" April 21, 1915......
" Soldiers of France and of the King!.
" Before us lies an adventure unprecedented in modern
war. Together with our comrades of the fleet we are
about to force a landing upon an open beach in face of
positions which have been vaunted by our enemies as
impregnable. The landing will be made good, by the
help of God and the Navy, the positions will be stormed,
and the war brought one step nearer to a glorious close.
" ' Remember,' said Lord Kitchener, when bidding
adieuto your commander,' Remember,onceyou set foot
on the Gallipoli Peninsula, you must fight the thing
through to a finish '.
"The whole world will be watching our progress.
Let us prove ourselves worthy of the great feat of arms
entrusted to us..
" (Signed) IAN HAMILTON,General."
April 23rd.-Spent most of the forenoon on the
" Caledonia" (B. iii), which is lashed to our port side.
Agassiz and Thomson arrived there yesterday with nine-
teen men, forming one tent-subdivision, and go with us.
A different atmosphere pervades our ship to-day, a
feeling of strain and anxiety is more or less on every
mind, not that it would be apparent to an outsider except
in a case or two. Bad news has leaked in all the time
from the navy and our airmen, all the time this getting
worse, such as the account that Gallipoli swarms with
well-armed Turks, wire entanglements of great breadth
and height everywhere, and, of course, trenches. We
have plans of their trenches and gun emplacements,but
thesecan only beroughlycorrect. Then yesterday the
airmen made another reconnaissance, and they say they
have found a great increase of guns. We may be out-
numbered ten or twelve to one, and our having to face
their well-defended positions in open boats is not alto-
gether comforting, and naturally all feel a bit anxious.
General Hare, our Brigadier, spoke to me on the
" Caledonia," and I thought he looked worried, and is
thinner than when I saw him last at Coventry. Col.
Rooth of the Dublins doesnot look over happy. He came
down to lunch, had a look at the table, and went up to
deck with a cigarette, and at the present moment he
stands near where I am writing with both hands in his
pockets,peering straight down the sideof the ship into
the waters. Those of us with less responsibility are
certainly less troubled; all are prepared for great sacri-
fices,and every oneis ready to play his part in what will
certainly be a great tragedy.
The particular part of the coast on which I land with
the Spth Field Ambulance is a short way west of Sedd-el-
Bahr, landing in the collier " River Clyde," on which
there will be a force of 2100. I have already spoken
about this boat. From what is going on I will be sur-
prised if we do not leave Lemnos to-night.
8.30 p.m. Off! We set sail from Lemnos at 4.57,
two boats of the A. class going out before us, but these
two anchored outside while we led straight on. On
coming on deck after dinner we found three warships on
our starboard side, said to be the " Swiftsure," " Dublin,"
and " Euryalus," all in line, no lights on them or us.
Our port-holes are covered first with cardboard and the
iron shutters are down over it. The sharer of my cabin
(Lt. G. A. Balfour, a relative of the statesman) and 1
wonder if we should sleep on deck, the atmosphere here
will be uncomfortably close. The evening as we started
was perfect, warm and absolutely calm. Now the moon
looks watery and has a big halo, and wind is prophesied
by the ship's officers. We drag three large barges along-
side which prevent our going at much speed, and it is
expected that we will reach Tenedos about 3 a.m.
April 24th.-Saturday. Reached Tenedos and cast
anchor at 9.30 a.m. We had been delayed by the wind
rising and the waves dashed over our lighters till they
were nearly swamped. On our east we have the coast
of Asia with several high hills near the coast.
All the transports-not many yet arrived but B. s. i.,
ii., and iii. form a little group-torpedo boats and de-
stroyers, mine-sweepers, tugs and other small fry lie in
a bay, and as if for defence, and no doubt that is their
purpose,eight bigbattleships aredrawn upin line facing
the open sea. The famous" Horseof Troy," the " River
Clyde," liesnear,and the thought of spending the coming
night onher lowestd eckisnot attractive. She is painted
khaki on oneside I see,but only in patches, the idea evi-
dently is to make her resemble a sandstone rock-all
very ingenious no doubt, but she will make a good target
in spite of her paint.
I said yesterdaythat all the officers looked anxious,
but in the evening all were their old selves exactly,
and baccarat went on as usual among the younger
officers who sang all their usual songs and yelled and
laughed till midnight. I was in bed by ten and slept
even better than usual, and it was with an effort I got up
at 8 o'clock. The fact that I was in a new part and in
the midst of a big fleet did not even seemto interest me
very much. Nor does the thought of to-morrow disturb
any one, and, as far as I can judge, it is not very often in
We lie on the north side of Tenedos, near the foot of
Mount St. Elias. Several of us were guessing the height
of this hill, and none put it at over 250 feet although its
actual height is 625 feet.
At 3 p.m. came a naval message ordering us all to be
ready for transfer to our respective boats at 3.45-all
hurry and bustle. I have loaded up and am at present
guarding a pile of coats, water-bottles, etc., belonging to
our men who have hurried off to the galley to get their
last meal for the day. The sea has been rough all day
but is now calmer, and there is every prospect of fine
weather for to-morrow's murderous work. Away to the
east the Asiatic coast is beautifully lit up by the setting-
sun, also the yellow rocks that stretch to Kum Kale on
the south of the entrance to the Dardanelles, while the
hills on Gallipoli are visible but in haze. From my
present post I look over the Plain of Troy to the high
mountains beyond. To-morrow it is to be Troy Field
and the wooden horse of Troy all over again.
10.30. p.m.-Arrived on coal boat at 6.30. Place in
stern fitted up for officers' supper; two lime barrels and a
few rough boards form table : whisky : tinned meat: bis-
cuits : 2200of us on board : all happy and fit. We start
in two hours : only 12 or 13 miles to go : then anchor i4
miles from land and wait for daylight and bombardment;
then at proper moment rush in : said that coast is to be
battered with 150,000shells. Supper finished some time
ago and am writing this in the messI have just mentioned.
Some sleeping or pretending; others smoking; I doing
latter and sitting on board after trying to snoozewith head
on a big box and less high one in small of back; but too
uncomfortable for anything, so whipped out my " bookie "
and scribbled; light bad, only an oily lamp with glass
smoked black, and nearly 20 feet distant. Queer scene
April 25h.-Sunday is just ten minutes old, and the
ship's screw has started-we are off!
Later.-Still Sunday the 2$th-5.15 p.m.
Hell with the lid off! Yes, I know what hell is, nor
do I believe anyone in the world knows better. To-day
I have seen shells plunging through the ship's hold in
which I was, carrying off heads and legs, but my pulse
has not once given an extra beat. "My word, sir," said
a tar coming up to me, "you have a nerve." Tars have
no lack of nerve as I have seen to-day, and I felt vastly
proud of the compliment. Three of our Generals are
reported on the causalty list, and Col. Smith-Carrington
shot through the head on the bridge of our ship.
The bombardment commenced at 4.50 a.m. and was
expectedto carry on for an hour or a little over, but after
twelve hours of the most terrific cannonade ever experi-
enced in this world it has not yet come to an end. Now
at 5.30an occasional shot comesfrom a battleship. The
constant roar has made my head ache,and I am dead tired,
having worked hard all day, and I must give an account
of this another day.
April 26th.-The battle of Sedd-el-Bahr still rages,
and with a fury but little less than yesterday. Yesterday
was a very hard day, after attending wounded almost
continuously up to 8.30 p.m. I volunteered to go ashore
to see the wounded on the beach. The dead and dying
were here in hundreds. Before I got back to the ship at
4 this morning I had a very hot time of it, and cannot
understand why I am not a dead man. We were told
yesterday that a counter-attack was to be made and that
the Turks intended to blow the ship to pieces with cannon,
which they were to bring up in the night. When the
attack did come I gave up all hopes of anything but
slaughter, as the men we had on land were insufficient in
number to meet a large force.
About fifty men were leaving the ship when this
started, and at the sound of the firing all fell flat on their
faces, and if any one dared to move he was at once fired
at. Some one on a barge next the small boat in which I
had taken shelter asked if he could crawl into our boat,
but I dared him or anyone else to move as such movement
would only draw fire on every one of us. Not a man
stirred, but lay on his facefrom midnight to 4 o'oclock. It
was not till the end of the attack that I learned these men
had an officer with them. As I lay in the boat I shouted
to them that an assault on us was likely, and ordered
them to load and fix bayonets, and to see that all had
plenty of ammunition. Extra bandoliers of cartridges
werepassedup from therear,eachpushingthesealong
with a clatter. All this with the red cross on my arm!
And with loadedrevolver in hand I was prepared to die
The wounds I saw yesterday were in every part of
the body, and most were severe, and the death-rate in
proportion to wounded will be very high, many having
four or five wounds.
Snipers are giving an extraordinary amount of trouble,
the ground yielding itself to numerous hiding places over-
looking our beach, about the rocks on our left as well as
the immense old fort. The end of the fort nearest us is
now but ajumble of huge stones and is an excellent place
for snipers. A number of jackdaws and three huge storks
had their dwelling here and have now to live pretty much
in the heavens,circling over their old home in an excited
It is now but 11.30 a.m. and I have been having a rest
preparatory to the advance we are to make this afternoon.
I have not had a wink of sleep since the 24th.
We join up with the French this afternoon. How the
guns still thunder! The "Queen Elizabeth" with her
15-inch guns thundering over our heads as we rushed in
past her at close quarters seemed to make our boat of.
6600tons sink some way in the water at every broadside.
I was surprised to find that the heavy gunfire gave me
no trouble, although like most of the others I began with
cotton wool in my ears, but half an hour of this was
enough, it interfered with sounds it was necessaryto hear.
Here I am writing in the midst of one of the greatest
battles in history. Any bombardment this world has
ever known was a mere bagatelle to this
To-day we had a naval funeral of General Napier and
Colonel Smith-Carrington. The former wTaskilled on a
barge attached to us, and the other on the bridge. No
one is to be present but the Catholic padre. A number
of men are to be buried at the same time. The orders
I received stated that all bodies had to be got rid of before
we advanced. A pinnace from a warship was signalled
for and all were taken out to sea..
Our advance from the shore began to-day about noon,.
our men lining out along the sandsand the banksabove,
and gradually getting forward by short rushes. Barbed
wire had also to be cut. But the advance through the
village was the most difficult, as the remains of houses
and gardenwalls contained snipers. I almost shiver to
look back on a mad thing I did to-day-mad because it
was done out of mere curiosity. I was asked to go to
" Old Fort " beyond the village, near the outermost capture
for to-day to see Colonel Doughty-Wylie and Major
Grimshaw who were reported badly wounded. Both
were dead, and as I was about to return I was next asked
if I would go to a garden at the top of the village to see
some wounded men. Afterwards I went right through
the village alone, with only my revolver in my hand, and
from the houses sniping was still going on. I had been
assured that it was supposed to be safe. I peered into a
number of wrecked houses-every house had been blown
to bits-and I had not long returned when sniping
commenced from a prominent corner house I had just
passed. The only living things I saw in the village were
two cats and a dog. I was very sorry for a cat that had
cuddled close to the faceof a dead Turk in the street, one
leg embracing the top of his head. I went up to stroke
and sympathise with it for the loss of what I took to be
its master,when I found that the upper part of the man's
head had been blown away, and the cat was enjoying a.\
meal of human brains. The dog followed till I cameupon.
three Dublin Fusiliers, who wished to shoot it straight
away when I pleaded for it, but one of them had a shot
at it when my back was turned and the poor brute went
off howling. I had done my best,when going along the
fosse of the "Old Fort," to savea badly wounded Turk
from three of another battalion who were standing over
him and discussing the advisability of putting an end to
him, but I am afraid my interference was in vain here also.
Away beyond the heights we have taken to-day the
country is very pretty with plenty of trees and vegetation.
Here I saw deadand wounded Turks in abundance,especi-
ally at some of their own wire entanglements, several
wounded being stretched out on the wires. Their wire
is very barbarous and has long, closely set spikes, and the
position must have been anything but comfortable.
Another counter-attack-the third-has justbeen made,
and one of our battleships hasjoined in.
The Dublins, whose officers I have associated most
with, have only three of these left out of twenty-seven.
I came across two of these to-day-Padre Finn, R.C. Chap-
lain, whom I knew well and greatly respected, I found at
the edge of the sea,with his clothes thrown open exhibiting
a wound in the chest. And in the village, all huddled up
among long weeds and nettles I found a lieutenant who
sat at my table on the "Ausonia " -Bernard. In both
cases death must have been instantaneous.
Here comes a fourth attack. Our boys are to have a
night of it.
To-day only about eighteen shells were fired at the
"River Clyde " all from the Asiatic side, only one hitting.
We were putting wounded on board at the time and
most of the shots were directed against these operations.
I have had no sleep since I left Tenedos, but to-night
I feel very fresh, although the day has been long and
All who know are quite satisfied with to-day's pro-
gress, and the hope that the worst is over cheers one.
To-morrow we will have to move on, we must keep the
Turks on the run. Some of the prisoners taken to-day
(Being unable in my letters to my wife to give a full
account of all that was doing, my diary was meant to fill
in gaps, and as 1 had sent home a fairly full account of
the landing much is omitted here, and I will give a more
extended description as seen by myself. About this time
in particular my diary had to be written at odd moments,
andit wasrare that I couldgofar without beingdisturbed,
and writing a few sentences half a dozen times a day, or
even oftener, often ended in a jumble.)
Of the five British landings the one at Sedd-el-Bahr
(V. Beach) was the most difficult and disastrous.
On the 24th of April we were still lying at Tenedos,
and in the afternoon were transferred to the " River
Clyde ". We learned the previous day that we were to
land from this old coal boat that had been rendered so
peculiar with her great, gaping holes,and khaki splashes
on her starboard side. She had beenan object of curios-
ity to us in Lemnos harbour, no one having any idea of
Before dark all the men were served with tea and food,
which we were told was to be their last solid meal. Soon
after this the men retired to rest in a hold near the stern
which had been allotted to the West Riding Engineers
and ourselves. The officers took up their quarters in
the stern deck house, where we had cocoa, tinned meat,
etc., after which we too tried to make ourselves as com-
fortable as possible in the most uncomfortable of all
quarters, most shutting their eyes and pretending to be
Our nerves were now fully strung, we knew we were
on the very eve of the landing, which we were assured was
to be rendered easy by the Navy, which had promised
that their bombardment was to be so terrific that nothing
the size of a cockroachwould be left alive on the peninsula.
We soon learned to our cost how difficult it was to sub-
stantiate this assertion.
From Tenedos we were but a small party of ships.
In the pitchy darkness we had fallen in with the bigger
fleet coming direct from Lemnos, and as we crept along,
every ship in total darkness, we could just make out other
ships alongside us. One with big hull and unusual length
of guns was immediately on our port. At close quarters
there was no mistaking this for anything but a dummy.
After a time the searchlight on the point of the penin-
sula could be seen sweeping its rays in long, regular
flashes across the sea. By this time those ships that had
furthest to go were ahead of us to the right and left.
Just as the inky darkness was beginning to be dispelled
there was a change in these lazy flashes. We were de-
tected. At once they changed their long, comprehensive
sweeps into sharp jerks from one ship to another as each
hove into the rays. The searchlight soon went out, while
hurried messageswere no doubt being flashed over the
wires to Constantinople and many points in our immediate
neighbourhood, announcing our long-expected arrival.
Soon the guns began to roar, the first I heard being
to our left up the Gulf of Saros, but in a few minutes all
the ships had joined in the chorus, from what was after-
wards known as Anzac all round the point and someway
up the Dardanelles. A grand roar such as the world had
never heard. The peninsula was quickly one densecloud
of poisonous-looking yellow-black smoke, through which
flashesof bursting shells were to be seeneverywhere. It
was truly a magnificent sight, and the roar of the guns
stirred one's blood like some martial skirl from the bag-
pipes. The feeling one had was a longing for them to
hurry up and do their work, and let us get at the Turk
at close quarters.
Our old ship crept slowly in through the ring of war-
ships, took a circular turn just as we were passing through
the line-apparently we were in too great a hurry-
then we straightened our course and passedclose past
our covering ship, "Queen Elizabeth," the finest ship in
the whole Navy, and which had been detailed to look
after us. How her guns roared as she poured out
broadside,as we passedby her port side,straight in
on full steamf or the strip of sand under the village and
fort of Sedd-el-Bahr.
Unable from our hold to see properly what wasdoing,
I had spent most of the time on deck, and when about
200yards from land I darted down below to warn the
men to lie down in case we struck rock, when the impact
would have been violent. I held on to a stanchion. We
were fast in the sand before I was really aware that the
ship was aground-there to lie for four years, to be shot
at constantly whilst we occupiedGallipoli, but in spite
of all her buffeting to serve many uses, and finally to
becomean object of veneration, "as holy as Westminster
Abbey " some one says of her in " The Sphere ". For the
2100 of us on board there was to be no retreat whatever
happened. We had crossed the Rubicon and burned
On board we had the ist Munster Fusiliers, two
companies of the ist Dublin Fusiliers, one company of
Hants, 100 marines, a few of the Signal Company, the
West Riding Engineers, and 124 stretcher-bearers of the
We had been dragging along huge barges on either
side, enough to form a couple of gangways, had they only
behaved as was intended. When the ship struck, the
momentum these had on should have beenenough to keep
themon their way till theygroundedaheadofus,drawing
but very little water as they did; but somehow or other
this part was a failure, they grounded too soon, then
broke away from each other. The men had then to get
ashore in open boats manned by the marines we had on
board. This was at once pushed on, boat after boat left
the ship's side for the beach, perhaps 30 yards off,
terrific machine-gunfire sweeping each boat.
The first few loads escapedwith comparatively few
casualties, but soon the fire was so hot and accurate that.
practically not a man got to the shelter of the 10 to 12-
foot high sandbank beyond the narrow strip of sand.
About 300 yards to our left was a high projecting rock, a.
continuation of the high ground that closed in that side
of the long slope of V. Beach, and from here came that
infernal shower of bullets that was causing such terrible
havoc. From the " Clyde " one could easily tell where
the bullets were coming from by their sputter in the
A constant stream of shells was being kept up all the
time on this rock from the ships. The whole rim of
V. Beach, as it stretched backwards for 500 or 600
yards, was searched time after time by high explosives,
each shell bursting with accurate precision 5 or 6 feet
under the crest. But the mischief was not coming from
this crest, it was from that infernal rock alone, but in spite
of all their efforts our guns could not silence this machine-
It was an extraordinary sight to watch our men go
off, boat after boat, push off for a few yards, spring from
the seats to dash into the water which was now less
than waist deep. It was just on this point that the
źnemy fire was concentrated. Those who got into the
water, rifle in hand and heavy pack on back, generally
made a dive forward riddled through and through, if
there was still life in them to drown in a few seconds.
Many were being hit before they had time to spring from
the boats, their hands were thrown up in the air, or
else they heaved helplessly over stone dead. All this I
watched from the holes in the side of the ship, but when
not otherwise occupied, from the deck where I could see
on all sides.
But soon we of the Field Ambulance had other work
to do. Many of the boats had all their rowers killed
and never returned, others were able to push back
generally with most of their marines laid out, but with
sufficient left to man a boat. Back they came to our
starboard hole, and the wounded were lifted up to us
and attended to. Repeatedly the whole of our floor was
covered with wounded and dead men ; a pinnace would
arrive from a ship and relieve us of our wounded, but
we filled up again almost at once.
Along the water's edge there was now a massof dead
men, on the sand a mixture of dead and weltering
wounded, while a fair number had reached the sandbank
just beyond, where, under an enfilading fire from
the rock, they scraped themselves into the recesses.
Boats from the other ships were being towed in in
threes by pinnaces till close to the beach when the
pinnaces wheeled about, and for the last short distance
they had to trust to their oars. Those landing to our
right and left as they came in from the other ships were
faring no better than those from the " Clyde". One
boat half-way to the rock, and which had been left.
stranded, had three men caught in the festooned rope
that runs round the gunwale. Into this they had dived,
probably as the boat heeled over to that side and the
rope had floated outwards, and there they swung for the
rest of the day, two not moving a muscle and evidently
dead, but for long I could see the other poor fellow.
stretch out his arms time after time, but before evening.
he too was still.
They still kept splashing on between the boats and
the sand, dived forward and fell dead at once, or were
drowned, till at last it was seen that it was useless to
continue such slaughterto no purpose,and the landing
at this point had to be given up for the time being.
After the hellish morning we had had, the afternoon
thus became comparatively quiet. Those who were still
unwounded made for the ruins of the round tower of the
fort, slightly to our right. Round this pile of stones
they peered,looking for the Turk, who was always
found, but here there were but few shots exchanged, as
the Turks advanced our men made a rush backwards, or
to the sands below, in time to prowl forward once more
to have another look, and make the same rush back.
Then came night with its full moon. An attempt
was made to land more men about 8 o'clock. These
were fired on and again we had to desist.
About 8.30 an officer on shore made a dash for our
ship, and on describing the terrible condition and suffer-
ing of the wounded who had been in the sandbank for about
fourteen hours, I decided to go to their assistance. We
had previously beenofficially warned that it would be im-
possible for any of the Ambulance to land before morning,
but heedless of this I set off alone over the barges and
splashed through the remaining few yards of water.
Here most of those still alive were wounded more or less
severely, and I set to work on them, removing many use-
less and harmful tourniquets for one thing, and worked
my way to the left towards the high rocks where the
snipers still were. All the wounded on this side I at-
tended to, an officer accompanying me all the time. I
then went to the other side, and after seeing to all in the
sand my companion left me, and I next went to a long,
low rock which projected into the water for about 20
yards a short way to the right of the " Clyde ". Here
the dead and wounded were heaped together two and
three deep, and it was among these I had my hardest
work. All had to be disentangled single-handed from
their uncomfortable positions, some lying with head and
shoulders in the tideless water, with broken legs in some
cases dangling on a higher level.
At the very point of this rock, which had been a
favourite spot for the boats to steer to, there was a solid
mass of dead and wounded mixed up together. The
whole of these I saw to, although by this time there was
little I could do except lift and pull them into more
comfortable positions, but I was able to do something
for every one of them. My last piece of work was to
look after six men who were groaning in a boat stranded
close to the point of the rock. Three lay on each side
with their legs inwards; a plank ran the whole length
of the middle of the boat, anda long this as it rested on
their legs, men had been running during the landing.
Getting on this plank some of them howled in agony and.
beseeched me to get off. I then got into the water and
as I could do nothing more for them, my dressings being
finished sometime before,I gave each a doseof morphia.
by the mouth.
I had just finished and was standing waist-deep in the
water when the Turkish counter-attack commenced with
a volley from the distant end of the fort, not over 300
yards off. The only person the Turk could see was
myself, the sandbank protecting the others from view,
and at least sevenor eight bullets spluttered round me in
the water. I had been well warned that this counter-
attack would take place at any moment, but I never gave
it a single thought. It was in anticipation of this that
the others clung to the shelter of the sandbank and I was
left to work alone. I immediately splashed for a small
boat that formed the end of one of the gangways, and
into this I hauled myself. On looking at my watch I
found it was just midnight, and that I had thus been at
work for three and a half hours.
Midnight had evidently been chosen by the Turk as
the hour at which to attack, and also by us to make
anotherattemptto landmen. At this momenta body of
our men were coming along the gangway, the first of
them being close to this boat which was on a slightly
lower level than the barges that formed the bulk of the
gangway. The five foremostthrew themselvesinto my
boat and we lay stretched across the seats, the men
on the barges lying down at once where they were.
Here none of us had any protection, and it was a miracle
any one of us escaped,the fire from machine-guns and
rifles was so terrific. Each bullet as it struck the
"Clyde" drove sparks, while the old ship was ringing
like a great bell. Two of our six were hit, the man
stretched alongside me fatally. A seventh man in the
water hauled himself in beside us, and as he was getting
over the gunwale shouted, "Oh ! I am hit". Hit or not
hit we could not pay the slightest attention to each other
now, all we could do was to lie low.
All this time I was expecting a rush for the " Clyde "
by the Turks, and the boat I was in would be the first
part of the gangway they would reach, and I could not
help wondering what it would be like to get a bayonet
through my stomach, but the feeling that this would
certainly happen was not half so terrible as I should
have expected. I had my revolver in my hand all the
time, and it was a comfort to think that I would almost
certainly account for two or three Turks before I
experienced this new sensation.
The fire was kept up for about four hours, mainly on
the side of the ship. As soon as there was a lull an
officer in my boat shouted out. " This won't do, we must
now land, follow me." He got up and splashed ashore,
but the men, thinking he had been too hasty, preferred to
wait a little longer after the Turks had ceased fire, but
soon they began to move and dash singly for the land.
I wished to get on the ship, and not half liking to get
into an upright position either, I crept through and over
those still on the barges, amidst much cursing from my
paining the wounded, who must have been numerous.
I had had a strenuous and exciting day and night,
and I must say I felt it a relief when I hopped through
the nearest hole in the " Clyde ". It was now 4 o'clock,
and I shivered with cold. I had been soaked over the
head, and lying four hours in the open boat in a cold.
night it wasimpossibleto keepwarm. A big, black
cloud had floated up over the moon,and we had a fairly
sharp but short shower of rain. By this time the moon
was nearing the horizon,and it was when another cloud
came over her face that I succeeded in reachingthe ship.
I found they had had a fairly trying time here too,
although the ship's plates were thick enoughto resist
bullets. The noise of 100,000 bullets showering on the
sides of the "Clyde" had caused a deafening din, and
many had the wind up badly, not knowing what was
going on outside.
The behaviour of the " River Clyde " had been a great
puzzle to the Turks. She was not long aground when
the guns on Kum Kale, across the Dardanelles, opened
on us, and this fire was kept up the whole day-on us
and us only as far as I could make out. It took them some
time to get our range, and for a considerable time we
were not hit, all the shellsbeing shorts or overs. At last
they got us, the first shell that hit going through our
hold at an angle of 45 degrees,coming through the deck
over our heads,and going out at the junction of the floor
and side wall. In its course it struck a man on the head,
this being splashed all through the hold. Another man
squatting on the floor was hit about the middle of both
thighs, one leg being completely severed, while the other
hung by a tiny shred of skin only. He fell back with
a howl with both stumps in the air.
In five minutes a second shell entered our hold,
wounding two or three where we were, mostly by the
buckling of the floor plates, then passing down below to
the lowest hold where many men were sheltering under
the water line. Here six or seven were laid out.
After this we had many narrow escapes,but I believe
only two other shells actually struck the ship that day.
By good luck none exploded in their passage through,
otherwise the casualty list would have been very heavy.
Many had been hit and killed on deck by machine-gun
bullets, and many bullets had found their way through
the small openings cut for working the twelve machine-
guns that were placed there.
(I have the kind permission of the author, a scholarly
and much-respected member of our Corps, to insert the
following poem which appearedin "The British Weekly "
and one of the Aberdeen papers.)
THE FACE OF DEATH.
(Dedicated to Lieutenant Cieorgc Daviiisi'it.'
We shall not be the men we were before,
No, never while we draw this mortal breath :
For we have probed existence to the core,
And looked upon the very Face of Death.
Upon our famous collier, " River Clyde,"
We sat as men who wait the summons dread.
Brave soldiers fell, defenceless, at our side,
We, too, might soon be numbered with the dead.
With fateful frequency the shells did burst
Around and near the members of our Corps :
Within our hearts we asked, " Who'll be the first
To converse with his comrades never more?"
O never, never from our memory's page
Shall be erased these moments of despair :
An hour seemed an interminable age
But, in His mercy, God our lives did spare
We care not what the worldly wise may say,
We owe deliverance to the God of Heaven,
Whose Power Omnipotent the worlds obey,
'Gainst whose decrees mankind in vain hath striven
Had He but chosen that our hour had come,
No scheming had availed our lives to save :
'T\vas not the hour to call our spirits home,
The Lord must take, as 'twas the Lord that gave
And not in vain were we to death brought nigh,.
For He whose presence came our hearts so near
Hath taught us we can ne'er His Will defy,
But evermore should live in reverent Fear.
And men have scaled the sacred slopes of Prayer
Who ne'er before aspired to heights above :
And find the Universe divinely fair
Because 'tis governed by a Heart of Love.
GALLIPOLI, 29th May, 1915.
(The following is taken from my diary and dated
August 3, 1916, just after we had landed in the Ypres
salient to which the remains of our Division went after
being wiped out in the great Somme fight the previous.
" I have to-day received a copy of the Aberdeen
' Free Press,' dated July 28,where there is an article
on Gallipoli by one of our transport men, G. Burnett,
who is now a lieutenant in the Scottish Horse. It
runs: ' It is scarcely fair to single out officers and
men who did gallant service that first week, but I feel
that I ought to mention the names of Lieutenant George
Davidson, and Private Gavin Greig. Lieutenant (now
Captain) Davidson gained the D.S.O. while Greig was
promoted sergeant shortly afterwards. We were told
that Lieutenant Davidson led a bayonet charge, but he
certainly did go into Sedd-el-Bahr, revolver in hand, to
look for curios when there was yet great danger from
snipers. And he used to go up towards the Turkish
trenches, gathering flowers which he would show us on
his return. Every man of us would have followed him
anywhere. I recollect going out to help the bearers to
take in some wounded, when the party of which I
formed a member fell in with Lieutenant Davidson.
"Oh," he said, "would you men like to look for wounded
on the hill-side?" "Yes," we answered. "Well, follow
me," and we did until an officer forbade us to go any
The D.S.O. never materialized. I am assured a Cairo
paper announced that it did, and I was often congratu-
lated on the honour. But, as Artemus Ward would say,
"Please, Mr. Printer, put a few asterisks here".)