Fired off a second barrel through Fitz from whom I have just heard that my Despatch cannot be published as it stands but must be bowdlerized first, all the names of battalions being cut out. Instead of saying, "The landing at 'W' had been entrusted to the 1st Bn. Lancashire Fusiliers (Major Bishop) and it was to the complete lack of the sense of danger or of fear of this daring battalion that we owed our astonishing success," I am to say, "The landing, etc., had been entrusted to a certain battalion."
The whole of this press correspondence; press censorship; despatch writing and operations cables hang together and will end by hanging the Government.
My operations cables are written primarily for K., it is true, but they are meant also to let our own people know what their brothers and sons are up against and how they are bearing up under unheard of trials. There is not a word in those cables which would help or encourage the enemy. I am best judge of that and I see to it myself.
What is the result of my efforts to throw light upon our proceedings? A War Office extinguisher from under which only a few evil-smelling phrases escape. As I say to Fitz:—
"You seem to see nothing beyond the mischief that may happen if the enemy gets to know too much about us; you do not see that this danger can be kept within bounds and is of small consequence when compared with the keenness or dullness of our own Nation."
The news that the War Office were going to send us no more Japanese bombs spread so great a consternation at Anzac that I have followed up my first remonstrance with a second and a stronger cable:—
"(No. M.F. 348). From General Sir Ian Hamilton to War Office. Your No. 5272, A.2. I particularly request that you may reconsider your proposal not to order more Japanese bombs. These bombs are most effective and in high favour with our troops whose locally-made weapons, on which they have frequently to rely, are far inferior to the bombs used by the Turks. Our great difficulty in holding captured trenches is that the Turks always counter-attack with a large number of powerful bombs. Apparently their supply of these is limitless. Unless the delay in arrival is likely to extend over several months, therefore, I would suggest that a large order be sent to Japan. We cannot have too many of these weapons, and this should not cancel my No. M.F.Q.T. 1321, which should be treated as additional."
Drafted also a long cable discussing a diversion on the Asiatic shore of the Dardanelles. So some work had been done by the time we left camp at 9.15 a.m., and got on board the Triad. After a jolly sail reached Mudros at 2 p.m., landing on the Australian pier at 3 p.m. Mudros is a dusty hole; ein trauriges Nest, as our German friends would say.
Worked like a nigger going right through Nos. 15 and 16 Stationary Hospitals. Colonel Maher, P.M.O., came round, also Colonel Jones, R.A.M.C., and Captain Stanley, R.A.M.C. Talked with hundreds of men: these are the true philosophers.
21st June, 1915. Mudros. Went at it again and overhauled No. 2 Stationary Hospital under Lieutenant-Colonel White, as well as No. 1 Stationary Hospital commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel Bryant. The doctors praised me for inventing something new to say to each man. But all the time in my mind was the thought of Gouraud. I have wanted him to do it absolutely on his own, and I could not emphasize this better than by coming right away to Mudros. Back to the Triad by 1 p.m. No news. Weighed anchor at once, steaming for Imbros, where we cast anchor at about 6 p.m. Freddie Maitland has arrived here, like a breath of air from home, to be once more my A.D.C.; his features wreathed in the well-known, friendly smile. The French duly attacked at dawn and the 2nd Division have carried a series of redoubts and trenches. The 1st Division did equally well but have been driven back again by counter-attacks. Fighting is still going on.
While I have been away Braithwaite has cabled home in my name asking which of the new Divisions is the best, as we shall have to use them before we can get to know them.
22nd June, 1915. Imbros. An anxious night. Gouraud has done splendidly; so have his troops. This has been a serious defeat for the Turks; a real bad defeat, showing, as it does, that given a modicum of ammunition we can seize the strongest entrenchments of the enemy and stick to them.
"(No. M.F. 357). From General Sir Ian Hamilton to Secretary of State for War. After 24 hours' heavy and continuous fighting a substantial success has been achieved. As already reported, the battle of 4th-5th June resulted in a good advance of my centre to which neither my right nor my left were able to conform, the reason being that the Turkish positions in front of the flanks are naturally strong and exceedingly well fortified. At 4.30 a.m. yesterday, General Gouraud began an attack upon the line of formidable works which run along the Kereves Dere. By noon the second French Division had stormed and captured all the Turkish first and second line trenches opposite their front, including the famous Haricot Redoubt, with its subsidiary maze of entanglements and communication trenches. On their right, the first French Division, after fierce fighting, also took the Turkish trenches opposite their front, but were counter-attacked so heavily that they were forced to fall back. Again, this Division attacked, again it stormed the position, and again it was driven out. General Gouraud then, at 2.55 p.m., issued the following order:"
'From Colonel Viont's report it is evident that the preparation for the attack at 2.15 p.m. was not sufficient.
'It is indispensable that the Turkish first line of trenches in front of you should be taken, otherwise the gains of the 2nd Division may be rendered useless. You have five hours of daylight, take your time, let me know your orders and time fixed for preparation, and arrange for Infantry assault to be simultaneous after preparation.'
"As a result of this order, the bombardment of the Turkish left was resumed, the British guns and howitzers lending their aid to the French Artillery as in the previous attacks. At about 6 p.m., a fine attack was launched, 600 yards of Turkish first line trenches were taken, and despite heavy counter-attacks during the night, especially at 3.20 a.m., all captured positions are still in our hands. Am afraid casualties are considerable, but details are lacking. The enemy lost very heavily. One Turkish battalion coming up to reinforce, was spotted by an aeroplane, and was practically wiped out by the seventy-fives before they could scatter.
"Type of fighting did not lend itself to taking prisoners, and only some 50, including one officer, are in our hands. The elan and contempt of danger shown by the young French drafts of the last contingent, averaging, perhaps, 20 years of age, was much admired by all. During the fighting, the French battleship St. Louis did excellent service against the Asiatic batteries. All here especially regret that Colonel Girodon, one of the best staff officers existing, has been severely wounded whilst temporarily commanding a brigade. Colonel Nogues, also an officer of conspicuous courage, already twice wounded, at Kum Kale, has again been badly hit."
Girodon is one in ten thousand; serious, brave and far sighted. The bullet went through his lung. We are said to have suffered nearly 3,000 casualties.
They say that the uproar of battle was tremendous, especially between midnight and 4 a.m. Some of our newly arrived troops stood to their arms all night thinking the end of the world had come.
At 6 p.m. de Robeck, Keyes, Ormsby Johnson and Godfrey came over from the flagship to see me.
Have got an answer about the Japanese trench mortars and bombs. In two months' time a thousand bombs will be ready at the Japanese Arsenal, and five hundred the following month. The trench mortars—bomb guns they call them—will be ready in Japan in two and a half months' time. Two and a half months, plus half a month for delay, plus another month for sea transit, makes four months! There are some things speak for themselves. Blood, they say, cries out to Heaven. Well, let it cry now. Over three months ago I asked—my first request—for these primitive engines and as for the bombs, had Birmingham been put to it, Birmingham could have turned them out as quick as shelling peas.
Am doing what I can to fend for myself. This Dardanelles war is a war, if ever there was one, of the ingenuity and improvised efforts of man against nature plus machinery. We are in the desert and have to begin very often at the beginning of things. The Navy now assure me that their Dockyard Superintendent at Malta could make us a fine lot of hand grenades in his workshops if Lord Methuen will give him the order.
So I have directed a full technical specification of the Turkish hand grenades being used against us with effects so terrible, to be sent on to Methuen telling him it is simple, effective, that I hope he can make them and will be glad to take all he can turn out.
23rd June, 1915. Imbros. Another day in camp. De Robeck and Keyes came over from the Triad to unravel knotty points.
Am enraged to recognize in Reuter one of my own cables which has been garbled in Egypt. The press censorship is a negative evil in London; in Cairo there is no doubt it is positive. After following my wording pretty closely, a phrase has been dovetailed in to say that the Turks have day and night to submit to the capture of trenches. These cables are repeated to London and when they get back here what will my own men think me? If, as most of us profess to believe, it is a mistake to tell lies, what a specially fatal description of falsehood to issue short-dated bulletins of victory with only one month to run. I have fired off a remonstrance as follows:—
"(No M.F. 359). From General Sir Ian Hamilton to War Office. A Reuter telegram dated London, 16th June, has just been brought to my notice in which it is stated that the Press Bureau issues despatch in which the following sentence occurs: 'Day and night they (the Turks) have to submit to capture of trenches.' This information is incorrect, and as far as we are aware, has not been sent from here. This false news puts me in a false position with my troops, who know it to be untrue, and I should be glad if you would trace whence it emanates.
"Repeated to General Officer Commanding, Egypt."
24th June, 1915. Imbros. Three days ago we asked the War Office to let us know the merits of the three new Divisions. The War Office replied placing them in the order XIth; XIIth; Xth, and reminding me that the personality of the Commander would be the chief factor for deciding which were to be employed in any particular operation. K. now supplements this by a cable in which he sizes up the Commanders. Hammersley gets a good chit but the phrase, "he will have to be watched to see that the strain of trench warfare is not too much for him" is ominous. I knew him in October, '99, and thought him a fine soldier. Mahon, "without being methodical," is praised. Shaw gets a moderate eulogy, but we out here are glad to have him for we know him. On these two War Office cables Hammersley and the 11th Division should be for it.
After clearing my table, embarked with Braithwaite and Mitchell aboard the Basilisk (Lieutenant Fallowfield) and made her stand in as close as we dared at Suvla Bay and the coast to the North of it. We have kept a destroyer on patrol along that line, and we were careful to follow the usual track and time, so as to rouse no suspicions.
To spy out the land with a naval telescope over a mile of sea means taking a lot on trust as we learned to our cost on April 25th. We can't even be sure if the Salt Lake is a lake, or whether the glister we see there is just dry sand. We shall have to pretend to do some gun practice, and drop a shell on to its surface to find out. No sign of life anywhere, not even a trickle of smoke. The whole of the Suvla Bay area looks peaceful and deserted. God grant that it may remain so until we come along and make it the other thing.
On my return the Admiral came to hear what I thought about it all. Our plan is bold, but there never was a state of affairs less suited to half and half, keep-in-the-middle-of-the-road tactics than that with which the Empire is faced to-day. If we get through here, now, the war will, must be, over next year. My Manchurian Campaign and two Russian Manoeuvres have taught me that, from Grand Duke to Moujiks, our Allies need just that precise spice of initiative which we, only we in the world, can lend them. Advice, cash, munitions aren't enough; our palpable presence is the point. The arrival of Birdwood, Hunter-Weston and Gouraud at Odessa would electrify the whole of the Russian Army.
As to the plan, I have had the G.S. working hard upon it for over a fortnight (ever since the Cabinet decided to support us). Secrecy is so ultra-vital that we are bound to keep the thing within a tiny circle. I am not the originator. Though I have entirely fathered it, the idea was born at Anzac. We have not yet got down to precise dates, units or commanders but, in those matters, the two cables already entered this morning should help. The plan is based upon Birdwood's confidence that, if only he can be strengthened by another Division, he can seize and hold the high crest line which dominates his own left, and in my own concurrence in that confidence. Sari Bair is the "keep" to the Narrows; Chunuk Bair and Hill 305 are its keys: i.e., from those points the Turkish trenches opposite Birdwood can be enfiladed: the land and sea communications of the enemy holding Maidos, Kilid Bahr and Krithia can be seen and shelled and, in fact, any strong force of Turks guarding the European side of the Narrows can then be starved out, whilst a weak force will not long resist Gouraud and Hunter-Weston. As to our tactical scheme for producing these strategical results, it is simple in outline though infernally complicated in its amphibious and supply aspects. The French and British at Helles will attack so as to draw the attention of the Turks southwards. To add to this effect, we are thinking of asking the Anzacs to exert a preliminary pressure on the Gaba Tepe alarum to the southwards. We shall then give Birdwood what he wants, an extra division, and it will be a problem how to do so without letting the enemy smell a rat. Birdwood's Intelligence are certain that no trenches have been dug by the enemy along the high ridge from Chunuk Bair to Hill 305. He is sure that with one more Division under his direct command, plus the help of a push from Helles to ease his southern flank, he can make good these dominating heights.
But,—here comes the second half of the plan: the balance of the reinforcements from home are also to be thrown into the scale so as at the same time to give further support to Birdwood on his northern flank and to occupy a good harbour (Suvla Bay) whence we can run a light railway line and more effectively feed the troops holding Sari Bair than they could be fed from the bad, cramped beaches of Anzac Cove. This will be the more necessary as the process of starving out the Turks to the south must take time. Suvla Bay should be an easy base to seize as it is weakly held and unentrenched whilst, tactically, any troops landed there will, by a very short advance, be able to make Birdwood's mind easy about his left. Altogether, the plan seems to me simple in outline, and sound in principle. The ground between Anzac and the Sari Bair crestline is worse than the Khyber Pass but both Birdwood and Godley say that their troops can tackle it. There are one or two in the know who think me "venturesome" but, after all, is not "nothing venture nothing win" an unanswerable retort?
De Robeck is excited over some new anti-submarine nets. They are so strong and he can run them out so swiftly that they open, he seems to think, new possibilities of making landings,—not on open coasts like the North of the Aegean but at places like Yukeri Bay, where the nets could be spread from the North and South ends of Tenedos to shoals connecting with Asia so as to make a torpedo proof basin for transports. The Navy, in fact, suddenly seem rather bitten with the idea of landing opposite Tenedos. But whereas, this very afternoon, our own eyes confirmed the aeroplane reports that Suvla Bay is unentrenched, weakly held and quiescent, only yesterday a division of the enemy were reputed to be busy along the whole of the coastline to the South of Besika Bay.
I have raised a hornet's nest by my objection to faked cables; but I will not have it done. They may suppress but they shall not invent.
"(No. M.F. 366). From General Sir Ian Hamilton to War Office. Your No. 12431. I do not object to General Officer Commanding, Egypt, publishing any telegram I send him, as I write them for that purpose. But I do object to the addition of news which is untrue, and which can surely be seen through by any reading public. If we can take trenches at our will, why are we still on this side of Achi Baba?
"In compliance with Lord Kitchener's instructions I send a telegram to the Secretary of State for War and repeat it to Egypt; also to Australia and New Zealand if it affect these Dominions. Please see your No. 10,475, code, and my No. M.F. 285, instructing me to do this. These telegrams are practically identical when they leave here, and are intended to be used as a communique and to be published. Instead of this I find a mutilated and misleading Cairo telegram reproduced in London Press in place of the true version I sent to the Secretary of State for War."
General Paris crossed from Helles to dine and stay the night. After dinner, Commodore Backhouse came over to make his salaams to his Divisional Chief.
Gouraud has sent me his reply to Lord K.'s congratulations on his victory of the 21st. He says,
"Vous prie exprimer a Lord Kitchener mes respectueux remerciements nous n'avons, eu qu'a prendre exemple sur les heroiques regiments anglais qui ont debarque dans les fils de fer sur la plage de Seddulbahr."
25th June, 1915. Imbros. At 8 a.m. walked down with Paris to see him off. Worked till 11 a.m. and then crossed over to "K" Beach where Backhouse, commanding the 2nd Naval Brigade, met me. Inspected the Hood, Howe and Anson Battalions into which had been incorporated the Collingwood and Benbow units—too weak now to carry on as independent units. The Hood, Howe and Anson are suffering from an acute attack of indigestion, and Collingwoods and Benbows are sick at having been swallowed. But I had to do it seeing there is no word of the cruel losses of the battle of the 4th being made good by the Admiralty. The Howe, Hood and Anson attacked on our extreme right, next the French. They did most gloriously—most gloriously! As to the Collingwoods, they were simply cut to pieces, losing 25 officers out of 28 in a few minutes. Down at the roots of this unhappiness lie the neglect to give us our fair share of howitzers and trench mortars—in fact stupidity! The rank and file all round looked much better for their short rest, and seemed to like the few halting words of praise I was able to say to them. Lunched with Backhouse in a delicious garden under a spreading fig tree; then rode back.
At 5 p.m. Ashmead-Bartlett had an appointment, K. himself took trouble to send me several cables about him a little time ago. Referring in one of them to the dangers of letting Jeremiah loose in London, K. said, "Ashmead-Bartlett has promised verbally to speak to no one but his Editor, who can be trusted." Verbally, or in writing, my astonishment at K.'s confidence can only find expression in verse:—
"Oft expectation fails, and most oft there Where most it promises;"
He, Ashmead-Bartlett, came to-day to beg me to deliver him out of the hands of the Censor. He wants certain changes made and I have agreed.
Next, he fully explained to me the importance of the Bulair Lines and urged me to throw the new Divisions against them. He seems to think he is mooting to me a spick and span new idea—that he has invented something. Finally, he suggests ten shillings and a free pardon be offered to every Turk who deserts to our lines with his rifle and kit: he believes we should thus get rid of the whole of the enemy army very quickly.
This makes one wonder what would Ashmead-Bartlett himself do if he were offered ten shillings and a good supper by a Mahommedan when he was feeling a bit hungry and hard up amongst the Christians. Anyway, there is no type of soldier man fighting in the war who is more faithful to his salt than the Osmanli Turk. Were we to offer fifty pounds per head, instead of ten shillings, the bid would rebound in shame upon ourselves.
Colonel Sir Mark Sykes was my next visitor. He is fulfilling the promise of his 'teens when he was the shining light of the Militia; was as keen a Galloper as I have had on a list which includes Winston and F.E., and, generally, gained much glory, martial, equestrian, histrionic, terpsichorean at our Militia Training Camp on Salisbury Plain in '99. Now he has mysteriously made himself (heaven knows how) into our premier authority on the Middle East and is travelling on some ultra-mysterious mission, very likely, en passant, as a critic of our doings: never mind, he is thrice welcome as a large-hearted and generous person.
Dined with de Robeck on board the Triad. He is most hospitable and kind. I have not here the wherewithal to give back cutlet for cutlet, worse luck.
26th June, 1915. Worked till past 11 o'clock, then started for Anzac with Braithwaite per destroyer Pincher (Lieutenant-Commander Wyld). After going a short way was shifted to the Mosquito (Lieutenant-Commander Clarke). We had biscuits in our pockets, but the hospitable Navy stood us lunch.
When the Turks saw a destroyer come bustling up at an unusual hour they said to themselves, "fee faw fum!" and began to raise pillars of water here and there over the surface of the cove. As we got within a few yards of the pier a shell hit it, knocking off some splinters. I jumped on to it—had to—then jumped off it nippier still and, turning to the right, began to walk towards Birdie's dugout. As I did so a big fellow pitched plunk into the soft shingle between land and water about five or six yards behind me and five or six yards in front of Freddie. The slush fairly smothered or blanketed the shell but I was wetted through and was stung up properly with small gravel. The hardened devils of Anzacs, who had taken cover betwixt the shell-proofs built of piles of stores, roared with laughter. Very funny—to look at!
As the old Turks kept plugging it in fairly hot, I sat quiet in Birdwood's dugout for a quarter of an hour. Then they calmed down and we went the rounds of the right trenches. In those held by the Light Horse Brigade under Colonel G. de L. Ryrie, encountered Lieutenant Elliot, last seen a year ago at Duntroon.
Next, met Colonel Sinclair Maclagan commanding 3rd (Australian) Infantry Brigade. After that saw the lines of Colonel Smith's Brigade, where Major Browne, R.A., showed me a fearful sort of bomb he had just patented.
At last, rather tired by my long day, made my way back, stopping at Birdie's dugout en route. Boarded the Mosquito; sailed for and reached camp without further adventure. General Douglas of the East Lancs Division is here. He has dined and is staying the night. A melancholy man before whose eyes stands constantly the tragic melting away without replacement of the most beautiful of the Divisions of Northern England.
27th June, 1915. Imbros. Blazing hot; wound up my mail letters; fought files, flies and irritability; tackled a lot of stuff from Q.M.G. and A.G.; won a clear table by tea time. In the evening hung about waiting for de Robeck who had signalled over to say he wanted to talk business. At the last he couldn't come.
The sequel to the letter telling me I'd have to cut the names of battalions out of my Despatch has come in the shape of a War Office cable telling me that, if I agree, it is proposed "to have the despatch reviewed and a slightly different version prepared for publication." I hope my reply to Fitz may arrive in time to prevent too much titivation.
An imaginative War Office (were such a thing imaginable) would try first of all to rouse public enthusiasm by letting them follow quite closely the brave doings of their own boys' units whatever these might be. Next, they would try and use the Press to teach the public that there are three kinds of war, (a) military war, (b) economic war and (c) social war. Lastly, they would explain to the Cabinet that this war of ours is a mixture of (a) and (b) with more of (b) than (a) in it.
How can economic victory be won? (1) by enlisting the sympathy of America; (2) by taking Constantinople.
The idea that we can hustle the Kaiser back over the Rhine and march on to Berlin at the double emanates from a school of thought who have devoted much study to the French Army, not so much to that of the Germans. But we can (no one denies it) hustle the Turks out of Constantinople if we will make an effort, big, no doubt, in itself but not very big compared to that entailed by a few miles' advance in the West. Let us do that and, forthwith, we enlist economics on our side.
None of these things can be carried through without the help of the Press. Second only to enthusiasm of our own folk comes the sweetening of the temper of the neutral. Hard to say at present whether our Censorship has done most harm in the U.K. or the U.S.A. Before leaving for the Dardanelles I begged hard for Hare and Frederick Palmer, the Americans, knowing they would help us with the Yanks just as much as aeroplanes would help us with the Turks, but I was turned down on the plea that the London Press would be jealous.
These are the feelings which have prompted my pen to-day. Writing one of the few great men I know I put the matter like this:—
"From my individual point of view a hideous mistake has been made on the correspondence side of the whole of this Dardanelles business. Had we had a dozen good newspaper correspondents here, the vital life-giving interest of these stupendous proceedings would have been brought right into the hearths and homes of the humblest people in Britain....
"As for information to the enemy, this is too puerile altogether. The things these fellows produce are all read and checked by competent General Staff Officers. To think that it matters to the Turks whether a certain trench was taken by the 7th Royal Scots or the 3rd Warwicks is just really like children playing at secrets. The Censors who are by way of keeping everyone in England in darkness allow extremely accurate outline panoramas of the Australian position from the back; trenches, communication tracks, etc., all to scale; a true military sketch, to appear in the Illustrated London News of 5th June. The wildest indiscretions in words could not equal this."
Again I say the Press must win. On no subject is there more hypocrisy amongst big men in England. They pretend they do not care for the Press and sub rosa they try all they are worth to work it. How well I remember my Chief of the General Staff coming up to me at a big conference on Salisbury Plain where I had spent five very useful minutes explaining the inwardness of things to old Bennett Burleigh, the War Correspondent. He (the C.G.S.) begged me to see Burleigh privately, afterwards, as it would "create a bad impression" were I seen by everyone to be on friendly terms with the old man! He meant it very kindly: from his point of view he was quite right. I lay no claim to be more candid than the rest of them: quite the contrary. Only, over that particular line of country, I am more candid. Whenever anyone ostentatiously washes his hands of the Press in my hearing I chuckle over the memory of the administrator who was admonishing me as to the unsuitability of a public servant having a journalistic acquaintance when, suddenly, the door opened; the parlour-maid entered and said, "Lord Northcliffe is on the 'phone."
Have told Lord K. in my letter we have just enough shell for one more attack. After that, we fold our hands and wait the arrival of the new troops and the new outfit of ammunition:—not "wait and see" but "wait and suffer." A month is a desperate long halt to have in a battle. A month, at least, to let weariness and sickness spread whilst new armies of enemies replace those whose hearts we have broken,—at a cost of how many broken hearts, I wonder, in Australasia and England?
This enforced pause in our operations is a desperate bad business: for to-day there is a feeling in the air—thrilling through the ranks—that at last the upper hand is ours. Now is the moment to fall on with might and main,—to press unrelentingly and without break or pause until we wrest victory from Fortune. Morally, we are confident but,—materially? Alas, to-morrow, for our last "dart" before reinforcements arrive a month hence, my shell only runs to a forty minutes' bombardment of some half a mile of the enemy's trenches. We simply have not shell wherewith to cover more or keep it up any longer.
A General laying down the law to a Field Marshal is as obnoxious to military "form" as a vacuum was once supposed to be to the sentiments of nature. The child, who teaches its grandmother to suck eggs, commits a venial fault in comparison. So I have had to convey my precepts insensibly to Milord K.—to convey them in homeopathic doses of parable. The brilliant French success of the 21st-22nd, I explain to him, was due to the showers of shell wherewith they deluged the Turkish lines until their defenders were sitting dazed with their dugouts in ruins about them. Also, in the same epistle, I have tried to explain Anzac.
In the domain of tactics our landing at Helles speaks for itself. Since gunpowder was invented nothing finer than the 29th Division has been achieved. But it will be a long time yet before people grasp that the landing at Anzac is just as remarkable in the imaginative domain of strategy. The military student of the future will, I hope and believe, realize the significance of the stroke whereby we are hourly forcing a great Empire to commit hari kiri upon these barren, worthless cliffs—whereby we keep pressing a dagger exactly over the black heart of the Ottoman Raj. Only skin deep—so far; only through the skin. Yet already how freely bleeds the wound. Daily the effort to escape this doom; to push away the threat of that painful point will increase. Even if we were never to make another yard's advance,—here—in the cove of Anzac—is the cup into which the life blood of the Caliphat shall be pressed. And on the whole Gallipoli Peninsula this little cove is the one and only spot whereon a base could have been established, which is sheltered (to a bearable extent) from the force of the enemy's fire. Dead ground; defiladed from inland batteries; deep water right close to the shore!
Enver dares not leave Anzac alone. We are too near his neck; the Narrows!! So on this most precarious, God-forsaken spot he must maintain an Army of his best troops, mostly supplied by sea,—by sea whereon our submarines swallow 25 per cent. of their drafts, munitions and food, just as a pike takes down the duckling before the eyes of their mother on a pond. Hold fast's the word. We have only to keep our grip firm and fast; Turkey will die of exhaustion trying to do what she can't do; drive us into the sea!
Braithwaite and Amery dined. Great fun seeing Amery again. What memories of his concealment in the Autocrat's "Special" going to the Vereeniging Conference; of our efforts to create a strategical training ground for British troops in South Africa; of our battles against one another over the great Voluntary Service issue.
A VICTORY AND AFTER
28th June, 1915. Imbros. The fateful day.
Left camp with Braithwaite, Dawnay and Ward. Embarked on the destroyer Colne (Commander Seymour) and sailed for Helles. The fire fight was raging. From the bridge we got a fine view as our guns were being focused on and about the north-west coast. The cliff line and half a mile inland is shrouded in a pall of yellow dust which, as it twirls, twists and eddies, blots out Achi Baba himself. Through this curtain appear, dozens at a time, little balls of white,—the shrapnel searching out the communication trenches and cutting the wire entanglements. At other times spouts of green or black vapour rise, mix and lose themselves in the yellow cloud. The noise is like the rumbling of an express train—continuous; no break at all. The Turks sitting there in their trenches—our men 100 yards away sitting in their trenches! What a wonderful change in the art,—no not the art, in the mechanism—of war. Fifteen years ago armies would have stood aghast at our display of explosive energy; to-day we know that our shortage is pitiable and that we are very short of stuff; perilously short.—(Written in the cabin of the Colne.)
Jimmy Watson met me on the pier. He is Commandant Advance Base. Deedes also met me and the whole band of us made our way inland to my battle dugout. This is probably our last onslaught before the new troops and new supplies of shell come to hand in about a month from now. We have just enough stuff to deal with one narrow strip by the coast. Had it not been for some help from the French, we could not have entered upon this engagement at all, but must have continued to sit still and be shot at—rather an expensive way of fighting if John Bull could only be told the truth. Now, although the area is limited the battle is a big one, fairly entitled to be called a general action. As I said, the French are helping Simpson-Baikie in his bombardment; the Fleet are helping us with the fire of the Scorpion, Talbot and Wolverine, and Birdwood has been asked to try and help us from Anzac by making a push there to hold the enemy and prevent him sending reinforcements south. On their side the Turks are making a very feeble reply. Looks as if we had caught them with their ammunition parks empty.
I went into the dugout indescribably slack; hardly energy to struggle against the heat and the myriads of flies. I came out of it radiant. The Turks are beat. Five lines of their best trenches carried (or, at least, four regular lines plus a bit extra); the Boomerang Redoubt rushed, and in two successive attacks we have advanced 1,000 yards. Our losses are said to be moderate. The dreaded Boomerang collapsed and was stormed with hardly a casualty. This was owing partly to the two trench mortars lent us by the French and partly to the extraordinary fine shooting of our own battery of 4.5 howitzers. The whole show went like clockwork—like a Field Day. First the 87th Brigade took three lines of trenches; then our guns lengthened their range and fuses and the 86th Brigade, with the gallant Royal Fusiliers at their head, scrambled over the trenches already taken by the 87th, and took the last two lines in splendid style. We could have gone right on but we had nothing to go on with. How I wish the whole world and his wife could have been here to see our lines advancing under fire quite steadily with intervals and dressing as on parade. A wonderful show!
As the 87th Brigade left the trenches at 11 a.m., the enemy opened a hot shrapnel fire on them but although some men fell, none faltered as we could see very well owing to the following device. The 29th attackers had sewn on to their backs triangles cut out of kerosine tins. The idea was to let these bright bits of metal flash in the sunlight and act as helios. Thus our guns would be able to keep an eye on them. The spectacle was extraordinary. From my post I could follow the movements of every man. One moment after 11 a.m. the smoke pall lifted and moved slowly on with a thousand sparkles of light in its wake: as if someone had quite suddenly flung a big handful of diamonds on to the landscape.
At 11.30 the 86th Brigade likewise advanced; passed through the 87th and took two more lines of trenches.
At mid-day I signalled, "Well done 29th Division and 156th Brigade. Am watching your splendid attack with admiration. Stick to it and your names will become famous in your homes."
At 1.50 I got a reply, "Thanks from all ranks 29th. We are here to stay."
At 3.15 I ran across and warmly congratulated Hunter-Weston, staying with him reading the messages until about 4 p.m. when I went on to see Gouraud. Hunter-Weston, Gouraud and Braithwaite agree that:—had we only shell to repeat our bombardment of this morning, now, we could go on another 1,000 yards before dark,—result, Achi Baba to-morrow, or, at the latest, the day after; Achi Baba and fifty guns perhaps with, say, 10,000 prisoners.
At 5 p.m. Gouraud and I walked back to Hunter-Weston's G.H.Q. A load was off our minds—we were wonderfully happy. At 5.30 a message from Birdie to say the Queenslanders had thrust out towards Gaba Tepe and had "drawn" the Turkish reserves who had been badly hammered by our guns. With this crowning mercy in my pocket, walked down and boarded the destroyer Scourge (Lieutenant Tupper) and got back to camp before seven. What a day! May our glorious Infantry gain everlasting Kudos—and the Gunners, too, may the good use they made of their shell ration create a legend.
The French official photographer has fixed a moment by snapping Gouraud and myself overlooking the Hellespont from the old battlements.
Midnight.—When I lay down in my little tent two hours ago the canvas seemed to make a sort of sounding board. No sooner did I try to sleep than I heard the musketry rolling up and dying away; then rolling up again in volume until I could stick it no longer and simply had to get up and pick a path, through the brush and over sandhills, across to the sea on the East coast of our island. There I could hear nothing. Was the firing then an hallucination—a sort of sequel to the battle in my brain? Not so; far away I could see faint corruscations of sparks; star shells; coloured fire balls from pistols; searchlights playing up and down the coast. Our fellows were being hard beset to hold on to what they had won; there, where the horizon stood out with spectral luminosity. What a contrast; the direct fear, joy, and excitement of the fighting men out there in the searchlights and the dull anguish of waiting here in the darkness; imagining horrors; praying the Almighty our men may be vouchsafed valour to stick it through the night; wondering, waiting until the wire brings its colourless message!
One thought I have which is in the end a sure sleep-getter—the advancing death. Whether by hours or by years, by inches or by leagues, by bullets or bacilli, we struggle-for-lifers will very soon struggle no more. My last salaams are well-nigh due to my audience and to the stage. That rare and curious being called I is more fragile than any porcelain jar. How on earth it has preserved itself so long, heaven only knows. One pellet of lead, it falls in a heap of dust; the Peninsula disappears; the fighting men fall asleep; the world and its glories become a blank—not even a dream—nothing!
29th June, 1915. Imbros. Sunlight has scattered the spectres of the night,—they have fled, leaving behind them only the matter-of-fact residuum of heavy Turkish counter-attacks against our fresh-won ground. The fighting took place along the coastline, and the stillness of the night seems to have helped the sounds of musketry across the twelve miles of sea. The attack was most determined: repulsed by bombs and with the bayonet: at daylight the enemy came under a cross-fire of machine guns and rifles and were shot to pieces.
Very early approved the revise of my long cable (for the Cabinet) outlining my hopes and fears:—
"(No. M.F. 381). From General Sir Ian Hamilton to Earl Kitchener. With reference to your telegram No. 5770, cipher. As the Cabinet are anxious to consider my situation in all its bearings, it is necessary I should open to you all my mind. In my No. M.F. 328 of 13th June, I gave you an outline of my plan, based on the news that I was to be given new divisions, and I told you what I should do with a possible fourth division in my No. M.F. 364 of 23rd June. I am now asked whether I consider a fifth division advisable and necessary.
"I have taken time to answer this question, as the addition of each new division necessitates, in such a theatre of war as this, a reconsideration of the whole strategical and tactical situation as well as of the power of the Fleet to work up to the increased demands that would be placed upon it. The scheme which might tempt me (Naval considerations permitting) of landing the 4th and 5th Divisions together with the three divisions and one or two divisions from Cape Helles and Anzac on flank of shore of Gulf of Saros to march on Rodosto and Constantinople I reject because the 4th and 5th Divisions cannot reach me simultaneously with all their transport.
"But assuming that reinforcements can only reach me in echelon of divisions I have decided that the best policy would be to adhere to my original plan of endeavouring to turn the enemy's right at Anzac with the first three divisions and to gain a position from Gaba Tepe to Maidos. I should then use the 4th and 5th Divisions, in case of non-success at first to reinforce this wing, and in case of success possibly to effect a landing on the southern shore of the Dardanelles; and since the enemy's forces south of the Straits would probably have been reduced to a minimum in order to oppose my reinforced strength on the Peninsula I should in the latter case count upon these two divisions doing more than hold a bridge-head (see my M.F. 349 of 19th June), and should expect them, reinforced from the northern wing if necessary, to press forward to Chanak and thus to cut off this enemy's sole remaining line of supply. By these means I should hope to compel the surrender of the whole Gallipoli Army. Meanwhile, with my force on the Asiatic side I would be enabled to establish in Morto Bay a base safe from the bad weather which must be expected later on.
"With regard to ammunition, the more we can get the more easy will our task be, but I hope we may be able to achieve success at the end of July with the amount available. As we are so far from home, however, we cannot afford to run things too fine, and we shall always be obliged to keep up a large reserve until the arrival of further supply. I should, therefore, like as much as you can spare, particularly high explosive. So far as this question affects sending a 4th and 5th Division I would not refuse them on the score of ammunition alone, because with the Artillery of three new divisions complete I think we shall have as many guns as the terrain will allow us to use in the operations towards Maidos, and also sufficient to compete with any Artillery which the enemy could bring against the detachment operating on the Asiatic shore.
"To summarize—I think I have reasonable prospects of eventual success with three divisions, with four the risks of miscalculation would be minimized, and with five, even if the fifth division had little or no gun ammunition, I think it would be a much simpler matter to clear the Asiatic shore subsequently of big guns, etc., Kilid Bahr would be captured at an earlier date and success would be generally assured."
Next, I boiled down yesterday's battle into telegraphic dispatch form:
"(No. M.F. 383). From General Sir Ian Hamilton to Secretary of State for War. In continuation of my Nos. M.F. 379 and 382. Plan of operations yesterday was to throw forward left of my line south-east of Krithia, pivoting on point about one mile from the sea, and after advancing extreme left for about half a mile, to establish new line facing east on ground thus gained. This plan entailed the capture in succession of two lines of the Turkish trenches east of the Saghir Dere and five lines of trenches west of it. Australian Corps was ordered to co-operate by making vigorous demonstration. The action opened at 9 a.m. with bombardment by heavy artillery of the trenches to be captured.
"Assistance rendered by French in this bombardment was most valuable. At 10.20 our field artillery opened fire to cut wire in front of Turkish trenches and this was effectively done. Great effect on enemy's trench near sea and in keeping down his artillery fire from that quarter was produced by very accurate fire of H.M.S. Talbot, Scorpion, and Wolverine. At 10.45 a small Turkish advanced work in the Saghir Dere, known as the Boomerang Redoubt, was assaulted. This little fort was very strongly sited, protected by extra strong wire entanglements and has long been a source of trouble. After special bombardment by trench mortars and while bombardment of surrounding trenches was at its height part of Border Regiment, at the exact moment prescribed, leapt from their trenches like a pack of hounds pouring out of cover, raced across and took the work most brilliantly.
"Artillery bombardment increased in intensity till 11 a.m. when range was lengthened and infantry advanced. Infantry attack was carried out with great dash along whole line. West of Saghir Dere 87th Brigade captured three lines of trenches with little opposition. Trenches full of dead Turks, many buried by bombardment, and 100 prisoners were taken in them. East of Ravine two battalions Royal Scots made fine attack, capturing the two lines of trenches assigned as their objective, but remainder of 156th Brigade on their right met severe opposition and were unable to get forward. At 11.30, 86th Brigade led by 2nd Bn. Royal Fusiliers started second phase of attack West of Ravine. They advanced with great steadiness and resolution through trenches already captured and on across the open, and taking two more lines of trenches reached objective allotted to them, Lancashire Fusiliers inclining half right and forming line to connect with our new position East of Ravine.
"The northernmost objective I had set out to reach had now been attained, but the Gurkhas pressing on under the cliffs captured an important knoll still further forward, actually due west of Krithia. This they fortified and held during the night, making our total gain on the left precisely 1,000 yards. During afternoon 88th Brigade attacked trenches, small portion of which remained uncaptured on right, but enemy held on stubbornly, supported by machine guns and artillery, and attacks did not succeed. During night enemy counter-attacked furthest trenches gained but was repulsed with heavy loss. Party of Turks who penetrated from flank between two lines of captured trenches, subjected to machine-gun fire at daybreak, suffered very heavily and survivors surrendered.
"Except for small portion of trench already mentioned which is still held by enemy, all, and more than we hoped for, from operations has been gained. On extreme left, line has been pushed forward to specially strong point well beyond limit of advance originally contemplated. Our casualties about 2,000, the greater proportion of which are slight cases of which 250 at Anzac, in the useful demonstration made simultaneously there. All engaged did well, but certainly the chief factor in the success was the splendid attack carried out by XXIXth Division, whose conduct in this as on previous occasions was beyond praise."
Lastly, I wrote out a special Force Order thanking the incomparable 29th.
Winter brought me over a letter just received from Wallace. He is quarrelling with Elliot. For that I don't blame him. At the end of his letter Wallace says, "I feel that the organization of the Lines of Communication and making it work is such a task that I sometimes doubt myself whether I am equal to it." Wallace is a good fellow and a sensible man placed, by British methods, out of his element and out of his depth. Have told Winter to tell him I sympathize and will help him and support him all I know; that if it turns out his strong points lie in another direction than administering a huge business machine, I will try and find a handsome way out for him.
Had been writing, writing, writing since cockcrow so when I heard a trawler was going over with two of the General Staff at mid-day, I could not resist the chance of another visit to the scene of yesterday's victorious advance. Went to see Hunter-Weston but he was up at the front where I had no time to follow him. His Chief of Staff says all goes well, but they have just had cables from my own Headquarters to tell them that heavy columns of Turks are massing behind Achi Baba for a fresh counter-attack. Thought, therefore, the wisest thing was to get back quickly. Reached camp again about 7 p.m., and found more news in office than I got on the spot. Last night's firing on the Peninsula meant close and desperate fighting. Several heavy columns of Turks attacked with bomb and bayonet, and in places some of their braves broke through into our new trenches where the defence had not yet been put on a stable footing. When daylight came we got them enfiladed by machine guns and every single mother's son of them was either killed or captured. So we still hold every yard we had gained.
The attack by a part of the Lowland Division seems to have been mishandled. A Brigade made the assault East of the Ravine; the men advanced gallantly but there was lack of effective preparation. Two battalions of the Royal Scots carried a couple of the enemy's trenches in fine style and stuck to them, but the rest of the Brigade lost a number of good men to no useful purpose in their push against H.12. One thing is clear. If the bombardment was ineffective, from whatever cause, then the men should not have been allowed to break cover.
30th June, 1915. Imbros. Writing in camp.
More good news. It never rains but it pours. The French have made a fine push and got the Quadrilateral by 8 a.m. with but little loss. The Turks seemed discouraged, they say, and did not offer their usual firm resistance.
At 10.30 a.m. wired Gouraud:—"Warm congratulations on this morning's work which will compensate for the loss of your 2,000 quarts of wine. Your Government should now replace it with vintage claret. Please send me quickly a sketch of the ground you have gained."
Gouraud now replies:—"Best thanks for congratulations. Sketch being made. If our Government is pleased to send a finer brand of wine to replace what was wasted by the guns of Asia, we Frenchmen will drink it to the very good health of our British comrades in arms."
How lucky I signalled de Robeck 8 p.m. yesterday to let us keep the Wolverine and Scorpion "in case of a night attack!" Sure enough there was another onslaught made against our northernmost post. Two Turkish Regiments were discovered in mass creeping along the top of the cliffs by the searchlights of the Scorpion. They were so punished by her guns that they were completely broken up and the Infantry at daylight had not much to do except pick up the fragments. 300 Turks lay dead upon the ground. Also, hiding in furze, have gleaned 180 prisoners belonging to the 13th, 16th and 33rd Regiments. A Circassian prisoner carried in a wounded Royal Scot on his back under a heavy fire.
Three wires from Helles; the first early this morning; the last just to hand (11 p.m.) saying that the lack of hand grenades is endangering all our gains. The Turks are much better armed in this respect. De Lisle says that where we have hand grenades we can advance still further; where we have not, we lose ground. At mid-day, we wired our reply saying we had no more hand grenades we feared but that we would do our best to scrape up a few; also that several trench mortars had just arrived from home and that they would be sent over forthwith.
Have returned some interesting minutes on the Dardanelles, sent me from home, with this remark:—"Looking back I see now clearly that the one fallacy which crept into your plans was non-recognition of the pride and military moral of the Turk. There was never any question of the Turk being demoralized or even flustered by ships sailing past him or by troops landing in his rear. At last, I believe, this moral is beginning to crack up a little (not much) but nothing less than murderous losses would have done it. In their diaries their officers speak of this Peninsula as the Slaughterhouse."
Brigadier-General de Lothbiniere and Major Ruthven lunched and young Brodrick and I dined together on board the Triad with the hospitable Vice-Admiral. We were all very cheery at the happy turn of our fortunes; outwardly, that is to say, for there was a skeleton at the feast who kept tap, tap, tapping on the mahogany with his bony knuckles; tap, tap, tap; the gunfire at Helles was insistent, warning us that the Turks had not yet "taken their licking." But when I get back, although there is nothing in from Hunter-Weston there is an officer from Anzac who has just given me the complete story of Birdwood's demonstration on the 28th. The tide of war is indeed racing full flood in our favour.
When we were working out our scheme for the attack of the 29th Division and 156th Brigade the day before yesterday, as well as Gouraud's attack of yesterday, we had reckoned that the Turkish High Command would get to realize by about 11 a.m. on the 28th that an uncommon stiff fight had been set afoot to the sou'-west of Krithia. L. von S. would then, it might be surmised, draw upon his reserves at Maidos and upon his forces opposite Anzac: they would get their orders about mid-day: they would be starting about 1 p.m.: they would reach Krithia about dusk: they would use their "pull" in the matter of hand grenades to counter-attack by moonlight. So we asked Birdie to make one of his most engaging gestures just to delay these reinforcements a little bit; and now it turns out that the Australians and New Zealanders in their handsome, antipodean style went some 50 per cent. better than their bargain:—
(1) At 1 p.m. on the 28th the Queensland giants darted out of their caves and went for the low ridge covering Gaba Tepe, that tenderest spot of the Turks. They got on to the foot of it and, by their dashing onslaught, drew the fire of all the enemy guns; but, what was still better, heavy Turkish columns, on the march, evidently, from Maidos to the help of Krithia, turned back northwards and closed in for the defence of Gaba Tepe. As they drew near they came under fire of our destroyers and of the Anzac guns and were badly knocked about and broken up. So both Krithia and the French Quadrilateral have had to do without the help of these reinforcements from the reserves of Liman von Sanders. One of the neatest of strokes and the credit of it lies with the Queenslanders who were not content to flourish their fists in the enemy's face but ran out and attacked him at close quarters.
(2) Now comes the sequel! Birdie has just sent in word of the best business done at Anzac since May 19th!! The success of his demonstration towards Gaba Tepe had given the Turks a bad attack of the jumps, followed by a thirst for vengeance. Yesterday, they got very nervy during a dust storm and for two hours the whole of their Army kept up high pressure fire from every rifle and machine gun they could bring to bear. They simply poured out bullets by the million into the blinding dust. Things then gradually quieted down till 1.30 this morning when a very serious assault—very serious for the enemy—was suddenly launched against the Anzac left, the brunt of it falling on Russell's New Zealand Mounted Rifles and Chauvel's Australian Light Horse; a bad choice too! Our victory complete; bloodless for us. Their defeat complete; very bloody. Nine fresh enemy battalions smashed to bits: fighting went on until dawn: five hundred Turks laid out and counted: no more detail but that is good enough to go to sleep upon.
1st July, 1915. Imbros. Good news from Helles continues. In the early hours of last night an attack was made on the Gurkhas in J trenches. When they ran out of bombs the Turks bombed them out. Headed by Bruce their Colonel, whom they adore, they retook the trench and, for the first time, got into the enemy with their kukris and sliced off a number of their heads. At dawn half a battalion of Turks tried to make the attack along the top of the cliff and were entirely wiped out.
Against this I must set down cruel bad news about Gouraud. An accursed misadventure. He has been severely wounded by a shell. Directly I heard I got the Navy to run me over. He was already in the Hospital ship; I saw him there. A pure toss up whether he pulls round or not; luckily he has a frame of iron. I was allowed to speak to him for half a minute and he is full of pluck. The shell, an 8-incher from Asia, landed only some half a dozen yards away from him as he was visiting his wounded and sick down by "V" Beach. By some miracle none of the metal fragments touched him, but the sheer force of the explosion shot him up into the air and over a wall said to be seven feet high. His thigh, ankle and arm are all badly smashed, simply by the fall. We could more easily spare a Brigade. His loss is irreparable. By personal magnetism he has raised the ardour of his troops to the highest power. Have cabled to Lord K. expressing my profound sorrow and assuring him that "the grave loss suffered by the French, and indirectly by my whole force," is really most serious, as I know, I say, "the French War Minister cannot send us another General Gouraud."
2nd July, 1915. Imbros. Worked all day in camp. Birdie, with Onslow, his A.D.C—such a nice boy—came over from Anzac in the morning and stayed with me the day, during which we worked together at our plan. At night we all went over together to H.M.S. Triad to dine with the Vice-Admiral.
Birdwood is quite confident that with a fresh Division and a decent supply of shell he can get hold of the heights of Sari Bair, whereby he will enfilade the whole network of Turkish trenches, now hedging him round. The only thing he bargains for is that G.H.Q. so work the whole affair from orders down to movements, that the enemy get no inkling of our intentions. The Turks so far suspect nothing, and Koja Chemen Tepe and Chunuk Bair, with all the intervening ridge, are still unentrenched and open to capture by a coup-de-main. Even if the naval objections to Bulair could be overcome, Sari Bair remains the better move of the two. With the high ridges of Sari Bair in our hands we could put a stop to the Turkish sea transport from Chanak which we could neither see nor touch from Bulair. The tugs with their strings of lighters could not run by day, and as soon as we could get searchlights fixed up, they would find it very awkward to show themselves in the Straits by night. As to the enemy land communications, as soon as we can haul up our big guns we should command, and be able to search, all the ground between the Aegean and the Dardanelles. Now is the moment. Birdwood says that he and his men have exactly the same feeling that we have down at Helles—the feeling, namely, that now at last, we have got a right moral pull over the Turks. All we want is enough material to turn that faith into a mile or two of mountains.
Making full use of their advantage in hand grenades, the Turks again won their trench back from the Gurkhas last night; a trench which was the key to a whole system of earthworks. Bruce had been wounded and they had no officers left to lead them, so de Lisle had to call once more on the 29th Division and the bold Inniskilling Fusiliers retook that trench at a cost of all their officers save two.
There are some feats of arms best left to speak for themselves and this is one of them.
Wrote Lord K. as follows:—
"GENERAL HEADQUARTERS, "MEDTN. EXPEDITIONARY FORCE.
"2nd July, 1915.
"MY DEAR LORD KITCHENER,
"There seems to be a lull in this tooth-and-nail struggle which has kept me on tenterhooks during the past four days and nights. But we have on our maps little blue arrows showing the movements of at least a Division of troops in various little columns from above Kereves Dere, from Soghon Dere river, from Kilid Bahr and even from within gun-shot of Achi Baba, all converging on a point a mile or two north-west of Krithia. So it looks as if they were going to have one more desperate go at the Gurkha knoll due west of Krithia, and at the line of trench we call J.13 immediately behind it which was also held by the Gurkhas.
"Last night they bombed the Gurkhas out of the eastern half of J.13 and the Inniskilling Fusiliers had to take it again at the point of the bayonet just as day broke.
"You can have small idea of what the troops are going through. The same old battalions being called on again and again to do the forlorn hope sort of business. However, each day that passes, these captured positions get better dug in, and make the Turks' counter-attack more costly.
"The cause of the attack made the night before last on Anzac has been made quite clear to us by a highly intelligent Armenian prisoner we have taken. The strictest orders had been issued by His Excellency Commanding-in-Chief on the Peninsula that no further attacks against our works were to be made unless, of course, we took any ground from them when we must be vigorously countered. But it was explained to the men that the losses in attack had proved too heavy, whereas, if they had patience and waited a week or ten days in their trenches, then at last we would come out and try to attack them when they would kill us in great quantities. However, Enver Pasha appeared in person amongst the troops at Anzac, and ordered three regiments to attack whilst the whole of the rest of the line supported them by demonstrations and by fire. It was objected this was against the command of their local chief. He brushed this objection aside, and told them never to look him in the face again if they failed to drive the Australians into the sea. So off they went and they certainly did not drive the Australians into the sea (although they got into their support trenches at one time) and certainly most of them never looked Enver in the face again, or anyone else for that matter.
"The old battle tactics have clean vanished. I have only quite lately realized the new conditions. Whether your entrenchments are on the top of a hill or at the bottom of a valley matters precious little: whether you are outflanked matters precious little—you may hold one half of a straight trench and the enemy may hold the other half, and this situation may endure for weeks. The only thing is by cunning or surprise, or skill, or tremendous expenditure of high explosives, or great expenditure of good troops, to win some small tactical position which the enemy may be bound, perhaps for military or perhaps for political reasons, to attack. Then you can begin to kill them pretty fast."
3rd July, 1915. Imbros. Very hot; very limp with the prevalent disease but greatly cheered up by the news of yesterday evening's battle at Helles. The Turks must have got hold of a lot of fresh shell for, at 5.30 p.m., they began as heavy a bombardment as any yet seen at Helles, concentrating on our extreme left. We could only send a feeble reply. At 6 o'clock the enemy advanced in swarms, but before they had covered more than 100 yards they were driven back again into the Ravine some 800 yards to our front. H.M.S. Scorpion and our machine guns played the chief hand. At 7 p.m. the Turkish guns began again, blazing away as if shells were a drug in the market, whilst, under cover of this very intense fire, another two of their battalions had the nerve to emerge from the Ravine to the north-east of our forward trenches and to move in regular lines—shoulder to shoulder—right across the open. Hardly had they shown themselves when the 10th Battery R.F.A. sprayed them beautifully with shrapnel. The Gurkha supports were rushed up, and as there was no room for them in the fire trenches they crept into shell craters and any sort of hole they could find from which to rake the Turks as they made their advance. The enemy's officers greatly distinguished themselves, waving their swords and running well out into the open to get the men forward. The men also had screwed up their courage to the sticking point and made a big push for it, but, in the end, they could not face our fire, and fell back helter-skelter to their mullah. Along the spot where they had stood wavering awhile before they broke and ran, there are still two clearly marked lines of corpses.
Wrote a letter to Sclater saying I cannot understand his request for fuller information about the drafts needed to make my units up to strength. We have regularly cabled strengths; the figures are correct and it is the A.G. himself who has ordered us to furnish the optimistic "ration" strengths instead of the customary "fighting" strengths. The ration strength are for the Q.M.G., but unless the A.G. wishes to go on living in a fool's paradise, why should he be afraid of knowing the numbers we cannot put into the line of battle!
Have also written Cowans protesting once more that we should have business brains to run the most intricate business proposition at present on tap in the world—our communications. During the past month the confusion at Mudros, our advanced base, becomes daily worse confounded. Things meant for Anzac go to Helles, and vice versa: or, not infrequently, stores, supplies or luxuries arrive and are sent off on a little tour to Alexandria and Malta before delivery. The system would be perfect for the mellowing of port or madeira, but when it is applied to plum and apple jam or, when 18 pr. shell are sent to howitzers, the system needs overhauling. I know the job is out of the way difficult. There is work here for Lesseps, Goethals and Morgan rolled into one:—work that may change the face of the world far, far more than the Suez or Panama Canals and, to do it, they have put in a good fighting soldier, quite out of his setting, and merely because they did not know what to do with him in Egypt! In case Cowans shares K.'s suspicions about my sneaking desire for Ellison, I say, "I assure you; most solemnly I assure you, that the personal equation does not, even in the vaguest fashion, enter into my thoughts. Put the greatest enemy I possess in the world, and the person I most dislike, into that post, and I would thank God for his appointment, on my knees, provided he was a competent business man."
"I am in despair myself over it. Perhaps that is putting it rather strong as I try never to despair, but seriously I worry just as much over things behind me as I do over the enemy in front of me. What I want is a really big man there, and I don't care one D. who he is. A man I mean who, if he saw the real necessity, would wire for a great English contractor and 300 navvies without bothering or referring the matter to anyone."
A cable to say that the editing of my despatch is ended, and that the public will be let into its dreadful secrets in a day or two. But, I am informed there are passages in it whose "secret nature will be scrupulously observed." What passages? I cannot remember any secrets in my despatch.
Have been defending myself desperately against the War Office who want to send out a Naval Doctor to take full charge and responsibility for the wounded (including destination) the moment they quit dry land. But we must have a complete scheme of evacuation by land and sea, not two badly jointed schemes. So I have asked, who is to be "Boss"? Who is to see to it that the two halves fit together? The answer is that the War Office are confident "there will be no friction" (bless them!); they say, "nothing could be simpler than this arrangement and no difficulty is anticipated. Neither is boss and the boundary between the different spheres of activity of the two officers might be laid down as the high-water mark." (Bless them again!). Have replied:—
"I have struggled with your high-water mark silently for weeks and know something about it. Had I bothered you with all my troubles you would, I respectfully submit, realize that your proposal is not simple but extraordinarily complicated, even pre-supposing seraphic dispositions on either side. If you determine finally that these two officers are to be independent, I foresee that you will greatly widen the scope of dual control which is now only applicable to my great friend the Admiral and myself.
"Either Babtie must order up the ships when and where he wants them, or Porter must order the wounded down when he is ready for them. This is my considered opinion."
Have also sent an earnest message to K.—just the old, old story—saying that what I want first is drafts, and only second fresh divisions. My old Chief has been his kind self again:—so very considerate has he been in his recent messages that I feel it almost brutal to press him or to seem to wish to take advantage of his goodness. But we are dealing with lives of men and I must try and make myself clear:—
"I am anxious with regard to the question of reinforcements for units. During the period 28th to 30th June, the Brigades of the XXIXth and Lowland Divisions dropped in strengths approximately as follows:—86th from 71 officers, 2,807 others to 36 and 1,994; 87th from 65 and 2,724 to 48 and 2,075; 88th from 63 and 2,139 to 46 and 1,765; 156th from 102 and 2,839 to 30 and 1,399. All Officers who have arrived from England to date are included in the above figures. Maxwell has agreed to let me have 80 young Officers from Egypt. Of the other ranks I have no appreciable reinforcements to put in. This is the situation after an operation carried out by the XXIXth and two brigades of LIInd Divisions, which was not only successful but even more successful than we anticipated; wherein the initial losses on 28th June were comparatively small, namely 2,000, but as the result of numerous counter-attacks day and night, have since swelled to some 3,500.
"The drafts promised in your No. 5793, A.G.2a, would, provided there were no more casualties, bring the units of the XXIXth Division to approximately 75 per cent. of establishment, but would leave none available as further reinforcements.
"In view of the operations on a larger scale, with increased forces, I feel I should draw your attention to the risk introduced by the theatre of operations being so far from England. I have no reserves in base depots now, while the operations we are engaged in are such that heavy casualties are to be expected. The want of drafts ready on the spot to fill up units which have suffered heavily might prevent me pressing to full advantage as the result of a local success. At a critical moment I might find myself compelled to suspend operations until the arrival of drafts from England. This might involve a month and in the meantime the enemy would have time to consolidate his position. The difficulty of the drafts question is fully realized, but I think you should know exactly how I am placed and that I should reflect and make clear the essential difference between the Dardanelles and France in so far as the necessity of mobilizing first reinforcements for each unit is concerned. Our real need is a system which will enable me to maintain drafts for the deficiencies in depots on my lines of communications with Egypt."
If K. did not want brief spurts sandwiched between long waits, all he had to do was to tell his A.G. to see to it that the XXIXth Division was kept up to strength. A word and a frown would have done it. But he has not said the word, or scowled, and the troops have by extraordinary efforts and self-sacrifice carried through the work of strong battalions with weak ones—but only to some extent. That is the whole story.
4th July, 1915. Imbros. Church Parade this morning. Made a close inspection of the Surrey Yeomanry under Major Bonsor. Even with as free a hand as the Lord Almighty, it would be hard to invent a better type of fighting man than the British Yeomanry; only, they have never been properly appreciated by the martinets who have ruled our roost, and chances have never been given to them to make the most of themselves as soldiers.
The Escort was made up of men of the 29th Division under Lieutenant Burrell of the South Wales Borderers—that famous battalion which stormed so brilliantly de Tott's battery at the first landing,—also of a detachment of Australians under Lieutenant Edwards and a squad of New Zealanders under Lieutenant Sheppard, fine men all of them, but very different (despite the superficial resemblance imparted by their slouch hats) when thus seen shoulder to shoulder on parade. The Australians have the pull in height and width of chest; the New Zealanders are thicker all through, chests, waists, thighs.
After Church Parade, boarded H.M.S. Basilisk (Lieutenant Fallowfield) and steamed to Helles. The Turks, inconsiderate as usual, were shelling Lancashire Landing as we got ashore. Every living soul had gone to ground. Strolled up the deserted road with an air of careless indifference, hopped casually over a huge splosh of fresh blood, and crossed to Hunter-Weston's Headquarters. Had I only been my simple self, I would have out-stripped the hare for swiftness, as it was, I, as C.-in-C, had to play up to the dugouts. As Hunter-Weston and I were starting lunch, an orderly rushed in to say that a ship in harbour had been torpedoed. So we rushed out with our glasses and watched. She was a French transport, the Carthage, and she took exactly four minutes to sink. The destroyers and picket boats were round her as smart as flies settle on a lump of sugar, and there was no loss of life. Sad to see the old ship go down. I knew her well at Malta and Jean once came across in her from Tunis. She used to roll like the devil and was always said, with what justice I do not know, to be the sister ship to the Waratah which foundered so mysteriously somewhere off the Natal coast with a very good chap, a M.F.H., Percy Brown, on board. At 2.30 General Bailloud, now commanding the French, came over to see me. When he had finished his business which he handles in so original a manner as to make it a recreation, I went off with Hunter-Weston and Staffs to see General Egerton of the Lowland Division. Egerton introduced me to Colonel Mudge, A.A.G., Major Maclean, D.A.A.G. (an old friend), Captain Tollemashe, G.S.O.3, and to his A.D.C., Lieutenant Laverton. We then went on and saw the 156th Brigade. Passed the time of day to a lot of the Officers and men. Among those whose names I remember were Colonel Pallin, acting Brigadier; Captain Girdwood, Brigade Major; Captain Law, Staff Captain; Colonel Peebles, 7th Royal Scots; Captain Sinclair, 4th Royal Scots; Lieutenant McClay, 8th Scottish Rifles. The last Officer was one of the very few—I am not sure they did not say the only one—of his Battalion who went into the assault and returned untouched.
The whole Brigade had attacked H. 12 on the 28th ult. and lost a number of good men. The rank and file seemed very nice lads but—there was no mistaking it—they have been given a bad shake and many of them were down on their luck. As we came to each Battalion Headquarters we were told, "These are the remnants of the——," whatever the unit was. Three times was this remark repeated but the fourth time I had to express my firm opinion that in no case was the use of the word "remnant," as applied to a fighting unit "in being," an expression which authority should employ in the presence of the men.
Re-embarked in H.M.S. Basilisk and got back to Imbros fairly late.
A set of Turkish Divisional orders sent by the Turkish General to the Commander of their right zone at Helles has been taken from a wounded Turkish officer. They bear out our views of the blow that the 29th Division have struck at the enemy's moral by their brilliant attack on the 28th inst.
"There is nothing that causes us more sorrow, increases the courage of the enemy and encourages him to attack more freely, causing us great losses, than the losing of these trenches. Henceforth, commanders who surrender these trenches from whatever side the attack may come before the last man is killed will be punished in the same way as if they had run away. Especially will the commanders of units told off to guard a certain front be punished if, instead of thinking about their work supporting their units and giving information to the higher command, they only take action after a regrettable incident has taken place.
"I hope that this will not occur again. I give notice that if it does, I shall carry out the punishment. I do not desire to see a blot made on the courage of our men by those who escape from the trenches to avoid the rifle and machine gun fire of the enemy. Henceforth, I shall hold responsible all Officers who do not shoot with their revolvers all the privates who try to escape from the trenches on any pretext. Commander of the 11th Division, Colonel Rifaat."
In sending on this order to his battalions, the Colonel of the 127th Regiment adds:—
"To Commander of the 1st Battalion. The contents will be communicated to the Officers and I promise to carry out the orders till the last drop of our blood has been shed."
Then followed the signatures of the company commanders of the Battalion. There is a savage ring about these orders but they are, I am sure, more bracing to the recipients than laments and condolences over their losses.
5th July, 1915. Imbros. Spent a long, hot day hanging at the end of the wire. Heavy firing on the Peninsula last night under cover of which the Turks at dawn made, or tried to make, a grand, concerted attack. Not a soul in England, outside the Ordnance, realizes, I believe, that barring the guns of the 29th Division and the few guns of the Anzacs, our field artillery consists of the old 15-prs., relics of South Africa, and of 5-inch hows., some of them Omdurman veterans. Quite a number of these guns are already unserviceable and, in the 42nd Division, to keep one and a half batteries fully gunned, we have had to use up every piece in the Brigade. The surplus personnel are thus wasted. To take on new Skoda or Krupp guns with these short-range veterans is rough on the gunners. Still, but for the Territorial Force we should have nothing at all, and but for those guns to-day some of the enemy might have got home.
A sort of professional gossip turned up to-day from G.H.Q. France. We do not seem to be so popular as we deserve to be in la belle France! But what I would plead were I only able to get at Joffre and French is that we are "such a little one." Were we all to be set down in the West to-morrow with our shattered, torn formations, they'd put us back into reserve for a month's rest and training. As for the guns, they'd scrap the lot. They don't want ancient 15-prs. and 5-inch hows. out there. They picture us feasting upon their munitions, but half of what we use they would not touch with a barge pole and, of the good stuff, one Division in France will fire away in one day what would serve to take the Peninsula.
Braithwaite has a letter from the D.M.I. telling him that 5,000 Russians sailed from Vladivostock on the 1st inst. to join us here. One Regiment of four Battalions plus one Sotnia of Cossacks. A reinforcement of 5,000 stout soldiers tumbling out of the skies! Russians placed here are worth twice their number elsewhere, not only because we need rifles so badly, but because of the moral effect their presence should have in the Balkans.
This little vodka pick-me-up has come in the nick of time to hearten me against the tenor of the news of to-day which is splendid indeed in one sense; ominous in another. The Turks are being heavily reinforced. All the enemy troops who made the big attack last night were fresh arrivals from Adrianople. I do not grumble at the attack (on the contrary we like it), but at the reason they had for making it, which is that two fresh Divisions, newly arrived, asked leave to show their muscle by driving us into the sea. Full details are only just in. The biggest bombardment took place at Anzac. A Turkish battleship joined in from the Hellespont, dropping about twenty 11.2-inch shells into our lines. At Helles, all night, the Turks blazed away from their trenches. At 4 a.m. they opened fire on our trenches and beaches with every gun they could bring to bear from Asia or Achi Baba. Their Asiatic Batteries alone fired 1,900 rounds, of which 700 fell on Lancashire Landing. At least 5,000 shell were loosed off on to Helles. A lot of the stuff was 6-inch and over. The bombardment was very wild and seemed almost unaimed. Soon after 4 a.m. very heavy columns of Turks tried to emerge from the Ravine against the left of the 29th Division. "It wanted to be the hell of a great attack," as one of the witnesses, a moderate spoken young gentleman, states. When the Commanders saw what was impending they sent messages to Simpson-Baikie begging him to send some 4.5 H.E. shell into the Ravine which was beginning to overflow. He was adamant. He had only a few rounds of H.E. and he would not spend them, feeling sure his 18 prs. with their shrapnel were masters of the field. At 6 a.m. out came the Turks, not in lines, but just like a swarm of bees. Our fellows never saw the like and began to wonder whenever they were going to stop, and what on earth could stop them! Thousands of Turks in a bunch, so the boys say, swarmed out of their trenches and the Gully Ravine. Well, they were stopped dead. There they lie, still. The guns ate the life out of them.
It was our central group of artillery who did it. As that big oblong crowd of Turks showed their left flank to Baikie's nine batteries they were swept in enfilade by shrapnel. The fall of the shell was corrected by the two young R.A. subalterns at the front, neither of whom would observe in the usual way through his periscope. They looked over the parapet because that method was more sure and quick, and the stress of the battle was great. There is a rumour that both were shot through the head: I pray it may be but a rumour. Out of all these Turks some thirty only reached our parapets. The sudden destruction which befell them was due in the main to the devotion of these two young heroes. At 7.30 a.m. the Turks tried to storm again. Some of them got in amongst the Royal Naval Division, who brought up their own supports and killed 300, driving out the rest. Ninety dead Turks are laid out on their parapet. Another, later, enemy effort against the right of the 29th Division was clean wiped out. 150 Turks are dead there. But it is on the far crestline they lie thick.
Every one of these attacking Turks were fresh—from Adrianople! Full of fight as compared with their thrice beaten brethren. If the Turks are given time to swap troops in the middle of fighting, we can't really tell how we stand. Still; they are not now as fresh as they were. They have lost a terrible lot of men since the 28th. The big Ravine and all the small nullahs are chock-a-block with corpses. Their casualties in these past few days are put at very high figures by both Birdie and H.W. and it is probable that 5,000 are actually lying dead on the ground. I have on my table a statement made by de Lisle; endorsed by Hunter-Weston and dated 4th instant, saying that 1,200 Turkish dead can be counted corpse by corpse from the left front. The actual numbers de Lisle estimates as between 2,000 and 3,000. Now we have to-day's losses to throw in. The Turks are burning their candle fast at the Anzac as well as the Helles end. Ten days of this and they are finished.
Naturally, my mind dwells happily just now upon our incoming New Army formations. Yet every now and then I feel compelled to look back to regret the lack of systematic flow of drafts and munitions which have turned our fine victory of the 28th into a pyrrhic instead of a fruitful affair. When Pyrrhus gained his battle over the Romans and exclaimed, "One more such victory and I am done in," or words to that effect, he had no organized system of depots behind him from which the bloody gaps in his ranks could be filled. A couple of thousand years have now passed and we are still as unscientific as Pyrrhus. A splendid expeditionary force sails away; invades an Empire, storms the outworks and in doing so knocks itself to bits. Then a second expeditionary force is sent, but that would have been unnecessary had any sort of arrangement been thought out for promptly replacing first wastages in men and in shell.
6th July, 1915. From early morning till 5 p.m. stuck as persistently to my desk as the flies stuck persistently to me. After tea went riding with Maitland. Then with Pollen to dine on board H.M.S. Triad. The two Territorial Divisions are coming. What with them and the Rooskies we ought to get a move on this time. Discoursed small craft with the Admiral. The French hate the overseas fire—small blame to them—and Bailloud agrees with his predecessor Gouraud in thinking that one man hit in the back from Asia affects the moral of his comrades as badly as half a dozen bowled over by the enemy facing them. The Admiral's idea of landing from Tenedos would help us here, but it is admitted on all hands now that the Turks have pushed on with their Asiatic defences, and it is too much to ask of either the New Army or of the Territorials that they should start off with a terrible landing.
7th July, 1915. No escape from the steadily rising flood of letters and files,—none from the swarms of filthy flies. General Bailloud and Colonel Piepape (Chief of Staff) came across with Major Bertier in a French torpedo boat to see me. They stayed about an hour. Bailloud's main object was to get me to put off the attack planned by General Gouraud for to-morrow. Gouraud has worked out everything, and I greatly hoped in the then state of the Turks the French would have done a very good advance on our right. The arrival of these fresh Turkish Divisions from Adrianople does make a difference. Still, I am sorry the attack is not to come off. Girodon is a heavy loss to Bailloud. Piepape has never been a General Staff Officer before; by training, bent of mind and experience he is an administrator. He is very much depressed by the loss of the 2,000 quarts of wine by the Asiatic shell. Since Gouraud and Girodon have left them the French seem to be less confident. When Bailloud entered our Mess he said, in the presence of four or five young Officers, "If the Asiatic side of the Straits is not held by us within fifteen days our whole force is voue a la destruction." He meant it as a jest, but when those who prophesy destruction are gros bonnets; big wigs; it needs no miracle to make them come off—I don't mean the wigs but the prophecies. Fortunately, Bailloud soon made a cheerier class of joke and wound up by inviting me to dine with him in an extra chic restaurant at Constantinople.
Have told K. plainly that the employment of an ordinary executive soldier as Boss of so gigantic a business as Mudros is suicidal—no less. Heaven knows K. himself had his work cut out when he ran the communications during his advance upon Khartoum. Heaven knows I myself had a hard enough job when I became responsible for feeding our troops at Chitral, two hundred miles into the heart of the Himalayas from the base at Nowshera. Breaking bulk at every stage—it was heart-breaking. First the railway, then the bullock cart, the camel, the mules—till, at the Larram Pass we got down to the donkey. But here we have to break bulk from big ships to small craft; to send our stuff not to one but to several landings, to run the show with a mixed staff of Naval and Military Officers. No, give me deserts or precipices,—anything fixed and solid is better than this capricious, ever-changing sea. The problem is a real puzzler, demanding experience, energy, good temper as well as the power of entering into the point of view of sailors as well as soldiers, and of being (mentally) in at least three places at once:—
"From General Sir Ian Hamilton to Earl Kitchener. (No. M.F. 424).
"Private. I am becoming seriously apprehensive about my Lines of Communication and am forced to let you know the state of affairs.
"Much of the time of General Headquarters has been taken up during the last few days considering matters relating to Mudros and Lines of Communication generally. The Inspector-General of Communications must be a man of energy and ideas. The new Divisions will find the Mudros littoral on arrival better prepared for their reception than it was a month ago. The present man is probably excellent in his own line, but he himself in writing doubts his own ability to cope with one of the most complicated situations imaginable. Please do not think for a moment that I am still hankering after Ellison, I only want a man of that type, someone, for instance, like Maxwell or Sir Edward Ward. Unless I can feel confident in the Commandant of my Lines of Communication I shall always be looking behind me. Wallace could remain as Deputy Inspector-General of Communications. Something, however, must be done meanwhile, and I am sending Brigadier-General Hon. H.A. Lawrence, a man of tried business capacity and great character, to Mudros to-day as dry-nurse."
I have followed up this cable in my letter to Lord K. of date, where I say, "I have just seen Bertie Lawrence who I am sending to reinforce Wallace. He is bitterly disappointed at losing his Brigade, but there is no help for it. He is a business man of great competence, and I think he ought to be able to do much to get things on to a ship-shape footing. General Douglas is very sorry too and says that Lawrence was one of the best Brigadiers imaginable."
The last sentence has been written, I confess, with a spice of malice. When, about a month ago, I had hurriedly to lay my hands on a Commander for the 127th Brigade, I bethought me of Bertie Lawrence, then G.S.O. to the Yeomanry in Egypt. The thrust of a Lancer and the circumspection of a Banker do not usually harbour in the same skull, but I believed I knew of one exception. So I put Lawrence in. By return King's Messenger came a rap over the knuckles. To promote a dugout to be a Brigadier of Infantry was risky, but to put in a Cavalry dugout as a Brigadier of Infantry was outrageous! Still, I stuck to Lorenzo, and lo and behold! Douglas, the Commander of the East Lancs. Division, is fighting tooth and nail for his paragon Brigadier!
Since 19th March we have been asking for bombs—any kind of bombs—and we have not even got answers. Now they offer us some speciality bombs for which France, they say, has no use.
I have replied:—
"I shall be most grateful for as many bombs of this and any other kind as you can spare. Anything made of iron and containing high explosive and detonator will be welcome. I should be greatly relieved if a large supply could be sent overland via Marseilles, as the bomb question is growing increasingly urgent. The Turks have an unlimited supply of bombs, and our deficiencies place our troops at a disadvantage both physically and morally and increase our difficulties in holding captured trenches.
"Could you arrange for a weekly consignment of 10,000 to be sent to us regularly?"
De Lisle came over to dine and stay the night.
8th July, 1915. H.M.S. "Triad." Tenedos. Started off in H.M.S. Triad with Freddie Maitland, Aspinall and our host, the Admiral.
Had a lovely sail to Tenedos where Colonel Nuillion (acting Governor) and Commander Samson, now Commandant of the Flying Camp, came on board. After lunch, rowed ashore. There was some surf on and I jumped short, landing (if such an expression may pass) in the sea. Wet feet rather refreshing than otherwise on so hot a day. Tenedos is lovely. Each of these islands has its own type of coasts, vegetation and colouring: like rubies and diamonds they are connected yet hardly akin. Climbed Tenedos Hill, our ascent ending in a desperate race for the crest. My long legs and light body enabled me to win despite the weight of age. Very hot, though, and the weight of age has got even less now.
From the top we had an hour's close prospecting of the opposite coasts, where the Turks have done too much digging to make landing anything but a very bloody business. Half a mile to the South looks healthier, but they are sure to have a lot of machine guns there now. The landing would be worse than on the 25th April. Anyway, I am not going to do it.