The Diary of Sergeant D Moriarty, No 8308,

 

1st Royal Munster Fusiliers,

86th Brigade, 29th Division, Exped

 

itionary Force

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

Compiled by Alan Osborn

This Diary originally belonged to my friend Mrs Carol Cox and she has kindly passed it on to me. It is with her permission that it has been reproduced and made available to researchers. It will eventually be published on the Internet.

 

I would like to thank John Morecombe of High Wycombe and James F. O'Sullivan of Australia for their help in researching these notes.

 

The Diary came into Carol’s possession from her Uncle Captain Stephen Donnelly who served in the Royal Ordinance Corps. He was in Cyprus and Egypt in the First World War and it is hoped that further investigation into his military career will show where his and Sergeant Moriarty’s paths crossed.

 

The research into Moriarty’s life is ongoing.

 

I hope you will find the diary and first hand reports and historical extracts enlightening in some cases moving. Since researching Dennis Moriarty’s diary I now appreciate more than before the bravery of so many young men not just at Gallipoli but throughout the First World War.

 

For further information please contact Alan Osborn, telephone 01442 873025, e-mail aosborn@nildram.co.uk

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Index

 

Moriarty’s Diary - the first entry............................................................................................... 4

Moriarty the Man........................................................................................................................ 5

Known dates - Denis Moriarty aka D J Moriarty................................................................... 5

Landing sites on Gallipoli........................................................................................................ 6

Painting of The River Clyde Landing.................................................................................... 7

Moriarty’s “Mentioned in Despatches”................................................................................... 8

Moriarty’s Diary.......................................................................................................................... 9

Diary Entries 25 April to 13 July 1915................................................................................. 10

Moriarty’s List 1........................................................................................................................ 21

Moriarty’s List 2........................................................................................................................ 21

Moriarty’s List 3........................................................................................................................ 22

Moriarty’s List 4........................................................................................................................ 22

Moriarty’s List 5........................................................................................................................ 22

Moriarty’s List 6........................................................................................................................ 23

Moriarty’s List 7........................................................................................................................ 24

The Munsters........................................................................................................................... 25

Setting the scene The Gallipoli Campaign: Origins and Objectives.............................. 25

The Landing from The River Clyde at V. Beach April 25th .1915.................................. 27

Extract from Gallipoli by Robert R James, published 1965............................................. 30

Casualties - from an Australian article - found on the Internet....................................... 31

Withdrawal from Gallipoli - from Nigel Steel’s book “Gallipoli”....................................... 32

Withdrawal from Gallipoli - From an Australian article - found on the Internet............ 32

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Moriarty’s Diary - the first entry

 

Moriarty the Man

Denis Joseph Moriarty a carpenter by trade was born c 1888 and enlisted at the Royal Munster Fusiliers Depot in Tralee in 1906 at the age of 18.

His attestation papers show that he was 5’ 5" tall weighing 113 lbs with a fresh complexion, grey eyes and brown hair.

His mother Nora Hassett who had married again lived at 3 Chapel Street Trallee.

Dennis served in India for 6 years between 1908 and 1914 during which time he was promoted to Corporal and joined the British Expeditionary force in 1915.

In February 1915 he was promoted Sergeant and on 16 March 1915 the Munsters embarked at Avenmouth bound for Gallipoli.

Dennis Moriarty was promoted Pioneer Sergeant and later Company Quarter Master Sergeant on Gallipoli and the diary is a record of most of his time there.

In January 1916 he would have been evacuated from Gallipoli with the rest of the troops and from his military records it can be seen that he landed in France on the 22 March 1916. He was appointed Company Sergeant Major and Promoted Warrant Officer Class 11 prior to landing.

Moriarty was wounded in action on 24 June 1916 and was later wounded in a different way, he was admitted to hospital with Gonorrhoea three times between July and October 1916

He was mentioned in despatches on 9 April 1917, and as a result of his conduct in the field Moriarty was, on the 28 April 1917, granted a permanent commission in Royal Inniskiling Fusiliers.

Sadly Moriarty was killed in action in France on the 1st September 1918 and is buried in the Trois Arbres Cemetery Steenwick, grave reference no III D 9.

He left a widow Anne Gertrude Moriarty  of Upper Rock Street Tralee, who, judging by the correspondence seemed to have had great difficulty in getting the back pay owing to him.

Moriarty had two sisters, Hannah Mullins and Minnie Moriarty living in Pinshurst NSW Australia

 

 Known dates - Denis Moriarty aka D J Moriarty

c 1888 Born calculated (18 yrs at enlistment 15 Jan 1906)

15 January 1906 Enlisted at Tralee Ireland for 9 years army service and 3 years reserve.

15 January 1906 attested, Depot

15 January 1908 granted 1 Good Conduct Badge

3 September 1908 posted 1st Battalion.

1 November 1909 appointed unpaid Lance Corporal

23 April 1911 appointed paid Lance Corporal

20 December 1913 promoted Corporal

11February 1915 promoted Sergeant

16 March 1915 embarked at Avenmouth

25 March 1915 landed Gallipoli

13 May 1915 appointed Pioneer Sergeant

22 August 1915 appointed Colour Sergeant and Company Quarter Master Sergeant 

21 February 1916 appointed acting Company Sergeant Major

22 March 1916 disembarked at Marseilles

1 March 1916 appointed Company Sergeant Major and promoted Warrant Officer Class 11

24 June 1916 wounded in action

22 July 1916 admitted to hospital with Gonorrhoea

13 September 1916 admitted to hospital with Gonorrhoea

7 October 1916 admitted to hospital with Gonorrhoea

2 to 12 February 1917 UK leave

9 April 1917 mentioned in despatches

28 April 1917 Granted a commission in Royal Inniskiling Fusiliers

1 September 1918 Killed in action in France

 

 

 


Landing sites on Gallipoli

 

 

 

 

Painting of The River Clyde Landing


 

Painting by Charles Dixon - frontpiece History RMF Vol 2.)

 

An impression of the landing from the River Clyde by Artist Charles Dixon. The original is hanging in St Mary's Parish Church Chepstow Gwent Wales. It was purchased by public subscription as a memorial to the town's Gallipoli Victoria Cross winner, Able Seaman, William Charles Williams, who was killed in action at the V beach landings 25th April 1915.
The painting was unveiled on the 8th January 1922, by Captain Unwin VC, who commanded the River Clyde

 

 

 

The Munsters landed on Gallipoli on the River Clyde, a converted collier.

 

From a first hand description by a Royal Munster Company Commander

The full text of this report is on page 28

 

Dawn broke on April 25th, a beautiful morning and not a breath of wind, and a slight haze which rapidly disappeared.

The River Clyde beached according to plan at 6:30 , none of us felt it, just a slight jar. Two companies of Dublins were towed in to shore and were met by terrific rifle and machine gun fire. They were literally slaughtered like rats in a trap.

Within five minutes of the “Clyde” beaching, off went the men cheering wildly and dashed ashore.

Man after man behind me was shot down but they never wavered. Lieut Watts who was wounded in five places and lying on the gangway cheered the men with cries of “follow the Captain”. I was told afterwards that the first 48 men to follow me all fell.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

Moriarty’s “Mentioned in Despatches”

 

 

Note the incorrect spelling of his name - Moriarity not Moriarty

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Moriarty’s Diary

 

Gallipoli  25 April 1915 to 13 July 1915

 

The diary, covering the period from the landing on Gallipoli on 25 April 1915 to 13 July 1915 and is written in a pocket note book approximately 3 3/8 inches by 5 inches

It is black and covered in what appears to be cloth. It has a holder on one edge for a pencil (missing) and a pocket inside the back cover containing a receipt and a certificate of posting, a receipt for goods shipped on the railway and a card and shamrock from his Aunt Catherine


Outside view from Aunt Catherine

 

 

 


Inside view showing the Shamrock

 

The notebook was purchased from Abdur Rauf Khan Brothers, No 7 Union Street, Wholesalers and Retail Stationers, No 341, 342B Surati Bazaar, Rangoon.

 

Inside the front cover is written:-

 

8308, Corporal D Moriarty,

B Coy 1st RMF,

Coventry

England

 

 

Inside the cover / 1st page is written

 

The boy officer wishes it to be known that any N.C.O. or man who has not been inoculated within the last two years and who does not want to be inoculated again will in the event of the battalion going on service will be left behind.

 

 

Diary Entries 25 April to 13 July 1915

 

Sunday 25 April 1915

Landed on Turkish soil under a terrific fire from enemy entrenchments. Battalion lost about 17 killed and 200 wounded.

I lay in the open from 7am till 5pm and did not get a scratch.

Dug ourselves in that night snipers going all night but we did not return their fire.

Food for 24 hrs 2 biscuits and some water.

 

26 April 1915

9 am

Dubliners and Munsters ordered to attack and take village held by enemy snipers

Village taken about 11am casualties on our side slight

11.30 am same day. (26 April 1915)

Same regiments ordered to take a strongly held redoubt about 500 yards south of the village which task was completed about 3pm. The trenches being taken at the point of the bayonet.  The Dubs were first to charge from about 200 yards from the trenches.  The Turks did not wait, and when the Munsters got to the trenches we found a German officer and six Turks who gave in.

Sergeant Major Bennet[1] was killed leading his Coy to take the trenches.  He was buried where he fell by a party of X Coy and I put a rough cross on his grave with a small inscription.  Dug in that night in the position we had taken and beat off several counter attacks.

 

27 April 1915

8 am

Relieved in the trenches by the French troops and went back to base[2].  (about ½ mile).

4 p.m. same date

Ordered to a different position to rest for the night.

 

28 April 1915

General advance ordered, we were detailed for Supports, about 11 am word came back for Supports.  Started to join firing line but Coy. Officer myself and 5 men got cut off from remainder of Coy.

Met a Coy. of Lancs Fus and joined them.  Advanced over fire-swept ground, bullets hopping all around, my luck must have been in, got within 600 yards of enemy trench, could not see any of them, but blazed away into their trenches.  Hope I accounted for some of them.  Dug in that night but were not attacked.  Did not have a wash since 24 4 15 but managed to change my socks tonight. 

02 Fuller was wounded in the face.

 

29 April 1915

Moved into a different position and dug in.  During the night snipers were at work but we did not take any notice of them.

 

30 April 1915

Improved our trenches, enemy let us have some shrapnel but did no damage.

Some of our men went out sniping, killed 3 and brought in 2 wounded of the enemy.  Enemy started a night attack by heavily shelling part of our trenches, then their infantry opened a heavy rifle fire on us, our artillery and infantry replied and the enemy seemed to get “fed up” as they stopped very quickly.  The moon came up and made us pretty safe from rushes.  About midnight they had another go at attacking us but that died out quicker than the first.  All quiet for the remainder of the night.  Our regiment had no casualties.  I think the Essex had a few men hit by shrapnel. 

 

1 May 1915

Had a look round this morning and saw one of the enemies shells about 50 yards in front of my trench which had failed to explode. 

About 5 p.m. enemy started a heavy shrapnel fire on our trenches.  Three of us were having some tea in rear of our trench when one of them burst overhead and a splinter struck the ground about a foot away from me.

9 p.m. they started an attack[3], I am sure I will never forget that night as long as I live.  They crept right up to our trenches (they were in thousands) and they made the night hideous with yells and shouting Allah, Allah.  We could not help mowing them down.  Some of them broke through in a part of our line but they never again got back as they were caught between the two lines of trenches.

Some of the best men in the Regiment killed[4].  When the Turks got to close quarters the devils used “hand grenades”[5] and you could only recognise our dead by their Identity Discs.

2 May 1915

A week in the firing line today and thank God I am still alive.  My God, what a sight met us when day broke this morning.  The whole ground in front was littered with dead Turks.  To my left where the attack was strongest, I think there is at least 500 and there is no chance of burying them as anybody who shows themselves outside is bound to be brought down by one of their snipers who are concealed all over the country.  A party of my platoon to bury Sergeant Sunner [6] who got wounded by a shrapnel.  We were relieved in the trenches about 6pm by the Hampshire Regiment. and went back about a mile and dug ourselves in.  But we got no rest during the night as the enemy kept peppering us with shrapnel but there was nobody hit.

Had a letter and some “Fags” from Mother, also a letter from E--e and a box of fags, and a letter from D--s,   Another fierce night attack by the Turks I am sure they lost more tonight than the night before.

 

3 May  1915

A quiet day, only a few artillery shots on either side.  A party of Turks came in with a white flag and asked for 24 hours to bury their dead.  I believe they got four hours.

Had a shave today, the first for 9 days.  Another night attack, every bit as fierce as the night before.  We were in the reserve trenches but got no rest as they let us have plenty of shrapnel.  Two men got hit, wounded only.

 

4 May 1915

From daybreak till 2 p.m. only a few shots on either side. 

2.30 p.m. moved into the firing line again, two men wounded by snipers while doing so.  Enemy kept banging away all night but did not attempt to come too close.  I think they must be getting “Fed up” with night attacks.  I was speaking to Coy. Officer with both our heads showing over the top of the trench when a bullet struck the parapet right between us.  “Hard lines Mr Sniper”.

 

5 May 1915

Still in the front line of trenches. Dublins on our right and Borderers on our left.  Very quiet all day with the exception of a few snipers who keep popping at anyone they can see outside the trench.

They are not very good shots as they did not get even one hit all day.  They seem to know our meal hours as it is then they get busiest.  We are playing them at their own game now as we send out some snipers as well and they usually account for a few of them.  Nothing during the night only a few occasional shots away on the right.  I had my boots off for a few hours during the day and it was a great relief.  I never thought it was possible to keep them on so long.

 

6 May  1915

From daybreak till about 10 am nothing much of any consequence. At 11 am a general advance started.  The 88th Brigade on the left, the Naval Brigade in the centre and a Brigade of French troops on the right.  Our artillery commenced the bombardment of the hill that was to be taken and such a din I will never forget.  Our Brigade were in reserve and when the enemy’s artillery started they gave our trenches “what oh”.  They were trying to find our artillery who were well in rear and it just shows the kind of gunners they have got.  Our troops gained a mile of ground right along the whole front and fortunately there were very few casualties on our side.  They kept peppering all night but we held the ground we had won.  Did not have a wash now since the 2nd, hope I will get a chance of one soon.  The days here are fairly warm but it is bitterly cold at night in fact it is almost impossible to sleep.  That is if you get a chance of doing so.  Snipers are still very busy and every time you leave the trench you must run the gauntlet of their fire.  Our fellows are getting used to them now as they find they are not very good shots and some of the daring chaps go out to especially to allow the snipers to have a pop at them.

 

 

7 May  1915

I was still in the reserve trenches.  About 9 am our artillery commenced the bombardment of the enemy trenches and didn’t they give the Turks something.  From where I was I could see the whole ground in front, nothing but a mass of flying debris.  Our aeroplanes are overhead giving our people the range and all the time the enemy shrapnel is bursting around them (and falling on us too) but they don’t seem to care they keep on soaring over the enemy position.  Mrs Ahern’s brother in law sighted a sniper this morning and he was getting in a good position to have a shot at him when the sniper got him clean through the left wrist.  One of the chaps in the trench bound it up for him and he went back to the base hospital.

About 4 p.m. we got the order to attack and take a wood on our left.  The Border Regiment attacked it from one side and the Munsters and Dublins (who are now one regiment) attacked the other side.  For the first part of the advance we were fairly well under cover but the last 500 yards was quite open.  We got there all right with very few casualties and the wood was in our possession by 6 p.m..

We dug ourselves in for the night which was fairly quiet except for some confounded snipers.  During the last 200 yards of the advance the ground and air around us was fairly alive with flying bullets and it is a marvel that more men were not hit.

 

 

8 May 1915

Still holding the line we took up yesterday.  There were some snipers in concealed in front of our trenches and every one that showed himself was bound to be fired at.  A lot of our chaps chanced running back for water and about 7 got hit but fortunately none killed.

About 10 am the French, Australians and New Zealanders made a feint attack to draw the enemy’s fire and didn’t the Turks waste some ammunition.  The attacking force rested in rear of our trenches during the day.  While coming up it was only natural they had some casualties.  There was a New Zealander lying wounded about 100 yards in rear of our trenches and we could hear him moaning quite plainly.  Suddenly one of his own officers called for 2 volunteers to fetch him into our trenches.  The officer and 2 men dashed out and picked up the wounded man.  On they came towards us and I was just thinking they were safe when the Turks let fly and brought down the officer and one of the men (wounded only).  You should have heard what our men said about the Turks and what they would have liked to do to them.

About 5 p.m. our artillery assisted by the navy started another fierce bombardment of the enemy positions, and about a half hour afterwards away went our infantry right over our trenches and straight towards the enemy trenches.  Our people were in possession of them before dark (8 p.m.) which meant a gain to us of about a thousand yards.  We were relieved by the Worcesters that night and went back to the second line. 

 

 

9 May 1915

Back to the base for a well earned rest.  Don’t know how long we will stop here.

 

10 May 1915

Still at the base.  Had a bathe in the sea today also a change of washing and a shave. Took my moustache as well.  I look like a boxing man now. Got 70 “fags” a man and some oranges from the navy.

 

11 May 1915

Attended Mass which our priest celebrated at 7 am.  We were visited by the Brigadier who read out --------- Started to rain about 11 am also it was very windy and we had no shelter.  Our wounded “Kaiser” [7] came back today.  He got a fine cheer from the Coy.  His wound is all right again now and we are very glad to have him back again.

 

12 May  1915

Still at the base but not having a rest as we were sent on fatigue unloading ammunition and stores.  Got back about 8 p.m. and were shelled on our way back.

 

13 May 1915

Appointed Pioneer Sergeant and took over the duties of same.  Our Pioneer Sergeant Ireland was killed on the night of the 11 May 1915 [8] by a fall of cliff under which he was sleeping.

About 11 am General Hunter-Western visited us and spoke about the fine work we had done during our landing and the subsequent 15 days said if.  He said  if it was necessary “that any man of the 29th Divn who had landed on the Peninsular and took the first Turkish possession at the point of the bayonet  could lawfully lay down his arms and say “I have done my duty” because in that one feat alone the 29th Divn. surprised the whole world by doing what was thought to be impossible.

 

 

14 May to 16 May 1915

Nothing much doing.  We are still at the base.  Have mass every morning and had service on Sunday evening 16 May 1915.  Got a clean shirt, which was very badly wanted.  A draft of one officer three sergeants and 46 men joined us from home on the 16th.

 

17 May  to 22 May 1915

Still having a rest and things fairly quiet except for a few stray shells which the Turks sent down to us every day.  But they seldom do any damage and we are getting quite used to them now.  Got bread and fresh meat on the 19th and what a change from bully and biscuits.  Had a letter from Pauline on 21st and I answered it on 22nd.

 

23 May 1915

Four weeks today we landed here and it does not appear so long after all.  Still at the base.  Heard mass this morning and also Rosary and sermon the same evening.  Some more shells from the Turks but no damage done.  Heard that Italy had joined the Allies.  Half the Battns went off at 8 p.m. to dig trenches near the firing line, the other half are going up in the morning.

24 May 1915

Fairly quiet up to 3 p.m. when we got orders to proceed to the firing line where we arrived about 9 p.m..  Pioneers and myself were in a “Nullagh” about 70 yards in rear in charge of ammunition and rations.  The night was fairly quiet except for some snipers.  Casualties during the night 2 men wounded.

 

25 May 1915

In the firing line still.  Pioneers busy all day digging latrines drawing picks and shovels etc.  The Turks sent some shrapnel into us but did no damage.  From where we were on the hill we were able to see “Triumph” sinking about 5 p.m.? The rain came down pretty hard and it was very miserable in the trenches. Enemy made a half-hearted night attack, our casualties were 3 killed and 4 wounded.

 

26 May 1915

Buried 3 men who were killed last night.  Father Harker [9] read the burial service over them.  If any men deserve the VC he does because where ever the Regiment goes (no matter what the danger is) he is always with us and besides he also visits other Regiments who are near us and have not got a priest with them.  He is the only priest of any denomination that I have seen in the firing line since we landed.  About 11am the enemy let us have about a dozen rounds of shrapnel but no damage done.  Rifle fire during the night was very hot both sides must have been expecting an attack which did not come off.  Rations did not arrive till 1 am this morning 27th and I turned in about 2 am and slept till five.  Up to the time I went to sleep the rifle fire had not ceased but I was so done up it did not keep me from sleeping. 

 

27 May 1915

Still in the firing line.  The Turks were fairly quiet up till about 3 p.m. and then they started giving us something hot with shrapnel but when our guns got their range they stopped very quickly.

I buried 2 more men today one was killed by a sniper and the other by shrapnel which was the only casualties we have had while the Turks were shelling.  About 6pm the Gurkahs came up and relieved .us and we went back to our resting place where we arrived about 9 p.m.

 

28 May 1915

At the base.  Ordered to move to W beach today.  Myself and the Pioneers left at 2 p.m. but the remainder of the Regiment did not move till dark.  If they did so it would only mean a few shells fired at them because any movement of troops that the Turks can see they let fly at them but very seldom do any damage.

 

29 May 1915

At W beach.  The Regiment were working all day unloading stores etc.

 

30 May  1915

At W beach.  Same routine as the day before.  Had a letter from E--- today.

 

31 May 1915

At W beach.  Got some carpenters tools and wood and made a large cross to put over the grave on V beach where 220 of the Munsters and Dublins are buried and who were killed there on the day we landed.

1 June 1915

At V beach.  Nothing much doing.  A draft of 150 men joined us today.

 

2 June 1915

At V beach.  Things are fairly quiet except for a few shells sent to us from the Asiatic side.

 

3 June 1915

At V beach.  Had some letters and papers from home today, one from P--- one from mother one from G--- and one from M--- dated 20 11 14.  Ordered to be ready to move into the firing line at any moment.

 

4 June  1915

At V beach.  During the morning things were very quiet.  Suddenly about 10 30 am the French batteries on our right opened fire.  That seemed to be a signal for the rest of the artillery.  Immediately the whole line took it up and after a while the ships on either side of the peninsular joined in and such a din I never heard before.  It was a lot worse than the day we landed.  I left my dugout and went out to see what was happening and what a sight I saw.  The whole of “Achi Baba” was nothing but a mass of flying earth and smoke.  The bombardment was kept up about 4 hours and if any Turks lived under it, it must be a miracle.  During this time our infantry were advancing and some of the wounded who came back told us that they had taken two lines of Turkish trenches.  About 1 30 p.m. we were ordered to get ready to move and at 3 p.m. we went up to the reserve trenches where we remained all night.  Whilst in the reserve trenches I saw at least 1000 Turkish prisoners being marched back to our base and one of them who was spoken to by an interpreter said he was the only one left alive in his trench as the result of our artillery fire.  During the night the Turks made several attacks to try and gain back the ground they had lost but on each occasion they were easily beaten off.

 

 

5 June 1915

In the reserve trenches.  Battle for Achi Baba still going on but not as furious as the day before.  Our people are still holding the ground that they took from the enemy.  We were not called upon to go into the firing line as the Turks are not very anxious to come to grips with us.

 

 

6 June 1915

Still in the reserve trenches but what a time we got from the Turks.  They devoted all day to shelling our reserve trenches and they put some of the shells pretty close to us too.  About 8 am there was three of us cooking our breakfast behind a large tree in rear of the trenches when suddenly there was a well known scream and then bang, bang two shells dropped within about 10 feet of us but fortunately did no damage.  I soon got back to the trenches again.  During the day there was about 200 shells fired at us and the damage  amounted to three men wounded.  The priest intended to say mass (it being Sunday) but unfortunately on account of the shell fire he would not risk having the men out in the open.  We had a sermon and rosary that night when it got dark.  Being in the reserve trenches does not save a person from rifle fire as there is plenty of bullets come our way.  A rather strange thing happened today.  The Sergeant Major was walking behind the trenches when something hit him in the chest.  It knocked him out for a time and when he opened his coat to see what had happened he found that a bullet had penetrated his coat and shirt and struck a small medal which he was wearing on his scapulars.  The bullet bent the medal in two but did not injure himself.

 

7 June 1915

In the reserve trenches.  Fairly quiet all day except for a few shells from the Turks.  About 6 30 pm our artillery suddenly opened a fierce bombardment on Achi Baba and after about an hour they suddenly ceased and then there was a terrific rifle and machine gun fire which was kept up during the whole night. What actually happened I have not heard yet.  I went to confession about 8 30 pm.

 

8 June 1915

In the reserve trenches.  I went to Holy Communion this morning about 50 men of the Regiment were there also.  Fairly quiet during the day and night.

 

9 June 1915

In the reserve trenches.  Nothing doing much.

 

10 June 1915

In the reserve trenches.  The Turks started shelling us about 7 am and kept it up at intervals the whole day long. Their shooting was not very accurate as our casualties were only 3 wounded considering they fired about 200 shells.

About 3 pm a cart with 6 horses drawing it was passing by our trenches when a shell from the enemy knocked over the leading horse.  The three drivers immediately made for cover and left horses, cart and all there and at once the Turks commenced to shell this cart for all they were worth.  In all they must have fired about 60 shells at it and the damage amounted to two horses killed.  While this heavy shell fire was on two men of the Regiment L/C  Slattery and Private Twomey left the trenches and released the two horses that were not killed and got them under cover.  During the time they were unharnessing the horses 4 shells burst right over them but they did not get a scratch.  They were recommended for the DCM.  Slattery was promoted Sergeant at once. [10]

I had a narrow escape myself.  A piece of shell weighing about 2 lbs dropped clean in between 2 of us in the trench.  It grazed my leg.

 

11 June 1915

In the reserve trenches.  2am ordered to pack up and move to “Gully Beach”  Arrived there at 4.30 am and remained there during the day.

 

 

12 June 1915

At Gully Beach.  2.30 am ordered to move up to the firing line and got there about 5 30 am.  Nothing much doing during the day it was fairly quiet at night. We stood to arms one hour before daybreak but the Turks made no movement.

 

13 June 1915

In the firing line again.  Fairly quiet except for a few occasional shells.

 

14 June 1915

In the firing line.  Nothing doing very quiet.

 

15 June 1915

In the firing line. Quiet up to about 3 pm when the Turks commenced to make it pretty hot for us with shrapnel and “Jack Johnsons” . This they kept up till dark and about 10 pm they attacked in force.  They took a trench from the Dublins who were on our right.  About 4 am our Regiment were ordered to try and retake the trench which the Dubs had lost and they got it back in a very novel manner. 

An officer, a sergeant and a couple of men sapped up to within about 20 yards of the trench which the Turks were in and started to sling bombs into it for all they were worth.  It was a complete surprise to the Turks who did not expect this movement but there was still another shock waiting them.  While the bomb throwers were getting ready two of our machine guns took up a position where they would be able to get anyone leaving the trench.  Consequently when the bombs started to drop in the trench the Turks took to their heels but every one of them were brought down by our machine guns at point blank range.  The machine gun officer estimated that there was at least 400 of them there so that was a little bit of our debt paid off.

Munster casualties – one machine gun officer killed, one machine gunner wounded. Dubs casualties when they were attacked 8 killed 18 wounded.

 

16 June 1915

In the firing line.  Very quiet all day, Turks must have had enough last night. About 5 pm our 12 inch guns opened fire on the Turkish trenches about 200 yards in front of us.  What an awful sight it is when one of these shells explode.  The gunners had the range to a T and you could plainly hear the Turks howling for mercy and see white flags being pushed over the top of the trenches but we know a little too much now to take any notice of white flags.

Some prisoners who were brought in stated that but for their German officers they would give in long ago.  If they are seen making a movement to surrender they are shot down by German machine gunners. So that with them it is (6 of 1 and half dozen of another).

 

17 June 1915

Relieved by the Inniskilling Fusiliers and went back about 2 miles to dugouts.

 

18 June 1915

At Gully Beach.  Fairly quiet up to about 4 pm when the Turks commenced to attack (the first time they did such a thing in daylight since we arrived).  We were ordered to be ready in case we were required to help our own people in the trenches but we did not move as the Turks were driven off before dark and they stopped quiet for the rest of the night.

 

 

19 June 1915

At Gully Beach.  Ordered to move up nearer to the firing line but when we got there we were not required and were sent back again.

Turks sent some shells into us but did not do any damage except to kill an empty ammunition box.

 

20 June 1915

At Gully Beach (Sunday).  We had Mass this morning at which I attended. We were told that a German chemist had arrived in Constantinople for the purpose of making poisonous gas.  We were issued with respirators in case the Turks would use it against us.  The Turks have sent us the third and final warning to get off the Peninsular before they make it too hot for us.  We are going tomorrow (I don’t think)

 

21 June 1915

At Gully Beach.  Nothing doing.

 

22 June 1915

Moved up into the front trenches where we remained till 27th.

 

27 June 1915

Moved into another position in readiness for tomorrow’s attack.

 

28 June 1915

9 am ordered to support the 87th Brigade who were to take a strong line of entrenchments held by the Turks.  Kept moving up all day but were not called upon till about 5 pm and then we got it hot especially X coy who were caught in the open by shrapnel while charging the Turkish trenches.  But we got our own back that night when the Turks counter attacked.  Our fellows simply mowed them down. 

During the night I had to go back twice  for ammunition and it was not a very nice job as we had to cover about 2 miles of broken and unknown country and lead was coming from all directions but the firing line was kept supplied – enough said.

 

29 June 1915

4 am what a sight at daybreak.  The ground in front was thick with Turkish dead and then when it got lighter we sighted some Turks who got in between our lines during the night.  But they are either dead or prisoners now.  About 3 pm we were relieved by the Indian Brigade and went back to Gully Beach.

 

30 June 1915 to 4 July 1915

At Gully Beach. Nothing much doing.

 

4 July 1915

9 pm Moved up into the front trenches.

 

 

5 July 1915

Dawn.  The Turks were seen forming up for the purpose of attacking and immediately after their artillery opened a fierce bombardment on our trenches. But our people were ready and the first attacking fell back demoralised.  They came on again and again but they met the same fate each time and by 11 am their force was spent and all was quiet for the rest of the day.  Had a letter from mother, Pauline, Ellie,  and Mrs Barnacle. Also two papers from Pauline.

6 and 7 July 1915

Still in the front line of trenches but things are very quiet on either side.  Think the Turks are getting fed up with attacking us.

 

8 July 1915

In the front line of trenches.  Had a letter from Ellie and 2 papers and some fags from Pauline.

 

9,10 and 11 July 1915

Nothing much doing. Had a letter from Pauline and mother on the 11th

 

12 July 1915

Daybreak 4 am. Our artillery opened a terrific fire on a redoubt in front of the Dublins lines and about 5.30 the Dubs made a feint attack but it was only to attract the Turks attention while the French were getting ready on the right.

About 8 am the French commenced their bombardment and kept it up till about 10 am when they launched the attack.  It was not a success and the firing died down again about 2 pm.  About 4 pm the French again bombarded but they made no mistake this time.  They rained shell after shell on the Turkish trenches and after a while our own guns as well as the naval guns joined in the game and when the infantry attacked they met hardly any opposition and b y 7 pm the French had gained about a mile of ground.

As usual when it got dark the Turks counter attacked in large numbers but it cost them a lot and they gained nothing of what they had lost.

 

13 July 1915

Still on the front trenches. Should have been relieved today but all movements have been cancelled indefinitely.  Things were fairly quiet till about 4 pm when the whole of the artillery (French and British) started another fierce bombardment of the Turkish positions.  Just behind where I am staying there are two British batteries concealed and all the evening the Turks kept trying to find them with shells but they did not succeed.  What they did do was to drop some of the shells very close to my dugout.  I went out this morning and put two crosses over the graves of the men of  W and Y companies who were killed on the night of 1-2 May (13 of Y 19 W and 8 of the machine gun)

 

Here the diary ends

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Diary then continues with the following lists of names, the purpose of the lists is of course unknown some appear to be lists with sums of money, perhaps a sweep-stake or kitty. The last two lists could be of men killed.

 

 Moriarty’s List 1

Notes from the records of James F O'Sullivan

L/C Donoghue 2/-

Several Donoghue's listed in the Regimental Records

Omoynihan (Onoynihan) 6d

 

O T Murphy 6d

 

Whyte 6d

 

Deedigan

 

Donovan

 

Hayes –

 

Feaney 1/-

 

Hennessy 1/-

 

Sutton 1/-

 

Riordan 2/-

 

’75 omurphy 2/-

 

Duffey 2/-

 

 

 

Moriarty’s List 2

Notes from the records of James F O'Sullivan

Naughton

 

9727 Omahoney

 Possibly O'Mahony

not on Official Casualty lists}

 

(indescipherable)

 

Brookes (or Brooker)

 

Whyte

 

Cox

Possibly General Cox

Firguson

Possibly Fergusson

Omahony

 

Scully

 {Several Scully's listed in the Regimental Records}

Dillon

Several Dillon's listed in the Regimental Records but not in the 1st Battn.

Moriarty’s List 3

 

Donovan 1

Deedegan 1

Mori 2

OD 2

Moynihan 1

White 1

Hayes 1

Duffy 1

Hennessy 1

Feaney 1

Sutton 1

’75 Murphy 1

Riordan 1

07 Murphy 1

 

 

Moriarty’s List 4

 

Driscoll

Osullivan

Oakley

Burkes

McNamara

Mievr Khan

07 Donahue

Purcell

Brenman?

Ciso?

Twoomey

Wyatt

Barry

Croft

 

 

Moriarty’s List 5

 Notes from the records of James F O'Sullivan

Moriarty 2

 

Donaghue 2

 

Moynahan 1

 

Whyte 1

 

Hayes

Several Hayes listed in the Regimental Records

Donovan 1

Several Donovon's listed in the Regimental Records

Duffey 2 1½  1 ½ 2 ½

A 2nd Lieut DJP Duffey was reported wounded on the 29th April

Sutton 1 1 ½

 

Feaney 1) 1 ½

 

75 Murphy 1 5/4/15

Several Murphy's listed in the Regimental Records

Riordan 1

 

Dudyer 1

 

07 Murphy 1

 

 

 

Moriarty’s List 6

Notes from the records of James F O'Sullivan

Horny Brook

Could be misspelt Hornibrook is on the casualty list but is 2nd Battn.

L/C Amos

Lance Corporal George Ernest Amos Reg no 9245 killed in action 28 June 1915

McGrath

Several McGrath's listed in the Regimental Records

Cahill

Private Steven Cahill Reg No 9863 Killed in action 28 June 1915

Sgt Atkinson

 

Driscol

 

Collins

Several Collins listed in the Regimental Records

Hartnell

 

Fox

 

King

 

L/C Scully

 

L/C Patterson

 

L/C Ahern

 

Tucker

 

Beakey S T P

 

Kavanagh S T

Private Thomas Kavanagh Reg No 8581 Killed in action 1 May 1915 1st Battn

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Moriarty’s List 7

Notes from the records of James F O'Sullivan

Capt Dorman

Capt. Edward Crump Dorman age 30 killed in action 1 May 1915  near Krithia village The Regimental history says he was killed "exhorting his men to hold on and die like Irishmen"

Sgt D B? Hickey

Sergeant Drummer Joseph Hickey killed in action 1 May 1915

Sunner

Company Quarter Master Sergeant Henry Sunner Reg no 4932 killed in action 2 May 1915

Cpl Grady

Corporal John Grady Reg no 7252 killed in action 1 May 1915

98 Bourke*

 

38 Baker*

 

Davis*

 

Malony*

 

*Gurka Bluff

 Gurka Bluff was a Turkish machine gun post positioned on a bluff overlooking Y beach. It held up the allies for over 2 weeks. Eventually taken by 1/6th Gurkha Rifles.

Ocallghan F Coy French lines

Possibly O'Callaghan. French lines is possibly a reference to the fall back by the French resulting in the Battn being split up to reinforce the weak spots in the line.

2/Lieut Sullivan – French Lines

Second Lieut. Timothy Sullivan seriously wounded and died 1st May 1915 near Krithia village

S M Bennett – French Lines

See the diary 26th April. Sergeant Major Alfred Bennett Reg no 6262

1 Cross for H Coy Complete

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Munsters

So who were the Munster Fusilliers, below is a short description

 

As early as the 1770's Irishmen were being recruited for military service in the ranks of the East India Company's private army. This was the nucleus from which sprang two of the great Irish Regiments, the Royal Munster Fusiliers, and the Dublin Fusiliers. In later years they both wrote themselves into the annals of military history.

 

Setting the scene The Gallipoli Campaign: Origins and Objectives

What lead to the invasion of Gallipoli? My friend John Morecombe wrote the following as part of his research and sets the scene and the failures of the original Naval bombardment which led up to the Army landings in April 1915. Our friend Moriarty and thousands of young men like him endured horrifying conditions on the Peninsular, which ultimately led to the allies’ withdrawal 259 days later.

 

The Gallipoli Campaign: Origins and Objectives.

The First Lord of the Admiralty, Winston Churchill and the Secretary of State for War, Lord Kitchener are credited with the original plan for a naval assault on Turkey via the Dardanelles. The trench warfare deadlock in France together with a plea for help from Britain’s Ally Russia, to relieve her of pressure from the Turkish Army in the Caucasus, brought Mr Churchill to present the planned Dardanelles operation to the Government in early January 1915.

 

It was originally intended for naval forces alone to be used to destroy the Turkish defences, break through to Constantinople and open the passage to the Black Sea. Half of Russia’s total exports and 90% of her grain passed through the narrow straits of the Dardanelles, munitions would be able to reach Russia via this route and an Allied fleet bombarding off Constantinople may have toppled the Turkish Government and knocked her out of the war. Lord Kitchener’s support for the operation was founded upon its lack of dependence on army participation, thus leaving the Western Front unaffected in terms of the men required.

 

The Royal Navy was to prepare for an expedition in February 1915 to bombard the Gallipoli Peninsula, knock out the old fortress defences lining the Dardanelles and take the Peninsula with Constantinople as the final objective. However the Turkish minefields were the real defence against the Allied naval threat and it was to be these, coupled with the incompetence of the naval commanders, which were to be their undoing.

 

The first mistake was made back in November 1914, when an Allied squadron had carried out a brief ten minute bombardment of the Dardanelles forts, to test the effects of naval gunnery against them. The results were encouraging, but it had alerted the Turks to the threat of further operations, so the element of surprise was lost. Churchill’s decision to order the bombardment was condemned by Admiral Bacon as “an act of sheer lunacy”, and by Admiral Jellicoe as an “unforgivable error”.

 

On the 19th of February 1915 the naval attack began with twelve capital ships bombarding the forts of Sedd-el-Bahr and Kum Kale at the entrance to the Dardanelles. This was carried out at too long a range and it was found necessary to repeat the action at closer quarters.

 

On the 25th of February the fleet returned and silenced the two forts; the defenders withdrew and landing parties of Royal Marines from H.M.Ships Irresistible and Vengeance were sent ashore to cover demolition parties ordered to destroy any guns remaining intact. This operation had to be repeated however on March 4th  this time the Plymouth Bn. R.M.L.I. covering the demolition parties. Unfortunately the forts were supplemented by Turkish mobile howitzer batteries, which proved elusive targets for the warships and these caused great problems for the minesweepers later.

 

The minefields were to be cleared by a fleet of 28 Trawlers whose crews were civilian and totally unwilling to face Turkish howitzer fire. On the 10th of March under cover of darkness, seven Trawlers accompanied by the battleship H.M.S. Canopus made an attempt to clear the mines, but as soon as they came under fire they turned about and fled. H.M.S. Canopus proved unable to silence the mobile batteries or even to extinguish the Turkish searchlights.

 

On the 13th another attempt was made to clear the mines by six Trawlers manned by Naval personnel accompanied by the cruiser H.M.S. Amethyst, but this effort ended when all but two were disabled by Turkish fire.

 

On the 18th of March the main naval attack commenced with 18 capital ships, which sailed up towards the Narrows in broad daylight and began to bombard the forts of Chanak Kale and Kilid Bahr. By 2pm the forts were silenced although the mobile batteries continued to pepper the battleships. Then as the leading ships turned east to withdraw, one after another struck mines. Three battleships were sunk and three were badly damaged. It was thought that the Turks were floating mines down the channel, but it was actually a small minefield laid parallel to the Eastern Shore by a small Turkish steamer on the 4th of March which was responsible. The attack was called off and the ships withdrew.

 

The minefields were intact but the Turks were almost out of ammunition after seven hours of shelling the allied fleet with little effect. Shortly after this engagement, the decision to use troops to first occupy the Peninsular and neutralise the Turkish artillery was taken. Therefore, the Turks had time to prepare their defences, re-supply, reinforce and await the next expected allied thrust. Churchill had been ready to sacrifice up to twelve battleships to gain the objective and was not unduly concerned over the losses of the 18th  of March. However Admiral de Roebuck had what Churchill called a “sentimental regard” for the old battleships and hated to see them wasted. It may have been thought that the ships were old and expendable but their crews certainly were not. The majority of the ships allocated to the Dardanelles were regarded as unsuitable for action with the German High Seas Fleet, being too old or too slow. The same could have been said for the commanders of the operation.

 

Unlike a land engagement when perhaps a thousand or more troops were killed, the loss of even an old battleship and its crew was something more of a disaster. Good enemy propaganda could be made from such losses and in the minds of the British people, proud of their navy and its traditions, the sacrifice of ships or their expected attrition would not have been an acceptable strategy. This type of approach, involving calculated and supposedly acceptable losses for a specific gain was more typical of army mentality.

By the time the army was ready and the landings finally commenced on the 25th of April 1915, the Turks had prepared their defences and the long campaign, which was to mirror the trench stalemate of the Western Front, began.

From what had been called ‘the only brilliant strategy of the entire war’, through the poor planning, leadership and execution in the early stages, arose what was regarded as the worst military blunder of the whole war.

 

Had the mines been cleared on the 18th of March, the fleet could have reached the capital and perhaps achieved at least part of the assigned objectives. The expectation that mine sweeper / trawlers with civilian crews were to endure enemy fire, when previously they had only to face the elements, is hard to understand. “The Fishermen had been asked to do the Navy’s job, and had no more succeeded than if the Navy had been sent to catch fish off Iceland.” Only later were their crews replaced with naval personnel taken from the survivors of the three sunken battleships. By that time their commander’s faith in the success of continuing the operations without army

co-operation had gone.

 

 

The Landing from The River Clyde at V. Beach April 25th .1915

By

A Company Comander In The 1st Royal Munster Fusiliers

(found to be Captain G W Geddes X Company Commander)

 

Note I found this report almost by accident while I was researching Moriarty's diary in 1999. Working my way through the Munster war diaries in the Public Records Office at Kew, I came across this report (and another yet to be copied) tucked in the back where I feel they have been for years The PRO reference is WO95/4319

 

After three weeks at MUDROS, during which time we practised landing from our Transport into ships boats - in full marching order - by the aid of a pilots rope ladder, we left at 5.30 P.M. on April 23rd for the great adventure.

A perfect evening, as we steamed stealthily out on H.M. H.T."CALEDONIA" an incident memorable for Its solemnity and one might say grandeur. Men-o-war, Transports and ships of every sort "Dressed Ship" All the crews cheering us on our way, and those with Bands playing us a farewell.

What struck me most forcibly was the demeanour of our own men, from whom, not a sound, and this from the lights hearted, devil may care men from the South of Ireland. Even they. were filled with a sense of something impending which was quite beyond their ken.

We arrived at, RABBIT ISLAND early the following morning, the wind had got up, and in consequence the sea. Wild rumours were prevalent that the elements might force a postponement. However at 4.30 we transhipped to an ex channel steamer and went aboard the RIVER CLYDE, which we had previously inspected in MUDROS Harbour.

The Battalion was accommodated on the RIVER CLYDE as follows:-

FORWARD MAIN DECK HOLD.

X.Company. Comdr. Captain G.W.Geddes

Z.Company. Comdr. Captain C.L.Henderson

FORWARD LOWER HOLD

Y.Company. Comdr. Major C.H.B.Jarrett

W.Company.-Comdro'Major W.K.Eutchincon,

Two Companies of.the Hampshires, and one Company,of the Dublins were in the after part of the CLYDE.

The Orders regarding the landing had been given us at MUDROS on HM., H.T. CALEDONIA. and we all knew our job and what was expected of us, but. we felt we should have liked to have viewed in reality the scene of our landing beforehand. The maps issued were indifferent, and painted but a poor picture of the topographical features as we found out later.

The orders issued by the Commanding Officer, Lt.Colonel H.E.Tizard were briefly:-

1)That the Battalion would embark on the RIVER CLYDE, which, under the guns of the Navy (H.M.S.,ALBION) would be beached at dawn on Z. day. The intervening gap between the CLYDE and the shore would be bridged by lighters. Large Ports in the sides of the RIVER CLYDE would be out, from which gangways would be let down to the lighters.

 

2)Strict orders were given that the signal to "Go" would be given by the Naval Authorities, and no movement till then.

 

3a) X. Company, Comdr. Captain G. W. Geddes was ordered to disembark on the Port Side. Objective Fort No.l. (I think Hill 112).

 

3b) Z. Company, Comdr. Captain' C.J. Henderson to disembark from the Starboard side. Objective SED-EL-BAER FORT & VILLAGE.

 

3c) Y. Company. Comdr. Major C.H.B. Jarrett in support.

 

3d) W. Company. Comdr. Major W.A.Hutchinson with the 4 Vickers Guns under Lieut Dorman in Reserve on the RIVER CLYDE.

 

In the early hours of April 25th we sailed from RABBIT ISLAND. I had been lucky to make friends with Commander Josiah WEDGEWOOD MP R.N.V.R. who gave me a shake down on his cabin floor, and I got a hot cup of chocolate, so had a very pleasant nights rest.

Dawn broke on April 25th. a beautiful morning and not a breath of wind. and a slight haze which rapidly disappeared.

The RIVER CLYDE beached according to plan at 6.30. None of us felt it, there was no jar. As she beached 2 Companies of the Dublins in "TOWS" came up on the Port side and were met with a terrific rifle and machine gun fire. They were literally slaughtered like rats in a trap.

The steamer hopper towing the lighters from the CLYDE was either shot away or broke loose, anyway it beached alone. The lighters swung cross-ways across the bows of the River CLYDE..In the meantime the Dublins were struggling to get ashore.

Within five minutes of the "CLYDE" beaching Z Company got away on the Starboard side. The gangway on the Port-side jammed, and delayed X. Company for a few seconds. and off we went the men cheering wildly, and dashed ashore with Z. Company.

We got it like anything, man after man behind me was shot down but they never wavered. Lieut. Watts who was wounded in five places and lying on the gangway cheered the men on with cries of "follow the Captain".

Captain French of the Dublins told me afterwards that he counted the first 48 men to follow me, and they all fell, I think no finer episode could be found of the mens bravery and discipline than this - of leaving the safety of the RIVER CLYDE to go to what was practically certain death.

Leaving the Clyde I dashed down the gangway and already found the Lighters holding the dead and wounded from the leading platoons of Z.Company,( crossed out in the original - including - 2nd Lieut O'Sullivan an ex C.S.M a fine fellow")

I stepped on the second lighter and looked round to find myself alone, and yelled to the men following out of the CLYDE to come on, but it was difficult going across the lighters then jumped into the Sea and had to swim some dozen strokes to get ashore. There is no doubt that men were drowned owing chiefly, I think, to the great weight they were carrying - a full pack, 250 rounds of ammunition, and 3 days rations - I know I felt it. All the Officers were dressed and equipped like the men.

There was a small rocky spit jutting out into the sea, which was absolutely taped down by the Turks and few, if any survived who attempted to land there.

We all made, Dublins and all, for a sheltered ledge on the shore which gave us cover Here we shook ourselves out and tried to appreciate the situation, rather a sorry one. I estimated that I had lost about 70% of my Company, 2nd Lieut's Watts and Perkins were wounded and my C.Q.M.Sgt killed.

Henderson was wounded. He died from his wounds later.

Lieut Pollard killed, and 2nd Lieuts Lee and Lane wounded, all of Z. Company. Captain WILSON the Adjutant and Major Monck Mason were wounded on the Clyde itself.

Seeing that SED-EL-BAHR and the beach to our right was unoccupied, and fearing the Turks might come down I called for volunteers to make a dash for it, and make good the Right of the Beach. The men responded gallantly. Picking Sergeant RYAN and 6 men we had a go for it. Three of the men were killed one other and myself wounded. However we got across and later, picked up 14 stragglers from the Company of the Dublins who had landed at CAMBAN BAY,

This little party attempted to get a lodgement inside the Fort but we couldn’t do it so we dug ourselves in as well as we could with our entrenching tools.

Sergeant Ryan made some daring reconnaissance’s during the day, reporting the further side of the FORT well held.

I reported to Colonel Tizard by semaphore from the shore that I could do nothing, as I had no men left. He told me to go for my objective Fort No l. but it could not be done.

About two hours afterwards Lieut. Tomlinson and three men crawled over to me.

At about 1100 hours Major Jarrett with half of Y Company landed and met the same fate as the rest of us, after which no further landing was attempted.

The Guns of H.M.S. "ALBION" did no material good.

About 8.30 p.m. when it was quite dark Major Jarrett, Lieuts Russell, Lee & Nightingale with the remnants of W.Y.& Z. Companies came over to me without molestation. I suggested to Jarrett that the best thing was to establish oneself in the FORT and try and get the village of SED-EL-BAHR. He was killed alongside me, and shortly after Lieuts Russell and Lee were wounded.

Suddenly Major Williams and Beckwith appeared out of the dark with two Companies of the Hampshires from the River Clyde. Not a shot being fired as they were unobserved.

Major Williams asked me about the situation and I told him all I knew, and that I was going to get my wound dressed. I had been hit then for 13 hours and was rather doubled up with stiffness and feared gangrene. The situation was now in far better hands than mine. I got my wounds dressed on the River Clyde and with about 200 other wounded was put on a trawler where we tossed about the whole of a bitter cold night till we were taken aboard H.M.H.T. "ALAUNIA' at 0730 hours the next morning.

The Turkish fire was opened on us immediately we debauched from the RIVER CLYDE, They seemed to have the water edge particularly marked. V Beach formed an Amphitheatre about 300X in diameter with SEL-ELL-BAHR FORT on the Right, and on the Left high cliffs surmounted by Fort No.1. In no instance was the range greater than 300 yards.

There were two lines of trenches in front of each barb wire fence, the most fearsome I saw on any front. Solid metal stakes riveted to plates sunk in the ground.

Each belt of wire was about 15 feet thick. I have an interesting photograph which shows the men detailed as wire cutters, dead in front of the wire.

I estimated the strength of the Turks at 400 to 500, with ' 2 Pom-Pom and 6 Machine Guns.

They had Machine Guns.(hand written note at the end of the report says - CSM J O'Shea DCM now serving with the 15th Foot picked up Turkish Machine Gun Ball? Boxes)

There was little or no fire from SED-EL-BAHR. The fire came chiefly from the high ground in enfilade from the Left. and the Village itself.

The attached rough panorama sketch will perhaps describe better than words.

As regards my own personal feelings'.-

I felt we were for it. That the enterprise was unique and would demand all I was possible of giving, and more. That it was no picnic but a desperate venture. I just longed to get on with it and be done with it. I felt I was no hero and that I had not the pluck of a louse. My nerves were tense and strung up, and yet. I never doubted that we would not win through, because I knew the splendid fellows at my back, highly trained, strictly disciplined, and they would follow me anywhere. Once started, everything went, one forgot and during that long day one had no fear or doubt, and it all seemed quite ordinary. Curiously one never felt the want of food or drink. Except for a cup of chocolate I had nothing to eat or drink since lunchtime the 24th till I got a cup of tea in the trawler the night of the 25th.

 

End of report

 

 

Extract from Gallipoli by Robert R James, published 1965

"The troops landing at 'V' Beach beheld the chilling spectacle of the victims of the River Clyde, still lying in perfect preservation in the clear water, still staring glassily up at the appalled newcomers"

 

The River Clyde was a collier of some 2000 tons. The innovative idea of converting this vessel into a ‘Horse of Troy’ came from a Royal Naval Officer, Commander Edward Unwin. The collier was to be filled with troops and run aground at ‘V’ Beach. To expedite the safe disembarkation of troops, holes were cut through the steel plates in her sides; troops could emerge on to gangways supported by ropes, which ran along the sides towards the bows of the vessel from each side. These gangways then led down to two barges, which were to form a gangway to shore.

 

The River Clyde could hold about 2,100 troops together with the necessary crew, and she had eight machine guns mounted on her decks.

 

The barges which would form the gangway to shore were to be towed alongside the vessel, and with the impetus of the ship under way, were to shoot forward when the vessel was beached and then maneuver into position so that the troops could run along them to shore and so land quickly, form up, and develop the attack.

 

Two hundred rounds of ammunition and three days iron rations were carried by each soldier, with greatcoats and waterproof sheet and pack. Cocoa was to be issued to the troops just before dawn.

At 01.00 hours on 25th April 1915, the River Clyde left her moorings and slowly steamed towards her objective. At 05.00 hours the naval bombardment of the Turkish defences commenced, all troops were ordered below decks.

As the River Clyde steamed slowly in, the sun was facing her and it was very difficult to see the shore on account of smoke from the bursting shells. The ship headed for the beach and was run ashore about 06.25 hours, and grounded without the slightest jar in water that was out of the men’s depth. And there she remained throughout the whole of the campaign.

 

The barges which were to have formed the gangway to shore from the ship, instead of going straight ahead as was expected, went wide of the vessel, but were eventually pulled into position under a hail of machine gun bullets from the defending Turks.

The Turks had been shaken but not obliterated by the naval bombardment. The interval between the shelling and the actual landing was a reprieve for them; they had returned to their trenches to take up fighting positions once again.

After the gangways were made ready the troops instantly responded. However as they disembarked and made a dash for the shore across the gangways they were mown down under a tornado of shot and shell. One of the barges broke away and drifted into deep water, some soldiers jumped over the side in an endeavor to make the shore, however many men sank owing to the weight of their equipment and were drowned. The carnage on ‘V Beach was chilling, dead and wounded lay at the waters edge tinted crimson from their blood.

 

The soldiers who had managed to get ashore, were crowded together under a bank that ran along the shore, above them lay the battered ramparts of the Turkish fortress Sedd-el-Bah, this was the only cover from the murderous fire from Turkish gunners. Repeated attempts to break out from this cover only resulted in more casualties

 

Throughout most of the day the River Clyde was under heavy fire from the Turkish defenders. Some one thousand troops were still on board. By 01.00 hours on the 26th April and under cover of darkness, all troops from the River Clyde had been got ashore and nearly all the collected wounded had been brought back to the vessel for treatment.

 

Many soldiers experienced their baptism of fire on the day of 25th April 1915, few would live to write home about their experience.

 

 

 

Casualties - from an Australian article - found on the Internet

A total of about 500,000 men were landed on Gallipoli and almost 300,000 became casualties

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Withdrawal from Gallipoli - from Nigel Steel’s book “Gallipoli”

For men who had lived through the battles, the squalid trenches and the extremes of the weather it was a strange sensation to be lifted off silently in the middle of the night. There was a sense of dishonour and furtiveness; but for most this was outweighed by the relief of having survived.

 

Withdrawal from Gallipoli - From an Australian article - found on the Internet

At the end of the year (1915) the Turks were at breaking -point, but so were the British. Lord Kitchener came out from London to appraise the situation and was appalled at the mess he found. An atmosphere of gloom and desperation hung all over the peninsula and Kitchener recommended withdrawal. Slowly the troops were taken off and in a brilliant last phase the rearguards were withdrawn without the Turks having the slightest idea what was happening. When the Turks woke up on January 9th, they found themselves alone on the peninsula and the British positions eerily empty. In a predictable display of military optimism, the evacuation was portrayed as a great victory, another example of the British genius for amphibious warfare. The public probably weren’t fooled and the soldiers definitely not. As one of the last Australian units slipped through the darkness down to the beach and the evacuation boats, one of the men was heard to whisper as he pointed to the graves of his fallen comrades,

”I hope they don’t hear us”

 

 



[1] Confirmed in the Regimental History, Sgt. Major Alfred Bennett Regimental No. 6426 was killed 26 April 1915. as reported below.
"About 1.30pm, Capt. Stoney, King's Own Scottish Borderers, who was in command of the men still under the bank, [on V Beach ?] moved forward to support the attack on the right, and it was now Corporal William Cosgrove of the 1st Battn. RMF won his VC by pulling down the post's of the enemy's high wire entanglements single-handed, thus clearing the way through the entanglements and leading a charge after Sgt.-Major Bennett had been killed"

[2] Confirmed in the Regimental History,  at about 7.0am the relief started and the French troops took over the line, the Battalion moved back to 'V' Beach and rested. Up to this time about 600 non-commissioned officers and men were killed or wounded, thus ended the first stage of the Gallipoli Campaign

 

[3] The Regimental History confirms the engagement there was a strong attack by the Turks. Following earlier bombardment of the allied trenches, the Turks attacked in force at about 10.30pm. Time after time they were beaten back with bayonet. At dawn the following day the 1st Essex reinforced the Battalion. A final charge forced the Turks to retire leaving piles of dead in front of the trench.

 

[4] He would have been referring to the following -

Sergeant Richard Rice Reg. No. 6265, was 'killed urging on his men with voice and example.

Captain Edward Crump Dorman, was killed 'exhorting his men to hold on and die like Irishmen'.

2nd Lieut. Timothy Sullivan, was seriously wounded and died on the 4th May1915.

Company Sergeant Major Bertie Hinde Reg. No. 5480, was found next morning dead, with a ring of dead Turks around him.

[5] The history of the RMF confirms the great execution carried out by the Turks with hand grenades.

 

[6] Confirmed - name is Henry Sunner of Queensland Australia from the  history of RMF and the Commonwealth War Graves Commission

[7] This reference was about Captain G.W. Geddes, who rejoined the Battalion having recovered from wounds he had received on April 25th. See his report of the landing page 27

 

[8] Confirm Sgt. Robert Ireland Reg. No. 9967 listed as killed 12.05.1915

[9] Confirmed by the Regimental History, he was the Chaplain, but no initials available for him

[10] Confirmed, this is the report in the RMF history  - About 10.30 a.m. on June 10th, a feat of great gallantry was performed by Serjeant Slattery and Private Twomey. It is described by Captain Geddes in his diary as follows: –" A Divisional Signal Wagon with four horses came over the ridge about 400 yards from Pink Farm from the direction of the beaches, with the field telegraph poles; it appeared to be a gun. The Turks concentrated their shelling on the wagon; the men in charge left the wagon, the horses, so petrified with fear, never moved. Two horses having charmed lives survived. Suddenly two figures were seen cutting the horses loose – Sergeant Slattery and Private Twomey – who, jumping on their backs amid a hail of shell, galloped the horses out of danger into safety amidst the cheers of their comrades. Bearing charmed lives, they escaped being hit – a miracle. No military decorations could be given for this gallant exploit, but they were awarded a very beautiful medal by the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.