In the afternoon d'Amade paid me a long visit. He was at first rather chilly and I soon found out it was on account of my having gone round his lines during his absence. He is quite right, and I was quite wrong, and I told him so frankly which made "all's well" in a moment. My only excuse, namely, that I had been invited—nay pressed—to do so by his own Chief of Staff, I thought it wiser to keep to myself. Yesterday evening he got a cable from his own War Ministry confirming K.'s cable to me about the new French Division; Numbered the 156th, it is to be commanded by Bailloud, a distinguished General who has held high office in Africa—seventy years old, but sharp as a needle. D'Amade is most grateful for the battalion of the Naval Division; most complimentary about the Officers and men and is dying to have another which is, evidemment, a real compliment. He promises if I will do so to ration them on the best of French conserves and wine. The fact is, that the proportion of white men in the French Division is low; there are too many Senegalese. The battalion from the Naval Division gives, therefore, greater value to the whole force by being placed on the French right than by any other use I can put it to although it does seem strange to separate a small British unit by the entire French front from its own comrades.
When d'Amade had done, de Robeck came along. No one on the Q.E. slept much last night: to them, as to us, the dark hours had passed like one nightmare after another. Were we miles back from the trenches as in France, and frankly dependent on our telephones, the strain would be softened by distance. Here we see the flashes; we hear the shots; we stand in our main battery and are yet quite cut off from sharing the efforts of our comrades. Too near for reflection; too far for intervention: on tenter hooks, in fact; a sort of mental crucifixion.
Cox is not going to take his Punjabi Mahommedans into the fighting area but will leave them on "W" Beach. He says if we were sweeping on victoriously he would take them on but that, as things are, it would not be fair to them to do so. That is exactly why I asked K. and Fitz for a Brigade of Gurkhas; not a mixed Brigade.
3rd May, 1915. H.M.T. "Arcadian." At 9 p.m. last night there was another furious outburst of fire; mainly from the French. 75's and rifles vied against one another in making the most infernal fracas. I thought we were in for an encore performance, but gradually the uproar died away, and by midnight all was quiet. The Turks had made another effort against our right, but they could not penetrate the rampart of living fire built up against them and none got within charging distance of our trenches, so d'Amade 'phones. He also says that a mass of Turkish reserves were suddenly picked up by the French searchlights and the 75's were into them like a knife, slicing and slashing the serried ranks to pieces before they had time to scatter.
Birdie boarded us at 9 a.m. and told us his troubles. He has straightened out his line on the left; after a fierce fight which has cost him no less than 700 fresh casualties. But he feels safer now and is pretty happy! he is sure he can hold his own against anything except thirst. His band-o-bast for taking water up to the higher trenches is not working well, and the springs he has struck along the beach and in the lower gullies are brakish. We are going to try and fix this up for him.
At 10 o'clock went ashore with Braithwaite and paid visits to Hunter-Weston and to d'Amade. We had a conference with each of them, Generals and Staff who could be spared from the fighting being present. The feeling is hopeful if only we had more men and especially drafts to fill up our weakened battalions. The shell question is serious although, in this respect, thank Heavens, the French are quite well found. When we got back to the ship, heard a Taube had just been over and dropped a bomb, which fell exactly between the Arcadian and the ammunition ship, anchored only about 60 or 70 yards off us!
4th May, 1915. H.M.T. "Arcadian." Last night again there was all sorts of firing and fighting going on, throughout those hours peaceful citizens ear-mark for sleep. I had one or two absolutely hair-raising messages. Not only were the French troops broken but the 29th Division were falling back into the sea. Though frightened to death, I refused to part with my reserve and made ready to go and take command of it at break of dawn. In the end the French and Hunter-Weston beat off the enemy by themselves. But there is no doubt that some of the French, and two Battalions of our own, are badly shaken,—no wonder! Both Hunter-Weston and d'Amade came on board in the forenoon, Hunter-Weston quite fixed that his men are strained to breaking point and d'Amade emphatic that his men will not carry on through another night unless they get relief. To me fell the unenviable duty of reconciling two contrary persuasions. Much argument as to where the enemy was making his main push; as to the numbers of our own rifles (French and English) and the yards of trenches each (French and English) have to hold. I decided after anxious searching of heart to help the French by taking over some portion of their line with the Naval Brigade. There was no help for it. Hunter-Weston agreed in the end with a very good grace.
In writing K. I try to convey the truth in terms which will neither give him needless anxiety or undue confidence. The facts have been stated very simply, plus one brief general comment. I tell him that the Turks would be playing our game by these assaults were it not that in the French section they break through the Senegalese and penetrate into the position. I add a word of special praise for the Naval Division, they have done so well, but I know there are people in the War Office who won't like to hear it. I say, "I hope the new French Division will not steam at economic, but full, speed"; and I sum up by the sentence, "The times are anxious, but I believe the enemy's cohesion should suffer more than ours by these repeated night attacks."
To-day, the 4th, shells were falling from Asia on both "V" and "W" Beaches. We have landed aeroplanes on the Peninsula. The Taube has been bothering us again, but wound up its manoeuvres very decently by killing some fish for our dinner. Approved an out-spoken cable from my Ordnance to the War Office. Heaven knows we have been close-fisted with our meagre stocks, but when the Turks are coming right on to the assault it is not possible to prevent a spurt of rapid fire from men who feel the knife at their throat. "Ammunition is becoming a very serious matter, owing to the ceaseless fighting since April 25th. The Junia has not turned up and has but a small supply when she does. 18 pr. shell is vital necessity."
5th May, 1915. H.M.T. "Arcadian." A wearing, nerve-racking, night-long fire by the Turks and the French 75's. They, at least, both of them, seem to have a good supply of shell. To the Jews, God showed Himself once as a pillar of fire by night; to the French soldier whose God is the 75 He reveals Himself in just the same way, safeguarding his flimsy trenches from the impact of the infidel horde. The curse of the method is its noise—let alone its cost. But last night it came off: no Turks got through anywhere on the French front and the men had not to stand to their arms or use their rifles. We British, worse luck, can't dream of these orgies of explosives. Our batteries last night did not fire a shot and the men had to drive back the enemy by rifle fire. They did it easily enough but the process is wearing.
An answer has come to my prayer for 18 pr. stuff: not the answer that turns away wrath, but the answer that provokes a plaster saint.
"We have under consideration your telegram of yesterday. The ammunition supply for your force, however, was never calculated on the basis of a prolonged occupation of the Gallipoli Peninsula, we will have to reconsider the position if, after the arrival of the reinforcements now on their way out to you, the enemy cannot be driven back and, in conjunction with the Fleet, the Forts barring the passage of the Dardanelles cannot be reduced. It is important to push on."
Now von Donop is a kindly man despite that overbearing "von": yet, he speaks to us like this! The survivors of our half dead force are to "push on"; for, "it is important to push on" although Whitehall seems to have time and to spare to "consider" my cable and to "reconsider the position." Death first, diagnosis afterwards. Wherever is the use of reconsidering the position now? The position has taken charge. When a man has jumped off Westminster Bridge to save a drowning Russian his position has got beyond reconsideration: there is only one thing to do—as quickly as you can, as much help as you can—and if it comes to a choice between the quick and the much: hark to your swimmer and hear him cry "Quick! Quick!! Quick!!!"
The War Office urge me to throw my brave troops yet once more against machine guns in redoubts; to do it on the cheap; to do it without asking for the shell that gives the attack a sporting chance. I don't say they are wrong in so saying; there may be no other way out of it; but I do say the War Office stand convicted of having gone hopelessly wrong in their estimates and preparations. For we must have been held up somewhere, surely; we must have fought somewhere. I suppose, even if we had forced the Straits—even if we had taken Constantinople without firing a shot, we must have fought somewhere! Otherwise, a child's box of tin soldiers sent by post would have been just the thing for the Dardanelles landing! No; it's not the advice that riles me: it's the fact that people who have made a mistake, and should be sorry, slur over my appeal for the stuff advances are made of and yet continue to urge us on as if we were hanging back.
A strong wind blows and Helles is smothered in dust. Hunter-Weston spent an hour with me this morning and an hour with the G.S. putting the final touches to the plan of attack discussed by us yesterday. The Lancashire Brigade of the 42nd Division has landed.
Hunter-Bunter stayed to lunch.
Later. In the afternoon went ashore and inspected the Lancashire Brigade of the East Lancs. Division just landed; and a very fine lot of Officers and men they are. They are keen and ready for to-morrow. Yes, to-morrow we attack again: I have men enough now but very, very little shell. The Turks have given us three bad nights and they ought to be worn out. With our sea power we can shift a couple of Brigades from Gaba Tepe to Helles or vice versa quicker than the Turks can march from the one theatre to the other. So the first question has been whether to reinforce Gaba Tepe from Helles or vice versa. For reasons too long to write here I have decided to attack in the South especially as I had a cable from K. himself yesterday in which he makes the suggestion:—
"I hope," he says, "the 5th" (that's to-day) "will see you strong enough to press on to Achi Baba anyway, as delay will allow the Turks to bring up more reinforcements and to make unpleasant preparations for your reception. The Australians and New Zealanders will have had reinforcements from Egypt by then, and, if they hold on to their trenches with the help of the Naval Division, could spare you a good many men for the advance."
Old K. is as right as rain here but a little bit after the shower. Had he and Maxwell tumbled to the real situation when I first saw with my own eyes the lie of the land instead of the lies on their maps; and had they let me have the Brigade of Gurkhas I asked for by my letters and by my cable of 24th March, and by word of mouth and telephone up to the last moment of my leaving Egypt, these homilies about the urgency of seizing Achi Baba would be beside the mark, seeing we should be sitting on the top of it.
In the matter of giving K. is built on the model of Pharaoh: nothing less than the firstborn of the nation will make him suffer his subjects to depart from Egypt; and Maxwell sees eye to eye with him—that is natural. No word of the bombs and trench mortars I asked for six weeks ago, but the "bayonets" are coming in liberally now.
Two of Birdwood's Brigades sail down to-night and join up with a Brigade from the Naval Division, thus making a new composite Division for the Southern theatre. The 29th, who have lost so very heavily, are being strengthened by the new Lancashire Fusilier Brigade, and Cox's Indian Brigade. By no manner the same thing, this, as getting drafts to fill up the ranks of the 29th. Always in war there is three times better value in filling up an old formation than in making up the total by bringing in a new formation. I have given the French the Naval Brigade; the new, Naval-Australian Division is to form my general reserve.
So there! To-morrow morning. We have men enough, and good men too, but we are short of pebbles for Goliath of Achi Baba. These three nights have made a big hole in our stocks. Hunter-Weston feels that all is in our favour but the artillery. In Flanders, he says, they would never attack with empty limbers behind them; they would wait till they were full up. But the West is not in its essence a time problem; there, they can wait—next week—next month. If we wait one week the Turks will have become twice as strong in their numbers, and twice as deep in their trenches, as they are to-day. Hunter-Weston and d'Amade see that perfectly. I hold the idea myself that it would be good tactics, seeing shell shortage is our weakness, to make use of the half hour before dawn to close with the enemy and then fight it out on their ground. To cross the danger zone, in fact, by night and overthrow the enemy in the grey dawn. But Hunter-Weston says that so many regimental officers have been lost he fears for the Company leading at night:—for that, most searching of military tests, nothing but the best will do.
Hard up as we are for shell he thinks it best to blaze it away freely before closing and to trust our bayonets when we get in. He and d'Amade have both of them their Western experience to guide them. I have agreed, subject only to the condition that we must keep some munitions in reserve until we hear for certain that more is on its way.
The enemy had trusted to their shore defences. There was no second line behind them—not this side of Achi Baba, at least. Now, i.e., ever since the failure of their grand attempt on the night of the 2nd-3rd May, they have been hard at work. Already their lines cover quite half the ground between the Aegean and the Straits; whilst, in rear again, we can see wired patches which we guess to be enfilading machine gun redoubts. We must resolutely and at all cost make progress and smash up these new spiders' webs of steel before they connect into elastic but unbreakable patterns.
9th May, 1915. H.M.T. "Arcadian." Three days on the rack! Since the morning of the 6th not a word have I written barring one or two letters and one or two hasty scraps of cables. Now, D.V., there is the best part of a day at my disposal and it is worth an effort to put that story down.
First I had better fix the sequence of the munition cables, for upon them the whole attack has hung—or rather, hung fire.
On the 6th, the evening of the opening day, we received a postscript to the refusal already chronicled:—
"Until you can submit a return of the amount you have in hand to enable us to work out the rates of expenditure, it is difficult to decide about further supplies of ammunition."
When I read this I fell on my knees and prayed God to grant me patience. Am I to check the number of rounds in the limbers; on the beaches and in transit during a battle? Two days after my S.O.S. the War Office begin to think about tables of averages!
I directed my answer to Lord K. himself:—
"With reference to your No. 4432 of 5th inst., please turn to my letter to you of 30th March, wherein I have laid stress on the essential difference in the matter of ammunition supply between the Dardanelles and France. In France, where the factories are within 24 hours' distance from the firing line, it may be feasible to consider and reconsider situations, including ammunition supply. Here we are distant a fortnight. I consider that 4.5 inch, 18 pr. and other ammunition, especially Mark VII rifle ammunition, should instantly be despatched here via Marseilles.
"Battle in progress. Advance being held up by stubborn opposition."
Within a few hours K.'s reply came in; he says:—
"It is difficult for me to judge the situation unless you can send me your expenditure of ammunition for which we have repeatedly asked. The question is not affected by the other considerations you mention." If space and time have no bearing on strategy and tactics, then K. is right. If ships sail over the sea as fast as railways run across the land; if Helles is nearer Woolwich than Calais; then he is right. I use the capital K. here impersonally, for I am sure the great man did not indite the message himself even though it may be headed from him to me.
Late that night came another cable from the Master General of the Ordnance saying he was sending out "in the next relief ship 10,000 rounds of 18 pr. shrapnel, and 1,000 rounds of 4.5 inch high explosive."
But why the next relief ship? It won't get here for another three weeks and by that time we should be, by all the laws of nature and of war, in Davy Jones's locker. True, we don't mean to be, whatever the Ordnance may do or leave undone but, so far as I can see, that won't be their fault. Neither I nor my Staff can make head or tail of these cables. They seem so unlike K.; so unlike all the people. Here we are:—The Turks in front of us—too close: the deep sea behind us—too close. We beg them "instantly" to send us 4.5 inch and other ammunition; "instantly, via Marseilles":—they tell us in reply that they will send 1,000 rounds of the vital stuff, the 4.5 high explosive, "in the next relief ship"!
Why, even in the South African War, before the siege of Ladysmith, one battery would fire five hundred rounds in a day. And this 1,000 rounds in the next relief ship (via Alexandria) will take three weeks to get to us whereas stress was laid by me upon the Marseilles route.
Now, to-day, (the 9th), I have at last been able to send the Ordnance a statement (made under extreme difficulty) of our ammunition expenditure; up to the 5th May; i.e., before the three days' battle began. We were then nine million small arm still to the good having spent eleven million. We had shot away 23,000 shrapnel, 18 pr., and had 48,000 in hand. We had fired off 5,000 of that (most vital) 4.5 howitzer and had 1,800 remaining. A.P.S. has been added saying the amounts shown had been greatly reduced by the last two days' battle. Actually, they have fallen to less than half and, as I have said, we had, on the evening of the 7th, only 17,000 rounds of 18 pr. on hand for the whole Peninsula. Out of this we have fought the battle of the 8th and I believe we have run down now to under 10,000, some fear as low as 5,000.
Very well. Now for my last night's cable which, in the opinion of my Officers, summarises general result of lack of shell:—
"For the past three days we have fought our hardest for Achi Baba winding up with a bayonet charge by the whole force along the entire front, from sea to sea. Faced by a heavy artillery, machine gun and rifle fire our troops, French and British alike, made a fine effort; the French especially got well into the Turks with the bayonet, and all along, excepting on our extreme left, our line gained ground. I might represent the battle as a victory, as the enemy's advanced positions were driven in, but essentially the result has been failure, as the main object remains unachieved. The fortifications and their machine guns were too scientific and too strongly held to be rushed, although I had every available man in to-day. Our troops have done all that flesh and blood can do against semi-permanent works, and they are not able to carry them. More and more munitions will be needed to do so. I fear this is a very unpalatable conclusion, but I see no way out of it.
"I estimate that the Turks had about 40,000 opposed to our 25,000 rifles. There are 20,000 more in front of Australian-New Zealand Army Corps' 12,000 rifles at Gaba Tepe. By bringing men over from the Asiatic side and from Adrianople the Turks seem to be able to keep up their strength. I have only one more brigade of the Lancashire Territorial Division to come; not enough to make any real effect upon the situation as regards breaking through."
Hard must be the heart that is not wrung to think of all these brave boys making their effort; giving their lives; all that they had; it is too much; almost more than can be borne.
Now to go back and make my notes, day by day, of the battle:—
On the 6th instant we began at 11.30 after half an hour's bombardment,—we dared not run to more. A strong wind was blowing and it was hard to land or come aboard. Till 2 p.m. I remained glued to the telephone on board and then went ashore and saw both Hunter-Weston and d'Amade in their posts of command. The live long day there were furious semi-detached fights by Battalions and Brigades, and we butted back the enemy for some 200 or 300 yards. So far so good. But we did not capture any of the main Turkish trenches. I still think we might have done as well at much less cost by creeping up these 200 or 300 yards by night.
At 4.30 we dropped our high-vaulting Achi Baba aspirations and took to our spades.
The Hood Battalion of the Royal Naval Division had been roughly handled. In the hospital clearing tent by the beach I saw and spoke to (amongst many others) young Asquith, shot through the knee, and Commander Wedgwood, who had been horribly hurt by shrapnel. Each in his own way was a calm hero; wrapped in the mantle bequeathed to English soldiers by Sir Philip Sidney. Coming back in the evening to the ship we watched the Manchester Brigade disembarking. I have never seen a better looking lot. The 6th Battalion would serve very well as picked specimens of our race; not so much in height or physique, but in the impression they gave of purity of race and distinction. Here are the best the old country can produce; the hope of the progress of the British ideal in the world; and half of them are going to swap lives with Turks whose relative value to the well-being of humanity is to theirs as is a locust to a honey-bee.
That night Bailloud, Commander of the new French Division, came to make his salaam. He is small, alert, brimful of jokes and of years; seventy they say, but he neither looks it nor acts it.
The 7th was stormy and the sea dangerously rough. At 10 a.m. the Lancashire Fusilier Brigade were to lead off on our left. They could not get a move on, it seemed, although we had hoped that the shelling from the ships would have swept a clear lane for them.
The thought that "Y" Beach, which was holding up this brigade, was once in our hands, adds its sting to other reports coming from that part of the field. In France these reports would have been impersonal messages arriving from afar. In Asia or Africa I would have been letting off the steam by galloping to d'Amade or Hunter-Weston. Here I was neither one thing nor the other:—neither a new fangled Commander sitting cool and semi-detached in an office; nor an old fashioned Commander taking personal direction of the show. During so long drawn out a suspense I tried to ease the tension by dictation. From the carbons I select these two paragraphs: they occur in a letter fired off to Colonel Clive Wigram at "11.25 a.m., 7th May, 1915."
"I broke off there because I got a telephone message in from Hunter-Weston to say his centre was advancing, and that by a pretty piece of co-operation between Infantry and Artillery, he had driven the Turks out of one very troublesome trench. He cannot see what is on his left, or get any message from them. On his left are the Lancashire Fusiliers (Territorials). They are faced by a horrid redoubt held by machine guns, and they are to rush it with the bayonet. It is a high thing to ask of Territorials but against an enemy who is fighting for his life, and for the existence of his country, we have to call upon every one for efforts which, under any other conditions, might be considered beyond their strength.
"Were we still faced by the Divisions which originally held the Gallipoli Peninsula we would by now, I firmly believe, be in possession of the Kilid Bahr plateau. But every day a regiment or two dribble into Gallipoli, either from Asia or from Constantinople, and in the last two days an entire fresh Division has (we have heard) arrived from Adrianople, and is fighting against us this morning. The smallest demonstration on the part of Bulgaria would, I presume, have prevented this big reinforcement of fresh troops reaching the enemy, but it seems beyond the resources of diplomacy to get anyone to create a diversion."
At 4.30 I ordered a general assault; the 88th Brigade to be thrown in on the top of the 87th; the New Zealand Brigade in support; the French to conform. Our gunners had put more than they could afford into the bombardment and had very little wherewith to pave the way.
By the 4th instant I had seen danger-point drawing near and now it was on us. Five hundred more rounds of howitzer 4.5 and aeroplanes to spot whilst we wiped out the machine guns; that was the burden of my prayer. Still, we did what we could and for a quarter of an hour the whole of the Turkish front was wreathed in smoke, but these were naval shells or 18 pr shrapnel; we have no 18 pr high explosive and neither naval shells nor shrapnel are very much good once the targets have got underground. On our left no move forward. Elsewhere our wonderful Infantry fought like fresh formations. In face of a tempest of shot and shell and of a desperate resistance by the Turks, who stuck it out very bravely to the last, they carried and held the first line enemy trenches. At night several counter-attacks were delivered, in every case repulsed with heavy loss.
We are now on our last legs. The beautiful Battalions of the 25th April are wasted skeletons now; shadows of what they had been. The thought of the river of blood, against which I painfully made my way when I met these multitudes of wounded coming down to the shore, was unnerving. But every soldier has to fight down these pitiful sensations: the enemy may be harder hit than he: if we do not push them further back the beaches will become untenable. To overdrive the willingest troops any General ever had under his command is a sin—but we must go on fighting to-morrow!
On Saturday, the 8th, I went ashore and by 9.30 had taken up my quarters in a little gully between "W" and "X" Beaches within 60 yards of the Headquarters of the Royal Naval Division. There I was in direct telephonic touch with both Hunter-Weston and d'Amade. The storm had abated and the day was fine. Our troops had now been fighting for two days and two nights but there were messages in from the front telling us they were keen as ever to get something solid for their efforts. The Lancashire Fusiliers Brigade had been withdrawn into reserve, and under my orders the New Zealand Brigade was to advance through the line taken up during the night by the 88th Brigade and attack Krithia. The 87th Brigade were to try and gain ground over that wicked piece of moorland to the West of the great ravine which—since the days when it was in the hands of the troops who landed at "Y"—has hopelessly held up our left. Every gun-shot fired gives me a pain in my heart and adds to the deadly anxiety I feel about our ammunition. We have only one thousand rounds of 4.5 H.E. left and we dare not use any more. The 18 pr shrapnel is running down, down, down to its terminus, for we must try and keep 10,000 rounds in hand for defence. The French have still got enough to cover their own attacks. The ships began to fire at 10.15 and after a quarter of an hour the flower of New Zealand advanced in open order to the attack. After the most desperate hand to hand fighting, often by sections or sometimes by groups of half a dozen men, we gained slowly, very slowly, perhaps a couple of hundred yards. There was an opinion in some quarters that we had done all we could, but I resolved firmly to make one more attempt. At 4 o'clock I issued orders that the whole line, reinforced by the Australians, should on the stroke of 5.30 fix bayonets and storm Krithia and Achi Baba. At 5.15 the men-of-war went at it hot and strong with their big guns and fifteen minutes later the hour glass of eternity dropped a tiny grain labelled 5.30 p.m. 8.5.1915 into the lap of time.
As that moment befell, the wide plain before us became alive. Bayonets sparkled all over the wide plain. Under our glasses this vague movement took form and human shape: men rose, fell, ran, rushed on in waves, broke, recoiled, crumbled away and disappeared.
At the speed of the minute hand of a watch the left of our line crept forward.
On the right, at first nothing. Then suddenly, in the twinkling of an eye, the whole of the Northern slopes of the Kereves Dere Ravine was covered by bright coloured irregular surging crowds, moving in quite another way to the khaki-clad figures on their left:—one moment pouring over the debatable ground like a torrent, anon twisted and turning and flying like multitudes of dead leaves before the pestilent breath of the howitzers. No living man has ever seen so strange a vision as this: in its disarray; in its rushing to and fro; in the martial music, shouts and evolutions!
My glasses shook as I looked, though I believe I seemed very calm. It seemed; it truly seemed as if the tide of blue, grey, scarlet specks was submerging the enemy's strongholds. A thousand of them converged and rushed the redoubt at the head of the Kereves Dere. A few seconds later into it—one! two!! three!!! fell from the clouds the Turkish six inchers. Where the redoubt had been a huge column of smoke arose as from the crater of a volcano. Then fast and furious the enemy guns opened on us. For the first time they showed their full force of fire. Again, the big howitzers led the infernal orchestra pitting the face of no man's land with jet black blotches. The puppet figures we watched began to waver; the Senegalese were torn and scattered. Once more these huge explosions unloading their cargoes of midnight on to the evening gloom. All along the Zouaves and Senegalese gave way. Another surge forward and bayonets crossed with the Turks: yet a few moments of tension and back they fell to their trenches followed by salvo upon salvo of shell bursts. Night slid down into the smoke. The last thing—against the skyline—a little column of French soldiers of the line charging back upwards towards the lost redoubt. After that—darkness!
The battle is over. Both sides have fought with every atom of energy they possessed. The heat is oppressive. A heavy mail from England. On shore all quiet. A young wounded Officer of the 29th Division said it was worth ten years of tennis to see the Australians and New Zealanders go in. Began writing at daylight and now it is midnight. No word yet of the naval offer to go through.
Issued a special order to the troops. They deserve everything that anyone can give them in this world and the next.
GENERAL HEADQUARTERS, 9th May, 1915.
"Sir Ian Hamilton wishes the troops of the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force to be informed that in all his past experiences, which include the hard struggles of the Russo-Japanese campaign, he has never seen more devoted gallantry displayed than that which has characterised their efforts during the past three days. He has informed Lord Kitchener by cable of the bravery and endurance displayed by all ranks here and has asked that the necessary reinforcements be forthwith dispatched. Meanwhile, the remainder of the East Lancashire Division is disembarking and will henceforth be available to help us to make good and improve upon the positions we have so hardly won."
10th May, 1915. H.M.T. "Arcadian." Fell asleep last night thinking of Admirals, Commodores and men-o'-war and of how they might, within the next forty-eight hours, put another complexion upon our prospects. So it seemed quite natural when, the first thing in the morning, a cable came in with the tea asking me whether I have been consulting de Robeck as to "the future operations that will be necessary." K. adds, "I hope you and the Admiral will be able to devise some means of clearing a passage."
Have just cabled back "Every day I have consultations with the Admiral": I cannot say more than this as I am not supposed to know anything about de Robeck's cable as to the "means of clearing a passage" which went, I believe, yesterday. No doubt it lay before K. when he wired me. I have not been shown the cable; I have not been consulted about it, nor, I believe, has Braithwaite, but I do happen to be aware of its drift.
Without embarking on another endless yarn let me note the fact that there are two schools amongst our brethren afloat. Roger Keyes and those of the younger school who sport the executive curl upon their sleeves are convinced that now, when we have replaced the ramshackle old trawlers of 18th March by an unprecedented mine-sweeping service of 20-knot destroyers under disciplined crews, the forcing of the Straits has become as easy ... well; anyway; easier than what we soldiers tried to do on Saturday. Upon these fire-eaters de Robeck has hitherto thrown cold water. He thought, as we thought, that the Army would save his ships. But our last battle has shown him that the Army would only open the Straits at a cost greater than the loss of ships, and that the time has come to strike home with the tremendous mechanism of the Fleet. On that basis he quickly came to terms with the views of his thrusting lieutenants.
On two reservations, he still insisted: (1) he was not going to deprive me of the close tactical support of his battleships if there was the least apprehension we might be "done in" in his absence. (2) He was not going to risk his ships amongst the mines unless we were sure, if he did get through, we could follow on after him by land.
On both issues there was, to my thinking, no question:—(1) Although we cannot push through "under present conditions without more and more ammunition," vide my cable of yesterday, all the Turks in Asia will not shift us from where we stand even if we have not one battleship to back us.
(2) If the ships force the Straits, beyond doubt, we can starve out the Turks; scupper the Forts and hold the Bulair lines.
We know enough now about the communications and reserves of food and munitions of the Turks to be positively certain they cannot stick it on the Peninsula if they are cut off from sea communication with Asia and with Constantinople. Within a fortnight they will begin to run short; we are all agreed there.
So now, (i.e., yesterday) the Admiral has cabled offering to go through, and "now" is the moment of all others to let Lord K. clearly face the alternative to that proposal. So I have said (in the same cable in which I answer his question about consultations with the Admiral) "If you could only spare me two fresh Divisions organized as a Corps I could push on with great hopes of success both from Helles and Gaba Tepe; otherwise I am afraid we shall degenerate into trench warfare with its resultant slowness."
Birdie ran down from Anzac and breakfasted. He brings news of an A.1 affair. Two of his Battalions, the 15th and 16th Australians, stormed three rows of Turkish trenches with the bayonet, and then sat down in them. At dawn to-day the enemy counter-attacked in overwhelming strength. The healthy part of the story lies herein, that our field guns were standing by in action, and as the enemy came on they let them have it hot with shrapnel over a space of 300 yards. Terrible as this fire was, it failed to beat off the Turks. They retook the trenches, but they have paid far more than their price, for Birdwood assures me that their corpses lie piled up so thick one on top of the other that our snipers can take cover behind them.
A curious incident: during the night a Fleet-sweeper tied up alongside, full of wounded, chiefly Australians. They had been sent off from the beach; had been hawked about from ship to ship and every ship they hailed had the same reply—"full up"—until, in the end, they received orders to return to the shore and disembark their wounded to wait there until next day. The Officers, amongst them an Australian Brigadier of my acquaintance, protested; and so, the Fleet-sweeper crew, not knowing what to do, came and lashed on to us. No one told me anything of this last night, but the ship's Captain and his Officers and my own Staff Officers have been up on watches serving out soup, etc., and tending these wounded to the best of their power. As soon as I heard what had happened I first signalled the hospital ship Guildford Castle to prepare to take the men in (she had just cast anchor); then I went on board the Fleet-sweeper myself and told the wounded how sorry I was for the delay in getting them to bed. They declared one and all they had been very well done but "the boys" never complain; my A.G. is the responsible official; I have told him the band-o-bast has been bad; also that a Court of Enquiry must be called to adjudicate on the whole matter.
Were an example to be sought of the almighty influence of "Time" none better could be found than in the fact that, to-day, I have almost forgotten to chronicle a passage in K.'s cable aforesaid that might well have been worth the world and the glories thereof only forty-eight short hours ago. K. says, "More ammunition is being pushed out to you via Marseilles." I am glad. I am deeply grateful. Our anxieties will be lessened, but that same message, had it only reached us on Saturday morning, would have enabled us to fire 5,000 more shrapnel and 500 more 4.5 howitzer H.E. to cover our last assault!
TWO CORPS OR AN ALLY?
11th May, 1915. H.M.T. "Arcadian." Day dull and overcast. Vice-Admiral came over to see me in the morning. Neither of us has had a reply to his cable; instead, he has been told two enemy submarines are on their way to pay us a visit. The approach of these mechanical monsters opens up vistas thronged with shadowy forebodings. De Robeck begs me to set his mind at ease by landing with my Staff forthwith. Have sent Officers to survey the ground between Helles and Sedd-el-Bahr and to see if they can find room for us. We would all rather be on shore than board ship, but Helles and "V" Beaches are already overcrowded, and we should be squeezed in cheek by jowl, within a few hundred yards of the two Divisional Headquarters Staffs.
12th May, 1915. H.M.T. "Arcadian." Raining hard. Busy all morning. A cable from Lord K. to say he is sending out the Lowland Division. We are all as pleased as Punch! especially (so Braithwaite tells me) Roger Keyes who looks on this as a good omen for the naval attack proposals. Had he not meant the Fleet to shove in K. must have made some reference to the second Division, surely. Have cabled back at once to K. giving him warmest thanks and begging him to look, personally, into the question of the command of the coming Division. Have begged him to take Leslie Rundle's opinion on the point and have pressed it by saying, "Imperturbable calm in the Commander is essential above all things in these operations." Most of the troop transports have left their anchorage and gone back to Mudros for fear of submarines.
Went ashore at 3 o'clock. Saw Hunter-Weston and then inspected the 29th Division just in from the firing line. The ground was heavy and sloppy after the rain. I walked as far as the trenches of the 86th Brigade and saw amongst other Corps the Essex, Hants, Lancashire Fusiliers and 5th Royal Scots. Spent over an hour chatting to groups of Officers and men who looked like earth to earth, caked as they were with mud, haggard with lack of sleep, pale as the dead, many of them slightly wounded and bandaged, hand or head, their clothes blood-stained, their eyes blood-shot. Who could have believed that only a fortnight ago these same figures were clean as new pins; smart and well-liking! Two-thirds of each Battalion were sound asleep in pools of mud and water—like corpses half buried! This sounds horrible but the hearty welcome extended to us by all ranks and the pride they took in their achievements was a sublime triumph of mind over matter. Our voluntary service regulars are the last descendants of those rulers of the ancient world, the Roman Legionaries. Oh that their ranks could be kept filled and that a mould so unique was being used to its fullest in forming new regulars.
On my way back to the beach I saw the Plymouth Battalion as it marched in from the front line. They were quite different excepting only in the fact that they also had done marvels of fighting and endurance. They were done: they had come to the end of their tether. Not only physical exhaustion but moral exhaustion. They could not raise a smile in the whole battalion. The faces of Officers and men had a crushed, utterly finished expression: some of the younger Officers especially had that true funeral set about their lips which spreads the contagion of gloom through the hearts of the bravest soldiers. As each company front formed the knees of the rank and file seemed to give way. Down they fell and motionless remained. An hour or two of rest, their Colonel says, will make all the difference in what the French call their allure, but not quite so soon I think. These are the New Armies. They are not specialised types like the Old Army. They have nerves, the defects of their good qualities. They are more susceptible to the horrors and discomforts of what they were never brought up to undergo. The philosophy of the battlefield is not part of their panoply. No one fights better than they do—for a spell—and a good long spell too. But they have not the invincible carelessness or temperamental springiness of the old lot—and how should they?
In the evening I received General d'Amade who had come over to pay his farewell visit. He is permitted to let me see his order of recall. "Important modifications having come about in the general political situation" his Government have urgent need for his services on a "military mission." D'Amade is a most charming, chivalrous and loyal soldier. He has lost his son fighting in France and he has had his headquarters right down in the middle of his 75's where the infernal din night and day must indeed murder sleep. He is a delightful person and, in the combat, too brave. We all wish him luck. For Kum Kale and for what he has done, suffered and lost he deserves great Kudos in his country.
By order of the Vice-Admiral this ship is to anchor at Tenedos. My informal confab with the heroes of the 29th Division, and their utter unconsciousness of their own glorious conduct have moved me to write these few words in their honour:—
GENERAL HEADQUARTERS, 12th May, 1915.
For the first time for 18 days and nights it has been found possible to withdraw the 29th Division from the fire fight. During the whole of that long period of unprecedented strain the Division has held ground or gained it, against the bullets and bayonets of the constantly renewed forces of the foe. During the whole of that long period they have been illuminating the pages of military history with their blood. The losses have been terrible, but mingling with the deep sorrow for fallen comrades arises a feeling of pride in the invincible spirit which has enabled the survivors to triumph where ordinary troops must inevitably have failed. I tender to Major-General Hunter-Weston and to his Division at the same time my profoundest sympathy with their losses and my warmest congratulations on their achievement.
IAN HAMILTON, General.
Also I have penned a farewell line to d'Amade:
GENERAL HEADQUARTERS, MEDN. EXPED. FORCE, 12th May, 1915.
With deep personal sadness I learn that your country has urgent need of your great experience elsewhere.
From the very first you and your brave troops have done all, and more than all, that mortal man could do to further the cause we have at heart. By day and by night, for many days and nights in succession, you and your gallant troops have ceaselessly struggled against the enemy's fresh reinforcements and have won from him ground at the bayonet point.
The military records of France are most glorious, but you, Mon General, have added fresh brilliancy, if I may say so, even to those dazzling records.
The losses have been cruel: such losses are almost unprecedented, but it may be some consolation hereafter to think that only by so fierce a trial could thus have been fully disclosed the flame of patriotism which burns in the hearts of yourself and your men.
With sincere regrets at your coming departure but with the full assurance that in your new sphere of activity, you will continue to render the same valuable service you have already given to France.
I remain, Mon General, Your sincere friend, IAN HAMILTON, General.
13th May, 1915. H.M.T. "Arcadian." Hot and bright. Dead calm sea. Last night a dense fog during which a Turkish Torpedo boat sneaked down the Straits and torpedoed the Goliath. David and his sling on the grand scale. No details yet to hand. The enemy deserve decorations—confound them!
Got hold of a Fleet-sweeper and went off to Cape Helles. Again visited Headquarters 29th Division, and afterwards walked through the trenches of the 87th Brigade. Saw that fine soldier, Brigadier-General Marshall, in command. Chatted to no end of his men—Inniskillings, Dublin Fusiliers, etc. They have recovered their exhaustion; have cleaned up, and look full of themselves, twice the size in fact. As I stepped on to the little pier at Cape Helles an enemy's six-incher burst about 50 yards back, a lump of metal just clearing my right shoulder strap and shooting into the sea with an ugly hiss. Not a big fragment but enough!
The Staff have made up their minds that we should be very much in the wrong box if we dossed down on the toe of the Peninsula. First,—unless we get between the Divisional Generals and the enemy, there is literally no room! Secondly,—I should be further, in point of time, from Birdwood and his men than if I was still on board ship. Thirdly,—the several Headquarters of Divisions, whether French or British, would all equally hate to have Braithwaite and myself sitting in their pockets from morning to night. Have sent out another party, therefore, to explore Tenedos and see if we can find a place there which will serve us till we can make more elbow room on Gallipoli.
The Gurkhas have stalked the Bluff Redoubt and have carried it with a rush! They are absolutely the boys for this class of country and for this class of enemy.
Cabled Lord K. about the weakness of the 29th Division. At the very moment when we are hoping so much from a fresh push made in conjunction with a naval attack, the Division, the backbone of my force, are short by over 11,000 men and 400 Officers! As a fighting unit they are on their last legs and when they will be set upon their feet again Lord K. knows. Were we in France we'd get the men to-morrow. If I had my own depots in Egypt still I could see my way, but, as things are, there seems no chance of getting a move on for another fortnight. Have cabled K. saying, "I hope the 29th Division is soon to be made up to strength. I had no idea when I left England that the customary 10 per cent. reinforcement was not being taken with it by the Division although it was to operate at so great a distance from its base." If K. gets into a bad temper over the opening of my cable, its tail end should lift him out again. For the enemy's extremely tenacious right has been shifted at last. Under cover of a hooroosh by the Manchesters, the Gurkhas have rushed a bluff 600 yards ahead of our line and are sticking to their winnings.
14th May, 1915. H.M.T. "Arcadian." Hot day, smooth sea. Disembarking to bivouac on shore. What a contrast we must present to the Headquarters in France! There the stately Chateau; sheets, table-cloths and motor cars. Here the red tab patricians have to haul their own kits over the sand.
In the afternoon d'Amade came back with General Gouraud, his successor, the new Chief of the French. A resolute, solid looking gaillard is Gouraud. He brings a great reputation with him from the Western Front.
Quite late the Admiral came over to see me. He brings bad news. Roger Keyes and the forwards will be cut to the heart. The Admiralty have turned down the proposal to force the Straits simultaneously by land and sea. We are to go on attacking; the warships are to go on supporting.
From the earliest days great commanders have rubbed in the maxim, "If you attack, attack with all your force." Our people know better; we are to go on attacking with half our force. First we attack with the naval half and are held up—next we attack with the army half and are held up.
The Admiral has changed his mind about our landing and thinks it would be best not to fix G.H.Q. at Tenedos; first, because there might be delay in getting quickly to Anzac; secondly, because Tenedos is so close to Asia that we might all be scuppered in our beds by a cutting-out party of Besika Bay ruffians, unless we had a guard. But we can't run to the pomp and circumstance of a Commander-in-Chief's guard here.
15th May, 1915. H.M.T. "Arcadian." Till 3 p.m. the perspiring Staff were re-embarking their gear. Sailed then for Helles when I saw Hunter-Weston who gave me a full account of the attacks made on the newly gained bluff upon our left. Shells busy bursting on "W" Beach. Some French aeroplanes have arrived—God be praised! Shocked to hear Birdie has been hit, but another message to say nothing serious, came close on the heels of the first. Anchored at Imbros when I got a cable asking me what forces I shall need to carry right through to a finish. A crucial question, very much affected by what the Admiral told me last night. Nothing easier than to ask for 150,000 men and then, if I fail say I didn't get what I wanted, but the boldest leaders, Bobs, White, Gordon, K., have always "asked for more" with a most queasy conscience. On the face of it I need many more men if the Fleet is not to attack, and yet I am not even supposed to have knowledge, much less an opinion, as to what passes between the Fleet and the Admiralty!
16th May, 1915. H.M.T. "Arcadian." De Robeck came off the Lord Nelson, his new Flagship, in the morning. The submarines are shadowing him already, and there seems little doubt they are on their way.
Bridges has been badly wounded. The news upset me so got hold of H.M.S. Rattlesnake (Commander Wedgwood), and started off for Anzac. Went ashore and saw Birdie. Doing so, I received a different sort of salute from that to which a Commander-in-Chief landing on duty is entitled by regulation. Quite a shower of shell fell all about us, the Turks having spotted there was some sort of "bloke" on the Rattlesnake. We went round a bit of the line, and found all well, the men in great heart and, amidst a constant crackle of musketry, looking as if they liked it. Birdie himself is still a little shaken by his wound of yesterday. He had a close shave indeed. A bullet came through the chinks of a sandbag and scalped him. He fell to the ground senseless and pouring with blood, but when he had been picked up and washed he wanted to finish his round of the trenches.
Embarked again under brisk shell fire and proceeded to the hospital ship Gascon where I saw General Bridges. He looked languid and pale. But his spirit was high as ever and he smiled at a little joke I managed to make about the way someone had taken the shelling we had just gone through. The doctors, alas, give a bad, if not desperate, account of him. Were he a young man, they could save him by cutting off his leg high up, but as it is he would not stand the shock. On the other hand, his feet are so cold from the artery being severed that they anticipate mortification. I should have thought better have a try at cutting off the leg, but they are not for it. Bridges will be a real loss. He was a single-minded, upright, politics-despising soldier. With all her magnificent rank and file, Australia cannot afford to lose Bridges. But perhaps I am too previous. May it be so!
Spent a good long time talking to wounded men—Australians, New Zealanders and native Indians. Both the former like to meet someone who knows their native country, and the natives brighten up when they are greeted in Hindustani. On returning to Imbros, got good news about the Lancashire Territorials who have gained 180 yards of ground without incurring any loss to speak of. They are real good chaps. They suffer only from the regular soldiers' fault; there are too few of them here.
17th May, 1915. H.M.T. "Arcadian." 10 p.m. Too much work to move. In the evening the Admiral came to see me and read my rough draft for an answer to Lord K.'s cable. We show the Navy all our important operations cables; they have their own ways of doing things and don't open out so freely. On the face of it, we are invited to say what we want. Well, to steer a middle course between my duty to my force and my loyalty to K. is not so simple as it might seem. That middle course is (if I can only hit it) my duty to my country. The chief puzzle of the problem is that nothing turns out as we were told it would turn out. The landing has been made but the Balkans fold their arms, the Italians show no interest, the Russians do not move an inch to get across the Black Sea (the Grand Duke Nicholas has no munitions, we hear); our submarines have got through but they can only annoy, they cannot cut the sea communications, and so the Turks have not fled to Bulair. Instead, enemy submarines are actually about to get at us and our ships are being warned they may have to make themselves scarce: last—in point of time—but not least, not by a long way, the central idea of the original plan, an attack by the Fleet on the Forts appears to have been entirely shelved. At first the Fleet was to force its way through; we were to look on; next, the Fleet and the Army were to go for the Straits side by side; to-day, the whole problem may fairly be restated on a clean sheet of paper, so different is it from the problem originally put to me by K. when it was understood I would put him in an impossible position if I pressed for reinforcements. We should be on velvet if we asked for so many troops that we must win if we got them; whereas, if we did not get them we could say victory was impossible. But we are not the only fighters for the Empire. The Admiral, Braithwaite, Roger Keyes agree with me that the fair and square thing under the circumstances is to ask for what is right; not a man more than we, in our consciences, believe we will really need,—not a man less.
Actually, after much heart searching and head scratching, my mind has made itself up and has gone home by cable to-day. The statement is entirely frank and covers all the ground except as regards the Fleet, a pidgin which flies out of range:—
"Your No. 4644 cipher, of the 14th instant. The following is my appreciation of the situation:
"On the one hand, there are at present on the Peninsula as many troops as the available space and water supply can accommodate.
"On the other hand, to break through the strong opposition on my front will require more troops. I am, therefore, in a quandary, because although more troops are wanted there is, at present, no room for them. Moreover, the difficulty in answering your question is accentuated by the fact that my answer must depend on whether Turkey will continue to be left undisturbed in other parts and therefore free to make good the undoubtedly heavy losses incurred here by sending troops from Adrianople, Keshan, Constantinople and Asia; we now have direct evidence that the latter has been the case.
"If the present condition of affairs in this respect were changed by the entry into the struggle of Bulgaria or Greece or by the landing of the Russians, my present force, kept up to strength by the necessary drafts, plus the Army Corps asked for in my No. M.F. 216 of the 10th May, would probably suffice to finish my task. If, however, the present situation remains unchanged and the Turks are still able to devote so much exclusive attention to us, I shall want an additional army corps, that is, two army corps additional in all.
"I could not land these reinforcements on the Peninsula until I can advance another 1,000 yards and so free the beaches from the shelling to which they are subjected from the Western side and gain more space; but I could land them on the adjacent islands of Tenedos, Imbros and Lemnos and take them over later to the Peninsula for battle. This plan would surmount the difficulties of water and space on the Peninsula and would, perhaps, enable me to effect a surprise with the fresh divisions.
"I believe I could advance with half the loss of life that is now being reckoned upon, if I had a liberal supply of gun ammunition, especially of high explosive."
Only bitterest experience has forced me to insert the two stipulations which should go without saving, (1) that my force is kept up to strength, (2) that I have a decent allowance of gun ammunition, especially of high explosives.
Will Lord K. meet us half way, I wonder? He is the idol of England, and take him all in all, the biggest figure in the world. He believes, he has an instinct, that here is the heel of the German Colossus, otherwise immune to our arrows. Let him but put his foot down, and who dare say him nay?
The most vital of my demands is that my formations should be kept full. An extra 50,000 men in the shape of a new army corps is one thing. An extra 50,000 men to feed war-trained units already in the field is another, and very different, and very much better thing. The value of keeping the veteran corps up to strength and the value of the same number of rifles organized into raw battalions commanded by inexperienced leaders is as the value of the sun to the moon. But K. and I have never seen eye to eye here, and never will. The spirit of man is like a precious stone: the greater it is the more room in it for a flaw. Who in the world but K. would have swept up all the odds and ends of detachments from about twenty different regiments of mine sent from Pretoria to Elandsfontein to bring up remounts and clothing to their units; who but K. could have conceived the idea of forming them into a new corps and expecting them to fight as well as ever—instead of legging it like the wind as they did at the first whistle of a bullet? On the other hand, who but K., at that time, could have run the war at all?
The 29th Division have managed to snatch another 150 yards from the enemy, greatly strengthening the bluff upon which the Gurkhas dug themselves in.
18th May, 1915. H.M.T. "Arcadian." Villiers Stuart, Birdie's Staff Officer, has been killed on Anzac by a shell. The submarine E.14 sailed into harbour after a series of hair-raising adventures in the Sea of Marmora. She is none the worse, bar the loss of one periscope from a Turkish lucky shot. Her Commander, Boyle, comes only after Nasmith as a pet of Roger Keyes! She got a tremendous ovation from the Fleet. The exploits of the submarine give a flat knock-out to Norman Angell's contention that excitement and romance have now gone out of war.
Have asked that the Maoris may be sent from Malta to join the New Zealanders at Anzac. I hope and believe that they will do well. Their white comrades from the Northern Island are very keen to have them.
19th May, 1915. H.M.T. "Arcadian". Compton Mackenzie has come on board. He is to be attached to the Intelligence. General Gouraud and his Chief of Staff, Girodon, lunched. I do not know many French Officers, but Girodon happens to be an old acquaintance. I met him six years ago on the Austrian manoeuvres. He is a delightful personality; a very sound soldier and a plucky one also. I reminded him how, in 1906, he had told me that the Germans would end by binding together all the other peoples of Europe against the common danger of their dominance. This was at Teschen on the borderland between Austrian and Prussian Silesia during the Austrian Manoeuvres. He remembered the occasion and the remark. Well, he has proved a true prophet!
A cable from K. in answer to mine giving two more Army Corps as my minimum unless some neutral or Allied Power is going to help us against the Turks. I knew he would be greatly upset:—
"Private and personal. With reference to your telegram No. M.F. 234, I am quite certain that you fully realize what a serious disappointment it has been to me to discover that my preconceived views as to the conquest of positions necessary to dominate the forts on the Straits, with naval artillery to support our troops on land, and with the active help of naval bombardment, were miscalculated.
"A serious situation is created by the present check, and the calls for large reinforcements and an additional amount of ammunition that we can ill spare from France.
"From the stand-point of an early solution of our difficulties, your views, as stated, are not encouraging. The question whether we can long support two fields of operation draining on our resources requires grave consideration. I know that I can rely upon you to do your utmost to bring the present unfortunate state of affairs in the Dardanelles to as early a conclusion as possible, so that any consideration of a withdrawal, with all its dangers in the East, may be prevented from entering the field of possible solutions.
"When all the above is taken into consideration, I am somewhat surprised to see that the 4,500 which Maxwell can send you are apparently not required by you. With the aid of these I had hoped that you would have been in a position to press forward.
"The Lowland Division is leaving for you."
This is a queer cable. Seems as if K. was beginning to come up against those political forces which have ever been a British Commander's bane. The words in which he begs me to try and prevent "a withdrawal with all its dangers in the East ... from entering the field of possible solutions," sounds uncommonly like a cry for help. He means that I should help him by remembering, and by making smaller calls upon him. But the only way I can really help him is by winning a battle: to pretend I could win that battle without drafts, munitions and the Army Corps asked for would be a very short-lived bluff both for him and for me. We have had it from other sources that this strange notion of running away from the Turk, after singeing his beard, has arisen in London and in France. So now that the murder has peeped out, I am glad to know where we are and to feel that K. stands solid and sound behind us. He need have no fear; all that man can do I will do by pressing on here and by asking for not one man or round more than is absolutely essential for the job.
As to that passage about the 4,500 Australians, a refusal of Australians would indeed be good cause for surprise—only—it has never taken place, and never will take place. I can only surmise that my request made to Maxwell that these 4,500 men should come to me as drafts for my skeleton units, instead of as a raw brigade, has twisted itself, going down some office corridor, into a story that I don't want the men! K. tells me Egypt is mine and the fatness thereof; yet, no sooner do I make the most modest suggestion concerning anything or anyone Egyptian than K. is got at and I find he is the Barmecide and I Schac'abac. "How do you like your lentil soup?" says K. "Excellently well," say I, "but devil a drop is in the plate!" I have got to enter into the joke; that's the long and the short of it. But it is being pushed just a trifle too far when I am told I apparently do not require 4,500 Australians!
The whole of K.'s cable calls for close thinking. How to try and help him to pump courage into faint-hearted fellows? How to do so without toning down my demands for reinforcements?—for evidently these demands are what are making them shake in their shoes. Here is my draft for an answer: I can't change my estimate: it was the least I could safely ask for: but I can make it clear I do not want to ask for more than he can give:—
"With reference to your No. 4726, cipher. Private and personal. You need not be despondent at anything in the situation. Remember that you asked me to answer on the assumption that you had adequate forces at your disposal, and I did so.
"Maxwell must have misinformed you. I want the Australian reinforcements to fill existing cadres. Maxwell, possibly not to disappoint senior officers, has sent them as weak brigades, which complicates command and organization exceedingly.
"We gain ground surely if slowly every day, and now at 11 p.m. the French and Naval Divisions are fighting their way forward."
Tidings of great joy from Anzac. The whole of the enemy's freshly-arrived contingent have made a grand assault and have been shattered in the attempt. Samson dropped bombs on them as they were standing on the shore after their disembarkation. Next, they were moved up into the fight where a tremendous fire action was in progress. Last, they stormed forward in the densest masses yet seen on the Peninsula. Then, they were mown down and driven back headlong. So they have had a dreadnought reception. This has not been a local trench attack but a real battle and a fiery one. I have lost no time in cabling the glorious news to K. The cloud of these coming enemy reinforcements has cast its shadow over us for awhile and now the sun shines again.
20th May, 1919. H.M.T. "Arcadian." Aubrey Herbert saw me before dinner. He brings a message from Birdie to say that there has been some sort of parley with the enemy who wish to fix up an armistice for the burial of their dead. Herbert is keen on meeting the Turks half way and I am quite with him, provided Birdie clearly understands that no Corps Commander can fix up an armistice off his own bat, and provided it is clear we do not ask for the armistice but grant it to them—the suppliants. Herbert brings amazing fine detail about the night and day battle on the high ridges. Birdie has fairly taken the fighting edge off Liman von Sanders' two new Divisions: he has knocked them to bits. A few more shells and they would have been swept off the face of the earth. As it is we have slaughtered a multitude. Since the 18th we are down to two rounds per gun per diem, but the Turks who have been short of stuff since the 8th instant are now once more well found. Admiral Thursby tells me he himself counted 240 shells falling on one of Birdwood's trenches in the space of ten minutes. I asked him if that amounted to one shell per yard and he said the whole length of the trench was less than 100 yards. On the 18th fifty heavy shells, including 12-inch and 14-inch, dropped out of the blue vault of heaven on to the Anzacs. Everyone sorry to say good-bye to Thursby who goes to Italy.
Rumours that Winston is leaving the Admiralty. This would be an awful blow to us out here, would be a sign that Providence had some grudge against the Dardanelles. Private feelings do not count in war, but alas, how grievous is this set-back to one who has it in him to revive the part of Pitt, had he but Pitt's place. Haldane, too. Are the benefits of his organization of our army to be discounted because they had a German origin? Fas est et ab hoste doceri. Half the guns on the Peninsula would have been scrap-iron had it not been for Haldane! But if this turns out true about Winston, there will be a colder spirit (let them appoint whom they will) at the back of our battleships here.
21st May, 1915. H.M.T. "Arcadian." Imbros. De Robeck came on board with Lieutenant-Commander Boyle of E. 4 fame. I was proud indeed to meet the young and modest hero. He gets the V.C.; his other two officers the D.S.O.; his crew the D.C.M.
Also he brought with him the Reuter giving us the Cabinet changes and the resignations of Fisher and Winston and this, in its interest, has eclipsed even V.C.s for the moment. De Robeck reminded me that Lord K.'s cable (begging me to help him to combat any idea of withdrawal) must have been written that very day. A significant straw disclosing the veering of the winds of high politics! Evidently K. felt ill at ease; evidently he must now be sitting at a round table surrounded by masked figures. Have just finished writing him to sympathize; to say he is not to worry about me as "I know that as long as you remain at the War Office no one will be allowed to harm us out here." Nor could they if he were the K. of old; the K. who downed Milner and Chamberlain by making a peace by agreement with the Boers and then swallowed a Viceroy and his Military Member of Council as an appetiser to his more serious digest of India. But is he? Where are the instruments?—gone to France or gone to glory. Callwell is the exception.
I would give a great deal for one good talk with K.—I would indeed. But this is not France. Time and space forbid my quitting the helm and so I must try and induce the mountain to come to Mahomet. My letter goes on to say, "Could you not take a run out here and see us? If once you realize with your own eyes what the troops are doing I would never need to praise them again. Travelling in the Phaeton you would be here in three days; you would see some wonderful things and the men would be tremendously bucked up. The spirit of all ranks rises above trials and losses and is confident of the present and cheery about the future."
Quite apart from any high politics, or from my coming to a fresh, clear, close understanding with K. on subjects neither of us understood when last we spoke together, I wish, on the grounds of ordinary tactics, he could make up his mind to come out. The man who has seen gains self-confidence and the prestige of his subject when he encounters others who have only heard and read. K. might snap his fingers at the new hands in the Cabinet once he had been out and got the real Gallipoli at their tips.
I can't keep my thoughts from dwelling on the fate of Winston. How will he feel now he realizes he is shorn of his direct power to help us through these dark and dreadful Straits? Since I started nothing has handicapped me more than the embargo which a double loyalty to K. and to de Robeck has imposed upon my communications to Winston. What a tragedy that his nerve and military vision have been side-tracked: his eclipse projects a black shadow over the Dardanelles.
Very likely the next great war will have begun before we realize that the three days' delay in the fall of Antwerp saved Calais. No more brilliant effort of unaided genius in history than that recorded in the scene when Winston burst into the Council Chamber and bucked up the Burgomeisters to hold on a little bit longer. Any comfort our people may enjoy from being out of cannon shot of the Germans—they owe it to the imagination, bluff and persuasiveness of Winston and to this gallant Naval Division now destined to be starved to death!
Sent my first despatch home to-day by King's Messenger. Never has story been penned amidst so infernal a racket.
22nd May, 1915. H.M.T. "Arcadian." News in to say that yesterday, whilst Herbert was here to take orders about an armistice, some sort of an informal parley actually took place. Both sides suddenly got panic stricken, thinking the others were treacherous, and fire was opened, some stretcher bearers being killed. Nothing else was to be expected when things are done in this casual and unauthorized way. I felt very much annoyed, but Aubrey Herbert was still on board and I saw him before breakfast and told him Walker seemed to have taken too much upon himself parleying with the Turks and that Birdwood must now make this clear to everyone for future guidance. Although Aubrey Herbert is excessively unorthodox he quite sees that confabs with enemies must be carried out according to Cocker.
After breakfast landed at Cape Helles. Inspected the detachment of the Works Department of the Egyptian Army as it was on its way to the French Headquarters. Colonel Micklem was in charge. At Sedd-el-Bahr lunched with Gouraud and his Staff. General Bailloud rode up just as I was about to enter the porch of the old Fort. He was in two minds whether or not to embrace me, being in very high feather, his men having this morning carried the Haricot redoubt overlooking the Kereves Dere. At lunch he was the greatest possible fun, bubbling over with jokes and witty sallies. Just as we were finishing, news came through the telephone that Bailloud's Brigade had been driven in by a big Turkish counter-attack, with a loss of 400 men and some first class officers. Most of us showed signs, I will not say of being rattled, but of having stumbled against a rattlesnake. Gouraud remained unaffectedly in possession of himself as host of a lunch party. He said, "We will not take the trenches by not taking the coffee. Let us drink it first, and then we will consider." So we drank our coffee; lit our smokes, and afterwards Gouraud, through Girodon, issued his orders in the most calm and matter-of-fact way. He declares the redoubt will be in our hands again to-morrow.
Our lunch was to furnish us with yet another landmark for bad luck. As we were leaving, a message came in to say that an enemy submarine had been sighted off Gaba Tepe. The fresh imprint of a tiger's paw upon the pathway gives the same sort of feel to the Indian herdsman. Tall stories from neighbouring villages have been going the round for weeks, only half-believed, but here is the very mark of the beast; the horror has suddenly taken shape. He mutters the name of God, wondering what eyes may even now be watching his every movement; he wonders whose turn will come first—and when—and where. This was the sort of effect of the wireless and in a twinkling every transport round the coast was steering full steam to Imbros. In less than no time we saw a regatta of skedaddling ships. So dies the invasion of England bogey which, from first to last, has wrought us an infinity of harm. Born and bred of mistrust of our own magnificent Navy, it has led soldiers into heresy after fallacy and fallacy after heresy until now it is the cause of my Divisions here being hardly larger than Brigades, whilst the men who might have filled them are "busy" guarding London! If one rumoured submarine can put the fear of the Lord into British transports how are German or any other transports going to face up to a hundred British submarines? The theory of the War Office has struggled with the theory of the Admiralty for the past five years: now there is nothing left of the War Office theory; no more than is left of a soap bubble when you strike it with a battleaxe. Some other stimulus to our Territorial recruiting than the fear of invasion will have to be invented in future.
After lunch went to the Headquarters of the 29th Division where all the British Divisional Generals had assembled together to meet me. The same story everywhere—lack of men, meaning extra work—which again means sickness and still greater lack of men. On my return found a letter from the Turkish Commander-in-Chief giving his "full consent" to the armistice he himself had asked me for! A save-face document, no doubt: the wounded are all Turks as our men did not leave their trenches on the 19th; the dead, also, I am glad to say, almost entirely Turks; but anyway, one need not be too punctilious where it is a matter of giving decent burial to so many men.
GRAND QUARTIER GENERAL DE LA 5me ARMEE OTTOMANE. le 22 mai 1915.
"J'ai l'honneur d'informer Votre Excellence que les propositions concernant la conclusion d'un armistice pour enterrer les morts et secourir les blesses des deux parties adverses, ont trouve mon plein consentement—et que seule nos sentiments d'humanite nous y ont determines.
"J'ai investi le lieutenant-colonel Fahreddin du pouvoir de signer en mon nom.
"J'ai l'honneur d'etre avec l'assurance de ma plus haute consideration.
(Sd.) "LIMAN VON SANDERS,
"Commandant en chef de la 5me Armee Ottomane.
"Commandant en chef des Forces Britanniques, Sir John Hamilton, Excellence."
23rd May, 1915. H.M.T. "Arcadian." Blazing hot. Wrote all day. Had an hour and a half's talk with de Robeck—high politics as well as our own rather anxious affairs. No one knows how the new First Lord will play up, but Asquith, for sure, chucks away his mainspring if he parts with Winston: as to Fisher, he too has energy but none of it came our way so he will have no tears from us, though he has friends here too. The submarine scare is full on; the beastly things have frightened us more than all the Turks and all their German guns.
24th May, 1915. H.M.T. "Arcadian." Vice-Admiral Nicol, French Naval Commander-in-Chief, came aboard to pay me a visit.
Armistice from 9.30 a.m. to 4.30 p.m. for burial of Turkish dead. All went off quite smoothly.... This moment, 12.40 p.m. the Captain has rushed in to say that H.M.S. Triumph is sinking! He caught the bad news on his wireless as it flew. Beyond doubt the German submarine. What exactly is about to happen, God knows. The fleet cannot see itself wiped out by degrees; and yet, without the fleet, how are we soldiers to exist? One more awful conundrum set to us, but the Navy will solve it, for sure.
25th May, 1915. H.M.T. "Arcadian." Bad news confirmed. The Admiral came aboard and between us we tried to size up the new situation and to readjust ourselves thereto. Our nicely worked out system for supplying the troops has in a moment been tangled up into a hundred knotty problems. Instead of our small craft working to and fro in half mile runs, henceforth they will have to cover 60 miles per trip. Until now the big ocean going ships have anchored close up to Helles or Anzac; in future Mudros will be the only possible harbour for these priceless floating depots. Imbros, here, lies quite open to submarine attacks, and in a northerly gale, becomes a mere roadstead. The Admiral, who regards soldiers as wayward water babes, has insisted on lashing a merchantman to each side of the Arcadian to serve as torpedo buffers. There are, it seems, at least two German submarines prowling about at the present moment between Gaba Tepe and Cape Helles. After torpedoing the Triumph the same submarine fired at and missed the Vengeance. The Lord Nelson with the Admiral, as well as three French battleships, zig-zagged out of harbour and made tracks for Mudros in the afternoon. We are left all alone in our glory with our two captive merchantmen. The attitude is heroic but not, I think, so dangerous as it is uncomfortable. The big ocean liners lashed to port and starboard cut us off from air as well as light and one of them is loaded with Cheddar. When Mr. Jorrocks awoke James Pigg and asked him to open the window and see what sort of a hunting morning it was, it will be remembered that the huntsman opened the cupboard by mistake and made the reply, "Hellish dark and smells of cheese." Well, that immortal remark hits us off to a T. Never mind. Light will be vouchsafed. Amen.
The burial of 3,000 Turks by armistice at Anzac seems to have been carried out without a hitch. All these 3,000 Turks were killed between the 18th and 20th instant. By the usual averages this figure implies over 12,000 wounded so the Lord has vouchsafed us a signal victory indeed. Birdwood's men were all out and his reserves, or rather the lack of them, would not permit him to counter-attack the moment the enemy's assault was repulsed. When we read of battles in histories we feel, we see, so clearly the value of counter-attack and the folly of passive defence; but, in the field, the struggle has sometimes been so close that the victorious defence are left gasping. The enemy were very polite during the armistice, and by way of being highly solemn and correct, but they could not refrain from bursting into laughter when the Australians held up cigarettes and called out "baksheesh."
Last night the French and the Naval Brigade made a good advance with slight loss. The East Lancs also pushed on a little bit.
26th May, 1915. H.M.T. "Arcadian." Entertained a small party of Australian officers as my private guests for 48 hours, my idea being to give them a bit of a rest. Colonel Monash, commanding 4th Australian Infantry Brigade, was the senior. He is a very competent officer. I have a clear memory of him standing under a gum tree at Lilydale, near Melbourne, holding a conference after a manoeuvre, when it had been even hotter than it is here now. I was prepared for intelligent criticisms but I thought they would be so wrapped up in the cotton wool of politeness that no one would be very much impressed. On the contrary, he stated his opinions in the most direct, blunt, telling way. The fact was noted in my report and now his conduct out here has been fully up to sample.
A horrid mishap. Landing some New Zealand Mounted Rifles at Anzac, the destroyer anchored within range of the Turkish guns instead of slowly steaming about out of range until the picket boats came off to bring the men ashore. The Turks were watching and, as soon as she let go her anchor, opened fire from their guns by the olive, and before the destroyer could get under weigh six of these fine New Zealand lads were killed and forty-five wounded. A hundred fair fighting casualties would affect me less. To be knocked out before having taken part in a battle, or even having set foot upon the Promised Land—nothing could be more cruel.
A special order to the troops:—
GENERAL HEADQUARTERS, 25th May, 1915.
1. Now that a clear month has passed since the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force began its night and day fighting with the enemy, the General Commanding desires me to explain to officers, non-commissioned officers and men the real significance of the calls made upon them to risk their lives apparently for nothing better than to gain a few yards of uncultivated land.
2. A comparatively small body of the finest troops in the world, French and British, have effected a lodgment close to the heart of a great continental empire, still formidable even in its decadence. Here they stand firm, or slowly advance, and in the efforts made by successive Turkish armies to dislodge them the rotten Government at Constantinople is gradually wearing itself out. The facts and figures upon which this conclusion is based have been checked and verified from a variety of sources. Agents of neutral powers possessing good sources of information have placed both the numbers and the losses of the enemy much higher than they are set forth here, but the General Commanding prefers to be on the safe side and to give his troops a strictly conservative estimate.
Before operations began the strength of the defenders of the Dardanelles was:—
Gallipoli Peninsula 34,000 and about 100 guns. Asiatic side of Straits 41,000
All the troops on the Gallipoli Peninsula and fifty per cent. of the troops on the Asiatic side were Nizam, that is to say, regular first line troops. They were transferable, and were actually transferred to this side upon which the invaders disembarked. Our Expeditionary Force effected its landing it will be seen, in the face of an enemy superior, not only to the covering parties which got ashore the first day, but superior actually to the total strength at our disposal. By the 12th May, the Turkish Army of occupation had been defeated in several engagements, and would have been at the end of their resources had they not meanwhile received reinforcements of 20,000 infantry and 21 batteries of Field Artillery.
Still the Expeditionary Force held its own, and more than its own, inflicting fresh bloody defeats upon the newcomers and again the Turks must certainly have given way had not a second reinforcement reached the Peninsula from Constantinople and Smyrna amounting at the lowest estimate to 24,000 men.
3. From what has been said it will be understood that the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force, supported by its gallant comrades the Fleet, but with constantly diminishing effectives, has held in check or wrested ground from some 120,000 Turkish troops elaborately entrenched and supported by a powerful artillery.
The enemy has now few more Nizam troops at his disposal and not many Redif or second class troops. Up to date his casualties are 55,000, and again, in giving this figure, the General Commanding has preferred to err on the side of low estimates.
Daily we make progress, and whenever the reinforcements close at hand begin to put in an appearance, the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force will press forward with a fresh impulse to accomplish the greatest Imperial task ever entrusted to an army.
27th May, 1915. H.M.T. "Arcadian." The Majestic has been torpedoed and has sunk off Cape Helles. Got the news at mid-day. Fuller, my Artillery Commander, and Ashmead-Bartlett, the correspondent, were both on board, and both were saved—minus kit! About 40 men have gone under. Bad luck. A Naval Officer who has seen her says she is lying in shallow water—6 fathoms—bottom upwards looking like a stranded whale. He says the German submarine made a most lovely shot at her through a crowd of cargo ships and transports. Like picking a royal stag out of his harem of does. To my Staff, they tell me, he delivered himself further but, as I said to the Officer who repeated these criticisms to me, "judge not that ye be not judged."
28th May, 1915. H.M.T. "Arcadian." Went for a walk with the Admiral. He refuses any longer to accept the responsibility of keeping us afloat. As Helles, Anzac and Tenedos have each been ruled out, we are going to doss down on this sandbank opposite us. One thing, it will be central to both my theatres of work.
29th May, 1915. H.M.T. "Arcadian." The Commodore, Roger Keyes, arrived mid-day and invited me to come over to Helles with him on a destroyer, H.M.S. Scorpion. He was crossing in hopes—in hopes, if you please—of hitting off the submarine. The idea that it might hit him had not seemed to occur to him. On the way we were greatly excited to see the bladder of an indicator net smoking. So we rushed about the place and bombs were got ready to drop. But the net remained motionless and, as the water was too deep for the submarine to be lying at the bottom, it seemed (although no one dared to say so) that a porpoise had been poking fun at the Commodore.
Landing at Helles inspected the various roads, which were in the making. Next saw Hunter-Weston. Canvassed plans with him and felt myself refreshed. Then went on to Gouraud's Headquarters, taking the Commodore with me. My Commanders are an asset which cancels many a debit. Gouraud is in excellent form and gave us tea. Walked down to "V" Beach at 6 p.m.
When we got on to the pier, which ends in the River Clyde, we found another destroyer, the Wolverine, under Lieutenant-Commander Keyes, the brother of the Commodore. She was to take us across, and (of all places in the world to select for a berth!) she had run herself alongside the River Clyde which was, at that moment, busy playing target to the heavy guns of Asia. I imagined that taking aboard a boss like the Commander-in-Chief, as well as that much bigger boss (in naval estimates) his own big brother, the Commodore, our Lieutenant-Commander would nip away presto. Not a bit of it! No sooner had he got us aboard than he came out boldly and very, very slowly, stern first, from the lee of the River Clyde and began a duel against Asia with 4-inch lyddite from the Wolverine's after gun. The fight seems quite funny to me now but, at the time, serio-comic would have better described my impressions. Shells ashore are part of the common lot; they come in the day's work: on the water; in a cockleshell—well, you can't go to ground, anyway!
Heavy fighting at Anzac. The Turks fired a mine under Quinn's Post and then rushed a section of the defence isolated by the explosion. At 6 in the morning the crater was, Birdie says, most gallantly retaken with the bayonet. There are excursions and alarms; attacks and counter-attacks; bomb-showers to which the bayonet charge is our only retort—but we hold fast the crater!
When I tell them at home that if they will give me munitions enough to let me advance two miles I will give them Constantinople, that is the truth. On paper, the Turks no doubt might assert with equal force that if they got forces enough together to drive the Australians back a short two hundred yards they could give the Sultan the resounding prestige of a Peninsula freed from the Giaour. But that would require more Turks than the Turks could feed, whereas we know we could do it now, as we are—given the wherewithal—trench mortars, hand grenades and bombs, for example.
A message from Hanbury Williams, who is with the Grand Duke Nicholas, to say that all idea of sending me a Russian Army Corps to land at the Bosphorus has been abandoned!!!
30th May, 1915. H.M.T. "Arcadian." Went to Anzac in a destroyer. The Cove was being heavily shelled, and the troops near the beach together with the fatigue parties handling stores and ammunition, had dashed into their dugouts like marmots at the shadow of an eagle. Birdwood came out to meet me on this very unhealthy spot; indeed, in spite of my waving him back, he walked right on to the end of the deserted pier. Just as we were getting near his quarters, a couple of shrapnel burst at an angle and height which, by the laws of gravity, momentum and velocity ought to have put a fullstop to this chronicle. Actually, we walked on—through the "Valley of Death"—past the spot where the brave Bridges bit the dust, to the Headquarters of the 4th Australian Infantry Brigade. Thence I could see the enemy trenches in front of Quinn's Post, and also a very brisk bomb combat in full flame where the New Zealand Mounted Rifles were making good the Turkish communicating post they had seized earlier in the day. Nothing more strange than this inspection. Along the path at the bottom of the valley warning notices were stuck up. The wayfarer has to be as punctilious about each footstep as Christian in the "Pilgrim's Progress." Should he disregard the placards directing him to keep to the right or to the left of the track, he is almost certainly shot. Half of the pathway may be as safe as Piccadilly, whilst he who treads the other had far better be up yonder at hand grips with the Turks. Presumably some feature of the ground defilades one part, for the enemy cannot see into the valley, although, were they only 20 yards nearer the edge of the cliff, they would command its whole extent. The spirit of the men is invincible. Only lately have we been able to give them blankets: as to square meals and soft sleeps, these are dreams of the past, they belonged to another state of being. Yet I never struck a more jovial crew. Men staggering under huge sides of frozen beef; men struggling up cliffs with kerosine tins full of water; men digging; men cooking; men card-playing in small dens scooped out from the banks of yellow clay—everyone wore a Bank Holiday air;—evidently the ranklings and worry of mankind—miseries and concerns of the spirit—had fled the precincts of this valley. The Boss—the bill—the girl—envy, malice, hunger, hatred—had scooted far away to the Antipodes. All the time, overhead, the shell and rifle bullets groaned and whined, touching just the same note of violent energy as was in evidence everywhere else. To understand that awful din, raise the eyes 25 degrees to the top of the cliff which closes in the tail end of the valley and you can see the Turkish hand grenades bursting along the crest, just where an occasional bayonet flashes and figures hardly distinguishable from Mother earth crouch in an irregular line. Or else they rise to fire and are silhouetted a moment against the sky and then you recognize the naked athletes from the Antipodes and your heart goes into your mouth as a whole bunch of them dart forward suddenly, and as suddenly disappear. And the bomb shower stops dead—for the moment; but, all the time, from that fiery crest line which is Quinn's, there comes a slow constant trickle of wounded—some dragging themselves painfully along; others being carried along on stretchers. Bomb wounds all; a ceaseless, silent stream of bandages and blood. Yet three out of four of "the boys" have grit left for a gay smile or a cheery little nod to their comrades waiting for their turn as they pass, pass, pass, down on their way to the sea.