so great, and created so much merriment among the French that they christened the British Artillery, "Un coup par piece"; with which term of endearment I was always personally greeted by the French Artillery General and his Staff, with all of whom I was great friends.

At the battle of 28th June the French were unable to spare us the howitzers or ammunition we begged of them. The failure of the gallant 156th Brigade of the 52nd Division to take the H.12 trenches was essentially due to lack of artillery ammunition, especially of H.E. Allowing for losses that must have been suffered under any condition, I believe that some 700 or 800 Scottish casualties were due to this cause. Before the action the Corps Commander sent for me to say that he did not consider that enough guns and ammunition had been allotted to this portion of the Turkish trenches. I replied that I agreed, but that there were no more available and that to reduce the bombardment of the hostile trenches on the left of our front would gravely prejudice the success of the 29th Division in that quarter and that I understood success there was more vital than on our right flank. After consultation with the G.O.C. 29th Division, the Corps Commander agreed with my allotment of the artillery. We then did our utmost to obtain the loan of more guns, howitzers or ammunition from the French without success and with the result that the attack was beaten off.

So successful had been the attack on our left with its capture of five successive lines of Turkish trenches that we had actually some ammunition to spare. In the afternoon it was agreed that there should be another attack on H.12, preceded by a very short but very intense bombardment from every gun and howitzer we possessed. All artillery arrangements for this were completed before 2.30 p.m., from which hour all the guns waited alert and ready for the Infantry to inform us of the hour they wished us to commence fire. I was in direct telephonic communication with the commander of the 52nd Division, having had a private wire laid on to his Headquarters the previous day. Suddenly, to my horror, I received a telephone message from my Artillery Group Commander, Colonel Stockdale, saying the Infantry were making the assault and that he had no time to do more than fire half a dozen shots!

In the attacks of 12th and 13th July, the French placed some thirty or forty guns and howitzers under British command, and on account of the shortage of British ammunition their guns undertook the whole of the artillery preparation, our artillery confining itself to covering fire during and after the Infantry advance. The counter-attacks were so violent and the calls for artillery support were so incessant that towards the afternoon of the 13th July the British gun ammunition began to get alarmingly low, until finally only about 5,000 rounds of 18-pr. ammunition, including all rounds in Battery charge, remained at Helles. The French were reluctant to supply further artillery support, fearing further attacks on themselves. This was the most anxious night I spent on the Peninsula—all but a limited number of rounds were withdrawn from most Batteries and were placed in horsed ammunition wagons, which perambulated from one side of the British position to the other according to where it seemed most likely the next Turkish attack would take place. These measures were successful and no Battery actually was left without one round at a critical moment, but the position throughout that night was a most dangerous one. Every hour a wire was sent to G.H.Q. giving expression to our crying needs, but there was next to nothing at Mudros, while desperate fighting still went on without a minute's respite. At 11 p.m. that night a trawler did, to the joy of every gunner, reach Helles with 3,000 rounds of 18-pr., but on the arrival of my Staff Officer to unload it, it was found that the fuses were of a new pattern never issued before and that the existing fuse keys would not adjust the fuses. As no new pattern fuse keys had been sent from home the Batteries had to manufacture their own, which was successfully accomplished after two days' delay.

During June two Batteries, and during July two more Batteries of 5-inch howitzers, manned by Territorials, arrived at Helles. During the last week of July the first two Batteries were sent to Anzac. Some of these howitzers were very old and worn by corrosion, and were consequently inaccurate.

The Gun History sheets of some of them showed they had been used at the Battle of Omdurman, seventeen years before, and had been in use ever since. After the big British attacks of 6th and 7th August, their ammunition began to run short. On demand about 500 or 700 rounds were sent up from Mudros—on arrival each shell was found to be of only 40 lb. weight, whereas former shells were of 50 lb. weight. Their fuses were also of new pattern, which existing fuse keys would not fit and, to crown all, no range tables had been sent for this new pattern of shell. In spite of continual letters and telegrams to the War Office, when I left Helles in September no new pattern fuse keys or range tables had ever arrived from England; consequently these shells remained stacked on the Peninsula while the Batteries only fired occasionally for want of ammunition!

On another occasion, when we were in the greatest straits for 15-pr. ammunition, many hundreds of rounds arrived at Helles, which on being landed were discovered by my Staff only to be suitable for the Ehrhardt R.H.A. guns in Egypt, no such guns being in the Dardanelles.

As for heavy artillery, practically speaking, there was none! Only one 6-inch Howitzer Battery (4 howitzers) and one 60-pr. Battery (4 guns) were in action at Helles up to July when four more guns of the latter calibre were landed. Unfortunately, however, the 60-prs. were of little use, as the recoil was too great for the carriages and the latter broke down beyond repair by our limited resources after very few rounds. At the beginning of August only one 60-pr. gun remained in action. Consequently, we had no heavy guns capable of replying to the Turkish heavy guns which enveloped us on three sides, and from whose fire our infantry and artillery suffered severely.

As to spare parts, spare guns and carriages, such luxuries were practically non-existent. No provision appears to have been made by the War Office to replace our guns or their parts, which became unserviceable through use or through damage by the hostile artillery. As the British were holding the lower slopes of the Achi Baba position, and as all our gun positions could be seen into by the Turks with powerful spectacles from their observation posts on the top of Achi Baba, our equipment suffered severely. During June and July one 6-inch howitzer and twenty-five 18-prs. (out of a total of seventy-two) as well as one or two 60-prs., were put out of action by direct hits from the hostile artillery. Such guns were withdrawn to the field workshops on "W" Beach, but as these workshops were exposed to the enemy's artillery fire from three sides, the guns were often further damaged while under repair. Damaged guns had sometimes to wait for days in this workshop until other guns had been damaged in a different place by the hostile artillery. Then possibly one efficient gun could be made up of the undamaged portions of one, two or more guns. Batteries often, therefore, remained for days short of guns on account of the lack of spare parts.

When I assumed command of the artillery at Helles, there were two Batteries of mountain guns (10-prs.) in action, but they were of a prehistoric pattern. In 1899 the Khedive of Egypt possessed in his Army, in which I was then serving, mountain guns which were more up-to-date in every respect. So inaccurate were these 10-prs. that they had to be placed close behind the front trenches lest they should hit our own Infantry, the result being a very heavy casualty list in officers and men amongst their Territorial personnel. Many of these lives could have been saved, had reasonable modern weapons been supplied. These obsolete old guns wore out so quickly that the two Batteries quickly melted into one Battery, and when they finally left Helles for Anzac at the end of July, I believe only 3 guns and their detachments were left in being.

As for anti-aircraft guns, they did not exist at all and the hostile aeroplanes used to fly over and drop bombs ad lib. without fear of molestation, the only saving clause being that the enemy appeared to possess almost as few aeroplanes as the British.

In no point of their equipment did the force at Helles suffer so much in comparison with their comrades in France as in the matter of aeroplanes which, at the Dardanelles, were hopelessly deficient not only in the numbers but also in quality. There were not sufficient pilots and there were no observers at all. Brave and efficient as the naval pilots were, they could not be expected to be of any use as artillery spotters unless they had been thoroughly trained for this important duty. This deficiency had to be made good at all costs by drafting young artillery subalterns from their Batteries and sending them to the Air Force, where their lack of training and experience in operation was at first severely felt, although later these lads did magnificent work. Thus Batteries were deprived of their trained subalterns just at the moment when the latter were most required on account of the severe casualties suffered in the landing and during the subsequent early operations. But few of the aeroplanes were fitted with wireless and the receivers on the ground could not take in messages over a distance longer than 5,000 yards. Consequently, each aeroplane had to return within this radius of the receiver, before its observation could be delivered, thus immensely curtailing the usefulness and efficiency of the aeroplane observation. Owing to the above conditions, aeroplanes could only be used for the counter-batteries firing on hostile artillery.

As regards trench mortars, the supply was hopelessly inadequate. I cannot give the exact figures, but I believe there were not a dozen at Helles during the whole period I was there, and these were of such an indifferent type as to be practically useless, and for this reason no one bothered about them. No provision appears to have been made for the supply of such necessities of trench warfare by the Home Authorities. This appears to be indefensible, as I believe very early in the operations their provision was specially asked for by G.H.Q. The absolute failure to supply such articles of vital necessity eventually led to the French C.-in-C. at Helles lending the British two demizel trench mortars and large quantities of ammunition. These were manned by artillery detachments, and by their magnificent work and the constant demand from the Infantry for their services, it was conclusively proved what an invaluable aid a sufficient supply of these weapons would have been.

From the very first it was apparent to me that the number of British guns at Helles was not sufficient to prepare and support simultaneous Infantry attacks of the whole British Force at this end of the Peninsula. In June I drew up a memorandum to G.H.Q. pointing this out and asking for a big increase of guns, howitzers and ammunition. What happened to this I cannot say. I only know that the guns and ammunition asked for never materialized.

The whole story of the artillery at Helles may be summed up in the following sentences: insufficiency of guns of every nature; insufficiency of ammunition of every nature, especially of H.E.; insufficient provision made by the Home Authorities for spare guns, spare carriages, spare parts, adequate repairing workshops, or for a regular daily, weekly or monthly supply of ammunition; guns provided often of an obsolete pattern and so badly worn by previous use as to be most inaccurate; lack of aeroplanes, trained observers and of all the requisites for air observation; total failure to produce the trench mortars and bombs to which the closeness of the opposing lines at Helles would have lent themselves well—in short, total lack of organization at home to provide even the most rudimentary and indispensable artillery requisites for daily consumption; not to speak of downright carelessness which resulted in wrong shells being sent to the wrong guns, and new types of fuses being sent without fuse keys and new types of howitzer shells without range tables. These serious faults provoked their own penalties in the shape of the heavy losses suffered by our Infantry and artillery, which might have been to a great measure averted if sufficient forethought and attention had been devoted to the "side-show" at the Dardanelles.

After commanding the starved artillery at Helles it was my good fortune to command the artillery of the 21st Army Corps at the third Battle of Gaza, in November, 1917, and also at the great Battle of 19th September, 1918, in which the Turks in Palestine were finally crushed, and I think it may add emphasis to what I have said if I contrast the artillery support of the two campaigns and show the results which ensued. On the night before the third Battle of Gaza, the artillery under my command (to support three Divisions) consisted of the following, viz.:—19-1/2 Batteries (i.e., 78 guns and howitzers) of heavy artillery, comprising 8-inch howitzers, 6-inch guns, 6-inch howitzers and 60-pr. guns—all of the most modern and up-to-date type.

The Field Artillery comprised 108 18-prs. and 36 4.5 howitzers while in addition there were 8 modern mountain howitzers and guns. There was not an artillery weapon in the whole Army Corps that was not efficient and up-to-date, while immediately behind the front line existed perfectly organized workshops capable of executing any repairs. There was ample provision of spare guns, carriages and parts, and an abundance of trench mortars which, though they would have changed the whole face of the Peninsula conflict, could not be used in Palestine owing to the breadth of No Man's Land. Ammunition for every nature of gun and howitzer was pressed upon us in profusion—over a thousand rounds per gun was buried and concealed near every Battery, while immediately behind the fighting line huge reserves were available for immediate use if required. At the advanced railhead, G.H.Q. literally built mountains of ammunition as a further supply; all this in addition to vast quantities stored in depots in Egypt and on the banks of the Suez Canal. So great was the superabundance of shell, that hundreds of tons were left lying on the ground after the nine days' Battle at Gaza; which it took months to remove. At the battle of the 19th September, 1918, in Palestine conditions were exactly the same. There was an absolute embarras de richesse of every artillery requisite. This wealth of artillery material was supported in Palestine by a full complement of artillery, aeroplanes, pilots and observers, the latter being all thoroughly trained and efficient. In addition, by a sufficiency of fighting aeroplanes with most efficient pilots, our artillery were adequately guarded from sunrise to sunset from any hostile aeroplane observation.

In short, our air supremacy was undisputed and absolutely protected our own artillery against damage and molestation from the hostile guns. On the other hand, the enemy's artillery lay at our mercy directly their gun positions were discovered.

The whole science of artillery and aeroplane co-operation had, of course, been vastly extended and perfected since Gallipoli days, but the point I wish to make is this: that in 1917 and 1918 the Palestine Front was fitted out on the same scale, proportionately, as the Western Front; whereas in 1915 this was not the case in the Dardanelles as regards artillery, for instance, only one Division (the 29th) at Helles having 18-pr. guns and the Naval Division having been given no artillery at all!

To put the matter shortly, whereas at Helles I had under my command no more than 88 to 95 guns and howitzers of all natures with scarcely any ammunition or aeroplanes to support four British Divisions; in Palestine at Gaza I had at least 230 guns and howitzers (one-third of which were of heavy calibre) with an abundance of ammunition and a sufficiency of aeroplanes to support the attack of one and a half Divisions, the remaining one and a half Divisions at Gaza being in reserve. At the battle of 19th September, 1918, in Palestine I had, to the best of my recollection, about 360 guns of all calibres to support four Divisions. The terrible casualties suffered by our Infantry at Helles are well known, and my feelings as Artillery Commander unable to give them anything like the support they would have had in France or Flanders may be guessed. But this was made up to me afterwards when I commanded the artillery at Gaza, that strong fortress which was captured by the 21st Army Corps, with certainly under 3,000 casualties and I believe with under 2,000 killed and wounded. At Gaza the Turks were simply crushed by our overwhelming artillery, fed from inexhaustible Ordnance parks and dumps. Before the Infantry attack commenced the position was subjected to a continuous bombardment night and day for six days and six nights from every available gun and howitzer. The Infantry then attacked and took a large portion of the position with a loss of, I believe, under 1,000 men. The Turks counter-attacked, but they melted away under the tremendous artillery barrage and never attempted another during this battle. Next night our Infantry tried to extend their conquest but the Turks had meanwhile brought up an old Gallipoli Division, the 7th, which held them at bay and inflicted upon them serious losses which, I believe, increased their casualties to between two and three thousand. The Corps Commander then decided to let the Infantry stand where they were, to submit the Turks to a further three days' and three nights' bombardment, at the end of which our Infantry advanced again only to find that the Turks were evacuating the whole of the Gaza position. After the Battle of 19th September, 1918, many Infantry commanders of Divisions, Brigades and Battalions have told me the Turks appeared crushed by the terrific artillery bombardment (under cover of which our men advanced) and offered a resistance which, in comparison with our experiences of Gallipoli, can only be called feeble.

The cardinal fact that remains in my mind is that in Palestine the 21st Army Corps always had enough (and more than enough) of every artillery requisite for whatever number of Divisions the Army Corps was composed of; whereas, in Gallipoli, the VIIIth Army Corps at Helles, which was composed of four British Divisions, never had enough Field Artillery or ammunition to support more than one Division, and never possessed sufficient heavy artillery to support more than one Infantry Brigade.

The material part of my statement ends here, and it only remains for me to remind you that all the grievous shortcomings I have exposed were actually made good by the heroism, devotion and sufferings of the Officers and men of the Artillery at Helles, both Regular, Territorial, Australian and New Zealand. Rest was impossible, as no Battery could ever be withdrawn from the line and all field Batteries were under rifle fire. If placed outside that range, they were destroyed by flanking fire from Turkish guns in Asia. No dug-outs were possible, as dug-outs were understood in France, as there was no timber or roofing for their construction. All ranks were thus exposed night and day to continuous fire, and were sometimes killed as they slept in their valises by stray bullets, thousands of which were fired unaimed every night by the Turks in the hopes of inflicting casualties; water for drinking and washing was almost as precious as guns and shells. The joys of a canteen, as was at that time supplied by the War Office to our Army in France, were unknown; bare rations washed down by a limited allowance of water were our only form of food; everyone suffered more or less from dysentery, spread by the millions of flies which settled on every mouthful we ate and made life almost insupportable by day. No Man's Land was one vast litter of unburied corpses. Yet no man's spirit ever wavered and all ranks remained as bright, as hopeful and as cheerful as on the day of the first great landing. If shells were scarce, complaints were non-existent; all were upheld by the wonderful religion of self-sacrifice. It will ever remain my greatest pride that I had the astonishing good fortune to be associated with such a body of officers and men; to them I owe a debt of gratitude that is beyond redemption, and to them alone is due the credit for any success which the artillery at Helles may have attained in what was one of England's greatest tragedies, but was also one of England's greatest glories.




During the early hours of 25th April, 1915, the 3rd Australian Infantry Brigade landed on Gallipoli Peninsula, close to Gaba Tepe, at a point now known as Anzac Beach, followed by other troops of 1st Australian Division and Australian and New Zealand Division.

Arrangements had been made for artillery to land about 10 a.m. on the same morning, but owing to delays in disembarkation of Infantry, and enemy shelling of transports necessitating ships temporarily leaving their allotted anchorage, it was after mid-day before the vessels carrying guns were actually in correct position for disembarkation.

I did not wait for the naval boats to come alongside, but after issuing necessary instructions to Battery Commanders concerning the landing of the guns, I disembarked in a ship's boat manned by a volunteer crew from my Brigade Ammunition Column, accompanied by two officers and sixteen men of my Headquarters' Staff.

Immediately on landing I reported to my C.R.A., and was by him informed that the Divisional Commander had decided no artillery should land during the day. This decision absolutely nonplussed me, and on asking the reason I was informed the position was not considered sufficiently secure to ensure the safety of guns, if emplaced. With this decision I did not agree and urged, without result, that the safety of guns was surely secondary to the proper supporting of the troops already committed.

In view of the above decision instructions were at once sent off to the ships ordering Colonel Johnstone, Commanding 2nd A.F.A. Brigade, and Major Hughes, acting for me in command of 3rd A.F.A. Brigade, to defer disembarkation of guns. Colonel Johnstone, however, by this time had one 18-pr. gun well on the way to the shore. Permission was given for it to be landed and it was brought into action close to the beach against guns at Gaba Tepe, undoubtedly temporarily silencing them.

In the meantime the Indian Mountain Battery attached to 1st Australian Division, which had landed early in the day, was in action doing splendid work though suffering severe casualties.

By the order of Colonel White, G.S.O. (1), 1st Australian Division, I spent the afternoon in collecting Infantry stragglers and getting them forward again to the firing line. At 5 p.m. I reported completion of this task and then proceeded to thoroughly reconnoitre the right flank, overlooking Gaba Tepe, which had seemed to me, from observations made from the ship, to be a suitable area for emplacing of guns.

I returned to Divisional Headquarters just before dark, and informed the C.R.A. and Divisional Commander that I had found suitable places for batteries and could use them effectively.

I had in my reconnaissance conferred with three Battalion Commanders (one of whom was killed a couple of days later), who were delighted to hear that the artillery they were so anxiously waiting for was to come up in support.

After much discussion and persuasion the Divisional Commander agreed to allow me to land two of my three 18-pr. batteries. This approval was shortly afterwards altered to permission to land two guns only, and finally all approval was cancelled, though no information of these decisions officially reached me.

During the night, in anticipation of early arrival of guns, my Headquarters personnel worked untiringly in preparing a track from the beach to the selected sites for guns, and it was not till 5.30 a.m. on 26th that I learned approval to land guns had been cancelled overnight.

During the morning of 26th April one gun of 1st Battery, 1st Brigade, and one gun of 4th Battery, 2nd Brigade, were landed, hauled up the steep hill to their positions, and came into action on the extreme right of ridge overlooking Gaba Tepe.

Later in the day the 7th Battery of my Brigade came into action on the same ridge and the single guns of 1st and 4th Batteries were withdrawn for return to their respective Brigades.

During the afternoon there also came ashore, apparently without order, two guns of 3rd Battery, 1st Brigade, and 8th Battery, 3rd Brigade, but were returned to their respective ships by the C.R.A.

My guns were placed absolutely in the Infantry front trenches, on the sky line, no troops of any kind being in advance of them. It would have been quite useless to take up positions behind the Infantry line in the normal way, owing to the configuration of the ground, for in such cases the lowest range at which the crest could be cleared was 3,000 yards, while our targets were from 500 to 1,000 yards distant. Indeed at night, shrapnel shell with fuse set at zero was frequently used.

Each gun fired during the 26th about 400 rounds, over open sights, and caused very heavy casualties to the enemy.

The whole battery covered a front of 187 deg., necessitating each gun being personally controlled by an officer and each with its own particular arc of fire.

The supply of ammunition was very difficult. It had to be delivered by hand to the guns over a bullet-swept area, the distance from the beach to the guns being about half a mile, while in this distance the hills rose 400 feet.

By the afternoon of the 3rd May, two guns of 8th Battery, 3rd Brigade, were in action, and 2nd Brigade also had guns in position on the left flank of 1st Australian Divisional Front.

The Australian and New Zealand Division also had 18-prs. in action together with two 4.5-inch Howitzer Batteries, the latter being the only howitzers available up to this time at Anzac.

I was wounded on 5th May, evacuated to Cairo, and did not rejoin my command at Anzac till 26th May. During this interval gun positions, as well as Infantry trenches, had been much improved, and the enemy country in our immediate front which, when I left on 5th May, gave no signs of life, was now well traversed by trenches.

I found in my sector that the guns of my Brigade were now all in action, and the remainder of the artillery of the Division was also emplaced.

About this time 6-inch howitzers were made available and later emplaced, one for left sector, one for the centre, and one for the right, but with very limited quantities of ammunition. Another 6-inch howitzer was landed on 17th June.

I had made continual urgent representations for two 4.7-inch guns for right flank to deal with innumerable targets beyond the range of 18-prs., but it was not till 11th July that one very old and much worn gun arrived, and was placed in position on right flank, firing its first round on 26th July.

On 24th June a Scottish Territorial Howitzer Battery (the 5th Battery, City of Glasgow Lowland Howitzer Brigade) arrived and came under my command.

On 14th July a heavy battery was organized for right flank, consisting of the two 6-inch howitzers and the 4.7-inch gun before mentioned, but ammunition was still very scarce.

On 15th July a 5-inch Howitzer Brigade under Colonel Hope Johnstone commenced to arrive and was complete in position by 18th July.

On 28th July the 4th Battery of Lowland Brigade arrived.

About this time some alterations were made in artillery dispositions and grouping in preparation for impending battle at Suvla Bay and Lone Pine, commencing on 6th August, and on 30th July the artillery of right sector under my command was as follows:—

3rd A.F.A. Brigade (18-prs.). Heavy Battery (two 6-inch howitzers and one 4.7-inch gun). 2 Mountain Guns. Two 5-inch Howitzer Batteries, Lowland Brigade. One 5-inch Howitzer Battery, 69th Brigade.

When leaving Australia in 1914 I had urged that a battery of 5-inch howitzers (which I commanded prior to the outbreak of war), together with stocks of ammunition held by Australia, should accompany 1st Australian Division. This was not approved. On arrival at Gallipoli Peninsula, when the need for howitzers was at once apparent, I again re-opened the question, particularly on the 29th May, when the C.R.A. agreed to press for them to be sent forward. The Divisional Commander, on 25th June, cabled Australia definitely asking for this battery, which was at once forwarded, but arrived at the Peninsula too late to be of any service.

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