The River Clyde landing V. Beach Cape Helles, Gallipoli
April 25th .1915


A picture that capture the bravery of the Irish and English men who landed on Gallipoli under intense Turkish fire

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

A first hand report of the Landing from The River Clyde at V. Beach April 25th .1915


Captain G W Geddes, X Company Commander,
1st Royal Munster Fusiliers

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 PRO ref  WO95/4310

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:-


X.Company. Comdr. Captain G.W.Geddes
Z.Company. Comdr. Captain C.L.Henderson


Y.Company. Comdr. Major C.H.B.Jarrett
W.Company.-Comdr 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 HT. 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 Sed-El-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.

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.

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

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

Historical Note.
Guy Geddes was promoted to Lieut Colonel and awarded the DSO before the campaign ended. It is reported by Capt Nightingale that at the start Geddes had red hair but that it turned quite white.