A Record of War and War Travels 1914-1916
In this book I have gathered together the story of my wanderings in war-time, as the Special Correspondent of The Daily Chronicle, and descriptions of those episodes of the great struggle which I saw and with which I had to deal.
The route of the travels described leads into no fewer than ten countries, and my experiences have been, perhaps, more varied than those which have fallen to the lot of any other Special Correspondent during the time with which the book deals—from the beginning of the war till the end of March 1916.
And here I might say something about the problem and the position of the War Correspondent who, before the war, was given up as dead and who has been subjected to a great deal of criticism since the war's beginning called him to life again. I refrain, however, chiefly because his case has been so admirably stated by General Porro, General Cadorna's brilliant right-hand man, that I am sure that I cannot do better than quote his words.
"I have come for your sakes, from the General Headquarters, and for your sakes only," said the General, in welcoming the Italian correspondents to the front. " I have to bring you the greetings of the Supreme Command. The Supreme Command, during the first months of the war, for insuperable military reasons, was unable to call you to collaborate in the work which we all seek to accomplish—victory. The General Staff, in its daily bulletins, informed the nation, but was aware that these meagre reports were not sufficient; that the mothers, fathers and kindred of those who were fighting, and the entire nation whom you represent, longed for more ample knowledge, for greater particulars and details; longed, by reading of deeds, to associate themselves with the army that is fighting. We have now invited you to come.
" You are to form the link between that part of the nation that fights and that part of it which is watching, to bring our war, as you see it, before the eyes of our people. Such will be your noble and fertile mission, as great as any mission ever was, and as necessary, too, for no army can long and resolutely march to victory if it has not the consensus and enthusiasm of the whole country behind it. Go to the front and see. We have nothing to conceal from you. I have only one restriction to make, and I need hardly make it. It is that you avoid any indiscretion which would reveal strategic and tactical secrets. I know that, as patriots, you understand this without my exhortations.
" I conclude by reminding you that your mission is to help in the final victory."
The kind assistance which I have received from many friends in nearly all the countries I have visited does not, unfortunately, admit of detailed acknowledgment, but I hope that the expression of my thanks here will be accepted as not less sincere for being general. My best thanks are also due to the Editor of The Daily Chronicle for kindly giving me his permission to make use of some matter which originally appeared in the columns of that newspaper. It should be understood, of course, that for the opinions expressed in the pages that follow I alone am responsible.
The volume has been written during a busy period of rather more than a year, in many places and under conditions more or less unsuited for such work—from Cairo to primitive Imbros, in Athens, Mitylene and Salonica. If the work, therefore, contains what the reader may regard as faults or blemishes, I trust it will not be forgotten that it has come into existence in days which always exacted their good toll of other work and during months of a somewhat nomadic life.
Salonica, March, 1916.
Turkey and the Dardanelles
. . . My intention here is to give a short description of the heroic landings on the grim Peninsula of the British, Australian and New Zealand and French troops, supported by British and French warships. While at various points in the region of the Aegean I had the opportunity of talking to a large number of those who went through the stupendous first ordeal on Gallipoli and I have referred to the despatch of General Sir Inn Hamilton, published on July 7th, 1915, in order to verify the details of the story. To that I add a description of the sea and land fighting as I witnessed it for many days from Imbros heights, Rabbit Islands and from my motor-caique, the Balia.
General Hamilton reached the Dardanelles the day before the attack of March 18th. That effort, it will be remembered, failed after the loss of three ships. The Commander-in-Chief witnessed the fight and after it came to the " reluctant decision that the co-operation of the whole force under my command would be required to enable the fleet effectively to force the Dardanelles." He had by that time carried out a preliminary reconnaissance of the Aegean shore of the Peninsula, and that, and subsequent observations strengthened his conviction that " nothing but a thorough and systematic scheme for flinging the whole of the troops under my command very rapidly ashore could be expected to meet with success." He recognised that such an attempt upon a theatre of operations already strongly garrisoned " involved difficulties for which no precedent was forthcoming, except possibly in the sinister legends of Xerxes." The British as well as the French troops were concentrated in Egypt, and on April 23rd the covering forces of the expedition were ready to leave Mudros harbour for the Gallipoli coast. It had been decided to attack at five points where the shore permitted, near the tip of the Peninsula, of landings being made. The Australians and New Zealanders were not used at any of those points, but made an entirely separate landing at a spot midway between the point and Suvla Bay. The French, who were not in great force, made an attack on the Asiatic side and afterwards took over part of the line on the Peninsula. In Sir Ian Hamilton's despatch the five beaches where the British forces landed were called S, V, W, X and Y Beaches. They arc marked on the accompanying map. The main attacks were to be delivered at V, W and X Beaches; those at the other two were "made mainly to protect the flanks, to disseminate the forces of the enemy and to interrupt the arrival of reinforcements." The covering forces were off Tenedos early on the 24th and during the day the troops were transferred to warships and sweepers. These ships, towing lines of pinnaces and small boats, sailed forth at midnight. They reached their rendezvous off the enemy's coast just before dawn on an absolutely still morning when a thin veil of mist shrouded the Peninsula, so soon to be the scene of the bravest feat of arms in all our records, the story of which will become part of our national literature and our historic tradition. While the ships of the 3rd squadron heavily bombarded the enemy's lines, the troops were being rapidly transferred to the small boats to be towed ashore. The enemy gave no sign of life.
I shall deal in turn with the landings at the five beaches.
Y Beach is immediately west of the village of Krithia. Down to it falls a cliff, covered to some extent with scrub and with a loose, crumbling face. The beach is extremely narrow, but the scaling of the steep cliff is somewhat facilitated by its being cut up by small gullies. Still, the climbing of it is no light task, and the Turks thought that the natural difficulties there were sufficient; they did not place barriers in the way as they did so thoroughly elsewhere. On the morning of April 25th, a date which will for ever be remembered among the many great days of the war, under the cover of the Amethyst, Sapphire and Dublin, the King's Own Scottish Borderers and the Plymouth (Marine) Battalion, Royal Naval Division, under the command of Lieutenant-Colonel Koe, landed without opposition. The troops scaled the gully-scarred cliff and established themselves on the crest of it. Having done so, their task was to get into touch with the forces landed at X Beach, some distance farther south. As will be shown later, the advance from X Beach was held up owing to the delay at W Beach. This rendered the task of the Y Beach force a difficult one, but Colonel Koe began advancing inland. He soon met with strong opposition, and, as reinforcements were being sent forward from Krithia to strengthen the forces facing him, Colonel Koe (who later died of wounds received in the fighting) was obliged to halt and entrench. The enemy hurled many attacks against his position during the afternoon and throughout the night. They were all repulsed and the gallant K.O.S.B.s sallied out on several occasions and drove the enemy off with the bayonet. An extraordinary incident is officially reported as having happened there in the darkness. The Turks " actually led a pony with a machine-gun on its back over the defences, and were proceeding to come into action in the middle of our position when they were bayoneted." The enemy vastly outnumbered the gradually lessening force under Colonel Koe, and early next morning the K.O.S.B.s were found to have dwindled to half their original number. The rest were greatly in need of sleep, but, worn out as they were, they fought a very fine rear-guard action when the time came to retreat to the boats again. So effective was the fight they put up that the Turks were prevented from establishing themselves on the crest of the cliff, where they would have interfered seriously with the re-embarkation. As it was, the remainder of the troops, all the wounded, the stores and the ammunition were safely taken off. It must be said that the landing was justified and successful in that it held up a large Turkish force which would otherwise have assisted in making the landing of our troops elsewhere much more difficult.
While the Y Beach force was getting ready to land at dawn on the 25th, the Swiftsure and the Implacable were thundering away farther south at X Beach. The fierce bombardment was opened by the Swiftsure, and then the Implacable stood, at considerable risk, close inshore, and, working every gun she had, smashed out of existence whatever shore defences the Turks had prepared. This terrific fire enabled the landing force— the 1st Royal Fusiliers, with a beach party of the Anson Battalion, R.N.D.—to get safely ashore. The beach at this particular spot consists of a strip of sand about two hundred yards long and twenty-five feet broad. Immediately they had disembarked, the troops began advancing inland and continued their march practically unopposed for three-quarters of a mile. Then they found, however, that their right was exposed, as the W Beach force had been unable to advance. From Krithia they were subjected to a rain of shells and the position of I he force would rapidly have become critical had not the Implacable got the range of the Turk guns and silenced them. For a while violent infantry attacks were withstood, but towards evening the force had to fall back on the cliff ridge in face of a Turkish onslaught in tremendous force. There, reinforced by two battalions of the 87th Brigade, they fixed themselves in an entrenched position extending half a mile round the beach at which they had landed and at last came into touch with the Lancashire Fusiliers from W Beach.
" No finer feat of arms has ever been achieved." Such was the general's tribute to the Lancashire Fusiliers at W Beach. Cape Tekeh (Tickle Point to soldier and sailor) looks down on this beach on the left and it is dominated on the opposite side by the hills which run down to Cape Hellas. The beach is 350 yards long, its breadth varying from fourteen to forty yards. The cliff behind is cut by a gully, both sides of which are abrupt. Sand dunes are scattered about right up to the crest of the ridge. Here the Turks had prepared a most formidable defence. Under the surface of the water near the shore barbed wire entanglements were fixed; on shore and in the shallows mines had been placed; trenches, protected by barbed wire, were everywhere; behind each dune was a sniper; machine-guns had been placed in nooks in the cliff face and they were extremely difficult to distinguish and to destroy. The enemy's fire broke forth just when the first boat touched the shore. The men in it jumped on to the land and dashed forward, though a galling fire was poured in on them from the heights on each side and from the gully in front. Up came the men from the other boats, but very few yards from the shore they found themselves in front of a great wire entanglement, which they at once proceeded to cut. So hot was the fire, however, that every man of the first party was shot down. But the Lancashire lads were not to be easily defeated, More men came on. H.M.S. Euryalus was firing steadily, and assisting fire soon came from a party which had landed at a sheltered point under Cape Tekeh. This kept down somewhat the storm of lead from the Turkish position and at last the attacking party broke through and, reaching the shelter of the cliffs on each side of the gully, they re-formed. Then they went on again, the bulk of the force attacking towards Hill 114. At the same time, a company, landed on the right of the beach, rushed up to the Turkish trenches on the cliff crest, but could make no farther progress. Working up towards the left, and joining up with Cape Tekeh party, the men landed on the beach captured a Turkish trench from which heavy enfilading fire had been directed on the beach. By ten o'clock two more were taken and our footing at that point was secured. Before noon the enemy had been pushed back from the crest and a junction had been effected on Hill 114 with the X Beach force. The gully was thus entirely cleared and the beach safe for the landing of men and supplies.
As I have related, the force on the right of W Beach found itself held up in front of a strong position, guarded by wire entanglements—Hill 138. The fleet's guns came into action against it and the Worcestershire Regiment was landed. About four o'clock this regiment charged the position in magnificent manner and cleared the enemy out of the whole of the formidable redoubt. The work now facing the W Beach force was to link up with that from V Beach. There, however, no headway was being made. The 86th Brigade had orders to push along the cliff in an easterly direction, but it was exceedingly stiff work. Again and again barbed wire entanglements barred the way and many deeds of heroism were performed by the wire-cutting parties. Heavy casualties, however, weakened the advance and by nightfall the force was back again in the position from which it had set out at about five o'clock—a position extending from just cast of Cape Hellas Lighthouse over Hill 138 to Hill 114. Though the men had had a day and a night without sleep or rest, they gallantly held their line there till morning. Every available man had to be landed to strengthen the thin line against which the Turks hurled attack after attack. On the following morning the wearied men were strongly reinforced and their line was linked up with that of X Beach. The 1st Battalion of the Lancashire Fusiliers leave their name and fame in the story of that landing, for, as Sir Ian Hamilton said, it is to the " complete lack of the senses of danger or of fear of this daring battalion that we owed our astonishing success."
The most terrible of all the landings was that at V Beach, which is situated immediately to the west of Seddul Bahr. Between the village and No. 1 Fort the ground, sloping down to the water, forms an amphitheatre with a radius of three or four hundred yards. The beach is only about ten yards wide and the ground behind rises to a height of about a hundred feet, sloping gently upwards in terraces. On the far side of the beach there is a sandy escarpment a few feet high. The old fort of Seddul Bahr stands at the south-eastern end of the beach, between the shore and the village, and a ruined barrack on the ridge to the north. These buildings, together with No. 1 Fort, especially in their ruined condition, were of great value to the defenders in dealing with an attack from I lie sea. On the very edge of the beach were particularly strong barbed wire entanglements, and two-thirds of the way up to I he ridge there was another such barrier, above which the enemy had dug many trenches. The Turks were plentifully supplied with machine-guns. Indeed, the beach had been transformed into a very strong fortress.
The great difficulty which presented itself at this point was that of getting men ashore under a fire which was certain to be extremely heavy, and to get them ashore quickly. II is not surprising that within sight of the region where the wooden horse of Troy was employed, ancient history should suggest a means for landing the invading force that would be safer than the method employed elsewhere would have been. The counterpart of the Trojan Horse was the steamship River Clyde, which could hold two thousand men. Big doors were cut in the side of the vessel, and from them were fixed gangways by which the men could reach the lighters forming a bridge to the shore after the vessel had been run aground. Her bridge was turned into a little fort, being armoured and sandbagged and having twelve machine-guns.
The enemy's positions were first of all searched with heavy shell-fire from H.M.S. Albion, When the bombardment was over, three companies of the Dublin Fusiliers were in their boats ready to be towed ashore. The boats were closely followed by the River Clyde, which had on board the remainder of the Dublin Fusiliers, the Munster Fusiliers, half a battalion of the Hampshire Regiment, the West Riding Field Company and various details. It so happened, however, that the River Clyde was beached just as the boats touched bottom, and at that very moment a terrific storm of lead broke loose from the foe's trenches. The men in the boats rushed gallantly forward, but only very few of them reached the escarpment. The boats were quickly destroyed by the Turks' fire and the crews were killed to a man.
Now came the problem of getting the men ashore from the River Clyde. Against its iron sides thousands of bullets were rattling and under that heavy fire the lighters from the end of the gangway to the shore had to be placed in position. Not only did the heavy fire make the work highly difficult and dangerous, but there was also a strong current to contend with. Time after time the gallant men engaged on the work were wiped out, but the naval working parties were not to be denied. With fine heroism they persevered and at last, though at great cost, the lighters were all placed in position. Men who have been through the whole of the horrors of the Gallipoli campaign have told me that there was nothing quite so eerie and terror-inspiring as the time of waiting near one of the doors of the River Clyde, while bullets by the thousand were flattening themselves against the ship, waiting for the order to rush down the gangway swept by the enemy's fire. The first party to attempt to reach the shore, where a few men were lying behind the escarpment, was a company of the Munster Fusiliers. Down along the gangway they went bravely in face of the fierce fire. But very few of them reached the protecting wall of sand. A second company followed, but just then the string of lighters broke loose and the far end drifted away into deep water. Rather than wait on the lighters, some men jumped into the water and attempted to swim ashore, but most of them were carried under by the weight of their equipment. Once more the naval working parties went out under the storm of bullets and fixed the lighter-bridge in position again. By this time, gangway, lighters and beach were strewn thick with gallant dead. Then a third party of the Munsters dashed along I he way of death, over the bodies of their dead companions. Less than half of them reached the shore.
It was impossible to go on with the work on that expensive scale and the attempt was postponed for a while. The Queen Elizabeth, the Cornwallis and the Albion opened a heavy bombardment of the coast, and after that, the attempt to land men was renewed. When some of the Hampshire Regiment— together with Brigadier-General Napier and his brigade-major, Captain Costeker —were on the lighters, the fatal bridge once more broke away. Nearly everybody on the lighters was killed, including the two officers mentioned. It was then about eleven o'clock, and by that time a thousand men had endeavoured to get ashore; of these more than half were either killed or wounded. So the attempt was Anally given up. All day long the men on the River Clyde remained where they were, the ship being peppered with bullets and small shells, while late in the day batteries from the Asiatic shore endeavoured to hit the ship with heavy shells. From her armoured bridge, a heavy maxim fire was kept up on the enemy's positions and that prevented an attack being launched against the nan crouching behind the escarpment on the beach.
Meanwhile, half a company of Dublin Fusiliers had gone ashore on the cambered beach east of Seddul Bahr village, with the object of working across to V Beach. A Turkish trench was captured with a couple of pom-poms, but, being reduced by midday to twenty-five men, this party had to retire and were re-embarked. The main body of the troops which if had been intended to land at V Beach were, during the afternoon, diverted to W Beach, where they were easily landed. In the afternoon the Lancashire Fusiliers and part of the Worcestershire Regiment pushed forward from this beach with the intention of taking the enemy at V Beach in flank. The Turks, however, so increased the pressure on the front of W Beach that the little British force could not accomplish its mission. So it was, then, that at nightfall the Turks were still holding their positions practically intact.
Just when darkness was falling, the work of getting men ashore began again. Some small contingents were landed and they established themselves by the outer walls of the old fort. Later, the men from the River Clyde got ashore without a shot being fired, and after that we had a fairly strong force on V Beach. When we attempted to advance, however, the Turks opened a very heavy fire on our men, the bright moonlight enabling them to see clearly. All attacks on the enemy's positions in the forts and on the outskirts of the village during the night failed, and in the morning our position was by no means a good one.
Then, " under cover of a heavy bombardment opened by the ships upon the Old Fort, Seddul Bahr village, the old Castle north of the village, and on the ground leading up from the beach, and led by Lieutenant-Colonel Doughty-Wylie and Captain Walford, Brigade Major, R.A., the troops," says Sir Ian Hamilton, " gained a footing in the village by 10 a.m. They encountered a most stubborn opposition, and suffered heavy losses from the fire of well-concealed riflemen and machine-guns. Undeterred by the resistance, and supported by the naval gunfire, they pushed forward, and, soon after midday, they penetrated to the northern edge of the village, whence they were in a position to attack the Old Castle and Hill 141.
" During this advance Captain Walford was killed. Lieutenant-Colonel Doughty-Wylie had most gallantly led the attack all the way up from the beach through the west side of the village, under a most galling fire. And now, when, owing so largely to his own inspiring example and intrepid courage, the position had almost been gained, he was killed while leading the last assault. But the attack was pushed forward without wavering, and, fighting their way across the opening with great dash, the troops gained the summit and occupied the Old Castle and Hill 141 before 2 p.m."
Such were the happenings at four of the five beaches. There remains S Beach. Here seven hundred men were landed from trawlers and took up a position on the cliffs and held on to it despite severe attacks. The men were the 2nd South Wales Borderers, under Lieutenant-Colonel Casson. They were later relieved by the French, who, while the operations here described were being carried out, had landed at Kum Kale under the cover of the French ships. They remained ashore there from the morning of the 25th until the following day when, according to plan, they were withdrawn. They took five hundred prisoners and contributed to the success of the British landings by drawing Turkish fire away from V Beach and Morto Bay. On the 26th the French were disembarked at V Beach and took up, as stated, a portion of the line on the right.
Now I come to the episode which has made the Australians and New Zealanders famous throughout the world as fighting men. To the Peninsula, with Britishers from all parts of the Homeland and with Indians, came those magnificent men from the new lands under the Southern Cross. So the Peninsula really saw an Empire in action, the Empire which our enemies thought would break up with the coming of war. The men of Australia and New Zealand, two of the great and free Dominions of the Empire, showed a readiness to fight for the unforgotten Homeland, a spirit of self-sacrifice and a fine heroism which will be remembered as one of the most inspiring features of this epoch of war.
The beach where the Australians and New Zealanders were to land was about a mile north of Gaha Tepe, but a, slight error in direction was made in towing the men ashore. The result was that the landing was made a, mile farther to the north than was intended—at a spot where there is about two thirds of a mile of sand backed by cliffs, cut up by gullies and a large ravine. The error had one good result : the spot where the men went ashore was much better sheltered, it was found, than the point originally selected farther south. The Australian and New Zealand forces—commanded by Sir William Birdwood, who had been with his men for some time in Egypt left Mudros on the afternoon of the 24th under the escort of the Second Squadron of the Fleet, and just before half pas1 one next morning the ships were at the rendezvous—five miles from the landing-place. Little more than an hour later, the start was made landwards. In darkness and perfect silence the boats neared the shore and, just before they touched bottom, the soldiers, eagerly peering towards the shore, saw several hundred Turks running forward so as to be able to meet the attacking party. For a few moments only they were visible, then they disappeared Into hiding-places from which they opened fire on the boats. There were many casualties, but the Australians, immediately the boats grounded, leapt into the water, waded ashore and rushed forward with fixed bayonets. Across the beach, which is thirty yards wide, they went in fine style, and quickly cleared and captured a trench, together with a maxim gun. That brought them to the foot of the cliff, which rises abruptly and is clothed with scrub and dwarf holly. On the face of the cliff the Turks had a trench and from that they were directing a heavy fire on I he troops as they landed. When the second lot of men had reached the Idol, of the cliff, a start to climb it was made. It was, I have often been told, a magnificent sight. Off came the men's packs, click went the cartridge-clips into their rifles and up those Colonial giants went. It was but a matter of a quarter of an hour and the trench was in their hands.
You have really to see the country to form a true idea of what happened after this. Beyond the cliff, hills are closely packed together. In the distance Coja Chemen Dagh rises to a height of nearly a thousand feet. Deep ravines, scrub-covered spurs and yellow precipices meet the eye everywhere in wildest confusion; such wild country spreads right across the Peninsula to the Straits. Yonder is the dull green of olive trees, so common in this part of the world; there a belt of Scotch firs; occasionally little apricot and almond orchards are visible. The plain stretching away there and looking bare and uninteresting is really a glorious garden of roses and marguerites; orchid and iris make it beautiful to the dweller on it; in the grass poppies and clover grow with sweet pea and asphodel. A fairy region, it is, too, ideal country for those who would defend it from the invader. Everywhere, on that historic morning, Turkish snipers were lying hidden, and across the rough ground just beyond the cliff our detachments had, immediately they reached the crest, to be sent forward. The men became scattered; little groups had to fight stern little battles on their own account; here some were advancing; there others were forced to fall back before superior force. It was, for a while, the kind of fighting which called for initiative, presence of mind, coolness, valour of a sterling kind, and the utmost determination. Meanwhile, during this scattered combat, in which Colonial courage and soldierly qualities were shown to splendid advantage, the landing was being completed in face of heavy fire from the heights. The first to land were the men of the 3rd Brigade and the 1st and 2nd followed. The work was carried out with great promptitude and by two o'clock in the afternoon no fewer than 12,000 men had landed, together with two batteries of Indian Mountain Artillery. The placing on shore of stores and ammunition went on steadily all day.
On land the straggling, struggling battle-line, twisting like a gigantic snake, slowly began to fix itself in a definite position. Three of the enemy's Krupp guns were put out of action by the 9th and 10th battalions, and all the while the Turks were being reinforced, till, early in the afternoon, they must have numbered 20,000 men. About eleven o'clock the line of the Australians and New Zealanders stretched in a semicircle from a mile north of Gaba Tepe to the high ground above Fisherman's Hut and at that hour the first serious counter-attack was made by the enemy against the whole line. The fleet's guns joined in the battle and the enemy was everywhere driven back with heavy losses. At five o'clock the second big assault opened and, after having lasted rather more than an hour, failed also. Both those onslaughts were delivered mainly against the 3rd Brigade, which was the first to land and which stood, therefore, the brunt of the earliest difficult fighting. Yet evening found those splendid soldiers more than a match for the Turk, whom they repulsed in the most handsome fashion.
The invaders' line was slightly contracted at nightfall to make it better able to withstand the attacks which were threatened. It had been a day of " deplorably heavy " casualties, and during the night the Turks came on again and again, only to be repulsed and, on several occasions, to be pursued at the point of the bayonet. The morning brought no rest. Shortly before ten o'clock the Turks launched yet another stronger and more vigorous attack. During the darkness they had brought down more artillery and machine-guns, and this effort was one by which they hoped to push us into the sea. Their fire was exceedingly severe, an enormous amount of shrapnel being used. The screech of heavy projectiles was continuous and the cottonwool puffs of bursting shrapnel dotted the air. The Queen Elizabeth and half a dozen other ships joined in the fray, which I saw from my motor-caique lying between the Peninsula and Imbros. The ships fired every gun they could and the roar of cannon shook the very hills. The Turks, too, worked their artillery for all it was worth. The earth seemed to be an inferno of dust and smoke. A Turkish ship in the Straits, most likely the Goeben, even came into action. She fired over the Peninsula and made fair practice. But the Triumph had better gunners and the shots she planted in the Dardanelles fell so near the daring warship that she was soon steaming up the waterway again.
For two hours the Turks, fighting with that valour which has made them soldiers to be feared during centuries, kept up the attack. In the end it failed, and it was a costly failure; its finale was a splendid bayonet charge by our men, after which they were left in possession of the ground upon which they could dig themselves in and make an impregnable position. Sniping and minor attacks continued all day and on the 27th as well The enemy then began to rely more on artillery, especially shrapnel, with which our trenches were heavily bombarded; but the Turks also got a severe peppering from the battleships, which were, by that time, having their fire directed by airmen. After the 27th a short period of reorganisation intervened. The Australians and New Zealanders had made their footing secure by magnificent heroism and fighting qualities, the memory of which will live across all the tides of time.
I can only briefly refer to subsequent happenings. By the evening of the 27th our line at the southern point of the Peninsula extended from the mouth of the Nullah, nearly two miles north-east of Cape Tekeh, to Eski Hissarlik Point. The front was about three miles long and somewhat thinly held. Yet, as it was essential to give the enemy no rest, an advance was ordered for 8 a.m. on the 28th. After a whole day of most gallant fighting, in which pretty considerable advances were made and very severe losses inflicted on the enemy, it was found that the Turkish strength was too much for us, and in the evening we were forced to abandon some of our gains. It was, indeed, during that afternoon that the great hope of the whole expedition faded to a great extent; it was recognised that it was impossible to take Aehi Baba, the key to the southern part of the Peninsula, with the forces then on land. In the evening the line was straightened by a further slight retirement of the British and French in face of severe fighting, but still, on the whole, there had been appreciable progress. The line eventually held at night stretched from three miles north-west of Cape Tekeh to a point a mile north of Eski Hissarlik, the French continuing it south-eastwards to the coast. Our tired forces had to be rested, and it was during that time that the great prize we had been striving for definitely slipped from our grasp. There can be no doubt that, had we had fresh troops to carry on the advance, the Gallipoli campaign would not have come to such an early deadlock. The Turks had time to fortify their positions and to make them impregnable against a force of the size the British commander had at his disposal.
Another great effort was made in the tremendous three days' battle of May 6th-8th, when, despite unsurpassed valour, it was shown, as Sir Ian Hamilton says in his last despatch (published on January 7th, 1916) that " neither of my forces, northern or southern, was strong enough to fight its way to the Narrows." In August came the landing at Suvla Bay, which achieved nothing towards lifting the campaign out of the rut into which it had fallen. After that the campaign was allowed to languish. Trench warfare, with minor offensive movements, continued during the long, tryingly hot months under conditions which so astounded Lord Kitchener that, when he returned from a visit to the Peninsula, he said he could never have believed conditions to be so terrible or so overwhelming in their nature. It was, indeed, war in hell.
With my friend, Mr. G. J. Stevens, of the Daily Telegraph, I left Mitylene on the Balia on Sunday, April 25th, and, having passed the night at Molivo on the northern coast of the island, we were off the Dardanelles early on Monday forenoon. As the caique sailed up the Strait between Tenedos and the mainland, we had our first view of the unique operations. Overhead the sky was perfectly clear save for a heavy cloud which rested high above the entrance to the Dardanelles. Beneath it hung a dull grey curtain of smoke, shrouding the waterway and the land on both sides. Soon we could plainly see the great fleet of warships and transports in seeming disorder; there were scores of smoking funnels and a dozen warships were spitting out fire from their great guns. The scene looked like nothing so much as a corner of Sheffield at its smokiest. What a fascinating sight it was ! There were a couple of ships battering away in unison at something beyond Kum Kale; another set on fire the village of Yeni Shehr, to the south; then something happened well inland from Seddul Bahr and dense volumes of smoke poured upwards. At intervals there was silence, as though the monster warships tired of the work of destruction. In the obscurity of the battle smoke, warships, big and little, sped about. Then out of the dark came a hospital ship.
In the afternoon I landed on Rabbit Island, five miles from the entrance to the Straits and commanding a view for miles up the waterway. There I watched the spectacle till nightfall. The astounding thing about it was the enormous expenditure of big gun ammunition. On several occasions I counted as many as thirty big gun shots in a minute. Smoke and dust shot up in tremendous columns on the shore. One wondered that anything could live in such an awful inferno. It was dark before my caique was speeding towards Imbros and in going there I kept as close to the coast of the Peninsula as possible. When we were opposite Gaba Tepe I witnesssed an extraordinary sight. It was one of the night attacks on the position of the Australians and New Zealanders. In the darkness I could see the outline of the land but very indistinctly. A black patch was a valley; the heights caught a little light from a clouded moon. Suddenly the sides of the valley were lit up by the vivid flashes of guns. The ships joined in with their louder-voiced cannon and the searchlights' wandering glare was soon busy picking out targets for the guns to batter to pieces. So continuous and heavy was the firing that at times the flaming guns enabled me to pick out the features of the landscape. War in the dark makes indeed a weird picture . . .