Gallipoli Diary, Volume I
by Ian Hamilton
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On the ground we now have a fair showing of aeroplanes, but mostly of the wingless sort. At this precise moment only two are really fit. K. has stuck to his word and is not going to help us here, and I can't grumble as certainly I was forewarned. Had he only followed Neville Usborne's L10,000,000 suggestion, we might now be bombing the Turks' landing places and store depots, as well as spotting every day for our gunners. But these naval airmen, bold fellows, always on for an adventurous attack, are hardly in their element when carrying out the technical gunnery part of our work.

Re-embarked, and during our sail back saw a trawler firing at a submarine, whilst other trawlers and picket boats were skurrying up from all points of the compass. Nets were run out in a jiffy, but I fear the big fish had already given them the slip. Cast anchor about 7 o'clock.

Colonel Dick and Mr. Graives dined.

9th July, 1915. Spent the morning writing for the King's Messenger. My letter to K. (an answer to that of Fitz to me) tells him:—

(1) That we have passed through the most promising week since the first landing. The thousand yards' advance on the left and the rows of dead Turks left by the receding tide of their counter-attack are solid evidences to the results of the 28th ult., and of the six very heavy Turkish assaults which have since broken themselves to pieces against us.

(2) That Gouraud's loss almost wipes out our gains. Bailloud does not attack till next week when he hopes to have more men and more ammunition, but will this help us so much if the Turks also have more men and more ammunition?

(3) That the Asiatic guns are giving us worry, but that I hope to knock them out with our own heavy guns (the French 9.4s and our own 9.2s) just being mounted. When the new Monitors come they ought to help us here.

(4) That "power of digestion, sleeping and nerve power are what are essential above all things to anyone who would command successfully at the Dardanelles. Compared with these qualifications most others are secondary."

(5) That the British and Australians are marvels of endurance, but that I am having to pull the Indian Brigade right out and send them to Imbros. Their Commander, fine soldier though he be, is too old for the post of Brigadier; he ought to be commanding a Division; and the men are morally and physically tired and have lost three-fourths of their officers: with rest they will all of them come round.

(6) That Baldwin's Brigade of the 13th Division have been landed on the Peninsula and are now mixed up by platoons with the 29th Division where they are tumbling to their new conditions quite quickly. They have already created a very good impression at Helles.

Godley and his New Zealander A.D.C. (Lieutenant Rhodes), both old friends, came over from H.M.S. Triad to lunch. Hunter-Weston crossed from Helles to dine and stay the night.

10th July, 1915. Imbros. These Imbros flies actually drink my fountain pen dry! Hunter-Weston left for Helles in the evening.

Yesterday a cable saying there were no men left in England to fill either the 42nd Division or the 52nd. We have already heard that the Naval Division must fade away. Poor old Territorials! The War Office are behaving like an architect who tries to mend shaky foundations by clapping on another storey to the top of the building. Once upon a time President Lincoln and the Federal States let their matured units starve and thought to balance the account by the dispatch of untried formations. Why go on making these assurances to the B.P. that we have as many men coming in voluntarily as we can use?

Have refused the request made by His Excellency, Weber Pasha, who signs himself Commandant of the Ottoman Forces, to have a five hours' truce for burying their piles of dead. The British Officers who have been out to meet the Turkish parlementaires say that the sight of the Turkish dead lying in thousands just over the crestline where Baikie's guns caught them on the 5th inst. is indeed an astonishing sight. Our Intelligence are clear that the reason the Turks make this request is that they cannot get their men to charge over the corpses of their comrades. Dead Turks are better than barbed wire and so, though on grounds of humanity as well as health, I should like the poor chaps to be decently buried, I find myself forced to say no.

Patrick Shaw Stewart came to see me. I made Peter take his photo. He was on a rat of a pony and sported a long red beard. How his lady friends would laugh!



[1] Except in a small way at some foreign manoeuvres.

[2] The letters, cables, etc., published here have either: (a) been submitted to the Dardanelles Commission; or, (b) have been printed by permission.—Ian H.

[3] I.e. after the others had come in.—Ian H., 1920.

[4] More than four years after this was written a member of a British Commission sent out to collect facts at the Dardanelles was speaking to the Turkish Commander-in-Chief, Djavad Pasha. In the course of the conversation His Excellency said, "I prefer the British to the Germans for they resemble us so closely—the Germans do not. The Germans are good organisers but they do not love fighting for itself as we do—and as you do. Then again, although the Turks and British are so fond of righting they are never ready for it:—in that respect also the resemblance between our nations is extraordinary."—Ian H., 1920.

[5] Arrangements.—Ian H., 1920.

[6] Since these early days, Birdwood has told me he does not think a scheme of an immediate landing could have been carried out.—Ian H. 1920.

[7] Para. 2. "Before any serious undertaking is carried out in the Gallipoli Peninsula all the British military forces detailed for the expedition should be assembled so that their full weight can be thrown in."

[8] An Indian word denoting anxious thought.

[9] Enemy.

[10] Kudos.

[11] The 1st Manchesters.

[12] This was my original draft; it was slightly condensed for cyphering home.—Ian H., 1920.

[13] I wanted very much to get this brave fellow a decoration but we were never able to trace him.—Ian H., 1920.

[14] Quoted on pp. 62-63.

[15] Captured by the Gurkhas five days later—by surprise.—Ian H., 1920.

[16] This was by General Hunter-Weston's order: the machine guns of the enemy had too good a field of fire.—Ian. H., 1920.

[17] Long afterwards I heard that a responsible naval officer, being determined that this instance of lack of method should be brought to my personal notice, had hit upon the plan of ordering the Fleet-sweeper crew to do what they did.—Ian H., 1920.

[18] I learnt afterwards that great play had been made with this third paragraph of my cable by the opponents of the Dardanelles idea; in doing so they slurred over the words "at present," also the fifth paragraph of the same cable, overleaf.—Ian H., 1920.

[19] The Fifth Lancs Fusiliers were also working with this Brigade and behaved with great bravery.—Ian H., 1920.

[20] See page 302.

[21] Stated no more Japanese bombs could be supplied.

[22] All this was based, be it remembered, upon a complete misconception of the state these two divisions, formerly, good, afterwards destined to become splendid, had been allowed to fall into. No one at the Dardanelles, least of all myself, had an inkling that since I had inspected them late in 1914 and found them good, they had passed into a squeezed-lemon stage of existence and had ceased to be able "to press forward to Chanak." The fact that they were at half strength and that the best of their officers and men had been picked out for the Western theatre was unknown to us at the Dardanelles.—Ian H., 1920.

[23] See Appendix I for the exact facts which were not known to me until long afterwards.—Ian H., 1920.

[24] The considered opinion proved right.—Ian H., 1920.

[25] This period fell between two of my despatches. As most writers have naturally based themselves on those despatches, the full understanding of the blows inflicted on the Turks between June 29th and July 13th has never yet been grasped; nor, it may be added, the effect which would have been produced had the August offensive been undertaken three weeks earlier.—Ian H., 1920.

[26] Lawrence never looked back. After his good work at Mudros I put him in to command the 53rd Division, and the War Office made no objection, I suppose because they were beginning to hear about him. As is well known, he went on then from one post to another till he wound up gloriously as Chief of the General Staff on the Western Front.—Ian H., 1920.


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