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A gruelling and graphic account of the appalling slaughter arising from the landing from the River Clyde at Se-dul-bahr.


An extract from


THE INCOMPARABLE 29th

AND THE "RIVER CLYDE"

BY

GEORGE DAVIDSON



The full text of this book is available in digital format from Ex Libris www.ozebook.com



" 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

one's mind.


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

altogether.


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

game.


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

condition.


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

busy.


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

are German

(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

her purpose.


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

asleep.


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.

warship.


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

our boats.


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

Field Ambulance.


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

water.


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-

gunfire.


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.


GEORGE STEPHEN.

SQTHFIELD AMBULANCE,R.A.M.C.,

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.

month :-


" 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

further.'"


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".)











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