42nd Division ADMS War Diary, Gallipoli

42nd (East Lancashire) Division: Assistant Dir of Medical Services (1915 Jun – 1916 Jan)

WO 95/4263-4359

Lieut-Colonel T. P. Jones, M.B. RAMC

 

June 29, 1915 (11am. Gallipoli Peninsula)

Assumed duties of ADMS 42nd E. Lancs Division vice Colonel J. BENTLY MANN placed on sick list. The Field Ambulances under my command are:

1/1st East Lancashire Field Ambulance
1/2nd East Lancashire Field Ambulance
1/3rd East Lancashire Field Ambulance

June 30, 1915 (10am. Gallipoli Peninsula)

Inspected Advanced Dressing Stations 1/1 Fld Ambulance, also the Regimental Aid Posts and trenches on KANLI DERE.

Ordered the site of the Adv. Dressing Station, at point 5.t.4 known as CLAPHAM JUNCTION, to be changed to a spot 50 yards further forward as present site obviously unsafe and casualties were occurring daily. Recommended to GOC alteration in scheme for latrines in trenches. Orders on the subject issued by GOC to Brigadiers.

July 1, 1915 (10am. Gallipoli Peninsula)

Inspected bivouac of 1/9th MANCHESTER REGT. Inspected Advanced Dressing Station of 1/3 Fld. Ambulance on MAL TEPE DERE at point 5.t.9.

July 2, 1915 (10:30am. Gallipoli Peninsula)

Inspected main dressing station 1/1st Fld Ambulance (square I.f.4) on the cliff 350 yards S. of X Beach. Inspected bivouac of 1/2nd Fld. Ambulance in reserve at same place.

12 Noon. Inspected main dressing station 1/3rd Fld Ambulance on the West KRITHIA road (square 2.g.3). Directed a larger dug out to be made for shelter of sick & wounded.

3pm. 25 NCOs & men arrived as temporary re-enforcements from Nos 24 and 25 Casualty Clearing Stations. Posted to 1/2nd Fld Ambulance.

3pm. Telegram received from VIII Corps directing as many sick and wounded as possible to be retained in dressing stations. Issued orders accordingly.

July 3, 1915 (11:00am. Gallipoli Peninsula)

OC 1/2nd Fld Ambulance ordered to detail an officer for 1/8 LANCS FUSILIERS.

July 4, 1915 (Gallipoli Peninsula)

Signal received from VIII A Corps directing evacuation of sick and wounded to be carried out as usual.

July 5, 1915 (6pm. Gallipoli Peninsula)

Attack by enemy on both flanks commencing at 4:00am. This Division occupying centre section was not directly engaged but was subjected to heavy bombardment. Casualties few.

July 6, 1915 (6pm. Gallipoli Peninsula)

Prepared and sent in to ADMS VIII Army Corps a nominal roll of casualties which have occurred among RAMC officers 42nd Division since landing on Peninsula.

July 7, 1915 (6pm. Gallipoli Peninsula)

New dug out at 1/3 Fld Ambulance completed and found satisfactory. Inspected the transport of all Field Ambulances.

July 8, 1915 (1pm. Gallipoli Peninsula)

Temp Lieut. C. R. VON BRAUN having reported his arrival was placed in medical charge of 4th E. Lancs Regt. And joined unit.

3pm. Instructions received to commence anti cholera inoculations.

3pm. Draft on subject sent for insertion in Div Orders. Instructions issued to RAMC officers concurrent.

July 9, 1915 (4pm. Gallipoli Peninsula)

The Field Ambulances are deficient in vehicles and horses. Furnished DADQS with a state in order that horsed transport may be made up to establishment in Mob. Strength Table for Fld. Ambulances corrected to Feb 1915.

July 10, 1915 (Gallipoli Peninsula)

Water tanks and barrels fixed in KANLI DERE above CLAPHAM JUNCTION (square 5.t.4) and in 3 trenches on the N.E. of the main branch of this nullah above CLAPHAM JUNCTION where a direct water supply to tank from spring can be attained. Water is sterilized in these receptacles which are in charge of water duty men RAMC. This arrangement saves labour and provides water in places which are inaccessible to water carts.

July 11, 1915 (10pm. Gallipoli Peninsula)

Received from VIII Army Corps the RAMC arrangements for attack by 52nd Division tomorrow. The dressing stations ordered to be established by this division are permanent ones already fixed as stated in the order.

July 12, 1915 (08:10am. Gallipoli Peninsula)

Attack by 52nd Division carried out this morning. Made arrangements in case RAMC assistance required from this division.

Issued orders to No 1/2nd Fld. Ambulance to place one bearer sub-division at disposal of OC 1/3rd Fld. Ambulance and to hold a second bearer sub-div in readiness.

Signalled to OC 88th Fld Ambulance, 29th Div. requesting 2 motor ambulance wagons to be sent to 1/3rd Fld Ambulance.

Distribution

No 1/1 Fld Ambulance on line of evacuation KANLI DERE

No 1/2 Fld Ambulance in reserve. No 1/3 Fld Ambulance (less one section) on line of evacuation MAL TEPE DERE.

6pm. Second assault made at 4:30pm. Wounded from morning and afternoon assaults evacuated through line MAL TEPE DERE. Only a small number (45) evacuated through line KANLI DERE. My Field Ambulances were engaged throughout the day in assisting the bearer divisions of the Divisions engaged.

July 13, 1915 (03:35am. Gallipoli Peninsula)

Received telegram from ADMS RND asking for a bearer division to report to ADMS 52nd Division, as wounded stated to be hampering operations in the trenches. Ordered 2 bearer sub-divs. From No 1/2 Fld Ambulance to be sent up MAL TEPE DERE under orders of OC 1/3 Fld Ambulance.

2:35pm. Received telegram from ADMS RND requesting me to arrange a relief for my 2 bearer sub-divs. Sent in morning.

3:30pm. Ordered one bearer sub-div. from No 1/2 Fld Ambulance and one bearer sub-div. from No 1/3 Fld Ambulance to be sent in relief.

July 14, 1915 (6:00pm. Gallipoli Peninsula)

Two of my bearer sub divisions are still assisting 52nd Division. There has been little fighting during today and I have verbally asked ADMS RND, who has been making the RAMC arrangements for yesterday’s attacks, to send them back.

July 15, 1915 (02:35am. Gallipoli Peninsula)

The 2 bearer sub divisions reported their return. Their casualties have been one officer (Lt. BLACKLY) and 32 ORs and men wounded.

July 16, 1915 (4:00pm. Gallipoli Peninsula)

All dressing stations have now completed rest places for the accommodation of those cases of abdominal wounds which it is undesirable to move. Received report from OC Advanced Dressing Station of 1/3rd Fld. Ambulance on MAL TEPE DERE that after fighting of 12th and 13th inst. Eleven men suffering from abdominal wounds were sent to the Casualty Clearing Station after 48 hours rest and apparently out of danger.

July 17, 1915 (4:00pm. Gallipoli Peninsula)

Ordered No 1/2nd Fld Ambulance to take over from No 1/1st Fld Ambulance and the Advanced Dressing Stations and bearer relief post hitherto found by the latter.

Distribution:

No 1/1st Fld Ambulance (less 2 sections in reserve). Dressing Station on cliff S. of X Beach.

No 1/2nd Fld Ambulance. Line of evacuation KANLI DERE with the advanced dressing station at CLAPHAM JUNCTION (square 5.t.4) and on West KRITHIA road (square 2.b.2).

No 1/3rd Fld Ambulance (less one section in reserve) line of evacuation MAL TEPE DERE with Advanced Dressing Station 300 yards S.W. of Brown House (square 5.t.9) and a main dressing station on the West KRITHIA road (square 2.j.3)

July 18, 1915 (Gallipoli Peninsula)

Lieut. M. MORITZ 1/3rd Field Ambulance reported his arrival from England. Took over temporarily the duties of ADMS VIII Army Corps in addition to duties of ADMS 42nd Division.

July 19, 1915 (Gallipoli Peninsula)

150 extra Petrol tins obtained for units for carriage of water to trenches. More are still required.

July 20, 1915 (Gallipoli Peninsula)

Nothing to note.

July 21, 1915 (Gallipoli Peninsula)

OC 1/2nd Fld Ambulance ordered to return to their unit at IMBROS, 8 NCOs and men of the 25 Casualty Clearing Station.

July 22, 1915 (2:30pm. Gallipoli Peninsula)

Issued to brigades the RAMC special instruction from the Divisional Scheme in anticipation of enemy attack tomorrow.

11pm. Received signal VIII Corps ordering 1/3rd Fld Ambulance to take over 3 Ambulance Wagons of 41st Fld Ambulance, 13th Division at 8am tomorrow.

July 23, 1915 (9:00am. Gallipoli Peninsula)

Three ambulance wagons taken over in compliance with above order by 1/3rd Fld Ambulance. 2 officers and 2 other ranks arrived as reinforcements for the Field Ambulances under my command.

July 24, 1915 (9:00am. Gallipoli Peninsula)

The DADMS in company with OC 1/2nd Fld Ambulance inspected the advanced dressing stations on the KANLI DERE and visited the regimental aid posts of the 38th Bde. 13th Division now occupying firing line. Necessary instructions as to evacuation re-issued to the RAMC officers with units of the brigade. He proceeded by communication trench to MAL TEPE DERE and visited the Advanced Dressing Station of 1/3rd Fld Ambulance near BROWN HOUSE.

July 25, 1915 (3:00pm. Gallipoli Peninsula)

Relinquished duties of ADMS VIII Army Corps on return of Col. YARR.

July 26, 1915 (Gallipoli Peninsula)

It has not hitherto been the practice to send nominal rolls with parties For the dressing station, the tally being considered sufficient. To prevent irregularities, I have now given orders for rolls to be always made out by the Field Ambulances.

RAMC officers attached to units have now been informed that in all cases they are to send their sick and wounded through a Field ambulance and never divert to the Casualty Clearing Station.

July 27, 1915 (9:00am. Gallipoli Peninsula)

Lieuts. SEECOMB and RAVENHILL arrived having been sent by GHQ to carry out anti cholera inoculations.

July 28, 1915 (9:00am. Gallipoli Peninsula)

Application sent in through GOC for the 6 Mk. V (converted) Ambulance wagons left by the Field Ambulances of my division at ALEXANDRIA, to be sent out as early as possible. The units have drivers, horses and harness. At present there are only 2 serviceable ambulance wagons among the three Field Ambulances and in action it is always necessary to obtain extra transport from the 29th Division. Application also sent through GOC to DAG 3rd Echelon for 122 men to replace RAMC casualties in the division.

11am. Five Ptes. RAMC arrived, reinforcements for 1/1st Fld Ambulance.

July 29, 1915 (8:00am. Gallipoli Peninsula)

Major E. H. COX assumed command of 1/3rd E. Lancs Fld Ambulance vice Lt-Col. STEINHALL placed on sick list and proceeded on hospital ship.

11am. Major T. HOLT RAMC attached 1/5th Lancashire Fusiliers wounded and proceeded to casualty clearing station. OC 1/2nd Field Ambulance ordered to detail an officer in his place.

July 30, 1915 (12 Noon. Gallipoli Peninsula)

A motor ambulance wagon reported. This was sent on loc’n from 29th Division under orders of VIII Army Corps. As a daily routine it will be stationed at the Advanced Dressing Station on W. KRITHIA road (square 2.b.2), the horsed ambulance transport to that section being discontinued.

4pm. No 1/1st Fld Ambulance took over KANLI DERE line of evacuation from No 1/2nd Fld Ambulance.

No 1/2nd Fld Ambulance in reserve.

No 1/3rd Fld Ambulance (less one section in reserve) MAL TEPE DERE line of evacuation.

July 31, 1915 (9:30am. Gallipoli Peninsula)

The section held by this division will from 5pm today be extended to the right to a front 150 yards to the East of the MAL TEPE DERE (square 6.b.6). From the date of this transfer the boundary between the French and British zones will be the MAL TEPE DERE as far downwards as the water towers and thence along the present boundary line.

This necessitates a strengthening of RAMC arrangements on line of evacuation MAL TEPE DERE for this division.

10am. Message sent ADMS RND that OC 1/3rd E. L. Fld Ambulance would take over the advanced dressing station at fork on SIDD-EL-BAHR – KRITHIA road (square 5.x.9) hitherto furnished by R.N. Division.

10am. Order sent OC 1/3rd E. L. Fld Ambulance in accordance with above.

Appendix No 1

Extract from Divisional Routine Orders, 42nd Division, dated June 30, 1915

I55. APOINTMENT. Lieut-Colonel T. P. Jones, M.B. RAMC assumed the duties of ADMA to this Divn. Yesterday the 29th inst. Vice Colonel J. Bently Mann, placed on the Sick list.

(Authority DMS MEF 558 I5 – June 28, 1915)

Appendix No 2

Nominal Roll of Casualties Amongst RAMC Officers of 42nd (East Lancashire) Division

Appendix No 3

[Inoculation Message]

Appendix No 4

Field Arrangements for the Attack on July 12, 1915

Appendix No 9

Special Instructions No 4.

Appendix ?

The Secretary to the Committee for the Medical History of the War

The names of the Officers Commanding the Field Ambulances of the 42nd Division on landing at the Dardanelles were as follows:-

Lt.-Colonel H. G. PARKER, 1/1st East Lancashire Field Ambulance
Lt.-Colonel W. B. PRITCHARD, 1/2nd East Lancashire Field Ambulance
Lt.-Colonel W. STEINTHALL, 1/3rd East Lancashire Field Ambulance
Lt. Colonel PRITCHARD died of wounds 29/6/15.
Lt.-Colonel STEINTHALL subsequently changed his name to HOWORTH (September, 1915).

August 1, 1915 (11:30am. Gallipoli Peninsula)

Made inspection of new communication trench which is being dug from square 17.m.7 to join a trench (Cross Cut B?) at a point 300 yards S.E. of SOTIRI FARM. Also inspected Cross cut B from that point to CLAPHAM JUNCTION (square 17.i.6). These trenches were inspected with a view to evaluating their suitability as an alternative route for evacuation of wounded from centre and left of section held by this division. At present all this evacuation is carried out on line KANLI DERE which is often much exposed to fire. These communication trenches are in many places impractical for stretchers but when finished & widened will be useful.

5:30pm. Total number of stretchers in this division is 394 including those with regimental units and with Fld Ambulances.

5:30pm. Reported to VIII Army Corps.

August 2, 1915 (11:00am. Gallipoli Peninsula)

Inspected dressing station lately taken from RND and situated on SIDD-EL-BAHR – KRITHIA road (square 17.x.I). This requires a good deal of improvement and arrangements are made accordingly. It is the point when sick and wounded carried by stretchers down line of evacuation MAL TEPE DERE are transferred to ambulance wagons.

August 3, 1915 (10:30am. Gallipoli Peninsula)

Inspected a large shelter at Advanced Dressing Station 1/3rd Fld Ambulance on MAL TEPE DERE. This has been recently blown in by a shell but owing to good construction of shelter only casualties were two men slightly wounded. Ordered it to be rebuilt.

11:30am. Inspected some disused Turkish trenches 50 yards in front of our present support line and 50 yards East of MAL TEPE DERE (square 18.a.9). These are in some places piled high with enemy dead. Also many bodies in open between trenches. The latter it will not be possible to bury at present but under the strong sun they are becoming dried up and not so offensive as might be expected. As for the bodies in the trenches the only way is to fill in the trenches concerned and this will be done. These are the dead from the attack of 12th July.

1pm. 2 NCOs 1/3rd Fld Ambulance and 2 Ptes. 1/1st Fld Ambulance, recovered sick and wounded, rejoined their units.

4:30pm. Fld Ambulances had been ordered by me to hand in all unserviceable stretchers to AOD for repair. Depot now received that this has now been done. 21 altogether handed in., in most cases unserviceable through canvas splitting. I think that canvas now supplied for stretchers is of inferior quality.

August 4, 1915 (10:00am. Gallipoli Peninsula)

Inspected communication trench (sap 12) now in process of construction from map square 17.m.7 to front trenches at 22.z.5. This trench is now practicable up to redoubt line. Fatigue parties still at work. Selected site for a dressing station on this sap 150 yards south of FIG TREE FARM (Map square 17.i.4).

3pm. OC 1/2nd Fld Ambulance ordered to prepare this site commencing tomorrow early. I propose to place another advanced dressing station here during an action involving left of the Division as the advanced dressing station at junction on KANLI DERE (Map square 17.i.6) is apt to become congested.

August 5, 1915 (11:00am. Gallipoli Peninsula)

A Motor Ambulance Wagon arrived sent under orders of VIII Army Corps on Loc’n from 29th Division. Headed over to the Advanced Dressing Station on S. W. KRITHIA road. This is in addition to the Motor ambulance Wagon placed there on 30th July.

2pm. With reference to site of new dressing station near FIG TREE FARM. Sent DADMS to left of front trenches to meet officers in medical charge battalions and officers of 1/2nd Fld Ambulance so as to arrange for RAMC and regimental stretcher bearers keeping in touch at any time when this dressing station is established.

5pm. Received Divisional Operation Order No 25 (Copy No 6) for tomorrow’s attack. 6th August.

August 6, 1915 (06:00am. Gallipoli Peninsula)

Received Divisional Operation Order No 26 (Copy No 8) for tomorrow’s attack 7th August.

9am. Rode over road SOTIRI FARM – FIG TREE FARM to see if practicable for ambulance wagons. Decided to send them up to where communication trench cuts road 200 yards S. West of Advanced Dressing Station near FIG TREE FARM.

12:30 pm. Issued operational order to the Field Ambulances for this afternoon’s attack.

4pm. Sent Capt. BRIERCLIFFE, RAMC to the advanced dressing station near FIG TREE FARM to ascertain what wheeled transport required.

4:10pm. 1 Motor Ambulance Wagon arrived from VIII Army Corps. Total motors are now 3.

6pm. Capt. BRIERCLIFFE returned. Reported road SOTIRI FARM – FIG TREE FARM unsafe owing to spent bullets and that a few wounded were beginning to come in to the dressing station. Sent 1 motor ambulance wagon with orders to halt at SOTIRI FARM. Wounded to be brought there by trench LEITH WALK (Cross cut B).

6:30pm. Sent a second motor ambulance wagon for evacuation at Advanced Dressing station near FIG TREE FARM.

7pm. Sent Capt. DREW (DADMS) to visit advanced dressing station at CLAPHAM JUNCTION.

7:15pm. Visited Advanced Dressing Station on NO 3 road. Additional wheeled transport required. Ordered OC 1/3rd Fld Ambulance to send 3 G.S. Wagons to this point. On this being completed with, the wheeled transport at this station would comprise 1 Motor ambulance wagon, 2 Mk. V ambulance wagons & 3 G.S. wagons.

7:30 pm. DADMS returned from CLAPHAM JUNCTION. Reported evacuation proceeding satisfactorily.

9:45pm. In today’s action only 1 battalion, the 1/5th Manchesters of this Division was engaged. GOC 127th Bde. Reports estimated casualties of the battle as 214. Reports from my Fld Ambulances now received show 108 wounded passed through Advanced [Dressing Station] to 11 Casualty Clearing Station, but a few more continue to come in. No congestion of lines anywhere. 92 wounded of 29th Division also dealt with by Fld Ambulances of this division.

2 NCOs & men 1/2nd E. Lancs Fld Ambulance wounded, both slight.

10:40pm. Issued Operational Order to the Field Ambulances for tomorrow’s attack (7th inst.).

August 7, 1915 (07:30am. Gallipoli Peninsula)

OC Advanced dressing Station on No 3 Road reports 49 cases brought in since 9:30pm last night. Of which 20 are 29th Division. All wounded reported cleared. Total for 42nd Division yesterday’s action = 137.

8:20am. The DADMS (Capt. DREW) who had been sent to visit Advanced Dressing Station near FIG TREE FARM reports that only few wounded coming in there now and that 1 Motor Ambulance wagon would be sufficient.

9:00am. Rode to main dressing station 1/3rd Field Ambulance. Informed OC that the trench known as MULE TRACK on MAL TEPE DERE line of evacuation might at times between 2pm and 6pm become congested owing to mules bringing up supplies and that consequently wounded on stretchers might occasionally be held up.

9:00am. Lieut. HASKINS, RAMC 1/3rd E. Lancs Field Ambulance reported wounded.

9:20am. Asked ADMS RND for 4 stretcher squads. These are for transport from the advanced dressing station on No 3 road of cases for which wheeled transport is unsuitable.

9:40am. Asked OC 89th Fld Ambulance 29th Division for 3 motor ambulance wagons.

12:30pm. 2 Motor ambulance wagons sent by 89th Fld Ambulance arrived also 1 sent by ADMS RND. Two of these wagons sent to fork on SIDD-El-BAHR – HRITHIA road and one sent to SOTIRI FARM.

2:45pm. Message received from OC Advanced Dressing Station S. West of BROWN HOUSE asking for more bearers. Ordered up the reserve bearers sub-division from 1/3rd Fld Ambulance.

2:50pm. Signal message received from 127th Bde. Asking for help in evacuating wounded. Asked ADMS 52nd Division to send me 2 bearer sub-divisions as quickly as possible.

4:30pm. The 2 bearer sub-divs. of 52nd Division arrived but only at about half strength. 12 extra stretchers sent. Directed to report to OC Advanced Dressing Station CLAPHAM JUNCTION. 127th Bde. directed to apply these for assistance.

Signal message sent to OC 11 Casualty Clearing Station asking for stretchers to be returned. Reports show that they are beginning to run short on the lines of evacuation.

4:55pm. Asked by signal message to ADMS RND to let me know further number of stretcher bearers and stretchers he could spare, as the wounded are reported to be accumulating.

5:40pm. Reply from ADMS RND that he had ordered 4 squads from his 1st Fld Ambulance to relieve those sent in reply to my signal message at 9:20am today and also a bearer sub-division from his 3rd Fld Ambulance. Ordered the bearer sub-division to report to OC Advanced Dressing Station near BROWN HOUSE on MAL TEPE DERE. Sent the remaining 4 squads to Advanced Dressing Station on No 3 road in relief.

Informed ADMS RND that I expected to employ his bearers until a late hour.

9:30pm. Wounded have been coming in fast throughout the afternoon but there is no congestion anywhere and they have been got in to Casualty Clearing Station quickly.

ADMS 52nd Division sends 24 bearers and 24 stretchers. The latter are especially opportune as stretchers are becoming short on KANLI DERE LINE. Sent these to Advanced Dressing Station on No 3 road to pass up the line.

10pm. The Casualty Clearing Station still fail to return the stretchers. Sent a signal message to OC asking that return might be ensured.

Reports received up to this hour show that 710 of all ranks of this Division have passed through Dressing Stations to Cas Cl Station since commencement of today’s action. This includes 1 officer and 8 other ranks RAMC wounded but more seriously. The bearers of the RND lost 1 killed and 1 wounded.

In addition to the Fld Ambulances of this division there have been employed: 2 ½ bearer sub-divisions, 52nd Division and 1 ½ bearer sub-divisions RND. These sub-divisions were however below strength and as my Fld Ambulances are 9 officers and 140 other ranks below establishment the extra troops were barely sufficient to make up the deficiency.

11:30pm. Received signal message from 125th Inf. Bde. to say that 1/6th Lancs Fusiliers were in urgent need of stretchers. Sent message to OC Advanced Dressing Station CLAPHAM JUNCTION to send up 12 stretchers to this battalion.

August 8, 1915 (06:00am. Gallipoli Peninsula)

Sent message to OC 1/3rd Fld Ambulance to direct bearer sub-division of RN Division to return to their unit as they were no longer required. Sent similar message to OC Advanced Dressing Station on No 3 road with reference to the 4 squads which had been detailed to him from same division.

11am. Sent message to OC Advanced Dressing Station on No 3 road to direct the 2 bearer sub-divisions of 52nd Division to return to their units as they were no longer necessary.

11:30am. Rode to 11th Casualty Clearing Station at LANCASHIRE LANDING to inform OC that it was a vital matter not to let stretchers run short in regimental aid posts and that I could not keep up supply in front during an action if my stretchers were being detained at the Casualty Clearing Station. Otherwise the communication trenches will get blocked with wounded. OC Casualty Clearing Station will try to expedite return but points out that he is so short of stretchers himself that he is normally obliged to retain them in order to put the wounded on board ship.

2:30pm. It being probable that a further action will take place this evening I sent out my DADMS (Capt. DREW) to visit the advanced dressing stations and regimental aid posts, proceeding up the MAL TEPE DERE line, crossing to the left by the trenches and returning by the KANLI DERE line. This was to ensure that battalions were in possession of their stretchers and that touch was being maintained between the Fld Ambulance and Regimental Stretcher bearers.

5pm. Reports received from the Fld Ambulances showing the total number of wounded from this Division who have been admitted and sent to Casualty Clearing Station. These numbers are for the action of yesterday 7th August.

1/1st Fld Ambulance = 372. 1/2nd Fld Ambulance = 27. 1/3rd Fld Ambulance = 543.

This makes a total of 942. In addition, 25 NCOs & men of other division were dealt with.

5:55pm. Returned to RND the additional motor ambulance wagon which had been supplied by ADMS.

Directed the 2 bearer sub-divisions which had been directed from 1/2nd Fld Ambulance and placed at disposal of 1/1st Fld Ambulance to be returned to their unit.

6pm. Received letter from VIII Army Corps complementing RAMC on smoothness and efficiency of evacuation of wounded in action of yesterday. The Major General Commanding also expressed his great satisfaction.

August 9, 1915 (9:45pm. Gallipoli Peninsula)

Withdrew all horsed ambulance transport to the transport lines of Fld Ambulances except the Mk. V ambulance wagon at SOTIRI FARM. The 3 motor ambulance wagons are sufficient for the casualties occurring now and for the daily sick.

12:50pm. The DADMS who had been sent to the visit the advanced dressing station near FIR TREE FARM returned & reported that there was now no necessity for this dressing station. Ordered OC 1/2nd Fld Ambulance to close at 12 noon tomorrow, leaving a guard. GOC’s 126th & 127th Bdes. informed.

August 10, 1915 (8:30pm. Gallipoli Peninsula)

Arranged for the taking of medical evidence in the 56 cases of suspected self-inflicted wounds which have occurred recently & chiefly in fight of 7th inst. These have been reported by OCs Fld Ambulances & OC 11 Casualty Clearing Station. They are being detained on the Peninsula.

August 11, 1915 (4:00pm. Gallipoli Peninsula)

Application sent to GHQ for 6 officers to replace casualties in the Field Ambulances of this division. Charcoal respirators for use by burying parties made by RAMC and issued to Brigades.

August 12, 1915 (4:45pm. Gallipoli Peninsula)

The division moves out of the trenches into bivouac tomorrow, on relief by 52nd Division. Orders issued for handing over of sites of dressing stations.

7:30pm. An enemy attack proceeding. Received information that we might make a counter attack might be made during night. Ordered OC 1/2nd Fld Ambulance to send 2 bearer sub-divisions to be placed at disposal of OC 1/1st Fld Ambulance on KANLI DERE line of evacuation. This party to bring all available stretchers. 2 motor ambulance wagons already on this line. Sent 20 extra stretchers to OC 1/3rd Fls Ambulance and placed 2 Mk. V ambulance wagons at his disposal. This is in addition to 1 Motor Ambulance wagon already with him for MAL TEPE DERE line of evacuation.

August 13, 1915 (6:20am. Gallipoli Peninsula)

No counter attack was made. Up to this hour 63 wounded had passed down MAL TEPE DERE and 7 wounded down KANLI DERE line. All had proceeded smoothly. Most of these were got down before midnight.

8:10am. The 2 bearer sub-divisions of 1/2nd Fld Ambulance ordered to return to their unit.

9am. OC 1/1st Fld Ambulance reported 16 remaining wounded sent to Casualty Clearing Station from MAL ETEPE DERE line. This completes clearing of wounded from the enemy attack. Total 79.

10am. On 42nd Division leaving trenches, the dressing stations were handed over to Field Ambulances of 52nd Division.

9:30pm. Motor ambulance wagon No 4 B transferred to 52nd Division by order of DDMS, VIII Army Corps.

August 14, 1915 (08:00am. Gallipoli Peninsula)

With the division in resting the disposal of the sick from the different brigades is as follows. The necessary draft has been furnished for Divisional Routine Orders. 125th Inf. Bde. to 1/3rd Fld Ambulance. 126th Inf. Bde. to 1/2nd Fld Ambulance. 127th Inf. Bde. to 1/1st Fld Ambulance.

9am. Men suffering from wounds supposed to have been self-inflicted have been concentrated in 1/3rd Fld Ambulance which has necessitated an enlargement of the bivouac and shelters occupied by this unit. This party includes men coming under the above category who have been re-transferred from No 11 Casualty Clearing Station. The total number is 56.

August 15, 1915 (11:00am. Gallipoli Peninsula)

Field Ambulances ordered to refit and replenish their equipment while they are concentrated and while division is resting.

6:30pm. Anticholera inoculation which has hitherto been only partially done owing to operations is now to be pushed through and completed at rate of 2 battalions a day. Arranged with GOC 125th Inf. Bde. for sanitary officer to commence with his brigade tomorrow.

August 16, 1915 (6:00pm. Gallipoli Peninsula)

OCs 1/1st & 1/2nd Fld Ambulances had been directed by me to each send a man to AOD to repair stretchers with split canvas. 21 stretchers have been repaired in this way by RAMC labour & returned to the Fld Ambulances. Have now issued an order to each Fld Ambulance to indent on AOD for canvas bottoms & leather strips for repair of unserviceable stretchers locally, thus obviating delay of sending in to AOD.

August 17, 1915 (6:00pm. Gallipoli Peninsula)

To prevent congestion on L. of C. Fld Ambulances have been directed to keep men likely to recover within a few days. Extra shelters have now been completed for this purpose and each Fld Ambulance can now accommodate 50.

August 18, 1915 (Gallipoli Peninsula)

No entry.

August 19, 1915 (1:10pm. Gallipoli Peninsula)

Received orders that this Division will relieve 29th Division in Left Section of defences today. Troops to be in position by 6pm.

Ordered 1/1st Fld Ambulance to form an advanced dressing station (1 section) at Y Beach.

Ordered 1/2nd Fld Ambulance to form an advanced dressing station (1 section) at EAST ANGLIA GULLY near top end of GULLY RAVINE behind first barricade.

Ordered 1/3rd Fld Ambulance to send one section to take over the existing main dressing station at GULLY BEACH.

August 20, 1915 (2:00pm. GULLY BEACH)

Divisional Headquarters established at GULLY BEACH. Unable to bring up the remainder of my Field Ambulances yet as ground not yet vacated by Field Ambulances of 29th Division.

August 21, 1915 (6:00am. GULLY BEACH)

The Fld Ambulances of 29th Division have now left with the exception of their transport and some details and stores. Arranged to have these details closed up and ground cleared as far as possible.

10am. Inspected area. The section is sub-divided as follows:

Right Sub-Section. From a point 50 yards NW of the northern barrier in H.12 to and including the communication trench 100 yards NW of the “S” of SCRUB.

Left Sub-Section. From the above communication trench (exclusive) to the sea.

There are 2 main lines of evacuation.

From Right Sub-Section down GULLY RAVINE to GULLY BEACH.

From Left Sub-Section down “Y” RAVINE to “Y” BEACH and thence by road below cliff to GULLY BEACH.

Both lines converge on GULLY BEACH from which place further evacuation is made direct to trawler (for hospital ship) or by road to No 11 Casualty Clearing Station in other cases.

A Brigade of RND who hold the section on right of the division evacuate from their left down GULLY RAVINE to the main dressing station at ABERDEEN GULLY.

August 22, 1915 (12:40pm. GULLY BEACH)

Issued Operational Order. [RAMC 42nd Division Operational Order NO 3]

1pm. Ordered all patients in 1/1st Fld Ambulance & in 1/3rd Fld Ambulance whom it is not proposed to send to Casualty Clearing Station to be transferred to 1/2nd Fld Ambulance.

2pm. Inspected Advanced Dressing Station at Y Beach and at EAST ANGLIA GULLY.

August 23, 1915 (2:00pm. GULLY BEACH)

Withdrew the section of 1/2nd Fld Ambulance from EAST ANGLIA GULLY. The distribution of Field Ambulances is now as follows:

1/3rd Fld Ambulance. Right Sub-Section line of evacuation.
1/1st Fld Ambulance. Left Sub-Section line of evacuation.
1/2nd Fld Ambulance. In reserve.

August 24, 1915 (10:00am. GULLY BEACH)

DADMS visited Right Sub-Section of trenches. Received instructions from GHQ to send a daily return of sick & wounded admitted for treatment during 24 hours previously, in the Division.

August 25, 1915 (10:00am. GULLY BEACH)

DADMS visited Left Sub-Section of trenches. Received Div. Op. Order directing 126th Bde. to relieve 125th Bde. in Right Sub-Section today. 125th Bde. (less 1 Batt. In Div. Reserve) to be in Corps Reserve. No change in my dispositions entailed.

August 26, 1915 (9:00am. GULLY BEACH)

90 NCOs & men RAMC arrived as reinforcements for the Fld Ambulances of this division and also 3 NCOs & men returned recovered after having been sent to base as sick & wounded. To units as follows: To 11/1st Fld Ambulance 27 NCOs & men. To 1/2nd Fld Ambulance 25 NCOs & men. To 1/3rd Fld Ambulance 41 NCOs & men.

2:30pm. Visited the trenches in the section of defences held by this division. Found everything satisfactory and that all regimental aid posts were in touch with the advanced dressing stations of the Field Ambulances.

6pm. Trawler sent to bring off sick & wounded to Hospital Ship could not approach pier owing to shell fire. Evacuation carried out to No 11 Casualty Clearing Station by motor ambulance wagons.

August 27, 1915 (9:30am. GULLY BEACH)

Lieut. A. M. MACKAY 1/1st E. Lancs Fld Ambulance rejoined his unit. This officer had been detached for duty with force in Egypt.

3:35pm. Signal received from ADMS Advanced Base that trawler would not call owing to rough weather. Ordered Fld Ambulances to evacuate all cases to 11 Casualty Clearing Station.

August 28, 1915 (10:00am. GULLY BEACH)

Lieut. BRENTNALL, RAMC in medical charge 1/6th Lancashire Fusiliers reported sick, sent to Base.

4pm. Signal received. No trawler. Evacuation ordered to 11 Casualty Clearing Station.

August 29, 1915 (6:00pm. GULLY BEACH)

Lieut. (Qr. Mr.) ANDERTON 1/3 (E.L.) Fld Ambulance sent sick to base.

August 30, 1915 (9:30am. GULLY BEACH)

Lieuts. W. TURNER and A. M. GIBSON 1/2nd Fld Ambulance also Lieut. F. B. SMITH 1/3rd Fld Ambulance arrived from England to join their respective units.

12 Noon. Issued order directing Major W. L. BENILY, RAMC to be temporarily transferred from 1/1st Fld Ambulance to 1/2nd Fld Ambulance and to command the unit. From 1st Sept, 1915 inclusive.

August 31, 1915 (12 Noon. GULLY BEACH)

Issued order directing Major T. FRANKISH, RAMC to be transferred from attached 1/9th Manchester Regiment to 1/3rd Fld Ambulance and for Temp Lieut. C. H. NASH, RAMC 1/1st Fld Ambulance to be attached to 1/9th Manchester Regt.

6pm. Received Divisional Operation Order directing 125th Inf. Bde. to relieve 127th Inf. Bde. in Left Sub-Section on 2nd Sept. 127th Bde. (less 1 Batt in Div. Reserve) to be in Corps Reserve on GULLY BEACH. This does not entail any change in my dispositions.

Appendix

Royal Army medical Corps 42nd (E. Lancs) Division Operational Orders No 1.
Royal Army medical Corps 42nd (E. Lancs) Division Operational Orders No 2.
Royal Army medical Corps 42nd (E. Lancs) Division Operational Orders No 3.

 

September 1, 1915 (9:00am. GULLY BEACH)

Lieut. BAILEY 1/1st (E. Lancs) Fld Ambulance who had been wounded, rejoined unit from base.

10am. Ordered OC 1/2nd Fld Ambulance to send an officer to replace Lieut. BRENTNALL sick to base.

6pm. No trawler arrived. All sick and wounded for base transferred to 11 Casualty Clearing Station.

September 2, 1915 (10:30am. GULLY BEACH)

Received signal from 1st Australian Field Artillery (attached to 42nd Division for administration) that their medical officer had been sent away sick. Ordered OC 1/2nd Fld Ambulance to send an officer in relief.

September 3, 1915 (3:00pm. GULLY BEACH)

Together with DADMS attended conference pf Divisional ADMSs at VIII Army Corps HQrs. to consider cause and means of prevention of the prevailing diarrhea & dysentery. Opinion that this disease is largely amoebic dysentery. Water probably chief cause. Strict supervision to be kept over water purification. A few other details in connection with care of troops during winter season also discussed.

5:30pm. No trawler today. All sick & wounded for base transferred to 11 Casualty Clearing Station.

September 4, 1915 (9:30am. GULLY BEACH)

Together with divisional sanitary officer, made an inspection of water carts found that purification by chlorine was being carefully carried out in all cases.

September 5, 1915 (5:30pm. GULLY BEACH)

Capt. NORRIS, RAMC attached 1/6 Manchester Regt. Sent sick to base. OC 1/1st Fld Ambulance has been instructed to send an officer in relief.

September 6, 1915 (9:00am. GULLY BEACH)

OC 1/2nd (e. L.) Fld Ambulance reported return of officer sent on temporary duty to 1st Bn. Aust. Fld. Artillery.

11am. Health statistics of last week compiled. 57% daily have been admitted to Field Ambulance of which number 5% daily have been evacuated. This does not include wounded. This number shows an increase chiefly due to diarrhea and dysentery. GOC has written to VIII Army Corps asking for 2 deep wells to be sunk in upper end of GULLY RAVINE if possible. One has almost been completed in lower end of Ravine by 136th (Fortress) Coy R.E. & will probably prove satisfactory. Supply estimated at 15,000 gallons daily. It pierces an impermeable clay stratum at a depth of 22ft & is stained throughout with cement.

September 7, 1915 (2:00pm. GULLY BEACH)

Inspected Left Sub-Section up to support line. The Advanced Dressing Station at Y Beach will be untenable in heavy rains. Directed OC to look for alternative site a little higher up Y Ravine.

September 8, 1915 (10:00am. GULLY BEACH)

As the site for the water carts at SHRAPNEL POINT will be untenable in winter, have arranged with RE to fix tanks in BRUCE’S RAVINE to which water will be pumped from the wells. No water carts can be got up there. These tanks will supply the brigade in the Left Sub-Section and will bring the water much nearer than it is at present.

September 9, 1915 (10:00am. GULLY BEACH)

Capt. BRIARCLIFFE the divisional sanitary officer reported sick & sent to L. of C. Major FRANKISH 1/3rd Field Ambulance takes over his duties temporarily.

September 10, 1915 (5:30pm. GULLY BEACH)

No trawler owing to rough weather. Sick & wounded for base sent to 11 Casualty Clearing Station. 126th Bde. relieved by 127th Bde. In Right Sub-Sector. No change in RAMC dispositions.

September 11, 1915 (5:30pm. GULLY BEACH)

Again, no trawler for same reason. Sick & wounded for hospital ship evacuated as above.

September 12, 1915 (12:30pm. GULLY BEACH)

Received signal from ADMS HELES that in future trawlers would only be sent in calm weather and that in this case a signal would be sent.

2:30pm. Together with DA & QMG inspected rest of front trenches of Right Sub-Section and also the wells in GULLY RAVINE. Decided to close all the small shallow wells for drinking purposes, their place being taken by deep well at mouth of RAVINE. Made up statistics for last week. [unfortunate turn of phrase] The return shows a daily average of 0.7%. This is the highest number yet reached and sickness seems to be still increasing. Chiefly diarrhea and dysentery.

September 13, 1915 (1:50pm. GULLY BEACH)

Received signal that trawler would be sent as weather calm. Lieut. H. WILSON 1/3rd Fld Ambulance reported sick and will be evacuated to L. of C.

September 14, 1915 (11:00am. GULLY BEACH)

Capt. BRIARCLIFFE reported his return from L. of C. and resumed duty of sanitary officer to the division. Furnished draft for Div. Routine Orders directing Regimental Sanitary Detachments to be always kept up to strength. In some cases, this had not been done.

September 15, 1915 (2:45pm. GULLY BEACH)

Inspected communication trenches between Y Ravine and GULLY RAVINE. This was to ascertain best route for evacuation from Left Sub-Section if at any time the road Y Beach – GULLY Beach became impassable owing to storms, etc. The communication trench leading into GULLY RAVINE 100 yards north of ZIG ZAG is the only practicable route.

September 16, 1915 (9:00am. GULLY BEACH)

27 RAMC (New Army) reinforcements arrived. Distributed as under:

1/1st Fld Ambulance 14. 1/2nd Fld Ambulance 10. 1/3rd Fld Ambulance 3

September 17, 1915 (8:00am. GULLY BEACH)

New well at mouth of GULLY RAVINE taken into use. Placed under direct control of sanitary officer. 1 NCO and 3 Ptes. RAMC placed on permanent water duty at this well. All other wells in GULLY RAVINE closed for drinking purposes.

4pm. Lieut. BEDALE 1/1st Fld Ambulance sent sick to L. of C.

September 18, 1915 (10:00am. GULLY BEACH)

Together with AA & QMG proceeded to Left Sub-Section to fix on new site for an Advanced Dressing Station. Selected site at head of Y Ravine thus commanding 2 routes of evacuation either by Y Beach or by mule track leading into GULLY RAVINE 100 yards north of ZIG ZAG. Also selected sites for water tanks in BRUCE’S RAVINE.

Returned by mule track to GULLY RAVINE and selected a new site for the advanced dressing station at EAST ANGLIA GULLY. This is to be prepared and ready in case of rains making present position untenable. New site selected is on rising ground immediately north of EAST ANGLIA RAVINE.

September 19, 1915 (4:30pm. GULLY BEACH)

Inspected new wells being dug at GULLY FARM and on plateau East of GULLY RAVINE opposite GEOHEGAN’S BLUFF. These sites were fixed by geological expert sent from VIII Army Corps.

5:30pm. As the day was very calm a trawler was sent to GULLY BEACH to evacuate sick and wounded.

September 20, 1915 (10:00am. GULLY BEACH)

Made up and forwarded to DDMS VIII Army Corps the health statistics for preceding week. Sick rate still high. 0.82% daily.

September 21, 1915 (9:00am. GULLY BEACH)

As the water in the new well at mouth of GULLY RAVINE shows a bad analysis by bacteriologists report, it is temporarily closed and further samples taken. Wells in former divisional area are being used instead.

12:45pm. Sent in DADOS a report on a simple wheeled stretcher carriage sent for trial. [Report in Appendix]

September 22, 1915 (10:00am. GULLY BEACH)

40 blanket stretchers have been sent to this division for use in trenches. Have issued one to each RAMC officer I/C unit for trial and report. [Description in Appendix]

September 23, 1915 (10:00am. GULLY BEACH)

Sent sanitary officer to collect samples for analysis from certain wells in former bivouac area from which we still draw water. It is probable that the analysis of practically all the wells in the Peninsula will be unsatisfactory. Have decided to take samples of all available wells, retain, safeguard and purify the most satisfactory and close the others for drinking purposes. It has been difficult to obtain satisfactory data before as until now there has been no bacteriologist available.

September 24, 1915 (10:30am. GULLY BEACH)

Lt-Colonels BUCHANAN and BALFOUR, members of the Commission on Infectious Diseases visited the division. Accompanied them round bivouac area and five trenches.

125th Inf. Brigade relieved 127th Inf. Brigade in Right Sub-Section. No change in Fld Ambulance dispositions involved.

September 25, 1915 (10:00am. GULLY BEACH)

A “Thresh” Disinfector has arrived for the Division. Ordered up a section of 1/2nd Field Ambulance from X Beach to take charge of it. Bivouac for this section to be immediately north of 1/3rd Fld Ambulance. A site which has been decided on for the divisional disinfecting and cleansing station. [Which means they didn’t have one before]

September 26, 1915 (10:15am. GULLY BEACH)

Together with CRE visited wells at SHRAPNEL POINT. Arranged for cement coping and covers. These are essential to prevent storm water and contamination generally. This is the only possible water supply for the Left Sub-Section. The water is now being lid? into BRUCE’S RAVINE and it is hoped to raise it to level of trenches by means of a series of tanks and pumps.

11:30am. Also arranged with CRE details of construction of new Advanced Dressing Station at head of Y Ravine and at ABERDEEN GULLY.

September 27, 1915 (9:00am. GULLY BEACH)

From this date the garrisons are adjusted so as to leave half the division in the firing and support lines and the remainder in Divisional and Corps Reserve. This arrangement will give the men a fortnight’s rest in reserve instead of a week as formerly. The RAMC arrangement remains as before.

11:00am. VIII Army Corps asked that trawler should call daily of possible for evacuating of wounded direct from this beach.

September 28, 1915 (10:00am. GULLY BEACH)

Made up statistics for health of Division in week ended 25th inst. The total number admitted into Field Ambulances daily was 0.7% and sent to L. of C. daily 0.65%. This is an improvement on last week but it will probably not continue to improve.

September 29, 1915 (10:30am. GULLY BEACH)

The 3rd E.L. Brigade RFA and the 4th Battery of 1st E.L. Brigade RFA have now arrived. As the batteries of the 1st and 3rd Brigades are much separated have arranged with OC Right Group RA as to distribution of work among RAMC officers attached. As the 4th, 5th and 19th Batteries are situated out of this area between SOTIRI FARM and KANLI DERE their sick and wounded for admission to hospital will be sent to Fld Ambulances of 52nd Division and a similar arrangement has been made for the 6th and 20th Batteries situated in the MAL TEPE DERE.

5:30pm. Lt-Col. HOWORTH commanding 1/3rd E.L. Fld Ambulance transferred sick to L. of C. The next senior officer, Major COX, now commands the unit.

September 30, 1915 (11:00am. GULLY BEACH)

The 40 blanket stretchers sent on 22nd inst. for use in trenches have now been thoroughly tested. All my officers concur in reporting that this is even less adapted for trench warfare than the ordinary Mk. I and Mk. II patterns. It is equally long and is 10 ½ inches broader. The idea apparently is to narrow the stretcher by removal of the traverses, but this would cause much discomfort and possible injury while the regulation stretchers can be easily narrowed by pushing in the hinged traverse slightly. No stretcher is of any use in fire trenches as the necessary length renders it impossible to take it round traverses. The only practical method is to remove wounded by hand or in a blanket.

The blanket stretchers may be used by taking out poles and traverses and transporting the wounded men in the blanket but until clear of the trench, when poles and traverses can be inserted, but this possesses no advantage from carrying in a blanket as usual and subsequent transfer to an ordinary stretcher. The blanket stretcher also has the disadvantage of having no supports to keep the patient off the ground if it becomes necessary to lower the stretcher. These stretchers are being retained for use in Field Ambulance Tent Divisions where they make excellent beds if supported on trestles.

October 1, 1915 (11:00am. GULLY BEACH)

Return of enteric and cholera inoculation rendered to DMS GHQ. This return is to be rendered on 1st of every month. Percentage of all troops fully inoculated against enteric 97.04, against cholera 95.03.

AFO 1810 received from 3rd Echelon for my Fld Ambulances shows the number drowned by sinking “Royal Edward” to be as under:

1st Fld Ambulance Lt. HEYHURST & 18 NCOs and men. 2nd Fld Ambulance 34 NCOs and men. 3rd Fld Ambulance Capt. MARSHALL and 3 NCOs and men.

October 2, 1915 (3:00pm. GULLY BEACH)

Inspected Advanced Dressing Station at EAST ANGLIA GULLY. Work on new site getting on. Site for dug outs for personnel finished. Site for the shelter for sick and wounded requires more sinking and front protection not yet completed.

October 3, 1915 (11:00am. GULLY BEACH)

Made up statistics for week ended yesterday. Health not so good as last week. Total of sick = 0.97% and total sick evacuated from peninsula = 0.87% daily.

October 4, 1915 (2:00pm. GULLY BEACH)

Inspected five communication trenches in Left Sub-Sector. Sanitary state of the trenches good generally. Latrines in some cases insufficiently protected and latrine boxes generally minus lids which are taken for firewood. A cover of sacking soaked in heavy oil is to be used. Brigades are to fix responsibility for public latrines in their area.

October 5, 1915 (GULLY BEACH)

87th Fld Ambulance of 29th Division reported its arrival and given bivouac area 300 yards from mouth of GULLY RAVINE on left bank. They are here temporarily but available for duty.

October 6, 1915 (7:00pm. GULLY BEACH)

OC 1/1st Fld Ambulance informed that additional casualties might be expected during night in Left Sub-Sector and to inform OC his Advanced Dressing Station.

October 7, 1915 (06:00am. GULLY BEACH)

No special casualties occurred last night. Normal amount of bomb wounds. etc.

The site for the Thresh Disinfector has now been completed and work has commenced. The present intention is to pass through this disinfector the clothing and blankets of the troops of the Division in Corps Reserve. It is capable of dealing with 100 sets of the above daily.

3pm. A working party of 20 NCOs and men ordered to be furnished by 87th Fld Ambulance for the new Advanced Dressing Station at top of Y Ravine.

October 8, 1915 (09:30am. GULLY BEACH)

The South Eastern Mounted Brigade arrived last night and is attached to this Division. Strength 68 officers, 1,431 other ranks. Royal East Kent Yeomanry, West Kent Yeomanry & Sussex Yeomanry. SE Mounted Brigade Fld Ambulance (6 officers, 99 other ranks).

October 9, 1915 (10:00am. GULLY BEACH)

Further experiments show that well at mouth of GULLY RAVINE is unlikely to furnish satisfactory water. It will therefore be classified as fit for washing and watering animals only.

October 10, 1915 (10:30am. GULLY BEACH)

Working party of 20 NCOs and men ordered to be furnished by 87th Fld Ambulance for new Advanced Dressing Station at EAST ANGLIA GULLY.

2:30pm. Inspected fire and support trenches in Left Sub-Section. Sanitary conditions good. Health of troops very fair. Two blankets a man are now issued.

October 11, 1915 (10:00am. GULLY BEACH)

Anti cholera inoculation of S. E. Mounted Brigade commenced.

October 12, 1915 (11:00am. GULLY BEACH)

Application sent in for the 6 Ambulance Wagons Mk. V and the 2 water carts left by the Fld Ambulances if this division at ALEXANDRIA to be sent up. A previous application was submitted on 28th July to which there has been no answer.

October 13, 1915 (10:00am. GULLY BEACH)

Inspected bivouacs of S. E. Mounted Brigade in GULLY RAVINE. In good sanitary condition. Noted that water testing boxes not supplied with their water carts. Directed these to be indented for from AOD.

October 14, 1915 (10:30am. GULLY BEACH)

Lt-Col. W. R. MATHEWS took over command of 1/2nd Fld Ambulance, vice Major W. L. BENTLEY who rejoined his unit (Authority WO Letter 9/Medical/5519 (TF 3) of 22/9/15).

3pm. The digging on the sites for new Advanced Dressing Stations now almost completed. Sandbags and other material sent up. 2,000 sandbags for each.

October 15, 1915 (08:00am. GULLY BEACH)

Ordered the S. E. Mounted Brigade Fld Ambulance & 87th Fld Ambulance in GULLY RAVINE to strike their tents as they are likely to attract aeroplane observation. No Red Cross Flags are flown by these units at present as they are not receiving sick and wounded and are closed up with other troops.

9am. From this date and hour all evacuations from the division, less those carried out direct to Hospital Ships from GULLY BEACH, will be to 17 Stationary Hospital, X Beach which takes the place of 11 Casualty clearing Station as far as this division is concerned.

10:30am. Ordered 1/2nd E. L. Fld Ambulance to move to GULLY BEACH from X Beach and bivouac on ground at present occupied by their section sent to prepare the site on 25th Sept.

October 16, 1915 (07:00am. GULLY BEACH)

One officer and 1 NCO sent to ALEXANDRA to bring up base kits of officers.

9:30am. Colonel Sir VICTOR HORSLEY visited the division with a view to ascertaining the conditions under which the treatment of wounded was being carried out. Accompanied him round fire and communication trenches, aid posts and dressing stations.

2pm. Colonel Sir VICTOR HORSLEY addressed a conference of my officers on various points of surgical procedure with reference to wound treatment.

October 17, 1915 (12 Noon. GULLY BEACH)

Made up statistics for previous week. Total number = 0.74% daily of which number 0.7% were evacuated to the Clearing & Stationary Hospitals.

October 18, 1915 (2:00pm. GULLY BEACH)

Ordered each of the 42nd Division Fld Ambulances to detail 5 Ptes. for duty with the transport section as latter is under strength.

October 19, 1915 (09:00am. GULLY BEACH)

Reinforcements arrived and were posted as under:

12 NCOs and 40 Ptes. to 1/1st E. Lancs Fld Ambulance

  1. Lts. SILLS and MAXWELL. 1 NCO (TF) and 43 Ptes. (TF) to 87th Fld Ambulance of 29th Division
  2. Lt. W. DOYLE to medical charge of 14th Siege & 460th Heavy Batteries RGA of 29th Division. These batteries are in my administrative area.

October 20, 1915 (09:00am. GULLY BEACH)

Capt. W. ROGERS reported arrival for duty with East Lancashire Field Ambulances and was posted to 1/3rd Fld Ambulance.

11:30am. Recommendations for distinguished services submitted for Capt. C. M. DREW, Lieut. J. MORLEY, Cpl. N. ASHWORTH and Pte. I. A. HODGES.

October 21, 1915 (06:00am. GULLY BEACH)

Took on duties of DDMS VIII Army Corps temporarily vice Colonel M. T. YARR, C.B. proceeded for rest on hospital ship.

6pm. 11 NCOs out of last reinforcements returned to OC 11 Casualty Clearing Station in accordance with signed message received from Divn.

October 22, 1915 (1:00pm. GULLY BEACH)

Severe weather has come on. Rain and high wind. State of roads so greasy as to stop motor transport. Delay in consequence in evacuating from GULLY BEACH to 17 Stationary Hospital with the 3 Horsed Ambulance Wagons at my disposal.

October 23, 1915 (10:00am. GULLY BEACH)

Weather still bad and roads greasy. Requested DAQMG to obtain 2 additional horsed ambulance wagons from Transport Depot also to exchange one ambulance wagon requiring repairs.

5pm. Roads drying up and motor transport practicable. 5 motor ambulance wagons arrived from 11 Casualty Clearing Station. These were sent in answer to my request by telephone as the extra wagons asked for in the morning had not come and the evacuation of sick and wounded was being delayed. These 5 vehicles cleared the dressing stations. Relinquished duties of DDMS VIII Army Corps on return of Colonel YARR.

5:30pm. The 2 extra horsed ambulance wagons and the ambulance wagon for exchange arrived and were taken on strength of Fld Ambulances.

October 24, 1915 (10:00am. GULLY BEACH)

Roads dried up. Motor ambulance wagons carrying out evacuation from GULLY BEACH to 17 Stationary Hospital as normal.

2:45pm. Inspected new advanced dressing station at EAST ANGLIA GULLY. This dressing station is mow roofed for ¾ of its extent. Directed epanlement in front to be thickened and terrace for dug outs of the section lowered.

4pm. Inspected new advanced dressing station being prepared for Left Sub-Section at head of Y Ravine. Site dug and wells sandbagged. No roof available as yet. Requested CRE to supply timbers pending arrival of corrugated iron so that tarpaulins might be used in case of an action when it would become necessary to occupy this dressing station.

October 25, 1915 (10:00am. GULLY BEACH)

The reinforcements arrived on 19th inst. being regular RAMC belonging to Home Hospitals Reserve or to New Army, I directed Field Ambulance Commanders to show them on all returns as Regular RAMC attached.

12 Noon. Requested CRE to either weather board or sandbag up the front side of main dressing station 1/3rd Fld Ambulance so as to give more protection from the weather. Sandbags decided on. This is a temporary measure pending arrival of material for building the dressing station according to pattern laid down.

October 26, 1915 (10:00am. GULLY BEACH)

Made up statistics for week ended 23rd inst. The sick rate remains about the same. 0.77% daily.

The S. E. Mounted Brigade ordered to find the working party (2 NCOs & 30 men) for the main dressing station at EAST ANGLIA GULLY from this date. This relieves the party from 87th Fld Ambulance.

October 27, 1915 (11:00am. GULLY BEACH)

Ordered a dug out for the drivers to be made at the Ambulance Wagon Halt, 250 yards North of ESKI LINE.

October 28, 1915 (2:00pm. GULLY BEACH)

Directed the Field Ambulance Transport Lines on right bank of GULLY RAVINE 200 yards from GULLY BEACH to be re-constructed. Daily working party from each East Lancs Fld. Ambulance ordered for this purpose. 6 men from each unit. When this is completed all the animals & vehicles of the 3 East Lancs Fld. Ambulances will be parked together. The transport personnel will bivouac on other bank of GULLY RAVINE, except stable guard which will bivouac at horse lines.

October 29, 1915 (10:00am. GULLY BEACH)

50 hot water bottles received from Red Cross Society. These were sent in answer to a request from me as it is considered that they will be very useful in cold weather and also in cases of shock, etc. These would be a useful addition to the equipment of Field Ambulances. Distribution made to all Field Ambulances and to each regimental aid post.

2:30pm. Inspected office and books 1/3rd Fld Ambulance and found all satisfactory but OC states that supply of A&D books, army forms & stationary as Base Stationary Depot has not complied with indents.

October 30, 1915 (10:00am. GULLY BEACH)

Inspected wells & pools in GULLY RAVINE with a view to taking precautions against malaria as it has been reported from L. of c. that a few cases have occurred connected to Peninsula. There are a number of wells and some pools in this ravine where mosquitos are breeding. The malaria carrying mosquito has been discovered In the French Lines but has not so far been discovered in this area. The larvae of other forms of mosquito have however been found which are capable of conveying other forms of fever.

If the malaria carrying mosquito does exist it is probable that the disease will spread owing to infection from the Indian Mule Drivers and from others who have come from malaria infected countries.

3pm. Made arrangements as follows for drafts at School of Instruction GULLY BEACH. Detachment from 125th Inf. Brigade in medical charge of RAMC officer attached 1/5th Lancs Fusiliers other details in medical charge of RAMC officer attached to 1/10th Manchester Regt.

October 31, 1915 (10:00am. GULLY BEACH)

Proposals for dealing with water in GULLY RAVINE sent in to AA&QMG. [Lt-Col. REGINALD J. SLAUGHTER] All wells to be re-numbered, labelled and have covers fitted. Any well when not required to have cover screwed down. Tanks and barrels not in use to be removed or turned upside down. Pools & small collections of standing water to be dealt with by RAMC.

12 Noon. Proposals concurred in. Squad of 1 NCO and 5 men detached for above purpose from 1/2nd Fld Ambulance. This squad is placed under immediate control of Divisional sanitary officer.

6pm. Made up number of Royal Army Medical Corps of this division who have been killed and wounded in action since date of Division landing on Peninsula (6th May, 1915) to present date. Total 123 of all ranks.

Appendix No 19

RAMC Killed and Wounded for Period 6/5/15 to /31/10/15

November 1, 1915 (9:00am. GULLY BEACH)

Made up the statistics for week ended 30th October, 1915. Total sick from all causes = 488 representing an average of 0.75% daily on strength of Division.

November 2, 1915 (9:00am. GULLY BEACH)

Squad for dealing with mosquito breeding places in GULLY RAVINE commenced work.

2pm. Have represented to DDMS VIII Army Corps that units of 29th Division which are at present in this area have no RAMC NCOs and men attached as laid down in War Establishments and have asked if there may be detailed from 87th Field Ambulance which is the only unit of 29th Division available. RAMC NCOs and men are attached to all units of 42nd Division and are found invaluable. Wastage is replaced from the divisional Field Ambulances. Reply now received from DDMS VIII Army Corps that W. Office ruling received by 29th Division before leaving England laid down that no RAMC were available for this purpose.

November 3, 1915 (5:00pm. GULLY BEACH)

New administrative areas and subareas published.

Divisional Area

EASTERN BOUNDARY. The road running N.E. from the cross roads 600 yards S.W. of PINNK FARM as far as E of GULLY RAVINE thence in a straight line to point of junction between squares 22 O and 22 U.

SOUTHERN BOUNDARY. The road running N.W. from the cross roads 600 yards S.W. of PINK FARM to GULLY BEACH.

WESTERN BOUNDARY. The coast line from GULLY BEACH to the firing line.

NORTHERN BOUNDARY. The firing line from the Eastern Boundary to the sea.

Administrative Sub-Areas

‘A’ The tactical area on the left bank of, and including, GULLY RAVINE as far back as LANCASHIRE STREET and ZIG ZAG (both inclusive).

‘B’ The tactical area on the right bank of GULLY RAVINE as far back as and including the trench running S from ‘P’ point to GULLY RAVINE (Western Mule Track).

‘C’ The portion of the Divisional Area from the boundaries of ‘A’ and ‘B’ to the rear trenches of the ESKI LINE (inclusive).

‘D’ The remainder of the Divisional Area.

November 4, 1915 (10:00am. GULLY BEACH)

6 Ambulance Wagons Mk. VI arrived for the Division. 4 Horsed Ambulance Wagons on loan now returned to VIII Army Corps depot. Total horsed ambulance wagons now available = 7. Two additional wagons have been returned to AOD for repair.

November 5, 1915 (10:30am. GULLY BEACH)

Present site of advanced bearer post at GEOHEGANS BLUFF is likely to be flooded in raining season and also does not afford sufficient cover from fire. New site selected adjoining. Ordered to be dug in by personnel of post.

November 6, 1915 (12 Noon. GULLY BEACH)

Observed that floors of dug outs for personnel in new advanced dressing station at Y RAVINE are not deep enough, thereby using an excessive number of sandbags and giving inferior protection. Ordered to be dug deeper. Also requested CRE to strengthen timber supports of roof of this dressing station sufficient to support a covering 2 sandbags thick.

November 7, 1915 (2:15pm. GULLY BEACH)

South Eastern Mounted Brigade Field Ambulance ordered to relieve tomorrow the section of the 1/1st East Lancs Fld Ambulance in the Left Sub-Section.

3pm. Working party of 1 NCO & 20 men hitherto employed at Y Ravine, from 87th Fld Ambulance, ordered to be sent to EAST ANGLIA GULLY from tomorrow morning.

Working party of 1 NCO & 12 men from 87th Fld Ambulance ordered to commence work tomorrow morning at Wagon Halt near Divisional HQrs. The intention is to make a deep cutting at the bend of the road so that the motor ambulance wagons may halt there out of the way of traffic.

November 8, 1915 (10:00am. GULLY BEACH)

Made up statistics for week ended 6th Nov. Total sick from all causes, averages 0.52% daily of strength of Division. This does not include wounded of whom there have been 19.

6:45pm. Signal received from VIII Army Corps that 87th Fld Ambulance is to proceed to MUDROS EAST by ferry on night of 10th – 11th inst. This Fld Ambulance of 29th Division came with 98th Brigade on 5th October. It has been bivouacked in this area but has not been employed except in furnishing working parties.

November 9, 1915 (11:00am. GULLY BEACH)

8,500 sandbags for Winter quarters RAMC drawn from RE and distributed as under. This for personnel only:

1/1st East Lancs Fld Ambulance   1,000 for Main Dressing Station
S.E. Mted. Brig. Fld Ambulance   1,000 for use at Y RAVINE
1/2nd East Lancs Fld Ambulance  2,000 for Main Dressing Station
1/3rd East Lancs Fld Ambulance  1,000 for Main Dressing Station
1/3rd East Lancs Fld Ambulance  1,000 for EAST ANGLIA GULLY advanced dressing station
1/2nd East Lancs Fld Ambulance  2,500 in reserve at disposal of ADMS

November 10, 1915 (12 Noon. GULLY BEACH)

Working party of 1 NCO & 10 men from 1/1st E. Lancs Fld Ambulance ordered to replace the party formed by 87th Fld Ambulance for Wagon Halt at Divisional Headquarters.

November 11, 1915 (9:00am. GULLY BEACH)

Sudden storm during night but little damage done to beach road in front of Fld Ambulances as heavy stones have been and are being laid down so as to form a sea wall.

November 12, 1915 (10:00am. GULLY BEACH)

Inspected Gas Helmets of RAMC in accordance with order received form GS. 18 were found defective. These were ordered to be sent to AOD for replacement.

November 13, 1915 (10:00pm. GULLY BEACH)

Nothing to note.

November 14, 1915 (10:00am. GULLY BEACH)

Made up statistics for week ended 13/11/15. Total sick during week averaged 0.59% daily a slight increase on last week’s return. Nothing special to note. There were 30 wounded in addition.

November 15, 1915 (09:30am. GULLY BEACH)

Lt, Col. DUDGEON RAMC one of the special service officers on staff of PDMS MEF [Principal Director of Medical Services, Mediterranean Expeditionary Force] visited division. Trenches & Advanced Dressing Stations visited. All found satisfactory.

8pm. Heavy storm has come on which is doing a good deal of damage to road in front of 1/3rd Fld Ambulance on beach.

November 16, 1915 (10:00am. GULLY BEACH)

Weather calm and fine. Infantry in rest bivouacs suffered heavily last night in consequence of Winter quarters not being completed and their existing dug outs being very badly drained. Road leading past Fld Ambulances in GULLY BEACH almost impassable, a large part of it having been washed out by storm. Repairs to road being undertaken by RAMC.

November 17, 1915 (6:00pm. GULLY BEACH)

A South West gale sprang up about 7am and has raged all day. Road in front of Fld Ambulances still further washed away. Sea up to foundation of terrace of Main Dressing Station 1/3rd Fld Ambulance.

November 18, 1915 (9:00am. GULLY BEACH)

All available personnel from 1/2nd & 1/3rd Fld Ambulances put on to repair road as day is calm & fine. If a sufficient quantity of stone can be laid down as a breakwater, this is I think practicable. It is imperative to keep this road as there is no other site available for the Fld Ambulances and furthermore this present site is the safest from shell fire which can be found.

2:30pm. Rode up GULLY RAVINE. This is in many places over 2 feet deep in mud & water. The ambulance wagons evacuating sick and wounded are able to work with difficulty down this line. Horsed ambulance wagons are always used in GULLY RAVINE. This road always impracticable for motors. This has been no difficulty in the evacuation by motors from GULLLY BEACH to 17 Stationary Hospital.

November 19, 1915 (10:00am. GULLY BEACH)

Revised scale of Transport authorized for RAMC of this division carried out. This is a scale adopted as a minimum in view of the necessity for reducing the number of animals on the Peninsula. It is recognized that it is only sufficient for work under present stationary situation and that it would be quite inadequate if the Field Ambulances were working under more mobile conditions.

November 20, 1915 (10:00am. GULLY BEACH)

An instalment of the corrugated iron required for roofing the dug outs built according to specified plan has today been issued. This amount is in the most part to be allotted to the battalions in corps reserve as it is considered most important that infantry when relieved form the trenches should have as comfortable quarters as possible. A small proportion has however been issued to the fixed units such as RA, RE, ASC and RAMC. Enough timber and sandbags are available. The digging and preparation of these Winter quarters is being pushed on as weather is becoming cold and inclement.

November 21, 1915 (2:30pm. GULLY BEACH)

Visited advanced dressing stations at Y RAVINE and EAST ANGLIA GULLY. The new dressing station shelters have now been completed and taken into use. The Y RAVINE is further forward. This is desirable being only 550 yards from the nearest part of the firing line. This is unavoidable in view of the cramped situation and after a careful survey I was unable to find a better site. As good cover as possible has been attained and the roof strengthened to support a double row of sandbags.

The accommodation is for 12 sick or wounded at Y RAVINE and for 12 at EAST ANGLIA GULLY. A section of a Field Ambulance is normally stationed at each of these advanced dressing stations. Winter quarters for these personnel are at present only partially completed owing to shortage of material. Many of the men are still in their summer bivouac shelter which are quite inadequate as a protection against cold & wet.

November 22, 1915 (10:00am. GULLY BEACH)

Made up statistics for week ended 20th Inst. Daily sick rate is 0.57% daily based on section strength of division.

November 23, 1915 (9:30am. GULLY BEACH)

The undermentioned officers reported their arrival:

Captain C. P. BRENTNALL               – Posted 1/3rd Fld Ambulance
Lieut. L. OLDERSHAN                      – Posted to medical charge of 1/8 Manchesters
Capt. S. F. FARROW                          – Rejoined to Med. Ch. Of 1/7th Manchester Regt. from sick leave.
Lieut. (Qr Mr) S. WORKMAN       – To join 1/1st Field Ambulance

November 24, 1915 (9:30am. GULLY BEACH)

Lt. Col. H. G. PARKER Comdg. 1/1st East Lancs Fld Ambulance sent sick to L. of C. Major W. L. BENTLEY assumed command of unit.

November 25, 1915 (2:00pm. GULLY BEACH)

Informed General Staff, who concurred, that the short communication trench immediately north of J12 (Sikh Road) and leading down from fire trench to Western Mule Trench should be reserved as a down trench for wounded during action. The fire trenches have been recently narrowed rendering it very difficult to get wounded along them. It is therefore essential that they be passed back quickly and not through narrow communication trenches blocked by advancing troops, ammunition and supplies.

6:15pm. Report received from GOC 126th Inf. Bde. that Turks were pumping lachrymating gas into a mine falling which they had broken into. VIII Army Corps commander desired to obtain sample of this gas. Sent DADMS and Divisional Sanitary officer on this duty.

10pm. The officers sent to collect gas sample returned. To obtain samples they went down the mine, removed the sandbag which had been inserted to prevent ingress of gas and took samples by inserting bottles filled with water through opening and emptying them in the gas, afterwards corking and sealing them. Samples forwarded to VIII Army Corps for examination by expert.

November 26, 1915 (10:00am. GULLY BEACH)

Received intelligence from VIII Army Corps that the gas could not be analyzed owing to its being absorbed by the moisture in the bottles. In the mine it was described as of an aromatic nature, irritating to the eyes and causing a certain amount of constriction and pain in the chest. The gas helmets did not protect except in so far as they protected the eyes to some degree. It does not appear to be a gas much to be feared and is obviously only of use in clearing a confined space like a mine gallery. It is comparatively innocuous when diluted with air. Although the expert could not make an analysis of this gas, he considered it to be a halogen derivative.

November 27, 1915 (1:00pm. GULLY BEACH)

Severe weather has come on. Very cold north wind. Troops ordered to take 2 blankets with them to the trenches.

November 28, 1915 (9:00am. GULLY BEACH)

Very severe frost last night. 6 degrees. Made up statistics for week ended 27th inst. Sick rate from all causes remains the same namely 0.57% daily, reckoned on section strength.

November 29, 1915 (2:30pm. GULLY BEACH)

On account of cold weather, it has become necessary to have permanent housing established for the regimental aid posts. Selected following sites for the regimental aid posts of the Right Sub-Section:

  1. ESSEX BARRICADE at junction of ESSEX STREET WEST (trench s. of BORDER BARRICADE) and GULLY RAVINE
  2. On right bank of GULLY RAVINE opposite BOOMERANG
  3. At junction of DOUGLAS STREET (J10) and GULLY RAVINE

November 30, 1915 (10:00am. GULLY BEACH)

Sent in draft for Divisional Routine Orders as to precautions to be taken against frostbite.

2pm. Attended conference of Brigadiers at Bde. HQrs. at ZIG ZAG. The Major General Commanding brought to motion that sufficient use was not being made of the disinfector by all units. He also directed that particular attention should be paid to the precautions against trench foot, frostbite, etc.

Appendix No 20/21

RAMC 42nd (East Lancs) Division Operation Order No 4

Revised Scale of Transport

December 1, 1915 (10:00am. GULLY BEACH)

Bitterly cold last night and still freezing. Issued orders to all officers in medical charge of units to explain to all ranks the precautions to be taken against frost bite. 13 degrees of frost observed last night.

12 Noon. 12 cases of frost bite of feet brought in to Field Ambulances during morning. All slight.

12:30pm. Visited Left Sub-Section for the purpose of selecting winter sites for Regimental Aid Posts. Selected the following:

  1. ESSEX RAVINE – for battalion on right
  2. BORDER RAVINE – for battalion in centre
  3. FUSILIER BLUFF – for battalion on left

2pm. Capt. C. M. DREW the DADMS left sick for L. of C.

December 2, 1915 (10:00am. GULLY BEACH)

Weather becoming much milder. Investigations into the cases of frostbite showed that in practically all these cases the precautions directed to be taken in D.R. Orders of 30th inst. had been neglected. Report on each case furnished to Major General Commanding to fix the responsibility.

December 3, 1915 (11:00am. GULLY BEACH)

Weather changed to mild & warm. Material issued by R.E. for the building of the 6 selected Regimental Aid Posts for the firing line on the Right & Left Sub-Sections. Work on these commenced.

2pm. VIII Army Corps signaled to ask if any deaths from exposure during recent blizzard. Replied in the negative.

December 4, 1915 (11:00am. GULLY BEACH)

Horse lines laid out for the animals of the 3 Field Ambulances. As little ground is available it is necessary to keep the transport of all 3 Field Ambulances together. Horse lines situated on right bank GULLY RAVINE, 400 yards from sea. Lines laid out in two terraces each 26ft broad. These terraces are to be traversed at intervals of 15 feet by stone walls faced with old oatsacks used as sandbags. Walls to be 5ft high and to be raised to 6ft 6 inches when more material is available. This forms a series of stalls, 5 horses in each. These traverses are necessary both for protection against shell fire and as a shelter from the weather.

December 5, 1915 (10:00am. GULLY BEACH)

Made up statistics for week ended Dec 4th. Total sick from all causes reckoned on section strength of division was 0.67% daily. This increase over last week was due to the weather & storm in the early part of the week. 42 wounded during week.

December 6, 1915 (2:00pm. GULLY BEACH)

Sent sanitary officer with 2 men to spray dead enemy bodies uncovered during digging near ESSEX STREET WEST and DIGGLE STREET. The spray used is Solution C. It is a very efficient de-odourizer and enables working parties to deal with dead bodies, etc. It is a potent preparation.

December 7, 1915 (GULLY BEACH)

Nothing to note.

December 8, 1915 (08:00am. GULLY BEACH)

One NCO, RAMC killed by a spent bullet in 1/2nd Field Ambulance, GULLY BEACH in his sleep during the night.

10am. Inspection by DDMS VIII Army Corps. He visited the main dressing stations at GULLY BEACH and an advanced dressing station at EAST ANGLIA GULLY.

December 9, 1915 (10:00am. GULLY BEACH)

In view of the frequency of dropping bullets lately in the area occupied by the Field Ambulances on GULLY BEACH, made the following arrangements for supplying overhead cover pending the provision of corrugated iron. The sandbag walls & timbers to be fixed as usual. Extra pieces of wood to be laid across as available. Rabbit wire covered with sacking, old blankets & waterproof sheets to be placed over this & the whole covered with 2 inches of shingle or 3 inches if the roof will stand the weight.

December 10, 1915 (09:30am. GULLY BEACH)

Owing to a diversion of the road which is being made in the GULLY it will be necessary to move the Fld Ambulance transport personnel from their present bivouac to a site on the left bank of GULLY RAVINE opposite the horse lines. Terracing for winter quarters in this site commenced. Cliff very steep.

December 11, 1915 (09:00am. GULLY BEACH)

The undermentioned reinforcements arrived and were posted as stated against their names:

1/1st East Lancs Fld Ambulance   – Capt. R.A. ANDERSON, Lt. E. P. VICKERY, 45 NCOs & men
1/2nd East Lancs Fld Ambulance  – Capt. J. W. LINNELL, 52 NCOs & men
1/3rd East Lancs Fld Ambulance  – Lieut. HALCOMB, Lt. BRIDE, 17 NCOs & men

The undermentioned postings to regimental units were made:

66th Brigade RFA                                  – Lieut. J. CHASSLE
R.E. Kent Mted. Rifles                          – Lieut. J. McMILLAN
1/6th Manchester Regt.                      – Lieut. S. W. McCOMB
1/10th Manchester Regt.                    – Lieut. E. L. MATHEW
147th Brigade RFA (29th Division) – Lieut. W. L. DIBB

Without taking transport personnel into account this now leaves a deficiency below our establishment, of 5 officers and 72 other ranks RAMC. The arrival of these reinforcements has been very opportune as the RAMC men much under strength and a large amount of work still remains to be done in the way of preparation of winter quarters both for the sick and wounded and for the personnel.

2:30pm. Visited advanced dressing station at Y RAVINE and the regimental aid posts at ESSEX RAVINE and BORDER RAVINE. The site of the regimental aid post at FUSILIER BLUFF has been temporarily given up on grounds of safety and an additional aid post built in BORDER RAVINE instead. Ordered alteration to be made on the regimental aid post in ESSEX RAVINE which has not been satisfactorily completed.

December 12, 1915 (10:00am. GULLY BEACH)

Made up statistics for week ended 11th inst. Total sick from all causes averaged 0.43% per day, calculated on section strength. Total wounded during week was 45. There has been a very marked improvement in the health of the division lately. This I consider is to be attributed to good weather.

December 13, 1915 (11:00am. GULLY BEACH)

Received telephone message from VIII Army Corps to take over duties DDMS VIII Army Corps temporarily, vice Colonel M. YARR sick to L. of C., in addition to my own duties.

December 14, 1915 (08:30am. GULLY BEACH)

Owing to increasing shell fire it has become necessary to provide an alternative route for wounded coming down from the advanced dressing stations at Y Ravine & GULLY RAVINE (EAST ANGLIA GULLY). Working party of 1 NCO & 20 men RAMC detailed to cut a path from a point on the beach 700 yards North of mouth of GULLY RAVINE to the top of the cliff by a series of zig-zags and then carried across the flat trench near the ESKI LINE.

December 15, 1915 (6:00pm. GULLY BEACH)

Nothing to note.

December 16, 1915 (6:00pm. GULLY BEACH)

The path up the cliff to commencement of new communicating trench to mule trench near ESKI LINE is now finished. Party of 1 officer & 60 other ranks detailed as a night working party to cut the trench across the open. The party of 1 NCO & 20 men to be maintained by day to deepen & widen trench as it is being cut.

Lieut. Col. W. R. MATHEWS now acts as ADMS 42nd Division, vice Lieut. Col. T. P. JONES acting DDMS VIII Army Corps.

December 17, 1915 (09:00am. GULLY BEACH)

Took overcharge as acting ADMS 42nd Division vice Lt. Col. T. P. JONES acting DDMS VIII Army Corps.

The work on the main Dressing Station of the 1/2nd East Lancs Fld Ambulance is pushing on and the first terrace is wellnigh ready for the building of a hospital or hut for 50 patients. The excavation work for the men’s winter quarters also being pushed on toward completion as fast as possible. Those other winter quarters that are completed are safe, dry and warm at night and can accommodate five men comfortably in place of four as originally intended.

The zig-zag path up the cliff is practically well in hand and will soon be finished. The party of one officer and sixty men are continuing the night work on the trench across the open to connect up with the Mule Trench.

December 18, 1915 (6:00pm. GULLY BEACH)

Nothing to note.

December 19, 1915 (09:00am. GULLY BEACH)

Notified of an impending action in the Right Sub-Section and Left Sub-Section at 14:00. Issued instructions to the OIC Advanced Dressing Station in GULLY RAVINE and Y RAVINE to be prepared for casualties. OC 1/1st ordered to hold one bearer section in readiness to reinforce Advanced Dressing Station if called on.

Instructed MO I/C No 5 RAP to form an Advanced RAP at FUSILIER BLUFF and to hold back the wounded until the action was over as the WESTERN MULE TRENCH was likely to be heavily bombarded. Captain Anderson A/DADMS sent to superintend the arrangements.

6pm. Action over. Casualties to hand total 77. Everything worked smoothly and no difficulties encountered.

Daily percentage of sick for week ending 18/12/15 is 0.29%, the lowest on record.

December 20, 1915 (09:00am. GULLY BEACH)

Total casualties from the previous operation 129. Trenching and digging work at the Field Ambulance going on. Nothing further to note.

6pm. Nothing to note

December 21, 1915 (09:00am. GULLY BEACH)

Nothing to note.

6pm. Nothing to note.

December 22, 1915 (09:00am. GULLY BEACH)

Nothing to note.

6pm. Nothing to note.

December 23, 1915 (09:00am. GULLY BEACH)

The undermentioned reinforcements arrived and were posted as stated against their names:

1/1st East Lancs Field Ambulance               Captain A. M. MACKAY, TF
1/3rd East Lancs Field Ambulance               Captain W. ROGERS, TF
1/6th Batt. Lancs Fusiliers, TF                        Captain C. G. BENTNALL, TF, vice Temp Lt. L. J. McCONNELL
1/3rd East Lancs Field Ambulance               Captain J. A. TOMB, TF
Temp Lieut. L. J. McCONNEL rejoined the 1/2nd East Lancs Fld Ambulance.

6pm. Nothing to note.

December 24, 1915 (09:00am. GULLY BEACH)

Detailed Captain W. ROGERS 1/3rd East Lancs Field Ambulance and 4 other ranks to form a temporary Dressing Station at W. BEACH. Authority DDMS VIII Army Corps.

Arranged with ADMS 29th Division that S.E.M.B. Field Ambulance be attached to the 29th Division Authority.

6pm. Nothing to note.

December 25, 1915 (6:00pm. GULLY BEACH)

Detailed Temp. Lieut E. P. VICKERY as MO I/C 1/5th Lancs Fusiliers, vice Captain A. B. THOMPSON killed in action. Detailed Captain A. B. BRENTNALL as MO I/C 1/7th Lancs Fusiliers, vice Captain C. C. FITZGERALD sick to L. of C.

Captain R. A. ANDERSON RAMC sick to L. of C.

December 26, 1915 (9:00pm. GULLY BEACH)

Received orders from AA&QMG to have a Field Ambulance ready to move. Detailed No 2 Field Ambulance to have heavy baggage at V BEACH tonight. Instructed other Field Ambulances to stand by and evacuate all sick and wounded to No 17 Stationary Hospital. 42nd Division ordered to leave Peninsula on relief by 13th Division.

December 27, 1915 (9:00am. GULLY BEACH)

Heavy baggage of 1/2nd Field Ambulance at V. BEACH. Ambulance ready to move.

2:30pm. Order to move tonight cancelled until further orders.

Daily average percentage of sick for week ending 25.12.15 is 0.34% Daily, a slight rise from week before. Waiting further orders as to moving.

December 28, 1915 (12:30pm. GULLY BEACH)

1/2nd East Lancs Fld Ambulance under orders to sail tonight.

Returned to duty with the 1/2nd East Lancs Field Ambulance on the return of Lt. Col. T. P. JONES ADMS.

Lt. Colonel T. P. JONES RAMC resumed duties of ADMS on return from temporary duty as a/ DDMS VIII Army Corps.

7:30pm. 1/2nd E. Lancs Fld Ambulance left division for embarkation at LANCASHIRE LANDING. Equipment and baggage if thus unit sent on 26th inst.

8pm. In accordance with orders received, the 1/1st and 1/3rd E. L. Fld Ambulances sent in to V. BEACH their heavy baggage only. These two units have been directed to retain their equipment for a handing over to the Fld Ambulances of the 13th Division.

December 29, 1915 (9:00am. GALLIPOLI PENINSULA)

S.E. Mted. Brig, Fld Ambulance ordered to have all their baggage and equipment brought down to GULLY BEACH during the day. OC 1/1st E. L. Fld Ambulance ordered to send one section to relieve this unit at the advanced dressing station at Y RAVINE. Move to be completed by 6pm.

6pm. Above move completed. The S.E.M.B. Fld Ambulance ordered to bivouac for the night on site vacated by 1/2nd Fld Ambulance at GULLY BEACH.

8:30pm. All baggage and equipment of SEMB Fld Ambulance sent to LANCASHIRE LANDING for embarkation.

December 30, 1915 (9:00pm. GALLIPOLI PENINSULA)

S.E.M.B. Fld Ambulance march to V BEACH for embarkation. All troops of 42nd Division have now left Peninsula with the exception of the West Lancs Coy RE and the 1/1st and 1/3rd Fld Ambulances.

December 31, 1915 (9:50am. GALLIPOLI PENINSULA)

The 1/1st Fld Ambulance ordered to move to site vacated by 1/2nd Fld Ambulance at GULLY BEACH but not to establish dressing station. The main dressing station of 1/3rd Fld Ambulance is now the only one left on the beach. RAMC arrangements for Left Sub-Section now as follows:

Main Dressing Station at GULLY BEACH                   – 1/3rd Fld Ambulance (less one section)

Advanced Dressing Station at Y RAVINE                  – One section of 1/1st Fld Ambulance

Advanced Dressing Station at EAST ANGLIA GULLY and Bearer Post at junction of DOUGLAS STREET and GULLY RAVINE – One section of 1/3rd Fld Ambulance.

The 1/1st Fld Ambulance (less one section) remains in reserve at GULLY BEACH.

Sick and wounded from the advanced dressing station at Y RAVINE are evacuated by GHURKHA MULE TRENCH – GULLY RAVINE to GULLY BEACH or, as an alternative route, by P. POINT – JENNET ROAD – CUT down to Beach – Sea beach to GULLY BEACH.

Sick & wounded from the advanced dressing station at EAST ANGLIA GULLY are evacuated by GULLY RAVINE to GULLY BEACH.

Evacuation from the division is carried out as usual by ambulance wagons (motor ambulances state of roads prevents) to No. 17 Stationary Hospital near LANCASHIRE LANDING.

10am. Received instructions that the evacuation of HELLES had been decided on. Received orders from GOC 13th Division that I was to remain together with my two Field Ambulances (1/1st and 1/3rd) to carry out the RAMC duties on the Left Sub-Section during this period. The DADMS (Major SKELTON) of the 13th Division to act as my DADMS.

11am. Issued orders to both 1/1st and 1/3rd Field Ambulances that equipment

6pm. Received 13th Division Operation Order No 11.

8pm. VIII Army Corps Memorandum received. Medical arrangements for the final period of evacuation.

In conformity with this the personnel of both Field Ambulances combined is to be reduced during the first period to 10 officers and 220 other ranks.

Cpl. Thomas Valentine’s Journal

 

Corp. T. Valentine
243 C. Coy. Band
1/9th Manchester Regt
Egypt & Dardanelles 1914 & 1915

Corporal Thomas Valentine (standing, back row, far right) with the 1/9th Battalion Manchester Regiment Band in Egypt.

9th Battalion Manchester Regiment Band
Copyright Imperial War Museum

 

Wed Sept 9, 1914

The Camp at Bury today is a terrible state flooded out with heavy rain. Glad when we got orders to pack up and be ready to move any minute. Marched out at tea time and entrained for unknown destination at 8pm.

Thurs Sept 10th

Arrived at Southampton at 8 o’ clock am after a 12 hours journey. Embarked at 11pm. Set sail at midnight but I was in my hammock so did not see her start.

Friday Sept 11th

Got up at 5:00 this morning to find the ship miles at seas. 7:15 breakfast very interesting to watch the shipping all passing us and porpoises jumping out of the water. Dinner time, the ship is now at anchor waiting for all the other transports assembling, while we are waiting a Warship is bringing a German prize into port past us. Went to bed ship still at anchor. Set sail at midnight.

Sat Sept 12th

Got up at reveille to find the ship rolling very much and began to feel rather uncomfortable. Could not face my breakfast. Same at dinner time. Ditto for tea. Hundreds sick all over the ship. The Arogan, that is the ship’s name, is a terror for rolling. Got my hammock slung up and turned in for the night. Hope for better luck tomorrow.

Sun Sept 13th

Got up at reveille still feeling sick. Could not face anything to eat again today. Another day’s fast doing well. If I keep on there will be nothing left. Ship rolling very much crossing the Bay of Biscay. Turned in to my hammock which is the only place where I feel comfortable.

Mon Sept 14th

Got up this morning felling a little better but nothing to swank about. Managed to get a bit of breakfast down but had to leave the table in a hurry and go and feed the fish again but got better as the day went on. Had a good dinner which stayed where I had put it. Also had a good tea and am feeling myself again. Band played for an hour on upper deck tonight. Ships signaling to each other all lights out, so I turned in and went to bed.

Tuesday Sept 15th

Still at sea, no land in sight. Getting in warmer climate. Got orders to take our shoes and stockings off today feel like walking about undressed. Scorching hot. My Company on guard today. It looks a treat to see all the Transports lit up at night all sailing as close together as possible and there are 16 ships escorted by 4 warships.

Wed Sept 16th

Slept on deck last night as we had to be on guard throughout the night. Sea calm. Grand sailing now. A large whale passed close by our ship this morning and we had a good view of it spouting the water up.

Thurs Sep 17th

Got up this morning to find the ship sailing along the Portuguese coast which we could see quite plain. We have now run into a fog which is very annoying. The fog horn is blowing every minute which nearly deafens us. A torpedo boat came alongside and the Captain shouted to our Captain the distance to Gibraltar which we are eagerly looking for. 11 o’ clock the fog has now lifted and Gibraltar Rock is in full view. It is a grand sight. The sun shining on it just like a panorama or Belle Vue scenery worth paying pounds to see. Suddenly bursting in view out of the fog it is beyond description. We are now anchored in the Bay, Gib on our right and the town of Tangier on the Morocco Coast on our left. Plenty of boats round us selling all sorts of things. Set sail at 6:00pm and we are going full speed and Gib is now disappearing from sight as I am turning in to bed.

Friday Sept 18th

Scorching hot. We are going about the ship with nothing on but our trousers. We are in midst of the Mediterranean now. Today the fire alarm went. Every man had to be at his post ready to man the boats with lifebelts on. It was quite an exciting time. Of course, we practice for this every morning and every man knows his place but this time the alarm went while we were having our tea and we thought it was a real fire but it was a false alarm, just for a test, and we were not sorry. Nothing but water in sight. Get weary of looking at it so turn in to bed.

Sat Sept 19th

This is the second Saturday on board and the scenery is just the same; nothing but water wherever you look. It burns our feet to walk on deck. It is getting monotonous, the same thing day after day and the same view. Water on every side and when we go to bed at midnight it is like going into an oven for our Company is down in the bottom of the ship and we dread bedtime coming and are glad when it is time to get up in the morning.

Sunday Sept 20th

Good breeze this morning. Ship rolling very much again, she is a terror for rolling. There are a good few sick this morning and I am nothing to swank about. They keep dogging us to be inoculated and I am getting about sick of it. We are getting near Malta and we are all on the look out for a sight of it. We had church service on the upper deck this morning. The ship’s doctor acted as parson. We, the band, had to sit down on deck while we played the hymns as we could not stand-up owing to the ship rolling so much. It is amusing to watch the men. The officer calls attention as the spring to attention the ship rolls over on one side and all the go over too, like a set of skittles.

We had rather a sorrowful duty today. We had to stand to our quarters for a funeral which is a very solemn job, for one of the men on the horse boat fell down the hatchway and broke his neck and he was buried in the Mediterranean. All the ships came to a stop while the ceremony was over.

Monday Sept 21st

A lovely morning, sea calm like sailing on the Park lake. We are now in right off the African coast. Enjoying all my meals and feeling in the pink of condition. We are passing Malta tonight. We are all disappointed at not stopping as there are any amount of letters to post off so they will have to go to the end of the journey with us.

Tuesday Sept 22nd

Got up this morning to find Malta well out of sight, nothing but the open sea to look at. This afternoon we passed a fleet of 22 transports conveying troops from India to France with about 30,000 troops onboard. The sailors that worked on the ship regular, said it was the finest sight they had ever seen in mid ocean; 40 ships including our ships and the Warship escorts all close together.

Wed Sept 23rd

Nothing fresh this morning only the same old view, water. The only change in the scene is the porpoises jumping up out of the water. This evening one of our lads, named Bridge, died from pneumonia and they stopped all music at once. I forgot to mention that the band played on the upper deck every night and we were playing the time of his death but it was stopped at once and it cast a gloom all over the ship.

Note: Pte. 1705 John Bridge is commemorated on the Chatby Memorial, Alexandria.

Thurs Sept 24th

Got up this morning at Reveille to see the same old view, water. This morning they buried the lad Bridge at sea. It is a very sad scene; I can assure you, a funeral at sea.  It upset a lot of us when the Bugles sounded the Last Post and we saw his body slide into the sea, and so near the end of our journey. When we saw one buried from the horse boat the other day, we little thought we should bury one so soon.

Friday Sept 25th

Got up this morning to find the ship in the Bay at Alexandria. After 15 days at sea, we are waiting for the Pilot to come aboard to take us in. Dinner time, the Pilot has come on board and we are now going into the harbour which is a grand sight after being so long at sea. We are now anchored in the harbour but we are not disembarking today. But we are amusing ourselves with watching the Egyptian kiddies diving for coppers which we throw into the sea but they never fail to bring them up. And all sorts of boats round the ship selling fruit and cigarettes and some of them look like pirates and cutthroats I have read about when I went to school. We are all ready to get our feet on dry land once more.

Sat 26th Sept

We are still on board waiting our turn to disembark which is rather a big job with 16 Transports but we are very much disappointed when we are told we shall not disembark till morning.

Sunday Sept 27th

Everybody is busy this morning getting ready to land and getting their equipment put together. Had dinner onboard and then landed. It is quite exciting mixing among the natives, all jabbering about something we could not understand. We are busy loading bales of clothing and cases of sun helmets on the train which is drawn up alongside the steamer. The right half of the battalion has gone on to Cairo and we, the Band, follow with the left half, later on. Left Alexandria at 5:30 and arrived at Cairo at 11pm after a very interesting journey. The scenery from the train looked just like pictures of the Holy land. We marched from the station to the barracks at Kasr-el-Nil and were shown to our quarters and got lay down about 2am. Turned out we did not bother about beds, it was too warm, but just lay on the veranda and went to sleep.

Monday Sept 28th

Got up this morning to find our eyes closed up with mosquito bites. About half the Band, including myself were nearly worried with them. These barracks are a fine set of buildings occupied by the Highland Light Infantry who we are relieving. They are going to France.

It is quite a novelty to us, barracks life, but we are getting settled down to it. But the biggest trouble we have is the money; we cannot recon it up but the native bloke behind the bar can recon it up for us and he keeps diddling us out of our change so we shall soon learn.

Tuesday Sept 29th

New clothing issued today. Light drill khaki and we are fitted on by the regimental tailor who is a native. Sun helmets issued also today. And no man is allowed to go out of barracks until his clothes are made to fit him. And we begin to look like soldiers and are getting quite smart.

We are not allowed to go out of barracks yet but we can see all traffic going up and down the road from the windows; all sorts. Donkeys and camels and people of every nationality but the natives all see to have a donkey. Now and then a little donkey will come down the road carrying two big fellows with their feet almost touching the ground. Then a donkey and cart loaded with about a dozen native women, cowering down on it, will come along. Then the bus will come, drawn by two donkeys. It is quite a pantomime to watch them. Then a motor car of the latest make will come dashing past with the occupants dressed to death. You see the two extremes; the very rich and the very poor. I must not forget it is my birthday too. I never thought I should spend my 44th birthday in Egypt.

Wednesday Sept 30th

Nothing fresh today. Still confined to barracks. Busy with the clothing getting them all rigged out properly. We are all spoiling to get have a look round the town.

Thursday Oct 1st

Still confined to barracks which is getting a bit monotonous. Drew our pay today. 40 piastres, 8s-4d in English money.

Friday Oct 2nd

We are to be allowed out tonight if we are good boys. Went out to night with a corporal who has been stationed here 4 years so he knows his way about and he took me all over the place and showed me some of the sights. That opened my eyes. And drove back in a carriage and pair, 3 piastres or 7 ½ d in English money. They will take 5 persons for that. The police rule their fares, if they want to charge you more just call the native police and hat settles it.

Saturday Oct 3rd

Drew all my back pay today for 3 weeks and it seemed such a lot of money in Egyptian. The piastres and half piastres. It is amusing to watch the lads trying to recon their money up. The 20 piastres pieces are as big as a can lid, nearly, so if you get a few of them in your trouser pocket you are walking lopsided with money, (I don’t think).

Sunday Oct 4th

Had church parade in the Garrison Church and was glad when it was over. It was so warm they have two big punkahs hanging from the ceiling and two natives at the back of the church pulling them backwards and forwards to keep the place as cool as possible.

Went to the Pyramids and the Sphinx this afternoon. It is a grand sight and it makes one wonder how they got such large stones, over a ton weight, such a height for the longest pyramid is 450 high. And just as we got there, we saw one of the Engineers being carried away on a stretcher. He had been climbing up the big pyramid and when he was half way up he missed his footing and fell down and smashed his skull and died. Later on, the Sphinx looks a mighty giant on the desert with his nose broken off. The native guide told is that the great Napoleon shot it away when he was in Egypt, but they will tell you anything for ‘backshee’, as they call a tip.

Monday Oct 5th

Nothing fresh today. Had a walk round the town tonight and we have to parade before an Officer to see that we are clean and smart before we are allowed out. The General in command of the troops in Egypt is very strict on that as he says we should lose our prestige with the natives if they saw any slackness or untidiness, and they look on us as regular troops.

Tuesday Oct 6th

Nothing fresh, only the ordinary routine of drill today.

Wednesday Oct 7th

Had our first Band practice today. Had 3 or 4 hours good practice. Now is the time for some of the young bandsmen to make themselves into good musicians for we have nothing else to do but play the battalion on parade, and on the march, and on the Officer’s Mess at night so we get plenty of playing.

Thursday Oct 8th

Started today with my old complaint and lay on my cot all day unable to stir. Sent Harold for some liniment and he gave me a good rubbing with it which gave me a bit of ease and got to sleep.

Note: Thomas suffered from Rheumatism. ‘Harold’ is Pte. 1947 Harold Rhodes. Harold was the sweetheart of Thomas’s oldest daughter Florrie. Harold joined the Territorials just before the outbreak of war, in May 1914.

Friday Oct 9th

No better this morning. Had another rotten day. Reported myself sick tonight. I shall have to parade before the Doctor at 4:30am in the morning. A nice time for a sick man to get up but it is so hot in the daytime that all the drills and different duties have to be done before the sun gets too hot.

Note: The battalion’s Medical Officer was Surgeon Major Albert Hilton.

Saturday Oct 10th

No better this morning. Reveille sounded at 4am. Band went out on a route march with the battalion but I could not go with them as I had to parade before the Doctor. This afternoon the Band had to attend a military funeral but I had to be at the Doctor’s at 5:00 for medicine. Feeling rotten.

Sunday Oct 11th

Got up this morning with the same old pain. Another bad day lying about the room all day. Cannot go out. Harold gave me a rubbing with liniment which gave me relief and went to sleep.

Monday Oct 12th

Went to the Doctor’s again this morning at 5 o’ clock but there was about 50 waiting. Fancy all them men ill and when the Doctor comes the Orderly shouts attention and you have to jump up to attention, whether you are half dead or not. Went back to my cot and got down. Hoping for better luck tomorrow.

Tuesday Oct 13th

Got up this morning feeling just a little better and felt better as the day went on, but not up to the mark yet. The battalion are going on a route march tonight but I cannot go as I am not fit yet.

Wednesday Oct 14th

Had a bad night’s rest last night. Feeling rotten which lasted all day. Lying about all over the place for ease. A good job for me I am in the Band as I can stop off parade without being missed. Our names are always marked present on the Company roll calls.

Thursday Oct 15th

Had a fairly good night’s rest last night. Feeling a little better but not up to the mark yet. Received your welcome letter tonight as I was sat in the barrack room by myself, quite miserable. The Band were playing on the Officer’s Mess but I could not go and it took a load off my mind to hear from you and the children.

Friday Oct 16th

Got up this morning feeling a little better and improving very nicely, but not fit for duty yet. Another route march tonight for the battalion but I could not go with them.

Saturday Oct 17th

Got up this morning with the same old pain but went a little better as the day went on. Went out for a walk tonight to try and walk this damned pain away. First time out of barracks for 8 days after 8 day’s torture.

Sunday Oct 18th

Went on Church Parade with the band this morning but cannot get rid of this pain yet. It is hard work trying to put a good face on when you are screwed up with pain. After Church Parade we had to play for an hour on the barracks square then went and lay down to rest my old back.

Monday Oct 19th

Still the old pain keeps sticking to me. It feels as if it would never leave me.

Tuesday Oct 20th

About the same again today, nothing fresh.

Wednesday Oct 21st

Getting better every day and the pain is gradually going away and god speed it.

Thursday Oct 22nd

Still improving.

Friday Oct 23rd

Alright once again. It feels that life is worth living once again. Received a letter from our Martha today and wrote some letters home and posted them off.

Note: ‘Our Martha’ is his younger sister.

Saturday Oct 24th

Nothing fresh, only the ordinary routine of drill.

Sunday Oct 25th

The Band playing the battalion out to church this morning. The natives crowd along the walls to watch us march to church and when we are in the church we act as the organ and play all the psalms and chants and accompany the singing.

This afternoon we are playing at the Esbekiah Gardens which are the public gardens of Cairo, and all the Knuts of Cairo go there. They have to pay 5 piastres, or a shilling in English, for admission, soldiers free. It is a fine place, all sorts of tropical shrubs and trees, date palms, gum trees, India rubber trees, all growing in the open air.

Esbekiah Gardens Bandstand
Copyright National Army Museum

Monday Oct 26th

Today we went on a long route march with the battalion on the desert. It is very interesting on these route marches going through the native villages. All sorts of Egyptians, Arabs, Turks, Syrians; all staring with their eyes open to the back of their head and the little kiddies running after us following the Band and the women stare at us over their yashmaks, the thing they wear over their faces, with nothing only their eyes peeping out. But we got back all right, tired out.

Tuesday Oct 27th

Went out again today on the same march, past the dead city which is a part of old Cairo which was wiped out through a plague full of flies. At least that is what the natives tell us. The General came with us today and saw how we were all knocked out of time so he has stopped us for going that route march again and we are not sorry.

Wednesday Oct 28th

Went out again today on a nice, easy march, just across the Nile, today for drill on the gold links. It is a lovely spot. We marched across the Kasr-el-Nil Bridge which is a fine bridge with two big bronze lions at the entrance, as if they were on guard. And it is crowded with traffic, camels 5 or 6 strung together and donkeys all loaded with goods for the market at Cairo.

Thursday Oct 29th

Another long march on the desert today but a bit easier than the other day’s march. It is the native’s Christmas holidays and thousands of the natives passed us on the road, some on camels, some on donkeys, and hundreds of women on donkey carts. They were all making their way to the dead city and their burial ground close by. There is a place close to old Cairo called Babylon but it is not the Babylon mentioned in the bible.

The battalion goes out again tonight but us, the Band, are not going out with them as we have to play on Officer’s Mess.

Note: October 29, 1914 was the 9th day of Dhu al-Hijjah; the Day of Arafah and Eid al-Adha.

Friday Oct 30th

No parade today giving the men a rest and it is pay day. I am waiting patiently for a letter, only had one up to now. It is Christmas Day today with the natives, so we can say we have seen two Christmases in one year.

Saturday Oct 31st

A big show parade today of the whole Division just to let the natives see what a force of troops there is in Egypt. The parade was over 4 miles long and it created a great impression on the natives which is all that it was intended to do, just to keep them in order.

Sunday Nov 1st

Confined to barracks during the native’s holiday.

Monday Nov 2nd

Still confined to barracks. Natives rioting and fighting among themselves. Guards turned out for all the Embassies. The British, French and Russian Embassies are all guarded and martial law proclaimed.

Tuesday Nov 3rd

Still confined to barracks. No man allowed out unless with an armed escort. The postman has to have an escort and the transport wagons, with our food, have to be guarded. We have been going through our instruction in stretcher bearing and first aid ambulance work in our spare time. And we are being inspected tomorrow.

Wednesday Nov 4th

Today we were inspected by the B.M.O. [Brigade Medical Officer] and he gave us a very good report. He said we were the smartest lot of stretcher bearers in the whole brigade and he was so pleased with our work that he said he would forward a good report of us to the Commander in chief.

We were allowed out tonight, the first time for a week owing to the holidays for their Christmas, but we have to take our bayonets with us for our own protection.

Thursday Nov 5th

Received quite a lot of letters today which are very welcome. Nothing fresh today. While we are playing on the Mess the Officers have a lit a bonfire and they are burning old Kaiser Bill’s effigy.

Friday Nov 6th

Went out on a route march today. Nothing fresh, only they are jobs what with the neat and the dust. It makes the canteen a busy shop for a time after we are dismissed.

Sat Nov 7th

Stopped in barracks today and had a good rehearsal, after which we have to clean our rooms up for the Colonel’s inspection.

Sunday Nov 8th

Church Parade as usual. Nothing fresh.

Monday Nov 9th

The usual routine of stretcher drill and Band rehearsal. Tonight, I am going on duty as corporal of the town piquet. We march to the Mousky Karakol, which is the native police station, and remain there in case there is any bother with the troops. Then the police would call our assistance.

Note: El Mosky, (el Mousky), is a district in Cairo. Karakol is an Ottoman word for a form of police station.

Tuesday Nov 10th

Got back to the barracks last night about 11pm. Our services were not required but we saw them flog one of the natives at 8 o’ clock. Today I am on gate duty. It is amusing to watch the natives buying scraps of meat. There is a man makes a contract to buy all the food that is left from our meals and he sends one or two natives to gather it up, then it is taken outside the barracks and sold to anybody who cares to buy. It would make anybody sick to watch them. It just looks like swill potatoes, meat and pudding, all mixed up together. There is a big native woman sat down on the footpath selling it. She dips her dirty hands in and slats a handful in a paper for ½ piastre. It nearly turned me sick.

Wednesday Nov 11th

On town picquet again tonight. Saw two natives flogged tonight; one a man the other a boy, at 8:00. And everybody else that has been on town picquet say they have seen somebody flogged, so I came to the conclusion that somebody had to be flogged at 8 o’ clock whether they had done anything wrong or not. But I will try to describe how they do it. The prisoner is brought out in the yard and he is seized by four policemen, one hold of each foot and one hold of each arm and a fifth with the prisoner’s head between his legs. They stretch him out as far as they can. Then there are two policemen, one on each side, with a large cane and on the word from the sergeant they lay on to him with their sticks as hard as they can until he has had the number of strokes he had been sentenced to. But when it came to the boy and we saw him wriggling and screaming with pain, we could not stand that and some of the lads shouted to the police to stop or they would put a bullet through them. And I felt like myself, but of course we dare not to interfere.

Thursday Nov 12th

On guard today for 24 hours. Come off tomorrow. Nothing fresh.

Friday Nov 13th

Relieved from guard duty tonight and went round the town. Saw Cairo fire brigade turn out tonight and they are very smart. All the men are ex-soldiers of the Egyptian Army and all motor fire engine and fire escapes, and everything up to date.

Saturday Nov 14th

Nothing striking today. Our cleaning up day. All busy getting our rooms cleaned up.

Sunday Nov 15th

Church Parade as usual. Went through the Cairo Museum this afternoon which is a sight of a lifetime. To see all the great statues that have been excavated after being buried thousands of years and Mummies of the old Kings of Egypt almost as perfect as if they had only just died. And the big stone coffins. The mummies were put in long wooden coffins and then in the stone ones. And old-fashioned boats that have been fished up from the bottom of the Nile.

Monday Nov 16th

Marched to Abbassia today for 3-days musketry practice at the ranges on the desert.

Tuesday Nov 17th

In camp on the desert going through our course of musketry. One of our lads was accidentally shot the other day, the bullet going through his hand and grazed his leg.

Wednesday Nov 18th

Still doing our firing.

Thursday Nov 19th

Finishing our firing and getting ready to march back to our barracks.

Friday Nov 20th

Marched back to barracks today. Tired out and ready for bed.

Friday Nov 27th

Nothing fresh for the last day or two. Today we have to attend a funeral and play the dead march for one of our lads who died in the Citadel Hospital. He was only admitted yesterday and is being buried today. Rather quick work.

Note: Pte. 1845 Frederick Thorley Finucane died of dysentery on November 27, 1914. He is buried at the Cairo War Memorial Cemetery. He was just 15 years old and attested with his parent’s permission in the week following the big recruiting drive in Ashton on Valentine’s Day 1914.

Sunday Dec 13th

Nothing fresh for the last few days, only the usual routine of barracks life; drills and plenty of Band practice, which is improving our Band very much. And we are getting our share of engagements in Cairo and the audiences that go to Esbekiah Gardens think there is no band like the Kasr-el-Nil band, that is what they call us. We always finish our programme with the National airs to please the audience as they are mixtures of Egyptians, French, Italians and Russians. In fact, from all parts of the world.

Today we have got orders that we are to move to Abbassia tomorrow for a fortnight’s training in the desert.

Monday Dec 14th

Marched to the main barracks at Abbassia where we relived the Lancashire Fusiliers. They are taking our place at Kasr-el-Nil barracks. This place is a second Aldershot for troops. Barracks all over the place, including native barracks for Soudanese troops and Egyptian troops, Cavalry and Infantry.

Tuesday Dec 15th

Quite busy today getting settled in our new quarters but it is not as comfortable as Kasr-el-Nil. The rooms are big, one room will hold 100 men. It looks more like a workhouse.

Wednesday Dec 16th

Today I received your parcel with a good supply of tobacco.

Thursday Dec 17th

Went for a long march on the desert today to the third tower on the Suez Road which is about 30 miles there and back, and we had a very trying time. We were caught in a sandstorm which nearly chocked us and filled our eyes, ears and nostrils with sand and knocked us out of time.

Friday Dec 18th

Another hard day’s work in the desert. I don’t know about training us but if they were trying to kill us they could not do it better.

Dec 24th

Nothing fresh for the last day or two only plenty of hard marching on the desert. Christmas Eve we are making active preparations for a good do tomorrow, Christmas Day.

Dec 25th

We turned out early this morning and played the Christmas Hymns in the barracks square fir the boys. The we went over to the Officer’s quarters and played for them. Dinner time and everybody is quite busy. All the boys are sat down at the tables fitted in the square. The sun is scorching hot and makes us think what a difference in weather between England and Egypt.

This is the one day of the year for Tommy Atkins. The officers and NCOs waiting on at the table. Plenty of roast beef, turkey, plum pudding and beer. And the Band playing selections of music during the dinner. Of course, we have our dinner after they have done; Officers and NCOs and Band together. Tonight, we had a concert in the Surtees Hall at the soldier’s club and we acted as the orchestra. And we had a good night’s fun and everyone finished up satisfied that they had had a Christmas to be remembered over 3,000 miles from home.

Dec 26th

Today there are sports for the Terriers in the Gezirah Sporting Club grounds and we are going to play. All sorts of races; donkey races, camel races and horse races, and tugs-of-war. And we, the Band, had a good supply of bottled beers which we put out of sight all night.

Dec 27th

We are just getting down to our training again after our Christmas Holidays. We are still at Abbassia barracks and we don’t look going back to Kasr-el-Nil.

Dec 28th

Another long march across the desert to a hill called Virgin’s Breast, which is an extinct volcano. There is a well on the way which is called Moses’ Well. Still at Abbassia.

Jan 30th 1915

Got orders today to be ready to move tomorrow to Heliopolis about 4 miles away. Nothing fresh for the last month, only the usual routine.

Jan 31st

Packed up and marched to our new quarters at Heliopolis where we are under canvas which does not feel as comfortable as being in barracks.

Feb 1st

Camping on the desert just outside the town of Heliopolis which is rotten at night with lizards, beetles, ants and all sorts of creeping things, and plenty of mosquitoes to keep you company with a few sand snakes thrown in.

Feb 2nd

Fighting on the Suez reported today. Our transport horses and drivers sent down to the Suez. Turks attempted to cross the canal but were driven off and all their pontoons, full of Turks, were smashed and sunk by our artillery. The Turks retired back across the desert and I don’t think will try again in a hurry.

Feb 3rd

Thousands of Australians and New Zealanders camping all around us on the desert. And it is lively at night in the town. There are some fine buildings here, it is where all the Europeans live and the Khedive’s mother lives here.

Feb 4th

Went to Cairo on the electric railway 8 miles from here for 1 piastre, which is 2 ½ d in English, first class. We can go third class for ½ piastre, or 1 ¼ d. Thousands of troops walking about Cairo streets, Australians, New Zealanders, Maoris, Indians, Ceylon Rifles, Egyptian, Soudanese and British soldiers all palling on with one another.

March 5th

We are going on a very painful duty today, that is to play the Death March for our Doctor, Major Hilton, who died at the Citadel Hospital after a very short illness. And we buried him in the soldier’s cemetery, Cairo.

The other day, while we were marching across the desert one of our transport men killed a sand snake about 4 feet long, very close to me, but I did not see it until after he had killed it.

March 6th

Went to the Citadel Mosque and by paying ½ piastre for the loan of a pair of slippers we re allowed to look through the place. It is the place of worship for Mohamedans and it is impossible to describe the beauty of its interior. There are over 1,000 electric lamps hanging on a big chandelier from the dome and hundreds of stained-glass windows, and the sun shining through them shows all colours of the rainbow across the place. And it is all built of alabaster. You can hold a lighted match behind one of the pillars and it shows through quite plain. There are no seats in, they all have to kneel on the floor, which is covered with thick Turkish carpets. And outside is a large fountain built of alabaster where they wash their hands and feet before going to worship. Also, the well where Joseph was put by his brethren.

March 25th

Nothing fresh for the last few days. We have been out on a route march today all through the cultivated part of the country. We can see all the natives working on the farms ploughing with oxen and pumping water with oxen. Oranges and bananas growing out in the open and sugar cane and cotton fields. The natives tell us they can get three crops a year of corn. We passed the Virgin’s Tree, which according to the natives is supposed to be the tree where the Virgin Mary rested against on her flight to Egypt. On our way back to camp we marched through a cloud of locusts; millions of them. It just looked like a snowstorm. They are about two or three inches long with long legs about 3 or 4 inches. The air is fairly darkened with them.

March 31st

Having a rest today. Going out on a night bivouac tonight.

April 1st

Fell in at 6 o’ clock last night and marched to Abbassia then bivouac fir the night behind our old barracks. Then marched off across the desert at daybreak and then began to dig trenches and occupy them. Got back to camp about 6:00 having been on parade 24 hours, and passing all fools day very well, but when we get in the Canteen, we forget all our troubles with a quiet drink and a smoke.

April 2nd

Rioting in Cairo today with the Australians, New Zealanders and Maoris and the natives. Two or three men shot by the Military Police. Australians gone mad, going into houses and throwing furniture in the street and setting it on fire. Fire brigade turns out; hosepipe cut. They are a disgrace to the Army. Nothing but an undisciplined mob. We had to turn picquets out with fixed bayonets to clear the streets.

Saturday April 3rd

The row in Cairo is still going on. Lasted all through the night and we are all confined to barracks through them. They are all mad drunk having their Easter Holidays. But we dare not do as they do, they do as they like.

Sunday April 4th

The colonials have quietened down again and they are ashamed of themselves now. The Commander in Chief issued an order complementing all the Imperial Troops on their good behavior in not taking part in the disturbances at Cairo. That is more than we dare do.

Monday April 5th

The camp is smothered in clouds of sand today. It is the Khamsin as the natives call it and comes about this time every year. It is very stormy, strong hot winds that take all the life out of you and everyone is all of a sweat. The sand finds its way in our food and tea and in everything.

Tuesday April 6th

Still confined to camp and the Khamsin still blowing the sand all over the place. Received two- or three-weeks’ letters today.

Wednesday April 7th

Australians begin to move today for the Dardanelles. They are singing their favourite song, Australia will be there, as they are marching to the station.

Thursday April 8th

Australians and New Zealanders still on the move.

April 14th

All the colonial troops have gone from here now and it is coming our turn, we are to move tomorrow.

April 15th

Struck camp today. Quite busy packing things away. Big bonfire in the camping ground tonight. We fall in at 12pm. We are going on the Suez Canal.

April 16th

Marched out of camp last night at about 12:30 to Zoubra Station. Entrained at 2am and left for the Suez. Arrived at Kantara about 9am this morning. We are in the fighting line now, among the Indian Troops in the trenches at Kantara, on the banks of the Suez Canal. Saw an aeroplane come in damaged with a shot through his petrol tank which nearly blinded him with petrol spurting in his face.

April 17th

Thousands of Indian troops here. All sorts of Gurkhas, Sheikhs, Camel Corps and Lancers. We are busy getting our transport across the Canal which is a very slow job as we have to ferry it across. Rigging up tents and getting the camp in order. C Company go in the advanced trenches today. This is the place where the Turks attempted to cross the Canal in February.

April 18th

Still very busy getting our tackle across the Canal. This place is the remains of a native village blown up by the Engineers to have a clear course across the desert for the guns on the warships in the Canal.

April 19th

Getting settled now and in the trenches on the look-out for the Turks who are very backward at coming forward. Everything ready to give them a welcome.

April 20th

Today we played the 6th Gurkha Rifles out of Camp. They are going to the Dardanelles. The Bikaner Camel Corps are in the next trenches to us and it is amusing to watch them washing their camels in the Suez. They take them to the side and if they will not go in, they push them in and they are all round it in the water scrubbing it.

April 21st

Nothing striking today. Had a bathe in the Canal which we do every day and it is very refreshing as it is sea water. And the passengers on the ships going up and down the Canal throw tobacco over to us. It is our only chance of getting any, no shops here.

April 29th

Nothing fresh for the last day or two. A floating mine was fished up from the Canal the other day. There has been some fighting going on round here during the night. Several Indians came through our camp wounded this morning. They had been surprised during the night by a strong force of the Enemy with machine guns but they drove the Turks off. We could not see any signs of the Turks for miles on the desert today. Our Doctor, and the RAMC sergeant, went out on camels for miles on the desert with an escort of the Camel Corps to see if they could find any wounded but came back without seeing any.

April 30th

A Turkish spy brought in today with two rifles and 500 rounds of ammunition, and a suit of khaki, loaded upon the camel’s back. He was made a prisoner and the camel was handed over to the Camel Corps.

May 1st

Got orders today that we begin to take all our surplus stores across the Canal and be ready to move any time.

May 2nd

Struck camp today and taking all our baggage across the Canal which is a very slow job. Bivouac tonight in the open.

May 3rd

Another busy day getting all the tents and baggage across the Canal. Bivouac again tonight here.

Tuesday May 4th

Crossed the Canal today. Shipped all the transport on the train and we got on the open trucks with the baggage and left Kantara about 12:30pm. Arrived at Port Said about 2pm. Everyone busy unloading baggage and marched behind the station where we bivouacked for the night. Got into our English khaki and packed our drill khaki n our kit bags.

Wednesday May 5th

Instruments and baggage packed and sent to the base this morning. Went to have a look round the town and harbour this afternoon and went onboard the French Battleship Jeanne d’Arc. Also saw a seaplane skimming on the water and we saw it rise form the water and fly all over the ships in the harbour and drop down on the water again. This is the entrance to the Suez Canal any amount of warships here; English, French and American. Got back to our bivouac and had tea. Marched to the docks and embarked on the Transport Ausonia for the Dardanelles.

Thursday May 6th

Got up this morning to find the ship well out at sea and Egypt out of sight. Iron rations issued out to us Today.  We are well on our way to the Dardanelles now.

Friday May 7th

Land in sight. The Grecian Isles in the Aegean Sea sailing quite close to the shore. Sent a field postcard off today.

Saturday May 8th

Getting near the Dardanelles. Passing islands all day. Warships in sight. Lovely sailing. We can now hear the warships’ guns firing. Saturday night watching the bombardment by our warships. Big battle going on, on the peninsula. In the darkness we can see the flashes of artillery and rifle fire and shells are dropping all round the ships at anchor.

Sunday May 9th

Sunday morning 9 o’ clock. Landing under shell fire. We are now safely landed with shells flying over our heads. The guns from the warships and on the shore are blazing away at the Turkish trenches up the Peninsula. We are bivouacked on the shore at Sedd-el-Bahr, waiting orders to move. Aeroplane flying about and scores of shells dropping all around us and bursting all over the place.

8:00pm Sunday night. Ordered to advance. Marched about 2 miles then got in some dugouts for the night. Hundreds of shells flying over our heads all night, sleep out of the question. Our guns, close to where we are halted, are pumping away at the Turks all night and planes are being sent up which light the whole place up. Heavy rifle fire going on all night. Our troops driving the Turks before them.

Monday May 10th

Wounded Terriers being brought out of the firing line this morning. Shells bursting all over our position. Quieter this afternoon. Tea time, we had just lit our fires and were cooking a ration of bacon when we were suddenly ordered to advance. We are now in the advanced trenches, finishing cooking our bacon with shells and bullets whistling past us over the trench.

Tuesday May 11th

Still in the advanced trenches. Just had a fine breakfast of hard biscuit and a drop of tea. We have to do our own cooking in the trenches, as best we can, with the shells flying over us as usual. We are getting used to them now and look for them as an everyday occurrence. Just behind the trench I am in there are some graves of some of the French troops, including a Colonel and Adjutant with portions of their clothing hung on the wooden cross to show how they had died. If a man was shot through the head his helmet would be hung on the cross showing the bullet holes. If he was shot through the body his tunic would be hung up.

One of our Company wounded today. Back to our base this afternoon and told to get whatever rest we could before 11pm in our dugouts, which is simply a hole dug in the ground to hold 4 or 5 men. But got orders later that we should not move before morning.

Note: The wounded man was Lance-Corporal George James Silvester.

Wednesday May 12th

Had a rotten night last night. Rained all night, wet through this morning but soon get dry in the powerful sunshine. Marched off this morning and advanced about 2 miles and dug ourselves in.

Big battle going on this afternoon. Artillery bombarding the enemy position and heavy rifle fire going on just in front of us. We are in the reserve trenches and we can see the battle going on. The aeroplane is over the Turkish trenches dropping smoke bombs to give our artillery the range and direction. The Turks are firing at our aeroplane, shells are bursting all round him; he seems to have a charmed life. I am corporal of the lookout tonight, on guard all night watching to prevent surprise attacks.

Thursday May 13th

The battle lasted all through the night. We had our first man killed this morning. A man named ‘Gee’ looking over the trench on the lookout was shot through the mouth and killed instantly. And two more wounded, and the General’s horse was disemboweled by a shell.

Note: Pte. 1690 Andrew Gee.

Friday May 14th

A quiet day at our base today in our dugouts. A lad belonging to the Oldham Battalion killed and one of our bandsmen hurt with the same shell, about 50 yards from my dugout. They buried the Oldham lad by the side of our lad who was killed yesterday. Going out tonight to dig trenches.

Note: ‘Oldham Battalion’ is the 10th Battalion, Manchester Regiment who, along with the 9th Battalion Manchester Regiment and the the 4th and 5th East Lancs Regiments, were also members of the 126th Brigade of the 42nd Division.

Saturday May 15th

Back to our dugouts for a rest today after an exciting night’s work digging trenches with bullets whistling past your ears. One man wounded last night. Another man, named Holden, badly wounded with shrapnel this morning.

Note: Pte. 1212 Thomas Holden was wounded in the leg by a shell fragment.

Sunday May 16th

No sleep last night. Heavy firing going on all night. We kept getting orders to stand to arms and keep our equipment on and rifles ready to move any minute.

Went out trench digging again today close to the firing line. Another man killed today named Favier and one wounded. One of the transport horses killed and the Colonel’s horse wounded.

Note: Pte. 2175 Frank Lionel Favier. 21 years old.

Monday May 17th

A day’s rest today. We are all knocked out for want of a sleep.

Tuesday May 18th

Moved a quarter of a mile to the right and dug fresh dugouts and settled down for the night with the usual dose of shells flying about. 3 more men wounded today.

Wednesday May 19th

A day’s rest in our dugouts today. 2 more wounded today.

Thursday May 20th

Another day’s rest in our dugouts with the shells flying round as usual.

Friday May 21st

Plenty of shrapnel again today. Several wounded. Going in the first line trenches tonight.

Saturday May 22nd

In the trenches, sleep out of the question. No sleep last night and in the daytime, we are improving our trenches. It is raining hard this morning. Heavy firing during the night. One man named Hodgkiss killed and Colonel Wade severely wounded.

Note: Pte. 1401 Edward Hodgkiss. Ashton Reporter says Whit Sunday (May 23, 1915).

Sunday May 23rd

Still in the trenches in the firing line. We had a bad time last night getting a man out of the trenches that was severely wounded as the trench is too narrow to use a stretcher and we have to carry them out on a blanket which is very awkward as we dare not stand upright as we should get shot in the head.

Monday May 24th

Still in the firing line. Lieut. Jones killed today and another man of my Company.

Note: Possibly Pte. 1866 Joseph Bell.

Tuesday May 25th

Advanced in front of firing line 100 yards during the night. Lieut. Wood severely wounded. Heavy rain this morning nearly washing us out of the trenches. This afternoon everybody is wet through and the trench is just like a canal; up to the knees in mud and water and all the lads are fed-up and glad when we get to know that we are to be relieved tonight from the trenches.

Wednesday May 26th

Back to our dugouts again for a rest. We came back last night to find our dugouts full of water and everyone wet through to the skin, and nowhere to sleep and no change of clothes. Each man had an issue of Rum and had to make the best of it while morning. But the sun is shining today and the lads are walking about in their shirts, some with their overcoats over them, with their clothes hung up on the trees or laid out on the ground to dry, which does not take long in the sun.

Thursday May 27th

Battalion split up this morning and put with different battalions of the Regulars and it is breaking the lads’ hearts to think we have to be put with strangers in other Regts. to make their strength up. Myself, along with half of our Company are put with the Border Regt. The whole brigade is split up.

Note: In fact, the entire 126th Brigade was being attached to the much depleted Regular Army battalions of the 29th Division as reinforcements, albeit under the grudging premise of Major Gen. Hunter-Weston ‘in order that they might learn their work.’

Friday May 28th

Whit Friday. We are working hard digging trenches and we all thinking about the kiddies walking with the scholars while the shrapnel is bursting all over the shop.

Saturday May 29th

Still digging.

Sunday May 30th

A day’s rest today.

Monday May 31st

Another of our lads killed today named Foden, who along with his Company was put with the Inniskillings. We are trench digging all day again.

Note: Pte. 2151 William Henry Foden, 23 years old. Pte. Foden’s official date of death is June 13, 1915.

Tuesday June 1st

Back to our own battalion again and in the trenches once more.

Wednesday June 2nd

Our Company in the firing line. 2 men wounded during the night. We are now close up to the Turkish trenches and we can hear them singing and praying and shouting: Allah! Allah! And we can see them working at their trenches.

Thursday June 3rd

In the reserve trench, having what we can get. Going back in the firing line tonight.

Friday June 4th

In the firing line again. One man killed last night as soon as we got in the firing trench. There is a terrible bombardment of the Turkish trenches going on this morning. It looks impossible for anyone to be left alive. About 150 guns firing for all they are worth. There is a big fire raging on our left in the village of Krithia.

All the Regulars are on the left and the Territorials in the centre, straight in front of Achi Baba Hill, and the French troops on the right. There are hundreds of Turks throwing their arms down and giving themselves up as prisoners. General Lee and Major Hitchie, who are the headquarters staff, both wounded in our trench by shrapnel. Heavy fighting all day. The Turks driven out of their trenches by bayonet charges. About 5 or 600 yards gained. Heavy casualties. Busy all day carrying the dead and wounded away. Biggest battle we have seen up to now. Turks killed in thousands.

Note: This was the Third Battle of Krithia.

Saturday June 5th

A bit quieter today. Turkish prisoners still coming in. Carried two big Turks in today who were badly wounded. Sergt. H. Illingworth of my Co, killed this morning.

Note: Sgt. 469 Harry Illingworth. 23 years old.

Sunday June 6th

Very ill today. Getting knocked out with too much work and too little rest. Lay down in the trench all day.

Monday June 7th

Went to the Doctor’s and he told me to go and lie down in a dugout, just out of the trenches, for a day or two’s rest. Another big engagement during the night.

Tuesday June 8th

Heavy casualty list this morning. Capt. Hamer, Lieut. Stringer, Cpl. Handley, Pte. Cain, Pte. Hyndimen and others that I could not get the names of. All in my Co., “C” Company. Killed during the fighting last night.

I was struck on the leg today with a shrapnel bullet as I lay in the dugout, half dead, but it did not penetrate the flesh. It must have been a spent bullet.

Note: Cpl.  2121 Robert Handley, Pte. 1860 George Frederick Cain and Pte. 1859 Eddie Heinemann.

Wednesday June 9th

My condition going worse every day. The Doctor calls it ‘general debility’ and I am being sent to the Base Hospital.

June 10-14th

Lay in the base Hospital under observation 4 days to see if I improved any. While I lay there a shell dropped in one of the hospital tents and killed three patients. One man accidentally shot himself through the hand in the tent I was in. I, along with about 100 invalids, am being sent on a Mine Sweeper to an Island called Lemnos about 80 miles away, to a Stationary Hospital.

June 15th

In No 15 Stationary Hospital. It feels like being in heaven being in a proper bed after 6 weeks hardships in the trenches without a proper rest or sleep.

June 30th

Still in bed. Have been too bad to write. Doctor told me today that I was to be sent to the Base at Alexandria.

July 1st

Went onboard the Nile which is a Chinese boat. All the crew are Chinese but English Officers. And left Lemnos about tea time for Alexandria. I heard this morning, before coming onboard, that Tom Hawkins and Harold had been wounded but could not get particulars.

Note: Pte. 1361 Thomas Hawkins. Pte. 1947 Harold Rhodes was indeed severely wounded by shrapnel to his back and legs.

July 3rd

Arrived at Alexandria. Disembarked and we were put on a hospital train and sent to Cairo, to the Red Cross Hospital, Ghezirah School, where we arrived about 11pm. Tired out with weakness and traveling.

Note: The No. 2 Australian General Hospital moved to the Gezirah Palace Hotel, (from the Mena Palace Hotel), but if he was admitted to a Red Cross Hospital “just behind the zoological gardens” then the only school that meets that criteria is the El Saidiya Secondary School.

July 4th

Ghezirah Hospital is a fine place just behind the Zoological Gardens and not very far from our old barracks at Kasr-el-Nil. Never thought I should come back to Cairo again after I left but here I am.

July 11th

Went for a stroll round the grounds and when I got back to my bed the Doctor had marked me for England.

July 12th

Disappointed today when we are told we cannot go on the boat as it is full up with invalids.

July 15th

Left Ghezirah Hospital today for a convalescent home at Helowan, 15 miles further up the Nile, which is a fine hotel where all the society people go in time of peace. It is called Al-Hayat Hotel.

Al-Hayat Hotel Helowan
Copyright Australian War Memorial

Note: The Al-Hayat Hotel was used as a convalescent hospital under the auspices of the No. 1 Australian General Hospital.

July 19th

Passed a Board of Doctors today to see if I was fit for service but was marked for England.

July 20th

Left Helowan at 7:30am this morning for Alexandria. Arrived 3:30pm. Embarked 4pm on the Australian Transport Wandilla.

July 21st

Set sail at 5:00pm while we were having our tea. Egypt vanishing from our sight so we turn in for the night.

July 25th

Sea calm like sailing on the park lake. Just had my Sunday dinner. Hoping to have my next Sunday dinner at home.

July 26th

We are all looking out for Gibraltar now. We are sailing along the African coast now.

July 27th

Arrived at Gib this morning at 8:30am. Got alongside the wharf and started coaling with a great deal of shouting and bustle among the natives; more noise than work. The Moroccan Coast and the town of Algiers opposite. Set sail again at tea time. Gib dropping out of sight, turn in to bed.

July 28th

Sailing along the Portuguese coast today. Hundreds of porpoises jumping out of the water and causing great fun. Heavy swell which is making our ship plunge a bit.

July 29th

The Bay of Biscay. Sea rough and getting into colder climate.

July 30th

We have got through the Bay and awe all eagerly looking for a sight of old England and keeping a sharp lookout for submarines which we don’t want to see. But a Destroyer is escorting us in.

Saturday July 31st

Got up this morning to find the ship at anchor at Plymouth Sound. Glad to see old England once again. Everybody busy this morning handing in the bedding and getting ready to disembark. The country looks lovely from the deck of our boat. It does not look as if there was a war raging. We are now being towed into the docks at Devonport. Disembarked and got onboard a hospital train and left Devonport dockyard about 12:30pm for Manchester. Arrived in Manchester at 10pm and were taken in Ambulance Motors to High St. UoM Hospital 2nd Western General. Had a bath and got to bed.

Note: The 2nd Western General Hospital was planned by the East Lancashire Territorial Association and staffed at first by the medical teaching staff of Manchester University.  Originally based in the Central Higher Grade School, Whitworth Street, and the Day Training College, Princess Street, it later had a branch at the School of Domestic Economy on High Street (Hathersage Road).

Sunday August 1st

Visiting day. Scores of people coming in today.

Monday August 2nd

Got marked off for discharge from hospital and had a visit from the Missus and Florrie and Annie, and feel more contented now.

Note: His wife, Ada Valentine (née Ogden), Florrie Valentine (20 years old) and Annie valentine (16 years old), his two oldest daughters.

Tuesday August 3rd

Sent to Whitworth St. for discharge. Got my discharge from hospital and £1, the first money for 3 months; and 7 days furlough. Tuesday afternoon, home once more.

August 26th

Harold Rhodes landed in England today and was taken to Devonport Hospital suffering from dysentery and [scarlet] fever.

Friday September 4th

Harold’s mother and Florrie went down to see him and found him in a very low state.

Monday September 7th

Received news of Harold’s death today. Our first bandsman to give his life in the service of his country. May he rest in peace.

October 31st

Left Ashton for Southport. Arrived at 12 o’ clock, passed the Doctor and told off to my billet in time for dinner. Light duty for six weeks for all overseas men.

December 13th

Left Southport Monday midnight for Codford St. Mary’s. Arrived next morning.

December 14th

Getting told off for our huts. Quite busy today drawing beds and bedding and making ourselves comfortable.

December 15th

Up this morning at reveille after a good night’s sleep, with plenty of rats for company. All the huts are pretty well patronized with their company.

December 16th

The weather here is terrible, nothing but rain, and we are up to our knees in mud. In fact. The lads have christened it Codford-on-Mud.

December 17th

This rotten weather here is telling on me and I cannot stir, with rheumatic.

December 19th

Sent to Codford Military Hospital and put in bed and get a little relief from pain after a good massaging with one of the RAMC orderlies.

December 21st

Sent to Red Cross Hospital at Gillingham, Dorset. Arrived here alright, had a bath and was put in bed, where I have to stop until the Doctor says I must get up.

December 24th

All the Nurses and Sisters quite busy decorating the wards and making it look like Christmas.

December 25th

Christmas morning. The hospital looks bright and cheerful and everybody quite happy. All the patients had a visit from Santa Claus during the night and we all had a stocking hung on our beds. And of course, we had some fun looking at what we had in our stockings. And several ladies came in with presents of tobacco and cigarettes and all sorts of useful articles for the patients. Then dinner time came with Turkey and Christmas pudding and a concert at night to finish up.

January 7th 1916

Got up today and allowed to go in the recreation room where we have all sorts of games; Billiards, cards and plenty of music.

January 10th

I have had a walk out today round the village. It is a very nice place here. They are having a parade of all the Derbyites today led by the Village Band and they want us to join in.

Note: ‘Derbyites’ likely refers to men of the village who had attested under the Derby Scheme but who had not yet been called up.

January 11th

Had a drive round the country today along with 5 other patients. They take all the patients in their turn when they are fit to go out.  As this is a convalescent hospital, they try to make you fit and well.

We marched round the village with the Derbyites yesterday afternoon. Just to please them we marched in front of the Band, 12 of us in our blue hospital clothes. And if we had captured Germany, they could not have made more of a fuss of us.

January 27th

The Doctor came and examined us today and marked 8 of us fir for duty again.

January 28th

Left Gillingham Hospital at 8:30 this morning for Codford Military Hospital where we will have to be examined again by the Military Doctors and declare us fit for duty, discharged from hospital and sent to join our regiments.

January 31st

General French inspected the troops today and he had several French Generals with him.

February 1st

Left camp for 10 days leave at home. Arrived home at breakfast time next morning.

February 10th

Left home this morning to rejoin my regiment. Arrived at Bristol at 2 o’ clock. Had a good look round the town and caught the six o’ clock train from Bristol to Codford. Arrived in camp at 9 o’ clock and got down in bed, tired out.

February 13th

Started with another attack of rheumatic. Lay on my back and dare not stir. It is sickening for me.

March 22nd

Today, about 40 men of the overseas company have to go before a Medical Board. I am included in the party. Some get marked fit for active [duty] again, and some for Home [service] only, and 10 of us, myself included, get marked down for discharge. Put on light duty pending my discharge.

April 5th

This morning I fell in with my Company and am told to fall out and hand my uniform and equipment in to the Quartermaster’s Stores and get a suit of civilian clothes, and go to the Orderly Room for my discharge and railway warrant for traveling home.

April 6th

Arrived home once more and get settled down to civil life after being in the battalion 24 years, 204 days, including one year, 245 days active service.

Finish

 

The following articles were published in the Ashton Reporter relating to Corporal Valentine and Pte. Harry Rhodes.

Ashton Reporter, August 7, 1915

“TURKS FINISHED”

Another Ashton Territorial, Corporal T. Valentine, arrived in Ashton from the Dardanelles on Tuesday at his home, 6, Mowbray Street, Ashton, having been invalided from the firing line on June 14th, the exposure in the trenches and the strain having debilitated him. Corporal Valentine, who was employed as a carter by the Ashton Co-operative Society, was the oldest soldier in the Ashton Territorials, being the proud possessor of the Coronation Long Service Medal. He is 45 years of age.

“I was six weeks in the trenches”, he said to a Reporter representative. “Being in the band as a drummer, I acted as stretcher bearer for part of the time, but for three weeks I was roughing it in the trenches with the boys of ‘C’ Company. Whilst stretcher bearer I saw some terrible sights, sights that I will not forget if I live to be a thousand. Once we carried in two Turkish officers who had been wounded, and one said, ‘Turks finished, Germans no good’. You could see by the look in their eyes how thankful they were for our attention to them. The Turks, to give them their due, have fought squarely. It was a square fight – no poison gases. There are some fine fellows amongst them, and some riff-raff, and they are good shots, especially the snipers, who are up to all sorts of devices. Some of them, however, have been using explosive bullets, and they make nasty wounds, and the noise of the impact sickens you.

I have been in the battalion 26 years, but I never dreamt I should see what I have seen, which is a bit more than I wanted to see. A lot of our lads have been hit with spent shrapnel bullets that did not penetrate. I myself, as I lay in the doctor’s dug-out, was hit on the leg with a piece of spent shrapnel, the size of a boy’s dobber, which made me jump. It left a bruise, but did not penetrate the skin. I have been in six hospitals before I was finally sent home, and was at Lemnos at the same time as Captain Okell, but did not know until I met his servant outside his tent. The worst of the whole affair is the absence of sleep. The Turks keep up a rapid fire, and attack mostly at night, and sleep is out of the question. In the daytime there is plenty of hard, laborious work in the digging of trenches and dug-outs.

Our officers roughed it with us, and set a fine example. If it rained, they were in it with us, and cheered us up. Often Lieut. Stringer, poor chap, has cooked his meal at my fire, whilst Captain Hamer was a real trump. He looked after us well. I shall never forget one little act of kindness, which, although it might appear trivial, he showed to me. One wet night it had poured in the trenches, and we were up to the waist in mud-broth. When we came back to the dug-outs, Captain Hamer was there, and I happened to be the first one back. Captain Hamer looked very ill, and having known me for a long time he talked to me quite chummily. He had charge of the issue of rum for the Company, and gave me mine at once, in order to prevent me from catching cold, instead of waiting an hour or so until the rest of the Company came in. That was a typical act, which endeared him to us all. There are always ‘grousers’ in the best of regiments, and we had a chap with us who was always grumbling. Captain Hamer could not help continually hearing him ‘grouse’, and one day he suddenly turned round on him and said, ‘You are always grouse, grousing. I am just as fed up with it as you are, but we have got to put up with it because it is our duty’. It was a fine reply, and the boys appreciated the spirit shown by Captain Hamer. Lieut. Ned Stringer was also immensely popular, and got on well with the boys. I shall never forget June 4th as we watched the great artillery bombardment. We had seen the fireworks at Belle Vue, but this sight knocked them into a cocked hat. It looked impossible for anyone to live in the Turkish trenches in that hail of fire.

I was just behind Lieut. F. Jones when he was killed. We were standing in ‘Shrapnel Gully’ from which our trenches branched off, and Lieut. Jones and two other officers were stood at the top talking. Suddenly, Lieut. Jones fell down. One of the officers said, ‘Have you slipped, Jones?’, but when they looked at him, he was dead. They carried him away on a stretcher, and buried him in the gully”

Ashton Reporter July 24, 1915

FOUR WOUNDS

After taking part in two bayonet charges, and escaping without a scratch, Bandsman Harold Rhodes, 1/9th Battalion, Manchester Regiment, Territorials, is reported to have been severely wounded whilst on his way to a rest camp.

Bandsman Rhodes, who resided at 50, Bennett Street, Ryecroft, formerly worked as a turner at the works of Messrs. Jones Sewing Machine Co., and prior to joining the Territorials he was a member of St. Stephen’s Church Lad’s Brigade. In a letter written from St. Ignatius’ College Hospital, Malta, to his mother, who resides in Bennett Street, he states: –

“I am sorry to tell you that I have been badly wounded in the back and leg. There are four wounds, and I got them on June 22nd. I have been through three operations, and I am doing fine now. The food supplied is of the best, chicken every day for dinner, so I think I am doing all right. I am in a very nice hospital and I have a very nice and devoted nursing sister in attendance. I have only been here four days, having spent over a week on the hospital ship.”

A tribute to his Spartan cheerfulness is paid in a letter written by one of the Army chaplains to his mother on the 23rd, as follows: –

“Yesterday evening your boy passed through this dressing station on his way to the hospital ship. The Turks had at last put a bit of lead into him, he said. He had been through two charges without a scratch, but they succeeded in getting him on the way back to the rest camp. He looked not a little bit like one wounded, and he was in the very best of spirits. The only thing that troubled him was the fear that you would see the casualty list, and think he was dangerously wounded. He will soon be fit again. He will at least get a really good rest, which he has most abundantly earned. Possibly he might get home to you.”

 

Ashton Reporter September 18, 1915

DIED ON HIS WAY HOME

Many will sympathise with Mrs. Rhodes, of 50, Bennett Street, Ashton, in the loss she has sustained in the death of her son, Bandsman Harold Rhodes, of the Ashton Territorials, who died from wounds and dysentery at the Devonport Isolation Hospital on September 7th. It is doubly sad for the bereaved mother to lose her son after there seemed to be a possibility of his recovering from the injuries caused by shrapnel shell. He had undergone three operations, and the extent of his injuries was such that nearly half-a-pound of shrapnel was taken from his body. Yet whilst on the way home to England from Malta scarlet fever and dysentery developed, and proved fatal. An Army chaplain wrote to Mrs. Rhodes telling her that her son had said “they had just put a bit of lead in him whilst he was on his way to the rest camp.” The truth was that he had been terribly injured about the back and thighs by shrapnel. He was, however, in the best of spirits; the only thing that troubled him was the fear that his mother, of whom he thought the world of, would learn from the casualty lists that he was dangerously wounded.

Bandsman Rhodes, who played the clarinet in the Ashton Territorial Band, was only 20 years of age. He worked as a turner at Messrs. Jones’ Sewing Machine Co. Guide Bridge. He joined the Territorials in September 1913, and went out with them to Egypt in September last. He participated in two bayonet charges whilst at the Dardanelles, and after being wounded arrived at Malta on June 30th, where he remained until August 17th. He landed at Devonport on August 26th, and was taken to the Isolation Hospital, where he died on Tuesday last.

Bandsman Rhodes was buried with full military honours at the Devonport Corporation Cemetery on Friday last. His mother would have liked to have had him buried at home, but it was not possible. Mrs. Rhodes and family, and Miss Florrie Valentine, his sweetheart, attended the funeral. A detachment of the 1st Battalion Worcester Regiment paid the last honours to a gallant soldier. A memorial service was held on Sunday at St. Stephen’s Church, Audenshaw, which was attended by a Company of Ashton Territorials from the Armoury, in command of Captain R. Lees, Colonel D.H. Wade was also present.

Acknowledgement:

This journal has been transcribed from originals held at the Imperial War Museum. The transcription is provided here under Non Commercial Use License and remain the copyright of the IWM.

The original papers are catalogued here at the IWM.

Sgt. Noel Duncan Braithwaite’s Journal

Sergeant Noel Duncan Braithwaite
Copyright Imperial War Museum

Sunday Nov 20, 1914

On guard again, and the blighted Old Quarter Guard too. I don’t mind the foreign agencies so much. one can get a little sleep there and the orderly officers’ comings can be gauged to an hour, but here there is no sleep and every minute of the day has its little vexations. I was forcibly reminded last night that we were in the midst of winter for I got starved through. Do what I would I could not get warm. This khaki drill has very little protection; and to think that tomorrow we are going on a trek. Methinks it will be a bit nippy bivouacking!

I would have given 20 piastres if I could have handed over my guard this afternoon. Fletcher, our transport wallah, had made arrangements with the native groom at the stable just by the guardroom, for a Garry, for an afternoon drive. And he invited me! My chagrin could be more easily imagined than described when I saw Stringer and Newton sail off in it leaving me with four hours still to do and on an admirable afternoon. However, after so much duty I intend to have a little treat and I have arranged for the same Garry this evening at 7 when I will see the sights of Cairo and its environs by moonlight and at my ease.

It has come to me this morning that the Turks are within three days of Port Said in force and also that the Khedive is a prisoner of war at Malta. This, I try to kid myself, looks serious. Oh, if only it would come to a head and let me be doing something. I am just itching to try my marksmanship on some living targets.

11pm. I have had my little out. Newton and Illingworth and myself hired the Garry and had a couple of hours drive round old Cairo. The narrowness of the streets in the native quarter is astounding. For quite an hour we threaded our way through streets which were little more than ten-foot passages. At one place we were stopped by another Garry in front which was trying to turn off our street into another. So narrow were the streets that it was absolutely impossible for the driver to turn the corner in the usual way. He led his horses in the street as far as he could get them and then he went to the back of his Garry and lifted the whole concern round until it was into line. Then he mounted again and drove off. Cairo will indeed require some beating in the matter of narrow streets. Our Garry wallah took us all through the famous Wazzeh [Wazzir] district, the Cairo hell, and of course we saw the sights. It was altogether a most interesting and enlightening outing.

Monday Nov 23 1914. 2pm

I am writing this on the desert; we are on a trek, and we are not due back at barracks till Wednesday evening. The idea of the thing is that the country is at war and that a small hostile force is coming on Cairo from the South, Helwan way. Our company has been ordered out to meet this force, if possible, to drive it back and if not then to check its advance, and as a result here we are on the desert about 7 miles from barracks. We have advanced in skirmishing order over a couple of miles of desert and have carried the enemy’s position at the point of the bayonet. And it has been no joke. We are in marching order and to charge pell mell for a couple of hundred yards across the sandy desert, while the sun itself is burning with excitement, and we in full pack too, is puffing work. Has we had a real enemy to charge we should never have shifted them, for when we arrived at his position we were fairly blown. However, in maneuvers these physical matters don’t count; we frightened the enemy away I suppose. Anyhow he has retreated and we now hold his position where we are at present awaiting the arrival of our camels with the grub. Of course, crossing the desert, we must have camel transport, horses are no use whatever. The fun started before we left barracks when we were loading the beasts. We had to carry all our food, water, timber, and all accessories with us and we had only twelve camels. The native camel-wallahs did not seem to realise that the camels had to carry big loads and it was with the greatest difficulty that we got them to load up as we wanted. And when we had loaded them, Good Lord! The poor beggars couldn’t get up again. They grunted and growled and roared under their burdens and we had to give a lift to help them up. When we made a halt on route, one of the camels got down and couldn’t get up again and the whole convoy was delayed almost an hour. I think the same one must have got down again somewhere for they do not seem to appear, and as the various stragglers come in, they are greeted with ‘Av yo seen owt o’ any Camels?’ Hello! I see them on the skyline and the chaps have broken out into “The camels are coming, they are, they are!”

We advanced through an Arab cemetery this morning and I saw several skulls. I approached a hole in the ground thinking I might have seen some good specimens but I was greeted with such a ‘sniff’ that I beat a hasty retreat without waiting to see what was in there.

The camels came up at 3:30pm and tea was served by 4. Of course, we have nothing cooked on a trek like this. The stuff we have brought with us consists of biscuits, bully, jam & tea principally.

Tuesday Nov 24, 1914. 5pm

I shall not forget quickly my first night’s bivouac. After tea we set to and dug shallow trenches for our beds, and when blankets had been issued, one per man, the encampment speedily went to bo-bo. Of course, it was dark by six, and by seven all the camp was as quiet as at midnight. I got down by eight and deeming the weather not too cold, simply took off my puttees and boots and wrapped myself up in my blanket. I got to sleep alright for I was rather tired, a shower of rain soon after getting down didn’t keep me awake, but about 2 o’ clock, as I afterwards ascertained, I woke up with a start to find myself nearly frozen. A cold wind had sprung up and I had had my back to it, with the result that I was nearly stiff with chattering teeth and all a-shiver I got my greatcoat from my valise and took a walk to get warm again. I went down to our cookhouse where there was a smouldering fire and remained there talking up the past with a few other cold kindred spirits till four, when I got down again and didn’t wake till reveille.

Wednesday Nov 25, 1914. 8pm

I am back again in barracks, and wishing I was going on a trek again tomorrow morning. It has been a splendid experience and one which I should be loath to miss if the chance offered itself again. Of course, it has been hard work and as rough as might be, but I never enjoyed anything so much. But to take up my narrative where I left off:

On rising on Tuesday morning, we immediately had breakfast, which consisted of biscuits, jam and tea, and were on the move before 9. There was no accident with the loading of the camels, at least nothing exceptional, and as the company continued the attack on the enemy, who were supposed to be in position on the hills of Lissan Abaid, about six miles further on, the camels went into the village of Maadi to draw water. Maadi is a village on the hill; we left it away on our right. Moving over the desert in full pack is something to try one up and it put us through it. The General came to visit us in the morning. My platoon was acting as supports to the firing line, and the officer in charge of us had allowed us to get too far behind, with the result that, when we saw the General coming across the plain, we had to get into the firing line as quick as possible. In doing this we took a stony ride of about half a mile, almost at a continuous double, and when we got to the top, we were all like Barney’s Bull. One poor fellow threw his rifle away and rolled over as if he had been shot. It had been too much for him. We left a couple of men to bring him round and continued the attack.

I was deuced glad to get to the peace of bivouac that night. By eight o’ clock I was fast asleep and knew nothing more till morning.

We had some rare sport this morning when we were packing the camels. Of course, we always had trouble with the camel-wallah but this morning they actually mutinied. The boss of the shanty, a bearded Arab, with an astonishing flow of language, was kicking up a dickens of a shine about a particular camel’s load, when I came up. The trouble seemed to be about whether a roll of blankets should be put up or not. The camel-wallah was emphatic about it and stood by his camel to see that his wishes were carried out. However, we intended that the blankets should be loaded, as I shoved him out of the way while we hoisted it up. This completely upset his apple cart and he came up again gabbling as if his indignation would drive him silly. I raised my arm and threatened to smash his face in. That did it! He thought he had been ill-used enough. He called to his followers and snatching up their personal belongings set off home, leaving us to manage the camels ourselves. This of course we couldn’t stand so we sent a section to bring them back, which they did! They cuffed the and kicked them all the way back, and that settled them.

After that, things went comparatively smoothly, and we arrived at our first night’s bivouac about 2 o’ clock. We had a meal of biscuits and tea and marched home about 5. And I wish I were going again. I may say that I picked up a good deal of Arabic on this trip.

Monday Nov 30th, 1914:

I have shifted my shanty again. As I write this, I am lying in a tent on the desert overlooked by the Pyramids. I came here on Saturday and do not know when I shall be going back however. Let me record things in their chronological order. Since I last wrote in this journal, I have done a little knocking about which has prevented me keeping up to date. On Friday, I went to Alexandria, some hundred odd miles away with prisoners. Our party consisted of one officer, myself, and 30 men. We entrained on he barracks square and took on board 50 prisoners; Turks, Arabs and Germans. The Turks and Arabs were many of them desperate characters and were placed in a 3rd class carriage whilst the Germans, who were residents in Cairo, were accommodated in a 2nd. Everything passed off without a hitch and we handed the prisoners over to an escort of the 6th Manchesters at Alexandria. We should have escorted them on board but the weather was too rough for embarkation for it was blowing very strongly. The weather was just English. The sky was overcast and a strong wind blowing and it was very cold. As we were marching back to the station we got caught in a terrific downpour of rain and had to take shelter in a drinking shop where it cost the officer 31 piastres! We arrived home about 10pm.

As soon as I arrived, I was warned for the Mena Guard and had to pack up a few necessities in the morning and move off. It was typical of the way things are done in the Army and particularly in the 9th, that I received no precise instructions.

Do you know where the Pyramids are? I was asked.

“Yes, sir!”
“Well, there is a camp about there, with a quantity of supplies. Go and guard it!”

That was all I was told. I didn’t know how long I was going for, any details whatever. I had 20 men, and we took an oilsheet and blanket each, rations for one day and two camp kettles. Arriving at the Pyramids, I looked round but could not see any signs of a camp. I called a guide and asked him if he knew of a soldier’s camp, with tents. ‘Oh Yes, he knew it all right!’ So, we followed him. Over the desert, up and down the hills of sand he took us until we were getting fagged, but still no sign of a camp. At length we told him pretty plainly that we were turning back, and it was a good job that we had the Pyramids as a landmark or we should have been lost, for the desert in all directions is alike. At last, we arrived back to the place whence we started and found the “camp” we had been seeking for three or four hours. It was simply a heap of sacks of corn. Well now, here was a bonny place to send a party of men to. However, we had to make the best of it for another couple of hours would see night here, so we set about to bivouac. Luckily an ASC officer came up and I report to the guard to him, and he vouched the welcome information that there would be some tents coming along. They did in about half an hour, and we soon erected a couple and we were landed. Another quarter of an hour saw us with a heap of timber which we had pinched and soon after, just at the edge of dark, we were taking our first meal since 6:30am. After posting the sentries and arranging all things connected with them, I settled down to sleep for I was tired. It went very cold at night and once I woke up feeling starved. It is to this that I attribute my slight indisposition yesterday, Sunday. I woke up with a slight disturbance in my ‘innards’ but during the morning it was not so bad and I paid little attention to it. Soon after nine I slipped away from Camp, and taking a lad of 15 as a guide, I went to ascend the great Pyramid. As you approach the ting the ascent seems the easiest thing in the world, but try it and it is a nerve trying experience. Preceded by my guide, I got about quarter way up and then stopped to rest. It seemed to me that I sat on the edge of a great precipice, and I felt a bit dizzy, which made me almost decide to go back. However, when I had recovered and got somewhat accustomed to my lofty position in the world, I pushed on, and keeping my face to the rock, reached the top after about twenty minutes climb. And the view from the top was superb. North and South ran the Nile. Miles and miles I could see it until it faded away into obscurity. To the West stretched the great mysterious Sahara, Sand and sand again for miles after miles, without life or verdure of any kind. And looking down the Western side of the Pyramid I obtained a splendid bird’s eye view of the excavation being carried on by some Americans. The Sphynx, a little to the South appeared just like a cat lying on the plain. Looking to the East, Cairo was to be seen in its entirety and further on the landscape lost itself in the Arabian desert. The whole view from such an eminence was magnificent and one worth coming miles to see. Too soon I had to descend for I did not want anybody from Kasr-el-Nil to come to Camp and find me absent or I might have been for it. I got down in half the time it took to get up and as I paid up my guide was well satisfied with my experience.

During Sunday afternoon 57 lorry loads of corn, sugar, etc. came and we had the very dickens of a job to get it unloaded in the proper places. And now let me say a word of explanation of our presence here. We are simply the beginning of a large Camp. Some thirty thousand Australian troops are going to be quartered here, so this will give some idea of the magnitude of the preparations. There are some hundreds of natives employed here in making a road across the desert and in constructing an electric railway. This points to a permanent camping ground, in short, a base of operations. The presence of all this work going on is very handy for us, for it enables us to provide ourselves with fuel for our fire. As soon as night falls, a party of chosen scouts leaves our Camp and return laden with timber, and by this time the railway is many sleepers short. But we must have fuel and as they don’t send us any from barracks, well! What would you do?

6pm Sunday afternoon, the pains in my ‘tummy’ increased in frequency and intensity until at times I was almost doubled up with pain. I thought at first that I had sand colic with swallowing so much up of the stuff. That’s the only fault with this life. We can’t keep the sand out of our food. However, this morning I am much better so I suppose it was just a touch of ordinary colic caused by getting cold on Saturday night.

Tuesday Dec 1st

This life is great. I am still at the Mena Guard, and am enjoying things fine. Our rations are sent out every day but the time of arrival seems to be a matter of no consequence to the authorities at Kasr-el-Nil. Yesterday our rations did not reach us until 3 in the afternoon, and then they were brought by an escort from the 9th who came with about 50 wagons of stores, etc. It was too late to cook anything for dinner so we had tea at the usual time, and we made a dixie stew of our meat and vegetables about 9 o’ clock at night. And by Gad, wasn’t it good? I think I never enjoyed a meal so much before. The night was cold and the dixie stew was hot and – my lips are smacking yet!

Wednesday Dec 2nd 1914

Yesterday another twelve men were sent out from Kasr-el-Nil to strengthen our guard. I have now 32 men and 2 corporals and I feel the responsibility of my position very much. Every day increases the stock of provisions and camp equipment, etc. put here. There must be thousands of pounds worth here, and it extends over a square of half a mile or more. And I alone am responsible for its safety. The preparations here are on a huge scale. I am told that 18,000 colonial troops are to be quartered here, and the preparations seem to indicate the coming of such a vast contingent. From the Pyramids Road an electric railway and a highway is being constructed into the desert and hundreds of natives are employed hereabouts on the work. The cost which a work like this entails seems to point to the fact that this camp is to be a permanent one. It will probably be the largest in Egypt; and my little party pitched the first tent.

Apart from the fact that my responsibility weighs upon me rather heavily I am in thorough sympathy with my surroundings and am enjoying myself. This hard ‘roughing it’ just suits me, and of course the open air and sun is champion. The feeling of isolation one gets, out at a place like this, is quite a new sensation to me. Being separated from my immediate chums at barracks seems to intensify the feeling that thousands of miles separate me from those I hold dear at home. It seems as if I were almost hopelessly cut off from everybody.

Thursday Dec 3rd 1914

Our camp has now become a very busy hive. Yesterday afternoon the advance party of Australian troops arrived. There were about a hundred of them and fine fellows they were too. They are not however, soldiers; they are undisciplined and seem to have little idea of regimental behaviour. They had a rare good time last night down at the Café near the Pyramids. Having been six weeks on the boat they were naturally a bit frisky and they were flashing their money galore. The camel drivers, donkey boys, and fortune tellers made a real harvest of them; like we were at first these Australians were done down at every turn. After being without tobacco for two days I managed to obtain half a cake from one of the chaps so I am set up again for a bit. The boat which sunk the Emden, the Sydney, was escort to the Australian transports and these fellows tells us that they 40 odd of their prisoners, including the Captain, on their vessel.

Saturday Dec 5th 1914

Yesterday morning I went round the Pyramids for a quiet stroll, fully determined to resist all efforts of the guides to thrust themselves upon me. However, I failed. The beggars stick to one like glue and no amount of ‘imshi’-ing or ‘yalla’-ing will clear them. In the end I suffered one of them to take me in the temple of the Sphinx, a sort of underground affair near the wonder from which it takes its name. We descended into it down an inclined passage and then I found myself in the temple. The walls were of granite and the floor of alabaster, and there were sixteen huge columns of granite which had formerly supported the roof. The great blocks of granite comprising the walls were many of them 16 feet long, 3ft high and 6 ft deep. How they had got them there in those old days and put them into position is a marvel to me. And the granite had all been brought from Assowan, 400 miles away. In the temple were tombs of the high priest and of some King’s daughter. That little trip cost me a piastre and a half (3 ¾d).

Yesterday some thousands of Australians arrived, and ‘our fellows’ had a good time with them. These Australian blokes have plenty of money, the privates get 6/- per day, and they are by no means sparing with it. And not their money only but anything they have they will give away.  Tobacco, coins and even badges, caps and other parts of their equipment have found their way into our chaps’ possession. Down at the café last night our lads were tucking in and having as much as they could eat without it costing them a red cent. I rescued an Australian who had a crowd of natives around him changing his money. I knew very well they were diddling him hence my intervention. But afterwards he wouldn’t allow me to pay for anything. We had a rare good tea together and when I remonstrated on account of the price he said “Oh what the hell does it matter, we’ve bags of money!”

There isn’t as much discipline amongst them as one would get from a lot of maniacs but with training, they will make a tough lot to deal with. They’re made of the right stuff. Devil-may-care they are and such are the best fighters.

Last night I stood around one of the camp fires talking with an M.M.P. [Mounted Military Police] sergeant and an Australian until 3 o’ clock in the morning. We were discussing the army and the war and none of us had he slightest idea of the time.

When I awoke this morning, it was bitterly cold. A North wind was blowing that went through one. And I never thought it was cold in Egypt! Good heavens! I thought it would have frozen my face off.

Today completes a week of this guard, and since coming I have not heard anything officially from Kasr-el-Nil. They send over rations out every day but beyond that we might as well be dead.

Tuesday Dec 8th

Still on this guard. We were told we should only be away two or three days and this is the eleventh. But I don’t mind. This life is far better than being in barracks. The open air and the freedom from interference, I am GOC here, are much to be desired, and when obtained are fully appreciated.  Rations have just come for another day, but our holiday cannot be prolonged very much now for the battalion goes to Abbasia on Monday for brigade training and we shall not be allowed to miss that. I am surprised that we have been here so long after the arrival of the Australians. There are thousands of them here now and yet we are kept on guarding their supplies. Possibly the blokes cannot be entrusted with such a guard yet. They are not yet settled down and are just like savages. A more hare-brained set of fellows I never struck. I hear that last night one of them got his throat cut in Cairo. From what I can gather he tore the Yashmak and veil from one of the native women; if that is so he deserves his fate. When these fellows first marched in I was impressed by their physique and thought what a splendid lot of men they were. I have quickly changed my opinion. Generally speaking, they are a lot of boasting, bragging uncivilized hooligans.

I went to barracks yesterday for the first time since coming on this guard. I didn’t care for leaving the corporal in charge but necessity forced me. I was feeling ‘chatty’. We came here without a change of any kind and water is difficult enough to get for washing and cooking, never mind bathing, we have to go half a mile for it, so it is no wonder we were getting ‘chatty’. I had a rare good bath, and changed my suit, which I had never had off for 10 days, and now I feel a new man.

When we first came here the place was desert, but it is desert no longer. There are thousands of men here, the electric cars run up, and good macadam roads have been made; and all this transformation in a week! It is wonderful.

The rumour has currency here, and daily gains in strength, that the East Lancs Division leaves for home on January 7th to be mobilised and equipped for France. If someone told me that on January 7th, I should pick up £50 in the sand I should attach as much credence to it as to this rumour. I will not deny that conviction keeps forcing itself upon me, for the various sources from which the rumour comes to us, gives it every appearance of truth, but I absolutely refuse to believe for fear of a frightful disappointment.

I understand that our battalion has again been ‘for it’ from the Brigade. The Brigade people seem to have an aversion to us, but I claim, and found my claim on personal observation and the views of regular army critics, that the 9th are the smartest and best conducted battalion in Cairo. I am not saying that they are smart but they are smarter than the others.

The weather just now is ideal. It is Dec 8th 12 noon and the sun is shining brilliantly and it is warm enough for me to sit in my tent in my shirt sleeves writing this. I wonder what it’s like at home. Of course, it goes cold at night, but our greatcoats are usually sufficient protection from the cold. And speaking of the weather, reminds me that the Colonel has dropped a very significant hint that we shall see now more hot weather here. Really, it’s very hard to keep from hoping. We look like getting a smack at the Germans yet; and if the Stalybridge lot can go to the front, why not we?

Thursday Dec 10, 1914

This is the 13th day of our encampment here, but I learn with pleasure that we shall be relieved tomorrow. The Colonel of the Australian mob or of some unit of them sent for me this afternoon for particulars of the Guard and said he would probably take over tomorrow. And I am glad. I am getting lazy on the job. I cannot find anything to do, and one can have too much of a good thing. On the whole I would rather be in hard training with the boys.

I have reason to believe that the rumour about our going to England in January is bunkum! A good job I didn’t raise any hopes or they would have been dashed now.

Yesterday we had some frightful weather for Egypt. It was typical English. The sky was black with clouds and the rain came down pell-mell. And it was cold with it too. I imagined the weather might have been somewhat similar at home.

Australian troops continue to arrive in the camp as if there were no end to them.

I have today sent several postcards with Christmas greetings for home. I wonder what sort of Christmas I shall be having when those reach home. When the church bells ring out the glad tidings of Christmas morning, when folks at home are drawing their chairs up to the huge fire and cracking bottles of beer, or munching Christmas cake, I suppose I shall be rolled up in my blanket on the desert gazing up at the stars in an alien sky under which the greeting of a merry Christmas were mere irony. From what I can gather, we shall be on brigade maneuvers at Christmas and I suppose there will be a good deal of bivouacking in that. But we’ll make the Christmas as merry as may be you can bet, especially if we happen to be on barracks. And being rolled up in a blanket on the desert is much better than toasting our toes at home, for a time like this is one of works and not festivity.

Saturday Dec 12th 1914

I am back again in barracks having returned from the Pyramids yesterday. We were relieved about 10 yesterday morning and it is typical of the military character of the Australians that a Major went round to post the first sentries and even then, he lost one of them. After being relieved the next thing was to get home. We were seven or eight miles from home and no transport for our baggage. But transport we had to have so I spotted two carts which were working for Australians and drew them onto our camp ground and got them loaded up. It was a near shave though for a transport officer caught me just as we were setting off. “Sergeant! Where the hell are you taking those carts?” I thought we should have had to unload again but I threw myself on his mercy and managed to get away. It was a bit cheeky though. But I took example from Mick. And I might say that we landed back with more stuff than we took away.

During my absence orders have been issued for the wearing of English Khaki, and it is such a change. I went out in the morning in it and it was just like being at home.

On Monday we move to Abbasia for brigade training.

Monday Dec 14, 1914

10am. We are now packed up for Abbasia, whither we proceed at 2pm. In course of a walk round Cairo last evening I purchased a tarboosh, or fez, the mature red cap with black tassel. An Arab offered it to me in passing and I had not the slightest intention of buying. “How much?” I asked.

“Five piastres!”
“Get out of it; I’ll give you two!”
“Come on!”
“No, I don’t want it. Anyhow, give you one for it!”
He hesitated, then said “Me mafesh faloos!” which means ‘I have no money.”
Give me one and a half. Which I did and got a bargain.

This is a good example of the way we set about buying anything from the natives. They always ask three or four times more than they will eventually take. Of course, we were generally taken in by them at first but we soon tumbled to their dodges.

We went to a picture show last night. The first I have been to since leaving home, and we seemed to have dropped into a very anti-British shop. When any pictures of German troops were thrown on the screen the audience cheered to the echo. And when the awful devastation of the beautiful buildings of Louvain was pictured, I thought the audience would have gone made. They went into ecstatics. How I sighed to have a few of our fellows there. We’d have turned the place inside out.

We had another amusing experience last night too, which made me very indignant at first but afterwards I smiled. We stopped at a postcard shop to buy some cards and were looking at some in a stand outside, when all of a sudden, the shopman came out in a dickens of a sweat, snatched up the stand and took it inside pointing to several empty places and jabbering like an agitated baboon. He seemed to think we had pinched his blighted cards, which by the way, I wouldn’t have sent to my worst enemy. His state of mind was something terrible and when we soon saw the humorous side of the affair, we simply stood and laughed at him. I suppose he took us for common or garden soldiers. Get away you lads!

Tuesday Dec 15 1914

At Abbasia. We are quartered in the main barracks. Leaving Kasr-el-Nil at 2pm yesterday we arrived here about 4:30. We had them to issue biscuits and blankets, there are no beds, and by the time we were ready for tea it was quite dark. However, we managed to get the rations issued somehow.

And then it was time for me to go on duty for I was on Canteen. At 9:30 I closed the Canteen and went groping my way, to our mess. These barracks are a monstrous affair and there are very few lights so that to a stranger it is like threading subterranean passages, moving about at night. I nearly broke my neck last night by fancying I was on the level when there was a flight of steps in front. I didn’t say much until I landed at the bottom, and then – well, I’ll not soil the pages of this journal by recording any more of the incident. When I got to the mess there was a piano and we had a little impromptu singsong until 11pm.

The sergeants in our Company, 10 of us, are quartered in a room originally designed for two, and as we had managed to secure a bed each, its capacity was very severely tried. However, with skillful maneuvering we managed to get all the beds in and eventually got to sleep. We call our house the 4×2 room. For non-regimental readers I will explain that a piece of 4×2 is just sufficient flannelette to go through a rifle barrel.

This morning reveille went at 5:30 and I had to get up in the dark and be at the cookhouse before six, for I am B.O. [Battalion Orderly]. Just now I have an hour to myself before accompanying the Orderly Officer on barracks inspection.

The rumour about our going home on January 7th still retains its currency, and increases in strength. For some reasons I am inclined to believe it, but many others cause me to reject it utterly. Best take things as the come.

Wednesday Dec 16 1914

I have today been on my first day’s training and I returned, well not fagged but very tired. However, after a wash and a brush up I felt in the pink again. We rendezvoused at a place somewhere the other side of Heliopolis at 10:30am. The weather was very warm; it only wants a few days to Christmas and we were all sweating with the heat this morning. Previous to commencing work we were inspected by the G.O.C. Division and he pronounced the 9th ‘a fine set of men!’. I think he was pulling our leg. The work was the brigade in attack and the object of attack being 8,000 yards away. It can be imagined on what a large scale the work was. The 9th was the advance guard, the 4th and 5th East Lancs following on, and the 10th Manchesters bringing up the reserves. The advance continued for about 3 hours before the assembly sounded and the bugles were heard none too soon.

We arrived back at barracks about 4pm and had dinner at 4:30. We had had nothing since 6:30 in the morning.

In orders tonight I read that the battalion is confined to barracks until Saturday. I wonder what the dickens is on the cards now.

During the early part of our advance this morning we crossed a part of the desert which seemed to have been a great cemetery, for it was strewn with bones in all directions. Where holes had been dug, they had laid bare human bones representing any and every part of the anatomy. This is not the first region of this kind we have struck. I should like very much to know the real explanation of these places.

Monday Dec 21st 1914

Since last entering up this journal some days have elapsed and the spirit has never moved me to make a start until now. As a rule, this brigade training keeps us out from 7 to 9 hours a day and when one returns at 4pm the day is very quickly over. By the time one has had a bath and begun to feel OK again it is tea-time. After tea, one must needs have a lie down for the day on the desert has created a ravenous appetite, after satisfying which one does not feel very ‘jildy’ for some time. The evening thus gets lolled away and one tumbles into bed, to follow the same routine tomorrow.

We are getting quite used to our new quarters and even like them. One great thing here is that we only provide two regimental duties, Canteen and Battalion Orderly, against seven which we had to find at Kasr-el-Nil with an escort chucked in now and then to fill up.

Our menu has made a remarkable improvement this week. We have got a native caterer from somewhere and one who knows his job evidently. But what it is going to cost I don’t know.

On Saturday evening a few of us went into Cairo to see the sights, and we did see them! The memory of it will linger as long as I live. Would that I could forget it but that will be very hard. This is the most loathsome, filthy, disgusting place it is possible to conceive. From what I hear, I have not seen one hundredth part of what Cairo has to show, but I have seen sufficient to last me a lifetime. I have seen womanhood debauched and sunk into absolutely the lowest depths of degradation, and the sight is revolting in the extreme. Reverence for womanhood is unknown here. Cairo is the cesspool of unfortunate women. They come here as a last resort.

Yesterday the British Protectorate was formally instituted in Cairo and the new Sultan installed. Some of the 9th went to the procession but as it was optional in my case and necessitated arriving at 4am I thought it best to have a lie over instead. I did not go out at all yesterday but I believe there were great doings in Cairo. All the people and the Tommies as well were bent on having a good time; and during the evening the town was the scene of much hilarity and rowdyism.

Tonight, I am stopping in again for I feel more like rest. Cairo somehow has but little attraction nowadays. And if we go down now, we simply stroll round the European Quarter; in fact, we seldom go out unless there is something we want.

Thursday Dec 24 1914

I nearly killed poor Bony the other night.  We call him ‘Blighty’ now, ‘Blighty’ being a soldier’s term which he is always using and which means home. Really it was all ‘Flanagan’s’ fault for if he had not wakened me, well, I should still have slept. Now Flanagan had been visiting the mess of the Westminster Dragoons and came home rather merry. And noisy! Off came my blankets and I awoke to find his face grinning at me from the foot of the bed. No one could be angry with ‘Flanagan’ when he laughs, he is much too funny, so I must needs enter into the spirit of the evening and prepare for a rough house. I got up to arrange my bed, donning my tarboosh for the purpose. It was too tempting a mark for Flanagan, and bang! A 2lb loaf landed against the door with a terrific rattle. Nothing behind, I ‘cobbed’ it back but missed him and only just ‘ducked’ in time to get out of the path of its return journey or my head would now be ‘mafeesh’. Then I got into bed with the tray so that next time I would have some protection from the blankets. From this position I threw again at ‘Flanagan’ and then it was I nearly killed poor ‘Blighty’. It wasn’t my fault that ‘Blighty’s’ head lay between Flanagan’s and my own, nor was I to blame that he was asleep; he ought not to have been asleep with all the row going on. Anyhow, I suppose I was to blame for my wretched aim. I summoned all my strength for the throw and ‘Blighty’ caught it full in his ‘tummy’. Poor beggar, he lay groaning for quite ten minutes; he was fairly knocked out a time. And that put a stop to our mad half hour.

At 12 o’ clock today we returned from our biggest day’s training having been out from 12:45pm on Wednesday. We bivouacked, the whole brigade, somewhere about 10 miles East of Cairo on the plain whereon once fell the Manna of the Israelites. And if the Israelites were kept wandering about here for forty years, well, poor beggars. I don’t know how they did it. Anyway, they couldn’t have been in full marching order.

We reached the place of bivouac about 5:30pm and before tea was ready it was quite dark. Only experienced tea party waiters and waitresses will have even the slightest idea of my difficulty in doling out grub for forty hungry big boys in the dark. However, I managed it eventually and it was not long before the bivouac was quite quiet. I got no sleep, however. About 9 o’ clock a desperation to be silly descended on our little circle and we began to act the goat. Seven of us tried to get down in a space not big enough for three comfortably and so we had some fun. When at last the mad work subsided and we settled down to sleep, I found I could not find slumber by any means. I got up and got down again ten times until about 2 o’ clock I decided to walk about until reveille. I roamed about for an hour with a blanket round me looking like an Indian Chief trying to keep out the cold, until at 3 o’ clock the men were roused and got into their equipment. A beautiful sight during the early hours of the morning was a great white star which everybody said was the Star of Bethlehem. It was a great white orb almost like a small moon, and its light easily reached the earth.

At 3:30am in the darkness the battalion moved off on mass destined for a point four miles away where we were to deliver an attack at dawn. Well, I do believe I walked most of the way in my sleep. I simply stumbled along. There were the other battalions of the brigade there as well. As the sun was just throwing its light above the horizon the charge was delivered which carried the position.

From there we marched back home, having breakfast en-route. As I was annoyed for the whole distance of ten miles with a nail in each shoe, I was glad when we did get home, which was about 12 noon.

Well, it is now Christmas Eve. Everything is quiet as yet but then it is only seven o’ clock. Personally, I feel as little of the Spirit of the Season as if it was Wakes time. And I got nearly scorched this morning. Weather like we are having and Christmas do not go well together to a Western mind.

Christmas Morning 1914

Just imagine, Christmas! The sun is shining brilliantly and it is quite warm. Christmas indeed; it’s more like Midsummer Day at home. We had a bit of a knees-up last night in the mess. A party of L.F. [Lancashire Fusiliers] sergeants came across and they didn’t half have a beano. This morning in our little 4×2 room we have decorated our Xmas tree. We have on it an old sock, a piece of soap, a cigarette card, an empty cigarette tin, a bottle of brilliantine, a bit of candle, a pack of cards, a salt cellar and a looking glass. Quite a mixed collection. This afternoon I shall have to take my place as head waiter, carver and caterer to my platoon. The men are having their Xmas dinner on the square. Christmas dinner in the open air under a brilliant sun.

“Whoever would ‘a thowt it!” What would I give just now for some English snow and ice and a big roaring fire, with the wind roaring outside! But war does upset one’s calculations so! It’s beastly annoying.

Sunday Dec 27 1914

Ah well! Xmas is over and tomorrow we commence training again. I looked with dismay at the prospect of Xmas under the present conditions but really, I have had a great time; a time that will ever be fresh in my mind as each Xmas time comes round. On Xmas day the men had their dinner on the square. It was the sight of a lifetime. The fellows had the time of their lives. Why, the whole battalion was drunk almost before the dinner was served. Of course, beer was free, and I never saw so many drunken men together in all my life. Dinner was a good meal. First there was roast beef, then turkey and of course pudding. And what was a great feature to the men was the fact that the officers and sergeants were waiting on them. With what gusto they shouted, “Hey sergeant! Fetch us some beer!” I was kept in the run with the beer jug.

Christmas Dinner 1914, Abbassia Barracks

Our own dinner did not come off till 6:30pm and we had a really splendid spread, after which we had a free bar which greatly helped in the enjoyment of the evening. The sing song proved quite a success and when we broke up about 1am we looked and felt as if we had had a good time. The worst of it was that the next day, with Joe and Harry, I had to be up at 6am to get ready for duty at the Territorial Boxing Day Sports on the Khedivial Sporting Club grounds. I must admit that I felt a bit groggy when I got up, (no! I was certainly not drunk), but it soon wore off and I took much enjoyment in the discharge of my duties as steward at the KSC.

We finished there at about 4:30, and we took a Garry to Abatzi’s, where we had arranged to meet the rest of our circle, and there we had tea. The season’s spirit was on us and, I fear, we got rather hilarious, although, mind, our hilarity was the outcome of the season and our own light heartedness, and not sue to any artificial stimulant in the way of drinks. This is a good point about our little circle, we can have a night out without having any drink. After tea we quitted Abatzi’s and forthwith trooped to the photographer to be snatched ‘en masse’. Poor fellows, we nearly drove him off his head. He kept appealing to us “You come for your photograph, and you do not help me one leetle bit. You laugh, you smile; I tell you it is eempossible to make you photograph good! We kept quipping him all the time, and in the end, I fear I spoiled the picture by moving.

From the photographers we went round Cairo, having considerable amusement of the native hawkers, until at 9:30 we went to the pictures. And I heard the funniest thing imaginable, ‘Hitchy Koo’ sung in French. We didn’t give it some ‘Hitchy Koo!’ The picture finished at 12pm ad then we had four miles to come home to Abbasia. So, we did it on donkeys! We barged the donkey-wallahs down to 3 ½ piastres a time (8 ¾ d). Four miles on a donkey for 8 ¾ d, not so bad, is it? We got home about 1-15am and everybody was quite satisfied with Xmas in Egypt.

 

Notes:

‘Jildy’ is derived from the Hindu word juldee, meaning energy or effort. When a soldier was ordered to do something with vigour, he was told to ‘put some jildy into it’.

The journal also bore the name ‘Vere Foster‘ on the cover perhaps implying that it was a school book from his teaching days.

‘Fletcher’ is Sgt. 220 Albert Fletcher.

‘Stringer’ is Colour Sgt. 237 Henry Stringer who was Harry Illingworth’s brother-in-law and a cousin of 2/Lt. Ned Stringer.

‘Newton’ is Colour Sgt. 154 George Newton.

‘Illingworth’ is Sgt. 469 Harry Illingworth who was killed in action on June 5, 1915.

‘Joe & Harry’ are Sgt. Joe Harrop and Sgt. Harry Illingworth.

Acknowledgement:

This journal has been transcribed from originals held at the Imperial War Museum. The transcription is provided here under Non Commercial Use License and remain the copyright of the IWM.

The papers are catalogued here at the IWM.

2/Lt. Ned Stringer’s Letters

 

107 Burlington St
Ashton-u-Lyne
Sept 4th, 1914

Dear Mr. Stringer,

May I take the liberty of writing what my feelings prevented me giving expression to this morning. I recognize that Egypt may not be your final destination & realising the sacrifices you are making I sincerely hope you may be preserved in health & strength, & whatever be the dangers through which you may be called to pass, or the arduous duties you have to perform, that the only fear you may know, will be the fear of God, in whose care you are.

May your actions stimulate us to make sacrifices in the same cause & remembering you & others before the Lord God of battles, & trusting in the righteousness of our common cause, may we look hopefully, for the time, when in the providence of God, you will be able to return home, to kindred & friends.

Yours Sincerely

G. Butterworth

Notes:
George Butterworth, 50 years old, was Science Master at Ned’s school, Ashton-under-Lyne Secondary School. Clearly, Ned paid a farewell visit to the school prior for departing for Chesham Fold Camp in Bury.

 

 

Chesham Camp
Sunday 6th Sept 1914

Dear Ralph,

The enclosed came in today and as I thought it was an advert, I opened it.  For this I am sorry but Wade suggested it.

We have definite orders to entrain tomorrow at 10:00am and my address will be:

L. Stringer
9th Battalion Manchester Regiment
East Lancashire Division, T.F.
Egypt

No notice came as to our station though several units have been allotted to such places as Khartoum & Cyprus.

Captain Okell asked me to get to his company if I could and Wade has placed me there.

It feels years already since I left home & I have fallen into camping as if to the manor born.

I hope you are still progressing favourably & that you will soon be fully restored to your health, but do take care & follow all advice.

Ann, I know will now be better. Give her my love & I hope she will bear all her troubles with her usual fortitude.

There is more camp news, J. Broadbent has joined again & comes in as my junior sub. He tells me he was glad to get away especially as his wife is again pregnant. It must have taken some courage to leave her in the circumstances.

From what I hear a second division is to be raised, so you will have a chance when you have fully recovered.

And now, lad, accept all my good wishes. I don’t need to tell you to look after Ann & believe me to be

Your more than brother

Ned.

Notes:
Capt. Ralph Lees was taken ill at Chesham Fold camp and had to leave for an operation at the Ashton Infirmary. After he recovered he was appointed Officer Commanding the Depot at the Armoury, Ashton-under-Lyne.

 

 

RMSP Aragon
Southampton
10th Sept 1914

My dear Ralph,

Colonel Wade & the Officers have asked me to again write you and give you their good wishes for a speedy recovery.

We left Bury last night after experiencing a most awful storm. The camp was like a stream & every tent was inches deep. Moreover, we had just examined the men’s equipment & their rifles, great coats, etc. were left out.

The journey here was a pleasant one. We started at 9:40pm & reached here, via Penistone and Nottingham at 9:10am.

I have been on guard and have just had tea. The grub seems very good & we have first class cabins.

The men’s quarters are wretched. They are placed in specially made rooms below. These will be about 6ft 6 high & there is no ventilation to speak of. It already smells like the No 1 cage Belle Vue and they are to sling their hammocks & sleep in the same room.

We depart shortly.

I now give you again my love & best wishes.

Please give it once again to Ann & likewise if you are writing Bert[ha] & Janet, enclose this letter.

May all of you keep well & may we all unite again this year if possible.

I am no sentimentalist as you know but I keenly feel leaving all those whom I so dearly love.

Get well as soon as you can

Yours

Ned.

Love to Bob & Ned
Love to Ernest & Frank
Especial love to all the girls

Notes:
1. “Bob & Ned” referred to Robert Saunsbury, his brother-in-law married to his sister Janet, and Edward Saunsbury his nephew born in April 1914.
2. “Ernest & Frank” referred to Ernest Kenyon, his brother-in-law married to his sister Bertha (known to him affectionately as “Bert”), and Frank Kenyon his 8-year-old nephew. The Kenyon’s owned a successful rope manufacturing business in Ashton.
3. “The girls” were his three sisters Ann, Janet and Bertha.

 

 

RMSP Aragon
14th Sept 1914

My dear Girls,

It feels something of a dream to be out here, off Lisbon in company with 16 other troopships and two men of war. Surely one will wake up & find oneself in bed at Trafalgar Square.

We left Bury as I have told you arriving Southampton last Thursday at 9am. The Aragon left at 11pm and steamed due West to Off Plymouth where the various troopships assembled. This by the way meant a 24 hour wait.

The ships then steered South at six knots for hours in order to allow a collier to travel with us. The Bay of Biscay was rough & the slow speed caused a tremendous amount of sickness. The poor men were bad in their hammocks and below resembled a pigsty.

Needless to say, I was not bad, the only food I missed being a portion of chicken which was thrown violently off my plate, along with sauce, salt & all utensils from the unprotected centre of the table.

This is an A1 boat & we have first class cabins & the grub is as good as any I have ever shuck.

It is not suited to keep us in Bury condition however though we get a considerable amount of physical exercise from 6am onwards.

Three days ago, I was inoculated for enteric. Dr. Douglas, who recognised me, (& I had not known him) as an old Owens pal, carried out the operation. The serum is injected just below the clavicle and patients are sometimes very bad. I got up to breakfast next morning but was very glad indeed to return to bed at 10 & I stayed in bed until dinner. I had no temperature or sign of fever, but the left shoulder felt just as if it had been kicked by a mule.

Yesterday three of us were in charge of the ship’s guard for 24 hours and as soon as the sun set one of the warships signalled that, for some cause, we must proceed with lights out. This we did, but inspection of 22 guards, placed all over the ship from the topmost decks to the armoury in the hold wants a bit of doing. Fortunately, I had managed to procure an electric torch.

We are now off Lisbon & hope to be at Gibraltar tomorrow. It is very hot indeed & we have no thin clothes with us. The only folks well provided for are a corps of Westminster Yeomanry. The officers & men are distinctly class, a Major being Lord Howard de Walden & there are so many honourables that I have not even noticed their names, so you see we are now in classy places.

Good luck to you all & may we have many more happy days together.

Love to each & every one

Yours

Ned.

 

 

RMSP Aragon
16th Sept 1914

My dear Ralph,

According to latest information, mails are to be taken off at 11pm tonight so I will add a little to what I have said to Ann.

The journey continues slowly but the hour is now very great & no drill was put on board as anticipated.

I am in very good training. We start with 45 mins good Physical Ex at 6am and the game goes on interspersed with lectures & parades of the men till 6pm.

All the officers send you their kind regards. Major Connery is very anxious to be remembered to you. He has had, or rather is having his troubles. From days ago, he was thrown through a door & fell on his head & side. There is nothing broken but he was very badly hurt & has had to keep to his bed since.

I trust by the time this reaches you that your own trouble will entirely have disappeared.

Please again give my love to Ann & accept some yourself. I seem to miss the daily sight and converse with you two more than anything else. However, we may soon be together again.

Remember me to all at Ashton & believe me to be

Yours

Ned.

We think our destination is Egypt but don’t know for certain yet.

 

 

No. 1

9th Batt. Manchester Regt
Kasr-el-Nil Barracks
CAIRO
14 Oct 1914

My dear Girls,

We are now thoroughly settled in our quarters and training is proceeding at a very satisfactory pace.

The officer’s mess is not so satisfactory. It is run by Tipton’s Lad and costs us 6/- per day. The food is not good and when it takes nearly all one’s pay to live a change is required. We are trying a new caterer next week.

The War Dept. of Egypt seems as businesslike as any other military organization. They refuse to treat us financially as if we were other than an army of occupation, which means we draw no field allowances & are actually paid 3 /- per day less than we should draw in England. However, this will have to be altered or we shall see what can be done through parliament.

I don’t know Ralph’s opinion now, but I think we have hold of the wrong end of the stick and I am certain that if both men & officers had known what was in store for them there would have been practically no volunteers for foreign service with the Territorials. Any men who wished to fight would have joined other forces.

In spite of the dissatisfaction, the extremely rigorous training is making everybody extremely smart and we are a vastly improved battalion on our Bury form. At the same time, it hardens one & annoys incidentally to start at 5am, work till 12, then march from 8pm to 12pm, & stand again at 5. This we do twice a week.

Last Saturday I had a drive round with several others & we visited the Citadel of Cairo. This teems with interest, from Joseph’s time to the time when Saladin restored & rebuilt it when military men showed us remains of Napoleon’s cannonade, for he mounted cannon on a mosque 300 yards from the Citadel gate.

Flies, mosquitoes & other things still develop, in fact, I think we have got inoculated to mosquitoes. The barracks is on the Nile & here these pests breed & develop. One day last week my servant & I killed 23 mosquitoes, full of my blood, that had got through a hole in my mosquito net. This comes of buying cheap goods. John Broadbent bought 2 nets at 5 /- each & it is as much as they are worth. My face was blotched & bumpy all over but I carefully pricked each bite & rubbed in carbolic acid. This eased them and they are quite right now.

Notes:
“Tipton’s lad” was Pte. 2086 Timothy Tipton who joined on August 7, 1914 after having previously served for 4 years in the Territorials. A collier by trade, his father was a builder and so perhaps widely known in Ashton at the time.

 

No. 2

9th Batt. Manchester Regt
Kasr-el-Nil Barracks
CAIRO
14 Oct 1914

My dear Girls,

I well remember, more years ago than I like to count, a man cleaning our front stones & one day Ann found lice on her which had come from him. Result, the man was discharged. If he had lived in these barracks he would have been rewarded for his cleanliness.

Up to the present I have been spared lice but J.B. [John Broadbent] who shares my room has not. We are having our rooms scrubbed out daily & I think we shall soon be free.

As I sit in the hall writing this, I can see half a dozen lizards running up the walls, I suppose in search of spiders and the like. The sands of the barrack square & the desert are also alive. Here ants are commonest, some very small like our own ants but others quite ¾ of an inch long. The sun may be good, but I cannot say I like its effects as well as I do in England.

We all hope, as I suppose the whole world does, that peace will soon be declared & we can leave this land. Tourists may like it as they live in luxury a short time at Shepheard’s or the Continental but I am entirely cured of any desire I had in the past of living in the East.

Let me know how you all are. I have only had one letter since leaving England. I trust that the improvement in Ralph’s health that Ann mentions continues & that the rest of you are well. Though it is only seven weeks since I left you all it seems long enough & I would give a few shillings for my usual midday meal at home.

However, what is, is & all things come to him who waits, so with the fondest love to you all, believe me to remain

Your loving brother

Ned.

 

 

9th Batt. Manchester Regt
Kasr-el-Nil Barracks
CAIRO
25th Oct 1914

My dear Ann,

Today is Sunday, our rest day which we spend in sight seeing. We have just returned from Barrage a place 10 miles from Cairo where there is a Dam for retaining the Nile floods.

Training here gets quite formal. The men and officers are improving wonderfully and you would scarcely recognise them as the raw party which left Bury.

I am glad Ralph is better and delighted to hear that he is doing useful work at the Armoury. In fact, I read in the Reporter that the battalion saluted our house in their route march.

As normal I want you to do something for me. There are all kinds of rumours as to when we shall leave here, any time being stated up to January. Personally, I don’t think we shall leave for France at all unless things get much worse for England at the front. As this is the case, I feel I should like some clothes. They are expensive & poor here. I know that I shall not be asking too much when I ask you to send my last new suit, 3 shirts, & 6 collars including some new ones.

These will come in about a fortnight and will be very acceptable.

In your last letter you let me know of Tipping’s settlement but did not say what to me is much more important, and that is how you are yourself.

When you next write be sure to tell me this as your health as you know is not what it might have been.

I should like to hear too from Ralph. He is often mentioned in the mess & Major Connery seems especially glad that he had looked after his young son.

Please remember me to Miss Idle & Miss Whitehead & all others. Both officers and men will be delighted to hear from him.

I remain

Your affectionate brother

Ned.

Notes:
The reference to Major Connery’s young son is probably a reference to assistance provided by Capt. Lees to Arthur William Field Connery receiving his commission in the battalion after returning home from Argentina.

 

 

9th Batt. Manchester Regt
Kasr-el-Nil Barracks
CAIRO
1st Nov 1914

My dear Girls,

We are still quartered here & have no information as to what will be our next move.

Yesterday we learned that Russia had declared war on Turkey and there seems some likelihood of us having trouble here. The Egyptian Army mobilised and it is said that the Dervishes are gathering in the desert near Khartoum. This may or may not be true, but on Thursday night we worked from 11pm to 4am and there were to be no parades on Friday. About 12 an order came from headquarters that no one must leave the barracks until further notice & we are cooped up here like a lot of criminals. Moreover, we have got up a full defence scheme of the barracks & of Cairo. Many Indian troops including camel corps are coming to Cairo, so it seems as if something might happen.

On Saturday we had a divisional route march, all carrying ammunition. The men looked excellent and no one would have imagined that we were a citizen army.

Cairo is a place that grows on one. As I have got to know it better, I like it and now we have got accustomed to the food and heat all is well.

I can imagine Ann here, enjoying herself as is her custom in the summer fly killing. There are millions and millions & the more you try to knock them off your face, the more they return to the attack. The natives seem to take no notice of them at all.

Mosquitoes are not now so bothersome. We seem to have got inoculated & the bites merely appear as red spots now our room too is clean, thanks to daily washing out with IZAL and the use of tons & tons of Keatings.

For food we have porridge, fish & omelets for breakfast, decent meal & cheese for lunch & a quite reasonable dinner. The fruit we get is rather disappointing and fruit is unfortunately the chief vehicle for the conveyance of typhoid.

Letters come here badly & I am sure there must be some on the way, in fact there must be many travelling both ways. Up to the time of writing I have received 4 only so if you receive several from me in a bunch don’t be surprised.

I hope to be with you all at Christmas but don’t think it possible now unless the war suddenly collapses which seems unlikely.

Let me know how you all are from time to time, don’t blame me for not sending more items of interest – there are none here – and believe me to remain

Your loving brother

Ned.

For Ralph Ernest & Bob:

Beer very dear & bad. 1/- 3d per bottle
Whisky good. Usual brands. 2/- 6d per bottle
Soda Eng. 6d per bottle. Native 1d

Too warm to drink before sundown.

Cigarettes good. Cigars rotten

Notes:
1. IZAL disinfectant was manufactured by Newton, Chambers and Company, Ltd. of Sheffield.
2. Keating’s Powder was used to kill bugs & fleas.
3. Ralph, Ernest & Bob were Ned’s three brothers-in-law.

 

 

Kasr-el-Nil Barracks
CAIRO
22nd Nov 1914

My dear Girls,

Since I last wrote to you there seems to have been no change in the military situation in Europe. Cairo is very quiet, but North of Suez we are at present in touch with the Turkish troops.

Along with my Company, I spent last week under canvas on the desert at Abassia where there are shooting ranges. I did not exactly qualify as a marksman though practice may rectify this.

It is very hot still during the day, but at night, on the desert it gets bitterly cold, in fact, almost freezing. These extremes are causing much sickness & make Egypt an ideal place for pneumonia.

Tomorrow we are going into the desert towards Memphis in a three days trek. We carry all our food & water with us, bivouac in the desert, and I anticipate, generally have a rotten time.

Much fun has been caused by the letters which appear in the Reporter. Wade played Hamlet with Shaw & Wood because their people had been foolish enough to let the Reporter man see their letters, & then to crown all one of his own appears via Brownson.

It is also amusing to read the lies told by some of our men about shooting Arabs, etc. These descendants of Munchausen have been unmercifully chaffed by their messmates that I think the punishment fits the crime.

As a battalion we are receiving a tremendous amount of unwelcome attention from the brigade staff. The Brigadier seems to have made a dead set at the 9th, and I feel sorry for Wade. He is so worried that he is getting nervy and completely out of sorts. These are the times when I feel there is a not inconsiderable advantage in being a junior sub.

The hard graft is unsettling many others. Hilton has been in bed this week & Egbert Howorth is so ill that he has been sent to Helwan for a few days.  He has been ill now for a month & does not seem able to get well.

Personally, I am fit & full of energy. I can march with the best and after a hard day’s tramp frequently play ten sets of tennis; and from this I feel less discomfort than I did at twenty.

Since writing the first two pages I have made arrangements for food for the trek. We shall have bread and bully beef the first day, & the second & third days bully beef and biscuits. We are also taking a large quantity of cheese. Not such a masonic banquet, is it? Still, we keep on keeping on, and like hard labour it does one a power of good.

I am getting to the end of my paper and must therefore conclude by again wishing you all everything that is good. I am afraid I shall not be home by Christmas but I assure you that you are never out of the thoughts of

Your loving brother

Ned.

Notes:
Major Arthur Hilton was the battalion’s Medical Officer. He died in Egypt on March 4, 1915. Ned and Major Hilton both belonged to the Minerva Masonic Lodge in Ashton.

 

 

Kasr-el-Nil Barracks
CAIRO
2nd Dec 1914

My dear Ann,

I received your parcel today. Everything was quite in order including the chocolates for which I thank you most kindly. It was quite characteristic of you and brought home to me most vividly the innumerable little kindnesses which you were daily doing for me when I was at home.

We have had a rather rough though enjoyable week since I last wrote you. Our Company was ordered to go on a trek in the desert, and we departed carrying what we could on the backs of 12 camels. We managed to put in our valises and sleeping bags with one blanket each for the men. At night when we bivouacked, we dug a hole in the ground and nestled together. For food we took tinned meat, tinned jam, biscuits, cheese & butter. Bread was only taken for one day as it does not keep & we also had water for one day and a plentiful supply of tea,

As usual we forgot to look after officer’s canteens and we were forced to cut our own food up with our knives & drink out of empty condensed milk tins.

After the first day we were only able to get filtered Nile water & I disgusted our cooks by making them boil this for half an hour before making tea.

The desert in the day is extremely hot but at night it grows so cold as to freeze. No rain had fallen since we arrived in Egypt but we got it the first night and as we lay there was a regular downpour. This did not affect me in the slightest but I am sorry to say that Frank Hamer at once began to complain of pain in the side and since we returned, he has developed pleurisy and is now at the Citadel Hospital, doing as well as can be expected. Nearly every other officer has been ill though we were the only Company to go on the trek. Egbert Howorth has had a complete breakdown. He is now at Helwan and seems making a slight improvement, though he was very much down in the dumps when I saw him last Sunday. Another officer, Cooke is in hospital with scarlet fever & Hilton & Wade have also been ill. Up to now I have not been on the list.

We are making arrangements for 20,000 troops from Australia and shall shortly leave here for Abassia where we shall start Divisional training.

I should like Ralph to get out, when he has time, how much it has cost him to replace the many things I took from his kit and reimburse himself from any money which may come in for me.

Your last letter seems quite cheerful and I am glad of it.

I intend having my photograph taken as soon as I can get out and will let you all have one for Christmas. It seems funny to talk of Christmas with the sun blazing hot at mid-day but it is quite on the cards by six o’ clock. It is this extreme variation of temperature which is giving us much trouble.

There is no real news here of the war, for what we get in the papers is obviously cooked. It seems to me the 9th will be a long time before it gets into action, though the trains of wounded which come in from time to time prove to us that fighting is going on not far away in Sinai.

Keep up your spirits old girl and look after yourself. You can rest assured I am now quite capable of looking after myself. Give my love to Ralph and the girls – may we all meet soon – and believe me to remain

Your loving brother

Ned.

P.S. I learn that we shall be at Abassia Barracks for Christmas, so address any letters.

9th Batt. Man Reg.
Cairo

 

 

Kasr-el-Nil Barracks
Cairo
6th Dec 1914

My dear Girls,

I wish you all at home a most happy Christmas.

I hoped to be home with you but instead shall spend the holiday on Divisional Training. The 9th has been allotted the main Barracks, Abassia, Cairo and we take over next Monday. These quarters are no improvement on our present ones. The rooms are unfurnished, and the men will have to sleep on the floor. I don’t suppose they will mind a bit – they seem to be able to do anything now.

I learn from letters from Ashton that I have been ill and am being invalided home. This may be sarcastic, but I don’t like it as I think I have the cleanest bill of health of all the officers.

You will be pleased to learn that Frank Hamer has completely recovered from his illness. He returned from hospital last Monday and seems thoroughly himself again.

I hoped to get a photograph taken for you for Christmas, but have not had time up to now. As soon as possible I will have one taken.

The things enclosed are worked by natives in the bazaars. I saw one of the trays finished and it is quite interesting to see the men inlay the silver.

Ralph, Ernest & Bob must wait till I can find anything for them, but I give them my heartiest good wishes. Ned will have to wait also. They don’t seem to do anything for children here but manufacture them, and in this they are distinctly successful.

The table centres I hope you will like. The small things I took after debating on the price in a manner Egyptian, for discount.

We know nothing of our future work but whatever I get, and whatever may happen, I hope you will all enjoy yourselves as much as you can, and 1915 may see us all reunited in one happy family.

Again, Good Luck to you all

Yours

Ned.

 

 

Abassia Main Barracks
Cairo
26th Dec 1914

My dear Ralph,

I got your most welcome news of Ann two days ago. It was rather funny. Two letters form you came in the same batch & I read the one in which you said she was convalescent first. The house must have resembled a hospital, but I think that you were wise in employing a nurse.

We finish our brigade training on Wednesday and return to Kasr-el-Nil on Thursday. The training has been extremely hard as we have had a march of from 5 to 7 miles each day to the rendezvous. Much improvement has been shown by all units, but there still remains in my opinion great room for far more.

On Christmas Day we gave the men a good feed. The Mayor sent £80 and we gave them a good do. The men thoroughly enjoyed themselves and there were very few sober when the job was completed. It seemed to do them good to let themselves go and all were becoming a bit stale with the continuous training. Today sports are being held for the Military and we should put up a decent show at them.

I am very sorry that you seem so unsettled at the Armoury, but you have the consolation that no one in this war has a bed of roses. Goodness knows we have enough to do and quite as much as we are physically capable of, and in addition to this there is nothing but harassing criticism from the brigade staff.

Wade sprained a muscle in his leg last week while running after a mule that had broken loose and he has had to be up for some days. I think he is now fairly on the way towards recovery.

The State Express Cigarettes arrived safely on Xmas Eve. They were good and I much appreciate them.

I do hope Ann will take care of herself now that she is on the way to recovery. No doubt she is worried about things in general but rest will do her the most good. I trust that she will soon be able to carry on as usual.

You seem to have had some trouble with Tipping’s affairs. Don’t bother about these things please. They can wait for some time at any rate. If the Promissory Note is of any value, you will find it on the right-hand drawer of my dressing table. Ann has my keys.

As regards what will happen to us, I cannot give you any information. We are, I think, where we shall stay for some time, if not to the end of the war. There are 30,000 Australian troops in Cairo. They are men of fine physique but seem to be almost undisciplined. These will, in my opinion, be sent on to the front when they have finished training and we shall remain.

Of course, we are seeing something of the war from the Bedouin & Turkish forces. A fortnight ago an engineer officer & seven men who crossed with us on the Aragon and who were quartered at Kasr-el-Nil, were all killed by an explosion on the Suez Canal. We only know if their deaths and no explanation of the manner in which they died is forthcoming.

The news which we get is very poor and unreliable. The papers are always stating that great victories have been achieved and correcting the news the next day, so that we don’t know where we are.

Last Sunday part of the battalion – in which I was included – took part in the ceremony of annexation of Egypt when the Khedive was deposed & Sultan Hassan placed in the throne. It was not much of a ceremony but historically very important and nice to be at.

You don’t say in your letter how you are keeping yourself. I trust you have had no return of your trouble and that you are now quite well.

Give Ann my love. I often think of you both & wish I were back in peaceful Ashton. I feel well, keep very fit indeed, and don’t altogether dislike soldiering.

I again wish you all the good things I can & remain

Yours as ever

Ned.

 

 

Abassia Barracks
29th Jany 1915

My dear Ralph,

I was delighted to receive your letter of the 10th yesterday.

With regard to the business portion. I apologize for, & at the same time heartily thank you for the trouble you have taken for me, and you have just done what I should have suggested if on the spot. The result of the half year’s divi is excellent & I hope all participants realise as well as I do, how much they have to thank Ann for this. I enclose the signed form & hope you will carry on your suggestion of transfer of cash.

I suppose we finished our divisional training yesterday. It has been decidedly trying. On one day we travelled over 26 miles of sand & stones to & from the maneuvering ground, & the next day over 20 – that is those who were left, for the men had to fall out by the score & one of the 5th [Manchesters] died the same night of heart failure. Things now seem to have been a steadier & last week’s work has been fairly easy.

We go under canvas tomorrow at Heliopolis, a few miles from Cairo, in readiness I think for rapid transit to the Suez Canal if we are required. Some of our division, the 7th Fusiliers are there now, and our artillery was in action two days ago, so that things are getting lively. All officers throughout the training carry their equipment & carry rifles, so that with revolvers, etc. we shall be able to give a Standout Exhibition on our return and I think one and all have had quite sufficient of military life.

You will be sorry to hear that Archbutt is in hospital suffering with gall stones. I don’t think he will see much more service & he seems to be ageing rapidly.

There are many more things I wish to tell you when I have time & I am now waiting to hand over the barracks to the 10th, so I have enough in hand.

Be sure to draw from my a/c the money I owe to you for kit, etc. Don’t forget this.

Tell Ann how glad I am she is on the improve & no one will be more glad to return home than I will.

Yours

Ned.

P.S. Hope you enjoyed the St. John.

Notes:
1. Ned’s father died in 1900 leaving £5,277 to his widow, daughters Ann and Bertha, and Son Ned. It would appear that some or all of this money was invested and paid a bi-annual dividend.

2. Major William Henry Archbutt suffered a heart attack and died in Egypt on February 8, 1915 after a short stay in hospital.

 

 

Heliopolis Camp
Cairo
1st Feb 1915

My dear Ann,

Your letter arrived today and I was not surprised to hear that Jack had joined the Lancers. What I don’t like about the job is his manner of going. I really don’t know what to suggest as the best course, for I do not know details, but I fear that his affairs must have got in a bad state indeed. Do not excite yourself and above anything else, don’t throw away money needlessly for the benefit of wholesale firms with whom an arrangement can be made. In fact, I should let Ethel & the Staffords take the matter in hand and you and Ralph keep out of it. I wish I were home to do something myself.

There may be enough to pay all his debts, at least there should be except amounts owing to his wife’s relatives & us & I think the splitting up of that home was certain to come sooner or later.

Jack has never written to me. I think even with his easy-going temperament he feels at times a trifle ashamed. Doubtless soldiering will suit him, for the existence is easy when the physical fatigue is taken out. At any rate, he has shown some pluck in joining the army & it is much better than if he had just disappeared.

Today’s paper tells of submarine raids near Liverpool & we seem to be a long way from Tipperary yet. At the same time, I should not be surprised if things collapsed rapidly as soon as our armies can begin the advance.

The weather here is lovely at present. Rather unpleasantly hot in the day time – about 90o – and I think that summer on the desert, as we are at present, will be almost unbearable.

Ralph seemed more cheerful in his last letter & I hope he will go on taking things as they come & not all he can as he always does. You sound better yourself and must take all the care you can. Get away as much as you can. The half year divi was splendid & to think that this income has been frittered away by Jack makes me angry. Still, I suppose one cannot keep money & spend it.

Give my love to all my friends & relatives & keep as much as you are able to yourself. All things will come out right in the end if we have luck.

Goodbye, I think of you often & often both during the night & the day & pray that you may soon get back your health & strength.

Yours

Ned.

Notes:
“Jack” is Ned and Ann’s youngest brother John James Stringer. Jack married Sarah Ethel Stafford in 1911 and evidently the marriage had its issues. Jack joined the 17th Lancers and first deployed overseas to France on September 30, 1915. He survived the war but his marriage did not.

 

 

Heliopolis Camp
Cairo
4th Mar 1915

My dear Ann,

Your letter arrived yesterday and I am extremely glad to learn that you have been able to stand the very trying time that must have undergone.

I hope Ralph is not sent out here. His great determination and strength of mind, which he has especially shown since war broke out, would carry him a long way, but Egypt is no place to send a man in the hot season. OKell wishes to stop now and of course you will know whether the change has to take place before you receive this.

Poor Albert Hilton, as you know, died yesterday and we have buried him in the English cemetery at Old Cairo today. He has not shown any sign of improvement since we left England but has had many days of sickness from time to time. Last Sunday he went to the Canal battlefield, returned to Camp about midnight & on Monday he was taken with what was thought to be enteric fever. He was removed to hospital on Wednesday and he died Thursday from meningitis, so that his old complaint claimed him at last. I shall miss him much as he & I have been very pally since we came here & such men cannot be replaced.

As regards other things, the socks have given general delight to all the men with the exception of Golightly. I have told him three times to call for them & he has not yet been. I need sincerely say that, unless he has a good explanation to give, he will get no socks.

Jack has written me. He said nothing of his affairs at home. I know Ernest will deal well with matters and the loss must go by the board. We must not be then skinned & foolish but let matters take their course for this job would have come on with or without the war.

As regards school matters, do not excite yourself more than you can & remember this, no loss is sufficient to cause any one on earth to weaken in any degree the frail hold which we have on life. Let things go on & ask Ernest & Bob to act for you if Ralph is away. They will manage things.

Now Ann you seem to be bearing up well. Keep on and we shall all pull through. If Ralph is not with you, give him my love & all the good wishes I can express. For myself I am very well but I shall be glad to again see you all.

Believe me, dear Ann, to remain

Your loving brother

Ned.

Notes:
1. Captain OKell’s first and only son died after a few months of life in early 1915 without OKell ever having seen him. He struggled to deal with this and was eventually invalided from Gallipoli to England suffering from a mental breakdown. The reference in this letter is the first indication of the mental strain he was under.

2. “Golightly” is Pte. 1345 Eric Golightly.

 

 

Shepheard’s Hotel
Cairo
11th April 1915

My dear Ann,

I was very pleased to hear this morning that Ralph has been given another job and is not coming to Egypt. Your letter, along with one from Ralph reached Camp yesterday & I am sure that neither you nor he will be sorry that he is to remain in England.

We are under orders to move to the Canal and we expect to go in a day or two. The Turks are again massing & we are to occupy the defending trenches. This is not a pleasant prospect for summer, for today it is 83o F in the shade & the sun feels to burn one up.

I still keep well & wish I could have a weekend with you all.

Ernest has written me & he seems to be fairly worried to death with ill health, Jack’s business & other things. I am sorry I cannot be present to give a hand at arranging things, for it seems a great deal for Ernest to tackle alone, although I am sure things could not have been put in better hands.

There is little news here to tell either about the war or anything else. Training still goes on; we march up the hill & down again daily & sleep out on the desert from time to time. I enjoy greatly, in a manner, the outdoor life, but it feels nice on Sundays to come to this hotel & do oneself well just for a change.

Food is good here & something like one gets in England & there are few flies. In Camp there are so many of these now that life is almost unbearable.

I hope you are feeling better though your letter shows me that you are not so grand. You must keep up, whatever happens, as well as you possibly can. Ralph will doubtless get an opening with the new 3rd Batt. I hope he gets his Majority for this he fully deserves. Now that he is not coming here, tell him how glad I am, for I am convinced that he would never have been able to stand the terrible heat without a gradual toasting such as we have had.

Remember me to Miss Idle & Miss Whitehead. At any rate you are blessed with friends to give you kindly help while we are away. Don’t worry & let matters take their course & believe me all will be well in the end.

Au revoir, I wish I were just coming in for my Sunday dinner. Good Luck to you both & believe me to remain

Yours as ever

Ned.

 

 

Egypt
28 Apl 1915

Dear Ann,

We are now really on active service and – why I don’t know but it is an army order – we have on no account to disclose our position.

I may say however that apart from the risks of a bullet the place is much healthier & cooler than Cairo was. Our work is lighter, and I feel much less compunction in facing the summer heat than I did before.

We are living on men’s rations plus some imported tinned goods and I think this is better than eating so much a la stuff from a caterer. At any rate, it suits me & I feel as well now as I ever did in my life.

I received a letter from Ernest a few days ago. He deserves our many thanks, for he seems to have worked well in the interests of us all – Good luck to him.

Bertha says on a p/c that they have been with Janet & Bob and seemingly had a nice time; but the most welcome thing she says is that you are better in health. I am glad of it – let the good work go on apace.

In yesterday’s orders it stated that Ralph had landed in Egypt and would forthwith join us. How the error arose I can’t make out, but during my temporary absence from the mess, bets were freely exchanged, settlement following when I appeared on the scene. I do hope his health is better but from what Harold Hyde & Frank Marland have written me I doubt it. I did hope his operation would have made a wonderful difference but doubtless his many worries have upset him. At least he has the good wishes of all.

Now Ann don’t worry. We are all in the lap of the gods & can take anything that comes however unforeseen. I think of you many times a day & very often in our dark lonely night vigils but all will come out right. Believe me to remain

Yours as ever

Ned.

 

 

Egypt
2nd May 1915

Dear Ann,

We have not had a very long stay on the Canal. The Turks have retreated again towards El Arish and I think they will be some time before they again attack the Canal.

This must also be the view of the authorities for we are on the move again. This time we go somewhere near the Dardanelles & I suppose our experiences of this terrible war will get worse & worse. However, we can only hope for the best but many must be left behind in Turkey. We have no use for many things and the amount of luggage we are allowed is decidedly limited, so that I thought it best to send home my mufti & other goods.

I am glad Ralph is not here. Food & water are bad. The best food is tinned stuff & our water is got in canals from the Nile & filtered. Needless to say, the health of the men is fair only & to add to our discomfort there are millions & millions of flies. I don’t think our new move will make us any worse from a health standpoint.

My letters will now be few & far between but if anybody gets through, I think I shall.

I suppose I am suffering from a bit of home sickness, but I should so like to see you all once again. Still, this cannot be and I give you all my best wishes & love from the far-off desert. I have had a rough time since I left you all, but all things have only brought home to me our mutual love which will continue to the end of time.

Good luck to you all & may we meet again soon.

Believe me, dear Ann, to remain

Yours as ever

Ned.

 

 

Mediterranean Expeditionary Force
May 28, 1915

My Dear Bert,

Your welcome letter arrived today and as I am “resting”, so called, I have time to reply. We have been three weeks here & during this time I have lived many lives. We saw a bit of fighting on the Canal and then came on here. As we arrived, we found the whole British fleet in action and hundreds of guns replying. I never realised how real Belle Vue fireworks were but this bombardment which I suppose is the biggest that has happened in the history of the world was terrible.

At any rate the army is now well fixed up on land. When we landed, we were heavily shelled & an old South African soldier said he had seen more shells aimed at us in 10 mins than he saw in the whole South Africa war.

We advanced and occupied trenches and all through the night realised what rifle and maxim fire was. Later, we dug ourselves in the earth and then lived in dug-outs in the earth for some days. At last, we occupied the firing line & at the end of five days when we could not sleep, my company was given the job of making an advance. Each man took a pick and shovel and we rushed out in front and began to dig a trench 150 yards forward. We of course got head cover as soon as we could and by 2am were fairly well established though machine guns tried their best to remove our cover and get us at all points. We struck a spring about 3am and the water got above our knees and to add to our discomfort a heavy storm broke over us.

We worked on however, as only men who fear the worst can and they could not relieve us until 3pm next day. During those 30 hours I lived a lifetime and the feeling came that anything was preferable to a continuance of things. Now in the rest camp in delightful sunshine by the sea in a country resembling Marple things seem brighter.

Of our many casualties and trials, I will say nothing but I think all actually fighting & realising what war is, want peace – peace with honour but not too unbending an attitude.

Of the many thousands of England’s best lives lost I say nothing but no one can realise what privations men on service have to go through.

Give my love to all & may we meet sometime again.

This serves as a reply to all letters. As regards business matters, they must go by the board. I am in agreement with any action taken. Money matters so little now that it might not exist at all.

Again, I give you all my love & hope to meet you again before very long.

Ever Yours, dear Bert

Ned.

Tell Ann the paper may be a bit faded before I see Trafalgar Square.

 

 

—— Reg
Mediterranean Expeditionary Force
Alexandria
June 7, 1915

Dear Ralph,

It is my painful duty to inform you that Ned was killed in action on the evening of 7th inst.

On the morning of the 7th our Co. was ordered to charge the enemy & clear them out of two trenches in front of the firing line.

On the left were other troops not belonging to our Bn. who had a similar task to perform.

Capt. Hamer and Wade were to charge one trench and Ned & I the other trench.

I was posted a little to the left to give the signal for the advance.

I gave the signal shortly after 7:30 and with a mighty cheer our troops advanced.

Immediately the enemy opened a terrific rifle and maxim fire but Ned & I succeeded in reaching the trench. Unfortunately, the enemy were able to open enfilade fire which made the trench absolutely untenable.

We had to retire but only about four of us succeeded in doing so to safety.

Hamer and Wade were subject to cross fire and poor Hamer fell before he had reached the trench. Wade succeeded in capturing the trench and held it until about 2 in the morning. I was of [the] opinion that this trench would be enfiladed as soon as dawn came and ordered the men to vacate the trench.

All the Bn was shocked at the terrible news. Ned had made himself a favourite with the men and also with his brother officers.

We all send to you our deepest sympathy.

I may add that we had 18 or 19 killed and 25 wounded out of 120.

I will write you again in a few days’ time.

I am

Yours very Sincerely

G. H. Okell, Capt.

Notes:
A slightly edited version of this letter was published in the Ashton Report on June 26, 1915. This is the original unedited version.

 

 

Mediterranean Expeditionary Force
July 30, 1915

We got the order to attack two saps leading to a gully, about 7 o’ clock pm and we were to attack at 7:30. There was no time for preliminaries, and I never saw Noel after about 6:30. The Company moved to position, and I was ordered to go down the sap which lay on the left with my cousin Ned and his men. This sap met the other sap to be taken, in the gully. Both saps and gully were occupied by Turks, and we were informed that another party was to clear the gully before we attacked. This attack was not successful, and led to our heavy casualties. Capt. Hamer, Lt. Wade, and Noel’s men, and Joe Harrop’s men, went over the top and stormed the other trench across the open. We had just to nip over the parapet into our sap, one after another. Ours seemed an easy job, but a little lower down it turned out a bit of a death trap, and when I got to the bottom, after stepping over one or two, and passing out one or two wounded, cousin Ned, who was then hit in the shoulder, ordered us back. A maxim gun was firing up the sap out of the gully, and another was firing up the other sap, and of course the two fires crossed at the bottom. Out of those who got past the cross fire, only two: Eaton and a chap called Kenna, returned unhurt out of nearly twenty. I came out immediately Ned ordered me back, as there was no more cover near, and to tell the truth I don’t know how I managed without being hit.

It was some time before the other sap was opened to the trench, and I was able to obtain any information of the remainder. They had fared very little better than our party, and as there were more of them, they had too, a good number of hits. Amongst those who had failed to gain the small cover afforded was Noel. Where he was in the charge I don’t know, except that he was on the left of the Captain. And now the only thing that has worried me is this. We have not been able to recover any of the killed, and we don’t know whether they are still lying in the open or not. I should like to have seen them decently buried, but it is out of the question now, unfortunately, and it will be impossible to get any article from their clothing to send home.

From our point of view the object to be gained, was the thing, and although only partially successful, the Turks have not ventured there since, so I understand.

[237 CQMS Henry Stringer]

Notes:
1244 Sgt. Walter Steuart Eaton. Discharged to commission in 1917.
1389 Pte. Charles Kenna. Discharged in 1916 no longer fit for active duty.
1125 Sgt. Noel Duncan Braithwaite. KiA June 7, 1915.
1126 Sgt. Joseph Cox Harrop. Discharged to commission in 1917.

 

 

Gallipoli

9th Dec, 1915

Dear Cousin Ann,

I received your welcome letter on 4th Nov two days ago, and saw Potter yesterday, and he showed me a letter from his sister informing him that you had kindly called and paid the £4. Potter wishes me to thank you very much for your kindness in the matter.

Ned certainly had a deal of money with him when we were knocked about in June. Before we went into action, he asked me to pay his servant what he owed him, and said he had several pounds in his pocket. From that day to this, we have not been able to approach the spot where most of the men lie, and only a short time ago I sent a Sgt to the place to make enquiries, but no results came. We have a rumour that the bodies of several have been recovered and buried, but we can get no definite news from the troops now occupying that position of the line. It is possible that at one place a few bodies could have been recovered, as a new sap has been dug, but Ned was not in that neighbourhood. I shall persist in my enquiries, because in addition to Ned, I must try to find something of Noel Braithwaite and some of the others whose mothers have written to me for information.

I sincerely trust that Jack will come through safely. It’s a terrible war, and few families now are not touched by it. However, we are fighting for home, and for those who are dear to us, and not least of all, for those who are coming after us, and we must bear all to win through in the end.

All at Colwyn seem to keep pretty well, and I have sent your kind remembrances along. By this time, it is possible mother has been over in Ashton. The last letter I had said she was thinking of coming over, and if so, I hope you have seen her.

All of us out here fully recognise the good work Ralph has done, and the draft men all speak highly of him, and this in spite of his superior officer, who seems very well known and is disliked indeed. I am sorry his illness still keeps a hold on him, and I am afraid his quality of being a glutton at the good work he is doing, won’t help him much. He does too much and I should certainly like him to be in the pink to welcome us home, which he will not be if he insists on taking too much work on his hands. Can’t you get him away on leave for a month?

The sooner we get compulsion, the better it will be, and I for one would like to see a few Stamford Street M.N.C. out here, just to tame them a bit, and let them realize what life really means.

The old officers still decline, and of those who were in the Battalion before mobilization only Major Connery and Capt. Woodhouse are left.

Major Connery wishes to be remembered kindly to Ralph and yourself.

With kindest regards, and best wishes for Christmas and the coming year.

Yours Very Truly

H. Stringer

 

Acknowledgement:

These letters and personal papers have been transcribed from originals held at the Imperial War Museum.  They are provided here under Non Commercial Use License and remain the copyright of the IWM.

They are catalogued here at the IWM but note that they are misnamed and somewhat inaccurately described.

Aspinall-Oglander

Military operations : Gallipoli. Vol. 2.
by Cecil Faber Aspinall-Oglander; A F Becke.

Chapter XIII. The Action of the 6th/7th August at Helles

It has already been shown that Sir Ian Hamilton’s plan demanded nothing more from the VIII Corps at the opening of the August offensive than a series of holding attacks.

The initial attack was to be a small operation to flatten out the Turkish salient astride the two forks of Kirte Dere. This entailed the capture of a network of short trenches and strongpoints, on a frontage of approximately one mile. Owing to the limited amount of artillery available, the operation was divided into two halves. The northern half of the objective was to be captured by the 88th Brigade (29th Division) on the evening of the 6th. The southern half would be taken by the 125th and 127th Brigades (42nd Division) on the morning of the 7th. Both attacks would be supported, under corps arrangements, by every gun and howitzer that could be brought to bear, and also, under divisional arrangements, by fire from massed machine guns.1 Naval support would be available once more, for the sailors, rising as usual to the occasion, had organized a squadron of special ships, more or less immune to submarine attack, to help the army with their fire2.

It was expected that by this method of dividing the operation into two halves the weight of artillery available would enable both parts of the objective to be taken with comparatively little trouble; and in full anticipation of success, the VIII Corps had completed plans for further and more extended operations to be undertaken on subsequent days. So great, indeed, was the confidence at corps headquarters that the intentions of the Commander-in-Chief with regard to the limited role of the VIII Corps were apparently overlooked, and on the morning of the 6th August a special corps order referred to the early capture of Krithia and Achi Baba:

The attack today is the first stage of operations which will, it is hoped, at last carry us on to the position for which all ranks have so hardly fought since the landing … It is now the beginning of a fresh year of war, and it is hoped that the advance of the VIII Corps will be the turning-point, and the capture of Krithia and Achi Baba the first steps towards the final victory.

These were rash words. In point of fact, the amount of high-explosive shells at Helles was entirely inadequate for the first day’s task.

Here it should be noticed that since the invaliding of General Hunter-Weston the VIII Corps had had only a titular commander. It was commanded for a few days in July by General Stopford, who had only just arrived from England and knew nothing of local conditions. After Stopford’s departure to open his own corps headquarters at Imbros, Major-General Douglas of the 42nd Division had assumed temporary command.3 Thus throughout the preparations for the attack, and during the actual fighting on the 6th and 7th of August, an unusual amount of authority was wielded by the senior staff officer of the corps, Br-General H. E. Street, who had been General Hunter-Weston’s right-hand man since the 25th April. This very capable officer had one blind spot: he could not bring himself to admit the increasing difficulties that confronted the troops at the southern end of the peninsula.

The function of a staff officer is to assist his chief, and to advice when asked to do so, but the responsibility for decisions belongs to the chief alone. For this reason a staff officer’s opinion is often more care-free than that of a commander, and many a chief of staff might find his confidence abating were he to suddenly find himself placed in high command.

For the attack on the afternoon of the 6th August, Br.-General D. E. Cayley (88th Brigade) had the 4/Worcestershire on the right, the 2/Hampshire in the centre, the 1/Essex on the left, and the 1/5th Royal Scots in brigade reserve. The task of the Worcestershire was limited to the capture of the Turkish front-line trench H.13. It was a difficult task, however for here the breadth of No Man’s Land was at least 300 yards, and the assaulting troops were likely to be enfiladed from both flanks. To protect their right as much as possible, it had been arranged that one battalion of the 42nd Division (the 1/5th Manchester Regiment) should simultaneously advance against two small trenches on the right bank of West Krithia Nullah,4 called H.11a and H.11b.

Order of Battle
From Military operations : Gallipoli. Vol. 2, Aspinall-Oglander

The task of the 2/Hampshire, in the centre of the line, was more difficult still. The battalion’s objective included two lines of trenches and a formidable strong-point. On the left, the 1/Essex had a shorter distance to go and could attack its objective from two sides. But the Essex too had a double row of trenches to capture, including a small redoubt.

The heavy artillery was to begin a slow bombardment at 2:20pm; the field artillery and the machine guns were to join in an hour later; and the infantry assault was to be launched at ten minutes to four.

The morning of the 6th August was fine and clear, with scarcely a breath of wind. The 1/5th Manchesters had moved into the front line overnight, and soon after daybreak the 88th Brigade filed up the communication trenches to relieve the 86th Brigade in the battalion sectors known as Hampshire Cut, Essex Knoll, and Worcestershire Flat.5

By 8am the assaulting troops were all in their assembly positions, and then followed a wait of over seven hours for the moment of assault to arrive. The day was oppressively hot, and there was little or no shade. All ranks, however, were in good spirits. In the 88th Brigade the three assaulting battalions had lately been brought up to war strength with well-trained drafts from home,6 and each battalion was going into action with 24 officers and over 800 men. Encouraged by this recent accession of strength, braced by their short rest at Mudros, and heartened by the corps belief that Achi Baba could really be captured at last, the “old hands” of the brigade were quietly confident about the relatively small task required of them that day.

The Turks had been unusually quiet of late in the Helles sector, and their only activity since the beginning of the month had been a half-hearted raid on the British line at Fusilier Bluff on the morning of 2nd August. But their silence can now be explained: they were saving ammunition for the big attack they had long been warned to expect. No hint had yet reached them that an attack at Helles was imminent, but all preparations had been made to meet eventualities and the Turkish battle-front in the south was well organized and prepared.7 It is now known, moreover, that the trenches astride the Krithia nullahs were regarded by the Turks as the most likely locality for a small British attack.

Within a few seconds of the opening of the British bombardment it was answered by heavy and sustained fire from the enemy’s batteries.8 Considerable casualties were sustained in the crowded British trenches; all the telephone lines from battalion to brigade were cut; communication trenches were badly knocked about; and two British guns were put out of action. General Davies,9 who was watching the operation as a spectator, has placed it on record that, fresh from the Western front, he was “horrified” at the total inadequacy of the British “bombardment”.

Punctually at 3:5opm the infantry surged forward to the assault. For the first few seconds all appeared to be going well. The troops in the centre disappeared over the low crest about 50 yards beyond the British line with practically no loss; the Essex on the left and the Manchesters on the right were seen to reach the nearest Turkish trenches with hardly a casualty; and watchers in the rear were soon reporting that the objectives had all been taken.

But the truth, as soon realized by 88th Brigade headquarters, though not by higher formations till many hours later, was altogether different. The strength of the Turkish defensive organization had been gravely miscalculated. A few minutes after zero hour the 88th Brigade had been shattered.

By a counter-attack from West Krithia Nullah the Manchesters on the right were soon driven from the trench which they had captured. On the left the Essex came under a withering fire as soon as they tried to move forward from the Turkish front line, and after losing very heavily, especially among their officers, were forced to give ground.

In the centre, long before the Worcestershire and the Hampshire could cross the broad expanse of No-Man’s Land in front of them, the Turks had re-manned their positions,10 and the troops were met by a devastating machine gun fire from the front and both flanks. Very few unwounded men succeeded in reaching the enemy’s trenches, and those who did were soon attacked by overwhelming numbers. At the end of an hour the only British still holding out in this part of the line were 30 men of the Worcestershire under a sergeant. Their numbers dwindled and after nightfall the twelve survivors withdrew to their own lines.

The Turkish position was now everywhere intact except in the extreme left, where some of the Essex, under Captain H. R. Bowen, clung to a corner of H.12a till relieved an hour before dawn by two platoons of the Dublin Fusiliers.

The casualties of the 88th Brigade amounted to nearly 2,000 out of the 3,000 engaged.

Br.-General Cayley was early conscious of the failure of the attack; but, in the absence of detailed news, his reports were not credited, and at divisional and corps headquarters it was long before this grave situation was fully realized.11 So few officers amongst the attacking troops were still alive that no messages were coming in, and it was only when wounded and unwounded began to trickle back after dark that it became possible to piece together an intelligible story from their disjointed and contradictory reports.

At 7pm, believing that the Essex and Worcestershire were in possession of a large portion of their objectives, General de Lisle decided to capture the intervening portion of the Turkish line, including the strong-point to the left of the Worcestershire objective, with a night attack by the 86th Brigade.12 Thereupon the Brigadier of the 86th went forward to the advanced headquarters of the 88th, sent for the commanders of the Royal Munster and Royal Dublin Fusiliers, and told them to take their battalions to the old British front line, and to be ready to assault at 9:30pm, after a short artillery bombardment; the actual hour of attack to be notified later. At 8:30pm, it was decided to postpone this attack till half past ten. Orders to this effect reached the battalions concerned at nine o’clock.

Up in the front line, however, and in all communication trenches, the situation was chaotic, and it was impossible to form up for attack. The trenches were blocked with wounded, and by this hour only 50 men of the Munsters had reached the front line. To Lieut.-Colonel G. W. Geddes, commanding that battalion, it was clear that an attempt to attack could only end in failure, and he assumed the responsibility of reporting this to the brigade:

O.C. 1/Royal Munster Fusiliers to Brigade-Major 86th Bde.

9:10pm. I can only get one company into the front line. There is no room to get another man in owing to congestion due to number of wounded Worcestershires who are coming in over the parapet every minute. Apart from that, both Hants and Worcs officers report that position to be taken will be bound to entail enormous losses and that the result will be very doubtful of success. Am I to continue (preparations for) attack? I have informed O.C. Dublins.

The brigade-major replied:

The attack will take place as stated in my B.M. at 10:30pm. The fact of another regiment being unable to take the enemy’s trenches is no reason for the Royal Munster Fusiliers being unable to take them.

The brigade-major’s irony, however, had no effect on the battalion commander, who by this time was evidently more sure than ever that, at all costs to himself, he must get the attack postponed. At 10pm he wrote again:

The chaos is indescribable. I have only 50 men of my battalion with me. I cannot state when I shall be ready to attack. The firing line is subjected to heavy rifle and machine-gun fire. The left of the Worcestershire is uncertain. I have informed the Dublins I am not ready to attack, and not to do so till I inform him that I am.

This message had some effect. At 10:42pm the 86th Brigade replied:

My B.M. 2050 is cancelled. The time for attack will be given later, but it will not be before midnight. Meanwhile the men should take as much sleep as possible.

By this time important information had been gained by the 1/5th Manchesters on the right. Earlier in the evening that battalion had been ordered to make another effort to gain its morning’s objective, and to link its left with the Worcestershire in H.13. The new effort to gain H.11b had ended in another failure, but a daring reconnaissance had subsequently discovered that H.13 was occupied throughout its length by Turks, and the officer in charge of that reconnaissance, on his way back across No Man’s Land had fallen in with the small party of Worcestershire who at that moment were slowly creeping back to the British line.

On receipt of this news General de Lisle decided at 3:15am that the projected attack by the 86th Brigade, already twice postponed, should be finally abandoned.

This was a wise decision. An attack that night on the unbroken Turkish line would probably have ended in the destruction of the 86th Brigade, and in the resulting confusion the British trenches in that sector would have been dangerously exposed to counter-attack by the Turks. In point of fact the Turks did attack from H.12a at daybreak; they drove in the small party of the Royal Dublin Fusiliers holding a corner of that trench, and obtained a footing in Hampshire Cut. But they were ejected, and the line was restored by the Dublins, supported by two companies of the Lancashire Fusiliers, at a cost to these two battalions of 240 casualties.

The first report to reach G.H.Q. of the utter failure of the Helles attack was a message from VIII Corps received at 6:35am on the 7th. The news was a bitter disappointment; but the message added that the second half of the attack, by the 42nd Division, had not been cancelled. This was taken to mean that there was no cause for anxiety, and Sir Ian Hamilton did not intervene. Certainly an attack by the 42nd would minimize the risk of the 29th Division being counter-attacked while its line was still disorganized; and, provided the situation at Helles was well in hand, the VIII Corps could best assist the northern operations by continuing to press the Turks in the southern zone.

Unfortunately for the British, however, their sacrifice at Helles the previous evening had not achieved the results hoped for. It is now known that Liman von Sanders, in view of the serious threat at Anzac and Suvla, decided at daybreak on the 7th that risks must be accepted at Helles, and ordered the Southern Group Commander – despite the latter’s vehement protests – to send his reserve division to reinforce the norther zone with all possible speed.

The frontage to be attacked by the 42nd Division, temporarily commanded by Major-General W. R. Marshall, measured only 800 yards, but as the division was far below its war strength the attack was to be made with two brigades in line. The 127th (Manchester) Brigade (Br.-General Hon. H. E. Lawrence) was on the left, the 125th (Lancashire Fusilier) Brigade (Br.-General H. C. Frith) on the right, and the 126th Brigade (Br.-General Viscount Hampden) in divisional reserve. The objective of the division was the main Turkish support line, F.13 – H.11b. The enemy’s defensive system in this part of the line was very intricate, and there was a labyrinth of small trenches near the Krithia nullahs, on the front of the 125th Brigade.

The arrangements for the attack, which was launched at 9:40am, were similar to those described for the 86th Brigade. There was a similar artillery preparation, a similar massing of machine guns to support the advancing troops; and some recently arrived trench mortars, under Captain T. Syers, R.A., were to join in the preliminary bombardment. The plan had been carefully explained to all ranks, and no step neglected that could help to ensure success.

But the results of the attack were as disappointing as those of the day before. On the left, the 127th Brigade could make no progress, and by noon, after suffering heavy casualties, the troops were back in their old lines. Early in the afternoon Br.-General Lawrence was obliged to report his brigade as temporarily unfit for further offensive effort. Its total strength amounted to only 28 officers and 700 men, or roughly that of a battalion.

On the right, where the Turkish position was weaker, the four battalions of Lancashire Fusiliers at first made some progress, and small parties of the 1/6th and 1/7th Battalions, under Major W. J. Law, succeeded in reaching the enemy’s second line. But the Turks drove them back with a counter-attack, and by midday the only portion of the captured position still in British hands was a small vineyard west of the Krithia road, behind the Turkish front line, and a short length of trench on either side of it. During the afternoon further efforts were made by the Fusiliers to recapture some of the lost ground, but in each case they were again forced to retire.

Trench Map August 7th, 1915
42nd Division War Diary

At nightfall the troops in the vineyard were still holding out gamely, but everywhere else the 125th Brigade was back in its own lines. The divisional commander at first ordered a withdrawal from this advanced and very exposed position in the vineyard. The trenches were narrow and blocked with dead and wounded, and very difficult to hold. Moreover, the position was a pronounced salient, protected on one side by only a few posts, and General Marshall feared that if the garrison was eventually driven out, the troops holding his old front line might become involved in the retirement. On learning, however, that the abandonment of the vineyard would mean leaving a number of wounded men behind, and that the officer in command was sure he could hold it, he gave him permission to try.

Not only that night but for several days the Turks made constant efforts to recapture this outlying point, but parties of the 1/6th and 1/7th Lancashire Fusiliers, reinforced later by detachments from the 1/6th East Lancashire and the 1/9th and 1/10th Manchesters,13 continued to defend it with great determination, and it was eventually incorporated in the British line.14

But the attack on the 7th had again been very costly. The casualties of the 42nd Division amounted to over 1,400 men in the two attacking brigades. In less than 24 hours, in a limited attack on a front of one mile, three brigades of the VIII Corps had lost nearly 3,500 of the 4,000 officers and men which an earlier calculation had laid down as the maximum that the whole corps could afford to lose in a series of operations to help the main offensive.15 The omens from the Helles sacrifices had not been propitious.

The full extent of these losses was not yet dreamed of at corps headquarters. But, on hearing at midday on the 7th of the almost complete failure of the 42nd Division attack, Sir Ian Hamilton determined that no further risks must be run by the Helles garrison. The vital consideration now was that the VIII Corps must not be allowed, by further costly attacks, to jeopardize its ability to hold its existing positions without outside help. Orders were issued that the Helles garrison was to undertake no more offensive operations till the march of events in the north had automatically weakened the Turkish southern line.

Next morning, as the operations planned by General Douglas were deemed to have ended, General Davies assumed command of the VIII Corps.

For the rest of August – and indeed, as events subsequently shaped themselves, for the rest of the campaign – the British and French troops in the south were destined to make no further serious attacks.16 The Turks similarly remained on the defensive, and, except that the 52nd Division succeeded in straightening out its line to the west of the vineyard in November, the opposing fronts at Helles remained virtually unchanged from the 8th August till the final evacuation exactly five months later.

Despite the failure of the operations at Helles, it is now known that they were not without their effect on the commander of the Turkish Southern Group, and that the VIII Corps staff on the 8th August were closer than they knew to the realization of their hopes. Wehib Pasha, as we have already seen, had protested strongly against the withdrawal from his command of his only reserve division. On the following day his German Chief of Staff took so serious a view of the danger to the Southern Group of losing its communications, that he personally urged Liman von Sanders to abandon the southern zone, including Achi Baba, and to transfer all the troops south of Kilid Bahr to the Asiatic shore “while there is still time to extricate them”.

But Liman von Sanders was made of sterner stuff. He replied that not one yard of ground was to be surrendered voluntarily, and the Chief of Staff was replaced.

Notes:

[1.] The artillery available amounted to four 60-pounders, 16 howitzers, eighty-four 18 pounders, and ten 15 pounders, in addition to six French howitzers and a Brigade of 75’s. The 91st Heavy Battery R.G.A. (four 60 pounders) and the LXVI Brigade R.F.A. (sixteen 18 pounders) had reached Helles in the latter half of July, but all the guns of the former were out of action owing to trouble with recoil springs. [back]

[2.] This squadron, commanded by Rear-Admiral Stuart Nicholson, comprised the blistered cruiser Edgar, five monitors and five destroyers, and mounted a total of 21 heavy and 24 light guns. [back]

[3.] Lieut.-General F. J. Davies, the corps commander designate, reached Imbros on 5th August, but as operations were imminent, the Commander-in-Chief decided that he should not assume command till the first battle was over. [back]

[4.] The two branches of Kirte Dere – known as West and East Krithia Nullahs – were both about 15 to 30 feet wide, with steep banks, in places from 10 to 20 feet high. The beds of these nullahs were practically dry. [back]

[5.] From an early date the VIII Corps adopted a very convenient method of naming the Turkish trenches. These were numbered serially, with a distinctive alphabetical prefix to denote the area to which they belonged. But no similar system was used for the British line, and the student who is accustomed to any of the orderly systems eventually evolved in France is bound to be somewhat confused by the names on the Gallipoli trench diagrams. An attempt to describe the derivation of British trench names would need a book to itself, and it must suffice to say here that at Helles each battalion sector of the front line was generally given a distinct name. These would often be taken from the name given to some point in the sector by the troops who originally occupied it. Looking at the map today it is easy to imagine that names like “Border Barricade” and “Hampshire Cut” commemorate brave deeds by the regiments concerned, but it is not so easy to realize that they designated portions of fire trench. But in 1915 the position of all these trenches was well known to the troops at Helles, with plentiful sign-posts for the new comers, and the name of, say, “Essex Knoll” for a fire trench caused no more confusion than that of Haymarket or Knightsbridge for a London street. [back]

[6.] No drafts had arrived for the 1/5th Royal Scots (T.F.), and this battalion still consisted of only two companies. [back]

[7.] The Turks appear to have been holding their southern front with 5 divisions, (4 in line and 1 in support), totaling about 40,000 rifles. A sixth division was in reserve near Serafim Farm. [back]

[8.] The Turks claim to have had 62 field and mountain guns in action, and 32 medium and heavy pieces. [back]

[9.] The commander designate of the VIII Corps. [back]

[10.] During the bombardment the garrisons of the trenches had taken cover in the deep nullahs. [back]

[11.] Corps headquarters had informed divisional headquarters that they knew the Turkish front line had been captured, as their forward observation officers could see the British “metal disks” all along the trench. Actually the wearers of these disks were dead. [back]

[12.] The 86th Brigade was in divisional reserve. The 87th Brigade was holding the line on Gully Spur. The 52nd Division and Royal Naval Division were in corps reserve. [back]

[13.] W. T. Forshaw, 1/9th Manchesters, was awarded the V.C. for conspicuous gallantry. [back]

[14.] The northern edge of the vineyard was lost again on the 12th, and a trench dug across its centre became the British front line. [back]

[15.] Casualties:                           Officers                Other Ranks
29th Division, 6th August                 54                           1,851
42nd Division, 6th, 7th Aug               80                           1,482

According to Turkish official figures the Turkish losses in the south, 6th-13th August, amounted to 7,510. [back]

[16.] For gallantry during a bombing affray on 13th August, Pte. D. R. Lauder, 1/4th R. Scots Fus., was awarded the V.C. [back]

The 42nd (East Lancashire) Division

Battle of the Vineyard, August 6–7, 1915.

Pages 43-47

On July 24, Major-General Douglas had assumed temporary command of the 8th Corps until August 8, the command of the Division during that period being taken by Major-General W. R. Marshall.

On August 6 the period of comparative inactivity came to an end. The primary purpose of the Gallipoli campaign was to obtain possession of the Narrows, and thus secure command of the Dardanelles and cut off communication with the Asiatic shore. It had been hoped to achieve this by pushing forward from the south, but the original force had been far too small for the purpose. During May, June and July the Turkish garrison had been much increased, and also the supply of guns and shells, and the defences on Achi Baba greatly and most ably strengthened, whereas the British reinforcements and drafts to fill the gaps had been relatively small. There was little prospect of success by a frontal assault from Helles, and the loss that would be incurred by a futile attempt would cripple the Allies and remove all chance of ultimate success. The Commander-in-Chief decided upon an attempt to reach the Narrows at Maidos, five miles across the peninsula from Anzac, the formidable Sari Bair range intervening. A new landing was to be made on August 6 and 7 at Suvla Bay, a few miles to the north of Anzac cove, and it was hoped that the force landed here would seize the northern slopes of the Sari Bair range, while the troops from Anzac would storm the central and southern heights. On August 6 an attack was to be made from the right of Anzac in order to divert attention from both the landing and the true objective; and a vigorous offensive was ordered at Helles, with the object of containing as large a Turkish force as possible within the southern area and of drawing their reserves from the north. There appeared to be good prospects of a decisive success, and hopes were high.

The line of trenches from the Achi Baba Nullah to the Krithia Nullah (both inclusive) was held by the 125th Brigade on the right and the 127th on the left, the 126th being in reserve. The French were on the right of the 125th Brigade and the 29th Division on the left of the 127th Brigade. The 5th Manchesters, who were acting in conjunction with the 88th Brigade (29th Division) had for objective a Turkish trench on the right of that Brigade. The bombardment began at 2.30 p.m. on the 6th, and soon H.E. shells could be seen bursting in the trench which the 5th had been ordered to take.

Order of Battle
From Military operations : Gallipoli. Vol. 2, Aspinall-Oglander

At 3.50 p.m. they attacked, but on reaching the objective, found that they had been enticed into a dummy trench, without cover, and exposed to enfilade fire. To prevent the right flank of the 29th Division being left “in the air,” Captain Fawcus, commanding the first line of the 7th Manchesters, was ordered, about 8 p.m., to get into touch. Arriving at a trench which he expected to find occupied by the 88th Brigade, he called out: “Are the Worcesters there?” and was heavily fired upon. Moving to the left he still found the enemy in occupation of the trench, and fell back. On his way to rejoin the second line he came across a small party of the Worcesters and took them with him. The two parties regained the firing-line in the small hours of the morning, having lost 40 men out of 200. That Captain Fawcus returned safely was amazing, his clothes being riddled with bullets.

A few hours later the Battle of the Vineyard began, the bombardment by British and French batteries opening at 8.10 a.m., and increasing in intensity at nine o’clock when the naval guns joined in. The fire on the trenches south-east of Krithia Nullah was both heavy and accurate, but the trenches within the triangle formed by the fork of the nullahs suffered but little. Half a battalion of the 126th Brigade [9th Manchesters] was attached to the 125th Brigade on the right, and another half-battalion [9th Manchesters] to the 127th Brigade on the left. One battalion of the 126th Brigade was to hold the original line. Two batteries of machine-guns assisted by bringing a cross fire to bear on the enemy’s trenches.

At 9.40 a.m., the troops went forward with their usual dash, wearing tin back-plates that could be seen by the artillery “spotters”. On the right, the Lancashire Fusiliers gained their first objective, but the 5th and 8th found that their portion was merely a very shallow trench raked by enfilade fire. Parties of the 6th and 7th reached their second objective, but enfilade fire and superior numbers compelled them to fall back. One of the few officers to reach this objective was Major W. J. Law, 7th Lancashire Fusiliers, who took part in all the subsequent fighting in the Vineyard. Soon after 11 a.m. portions of the first objective were retaken by a strong Turkish counter-attack, but the Vineyard remained in our hands.

The 5th and 7th L.F. made a gallant effort to recover what had been lost and were partially successful. At 1.30 p.m. another enemy counter-attack in close formation was caught by our guns and brought to a standstill. The Turks suffered severely in counter-attacks upon the Vineyard, and for some hours gave up the attempt in this quarter, but resumed it late at night with no more success.

The 5th and 8th L.F. reoccupied a portion of their first objective in the evening. Parties of the 4th East Lancashires and 10th Manchesters gave great assistance both in attack and defence. On the left, the Manchesters showed similar dash and determination, but owing to the greater difficulties of the ground between and about the nullahs and to the intricacy of the Turkish trench system, which, with the nests of machine-guns, had escaped our shells, they were unable to hold any of the trenches taken in the initial assault, and their losses were grievous, the attacking lines being mown down by the enemy’s machine-guns.

The casualties during the two days were: –

Officers Other Ranks
Killed 20 203
Wounded 36 770
Missing 24 511

The result was that a tactical point of some importance had been won and held by the tenacity of the 125th Brigade, and that a large Turkish force had been pinned down when urgently needed in the north. The Turks had, indeed, been massing troops in front of the Division as they had intended to attack our lines in force, on the 6th or 7th of August. Sir Ian Hamilton telegraphed to the Corps Commander: “Your operations have been invaluable, and have given the Northern Corps the greatest possible help by drawing the main Turkish effort on yourselves. I was sure you were ready for them tonight. Well done, 8th Corps.”

But though the sacrifice had not been altogether in vain, the advance from Suvla Bay and Anzac had failed, and the conquest of the Dardanelles seemed more remote than ever. And yet for one half-hour it had seemed so near! Of all the many lamentable tragedies of the campaign surely the most dramatic, the most appealing, was that on Chunuk Bair, at dawn on the 9th of August, when companies of the 6th Gurkhas and 6th South Lancashires had stormed the cliffs and driven the Turks headlong before them. From the top of the saddle they looked down upon the promised land. Below them the goal – Maidos, and the Narrows! The way lay open and victory was in sight – was already achieved !-and the Turkish Army in the south would be cut off ! But these four hundred men alone of all the Allied troops that landed on the peninsula were destined to view the promised land. Flushed with triumph, Gurkhas and Lancastrians intermingled raced down the slopes after the fleeing Turks. And then the blow fell – truly a bolt out of the blue — a salvo of heavy shells crashing with infernal accuracy into the midst of them, mangling and destroying the exulting victors. Where that salvo came from will probably never be known with certainty, but there can be little doubt that the shells were British. The remnants of the little force could only make for shelter; there was no shelter in front, and the chance had gone, never to return.

To return to the 42nd Division. In and about the Vineyard held by the 6th and 7th Lancashire Fusiliers, the fighting surged and swayed for several days. The Turk fought gamely, with grim determination, and the casualties on both sides were heavy. The C.O.s of the two battalions had been ordered to remain at their Headquarters in communication with the Brigadier, and the Adjutants, Captains Spafford and Gledhill, held on tenaciously. Spafford was killed, and the order to retire was sent, but Gledhill’s pertinacity got this order withdrawn, and the Vineyard was held. A successful and very gallant stand against great odds was made by “A” Company, 9th Manchesters, on the nights of August 7–8, when the first V.C. awarded to the Division was won by Lieutenant W. T. Forshaw, who was in temporary command of the company. Two M.C.s and two D.C.M.s were also won by the company. Forshaw was holding the northern corner of this small oblong with a bombing party when he was attacked by a swarm of Turks who converged from three trenches. For the greater part of two days he kept them at bay, and even threw back, before they had time to explode, the bombs they threw at him. In the words of the Official Report-

“He held his own, not only directing his men and encouraging them by exposing himself with the utmost disregard of danger, but personally throwing bombs continuously for forty-one hours. When his detachment was relieved after twenty-four hours, he volunteered to continue the direction of operations. Three times during the night of August 8–9 he was again heavily attacked, and once the Turks got over the barricade; but after shooting three with his revolver he led his men forward and recaptured it. When he rejoined his battalion he was choked and sickened by bomb fumes, badly bruised by a fragment of shrapnel, and could barely lift his arm from continuous bomb throwing.”

On the 8th and 9th the 126th Brigade relieved the 125th and continued the struggle, and Lieutenant S. Collier, 6th Manchesters, gained the M.C. for a good bit of work on the right of the Vineyard. A trench held by a group of men of the 126th Brigade was fiercely attacked by enemy bombers, and its capture appeared certain. Collier, however, organized and led the defence, and though he had never before handled a bomb, he displayed much aptitude with this weapon; and in spite of persistent attacks, continued throughout the night, the Turks were beaten off. On the night of the 12th the enemy attacked in mass and captured the Vineyard, but the next day were bombed out of it, and it was finally consolidated and held. Throughout the operations the Divisional Engineers had worked and exposed themselves as fearlessly as ever. Their services were continuously in demand, and they had never been found wanting. The bulk of the work on this occasion had fallen on the 1st Field Company. The Signal Company, too, had proved how competent all its branches were. Much of its work is not done in the limelight, and it may be mentioned that the average number of messages passing through the Signal Office daily had been about three hundred. In times of stress this number was greatly increased.

On August 13, the 42nd Division was relieved in the trenches and went into Corps Reserve. The following 8th Army Corps Special Order was issued next day: –

“The 42nd Division has now been withdrawn into Reserve after having been in the firing-line for three months without relief. During this time the Division has taken part in three big attacks, and has been subjected to the continuous strain of holding, improving and extending our line and communications under constant fire.

Though some units have distinguished themselves more than others, the Division has, throughout this arduous period, displayed a dash in attack and a spirit of determination and endurance in defence which is worthy of the best traditions of the British Army. The persistence with which the enemy were held off during the recent determined attack, and part of the ground lost gradually recovered in face of strong opposition, was a fitting conclusion to the period during which the Division has been in front line.

The Lieut.-General Commanding wishes to express to Major-General Douglas and his staff, as well as to all ranks of the Division, his appreciation of their good work, and he looks forward to seeing them again display the same soldierly qualities in active operations against the enemy at an early date.”

Gallipoli Diary of Lt. C. E. Cooke

Below is a transcript of the personal diary of Lt. Charles Earsham Cooke. Initially transcribed, most likely by his sister Gladys, from his original notes and is a transcription of her work with one or two minor corrections to the names of people, places and things that the original transcriber could not have known. The diary is provided with the kind permission of Richard Cooke, (Lt. Charles Earsham Cooke’s nephew), and remains his, and the Cooke family’s, exclusive Copyright. Please do not copy, excerpt or reproduce any part without permission.

May 4. We had a rattling good lunch at the Eastern Exchange Hotel, for which the Padre paid, unknown to me, and for which I paid again £1. Luckily I got it back. We left bivouac to dock at 5:30 and got on board at 9:45 and I believe when transport stuff was not. We left at about 2am May 5th. Thought I should be sick but was not. Half of the 10th [Manchesters] were on board including NEVINSON1 of Slocock’s.

May 6. Nothing doing, passed a number of islands.

May 7. Ditto.

May 8. Ditto until 3pm when we sighted Tenedos and saw quite a number of ships, battle and transports also huts (in which we believe our prisoners, if any there are) to be. Soon we heard shell fire and gradually we got into a large fleet of transports and battleships, as we drew near to the end of the Gallipoli Peninsula. I should say that never has the land been so bombarded from the sea. Queen Lizzie2, Swift Susie3, all sorts of battleships and batteries on land, letting fly at once. I went up above on the bridge and saw it all; the Turks were in trenches about 3 miles or so away (not less) and we were firing at them. We slept on board and got the order to disembark at 5pm.

May 9. Sunday. We landed in the morning and we got shelled. It is a curious sensation at first to have shells bursting about you but the only damage it did was to kill two men in the Lancashire Fusiliers about 50 yards from us. We stayed where we were all day on the cliff out of sight and went forward into bivouac at about 7 o’clock. A fearful way it seemed, in dark, strange country. A tremendous lot of rifle fire in front and our guns playing away in front and behind us. These guns make a deafening row. I can tell you I slept in a greatcoat that night next to the Major4; my word it was cold.

May 10. Monday. We dug ourselves into bivouac and left again at night for the second line of trenches on our right, behind French Senegalese, their native troops are most unreliable. All the men who have been up to the firing line all say the reserve is worst because of the number of spent bullets and high ones, also snipers (the Officer’s pest, his worst and most dogged foe). It was a sensation to be under rifle fire for the first time. Also one sniper, with which the place abounds, got in a tree, we think, and enfiladed our trench. Bullets whizzed all night, however no casualties in ours but one shot in the leg by shrapnel in “C” Company.

May 11. Tuesday. Left, about 9 o’ clock, these trenches and owing to “B” Company going out of cover most of “A” and “B” got shelled. Luckily no casualties bar boots and mess tins. However, we landed back all right and slept there.

Wednesday morning, we left our bivouac and base and came forward to about a mile. We got wet through to the skin at the last place, that night and it teemed down next morning, however we landed up here at 1 o’ clock. TOMMY HYDE5, self and Major HOWORTH4 went away from the rest of the Company to a hill on which is the French and British Artillery Observation Station. We got breakfast at 6:30 and next meal at 7 o’ clock – rotten – beastly cold and damp that night on account of the rain.

May 13. Wednesday. My unlucky day. Have been improving our dugouts. Have felt rather rotten with diarrhea. One sentry sniped during the night, shot through the head. Two wounded. Firing line only 1,000 yards away. We are either to go up in Companies or half Battalions. Shells and bullets whizzing overhead all day. I am going on guard, TOMMY and I take it in turns. Can see firing line easily from here with glasses. Many have been killed and wounded already. Can see to write no more, goodnight.

You must understand that we did not arrive here until a fortnight after the first landing. From what we heard it must have been simply terrible, the landing, as the cliff is quite high and sheer and there is only one place to land. The Turks had a tremendous lot of barbed wire entanglements in the water and as our men landed they dragged the wire up with our fellows on top and shot at them. The Dublin Fusiliers and KOSBs were almost decimated.

There is now the awful hill Achi Baba to take they allowed 9 days to take it and its now 19 days. Up to 2 days ago there had been 19,000 casualties, about 1,000 a day. The Germans say that this hill will never be taken. The aeroplanes say that the top is concrete or cement. The shape is roughly:

Achi Baba (Sketch by Lt. C.E. Cooke)

The French are at present on our right. The rest are scattered about. French supposed to be advancing also on right side of the Dardanelles.

May 16. Saturday. A very auspicious day for four things. Coffee for breakfast: somehow we had rice pudding for lunch, collared from somewhere, with nestles milk; t’was fine. Also our box of provisions turned up, ordered by mess president for six Officers per Company, to last a fortnight. Last, and most important of all, the mail arrived and seven letters!  I was guard at night again. TOMMY HYDE went out digging trenches, I expect I will be out tonight. A most terrific shelling of shrapnel by the Turks all day and half the night. Luckily most of it passed us and killed many men and horses on the beach and most of it went over the French trenches on the right in line with us. One of our men digging in his dug-out got shot with shrapnel bullet clean through the thigh. One of their shells put one of our guns out of action yesterday too.

May 17. Sunday. A bullet shot round you, but quite enough to kill you, went clean between TOMMY HYDE and self or just over us while we were breakfasting on an old ammunition box (we cannot have been more than a yard apart) and buried itself in a bank a few yards away. Also one went in the same place about 1 inch above SMITH’s head and mine.

The Turks attacked the French last night (Saturday) on the right consequently the whole lot, bar our two platoons, stood to arms at 10pm, we knew nothing about it. The bullets consequently flew all over. There is still a tremendous lot of firing there and the bullets continued about half a mile away – no more.

I do hope I am not digging tonight. It’s rather exciting us at the front, I believe. It seemed like rain last night, but it did not. Rum was dished yesterday, 1 gallon to each platoon; also fags and baccy the other day, 28 eggs and about 7oz of tobacco to each man. Very good. Another man killed, shot through the heart. Bullets whizzing about today. I am out digging tonight. Tuesday morning, early, we leave here for a new place one and a half miles away (East Lancashire Brigade), we are reserve for that Division, each Division is taking up a new position. Goodnight.

May 18. Monday morning. Arrived back from digging at about 7:30am after an awfully cold night without a greatcoat, in a trench about one yard wide, four of us squashed tight together to keep the cold out as well as we could. I slept from about 12 to 4. The men dig till 12, sleep from 12 to daybreak, which is about 4am or so, and then dig till 6:30am. I came back and had breakfast and then slept till 1 or so at night as I was on guard again.

May 19. Tuesday. Left our place on top of the hill for a place further back though on the left. Our Brigade is the Divisional Reserve but we shall go up in turns I suppose. The men have nicked the valley they were in before “Suicide or Slaughter Valley” but it was nothing compared with this unholy place, it’s awful. It’s no good, the further you get from the Firing Line the worse it is. We have been simply smothered with shrapnel ever since we arrived practically. Two men have been wounded in ours, very lucky at that tho’, but a little further beyond the 1/4th Lancashires have had 4 killed. A shell (shrapnel) burst absolutely on him (he was buried in pieces).

Just as the General came to inspect our troops they started it, he rushed into our three servants’ dug-outs, just behind our dug-out (TOMMY HYDE’s and mine). I can tell you this place is lively.

May 20. Wednesday. They have this morning started shells which don’t half make a mess of the ground. One just missed a dug-out about 20 yards away and burst in front of it. A piece of shrapnel went through my valise as SMITH was getting something out. Just missed him by inches.

It’s getting a trifle hot here now but Oh! It’s a lovely place. These aeroplanes cause a lot of shrapnel fire over us because the Turks are always firing at them. The bottom of the shell always falls down nearly perpendicular which would not half kill you.

The Turks have now started firing apparently from the other side of the Dardanelles, their big black Marias are not half stirring up strife. One of the nicest sounds I have ever heard was last night when the French battery near us started firing four shots (4 guns) off every 15 seconds. My word they must have sweated, however for a time the Turks shut-up though they went on in the night, so they say though I never heard it. I was so sleepy and slept so well. We can just hear them fire and get down quickly if they arrive. You should have seen four of us having tea yesterday when one burst just over our heads; tea, tinned milk and all going over us as we dived for the Major’s dug-out leaving him outside. It’s extraordinary the way men treat the shells, they laugh and joke about them and call them “Beecham’s Pills”. We had quite an exciting tea last night and breakfast this morning. You should see the mess they make in the ground.

May 20. Thursday. I am afraid I do not remember what happened. I am greatly behind. Took a fatigue party to make a road and could not find it.

May 21. Friday. At night 8.15 we went off to the trenches for the first time. Previously had been heavily shrapnelled, ten being wounded with one shot. Two have died since, I believe. After a rotten march up we arrived at 12:00 having taken about 3 ¾ hours to do about 1 ½ miles, then of course no sleep.

May 22. Saturday. Had a quiet day, men greatly enjoy trying to hit snipers. Nearly lost myself looking through glasses. Young HODGKISS6 killed, shot in the stomach poor kid.  Saturday night was lovely. We had some firing I can tell you. Whether the Turks advanced a little, I don’t know, at any rate I thought they did.

Sunday night we were relieved by “C” Company, we went into the Support trenches. That night 20 men “C” and 30 “A” Company advanced with but a Corporal and dug themselves in about 100 yards away. One was wounded and a Corporal7 went and fetched him in under a heavy fire. Also another was wounded and his pal got up from next door and bandaged him up, then, he found he had no water and went for it and got shot through the head for his pains; his brains going all over the other man.

May 24. Monday. At night we again went into the Firing line while the whole of “C” Company advanced, after doing fatigues all day.

May 25. Tuesday. In firing trench all day. At night it rained at 7 o’clock and the trench became a duck pond. We sat in inches of mud from 7 am until 11.30 when we were relieved, and very thankful we were too. I lent my tunic to an Officer in the Royal Air Service who was in charge of two machine guns; he was wet through bar his shirt. I should not have minded but I had a rotten sore throat. We landed back at bivouac at about 1.30 when we had rum. I discovered my bag and a dry suit of pyjamas, first time I have not slept in my clothes since we landed

May 26. Wednesday. Rested all day, but had an inspection by CO at 7:30pm.

May 27. At 7am we left our bivouac and I must say I am extremely thankful I am here alive to write this for we absolutely (unnecessarily as we found out later) advanced as we were ordered, led by a guide, along a skyline in single file in full view of the Turk’s batteries. When we might just as well have gone under cover. Anyhow, No 1. Platoon (HYDE’s) had practically got under cover when a shell landed no more than 3 yards off me and luckily burst in the ground instead of on top of us and extraordinary to relate only wounded two in my platoon and one of them about my best man, but both seem to be alright as far as possible. We arrived here sometime about 10 and have now been attached to the 1st Battalion Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers [R.I.F.] who have but 509 men left all told. Mind you only half a Battalion has some here, (“A” & “B” Companies). I am now only half in charge of a platoon, as I am under Sub. Unfortunately, too, I have lost my platoon and have half of TOMMY’s.

You have no idea how differently everything is managed by Regulars, it’s fine. We have our meals in the sort of Mess now. We are on top of a gully, not a quarter of a mile long, leading absolutely down to the sea shore. In the afternoon the Turks start shelling with high explosives and I thought I was a gonner several times. We have now no more 9th Manchesters, apparently, but the R.I.F. address is the same, anyhow.

May 29. Saturday. One poor Inniskilling8 was out during the night putting up wire entanglements and by some unfortunate, and careless reason, was shot by one of ours; whether by a Terrier or Inniskilling no one quite seems to know. Yesterday, I had a letter from you, the first for about a fortnight and I am thankful to know that Gladys is so far alright. My platoon bathes at 10 this morning and then goes on fatigue at 12 to 4:30. I believe that my new platoon Sergeant in the R.I.F. has been recommended for the DCM9.

The Firing Line is only 20 yards from my dug-out. The Turks yesterday for some unknown reason started putting white flags up; very extraordinary, for to us no apparent reason at all. My sergeant had about 20 pots at it. The Turks, bar snipers, certainly stopped firing. Perhaps they were trying to be funny.

The enemy have now started firing 6 inch howitzers which send forth black smoke, a terrific report, and blow everything to pieces near to them. They fired eight or ten into this gully yesterday, killed three and buried one. HMS EURYALUS, flagship of the fleet, was sunk Friday night or Saturday morning. So that is now four the dashing little submarine has accounted for: GOLIATH10, TRIUMPH11, MAJESTIC12 and EURYALUS13.

May 30. Sunday. Went round the saps at 4 o’ clock; cold still rotten. Have just heard that the submarine has been rammed in the night, probably untrue.

Aeroplanes seem always at it. I believe that they say the hill is strongly entrenched on the other side but this side is creeping with Turks.

May 31. Monday. As far as I can remember we left the R.I.F. Monday am for some reason, for our old base, and find that we are the only whole Battalion in the Brigade as all the others are split up with Regulars still.

June 1. Tuesday. Fatigues and nothing else. In Fire Trenches, rotten! I can tell you.

June 2. Wednesday. Ditto.

June 3. Thursday. Started fatigues at 7:30. Breakfast 6:30. Work till 2 o’ clock, got back about 2:30. Had dinner and packed-up and left by 4 o’ clock to third line of trenches. We got settled about ten, I think. It was pitch dark night and no moon. By 8am next day every man had to keep down as they started at 11 and lasted till 12, it was awful (full of awe).  The accuracy of our guns was extraordinary as we (in the 3rd line) were not more than 300 yards from Turks trenches we saw finely. Then the 6, 7, 8, Manchesters charged, our first line taking the first, our second their second going over the first. It was sight but it was terrible to have to sit in the reserve trenches and not do anything. They got on fine for the first hour when the R.N.D. on the right paused and retreated like a flock of sheep leaving the Manchesters enfiladed. They say they have 147 left in the 7th. I can guarantee all this as I saw it with my own eyes.

Fearful casualties, but on the left the Regiment captured tons of prisoners. They do look queer fellows, huge. All delighted to be captured but I have not seen any German Officers yet, who I believe look as surly as anything.

June 4. Friday. More prisoners. Still in the same trench.

June 5. Saturday. Ditto. Do nothing but carry water, ammunition and dig saps for line.

June 7. Monday. At night we moved about 2 ½ platoons up the line to the left (our line was line and defence, redoubts, etc.). “C” Company, or 120 men of same, made a bayonet charge and captured 2 trenches but at dawn we were forced to evacuate owing to enfilade fire. 45 casualties (19 killed, 2 Officers: Capt. HAMER14 & Lt. STRINGER15). JACK WADE16 slightly wounded. Twelve of my late signalers still missing.

June 8. Tuesday. About 2 o’ clock we moved into firing line late Turkish 2nd line. The place is terrible. This trench was captured 3 days ago and they buried the dead in the floor of the trench which stinks horribly. Dead also buried in the parapet and also lying out all over the place just outside the trench, horrible, gaping wounds, inflated bodies, and flies all over. Last night we had men trying to bury a few, which they succeeded in doing, I am thankful to say. The previous people here had placed a mac over one body and were using it as a side board. Also in another part of a trench six bodies lay on top of each other unburied.

June 9. Wednesday morning at about 3.30 am, after standing to arms from 2:30, I felt sick as a cat through smell and fatigue. So at 4 o’clock stand easy I got down and slept till 10 when T. Hyde got down, but one of us is supposed to be on duty always. We take it in turns one hour on and one hour off during the night. Moon getting small, waning and does not get up till about 3am. We are in a Turkish trench at this end, they are at the other end, 20 yards away with a parapet of sandbags in between and over which bombs are thrown. What a thing war is, if only you could see what I have seen. One of my Corporals wounded this morning; also one in my platoon, (in the machine gun section) one killed and Lt. MARSDEN17 wounded, M.G. Section … gone away sick with fever.

June 10. Thursday. Still in trenches which stink abominably. Great rumours about a great surprise for the Division which only amounts to the Manchester Brigade going for a rest to some Island.

June 10. Thursday. They cannot muster a Battalion, I believe, from their Brigade so terrible are their casualties. No Officers18 (combatant) left in the 8th, 100 odd men in the 7th, ditto in the 6th.

We covered up a Turk on Wednesday night. Thursday morning a man brought a cross to me to put on the grave of his brother, who he said was just the other side of the parapet. I did not know he was there bar the smell which we could detect, as we of course dare not show ourselves during the day. Well, I asked for volunteers at night and we buried him. Never in all my life did I smell anything so positively awful, and when they moved him he gave the most awful sort of groan, it was ghastly. Dead about eight days in the sun.

June 10. Thursday. Lance Corporal EARNSHAW19, wife and child unseen, was shot in the head coming out in the lungs somewhere.

June 11. Relieved about 6pm by 6th L.F., thank heaven and am now back in our old rig. Firing Trench is now the fourth. Feel filthy but the gully is full of shrapnel and also water, very dirty, dead Turks.

Hear a most nasty rumour that Prussians (25,000) are 15 miles from Constantinople, may it (not) be true.

5:30pm. Have just had the most delightful bath under the waterfall in the Gully and feel much better. Supposed to be landing 50,000 men? Rumour has it that they have stopped the mail at Alexandria as they don’t want the men to know about the riots in Lancashire. Oh! I do wish the war was over. The men from the firing-line compared to the other Battalions are doing badly for food. Another of my signalers gone; had his head blown off. That’s 3 dead, 1 missing, 1 wounded, out of 18 with myself.

June 12. Saturday. In Reserve Trenches still having apparently a bit of a rest.

June 13. Sunday. HUDSON20, poor fellow, went down to base early and was climbing over parapet to get 2 men who were over gathering-up equipment and got badly hit in left side; died a few hours later. I went down at night to base with SMITH, changed shirt and socks and had a shave; feel cleaner. Also had a decent tea of an egg, new bread and tinned fruit with J. BROADBENT, Transport Officer. Very nice down at base, bar “Sally from Asia” shells.

June 14. Monday. Nothing doing. 2 killed and 4 wounded in “C” Company by shrapnel. Oh! Sorry, received a lovely mail though late, 2 lovely letters from you and one from Father & Gladys, also a Times which I read half. Some swine (who I don’t know) has borrowed same. Oh! There are some thieves about.

June 15. Tuesday. Sent about 10 men down to Doctor, either Diarrhea or weak in general. Some with cold feet I am sure, as we are going into the Firing Line again today at 12 o’ clock. Nasty lot of shrapnel about today. Oh! Lucky T. HYDE went this morning & SHAW21 to KEPHA22 on landing troops or some soft game. I do wish I had been chosen. Arrived in Firing Line at 4:30 or so and directly after men had had their meal we set to work cleaning the trench and also improving it. I worked personally until quite 12:30 and was not fearfully tired. Had a last hour’s doze, stand-to as usual, don’t you know, 2 men sleeping since court martialed.

June 16. Wednesday. Had a middling day. Changed trenches with HANDFORTH23 who was in a sort of redoubt place, really about the most vile and unsafe place in the whole Peninsular. By Brigade orders troops were to be in it only 24 hours. Well it really was a place. Chock full of maggots arising from the dead. Dead in parapets, underneath, over, in fact everywhere. The trench faced the famous Nulla and was absolutely full of dead, stank of course.

June 17. Thursday. Well, we were there until 7.30 next evening when my platoon changed places with No 1 in the support, but owing to No1 having no Officer I had to stay in the lousy trench. However, such is life. No 1, I ought to say, is much older than my platoon and not half such children and bar its N.C.O. (senior) I like it well and have usually got on well with it.

June 18. Friday. At night at usual time just about to change again because of the 24hours trench, which I had now been in 48 hours. The order came down we were not going to change as “C” and “B” Companies were making on left of Gully. Well, unfortunately for “C” and “B” instead of finding less than 100 men in the trench, they found 450 Turks all ready to charge us. Consequently, they got it hot and had to return. J. WADE missing, SUGDEN24 very badly shot in the shoulder, since died. What really happened apparently will never be known, sufficient to say the Turks took our trench and had to be forcibly removed. Much loss of life ensued. They still retain 30 yards however and were ejected next day. The whole affair was much mixed up and there has been an enquiry (I was in the 24-hour trench 5 days and 5 nights) into it, result of course unknown. However, what did happen is best left unsaid. We were told that the other Regiments, the Royal Scots and Hants were having another go in the early morning at … trench but was to retake our own. Apparently when we attacked during the night the Turks simply walked into our trench owing to no supports, for some unearthly reason.

June 19. Saturday. We stood-to from 3am till about 8am our machine-gun, and in fact all of us, had been told that when the last attack came off we were to fire like hell at the trench in front to stop reinforcements. This the machine gun did. This drew shell fire at our trench. The trench is really in a most difficult position to describe, suffice it to say that it was on a hill, sheer down and the trench was hardly dug into the ground at all but was chiefly made of sand-bags thereby rendering a most magnificent target to the Turk’s shell fire. Well, the night of the 17th when my platoon was in we thought we caught it pretty badly, 2 actually landing on the back parapet smashing it to blazes, but my word this morning was the limit. One shell actually landed on the parapet (front) as well as many on the back and blew the lot, making a huge gap. Previously, young OGDEN25 (16 years old) was badly shot through the head, brains out, I bandaged him up but the RAMC said no hope, however he still lives. Well the shell that blew the parapet in wounded 2 and knocked the remaining 3 down. Through all this I must say that the Corporal in charge stuck to his place finely, his sergeant clearing out, (unfortunately he was killed the next day). He and I and another sergeant helped to put the parapet up; a fine game, simply peppered from the trench in front, luckily no casualties. I still have the cap of a shell which I mean to keep if possible.

June 18. Friday. I should say that on the previous night we gave the Turks from our trench a good lot for they exposed themselves most awfully. I shall never forget the Turk’s reinforcements advancing across the open in a mass, simply mown down but our machine guns. It was a sight! They looked to me as if they were coming unwillingly.

June 19. Saturday. I should say that we shelled the Turks to hell this morning while we were being shelled with shrapnel in one of … trenches which by shrapnel we could enfilade. Well (this is all mysterious to me but I saw it with my own eyes) they simply “imshied” out of the trench and directly the shelling ceased came back. HOWORTH this day went sick with fever(!) he was getting very irritable. HANDFORTH became O.C. “A” Company. That night we expected a counter attack which did not come off, however we decided to keep No 1 in the 24-hour trench for another night (i.e. 3 days and 3 nights). Well, nothing occurred during the night.

June 20. Sunday. Capt. KERSHAW26 arrived today and looked very pale. I don’t know if I did mention it but he landed and did not come in the first night owing to a very bad septic throat and has taken 6 weeks at Malta and Alexandria, lucky fellow in a way. Very nervous at first of course as I dare say we all were. Fancy, it seems very funny to us of course, but he would not realise it, asked me for a cigarette! I had been in the place for 6 weeks!! Funnily enough I had one! We had only been in the trenches 18 days then!!! Oh, on the Saturday night I had my own platoon making a fire and trenches out on my left. Sunday night changed with 2 P/t. They completed by improving what I had done with sand bags, also deepening, as it is quite unsafe to dig by day; it is asking for shells which are things to avoid. Major NOWELL came one night and told me to dig a place in daylight. Hadn’t been digging 2 minutes when 2 came … Digging was stopped till night.

June 21. Monday. At night “D” Company relieved us out of supports to where we went. Oh, during the day the French did wonders on the right and advanced 2 or 3 trenches and took the great Haricot Redoubt which had been taken and lost so many times. The Artillery (which is extraordinary) blew it up and they are now digging for machine-guns. They had a … of machine-guns.

June 22. Tuesday. My birthday. I gave cigarette papers out in 1 and 2 platoons: most precious to the men as they have plenty of tobacco given out but no cig. papers. I also had to go down to Brid. Office to find out where we had to go when relieved. I came up and we were relieved by the Sottish Rifles or the Royal Scots27, I forget which, after 19 or 20 days in the trenches, an awful long spell. We were continually getting shelled.

June 23. Wednesday. I took a fatigue party out that night till 2 when we came back and went to our old bivouac and slept. I might say that we had a welcome bathe on X beach. I took down 50 men with SUTTON28. We were all crawling.

June 24. Thursday. Personally nil, men fatigues.

June 25. Friday. Took a fatigue party up from 8:30 to 1 with young CONNERY29.

June 26. Saturday. Ditto as Thursday, nil. Moved to old bivouac.

June 27. Sunday. 1am Violently sick and diarrhea. Why, don’t know. Rotten all Sunday, sick again during day. Had 3 caramels and a dose of Epsom salts.

June 28. Monday. Feel better, more like old self, managed to eat breakfast but no dinner. Another glorious bombardment this morning on left and left centre. We hear we advanced 2 trenches and 500 yards on left … which was behind and 2 trenches and 200 yards on left centre, so the line is now about straight and I think it looks promising for another general advance. If only we could get men here it would make a difference, there is no doubt. They say that the French Artillery is too fine for words. The French have also more aeroplanes. There were 7 Allied aeroplanes up last night. I am dying to see a decent air dual. We got big shells this morning from Asia, truly nasty things.

June 29. Tuesday Night. Been on fatigue party all day at least from 12 to 6 and honestly it was really the best fatigue party I have been on. We had to go down to X beach and unload … when we did arrive there we found only one fellow hay … and we had 100 men, 50 working 1 hour, 50 bathing, the 100 took 2 hours in all … the men simply sat and rested. KERSHAW & I went to talk to the Pier master, a Lieut. from the GOLIATH, most interesting and jolly. We had some ripping food with him and then at 5 we went and had a gorgeous bathe. At about 7 or so the Asia people started, which they had been doing all day I believe; however, their huge black 6 inch shells started and my word 1 landed in one of the men’s dug-outs, just in front of mine, full of men, 5 or so, lifted one about 30 feet in the air, killed him of course, and never touched another man bar knocking them down. It was absolute miracle that they were not all killed.

June 30. Wednesday. Major HOWORTH came back. Another bombardment, French this time and they attacked brilliantly, I believe. At any rate for about the fiftieth time we are standing ready to go up again to the firing line. However, we had been up the hell of a time and it’s the Scots’ turn now. The Manchester Brigade too have had a rest at Imbros.

July 1. Thursday. Went on a fatigue party at 5:30am. Breakfast at 5 o’ clock, such as it was. Down to W Beach (or Lancs. Landing where the 1st Lancs Fusilier Regiment landed on 25 April and were absolutely cut up) had quite an enjoyable bathe with HANDFORTH, WOODHOUSE30 and SHATWELL31 are on guard down there with “D” Company, over prisoners and stores, etc. I had another breakfast with them. The Canteen was unfortunately closed owing either to the Greek who ran it being shy or else because he was jawing everybody. They say he netted £300 a day. My word he put the price on. However, WOODHOUSE had some caramels which we helped him to eat! Or rather I did. We stayed there till 12, relieved 50 or so of the men working in A.D.C. and 20 or so at RAMC.

July 2. Friday. We moved from the bivouac up to the Reserve line, namely the 5th. Previously I walked up here with Major NOWELL and looked at it. The men had to work all night deepening the trench, etc.

July 3. Saturday. Nothing doing except very hot. A lot of fatigues. We are doing just what we did down at bivouac, rotten.

July 4. Sunday. First thing in the morning men had to be up at 4:30 for breakfast; down at X beach at 6 till 12 unloading lighters. They didn’t arrive back here until 1:30 then they had to go on fatigues again at 8 at night till 2 in the morning, digging. I was then told this morning, Monday 5th, that when I arrived in at 10 to 3 I ought to have awakened the men up to fetch in a whole lot of tins and of old equipment over the parapet. Did you ever hear anything like it; I didn’t.

We have just now got the order to move again, where to we don’t know. Later have just been up to the Fire trench for a walk to work off the awful effect of cheese and onion at tea.

July 6. Tuesday. Did not move after fatigue from 8 till 12.

July 7. Wednesday. Moved into the ESKI Line (i.e. a line of trenches dug right across the Peninsular as a last line never to be taken and is being made into a perfect, ideal fire trench). I was on a permanent job superintending a working party of 100 men, from 7am to 11 and then on again from 3pm to 6. Called the garrison with 3 Officers.

July 8. Thursday. Ditto. The parcels came, chocs and socks.

July 9. Friday. Got my drill down from down at base, distinct improvement also had a complete change, everything clean on also a bath in a bucket (canvas) felt cleaner, have not been itchy lately.

July 10. Saturday. SMITH went to hospital and we moved into Firing line again at 2. Same place where we were those fearful 3 days after the June 4 do where we buried 25 bodies, I am in the same dug-out even. The flies are infinitely worse but the place is much safer. SUTTON and Sgt. GRANTHAM32 went out at night to see a new Turkish trench, or rather if they could see anything, they did not.

July 11. Sunday. Nothing much doing, SUTTON and GRANTHAM again went out and this time got the distance with a rope and also found the Turks actively digging. The trench was completed by morning, 24 yards away.

July 12. Monday. At 7:35, after a terrific bombardment, the French charged on the right doing awfully well. We had to do covering fire on to the trench in front. At 4:30 in the afternoon on the H.L.I. and Scots in General plus R.M.L.I. made a glorious advance, capturing many trenches. Oh! It was a sight. They were directly on our right and we of course had to give them covering fire. Two Battalions even went so far as to be cut off by the enemy, however they got back very well.

July 13. Tuesday. In the afternoon again the R.N.D. attacked and did awfully well, also on the right. I had to go and find out the end of the trench and put a flag up so that we should know where to fire. The R.M.L.I. were in one part, Turks in another, continually bombing themselves.

July 14. Wednesday. We came out of the Firing line about 3 o’ clock, relieved by the 10th [Manchesters]. “A” Company had to go down to the ESKI Line again where we had a good time.

July 15. Thursday. Had a glorious rest nearly making myself ill with sweets and cakes. Glorious slack, in fact best day we have had here, except for heat and flies, but I even slept through those in the afternoon. (Received a small parcel of soap, formamints and 3 letters on Wednesday).

July 16. Friday. Did nothing again bar censoring and wrote letters.

July 17. Saturday. Are moving again this afternoon, to where I don’t know but I have heard the Manchesters and Fusiliers are making tins for themselves for their backs to show the light for Artillery fire and we have to find out how many bottles, etc. are available for carrying of water, so it looks as if there was going to be an attack and we were going to carry water for the attackers in their new trenches, as usual!  We now have a new Brigadier General (owing to PRENDERGAST resigning); Viscount HAMPDEN. Seems very nice. Also I believe a new C.O.33. The move was postponed as usual.

July 18. Sunday. We did the ordinary fatigues as usual. ESKI Line, the R.E.s at last condescending. We worked from 7 to 11. I went to orderly room in the morning for Major HOWORTH who was too bad to go. We are not to move till day after, however at 10 to 2 the order comes to be ready to move at 2. We were relieved at 4:30 by the Loyal North Lancs and funnily enough one Company which went through had a sub. who I was with at Marlborough, TURNER34 in the 6th from Derby. Also the C.O. who relieved us had a sub. named GUILLEBAUD35, also of the 6th. He said that they 3 had all joined together. Very glad too I was to see them. We went down to our old dug-outs but found that “A” Company was to go where “C” was.

July 19. Monday. Went on fatigue with 50 men of “D” Company to CLAPHAM JUNCTION carrying ammunition for “Ritchie”. Nothing much doing all day, we got back at 11:30 arriving there at 9.

July 20. Tuesday. Nothing much doing all the day. At night there was a fatigue at 12:30. SUTTON went on it re-digging ESKI Line.

July 21. Wednesday. All battalions went out digging at night; 300 at 12pm, 100 at 7am. I had charge of 50 elsewhere from the 250. We were digging a new trench (Saturday) on the virgin ground, they had 1 killed, 1 wounded seriously. I had 1 shot in the back (stomach). The people who went out at 7 had 1 killed and 8 wounded, they were heavily shelled.

July 22. Thursday. Did nothing much but at night I started signaling.

July 23. Friday. Owing to Turkish attack being expected we had slept in our boots and puttees overnight, also had rifles and revolvers charged. We also now have to wear the new respirator perpetually on us. This day we all had to remain in our dugouts as far as possible but this was rather knocked on the head by the new draft of 250 men and 5 Officers which arrived about 6am. Of course they were all over the place in batches. Shells ensue. Anyhow I did no signaling though HARRISON36 continued, unknown to me, at night. We have to establish a signaling station in case the telephone breaks down owing to shell-fire. It often does. There seemed to be an attack on early on in the afternoon on the left of the Turks. Received another jolly letter and papers.

July 24. Saturday. Another glorious breeze, thank heaven! These new people careering about, more shells, the fools! They won’t learn till some have been killed. Signaling apparently must continue today. A most unheard of thing, we stood-to this morning. How nice! What a life. Must today write letters. Must have censured many hundreds during last week to a fortnight. The men seem to be making up for lost time. The new draft seems to be a most undisciplined lot. Thank heaven we have but 20. They have only just been issued out with their rifles and bayonets.

July 25. Sunday. The first Sunday that I have realized is a Sunday. Had no orderly room and general slack. Diarrhea too rotten for words. Signaling and shelling continue as usual.

July 26. Monday. R.A.L. THOMAS37 returns from Alex, having been away since May 17. Says BUTTERWORTH38 is bathing and seems to be having a good time in general. Shelling rather severe. (Oh, had some wine from the French but we think it had water mixed with it, on Sunday). PLATT39 bad in stomach; usual complaint. Nothing doing all day but at night I had to go and be at PINK FARM by 7:30 with 3 others to be pointed out a place to dig on at 12:30 (by Major WELLS40). When we arrived we had to go and meet him at the place. It was to dig a sap about 230 yards long. We arrived up there at 12:30 or 1 and relieved the 4th East Lancashires. Rotten diggers and hardly done anything at all. Our men did at least twice as much and we worked till 4 only. We had no casualties, thank heaven! A full moon however. They had 4 entirely new Officers who let the men get into mobs, idiots.

July 27. Tuesday. Nothing much doing, whole Company had again to go out at night, thank heaven I did not.

July 28. Wednesday. Nothing much doing but rest. Oh, was inoculated against Cholera41 at 7 noon with SUTTON and BARRATT. They said it is supposed to be a wash-out. Anyhow, a man was doing it who was inoculated the Service Army. I took a photo of SUTTON being done. Oh on Monday 26, in the afternoon, I went down on a bathing parade to GULLY BEACH where the remnants of the 29th [Division] are. They seem quite happy there though!

July 29. Thursday. German aeroplane went over at 6:30 dropped bomb in Senegalese lines, no damage done however. KERSHAW was on the way down to a bath at MORTO BAY at the time. The bombs made an awful noise both in dropping and going off.

July 30. Friday. Simply nothing doing. Stomach like everyone else’s, rotten.

July 31. Saturday. Nothing much doing.

August 1. Sunday. The second Sunday I have realised to be a Sunday.

August 2. Monday. A German aero again came over in the cheekiest fashion dropping another bomb. This time though at 4 in the afternoon, of course none of ours in sight.

August 3. Tuesday. Again over about 6, only right over by the beaches, whether it dropped a bomb or not I don’t know. At noon I was again inoculated against Cholera, a double dose this time and done by our doctor42 who, compared with the other man we had, is a wash-out. Takes several seconds longer over it making men’s arms bleed. In afternoon I was away 3 hours 50 minutes of which I was walking the whole time bar 10 minutes out in the Firing line learning the geography of the right sub-section. An awful maze, quite extraordinary. Trenches in an awful state. Whilst up there met ? Q.M.S. HUNT whom I have once relieved in the Firing line and also a man named SYDNEY MILLS, the full Lieut.

August 4. Wednesday. Anniversary, wet. Am orderly Officer, pleasant job! Nothing doing so far. Men out on fatigues every day, awful.

August 5. Thursday.

August 6. Friday. Attack on left by the 26th Division in the afternoon. Huge bombardment, they took out 4 trenches and had to come back. They say it was awful. The trenches were all so shallow.

August 7. Saturday. Up at 4:30am. Moved off from bivouac at 5 arrived up in redoubt line and had breakfast. Bombardment commenced at 8 to 9. Intense from 9 to 9:40, first attack 9:50, second 10, supports.

Well, the Manchester Brigade and Lancs Fusiliers went over and caught it. At about 3 SUTTON and his platoon were sent to reinforce right.

T FORSHAW43 and No1 Platoon, self with No 2 Platoon went up to Vineyard … No 8 … Nice DO. Had an awful night, nobody in G12 when we arrived.

August 8. Sunday.  Relieved Sunday 4.30 afternoon. T Forshaw and 2 others did not come down till 10 on Monday morning when I again went up till 3 in the afternoon, bombing in 9.

August 10. Tuesday. T FORSHAW went down to base a nervous wreck, also is affected in regions of chest from fumes of bombs. We remained in redoubt line.

August 11. Wednesday. I had in the morning to go and interview Gen. DOUGLAS as a sort of eye witness of T FORSHAW’s gallantry for V.C. Willie very charming, even offered me a cigarette which I smoked: said he would be very pleased to recommend FORSHAW for the V.C.

August 12. Thursday. Went up to Firing line again though this time we went to left of the Vineyard. About as soon as we were in the trench they opened a terrific rifle fire the bombardment apparently bringing up fresh troops, taking the Vineyard A.C.E including S12.

August 13. Friday. Next morning at 6:30 I was sent with bombers up left side & Scottish Officers up right side. I didn’t advance but just held my own, they say they advanced a bit. I was relieved at 10 thank heaven. We were relieved by the Scots 52nd Division at about 1:30 when we made the best of our way down to the old bivouac, had lunch and then had to move to a new one. Thoroughly fagged out at about 3:30. Lay down and slept till about 8, next morning.

August 14. Saturday. Settled down. Fatigues started even now.

August 15. Sunday. Went on a digging fatigue (new bomb place) at 4:30 and didn’t finish until 9:30, nice! Then went out at 6:30 till 12.

August 16. Monday. BUTTERWORTH arrived back having had about nil in the matter. Takes my night fatigue.

August 17. Tuesday. Warned by CO in morning to go to IMBROS on G.H.Q. escort and 25 men on 18th. Nothing doing.

August 18. Wednesday. BARRATT and 25 men have to come as well. We left CAPE HELLES (thank heaven) supposed to be 4 o’ clock at about 5:15 arriving IMBROS at 7 or so. We headed off to dinner by signal office, had dinner, went to find men who had landed later, found them eating. Then had a DO with luggage. However, did eventually arrive in a tent about 10 or so.

August 19. Thursday. Early in the morning was sick, feeling terrible all day, had to report to Major CHURCHILL44, camp Commandant. Had a touch of fever I think. I slept well next night though I did Vineyard repeatedly through the night again.

August 20. Friday. Feel very weak though got up after breakfast. BARRATT C.O. which consists of nothing really.

August 21. Saturday. Am C.O. do nothing. Bathed morning and evening.

August 22. Sunday. Church parade very small. Gen. H. there, after service he inspected his escort of 100 men (50 Australians and 50 of us) spoke to several men, very nice, said our Div. had done damn well. Then I went over to SHAW’s at R Beach and had lunch with PARKER45. Went to see Turkish Prisoners Camp.

August 23. Monday. Doing nothing.

August 24. Tuesday. Walked about and lazed. Bath in morning as usual, very windy. BARRATT still in bed. Rained very heavily, hail.

August 25. Wednesday. Had a bathe and good breakfast but then started to feel deadly rotten, ate nothing rest of day.

August 26. Thursday. Had a decent breakfast but nothing rest of the day.

August 27. Friday. Milk diet.

August 28. Saturday. Ditto.

August 29. Sunday went on Church Parade feeling awful. Dr. says I should not have gone. BARRATT today has gone to K Beach en route for Lines of Communication, lucky fellow.

August 30. Monday. Still in bed, toast only as usual.

September 1. Wednesday. Toast only. Doctor comes every day, am deadly yellow.

September 2. Thursday. Have written some letters. Received some 2 days ago. 2 from home and 1 from Uncle Fred.

 

Notes

[1.] 2/Lt. HUMPHREY KAYE BONNEY NEVINSON 1/10th Battalion Manchester Regiment. Killed in Action June 5, 1915. [back]

[2.] HMS QUEEN ELIZABETH. Dreadnought class Battleship. [back]

[3.] HMS SWIFTSURE. Swiftsure class Battleship. [back]

[4.] Major THOMAS EGBERT HOWORTH. 1/9th Battalion Manchester Regiment. [back]

[5.] THOMAS GRIMSHAW HYDE. 1/9th Battalion Manchester Regiment. [back]

[6.] 1401 EDWARD HODGKISS was officially listed as killed in action on June 5, 1915 but the Register of Soldier’s Effects and the 1914-1915 Star Roll both list the date of May 22, 1915. He was 19 years old. [back]

[7.] L/Cpl. 1358 GEORGE JAMES SILVESTER won the Distinguished Conduct Medal for bringing in under fire 1413 Pte. THOMAS PENNY, who was wounded, and then returning to his task in front of the lines. [back]

[8.] Private 12654 PATRICK KELLY Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers was Killed in Action on May 29, 1915. He was buried by Rev OSWIN CREIGHTON Army Chaplain’s Department, (educated at Marlborough and Keble College, Oxford and author of “With The Twenty-Ninth Division in Gallipoli, A Chaplain’s Experiences”). [back]

[9.] Company Sergeant Major 6666 W. MAGEE, 1st Battalion Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers was awarded the D.C.M. for actions on May 1 and May 2, 1915 in Gallipoli. [back]

[10.] HMS GOLIATH was sunk by torpedoes from the Ottoman destroyer Muâvenet-i Millîye on May 13, 1915. [back]

[11.] HMS TRIUMPH was sunk by torpedo from the German U-boat U21 on May 25, 1915. [back]

[12.] HMS MAJESTIC was sunk by torpedo from the German U-boat U21 on May 27, 1915. [back]

[13.] HMS EURYALUS survived the war and was sold for scrap on 1 July 1920. [back]

[14.] FRANK HAMER. 1/9th Battalion Manchester Regiment. Killed in Action June 7, 1915. [back]

[15.] 2/Lt. ALFRED EDWARD STRINGER. 1/9th Battalion Manchester Regiment. Killed in Action June 7, 1915. [back]

[16.] 2/Lt. JOHN (JACK) MAYALL WADE. 1/9th Battalion Manchester Regiment. Killed in Action June 18, 1915. [back]

[17.] 2/Lt. PHILIP SIDNEY MARSDEN. 1/9th Battalion Manchester Regiment. Killed in Action May 30, 1917. [back]

[18.] Of the 17 Combat Officers of the 1/8th Battalion Manchester Regiment who landed at Cape Helles on May 7, 1915 10 were killed and 7 were wounded 30 days later, by June 6, 1915. [back]

[19.] L/Cpl. 1000 JAMES EARNSHAW. 1/9th Battalion Manchester Regiment. Killed in Action June 9, 1915. [back]

[20.] 2/Lt. HAROLD HARRISON HUDSON. 1/9th Battalion Manchester Regiment. Killed in Action June 13, 1915. [back]

[21.] HENRY CHORLTON SHAW. 1/9th Battalion Manchester Regiment. [back]

[22.] KEPHALOS BAY, IMBROS. [back]

[23.] GEORGE WILLIAM HANDFORTH. 1/9th Battalion Manchester Regiment. [back]

[24.] HAROLD SUGDEN. 1/9th Battalion Manchester Regiment. Died of Wounds June 20, 1915. [back]

[25.] 1711 SIDNEY OGDEN. 1/9th Battalion Manchester Regiment. Died of Wounds June 20, 1915. [back]

[26.] FREDERICK WILLIAM KERSHAW. 1/9th Battalion Manchester Regiment. [back]

[27.] The 1/4th Battalion Royal Scots Fusiliers (155th Brigade) relieved the 1/9th Manchesters and the 1/5th East Lancs Regiment at 2pm on June 22, 1915. [back]

[28.] 2/Lt. OLIVER JEPSON SUTTON, M.C. 1/9th Battalion Manchester Regiment. Was awarded the Military Cross for his reconnaissance work with Sgt. HARRY GRANTHAM on the nights of July 10/11, 1915. Killed in Action March 22, 1918. [back]

[29.] 2/Lt. ARTHUR WILLIAM FIELD CONNERY. 1/9th Battalion Manchester Regiment. [back]

[30.] FRANK WOODHOUSE. 1/9th Battalion Manchester Regiment. [back]

[31.] 2/Lt. HUGH GEORGE SHATWELL. 1/9th Battalion Manchester Regiment. [back]

[32.] HARRY GRANTHAM was awarded the Distinguished Conduct medal for his reconnaissance work with Captain OLIVER JEPSON SUTTON on the nights of July 10/11, 1915. [back]

[33.] Lieutenant-Colonel ROBERT WORGAN FALCON. C.O. 1/9th Battalion Manchester Regiment. July 16,1915 to September 10,1915. [back]

[34.] 2/Lt. HAROLD FRANCIS ALMA TURNER. 6th Battalion Loyal North Lancashire Regiment. [back]

[35.] 2/Lt. GEOFFREY PIERE GUILLEBAUD. 6th Battalion Loyal North Lancashire Regiment. Killed in Action August 10, 1915. [back]

[36.] 136 HENRY HARRISON. 1/9th Battalion Manchester Regiment. [back]

[37.] 1727 ROBERT ALLEN LEWIS THOMAS. 1/9th Battalion Manchester Regiment. Killed in Action May 15, 1917. [back]

[38.] 2/Lt. HAROLD EDWARD BUTTERWORTH. 1/9th Battalion Manchester Regiment. [back]

[39.] THOMAS ALBERT PLATT. 1/9th Battalion Manchester Regiment. [back]

[40.] Major LIONEL FORTESCUE WELLS, DSO. Royal Engineers, 42nd Division T.F. [back]

[41.] PHILIP JOHN AMBROSE SECCOMBE, RAMC and Lt. THOMAS HOLMES RAVENHILL, RAMC were sent by GHQ to inoculate the men against Cholera. [back]

[42.] Major THOMAS FRANKISH, M.D., T.D. Royal Army Medical Corps was the Divisional Medical Officer assigned to the 1/9th Battalion Manchester Regiment until he was replaced by temporary Lieut. CHARLES HENRY NASH on August 31. 1915. Major ALBERT HILTON, M.D. was the original Battalion Medical Officer but died of disease in Egypt on March 4, 1915. [back]

[43.] WILLIAM THOMAS FORSHAW, V.C. 1/9th Battalion Manchester Regiment. [back]

[44.] Major JOHN SPENCER-CHURCHILL. Queen’s Own Oxfordshire Hussars and Camp Commandant at General Headquarters, Kephalos, Imbros. Brother of Winston Churchill. [back]

[45.] 2/Lt. JAMES ALFRED PARKER. 1/9th Battalion Manchester Regiment. [back]

Copyright Richard Cooke.

1/9th Battalion Manchester Regiment. 1916.

Below is the transcription of the 1/9th Battalion Manchester Regiment January to December 1916 covering their time in Egypt. At this time, the 1/9th Manchesters were part of the 126th Infantry Brigade in the 42nd Division.

The PDF version is the transcription is available to download here.

January 1916

Jan 1st – 13th, MUDROS
Battalion spent this period in elementary training, a course of instruction for junior Officers and N.C.O.s was started.

Jan 12th
Orders received to embark on H.M.T. ARCADIAN.

Jan 14th
HQs and 300 men embark on H.M.T. ARCADIAN.

Jan 15th
The Battalion sails for Alexandria.

Jan 17th
The Battalion arrives at Alexandria.

Jan 18th
The Battalion disembarks and entrains for Cairo. Trams are provided from Cairo Station to MENA CAMP.

Jan 24th
Orders received to move to TEL-EL-KEBIR, an advance party of 1 Officer and 54 other ranks.

Jan 26th
The Battalion moves to TEL-EL-KEBIR.

Jan 28th
Orders received to move to SHALLUFA.

Jan 29th
The Battalion, less transport and transport personnel, moves to SHALLUFA and on arrival sends a party of 6 Officers and 180 other ranks as outposts for the night.

Jan 30th
The day is spent in moving baggage across the SUEZ CANAL to camp.

February 1916

Feb 1st – 7th
Nothing to record.

Feb 8th
Lt. Col. D. H. WADE rejoins from England. A draft of 2 Officers, 2/Lt. SIDEBOTHAM and HENTHORNE, and a draft of 98 other ranks arrives from England. 25 other ranks from 42nd Division Base Details Camp.

Feb 9th
Nothing to record.

Feb 10th
Battalion left SHALLUFA for KABRIT less transport, 1 Officer and 50 other ranks to KABRIT SOUTH, the remainder to KABRIT NORTH.

Feb 11th – 22nd
Battalion engaged in putting the post into a state of defence.

Feb 23rd
One Company moves out 3 ½ miles to form a small post called BURNLEY.

Feb 24th
Information received that Capt. O. J. SUTTON and 2/Lieut. E. COOKE awarded the Military Cross, and L/Cpl. PEARSON and Cpl. PICKFORD the D.C.M.

Feb 24th – 29th
Work continued on defences of KABRIT.

March 1916

Mar 1st – 2nd
Work continued on defences of KABRIT.

Mar 3rd
Cards of congratulation received from Major-General Commanding 42nd Division, for good work done in Gallipoli.

341        Sgt. LEE J.
2146      Cpl. PLATT A.
728        L/Cpl. GREEN A.
2825      Pte. SMITH A.
2231      Pte. SHEEKEY W.
2067      Pte. SWINDELLS J. S.

Capt. F. W. KERSHAW rejoins Battalion from Hospital.

Mar 3rd – 17th
Batttalion on outpost duty at KABRIT and engaged in work on defences.

2/Lieut. S RUTTENAU rejoins Battalion from England.

2/Lieut. B. H. BRISTER admitted to Hospital.

Mar 18th
Draft of undermentioned Officers arrive to the Battalion:

2/Lieut. J. H. CLARKE
2/Lieut. A. M. LECKLER
2/Lieut. L. O. HARD
2/Lieut. B. S. J. BOND-ANDREW
2/Lieut. B. FREEDMAN
2/Lieut. M. J. DUNLOP
2/Lieut. E. K P. FUGE

Mar 19th – 22nd
Work on KABRIT defences continued.

Mar 23rd
Lieut. G. W. HANDFORTH rejoined battalion from England.

Mar 24th
Draft of 1 Officer (2/Lt. W. G. GREENWOOD) and 56 other ranks arrive to Battalion from England.

Mar 25th – 29th
Work on KABRIT defences continued.

Mar 30th
2 Officers, 1/Lieut. SIDEBOTTOM and 2/Lieut. HENTHORNE also 52 other ranks transferred to “A” and “B” Stoke Gun Batteries.

April 1916

Apr 1st
Battalion moved from KABRIT to SUEZ having been relieved by 9th Hants. (T.F.).

Apr 1st – 8th
Major A. E. FAWENS [FAWCUS] 1/7th Manchester Regiment taken on the strength and posted as 2nd in command.

Apr 9th – 13th
Battalion training continued, also Brigade and Divisional Training and Musketry and Grenading Training commenced.

Apr 14th
Draft from England. 60 other ranks from 3rd Battalion Border regiment arrive to the Battalion.

Apr 15th – 20th
Battalion engages in Brigade Divisional Training.

Apr 21st
Draft to Battalion from England. 99 W. O., N.C.O.s and men.

Apr 22nd – 30th
Battalion, Brigade and Divisional Training continued.

Apr 25th
Accident through bomb exploding. 2 men killed and 11 wounded, 1 subsequently dying from wounds.

May 1916

May 1st
2nd Lieut. BROADBENT rejoined from England. Lieut. J. KNOWLES attached from 11th battalion Yorks & Lancs Regiment transferred to Base Depot and struck off strength.

May 1st – 8th
Training continued.

May 9th
2nd Lieut. HARD, L. O. 14th Manchester Regiment rejoined Battalion.

May 9th – 20th
Lieut. Col. D. H. WADE takes over temporary command 126th Brigade from 18-5-1916.

Capt. F. WOODHOUSE takes over temporary command of Battalion from 18-5-1916. Major A. E. F. FAWENS [FAWCUS] on leave.

1 Officer, Lt. T. G. HYDE and 66 other ranks (Draft arrive to Battalion from England 19th May).

May 20th – 31st
Training continued. Training during month included Battalion, Brigade and Divisional Musketry, Grenading and route marching.

Several Officers, N.C.O. s and men attended courses of instruction at CAIRO.

Draft of 24 other ranks arrived to battalion from England, 22nd.

June 1916

June 1st – 5th
Battalion occupied in training, including Brigade and Divisional Training.

2/Lieut. C. E. COOKE joins Battalion from England on 3/6/16. 2/Lieut. H. E. BUTTERWORTH joins Battalion from England on 4/6/16.

June 6th
Nothing to record.

June 7th – 16th
Lieut. HYDE and 5 other ranks to Courses of Instruction at ZEITOUN. Battalion still occupied in training and men employed on hutting.

June 17th
Lieut. HYDE and 5 other ranks rejoin from Courses of Instruction at ZEITOUN.

2/Lieut. W. J. ABLITT attached 126th Infantry Brigade.

2/Lieut. G. R. BERNARD granted leave to England.

June 18th – 19th
Battalion still engaged in training. 2/Lieut. FIELDING admitted to Hospital, sick. Lieut. T. G. HYDE appointed Quarter Master.

June 20th – 21st
Battalion moved (along with rest of Brigade) to FERDAN and occupied camp on W. bank of SUEZ CANAL. Moved across on evening of 21st to Camp on E. Bank of Canal (FERDAN BRIDGEHEAD) Colonel and Company Commanders proceeded to FERDAN RAILHEAD.

June 22nd
Moved from FERDAN BRIDGEHEAD to ABU URUQ and took over defences from 9th West Yorks. 1 section of 126th Brigade Machine Gun Company attached.

June 23rd – 30th
Battalion engaged in Outpost Duty at ABU URUQ, also digging and wiring on defensive works scheme.

Major and Quarter Master M. H. CONNERY admitted to Hospital, sick 23.6.16.  126th Brigade Stokes T. M. Battery attached under 2/Lt. T. AINSWORTH. Draft of 110 other ranks arrive to Battalion from England.

July 1916

Jul 1st – 23rd
During this period, a considerable amount of work on the defences at ABU URUQ, chiefly wiring and the maintenance and improvement of existing trenches. Range marks were placed in front of all works and reserves of food, water, S.A.A. and Bombs in works completed. Night Outposts and Day Observation Posts were maintained and Night Patrols sent out to meet Patrols from 125th Brigade at BALLY BUNION. Mounted Officers went out in turn with Patrols of D.L.O.Y. Parties were marched down to Canal daily for bathing. Bombing instruction was continued. Almost all N.C.O.s and men received elementary training and Platoon teams received more advanced instruction. Hon Maj. and Quarter Master CONNERY, M. H. invalided Home 7th July, 1916.  Major NOWELL, R. B. joined Battalion from England and posted as 2nd in command 20th July, 1916.

Jul 24th – 25th
Battalion relieved at ABU URUQ by Dismounted squadron of Australian Light Horse and march to FERDAN where Camp was pitched on W. Bank of Canal.

Jul 26th
Battalion was marched from EL FERDAN at 16:00. Arrived BALLAH 08:00, bivouaced on E. Bank of Canal during day.  March returned at 00:15 on night of 26/27. Reached HILL 40, KANTARA about 06:30 and pitched Camp.

Jul 27th
Party of 21 W.O.s, N.C.O.s and men rejoined Battalion from Base. Leave to England continued.

Jul 31st
Battalion engaged in equipping on special establishment for Mobile Column. Also training and Rank Marching.

August 1916

Aug 1st – 3rd
Nothing to report.

Aug 4th
Party of 1 Officer (2/Lt. BOND-ANDREWS) and 75 men to Composite battalion at KANTARA.

Battalion moved to GILBAN by march route. Battalion, less C and D Companies, advance Guard to Brigade.

C and D Companies, under Major NOWELL, Right Flank Guard. A and B Companies Night Outposts at GILBAN on night of 4/5th August. Transport and men unfit to march left behind at HILL 40.

Aug 5th – 6th
Nothing to record.

Aug 7th
2 Officers and 6 men detailed as Guards to 426 Turkish Prisoners captured near KATIA and arriving at DUEDDAR about 20:00.

Aug 8th
1 Officer (2/Lt. FREEDMAN) and 30 men proceeded with Turkish Prisoners to KANTARA to rail and rejoined same evening. Battalion proceeded by rail to PELUSIUM and went into Camp N. of railway line.

Aug 9th
Battalion (along with 1/4th E. Lancs Regiment) marched to Mt. ROYSTON and searched battlefield. A quantity of Turkish arms equipment, S.A.A. etc. being collected and a few enemy dead buried.

Aug 10th
Battalion found outposts at PELUSIUM. Outpost Company, D Company.

Aug 11th – 18th
Battalion engaged in training and Route Marching. 2/Lieut. G. E. RODNELL (3/4th E. Kent Regiment) and 2/Lieut. E. E. TOWLER (10th South Lancs Regiment) posted to Battalion for duty from 13/8/16.

Battalion took over outposts at PELUSIUM for 48 hours from 07:00 on 18th. Relieved by 1/4th East Lancs Regiment on the 20th.

Aug 19th – 31st
During this period the Battalion was engaged in training and route marching (including Brigade Training) and Night Operations with occasional Route Marches to seashore for bathing. Camel loading was practiced and tents were covered with scrub to conceal them from hostile aircraft.

Battalion received first dose of inoculation against cholera on the 20th and second dose on the 29th.  Part II orders contained the following entries:

Qtr. Mr. & Hon Major CONNERY                – awarded Military Cross
No 1792               L/Cpl. DAVIES A.               – awarded D.C.M.
No 1623               Sgt. GREENHALGH J.     – awarded D.C.M.
No 1083               Pte. LITTLEFORD S.       – awarded D.C.M.

September 1916

Sep 1st – 8th
Battalion engaged in training at PELUSIUM.

Sept 9th
Battalion marched to ROMANI and bivouaced for the night.

Sep 10th
Battalion marched to ER RABAH. C Company Capt. SUTTON advance guard to Division. Arrived at ER RABAH about 18:00 and bivouaced.

On morning of 11th march was resumed to OGHRATINA which was reached about 06:00, when Battalion took up No 1 Section of line extending from W. end of OGHRATINA RIDGE through HILL E. and HILL D. covered by outposts line of 1/10th Manchester Regiment.

Sep 11th – 13th
Battalion engaged in entrenchment of defensive line Outposts taken over from 1/10th Manchester Regiment on the 13th.

Sep 14th
Nothing to record.

Sep 15th
Capt. F. WOODHOUSE proceeded to BASE en route for England. 2/Lieut. A. N. LECKLER and 2/Lieut. R. J. N. DALE attached on probation to R.F.C. ABOUKIR for instruction in aviation.

Sep 16th
Battalion still engaged in entrenchment of line and providing outposts. 2/Lieut. H. G. SHATWELL takes over command and pay of D Company.

Sep 17th
1/4th Battalion East Lancs Regiment took over HILL D. Lieut. D. B. STEPHENSON rejoins Battalion from Hospital.

Sep 18th – 20th
Nothing of importance to record.

Sep 21st
Battalion relieved by 1/8th Battalion Manchester Regiment and moved into Reserve at NEGILIAT. C and D Companies, under Major NOWELL, sent to dig trenches on position S. of OGHRATINA RIDGE.

Sept 22nd – 23rd
Battalion engaged in training.

Sep 24th
C and D Companies rejoin Battalion.

Sep 25th – 30th
During this period Battalion was engaged in training, including Field Firing. Divisional Guards provided every 3 days. Course of Instruction at ZEITOUN. Party of 36 other ranks granted furlough to England. Daily Part II Orders contained the following:
No 2231 Pte. SHEEKEY awarded Silver Medal

Qtr. Mr. Hon. Major M. H. CONNERY      )
No. 1623 Sgt. J. GREENHALGH                ) Mentioned in despatches for
No. 1792 Cpl. A. DAVIES                               ) distinguished & gallant
No. 1083 Pte. S. LITTLEFORD                  ) conduct.

October 1916

Oct 1st
Battalion finding Divisional Duties at NEGILIAT.

Oct 2nd
Battalion took over No. 4 (Left) Sector of OGHRATINA Defences from 1/7th Manchester Regiment. C Company Outpost Company. A and B in defence line and D in reserve at Battalion H.Q.

Oct 3rd
Nothing to record.

Oct 4th
Party of 6 Officers and 167 other ranks to Change of Air Camp SIDI BISAR ALEXANDRIA. 2/Lt. BEARD F. granted five weeks leave to England left for Basr.

Oct 5th
2/Lt. HAND, L. O. proceeded to Basr en route for England for transfer to Royal Flying Corps.

Oct 6th – 8th
Nothing to record.

Oct 9th
Battalion moved to No. 1 (Right) Sector of OGHRATINA Defences. “B” Company on HILL E., “C” Company on OGHRATINA RIDGE, “A” Company in reserve, “D” Company at SIDI BISHR Change of Air Camp.

Oct 10th
2/Lt. GRAY A. granted 5 weeks leave to England. Left for Basr.

Oct 11th
Nothing to record.

Oct 12th
Orders received for concentration of 126th Brigade near KILO 60, NEGILIAT.

Oct 13th
Battalion moved into Bivouac near KILO 60. “B” Company Outpost Company. No. 1 Section. New Outpost Line. Party of 6 Officers and 162 other ranks rejoined from SIDI BISHR Change of Air Camp.

Oct 14th
Nothing to report.

Oct 15th
Battalion (less Outpost Company) engaged in Field Firing on range N. of Railway.

Oct 16th
Route March from S.E. from NEGILIAT.

Oct 17th
Companies engaged in training.

Oct 18th
Battalion practiced in attack.

Oct 19th
Nothing to report.

Oct 20th
Battalion Route March. Detachment of D.L.O.Y. accompanied.

Oct 21st – 22nd
“D” Company relieved “B” Company (Outpost Company). Three Officers and 68 other ranks to SIDI BISHR. Change of Air Camp. Lt. STEPHENSON and 2/Lt. COOKE C.E., rejoined from ZEITOUN School of Instruction.

Oct 23rd
“A”, “B” and “C” Companies Field Firing. Major NOWELL took over temporary command of Battalion vice Lt-Col. WADE on leave.

Oct 24th
Outpost Line taken over at 17:00 by a Company of East Lancs. “D” Company withdrawn to Battalion H.Q.

Oct 25th
Battalion marched along with 1/10th Manchester Regiment to BIR-EL-ABD. Battalion on S. side of Railway with two platoons. “A” Company as R. Flank Guard. Halt for an hour, after which march was resumed and BIR-EL-ABD reached without incident, except that column halted and scattered for about 20 minutes owing to enemy aeroplane flying overhead.  Battalion bivouaced N. of Railway at EL ABD for night of 25th/26th.

2/Lt. NAYLOR, S.  joined Battalion from England.

Oct 26th
Orders received from Lt. Col. G. W. ROBINSON to take over R. Sector (S. of Railway) of EL ABD Defensive Line tomorrow. Lt. Col. D. H. WADE rejoined from leave. Major R. B. NOWELL relinquished temporary command of Battalion.

Oct 27th
Battalion, along with 1 section Brigade Machine Gun Company, took over R. Sector of EL ABD Defence Line, ground being vacated by various Units of 52nd Division, which had previously occupied it. “D” Company on right (Works 1-2-3). “B” Company centre (Works 4-5). “C” Company Left (Works 6-7). “A” Company in reserve.

Digging on works commenced.

Oct 28th
Two Officers and 18 other ranks left for School of Instruction ZEITOUN. 2/Lt. NAYLOR, S. admitted to Hospital.

Oct 29th
Admitted to Hospital.

Oct 30th

C. in C. visited L. of C. Post at EL ABD but did not go round the lines S. of the Railway.

Oct 31st, ABD

Turkish aeroplane flew over and dropped 4 bombs. Aeroplane again came over and dropped 4 bombs.

3 Officers and 65 other ranks rejoined from Change of Air Camp, SIDI BISHR. Lt. Col. WADE took over as L. of C. Post Defence Commander, vice Lt.-Col. G. W. ROBINSON 1/10th Manchester Regiment to hospital.

Guard of 1 N.C.O. and 6 men provided to escort party of 15 men and 48 women and children (captured Bedouins) to KANTARA.

November 1916

Nov 1st – 2nd, ABD
Battalion in Right Sector of Defensive Line at ABD. “B”, “C” and “D” Companies relieved by 1/6th Manchester Regiment. Battalion concentrated at Battalion H.Q.

Nov 3rd
Battalion engaged in training.

Nov 4th
1 Officer (2/Lt. CLARKE) and 12 other ranks to Course of Instruction at No. 3 Section Grenade School, KANTARA.

Nov 5th – 6th
2/Lt. DEMEL left Battalion for England for transfer to Royal Flying Corps.

Route March S. W. from ABD.

Nov 7th
2/Lt. AINSWORTH left base for furlough to England.

Nov 8th
Lieut. (Temp) H. H. KNIGHT and 69 other ranks (draft from England) arrived to Battalion.

Nov 9th
Battalion marched to KILO 60 (SALMANA) with remainder of Brigade.

“B” Company Advanced Guard (Capt. KERSHAW) arrived SALMANA.  Enemy aeroplane passed over, flying West. Bivouaced for night 9/10th E. of Railway.

Nov 10th
Marched resumed for K.100 (ABU TILUL).  2 platoons “D” Company (Lt. ROBINSON) rearguard to Brigade.

Nov 10th, ABU TILUL
Arrived K.100. Battalion (covered by outpost line of 1/10th Manchester Regiment), took up line D.E.F. (Ref. 1/123, 0 0 Map, SABKET-EL-BARDAWIL). “A” Company on right, “B” Company in centre (HILL E.) and “C” Company on left (HILL F.). “D” Company in reserve.

Nov 11th
Battalion took over outposts on its own front from 1/10th Manchester Regiment.

Nov 12th
Entrenchment of position proceeded with. One section 126th Brigade Machine Gun Company attached to Battalion.

Nov 13th
Section Commander (Maj. Gen. SIR W. DOUGLAS) visited line occupied by Battalion.

Nov 14th – 16th
Nothing to record.

Nov 17th
Rifle and Lewis Gun practice from Trenches. 2/Lt. F. BEARD rejoins from furlough to England. 2/Lt. DALE, R. J. N. reposted to Battalion from Royal Flying Corps, (admitted Hospital from R.F.C.).

Nov 18th
Nothing to record.

Nov 20th
36 other ranks rejoined from Composite Battalion.

Nov 21st
Serge clothing taken into wear. Route march of men rejoining from Composite Battalion.

Nov 22nd
Major T. E. HOWORTH rejoins from England. By order of 126th B.O.E. he is detailed for duty with 1/5th East Lancs Regiment. 2/Lt. O. S. NEEDHAM rejoins from ZEITOUN.

Nov 23rd
2 Officers (2/Lt. ROBINSON, B. F. and 2/Lt. CLARKE, J. H.) and 8 other ranks to Courses of Instruction at ZEITOUN.

Nov 24th
Battalion moves to MAZAR and takes up defensive position, its right resting on left of 1/5th East Lancs Regiment and with 1/10th Manchester Regiment on its left, Line is covered by Outposts provided by “C” Company. “A” Company is on right of Battalion Sector, “B” Company in centre and “D” Company on left.

Nov 25th – 27th
Nothing to record.

Nov 28th
100 N.C.O.s and men sent for disinfection by steam disinfector at MAZAR station.

Nov 29th
200 N.C.O.s and men sent for disinfection.

Nov 30th
200 N.C.O.s and men sent for disinfection. Companies in defence line take over their own outposts. “C” Company withdraws into local reserve at Battalion H.Q.

December 1916

Dec 1st, MAZAR
Battalion still occupying defensive positions N. of railway.

Dec 2nd – 3rd
Nothing to record.

Dec 4th
2/Lt. W. G. GREENWOOD attached to Canal Transport Corps for Course of Instruction.

Dec 5th – 6th
Nothing to record.

Dec7th
2/Lt. W. W. QUINNEY, 10th Lancs Fusiliers, and 2/Lt. J. CARREY, 15th King’s Liverpool Regiment, posted to the Battalion.

Dec 8th – 9th
Nothing to record.

Dec 10th
New identity discs (green) received and issued to all ranks.

Dec 11th
New flashes issued to all ranks, to be worn on shoulders of S.D. Jackets. Major T. E. HOWORTH rejoins from 1/5th East Lancs Regiment and takes over command of “C” Company vice T. Capt. O. J. SUTTON.

Battalion Route March, direction – bearing of 7 degrees from Battalion H.Q. Firing practice for Reserve Lewis Gunners from a point due N. of FLAG HILL.

Dec 12th
“C” Company relieved “B” Company in Defense Line. “B” Company moved into local reserve at Battalion H.Q. 2/Lt. R. J. N. DALE rejoined from Royal Flying Corps.

Dec 13th
Nothing to record.

Dec 14th
Battalion took part in tactical exercise in which 42nd and 52nd Divisions and ANZAC MTD DIVN were engaged. Defensive line taken over by 10th Manchesters on 13-12-16 and held by that unit until re-occupied by Battalion on 14-12-16 on conclusion of operations.

Dec 15th
Nothing to record.

Dec 16th
Brigade order received from Battalion to move into Divisional Reserve at point J.5 – 3.4 on reorganization of MAZAR defences. Battalion concentrated at Battalion H.Q. and moved to pt J.5 – 3.4 move being completed by 17:00.

Dec 17th

Orders for move effected yesterday, cancelled. Battalion moved back to position vacated on 16.12.16 and reoccupied defensive line. Distribution as before, viz. “A” Company on Right, “C” in Centre and “D” on Left (each Company finding its own outposts). “B” Company in reserve at Battalion H.Q. Move completed by 12:00.

Dec 18th
2/Lt. ROBINSON, B. F. and 2/Lt. CLARKE, J. H. and 6 other ranks rejoined Battalion from ZEITOUN School of Instruction.

Dec 19th
Capt. D. HOW 2nd Battalion Royal Welsh Fusiliers, joined Battalion.

Dec 20th
Battalion concentrated at Battalion H.Q. for move to KILO 128 along with all other units of Division. Bivouac at KILO 128 for night of 20/21st.

Dec 21st, KILO 128
Orders received to return to MAZAR. 50 camels handed over to Camel Transport Corps. March to MAZAR. Arrived MAZAR and went into bivouac N. of 126th Brigade H.Q. Battalion part of Divisional Reserve.

Dec 22nd – 31st
Nothing to record.

1/9th Battalion Manchester Regiment. 1917.

Below is the transcription of the 1/9th Battalion Manchester Regiment May to July 1917 covering their arrival in France up to the time that Arthur Slater was wounded and evacuated to England. At this time, the 1/9th Manchesters were part of the 126th Infantry Brigade in the 42nd Division.

The PDF version is the transcription is available to download here.  The Ancestry version is available here (requires a subscription to Ancestry.com).

March 1917

Mar 1, MOASCAR
Battalion entrains 22:00 departing for ALEXANDRIA 22:50. Capt. D. HOW leaves to rejoin his unit in EGYPT.

Mar 2, ALEXANDRIA
Arrive ALEXANDRIA 06:00. Embark on H.M.T. ARCADIAN with 1/5th EAST LANCS REGT and details amounting to 106 Officers, 14 WOs, 2,237 OR. Col. D. H. WADE appointed O.C. troops.

Mar 3, H.M.T. ARCADIAN
Remain alongside Quay at ALEXANDRIA.

Mar 4, H.M.T. ARCADIAN
Sail from ALEXANDRIA with escort.

Mar 5, H.M.T. ARCADIAN
Inspection by commander and O.C. Troops, and Boat Deck parade.

Mar 6, H.M.T. ARCADIAN
Customary inspection by Commander and O.C. Troops. Test alarms 09:30. Medical Inspection.

Mar 7, H.M.T. ARCADIAN
Arrive MALTA and anchor in ST PAUL’S BAY. Depart with escort of one Destroyer & one sloop.

Mar 8, H.M.T. ARCADIAN
Boat deck parade cancelled on account of rough weather.

Mar 9, H.M.T. ARCADIAN
Boat deck parade cancelled on account of rough weather. Anchor off CORSICA (PORTO VECCHIO).

Mar 10, H.M.T. ARCADIAN
14:00 Depart PORTO VECCHIO. 17:00 Practice alarm given by escort. Stand to dismissed 17:45. 21:00 The escort sloop “CYCLAMBEN” moves off to starboard and tackles two submarines. 14 shots fired to starboard about 2 miles distant. Believed one submarine sunk.

Mar 11, H.M.T. ARCADIAN
09:30 H.M.S. CYCLAMEN rejoins. Three cheers given by troops for H.M.S. CYCLAMEN. 14:00 Arrive MARSEILLES. Extra blanket issued to each man. 18:30 1/9th Manchesters disembark and entrain. 22:00 Depart MARSEILLES.

Mar 12, ORANGE
04:00 Halte Repas 1 hour ORANGE. Rations issued for the day also hot water for tea.
09:30 Halte Repas 1 hour MACON. Hot water issued at each “Halte”
18:30 Halte Repas 1 hour LES LAUMES

Mar 13, MONTEGREAU
04:00 Halte Repas 1 hour MONTEGREAU. Rations issued for the day. Owing to the darkness this was found to be a difficult process. A “Halte” assayed for later, after daybreak, would have been more satisfactory.

11:00 Halte Repas JUVISY, near PARIS. Fresh orders were not issued. See Appendix.
17:06 Halte, 1706-1815 EPLUCHES. Hot water provided.

Mar 14, PONT REMY
10:30 Arrive PONT REMY (Sq K.6, Ref Map 1/100,000 ABBEVILLE 14). Tea provided to the A, B & C Companies by Y.M.C.A. 07:30 Arrive Billeting Area. Roads in muddy condition. March with halt of 15 minutes at the hour, as different from short halts at the hour and the half hour, customary with the Division when in EGYPT. Guides meet the Battalion. At station to take Companies to their areas.

A, B, C & HQ billet in DOUDELAINVILLE (Sq J.6). D Company billet in WARCHEVILLE (Sq J.6). Transport at POULTERE (Sq J.6). Brigade. HQ at LIMERCOURT VALMA (Sq J.6). Men billeted in barns & outhouses. Warned that inhabitant not “over friendly” but find them obliging. 2/Lieut. G. E. HAYWARD from 3rd reserve unit & 2/Lieut. E. JAMES posted to battalion.

Mar 15, DOUDELAINVILLE
Battalion. Marches to PONT REMY by companies to draw rifles. Many men done up after this march of 18 miles. 2/Lieut. M. J. DUNLOP & 5 NCOs proceed for course of instruction in rifle grenades.

Mar 16, DOUDELAINVILLE
Training commences. Preparation of dummy & live training pits for bombing commences on Battalion. Training Ground (Sq J.6 ¼ mile S. E. of “S” in POULTIERES). Lectures to Officers and NCOs. Steel helmets issued to Officers & OR. 10 O. R. proceed on leave to ENGLAND.

Mar 17, DOUDELAINVILLE
Training continued. C Company commence digging a “Cruciform” trench. Rolls of specialists for training prepared for 100% over establishment.

2/Lieut. J. CARREY appointed 126 Brigade. Salvage Officer.

2/Lieut. J. R. TOMMIS attached to 42 Division Sig. Company for instruction.

COL. D. H. WADE, Capt. F. W. KERSHAW, C.S.M. NEWTON & 2 ORs attached 1st Div. for instruction in Trench Warfare.

MAJOR R. B. NOWELL and remainder of Advance Party who left Battalion at EL ARISH 31.1.17 rejoin Battalion from 1st Division.

Mar 18, DOUDELAINVILLE
Divine Service volountary. Conference of Company Commanders on New Formation (W.O. pamphlet SS 144)

Mar 19, DOUDELAINVILLE
Route march by Companies. Dress fighting order. Training under Company arrangements.

Mar 20, DOUDELAINVILLE
Companies and specialists engaged in Training. Message from MAJOR GEN DOUGLAS received.

Mar 21, DOUDELAINVILLE
Lecture to Battalion on Bayonet Fighting by Capt. BROWN superintendent of gymnasia, III Corps followed by demonstration of Bayonet Fighting. C & D Companies. Proceed to hot water baths at HUPPY. Lt J. CARREY admitted Hospital. Salvage Officer vice 2nd Lt. J. G. E. HAYWARD appointed acting 126 Brigade. Salvage Officer vice 2nd Lt. J. CARREY.

Mar 22, DOUDELAINVILLE
COL. D. H. WADE, Capt. F. W. KERSHAW, C.S.M. NEWTON & 2 ORs due to return from 1st Division and another party to proceed but these arrangements cancelled owing to advance made on III Corps front. A & B Companies. proceed to baths at HUPPY. Lectures on gas to Companies. during morning. Practice bomb throwing for C & D Companies. Visit of MAJOR GENERAL MITFORD to Battalion. Orders received for reorganization of Battalion in New Formation.

Mar 23, DOUDELAINVILLE
Battalion engaged in training and in reorganizing platoons. To be Temp Cpts., Lt. T.G. HYDE 22 Aug, 1916, LT W. H. LILLIE Dec 4th, Lt. O. J. SUTTON, Dec 4th (London Gazette March 1, 1917). Lt. Col. WADE & Capt. KERSHAW arrive from 1st Division.

Mar 24, DOUDELAINVILLE
Route march through OISEMENT. Inspection by Brigade. GEN TUFFNELL of Battalion in New Formation. 11pm Summer Time adopted throughout France.

Mar 25, DOUDELAINVILLE
10am Parade Divine Service.

Mar 26, DOUDELAINVILLE
Training in Billet Area.

Mar 27, DOUDELAINVILLE
Battalion proceeds by Companies. to HUPPY for bathing. A & D Company practice attack in New Formation. Squads of 10 practice rapid wiring.

Mar 28, DOUDELAINVILLE
2/Lt. QUINNEY and 104 O.R. proceed to Musketry School PONT REMY (Sq K.6). B Company fill in bombing pits and trenches near ST. MAXENT. Other Companies. engaged in training. Billeting parties proceed to BELLEFONTAINE (Sq K.6) and BAILLEUL (Sq K.6) to arrange billets for Battalion for 30th inst.

Mar 29, DOUDELAINVILLE
9am Lecture to Battalion on Gas by Divisional Gas Officer. 10am Fitting of Box Respirators. 10am to 3pm Bombing Pit and Trenches.

Mar 30, DOUDELAINVILLE
Move to new billeting area. A Company BELLEFONTAINE (Sq K.6). C, D & HQ at BAILLEUL (Sq K.6). B Company and Transport at Chateau, 1 kilo S of BAILLEUL. OR billeted in barns and outhouses. Capt. D. B. STEPHENSON, Lt. ROBINSON, 2 Lt. B. FREEDMAN rejoin from leave.

Mar 31, BAILLEUL
9:15 am Battalion route march through HUPPY (J.6). Specialists train under Specialist Officers. Capt. D. B. STEPHENSON takes over command of D Company, vice Capt. W.H. LILLIE reported to A Company (see entry 19.2.17).

April 1917

April 1, BAILLEUL
Divine Service, voluntary. Major T. E. HOWORTH proceed to Course of Instruction for Company Commanders at MONTIGNY.

April 2
C & D Companies proceed to musketry range at PONT REMY (Sq K6) for musketry practice.  A Company proceed for musketry training afternoon but turned back on account of heavy rains. A & B Companies engaged in training & lectures.

April 3
All Companies proceed to Range for musketry practice. S.A.A. drawn on Range. Lieut. Col. WADE & 7 O.R.s proceed on leave to UK Major R.B. NOWELL takes over command of Battalion in absence of Lt. Col. WADE.

April 4
All Companies proceed to Range for musketry practice. Orders received to proceed to mess area by march route, 42 to 45 miles. These orders cancelled & orders received for Battalion to proceed by rail on the 7th inst. Transport to proceed by road.

April 5
Companies engaged in training. 5 O.R.s proceed on leave to UK. 2/Lt. QUINNEY & 102 O.R. return from Musketry Camp PONT REMY.

April 6
Battalion engaged in training. Capt. F. W. KERSHAW proceed to Course of Instruction for Company Commanders at MONTIGNY. Major T.E. HOWORTH returns from course & is ordered to remain in PONT REMY & rejoin Battalion at station on the 7th inst. Lt. R. J. N. DALE & 2 NCOs proceed in advance of Battalion as billeting party. 5 ORs proceed on leave to UK.

6:30am. Transports proceed by road to MORCOURT (Sq H2) by following route. Depart BAILLEUL 6:30am. Rendezvous LONGPRE proceed first day to SAINT SUAVIER (Sq C1), 7th inst. to HAMEL (Sq G2) via AMIENS (Sq D2), 8th inst. to MORCOURT (Sq H2).

April 7
6:30am. 2/Lieut. W. G. GREENWOOD departs in charge of 126 Brigade Motor Convoy to MORCOURT. Major T.E. HOWORTH rejoined Battalion.

10:00am. Battalion entrains at PONT REMY station & proceeds to LA FLAQUET (Sq I2) for MORCOURT.

5:30pm. Battalion billeted in “French” huts. Orderly room in house at MORCOURT. Allotment of leave to UK 7th inst. to 12th inst. 2 Officers & 42 OR (7 per diem).

April 8, MORCOURT
2/Lieut. R.J.N. DALE and Sgt. CHORLTON (Sgt. in charge of scouts & snipers) proceed to Course of Instruction at ARMY TELESCOPIC SIGHTS SCHOOL.

3pm Divine Service (EASTER Sunday). Orderly room moved from village to small wooden hut near the Battalion billets. 11am Transport arrives.

April 9
10:00am. All Officers & NCOs & 1 platoon per Company witness demonstration by a platoon from the 4th East Lancs Regiment of the Normal Formation. Remainder of Battalion route march during morning & proceed to Baths at MORCOURT during afternoon. S.A.A. rifle issued 120 rounds per man.

April 10
2/Lt. E. K. P. FUGE proceeds on leave to UK. 9:30am. Battalion practice attack in Normal Formation by Companies and Half Battalion. Orders received to move on 11th inst. Party proceeds to draw establishment of MILLS grenades for Battalion & to wait at ECLUSIER (Sq J1) till Brigade arrives.

April 11, MORCOURT
Move to FEUILLERES (Sq H1) by march route in open formation – 100 yards between platoons – via CAPPY and ECLUSIER (Sq J1).

2/Lieut. L.W. PICKFORD joins Battalion at CAPPY from 3rd/8th Reserve Battalion Manchester Regiment. Battalion billeted in village in cellars and dugouts. Billets poor owing to battered condition of village. Many billets wet first night on account of heavy fall of snow and rain. Blankets arrive by Motor Transport2am 12th inst. owing to bad roads.

April 12, FEUILLERES
Battalion engaged in training. Capt. F.W. KERSHAW rejoins. Lt. B. F. ROBINSON rejoins from Dive School which is broken up & where he had been appointed instructor (March 31st). 2/Lt. T. AINSWORTH proceeds to Trench Mortar School. Capt. G.W. HANDFORTH proceeds to Course of Instruction for Company Commanders at MONTIGNY. Fall of snow during afternoon: many dugouts unfit to use on account of water leaking in.

April 13
Companies engaged in training rapid loading attack by platoon from trenches. Specialist training including live throwing for bombers. Orders received to be ready to move forward to CARTIGNY (Sheet 18 Sq A2) 17th inst. in trenches 18th inst.

2/Lt. J.H. CLARKE proceeds on leave to UK.

April 14, FEUILLERES
Companies engaged in training practice in Normal Formation. Bombers practice live throwing. Stores overhauled in order to reduce amount of baggage. 11am Transport inspected by Divisional Train at HERBECOURT (Sq K1).

April 15
9:30am. Lieut. Col. WADE rejoins from leave to UK. Companies engaged in training during morning. Divine Service cancelled on account of inclement weather.

April 16
Training during morning. Preparations made for early move following morning. Baggage to be sent by Motor Transport dumped at HERBECOURT (Sq K1).

April 17
Battalion moves to CARTIGNY (Sheet 18 Sq A2). Rendezvous 7:30am Cross Roads HERBECOURT. Order of March 9th Manchester Regiment, Brigade HQ, Machine Gun Company, Trench Mortar Battery, 5th E. Lancs. Col. WADE commanded column on the march owing to absence of Brigadier in the line. Route HERBECOURT, BIACHES, crossing the SOMME by the FAUBERG de PARIS bridge to PERONNE. After leaving PERONNE the Battalion marched independently to CARTIGNY via DOINGT. Every village devastated accommodation very poor accordingly. Billets at CARTIGNY where Battalion stayed the night fairly good compared with billets of previous nights.

2/Lt. RUTTENAU proceed on leave to UK. 2/Lt. DALE returns from Courses. Capt. STEPHENSON proceeds to Course of Instruction for Company Commanders at MARTIENY. D Company supply working party of 100 OR to work at CATELET (sq A2).

April 18. CARTIGNY
9:30am. Battalion, less D Company, move to MARQUAIX (Sq A1) & go into billets. Accommodation very poor. All ranks again warned of danger from traps laid in billets, serious accidents having occurred with the last few days in neighbouring villages with bombs and timed explosions.

D Company remains in billets at CARTIGNY to provide working parties for CATELET.  Owing to there being only 2 Officers in D Company, 2/Lt. QUINNEY and 2/Lt. KNIGHT are attached.

April 19, MARQUAIX
A & B Companies provide 110 ORs each to work under 5th Royal Sussex Regiment at VILLERS FAUCON (Sq B1) reporting 8am. C Company provide 130 OR for work on roads under 5th Royal Sussex Regiment at ROISEL (Sq B1). Orders received for working parties on roads for 20th inst.

April 20, MARQUAIX
Orders for working parties cancelled & orders for move received.

10:30am. A & B Companies (Major HOWORTH & Capt. KERSHAW) proceed to EPEHY (Sheet 62 C F 1)

11:00am. C Company (Capt. HANDFORTH) & HQ proceed to VILLIERS-FAUCON (E22 28)

A Company occupy BROWN reserve line along railway embankment (F1 d). B Company n billets & huts in village (F1 c) under 143rd Brigade.

Capt. STEPEHENSON rejoins at CARTIENY.

April 21, VILLERS-FAUCON
D Company proceeds from CARTIGNY to VILLERS-FAUCON. A Company manned reserve line at dawn. B Company in Support to them. Working parties provided from all Companies. C Company in afternoon repairing Coon Road (F 8 a). This party shelled at 3pm. D Company at night repairing level crossing (F 1 b). Party under Major NOWELL marking out tasks at (F 1 b) shelled 3pm.

All Officers ordered not to occupy houses or cellars on account of danger from mines. Search made for traces of mines or traps.

Battalion remains under orders of G.O.C. 143rd Brigade until relief completed on 22nd inst. C.O. ordered to prepare scheme for capture of Spur at (X29 d) & (X30 c) by one Battalion at dawn in near future.

Map of Epehy April 1917

April 22, EPEHY
Battalion takes over the line from 4th East Lancs Regiment during night 22/23.

Map of Epehy April 1917

Battalion Boundaries, Right: E 23 d 57 to F8 c 83 – MAYE COPSE (incl. to Brigade on right) – about 200 NW of TOMBOIS FARM – canal at A3 a 08.

Left: Level Crossing at F1 b 53 along the track to X 27 b 99 thence in a straight line through X 24 central. Boundary adjusted 25th inst. 10pm.

Piquet Line runs from TOMBOIS FARM (F11) – junction of dotted lines at F4 d 99 – LITTLE PRIEL FARM. CATELET COPSE – thence along the old German wire following approximately the dotted line through “O” of TANGELLO RAVINE (X 15 d). This line to be held as a line of resistance.

Support Line. Through SART FARM (F 17 a) – No 13 COPSE (at F4 a 26) – X 27 Central. The second line of resistance, known as BROWN LINE, runs through LEMPIRE (F 15 b) – MAY COPSE (F q c) in front of MALASSES FARM (F 8 b) continuing just in front of railway line to X 25 Central.

Posts taken over from 4th East Lancs as follows:
F4 b 8.7  LITTLE PRIEL FARM       No 2  A Coy  HQ & 2 platoons. Major HOWORTH
F5 c 36  SUNKEN ROAD TRNCH No 1  A Coy  3 Sections. Lt. K KNIGHT
F5 c 91                                                                   A Coy  1 section
X29 d 24  QUARRY                             No 3  A Coy   1 platoon. Lt. COOKE

X28 c 96  CATELET COPSE                       B Coy      HQ.  Capt. KERSHAW
X28 a 74                                                   No 5  B Coy     1 platoon. Capt. MAKIN
X29 b 33  OSSUS WOOD POST   No 4  B Coy     1 platoon. Lt. QUINNEY
X22 d 75                                                   No 7  B Coy     1 platoon.
X23 c 97  GRAYS POST                    No 6  B Coy    1 platoon. Lt. GRAY

Support Line
F3 b 72        12 COPSE       S2      C Company       1 platoon. 2/Lt. BURY
F4 a 28        13 COPSE       S3      C Company       1 platoon. 2/Lt. BUTTERWORTH
X27 c 66      14 COPSE      S5     C Company        1 platoon
X27 a 28     REDRUIN                    C Company       1 platoon. 2/Lt. RODMELL

BROWN LINE. HQ (F7 b 79). Posts at (F8 d 18), (F8 a 86), (F2 c 45). D Company Capt. STEPHENSON. 1 platoon billets at MALASSLES FARM (F8 b 19). 3 platoons in Railway Embankment. Battalion HQ at EPEHY (F1 c 55). Major R.B. NOWELL’S HQ at 13 COPSE (F3 a 99).

Map of Epehy April 1917

All reliefs carried out during early part of night without incident except relief of GRAYS POST (X23 c 97) which was not found until 3:30am. 23rd inst. while searching for trench, party was observed by enemy, machine guns fired on it causing 3 casualties & the loss of a Lewis Gun.

1/10th Manchesters on Left. Gloucester Regiment on Right. Patrols enter OSSOS WOOD. Wiring done in BROWN LINE.

Night 23/24, EPEHY
At dawn the 4th East Lancs Regiment attacked the Spur at X 2 d & X 30 c and gained their objectives, capturing trenches at both positions. Operations were assisted by attacks on the KNOLL (A 1 d) & GILLEMONT FARM by troops on our right. Divisional Cavalry cooperated with our troops, advancing between LITTLE PRIEL FARM & CATELET COPSE.

April 24
9:30am. HOSPICE CAMUS, EPEHY (F1 a b5) blown up probably by enemy delayed mine.

Lt E.K.P. FUGE returns from leave to UK.

Night 24/25
Operations of the morning to be continued, the 1/5th East Lancs to attack he KNOLL from the NW and W.

8:45pm. 4th East Lancs driven out of trench (F 6 a) by German counter attack& retire on LITTLE PRIEL FARM. The 4th East Lancs ordered to withdraw to No 13 COPSE. The attack of the 5th East Lancs timed for 11pm delayed till situation cleared up. 5th East Lancs attack about 2am but are not successful. Reported that KNOLL was taken by Brigade on Right. C Company provide artillery scout of 2 sections at F 3 d 88. Patrols penetrated OSSUS WOOD to about 300 yards & were digging in but were forced to retire. Sniping post established 50 yards from West end of WOOD & on Southern edge of WOOD. Enemy Machine Guns known to be in OSSUS WOOD but not located.

April 25/26, EPEHY
126 Brigade Operation Order No 8 received. Inter Brigade Boundary adjusted & posts at X 28 a 74 2 & 75 taken over by 1/10th Manchester Regiment. Attempt to relieve 2/Lt. GRAY at GRAYS POST (X 23 c 97) unsuccessful owing to difficulty in finding post. REDRUIN and 14 COPSE.

Capt. STEPEHENSON & 2 platoons, D Company relieve 4th East Lancs in SPUR POST dug by 4th East Lancs on morning of 24th inst. and held by 3 Officers & 60 O.R. when 4th East Lancs fell back on evening of 24th. Relief takes place without incident.

Lt. SHATWELL & 2 platoons, D Company, attack Old GERMAN TRENCH about (F 6 a 56) find trench strongly manned by enemy & are forced to withdraw. Heavy barrage shell fire causes casualties including 2/Lt. E.K.P. FUGE wounded.

R.E.s assist in wiring and consolidating trenches.

Hostile shelling continues intermittently during night & following day on LITTLE PRIEL FARM and CATALET COPSE and No 12 COPSE.

Capt. KERSHAW moves B Company HQ to sunken road just N. of CATALET COPSE because of heavy shelling. SUPPORT Trench S1 established at (F 4 a 88) on sunken road. New Battalion boundary to the N. is as follows. Level Crossing in F 1 b b3 – through X 28 Central – and X 24 c Central.

April 26
2/Lt. B.F. ROBINSON proceeds to CORPS SCHOOL as Instructor.

3pm. QUINNEY’S POST (OSSUS WOOD POST X 29 b 33) shelled.

4pm. House in EPEHY (F 1 a 65) near site of explosion of 24th inst. blown up probably by enemy delayed mine. This house was suspected & men had been warned to keep away from it.

2/Lt. GREENWOOD proceeds on leave to UK.

April 26/27 Night, EPEHY
Battalion relived in Front Line and Supports by 1/4th East Lancs Regiment; completed about midnight. GRAY’S POST (x 23 c 97) relived at 2am by 1/5th East Lancs Regiment. After preparations for relief had been made by Capt. KERSHAW, a tape being laid from the trench to sunken road at X 22 c Central.

A & D Companies occupy BROWN LINE under Major HOWORTH.
B & C Companies occupy billets in EPEHY.

April 27
Lt. Col. D. H. WADE to hospital sick. Major R. B. NOWELL takes over command of Battalion.

April 28
Battalion relieved by 1/5th Manchester Regiment and proceeds to camp at BUIRE (62 c J 27)

April 29
Battalion moves to MARQUAIX & occupies billets vacated on April 20th. As cellars are not to be occupied many fresh billets have to be improvised.

April 30
10pm. Village shelled, one shell falling in billet near HQ & killing three police. Billets inspected by Brigade Gen TUFNELL. Battalion resting & constructing billets.

May 1917

May 1, MARQUAIX
A Company work on roads near TINCOURT (J24). Remaining Companies training during morning and afternoon. Lt. Col. D. H. WADE invalided home.

May 2, MARQUAIX
Companies engaged in fatigues and Training. 2/Lt. H. H. KNIGHT proceeded to hospital sick.

May 3, MARQUAIX
8am – 4pm. B Company works on roads near TINCOURT. Other Companies proceed with training under programmes compiled by O.C. Companies. Rifle grenadiers practice “live” firing under 2/Lt. RODMELL. Lieut. J. H. RAWLINGS, Adjutant, proceed to hospital sick. Capt. O. J. SUTTON appointed Adjutant.

9am. Major R. B. NOWELL and party of Officers inspect front line held by 1/5 Lancs Fusiliers to be taken over by 1/9th Manchester Regiment (F18 center). Orders received that 1/9th Manchester Regiment will relieve 1/5 Lancs Fusiliers in right sector of Brigade Front on night of 5th / 6th.

5pm. Capt. D. B. STEPHENSON and party of Officers & signalers proceed to 1/5 Lancs Fusiliers for attachment in Front Line for night of 3rd / 4th.

May 4, MARQUAIX
9am – 4:30pm. A Company working party under orders of ? MAJOR VILLERS FAULON (E23).
8am – 4pm. B Company provide small fatigues & guards & remainder continue training.
8am – 4pm. C Company working party on roads – RONSSOY – EMILIE
8am – 4pm. D Company working party on roads – LONGAVESNES – EMILIE

May 5/6, MARQUAIX
Battalion relieves 1/5 Lancs Fusiliers in front line in the Right Sub Sector of the Right Sector commencing at dusk. C Company ordered to sit at MARQUAIX till next day.

Boundaries:
Right      North of MALAKOFF FARM
Left        Southern Point of CONSSOY WOOD to the BROWN LINE at F22 b 3.

Thence in a straight line through figure 13 of A13.

Map of Havrincourt Wood May 1917

May 5, MARQUAIX
Battalion on right 6th North Staffs. Battalion on Left 1/10th Manchester Regiment.

Capt. HANDFORTH returns from leave UK.  2/Lt. FREEDMAN returns from Course of Bombing.

May 6/7, (F23 c 0.7)
10pm. C Company (Capt. HANDFORTH) relieves right Company of 1/5 Lancs Fusiliers in Front Line. 2/Lt. W.N.B. BURY proceeds to Course of Instruction at FOUCAUCOURT.

Boundaries adjusted as follows. Left through (F17 c 1.0) in a straight line through A13 central. GILLEMONT FARM and trenches handed over to 1/10th Manchester Regiment.

Tasks mentioned in Special Instructions (Appendix 2) carried out.

Para 1 by “C” Company (Capt. HANDFORTH) with 3 platoons “D” Company. This RIFLE PIT TRENCH consolidated as far as (F29 b 8.5) without hostile interference.

Para 2 by Lieut. R.J.N. DALE. No snipers or machine guns seen.

Para 3 by B Company (MAJOR HOWORTH). This task met with opposition from hostile machine guns & a number of casualties occurred including Lt. C.E. COOKE wounded. Small posts for 3 men each established on each side of QUENNEMONT FARM ROAD about 80 yards out. Many acts of gallantry performed during the night in bringing in wounded notably by Pte. H. HOLDEN 350077 and 350149 Pte. KINSELLA and others. Lt. C. E. COOKE to hospital wounded.

Para 6 by A Company party under Lt. CLARKE & almost completed.

May 8/9, (F23 c 0.7)
Battalion on right (6th N. Staffs) to attack trenches on our direct right. 1/9th Manchester Regiment to cooperate by advancing along RIFLE PIT TRENCH & linking up. The Battalion on right fails to reach its objective and patrols sent out by us fail to obtain information for that reason. Lt. T. AINSWORTH in charge of patrol along RIFLE PIT TRENCH discovers it occupied by the enemy decides to withdraw. Lt. H.G. SHATWELL as Liaison Officer with the 6th North Staffs finds difficulty in obtaining information, (see Appendix H).

May 9/10, (F23 c 0.7)
Battalion relieved by 1/4 East Lancs Regiment & takes over from 1/4 East Lancs in reserve at TEMPLEUX QUARRY (62c F27c). B Company tactical reserve Company.

May 10, TEMPLEUX QUARRY
Battalion in Support. Night working parties amounting to 300 O.R. found by Battalion.

May 11, TEMPLEUX QUARRY
Battalion in Support. Night working parties amounting to 300 O.R. found by Battalion.

May 12, TEMPLEUX QUARRY
Battalion in Support. Night working parties amounting to 300 provided. B Company sent to reinforce 1/4 East Lancs 10:30pm. Ordered to return 1:30 am not having been required.  Lt. P. S. MARSDEN returns from hospital. Lt. GREENWOOD returns from leave UK.

May 13, TEMPLEUX QUARRY
Battalion in Support. Lt. SHATWELL proceeds to Course at Divisional Gas School. 2/Lt. CLARKE to course of Bombing. 2/Lt. KNIGHT returns from hospital. Capt. LILLIE proceeds on leave to UK. 2/Lt. K. FUGL invalided home.

May 13/14, TEMPLEUX QUARRY
Battalion relieves 1/4 East Lancs Regiment in Right Sub Sector of the Right Sector commencing at dusk. Situation unchanged on this front since the Battalion was relieved there by the 1/4 East Lancs Regiment on night of 9/10th.

Heavy downpour of rain about 3:30am making communication very difficult along roads and trenches. Much work done in clearing trenches of mud & in draining.

Disposition of Companies as in Appendix 5. 4 platoons on outpost line. 3 platoons in each strong post. 3 platoons in intermediate posts.

May 14/15, (F23 c 0.7)
Patrols sent out by all Companies. Work carried on with communication trench to RIFLE PIT TRENCH, improving RIFLE PIT TRENCH & strong points A, B & C also sap head from C Strong Point.

May 15/16, (F23 c 0.7)
Patrols sent out. 2 dead Germans buried, identification of one reported. Work of previous night continued.

May 16/17, (F23 c 0.7)
Large hostile working party strength about one company discovered by patrol in dead ground in front of B Strong Point. Other attempts to disburse this party not being successful artillery was brought to bear on it about 3am.

May 17/18, (F23 c 0.7)
Battalion relieved by 1/6th D.G. (Carbineers) & marches to billets in VILLERS FAUCON after a hot meal at TEMPLEUX QUARRY. Relief completed about 11:30pm on return of patrols which had been sent out by each Company.

May 18, VILLERS FAUCON
Billets inspected by Brigade. GEN TUFNELL.

May 19, VILLERS FAUCON
4:50pm Depart VILLERS FAUCON. Arrive EQUANCOURT (57C SE V 10a 3-8). 21 tents and 85 tarpaulins put up by 1/4 East Lancs for the use of 1/9 Manchester Regiment.

May 20, EQUANCOURT
4pm Depart EQUANCOURT. Arrive BERTINCOURT (57c SE P.7) and go into billets chiefly ruined buildings made habitable with tarpaulins & repairs done by troops previous to our arrival.

May 21, BERTINCOURT
Lt. H. SHATWELL returns from Divisional Gas course.

May 21/22, BERTINCOURT
7pm Depart BERTINCOURT. Billets to be taken over by 11th Rifle Brigade. Battalion Relieves 11th Rifle Brigade. in Reserve S. end of HAVRINCOURT WOOD. Battalion HQ at (57c SE P18 d q.6).  B & C Company HQ in METZ (57c SE Q20). A & D Company HQ (57c SE P19 c).

May 23, HAVRINCOURT WOOD (P 18 d q.6)
Lt. QUINNEY returns from leave U.K.

May 23/24, HAVRINCOURT WOOD (P 18 d q.6)
Companies. working from dusk to dawn on new Reserve Trenches between BEAUCAMP (q 12 c) and TRESCAULT (Sq Q 4) and at A Companies new position in Q 17 a & c.

A Company’s trenches are now at Q 17 a & c
B Company’s trenches are now at Q 21 c & Q 20 c to METZ – TRESCAULT Rd
C Company’s trenches are now at Q 20 c from METZ – TRESCAULT Rd to Q 14c 3.4
D Company’s trenches are temporarily at Q 13 d, c & a

9:30pm – 10:15pm Gas alarm

Q 20 c to METZ – TRESCAULT Rd

May 24, HAVRINCOURT WOOD (P 18 d q.6)
Lt. T. G. HYDE proceeds on leave to UK. Lt. H. SHATWELL takes over duties of A/Quartermaster during his absence. Lt. C. E. COOKE dies of wounds. 2/Lt. RUTTENAU to Lewis Gin Course, ETAPLES.

May 24/25, HAVRINCOURT WOOD (P 18 d q.6)
Night. Companies. working on trenches between BEAUCAMP and TRESCAULT and in Q 11 c and d. Trenches dug in sections of 20 yards.

May 25/26, HAVRINCOURT WOOD (P 18 d q.6)
Work continued from previous night. 350077 Pte. A. HOLDEN awarded Military Medal for gallantry on night of April 25/26 in bringing in wounded (D.R.O. 24/5/17).

May 26/27, HAVRINCOURT WOOD (P 18 d q.6)
Battalion relieves 1/5 east Lancs Regt. In left Sub Sector.

Boundaries Right: TRESCAULT – RIBECOURT Road Q 4 & Q 5
Boundaries Left: Stream Q 4 a 49 to Q4 a 40 thence to Q4 b 0.0 – Q4 central

HAVRINCOURT WOOD (Q 14 d 1.9)
B Company (Capt. KERSHAW) & D Company (LT MARSDEN) In front line. Work to be concentrated on front line & support line, both of which require much deepening.

May 27, HAVRINCOURT WOOD (Q 14 d 1.9)
Lt. Col. E. C. LLOYD 1st R.I.R. reports to take over command of Battalion.

May 27/28, HAVRINCOURT WOOD (Q 14 d 1.9)
Situation quiet. Work concentrated in front line. A Company & B Company primarily working parties from Reserve.

7am. HAVRINCOURT CHATEAU (K 27 d) blown up by enemy. This has been used as a German O.P.

May 28/29, HAVRINCOURT WOOD (Q 14 d 1.9)
Work continued on front line & Supports & good progress made. Patrols sent out. One with orders to reach German wire. This patrol is stopped by M.G. fire 600 or 700 yards from our line.

May 28, HAVRINCOURT WOOD (Q 14 d 1.9)
Capt. W.H. LILLIE returns from leave UK. & takes over command of right Company subsector.

May 29/30, HAVRINCOURT WOOD (Q 14 d 1.9)
Work on front line & Supports.

1:00am. Patrol composed of Lt. P.S. MARSDEN and 3 privates is fired on & Lt. P. S. MARSDEN and one of the men hit, both in the abdomen. The two remaining privates drag back the wounded Officer & man some distance & then obtain a stretcher & some assistance. Lt. P.S. MARSDSEN dies an hour after he is brought in and the private some hours later.

May 30, HAVRINCOURT WOOD (Q 14 d 1.9)
Lt. RODMELL proceeds on leave to UK. Construction of new Battalion. HQ proceeds with at Q14 5.9. 2/Lt. A. S. NEEDHAM to course of instruction in bombing.

May 30/31, HAVRINCOURT WOOD (Q 14 d 1.9)
New work commenced in front by 1/9 Manchester Regiment & 1/5 E Lancs Regiment with the final instruction of making a front line moving forward from the right of the Left Battalion sector through FEMY WOOD (57 c NE K34 central).

  1. Firing Trench facing East q5 a 4.0 to Q5 a 4.2 with T. head & wired. A Company under Major HOWORTH.
  2. head about 150 yards out with communication Trench Q 4 b 5.1 Dug by 1/5 East Lancs Regt.
  3. head at Q4 a 6.4 about 200 x out with ammunition trench. Dug by 1/5 East Lancs Regt.

The three “T” heads were garrisoned & held during the day 31st No 1 under O.C. D Company, Nos 2 & 3 under O.C. B Company.

One platoon of C Company under 2/Lt. GREENWOOD relieves platoon of 1/10 Manchester Regiment in small trench in Reserve Line, Q 10 a 5.4 to Q10 a 7.3.

May 31/1 June, HAVRINCOURT WOOD (Q 14 d 1.9)

Work continues on the three T. heads commenced previous evening. Artillery & MG fire brought to bear to prevent enemy digging in FEMY WOOD. Officers patrol sent out to establish control of ground in FEMY WOOD believed to be in occupation by enemy & to keep his patrols back. 2/Lt. FREEDMAN and 12 OR with Lewis Gun go out along line running North from Q4 central, they enter FEMY WOOD & discover large working party about Q4 b 0.9 to Q4 b 5.9. 2Lt. FREEDMAN extended his patrol & fired on the party, returning when all ammunition expended.

TRESCAULT heavily shelled, 7.7s from 1:30am to 2:30am.

June 1917

June 1/2, HAVRINCOURT WOOD (Q 14 d 1.9)
Work continued on three trenches in front of our line. In the outer trench a new T head dug & garrisoned about 70 yards further out. 2/Lt. CLARKE goes out to Eastern edge of FEMY WOOD & attempts to dig in but was prevented by enemy fire.

June 2, (Q 15 a 0.7)
10:00am. Battalion. HQ transferred to new position about Q15 a 0.7

June 2/3, (Q 15 a 0.7)
6:00pm. Scouts attempt to reach FEMY WOOD from left but are seen & fired on. They succeed by crawling from old German Sap about 200 yards. Scout Cpl. Returns and reports scouts in position. Platoon ?, B Company under 2/Lt. GRAY, goes out at about 9:30 & occupy pit 80 yards from FEMY WOOD. They remain (2Lt. GRAY & 16 O.R.) during the day.

Work continued on left Sap.

June 3, (Q 15 a 0.7)
2/Lt. H. E. BUTTERWORTH returns from leave in the UK.

June 4, (Q 15 a 0.7)
Work continues on Saps. 2/Lt. WILLIS reports for duty from 8th Reserve Battalion.

June 5, (Q 15 a 0.7)
Battalion relieved by 1/7 Lancs Fusiliers and go into billets at RUYAULCOURT. Capt. O.J. SUTTON goes on leave to UK.

June 6, RUYAULCOURT
Arrive RUYAULCOURT at 2:00am. Go into tents & billets. Battalion resting.

June 7, RUYAULCOURT (P15 b 9.8)
Whole Battalion on working parties.

June 8, RUYAULCOURT (P15 b 9.8)
B, C & D on working parties. A Company dig in second line HAVRINCOURT WOOD (P11 b).

June 9, RUYAULCOURT (P15 b 9.8)
A Company dig in second line HAVRINCOURT WOOD (P11 b). Father BULLOCK reports as R.C. Chaplain.

June 10, RUYAULCOURT (P15 b 9.8)
B, C & D on working parties. A Company move into second line, left sector. Capt. F. W. KERSHAW proceeds on Lewis Gun Course to LE TOUQUET. 2/Lt. PICKFORD proceeds on Lewis Gun Course to LE TOUQUET.

June 11, RUYAULCOURT (P15 b 9.8)
B, C & D on working parties. Capt. LILLIE attached to 126 Brigade Head Quarters.

June 12, HAVRINCOURT WOOD (P18 d 7.3)
B, C & D move into intermediate line, right sector A move into second line, right sector.

Battalion HQ at Q18 d 7.3
A Company HQ at Q18 d 4.5
B Company HQ at Q15 a 4.5
C Company HQ at Q14 a 9.5
D Company HQ at Q8 d 6.2

June 12/13, HAVRINCOURT WOOD (P18 d 7.3)
Lt. SHATWELL proceeded to 42 Divisional Gas School as Instructor.

80 men permanent working party.

100 men digging ammunition trench METZ – TRESCAULT road Q9 d – Q10a

2/Lt. A. GRAY proceeds on 3 days leave to PARIS.

June 13/14, HAVRINCOURT WOOD (P18 d 7.3)
Working parties on communication trench METZ – TRESCAULT Road.

June 14, HAVRINCOURT WOOD (P18 d 7.3)
2/Lt. W.N.B. BURY rejoins from course. 2/Lt. G.E. RODMELL rejoins from course.

June 15, HAVRINCOURT WOOD (P18 d 7.3)
Capt. REDMOND proceeds UK on 10 days leave.

June 16, HAVRINCOURT WOOD (P18 d 7.3)
Relieved by 1/4 E.L. Regt. Into billets at YTRES

June 17, YTRES (P26 a)
Church parade. Presentation of Military Medal to Cpl. EASTWOOD by MAJOR GENERAL MITFORD. 2/Lt. GREENWOOD proceeds 42nd Division Bombing school BVS. 2/Lt. D. NEEDHAM rejoins from course.

June 18, YTRES (P26 a)
Battalion in training. 2/Lt. CAREY rejoins from hospital.

June 19, YTRES (P26 a)
Capt. O.J. SUTTON rejoins from leave to UK. 2/Lt. A. GRAY rejoins from leave to PARIS. A & B on rifle range YTRES (P19 b). C & D training.

June 20, YTRES (P26 a)
Battalion training area billets.

June 21, YTRES (P26 a)
2/Lt. E. TOWLER proceeds on short leave to UK.

June 21/22, YTRES (P26 a)
Battalion relieves 1 / 4 E. Lancs Regt. As Right Reserve Battalion in HAVRINCOURT WOOD.

Battalion Headquarters Q18 d 7.3. A Company & C Company Q14 a 9.5 in camp. B & D Companies in INTERMEDIATE LINE, Q6 d. All Companies on working parties at night. B & D Companies constructing trench for burying cable. C Company digging on FRITH ALLEY, Q4 d 4.3.  A Company digging communication trench Q2 d.

June 22, HAVRINCOURT WOOD (Q18 d 7.3)
Capt. F. W. KERSHAW and 2/Lt. PICKFORD return from courses of instruction. Lt. H. BUTTERWORTH reports for course of instruction.

June 22/23, HAVRINCOURT WOOD (Q18 d 7.3)
3 Companies working on construction of BAZOOZA AVENUE, Q4 c 4.7 to Q3 d 4.3 from 9:30pm to 3am.

June 23/24, HAVRINCOURT WOOD (Q18 d 7.3)
Working parties comprising the whole Battalion less 2 platoons garrison INTERMEDIATE line work on FRITH ALLEY and communication trench Q2 d.

June 24/25, HAVRINCOURT WOOD (Q18 d 7.3)
Same working parties as previous night. Advance party sent to line.

June 25/26, HAVRINCOURT WOOD (Q18 d 7.3)
Battalion relieves 1/5 East Lancs Regiment on Right Battalion sector (TRESAULT) in position of line taken over by Battalion May 26/27.

Disposition of Companies. C, A & D in front line, B Company in support. Battalion on Left, 1/10th Manchester Regiment.

Major T. E. HOWORTH wounded slightly remains on duty. 2/Lt. W.N.B. BURY sick to hospital (June 25).

1/9th Manchesters Map Havrincourt Wood June 1917

June 26, HAVRINCOURT WOOD (Q18 d 7.3)
Capt. HANDFORTH proceeds to Course of Instruction III Army School.

June 26/27, HAVRINCOURT WOOD (Q18 d 7.3)
Work concentrated on deepening new line (see sketch map Appendix 5) on joining up rifle pits between parts A & B, B & C, & deepening Saps B & C. Front patrolled; Enemy reported in Southern part of FEMY WOOD.  Battle HQ situated Q10 d 4.4 in dugout.

June 27/28, HAVRINCOURT WOOD (Q18 d 7.3)
Work continued on same trenches, & front patrolled. Lt. H. BUTTERWORTH rejoins from Course of Instruction.

June 28/29, HAVRINCOURT WOOD (Q18 d 7.3)
Work of deepening trenches joining rifle pits, wiring & draining continued. Front patrolled. Draining & Clearing of Trenches employs large proportion of garrison.

June 30/1, HAVRINCOURT WOOD (Q18 d 7.3)
Clearing trenches, widening & deepening of Saps and front line & joining up rifle pits in front line carried on. 2/Lt. RUTTENAU and patrol proceed to FEMY WOOD with orders to assist raiding party of 1/10th Manchester Regiment raiding chalk pits (K34 c 5.3). Night passed quietly all parties returning without casualties.

Note on Map Coordinates:

Upon a close examination of map reference points it is obvious that some of the coordinates listed in the Battalion war diary for June 1917 are incorrect. The 42nd Division war diary includes a map (Sheet 57C SW) with brigade and divisional boundaries drawn for early June 1917. The 1/9th Manchesters were part of the 126th Bde. which occupied the right (Trescault) sector of the division (along with the 125th Bde.), while the 127th Bde. occupied the Left sector.

On June 12, 1917 the Battalion occupied a position in Brigade reserve with Battalion HQ located at “P 18 d 7.3” according to the note in the LH margin. But in the body of the war diary it notes that Battalion HQ was located at “Q 18 d 7.3” and A Company was located at “Q 18 d 4.5”. In the RH margin, the entry that day refers to Divisional Order 14, Appendix IV. Plotting the position of “P 18 d 7.3” puts Battalion HQ in the reserve area of the 126th Brigade Sector whereas plotting a position of “Q 18 d 7.3” puts the Battalion HQ several kilometers outside and to the west of the Divisional boundary; a location that makes no operational sense. A review of Divisional Order 14 clearly shows that Battalion HQ would be located at “P 18 d 7.3”.

The Battalion moved to billets in Ytres  on June 16 , being relieved by the 1/4th East Lancs, and subsequently moved back to the line on the evening of June 21st relieving the 1/4th East Lancs but the war diary now references Battalion HQ at “Q 18 d 7.3” once again. There is nothing to indicate that the 1/4th East Lancs  moved during these 5 days. The war diary entry also references Order Number 15A. These orders do not provide any map references but they do indicate that the Battalion would be located close to Metz and provides a schedule for bathing. “P 18 d 7.3” is ¼ mile from Metz, whereas “Q 18 d 7.3” is around 3 miles away.

ADMS Basra. 1916

MESOPOTAMIA LINE OF COMMUNICATION, ADMS BASE (WO 95/5238/3)

The PDF version of the transcript is available to download here.

Jan 1

Interviewed representatives of Mr. ASFAR with reference to taking over part of one of his houses on the river front for Indian General Hospital and inspected the accommodation with O.C. I.G.H.

Fire occurred in Base Depot house.

Jan 2

HS TAKADA sailed for BOMBAY at 8am.

Secunderabad General Hospital disembarking at Hospital pier under command of Lt. Colonel WIMBERLY, IMS.

Orders issued for No 9 I.G.H. to relieve No 19 C.H. of charge of the convalescent depot at MAKINA MASUS Camp.

No 1 F.A. embarking at MAGIL for AMARA.

Jan 3

Nothing of importance.

Jan 4th

No 21 I.F.A. disembarked & went into standing camp at MAGIL.

No 129 I.F.A. personnel arrived from France under command of Major DEAS, IMS, equipment following on. HT KALYAN saw at mouth of river. No 130 I.F.A. arrived from France. Personnel and Lorries & mules only. Equipment and wagons following later.

Jan 5th

Orders sent to No 19 Clearing Hospital at MAKINA MASUS to march to AMARA with as many sections as transport is available for. With the Echelon Column moving off on 7th instant under command of Lt Col LEA, 59th Punjabees.

No 21 Field Ambulance ordered to move from MAGIL to convalescent depot camp at MAKINA MASUS & to move out of standing camp into their own tents if they have been disembarked.

Jan 6th

Cases of Mumps have occurred on ? among men of 1st 9th Gurkha Rifles & 93rd Burma light infantry. As both these regiments are to proceed up country on river steamers it was decided that a M.O. should be sent up with the steamer with a supply of disinfectant under orders to return with the steamer to BASRA & thoroughly disinfect her en route.

Field Ambulances No 21 Personnel of 129 & 130 in camp at MAKINA MASUS – equipment of the latter not yet arrived.

One case of measles in 26th PI indicated with comforts at MAKINA MASUS.

New water supply scheme at MAGIL progressing.

Jan 7th

No 19 GCH left with No 4 Echelon Column for AMARA.

Jan 8th

Two sections No 21 CFA left for AMARA with No 5 (old No 6) Echelon for AMARA.

Jan 9th

Orders were issued 15 OC No 130 IFA to march with No 6 (old No 5) Echelon Column leaving on January 10th for AMARA. Personnel only.

Jan 10th

S.M.O. I.G.H. informs he will move non serious cases to MAKINA overflow at the rate of about 200 per diem and will send 275 cases by HT PENTACOTTA to Bombay tomorrow. One Section IGH move to MAGIL today. No 19 BGH & 128 IGH reported arrival today.

Telegram received from SMO AMARA updating departure of wounded. Two British Officers in SALIMI – 25 on P.1. also 92 British ranks. 18 Indian Officers & about 280 Indian Ranks & followers also on PI. 60% of latter stretcher cases & nearly all British Ranks.

Orders issued at night for certain personnel of No 19 BFA and No 128 IFA to proceed by steamer “SALIMI” to AMARA at once leaving most of the equipment not yet arrived with animals and wagons to follow by road later.

Jan 11

Meerut Casualty Clearing Hospital under command of Lt. Colonel HAMILTON, IMS arrived.

Orders issued to No 20 BFA to send Officers & details up river also by SS SALIMI sailing at daybreak on 12th instance.

Cases being evacuated to MAKINA MASUS Convalescent depart from Indian General Hospital to make room for convoys of wounded coming down river immediately.

No 19 BFA almost complete – 3 Officers 50 followers 3 Batmen NCOs not yet arrived in Camp MAGIL. Other units presently more or less complete – are No 18 IFA. No 4 Sanitary Section, No 118 IFA – Meerut Casualty Clearing Hospital, No 20 BFA – No 3 Advanced Depot Medical Stores.

Convoy of wounded arrived 9:30pm from the front.

Jan 12

Urgent orders arrived from DMS this morning to send all Personnel & equipment of 112 – 113 IFA also No 3 Advanced Medical Store Depot up river by SS SALIMI sailing on 13th instant. All units on board this vessel with equipment to join TIGRIS Column except No 3 Advanced Medical Depot which is to remain at AMARA.

Orders issued to O.C. Meerut Casualty Clearing Hospital to open in No 1 Customs Shed as an additional base hospital for wounded evacuated from the front. This shed at present occupied by British Troops will be evacuated by them tomorrow. Water Tanks and Latrines are in readiness and there is a space between the shed and the church on which tents can be pitched.

Orders arrived to OC Casualty Clearing Hospital to be ready to staff the SS KARADENIZ which is to be placed at the disposal of the medical department on evening of 31-1-16 for use as a hospital carrier to the Hospital Ship SECILIA which can not cross the Bar at the mouth of the river. OC British General Hospital is named to assist OC Casualty Clearing Hospital with any establishment he may require on the ship. OC Sanitary Section has been ordered to send men to assist in cleaning up Customs Shed and SS KARADENIZ

Jan 13

SST8 was placed at my disposal for personnel numbering up to 200 & stores for up river. All Medical replacements for KURNA & AMARA.  No 4 sanitary section Captain BATRICE. These Medical Officers from No 129 IFH for TIGRIS column & possibly 2 Medical Officers from 19 BFH for TIGRIS column. All ordered to embark on her at 3pm on 14-1-16.

25 boxes of stores for Bengal Stationary Hospital. 1 box Sulphate Tablets. 33 boxes & 4 drums for No 19 Clearing Hospital to be dispatched on boat to AMARA.  31 Boxes first field dressings just arrived from France on SS ECLUARD to be embarked addressed to DDMS TIGRIS Column – No 7 Echelon with which 130 IFA left for AMARA.

Jan 14th

No 8 Echelon left for AMARA with most of 129 IFA

Capt. LYNN 130 IFA arrived reporting equipment of 130 IFA still not arrived and that all British Tentage of the ambulances which was loaded from “KALYAN” on to HT “THONGWA” can not be got off as a quantity of these kits from MARSEILLES had been loaded onto the “THONGWA” on the top of the this tentage which will therefore probably have to go to BOMBAY and back before unloading – Embarkation was informed of this at once.  Sick convoy of Indians & Turks under Major COOK YOUNG, IMS left AMARA at 1-30pm.

Jan 15

Rough weather. HS VARELA arrived last night unable to embark lying down cases today, steamer not being available walking cases only can be embarked with mahela & launch to avoid possible congestion at the Indian General Hospital. The Casualty Clearing Hospital prepared to receive 100 wounded at short notice in the Customs House Shed, it not being possible owing to the need to place equipment on SS “KARADENIZ”.  The Mission Hospital are prepared to receive 50 Turkish wounded arriving today with convoy & assistant Provost Marshall warned accordingly re escort and additional Tents to be pitched in the Mission Hospital compound.

Telegram received from S.M.O. AMARA instructing departure of convoy of wounded at 5pm yesterday in P.5. BOs 14 – rank & file 135 – Indian 41.

Jan 16

Sick convoy on P.4 with Major COOK YOUNG, IMS arrived last night. Turkish wounded remained on board P.4 for the night and were sent off to the American Mission Hospital this morning.

Sick convoy for HS SYRIA being embarked today –

Orders issued to O.C. Meerut Casualty Clearing Hospital to send bedding, medicines, comforts, etc. & personnel sufficient, onto SS “KARADENIZ” now in the stream, with a view to preparing her for work as a hospital carrier to the HS SICILIA on or about the 18th instant – 4 days rations for 258 Indian Sick to be put on Board – that being the ordinary accommodation of the ship – Assistant Provost Marshall directed to furnish 6 E. P. Tents in the Mission Hospital Compound and match them with a double thickness of matting on the ground as additional accommodation for wounded Turkish Prisoners.  OC Indian General Hospital was again impressed with the paramount importance of clearing as many sick non-serious cases as possible to convalescent Camp accommodation MAKINA MASUS.

Jan 17

HS VARELA sailed this morning after embarking convoy off P.5 which arrived about 3:30am.

Convoy on MOSUL 15 BO, 240 British + 240 Indian Ranks expected on 18th wounded from AMARA.

Convoy on P.2 has left front for AMARA & BASRA.

BO 7. BR 200. Indians 460. I endeavored to arrange Third Transport to take 150 BR and 400 Indians to BOMBAY but all ships in harbour totally unsuitable. HS SICILIA expected on 19th and HS TAKADA on 20th at BASRA – if former gets over the Bar.

Jan 18

Convoy of wounded on MOSUL arrived this morning. Heavy rain all last night. Indian General Hospital reports 1 inch of water in most huts this morning. Casualty Clearing Hospital in Custom Shed opens today. Accommodation about 700. Arrangements were made to take over No 2 Customs Shed this afternoon.  D.D. Works will commence work on it early tomorrow morning to be ready by 20th if possible. HT MUTTRA was inspected with a view to dispatch in her of convalescents to India & found suitable, but not yet unloaded.

Jan 19

Hospital Ship SICILIA arrived this morning to be filled up at once.

Sick convoy arrived from AMARA last night on P.2 and on the BAHRAIN, no notice had been received that convoy on BAHRAIN was coming. Inspection of HT “KHOSRU” to be made with a view to sending convalescents to India in her.

PSS KARADENIZ advised to remain in stream opposite Hospitals.

[Side Note] Sir PERCY LAKE arrived to relieve Sir JOHN NIXON last night & latter sailed on the “THONGWA”.

Jan 20

HS SICILIA sailed today. HS TAKADA arrived last night.

Convoy of wounded on P.3 arrived early this morning. British convoy for TAKADA put on board.

Jan 21

INDIA convoy of invalids from British Clearing Hospital in Customs House being loaded on the TAKADA.

D.M.S. INDIA leaves on HS TAKADA today with Staff Officer Major C MELVILLE, IMS.

Information received that Meerut Stationary Hospital part II & Rawalpindi General Hospital (British) also 113 Field Ambulance had arrived in stream – five lady nurses with British General Hospital.

[Side Note] Rain this morning.

[Side Note] More rain in evening.

Jan 22

Arrangements made for immediate dispatch by steamer & barges of Rawalpindi General Hospital, and No 113 Field Ambulance to AMARA, less wagons, etc.

Port Health Officer reports suspicious case of Plague on board CITY OF NEWCASTLE just arrived.  Pratique not given.

Jan 23

Sanitary Officer directed to proceed to CITY OF NEWCASTLE and investigate suspicious case of Plague. Sputum & specimens of blood & content of bile, etc.

Jan 24

KHOSRU HT left with 400 Indians & two British Officers as carrier to HS LOYALTY. Case of suspected Plague on “CITY OF NEWCASTLE” was found out to be Plague and Pratique was given to the ship by Port Health Officer. Convoy on SALIMI of wounded from AMARA expected early tomorrow morning. P.1 left AMARA at 12:30pm today with convoy of wounded on steamer & barges.

Jan 25

Arrangements were made to take up the HT TEESTA as ship to convey convalescents to BOMBAY. Inspected her throughout and she is quite fit in every way for the matter of convalescent – Hammocks are provided also two blankets to each hammock for 800 men.

Good galleys for British and Indian Troops, and ample latrine accommodation for the numbers it is proposed to send.

Jan 26

P.1 arrived with convoy of wounded from AMARA & the front. The Meerut Stationary Hospital was informed in No 2 Customs Shed for reception of sick – accommodation was provided yesterday in the British Base Hospital for the reception of convalescent from the British Hospital. Capt. McCORMIC detached on a temporary measure to look after them – Pending a permanent arrangement.

Jan 27th

On night of 27th & 28th P.4, P.7, P.6 and BAHMASHIR arrived with sick convoys. Half the DSS KARADENIZ was reserved as an overflow for Indian sick. And O.C. Meerut Stationary Hospital warned to have a section ready to place on same if required.

Jan 28th

One section British of Meerut Casualty Clearing Hospital was put in to ASHAR BARRACKS to run the British Convalescent Depot being established there of a strength up to 500 men. Arrangements made for cooks, etc. with the Base Depot Authorities there. Some repairs required in each h? which were arranged for with O.C. Works.

Jan 29th

ALLORA arrived aft General Hospitals taken up to carry convoy of wounded to BOMBAY & establishment & medical officers to proceed on her arranged for from Indian General Hospital to be replaced as a temporary measure from the Lahore Casualty Clearing Hospital now at MAGIL.

Jan 30

Site for new base hospital inspected with Base Commandant in a Serai about 500 yards up the KHANDAQ Creek behind ASFAR House at the Indian General Hospital. Good covered sheds with mud roofs accommodating some 800 men with courtyard in the centre where E.P. Tents could be pitched.

Jan 31

Took DMS & OC Works to inspect afore mentioned House and it was agreed to take it up as a hospital.

Feb 1st

Took up HT EDAVANA as transport for Indian sick to Bombay. She has good accommodation for Indian Troops. None for British at present.

Feb 2nd

Hospital Ship VARELA has arrived. She will take a British only this time and evacuate mainly stretcher cases from the British General Hospital.

Details of No 19 BFA – with Hon Capt. MARSH, ISM & transports & wagons of 19 BFA. 3 Wagons & 50 mules of No 20 BFA with transport personnel left with Echelon Column on Feb 1st.

Feb 4th

HT EDAVANA embarked sick convoy today. Captain BARRY, RAMC in charge.

HS VARELA sailed for BOMBAY at daybreak with 16 British Officers, 391 British Rank & File invalids for India. Inspected the Turkish Prisoners Camp across the river, about 500 prisoners there at present. Accommodation for 1,500 in E.P. Tents. Sanitary & water arrangements satisfactory. DMS left for AMARA on tour. HS SECILIA arrived in the evening. Colonel GRIMLETTE, IMS (retired) commanding.

Feb 5th

Visited HS SECILIA, convoy not being ready she will not embark sick today.

Orders arrived regarding medical arrangements for No 11 and 12 Echelon Columns in which endeavour is being made to push up a number of the GS & ambulance wagons belonging to Medical units which have been sent up country by boat.

Feb 6th

Inspected the site for the new General Hospital on the KHANDAQ Creek. Latrines are being put up. Incinerator not yet made. Two water tanks have arrived but have not yet been erected.

Also inspected ship for sick at ASFAR House, ward flooring of which is nearly completed.

Feb 7th

Inspected PSS KARADENIZ with reference to certain affairs, etc. required on board her. HS TAKADA reports by wireless that she will be at BASRA on morning of the 8th. HS SYRIA reports she will be at the Bar on afternoon of 9th & unable to cross the same.

Lahore Casualty Clearing Hospital decided to move into the AGA JAFFA House in the KHANDAQ CREEK.

Feb 8th

HS TAKADA arrived BASRA. Convoy of invalids on P.1 left Tigris Column today at 4:30pm.

Lt HUCHESON, RAMC with Ambulance Transport details of No 20 BFA and 128 IFA left with No 11 Echelon [Column] yesterday for the front.

Feb 9th

HS TAKADA loading today.

Feb 10th

HS TAKADA sailed with convoy of 362 all told.

Feb 11th

HS SYRIA arrived at BASRA.

Feb 12th

Convoy of sick with P.1 arrived last night from AMARA and loaded onto SYRIA this morning.

I attended conference at LoC headquarters on the new camp to be laid out at MEKINA & MAGIL.

Captain LEA was detached to accompany & assist the officer laying out the Camps.

[Side Note] HS LOYALTY & GLENART CASTLE both arrived at Bar & HS MADRAS due at BASRA on 16th.

Not able to fill the LOYALTY, after consulting DADMS force, in absence of DMS, I permitted A.P.M.T.O. to let her sail for BOMBAY empty.

Feb 13th

The HS SYRIA finished embarking invalids & sailed at 4pm for India with convoy.

Feb 14th

Inspected certain sheds on the old mule lines with a view to the feasibility of their use for the General Medical Stores Depot to be established shortly, with the DADMS force & found that in their present condition they were far from suitable, though the situation might serve.

Feb 15th

The DMS returned from tour. I interviewed the Embarkation Commandant and the DAAG LofC regarding the importance of the very early dispatch of two Thresh Disinfectors to the front as ordered by the DMS on account of the report that Typhus Fever had broken out among the Turkish troops in the vicinity of KUT, and was told that it should be quite impossible to send them up before the 24th instant. Also submitted a letter to LofC staff to the same effect.

Feb 16th

GLENART CASTLE Hospital Ship now reported unable to cross the Bar. Proposed to APMTO that KARADENIZ should be used to tranship convoy to her. This was agreed to & orders issued to load up tomorrow.

Feb 17th

Hospital Ship MADRAS due this afternoon from BOMBAY arrived. Application made to Embarkator for two decker Barges to embark stretcher cases morning of 18th was refused, as there were three troopships to be disembarked & barges not available for few days. This was requested to DAAG LofC. It was stated that not more than one day’s delay was permissible. PSS KARADENIZ left at daybreak with convoy of invalids to Hospital Ship GLENART CASTLE at the Bar of Shatt el-Arab.

Feb 19th

Three cases of Small Pox occurred amongst the firemen on the HT TEESTA, after most of the troops & details on her had disembarked. The cases were removed to the Isolation Hospital and the GLENART placed in quarantine. Orders were issued to all Camp Commandants, MO Officers, OCs Base Depots with reference to immediate inspection & vaccination of any men & followers under their jurisdiction who were disembarked from HT TEESTA.

Feb 20th

Port Health Officer reports this morning two cases of Small Pox on HT PUMEA.

Feb 21st

One case in British General Hospital of Cerebro Spinal Meningitis.

Feb 22nd

Reference to above case, it was isolated with contacts also isolated. Cerebro Spinal Fluid examined & Cultures made therefrom, which appeared to confirm the diagnosis. The contacts in the British Base Depot were isolated in the grain market.

Feb 23rd

Case of probable Cerebro Spinal Meningitis occurred amongst the contacts isolated in the Grain Market, sent to the British General Hospital.

M.O. ASHAR Area reports a case of Cerebro Spial Meningitis occurred amongst native Christians in ASHAR – Case was sent to Civil Hospital with all contacts in town & measures taken to ascertain names of all people who had visited the town who are to be inspected every second day by M.O. ASHAR.

Feb 24th

No 22 CFA under orders to move tomorrow with two Regiments of the Btn. each to GURMAT ALI Bat. Camp having at the Base 2 M.O.s, 2 I.A.S. and the equipment to deal with other regiment of Bat. arriving shortly.

Feb 25th

Formation of 5 improvised River boat medical units to be sent up to Tigris Column for service with cargo of sick & wounded was put in hand. Two Medical Officers to go with each unit and stores & equipment up to 12 cots.

Feb 26th

Embarkation of No 12 Indian General Hospital was cancelled for the present to permit Of 37th Bat. with No 22 Combined Field Ambulance being put up first.

Feb 27th

One pair of field panniers dispatched to MO detail – EZRA’S TOMB with medical comforts, etc. as asked for by him by telegram for use of Road Parties.

Major SKITTER, DADMS 13th Division reported his arrival and sent round sets of proposed Camps for that division with O.C. Sanitary Section.

Feb 28th

Five river boat units each with two Medical Officers, equipment, comforts, etc. are today embarked on the MEJIDIEH for the front. 105 Comf folding cots were sent with them.

One pair of Field Medical Panniers with extra medicines, comforts and equipment was dispatched on same boat to IAS with details of Road making parties at EZRA’S TOMB with one ADMS from Sanitary Section in charge, at request of IAS.

Feb 29th

Cases of Small Pox and Measles reported by Embarkation Commandant on HT ELLENGA now arriving. OC Sanitary Section directed to go on board vessel with Dr. BERRIE, Port Health Officer, and see the cases also to advise on measures to be taken regarding troops, etc. on board. HT NILE at KUWAIT was reported yesterday to have infectious disease on board. Embarkation Commandant was asked to call wireless to ship and ascertain what disease it was. The disease was later reported to be probably Plague. One death and three other cases. Arrangements were made to dispatch a Medical Officer with practical knowledge of Plague and an Assistant Surgeon skilled in Bacteriology on HT VITA proceeding to Bar to take troops off NILE. He takes with him apparatus for inoculation and two thousand doses of Plague Serum and instructions to make a definitive diagnosis and inoculate all cases as necessary.

Inspected Prisoners Camp across river with Sanitary Officer, DADMS and MO in charge. Various recommendations were made to OC Camp for improving conditions there and the supervision of the Sanitary arrangements generally.

[Side Note] Heavy rain last night and this morning.

Mar 1st

Case of Scarlet Fever reported on HT MARATHON at KUWAIT. Authority received from DMS to take over house at back of Quarantine station & proceed with building of huts for contacts. Report sent in on Prisoner of War Camp.

Mar 2nd

Specialist MO with Assistant Surgeon BROWN left on HT VITA for transport NILE at KUWAIT to mitigate Plague outbreak on that ship.

Inspected Quarantine Station with DADMS and Port Health Officer & house now being taken over.

Arranged with IGC that HT VITA had best be detained on arrival of troops from HT NILE on her & used for the majority of them to complete their quarantine. Some 500 to be accommodated ashore at Quarantine so as not to overcrowd the ship.

MO Prisoners Camp reports he has found a spirillum on one of the fever cases in the Prisoners Camp.

Mar 3rd

Dr. BENNET reports that the Spirillum of Relapsing Fever has been found in two cases of Fever in the Mission Hospital.

The method of soaking clothes in Petrol to get rid of lice is to be given a trial at once and 100 gallons of crude Petrol ordered from Strick Scott & Co. 50 gallons to the Prisoners Camp and 50 gallons to the Mission Hospital, with six iron tubs with covers also to each institution.

The method of destroying vermin by means of a hot flat iron is also being tried at the Mission Hospital.

Lt. Col JAMES, SMO MAGIL came in to report several cases of measles in a Gurkha detachment at Camp MAGIL. Was directed verbally to isolate his cases under a guard in a tent near his own hospital and to isolate his contacts 100 yards from other troops under a guard taken from contacts themselves – He was also directed to send in an official report on measures taken.

Inspected Hospitals at Customs House in the afternoon.

Sent in a recommendation to the DMS that fit Prisoners of War should be removed from the country as soon as possible after disinfection of their clothes & bedding owing to one case of Relapsing Fever having recurred in the Camp & two amongst patients in the Mission Hospital.

Made arrangements for handing over Ambulance Transport of Field Ambulances 3rd & 7th Divisions to ADS&T.

Mar 4th

Special MO, sent down to HT NILE at KUWAIT, reports by wireless that diagnosis is not Plague but possible Relapsing Fever. Troops on NILE being transhipped to HT VITA for BASRA. Orders sent to MO by wireless to disinfect men & kits as far as possible on the ship coming up & arrangements for Quarantine, etc. made in BASRA.

Mar 5th

Saw IGC with reference to Prisoners of War Camp and recommendations made in concern therewith.

DAQMG LofC informed me that there was no prospect of Ambulance Wagons being dispatched by river transport this month under direct orders from GHQ. 4 Motor Ambulances dispatched to TIGRIS Column by river yesterday.

Mar 6th

The VITA with troops off HT NILE arrived this evening in the stream.  Major SWAN, IMS reported no Spirillum had been found nor had the Plague Bacillus been isolated. Two deaths had occurred since NILE left SUEZ. Patients both got high fever and both complained of some tenderness in the groin. One died 12 hours the other 24 hours after seizure.

Rats began to die in large numbers on board HT KHOSRU being in the stream. She brought no troops only indigenous from India. Work was stopped on her & coolies kept on board.

Mar 7th

It was decided to quarantine and disinfect troops on the VITA ex NILE. A batch of 500 to go to quarantine today disinfect and leave on 10th to complete segregation fenced in corner isolated near 13th Division Camp – remaining thousand to go quarantine on 10th & 11th and stay out their segregation fenced at Quarantine – more tents being provided

Sanitary Officer investigating death of rats on KHUSHRU. Spleens appear normal.

HS VARELA arrived.

Mar 8th

Master of HS SYRIA reports by wireless his arrival at Light Ship at 6:30am.  DST informs that she can not come up to BASRA – Arrangements made for VARELA to act as ferry boat to SYRIA.

Sanitary Officer reports rats on KHUSHRU not dying of Plague.

DADMS entered quarantine with OC Sanitary Section.

HS SYRIA came over Bar & got to ABADAN. Will be at Hospital berth, 9am. Embark convoy at once & proceed INDIA.

Mar 9th

Inspected the BEIT NAMA House, allotted to General Medical Stores Depot and the new huts being built in British & Indian General Hospitals with D.D. Works.

Mar 10th

Report from British General Hospital in the evening that six cases of Relapsing Fever had been admitted from the Gloucester Regiment which came from EGYPT in the HT GRAMPIAN and up river in the [blank]. Diagnosis was made in the General Hospital Laboratory including blood slides to be sent to OC Sanitary Section for their information.  This morning I sent Captain LEA out to see the Gloucester Regiment at MAKINA to arrange about segregation & to get a Thresh Disinfector sent out there, through which the men’s clothing & bedding could be put. ADMS 13th Division was informed verbally concerning this & the necessary segregation, etc. Letter to petition to DAGQMG LofC sent. DMS recommending segregation & observation of contacts disinfection of infected Regiment, etc.

Mar 11th

Nil

Mar 12th

Dr. BENNET ill at Mission Hospital arrangements made for MO from IGH to visit there daily.

[Side Note] Lt. Col JANUS arrived, ADMS Sanitary IEF D.

Mar 13th

Received letter form OC MAGIL Area concerning occurrence at Indian General Hospital. Wrote to OC thereof for full explanation.

HS MADRAS embarking invalids for India.

Mar 14th

Visited Mission Hospital with ADMS Sanitary & DADMS Force D. An MO from the Indian General Hospital has joined and is now on visiting duty there. Also a memo has been circulated to help him and two more sweepers from Sanitary Section.

Sent DADMS to MAGIL to make enquiries regarding circumstance detailed in Area Commandant’s letter mentioned above.

HS TAKADA arrived this morning. Also two convoys of wounded from the front.

Mar 15th

Visited MAKINA re disposition of Gloucester and Warwick Regiment with ADMS Sanitary Force D.

1 Section 137 IFA sent to Mission Hospital and 1 Section to Prisoners Camp.

Mar 16th

Section No 137 IFA arrived at Mission Hospital this morning.

Capt. TALBERT, IMS in charge. Prisoners Camp sent to Hospital.

Mar 17th

Visited Mission Hospital & arranged with Captain STACKER that the Church should be asked for as accommodation for sick which will take about 25 Beds.

No cases of Relapsing Fever reported from Gloucester Regiment since 9th instance.

Mar 18th

Visited Mission Hospital. Work proceeding rapidly. 3 tents pitched outside north of Hospital. Water Tanks arranged for & Fly proof netting for doors & windows. Hut nearly finished.

Interviewed the IGC with Base Commandant ADMS LofC & Captain LEA CO Sanitary Section & represented the paramount importance of having about 300 Sweepers at BASRA. Some 150 of which will be required to replace men of the Sanitary Section at present employed on latrine work in British and Indian Base Depots & other odd jobs about the place. It was suggested meantime that a number of Arab Sweepers and additional orderlies, British and native, should be employed as a temporary measure.

Inspected MAGIL wharf area, Standing Camp & No 2 Camp, Labour Camps & Porter Corps Camp, with Sanitary Officer and IMO MAKINA. Found some latrines neglected but place generally fairly clean. Recommendations will be made regarding construction of permanent latrines, filling up certain ditches and improvement of present Slaughter House arrangements, etc.

DADMS inspected Prisoner of War Camp this afternoon, I found matters generally improved.

Mar 19th

Visited Camp of 7th Gloucesters with DADMS MAKINA, and after, Camp of No 135 IFA and 41 FA.

3 more cases if Relapsing Fever from 7th Gloucesters reported by BGH today.

Customs House No 2 Area report a suspicious case of Fever with a rash in an Officer living in a tent in 48th Street BASRA. Lt Colonel COLLINS, RAMC asked to see case in consultation. The case was also seen by Captain LEA Sanitary Officer and the united opinion expressed was that the case was very probably Typhus Fever. Arrangements were made at once for accommodation of patients and contacts in tents on the north nob of the Creek at Quarantine Station on the left bank of the river, and in the evening they were transferred there for isolation.

Captain HIBBERT ISM in British General Hospital with Relapsing Fever died about 5pm.

Mar 20th

Four more cases of Relapsing Fever reported in Gloucester Regiment from BGH today & reported by hospital to MO of the regiment.

Mar 21st

Case of Small Pox – 2nd Engineer HT BASPETA – bringing British troops from HT PERSIC at KUWAIT – case sent to Quarantine Isolation Hospital. Men with good vaccination marks vaccinated within last two years to be disembarked. Men with fair vaccination marks not vaccinated within 5 years to be revaccinated & leave ship also. Remainder to Quarantine for vaccination & segregation to usual period.

Ship’s crew to be vaccinated.

DST informed that ship must not carry any more Troops but proceed to KARACHI or BOMBAY for disinfection.

More cases Relapsing Fever reported from BGH in 7th Gloucesters.

Mar 22nd

Visited 7th Gloucesters camp at MAKINA and interviewed MO.

Sent DADMS to inspect Prisoner Camp across river. Definite orders given to MO that no prisoners liable to carry infection were to proceed to INDIA in BARODA i.e. The prisoners sent, must not be men recently out of hospital & must be free from lice.

Mar 23rd

Inspected Prisoner of War Camp. All in hospital are now provided with beds, mattresses, pillows, mosquito nets where necessary, cups, plates & spoons. Spittoons. Hospital clothing for 100 patients. 4 temporary huts & 2 tents being used as accommodation. Water is at present being brought from the river, in terms of a drinking purposes by gangs of prisoners.  9 Zinc troughs and 16 Iron tubs are being used for delousing clothing in paraffin oil. I gave verbal orders to MO that no men recently sick to be sent to INDIA & that all who were sent must be absolutely free from lice. Overalls and blouses have been provided for them working in the hospital. Interviewed Dr. SABI BEG who represented the men of the Turkish Doctors there regarding them working in the hospital. I told him that if they did not agree to work under the supervision & under the orders of the SMO there that it should be better that they should not work at all. In which the SMO fully concurred.

Colonel COLLLINS, RAMC was asked to see 2 or 3 cases of Pyrexia of doubtful origin in the Prisoners Camp Hospital unit. Major SEALY SMO Camp, thought it was possible they were cases of Typhus Fever, but that the diagnosis was not certain.

Mar 24th

Inspected Indian Base Depot with OC Sanitary Section.

3 RAMC Officers arrived ex HT PERSIA to be retained for duty with BGH.

HS SICILIA to be embarked tomorrow.

[Side Note] HT ERINPURA sailed with 198 invalids

[Side Note] Lt Colonel JAYGOULD, IMS arrived on SICILIA

Mar 25th

Inspected Mission Hospital. Nearly all wards have been lime washed. One hut completed & ready to receive sick. Another hut has been commenced and will be ready shortly.

DADMS visited Camp of 7th Gloucesters at last inspected for lice of men & clothing. Only one man was found to be infected with them.

Telegram from Chief of General Staff Officer; Appointment of Lt. Colonel P COLLINS, RAMC as ADMS Base & Lt. Col WOODSIDE, RAMC as O.C. British?

Mar 26th

HS VARELA arrived & embarked one convoy off JULNAR direct

Mar 27th

HS VARELA finished embarkation.

Mar 28th

HS VARELA sailed this morning. HS SYRIA arrived and embarked MALAMIR convoy direct.

Inspected Mission Hospital. Disinfecting and lime washing of wards almost complete. It has been decided that after Prisoners Camp & Hospital has been completed the Mission Hospital will not further be used to accommodate sick connected with Force D.

DADMS inspected Prisoners Camp & Hospital this morning & suggested that some of Fire regulations could be advisable. The question of the best method of disinfecting tents also to be considered.

[Side Note] “Z” Indian General Hospital reported to have left BOMBAY on 27th instant on HS MADRAS. 9 Medical Officers.

Mar 29th

3 Copies Board Proceedings on Surgeon General HATHAWAY handed to Capt. HAMILTON, DADMS. Medical Board held on Major General CAUCHIN, IGC.

[Side Note] HS SYRIA sailed.

Mar 30th

Cases of Small Pox amongst Troops on ARANCOLA arriving 31st from BOMBAY reported by DST.

Wireless message sent to SMO ARANCOLA to report details & action taken.

Mar 31st

Four cases of Small Pox arrived amongst drafts from INDIA on the HT ARANCOLA. 95 men requiring vaccination were vaccinated. Cases transferred to Quarantine Hospital.

Remainder to be under observation on ship until the morning of April 4th.

Order received to mobilize six river boat units complete for the front to arrive there by April 6th. Orders were issued accordingly.

Apr 1st

Conference of Commanders of River Boat Units at the office to discuss the question of equipment & Red Cross gifts, etc. to be taken up with each unit. All units to be at the front by April 6th each to bring down convoys of wounded.

Reference? passage for River Boat Units to TIGRIS Corps, applied for to DAQMG LofC yesterday. I was informed verbally by DAQMG on telephone this afternoon that it was impossible they should start before morning of 4th in the BLOSSE LYNCH.

[Side Note] HS MADRAS arrived at Bar

Apr 2nd

HS MADRAS arrived with personnel only of “Z” Indian General Hospital.

HS ASSAYE reported at KUWAIT with No 32 British General Hospital on board with 950 cubic tons of Medical Equipment.

[Side Note] HS ASSAYE Accommodation: BO 42, ORB 364, Deck Cases 200

Apr 3rd

HT PENTACOTTA embarked invalids for India

HS MADRAS at new Jetty General Hospital disembarking reinforcements.

River Boat Units left for the front.

Apr 4th

ADMS Base Officer was moved from No 1 Strand to building in British General Hospital.

Apr 5th

HS TAKADA arrived form BOMBAY & embarked British invalids in the afternoon to transfer to the HS ASSAYE now at the Bar. Message received in the evening to say that P.23 with sick convoy had left KHURNA.

Apr 6th

Nil

Apr 7th

Handed over charge of the office of ADMS Base to Lt Colonel B J COLLINS, RAMC. FW GEL Lt Col IMS

Hospital River Steamer (HRS) SIKKIM arrived from ORAH at 6pm with the first of the casualties from the attack now proceeding for the relief of KUT. She made a record run having left the front yesterday morning & arrived this morning – 12 hours from AMARA, for which we have previously allowed 30 hours. Casualties so far about 2,000.

Apr 8th

Visited Prisoners of War Camp & Hospital – Am strongly in favour of taking up the whole area which is none too large as hospital only and moving the PoW Camp to another site on the other side of the river. Saw Base Commandant on this subject, & in the afternoon went up to MAGIL and saw No 3 Camp, which when enclosed with wire, will make an excellent site, as it had plenty of water & bathing facilities.

Apr 9th

Inspected Liquorice Factory, etc. at MAKINA where No 32 BGH (from Egypt) is to arrive tomorrow. HS TAKADA returned from Bar & loaded today about 500 all British & Serious lying down cases. Lent them 3 medical officers and some nursing sisters, as they had only 3 officers and 2 sisters on board which is totally inadequate. Also as usual had to supply nursing orderlies. HS VARELA arrived at 6pm

Apr 10th

Went on board ARONDA with 32 BGH on board; Saw Col STARR RAMC and described to him position of affairs & gave him details concerning the Liquorice Factory, where half the hospital is to open (500 beds). The other half to AMARA as equipment is sorted out and completed. Attended conference at Base Commandant’s Office when the proposed transfer of PoW Camp to MAGIL was affirmed.

Apr 11

HS VARELA sailed with 17 B.O.s, 187 British Ranks & 200 Indian ranks.

Apr 12

Inspected Mission Hospital – about 90 Prisoners of War under treatment – no serious cases & no further cases of infectious disease.

A case of Small-Pox (a fireman) on the ITAURA isolated at Infectious Hospital, & all on board vaccinated.

8 nursing sisters, 2 medical officers & 8 ranks (32 BGH) left for AMARA in P.8.

Apr 13

Visited Field Park re installation of jumhahs? at P of War Hospital- Base Commandant re changes on KARADITZ & Director of Army Signals.

HS SYRIA arrived at noon. Arranged with SMO to take all British this time as the ship is mainly intended for Indians, we have to put on 4 Nurses and 20 Orderlies (Br) for the voyage.

COROMANDEL a new hospital steamer left for AMARA, taking 8 Officers & 32 ranks of 32 BGH for duty at AMARA where half of 32 BGH (500 beds) is to open later.

Apr 14

SYRIA sailed at 10am with 22 Officers & 363 British ranks – total 385.

HRS SIKKIM arrived from front with 25 Officers & 119 men including a good many serious head cases.

Apr 15

Nil

Apr 16

Sir WILLIAM VINCENT attended at my office to take evidence from me as late OC 3 BGH regarding the alleged medical shortcomings after the battle of CTESIPHON. He informed me that no complaints had been received regarding 3 BGH, but that on the contrary everyone had given it the highest praise.

HS MADARS left BOMBAY yesterday.

HS SICILIA arrived 6pm. Arranged to send all British this time – No 3 BGH providing 2 nursing sisters & 12 orderlies.

Issued orders for 1 section 108 IFA to proceed immediately to BUSHIRE – arranged passage on OZARDA; and for 23 CFA to hold itself in readiness to proceed to NASIRIYEH.

Apr 17

29 Officers & 314 British ranks embarked on SICILIA – accompanied Sir V. HORSLEY round No 3 BGH & also to No 32 BGH at MAKINA. Also visited with him P.6 which had just arrived from ORAH. Arranging to send all motor ambulances, ambulance wagons and tongas, except what are barely necessary for here, up the river, where there is urgent need of them.

Ordered 1 Section 108 FA at present at Quarantine Station to Customs House in relief of the Section gone to BUSHIRE.

Visited Prisoners of War Camp MAGIL in the evening.

Apr 18

Accompanied Sir V. HORSLEY to Nos 9 & 10 IGH, 15 CCH, Gen, Stores & 83 Stationary Hospital.

Recommended to DMS, (i) Construction of a light railway from river front to 32 BGH MAKINA, for the conveyance of stretcher cases; otherwise 32 BGH will not be of much use for lying down cases from up river. (ii) that the question of taking the water supply of BASRA from the EUPHRATES be considered.

A Sanitary Section (without a number) & No 7 (Meerut) Advanced Depot Medical Stores left for AMARA on P.31.

7 Thresh Disinfectors sent up river today.

Apr 19

Accompanied Sir V HORSLEY to Mission Hospital, P of War Hospital, Infectious Hospital & No 10 Sanitary Section.

Recommended construction of a road between IGH & Gen Med Stores, and Dorset Road – at present the former buildings are completely isolated and have no road connection with the outer world.

Apr 20

Attended conference at Base Commandant’s Office, where the question of re-distribution of military sanitary areas was considered. I propose having in future 6 areas and MAGIL, and nominating D. BORRIE Ph.D. as Civil Surgeon of ASHAR, to supervise purely civil sanitation, etc. I hope to be able to allot a Sanitary Officer to each area for military duties.

Inspected at MAGIL. Drew attention of SMO to the insanitary conditions of old slaughter yard, and recommended that it be thoroughly dug up and all litter buried in situ.

Apr 21

Inspected “Z” IGH at MAKINA where the commission found the latrines in a “disgraceful” condition. Impressed upon the CO, Lt Col GRANT, IMS, that he was entirely responsible for the sanitation of his own unit. This is laid down in FSR Part II, Chapter XI, Section 83, para 2.

Recommended to base Commandant that a separate civil surgery be created for ASHAR to control and supervise the area outside that of Civil Surgeon BASRA.

Evening visited P.8 with IGC, etc. with a view to her conversion into a hospital river steamer. She can be adapted for 56 cots – not very much use, but it establishes a precedent, & better things may follow later.  P.8 is only given to us as she is no use for anything else. Visited other ships to arrange a scheme for fitting a certain amount of medicines, dressings, comforts & stores on board all steamers going up river, so that on return journey they may be used for hospital purposes. Stipulated for a room or cabin 10’x8′ in each river boat to be constructed for this purpose.

Apr 22

Visited P.8 again with reference to her reconstruction. DMS has approved my proposal for an Infectious Hospital for civil population of BASRA & ASHAR, so that it will be no longer necessary to send such to the military Infectious Hospital.

P.3 arrived 9pm with 9 Officers and 243 British ranks. There were two suspicious cases of Cholera on board, which were removed in the WESSEX to Infectious Hospital & the P.3 ordered to moor down river off Quarantine Station.

[Side Note] These were true, both cases died.

Apr 23

Went down to Quarantine Island & made arrangements for getting the wounded ashore. This virtually meant opening a 300 bedded hospital & equipping it with medical, ordnance, engineer & S&T Stores. Buildings were not ready & a large number of E.P. Tents pitched, where the swampy nature permitted. Arrangements had to be made for drinking water, cooking, latrines & incinerators. By evening 160 men were ashore & the rest left on board.

One further case of Cholera occurred and was removed to Infectious Hospital.

Apr 24

The unloading of the remaining stretcher cases from P.3 & barges completed.

VARELA arrived 9am & left 4pm with 15 Officers, 187 British & 274 Indian ranks.

My proposals for the re-organization of the Infectious Hospital have now been approved as also the proposal for a separate Infectious Hospital for Arabs in BASRA city.

Apr 25

Inspected at Mission Hospital – the transfer to P of W Hospital should be completed by tomorrow. The place will then be thoroughly disinfected & closed for 3 weeks. No further cases of Cholera reported today.

Went to BASRA city with Military Governor, Civil Surgeon & Port Health Officer to select a site for a Civil Infectious Hospital. Saw an excellent building with a large open space capable of extension. Asked Military Governor to get the matter in hand as soon as possible.

Apr 26

BLOSSE LYNCH arrived from front with wounded prisoners of war – these were sent to P of W Camp, TANOUMA.

Telegram received late that P.16 had landed 4 cases of Cholera at AMARA and that 11 Officers & 232 British ranks were coming down in her. They will have to be quarantined.

[Side Note] Another case of Cholera ex P.3 occurred at Quar Stn.

Apr 27

Had a Base Order published ordering all troops & followers proceeding to the front to be vaccinated for Cholera.

To Quarantine Stn at 6:30, to arrange for the 250 wounded coming down today. There is hardly a spot of dry ground left which to pitch tents & no personnel to look after the sick.

It is quite likely now that every steamer coming down will have a case or two of Cholera on it, and all contacts will have to be segregated. Problems – where to put them & where to get staff for them. Between providing staff for hospital ships, transports and river boat parties, the hospitals are sadly depleted.

Apr 27

SMO TAKADA who arrived today demanded 5 nurses, 13 orderlies & 2 medical officers; gave him all except 4 nurses, as 5 nurses had to be sent to AMARA today & there are no nurses left to look after about 500 wounded at Quarantine Station. He had already got 7 nurses on board.

Apr 28

Gave evidence again before the Medical Commission with reference to KURNA, SHAIBA, AMARA & NASIREYAH.

Red Cross Commissioner (Mr. RIDSDALE) informed me that he proposed removing the Red Cross launch from Infectious Hospital & Quarantine Camp. If this is done they will be practically cut off from the outside world & will have the greatest difficulty in getting supplies, stores, etc.; also that the British General Hospitals are now without a launch, as is the ADMS Base & that it is impossible for the latter to perform his duties efficiently without a launch, as there are so many hospitals and camps on the other side of the river.

P.16 arrived with 243 Cholera contacts who were sent on to Quarantine Station.

SMO BGH reports that during month of April, to date, 277 Officers & 3,299 British ranks were invalided to INDIA.

Arranged with Port Health Officer for inspection of all casualty craft coming down river.

Apr 29

Visited Quarantine Station to see wounded who came down yesterday – all comfortable & dressings in good order. Saw IGC at 10:30 about the precautions to be taken for Cholera. Afterwards saw Political Officer about getting a site down river for the isolation of Arabs in the event of an extensive outbreak in BASRA & ASHAR.

As there has been a little friction at MAGIL between the SMO & the local military authorities, ordered Capt. [Frank Phillips] WERNICKE, IMS for duty there, vice Lt. Col. GRAVES IMS who reverts to No 9 IGH.

Apr 30

Went down river 4 miles with AQMG, LofC, PHO & DADMS to MUSHARI to select site for Cholera Hospital and large contact for the civil population if BUSRA and ASHAR, for use in the event of an outbreak of Cholera in the city. Embodied my recommendations in a letter to Base Commandant.

Also saw some very fine buildings on right bank of river about 3 miles below BASRA which would make an excellent site for BGH.

KUT surrendered yesterday.

May 1

Visited Infectious Hospital with GD Works with a view to getting more suitable buildings, etc. erected. There are now 600 patients there (chiefly wounded who were Cholera contacts) & nearly all in tents.

Evening visited P of War Camp at MAGIL.

HS VARSOVA arrived. In view of the sick from KUT being handed over to us by the Turks, arranged with Embarkation Commandant to take up all hired transport returning to BOMBAY for the walking cases. The problem of staff again arises but the sick & wounded must be got away at any price, before the hot weather is on us.

May 2

Yesterday 5 cases of Cholera occurred locally; one at Indian Base Depot, one S & J Depot, one at 88 Stationary Hospital, and 2 in 56th Bde. RFA at MAKINA. Both the latter were removed to 32 BGH at MAKINA and proved rapidly fatal. Complete precautions have been adopted and information circulated in Base Orders, etc. for preventing the spread of the disease. Instructions have been drawn up for Captains of river craft travelling without an MD and every effort is made in order to keep Cholera out of BASRA but I am informed that epidemics are usually preceded, as this year, by a few cases from up river & then the Arabs are attacked wholesale.

Vigorous Cholera inoculation is proceeding and I arranged today to have the tea & sugar ration (also firewood) doubled to encourage men to fill their water bottles with tea.

Conference with IGC regarding various hospital and sanitary matters. He is strongly in favour of my proposal to have a BGH located 3 miles downriver. Recommended to DMS that when Nos 2 & 3 BGH’s are provided with adequate personnel. No 2 BGH should move down river. Both are now working together, each being equipped for 200 beds only. Yesterday they had over 1,200 in hospital.

The greatest inconvenience & loss of time is caused to one by not having a launch. Today I had to go down river & back in a bellow & was absent 3 1/2 hours; Now with Cholera about, & so many camps & hospitals to be visited, every minute is valuable.

A fatal case of Cholera (British) occurred on P.12 shortly after her arrival at hospital pier last night – total cases to date 13 all imported.

May 3

Another case of Cholera occurred last night – this one was on the KARAMITZ which is used as an overflow of the BGH. Case & contacts were sent to hospital and all on board vaccinated.

May 4

Visited MAKINA and saw OC “Z” IGH (Lt Col JW GRANT IMS) with reference to a habit he has got into of writing letters to ADMA on various minor matters which he should be able to adjust for himself. Also impressed on him the necessity for getting into personal touch with various departments, S&T, ordnance, Field Park, etc. and not to write letters to me on every petty affair that turns up. Also asked him not to write letters to the Sanitary Officer who lives a few yards from him, but to tell him personally. Read him a note on this question in which I stated that he did not appear to have either the spirit or the capacity for coping with the difficulties that beset all COs in Mesopotamia.

Hospital Ship GASCON which was yesterday stuck in the Bar is now aground at MOHAMMERAH. This illustrates the futility of employing heavy draught boats in the river. When the monsoon blows, in a very short time from now, the following will not be able to come up – MADRAS, TAKADA, SYRIA & SICILIA. What is wanted here is all the boats of the “E” Class BISN Co namely the “ERINPURA, EGRA, ELEPHANTA, ELLENGA & EDEREMBA. These are very fine large boats, with splendid deck space, and can come up to BASRA at any time of the year.

May 5

GASCON is still stuck at MOHAMMERAH, so we have had to load sick on the BANDRA, provide Staff, etc. & send her down to tranship to the GASCON.

GASCON still in the Bar at 3pm so cannot send patients by BANDRA until tomorrow morning. This causes great inconvenience and delay in evacuating sick and wounded. Wrote to DMS recommending that five BI boats that will cross the Bar at any time be taken up instead of five hospitals which are unable to come over the Bar from now onwards.

Recommended to BC the establishment of 9 drinking water depots at different posts in ASHAR & BASRA where troops can get a supply of cool, sterilized drinking water, during the hot weather. At present men drink anywhere & anyhow.

May 7

Visited MAKINA with AD Works to see some samples of fly-proof latrines which the sappers have made; also a new type of incinerator. Afterwards selected a suitable site for a series of anaerobic beds and aerobic filters for the disposal of the urine of BASRA & ASHAR.

Two cases of Cholera arrived at “Z” IGH MAKINA yesterday and one suspected case at MAGIL. All cases with contacts were sent to Quarantine Station. Thorough disinfection and general vaccination are proceeding. The total number of cases to date is 15 with 5 deaths.

May 8

Inspected at MAKINA. Have arranged for two mahelas for infectious cases to be kept at Liquorice Factory MAKINA and at Base Commandant’s Pier. A launch to tour there will be sent on telephoning to me. The mahelas to be disinfected after each trip at the Quarantine Station. Total Cholera cases to date 19 with 9 deaths.

Asked the DMS (yesterday) to apply to GHQ for permission to cable to India for a motor car for use of ADMS Base, without which it will be quite impossible for one to perform my duties efficiently. The district is a very large one and it is quite impossible to get around on a horse as the distances are so great and the heat is now becoming intense. I have already reported to DMS that a launch was necessary also for the efficient performance of my duties but am as far as ever from getting one. There are nine hospitals in my district, of which two, and three contact camps, are on the other side of the river. For want of transport, I have not been able to visit MAGIL, TANOUMA, Quarantine Hospital, Indian Base Depot and other places for a considerable time. The ADMS Base must have a car and a launch to perform his duties properly and to secure the best results.

May 9

Six suspected cases of Cholera were sent to Infectious Hospital today. Of those, 3 were ordinary diarrhea, & 3 will probably prove to be Cholera. Placed Lt. Col O’FLAHERTY, RAMC 24 CFA temporarily at MAKINA, in charge of Cholera measures at that place, and in a note indicated the lines to go on were – (1) boiling all drinking water, (2) treating with Listerine or Cresol all ponds and creeks which might be used by Indians for drinking from & washing teeth, etc. (3) vaccination.

May 10

Visited MAKINA Camp to see the two new 150ft grids and the forced draught refuse destructor working. All are going well and several more grids will be necessary.

Of the six suspected cases of Cholera sent to Infectious Hospital yesterday, two were Cholera. And of five sent today to “Z” IGH none were Cholera.  Total cases to date 21 with 10 deaths.

May 11th

Visited the large buildings down river with Base Commandant and AD Works with a view to taking them over as hospitals for British sick. They were well adapted for this purpose.

Hospital Ship MADRAS & VARELA arrived.

TAKADA arrives at Bar tomorrow & wires she will probably not be able to cross the Bar. Accordingly, arranged for VARELA to tranship patients to TAKADA & return to BASRA. Then load for ASSAYE due at Bar on 13th. Then arrive back again to BASRA & finally load for INDIA about 15th.

May 12th

Visited MAKINA again – owing to not having a launch or car my sphere of action is practically limited to a radius of 3 miles where I can ride on a horse in the morning and evenings. There are numerous other places I badly want to go but am unable to do so. Reported the   condition of affairs to Colonel WILLCOX, RAMC Casualty Physician, in the hope that he may be able to do something to provide one with transport. He promised to see the Army Commander on the subject,

In the afternoon, visited proposed new hospital buildings down river with Sir WILLIAM VINCENT, Gen BINGLEY, & Colonel WILLCOX, all of whom were unanimous regarding the desirability of this site. Three fresh cases of Cholera today, making total to date 29 with 11 deaths.

May 13th

TAKADA arrived. As she had great difficulty with both Bars she is unable to do feeder to ASSAYE, which arrived at Bar today. She will therefore take a mixed British & Indian convoy to INDIA tomorrow & I have assigned for VARSOVA (left INDIA 11th) to take Medical Details (95 Officers & 195 Ranks RAMC) of ASSAYE at the Bar on 16th, bring them up here & then take a convoy of British to the ASSAYE. VARSOVA will then return to BASRA.

Saw Base Commandant again with reference to Bath and Water Stations, also re treatment of heat stroke, which may be expected soon.

May 14th

The new water installation at MAKINA is now working satisfactorily & provides 16,000 gallons of sedimented & chlorinated water; the Tanks however get very hot in the sun. Recommended to AD Works putting a Chitai? Roof over them. Accompanied DMS (Surgeon General LOEHERING CMG) round several of the hospitals today. Recommended the Port Health Officer (Dr. DF BARRIE) be granted a commission as temporary Captain RAMC. In addition to being PhD he has been in sanitary employ for over a year.

May 15th

Visited No 8 Advanced Depot of Medical Stores. The late Officer in charge, Hon Lt BROWN, ISMD, has been invalided to INDIA, this has left the Stores in a chaotic condition. Several boxes & panniers were half empty, things had been lent and not replaced, & no proper accounts or ledger has been kept. The OC No 1 Gen Med Stores informs me that a stock ledger need not be kept by the Advanced Depot, but I have ordered the Warrant Officer who is now in charge to take one into use; to replenish all boxes & panniers and to maintain an adequate reserve of field medical companions & extemporised panniers for issue to river boat parties and hired transports proceeding to INDIA.

83 SH left for NASIRIYEH.

May 16th

Visited Indian Contact Camp, TANOUMAH, & 32 BGH with DMS. East of the Contact Camp TANOUMAH, is a fine site which ought to serve for the accommodation of 33 BGH (1,040 beds) expected to arrive about 3rd week of June.

4 cases of Cholera (all civilians) yesterday.

Evening visited Infectious Hospital. There are now 29 cases of Cholera under treatment.

“Y” IGH (without equipment) left for AMARA.

95 Officers & 195 ranks RAMC arrived on VARSOVA, ex ASSAYE from England.

May 17th

Visited “Z” IGH & 32 BGH at MAKINA. A second refuse destructor has been erected at the former place. GA out circulars to all units re Water Chlorination so as to put it on a uniform basis, as different units have different methods at present.

Saw DMS with reference to proposed hospital accommodation at BASRA. It is to be on basis of 9% for TIGRIS Force & 14% for EUPHRATES Force. That will give (a) for Sick, British 1960 beds; Indians 3,840 beds; (b) Convalescent Camp, British 750, Indian 1,000. This will be provided as follows:

No 3 BGH to be increased 1,000 beds & KARADENIZ (500) to be given up.
No 33 BGH on arrival to be opened near Aviation Park, TANOUMAH.
Total 2,040 Br Beds

Nos 9 & 10 IGH – 1,700 beds
No 15 CCS (Aga Inffer Hospl) – 500 beds
No 8 IGH (to be located in Liquorice Factory when 32 BGH goes to MAKINA) – 1,000 beds
“Z” IGH MAKINA – 640 Beds
Total 3,840 beds

Convalescents, British 750 – at TANOUMA, Indian 1,000 – at MAKINA.

15 British Officers and 229 British ranks left on HS VARSOVA for transfer to ASSAYE at the Bar.

Accompanied DMS on his inspection of “Z” IGH MAKINA.

May 18th

Got out details of scheme for Bath Stations & circulated to all concerned. Visited Engineer Field Park to see what progress was being made with baths & surahi stands; found that practically nothing had been done – reported matter to Base Commandant.

May 19th

Owing to extensive floods the road from BGH to MAKINA is flooded & all communication with the British & Indian Hospitals Area by road is cut off. Have notified DDW & asked him to treat the matter as urgent.

Ordered OC 108 IFA to hand over equipment of one section (D) to the Infectious Hospital, and to re-equip that Section. His equipment has not been used since the arrival of the ambulance in country & it has been lying in the Custom House. The remainder of the equipment is up river & has to be brought down to complete the four sections. The Infectious Hospital is urgently in need of equipment.

Visited MAGIL in the evening & inspected site for a new Arab encampment. The water pump engine is now working but only pumps to tanks near the engine; no pipes for distribution to the camp being yet available.

May 20th

VARSOVA returned from the Bar & loaded up with British Officers and Indian ranks.

May 21st

The VITA arrived on her first trip.

Information received of the dispatch on 5th May from England of a 1,400 bedded hospital for BASRA. A good site for this hospital will be TANOUMA but they will have to pitch tents as it is impossible to get any building done at present under shortage of labour.

Attended conference at Base Commandant’s Office on various sanitary matters. The question of taking up all the best Soda Water Factories in the town & running them under our supervision is now an accomplished fact; the bath stations for heat stroke are also ready; & the depots for supply of cold water to troops are in train.

May 22nd

All the RAMC officers ex ASSAYE (70) have now been sent up river.

Inspected at Infectious Hospital, and afterwards visited site for 33 BGH at TANOUMA.

May 23rd

Dispatched the VITA with 17 Officers & 341 ranks, and the CHAKDARA with 12 B. Officers & 260 ranks. Drew up regulations for the transfer of Cholera cases to Infectious Hospital in boats; especially with reference to disinfection of the latter. A number of boats flying the Yellow flag has now been arranged for, along the river front, & a launch is sent on receipt of a telephone message at my office.

Total cases of Cholera to date 66 with 22 deaths.

May 24th

An order received from CGS SIMLA saying that only Cholera vaccine from INDIA was to be used in inoculating troops up here. This means stopping inoculation altogether as INDIA has completely broken down in the supply of vaccine. The only vaccine sent up recently, so far as I know, being that sent up by EMO BOMBAY in response to my Cable V/1/43 of 26th April. This, a small quantity, arrived in CITY OF NEWCASTLE about a fortnight ago & was sent up country. On 23rd April I cabled KASAULI for 50,000 double doses & on 25th April for 30,000 double doses; and again on 5th May I cabled for 50,000 doses. None of these have been received so far.

Accordingly, I got Captain BONEY, RAMC to prepare a Cholera vaccine from local strains of vibrios; and I consider with excellent results, for the past fortnight.

On receipt of wire above referred to from SIMLA I sent the following to DMS, IEF “D”:

“There is no Cholera vaccine in Mesopotamia except what has been prepared from local strains by Capt. BONEY, RAMC at No 3 BGH, Buson. INDIA has failed completely in this respect and the General Medical Stores has not received any except what I ordered from EMV BOMBAY a month ago. Should not SIMLA be informed of this?

If Inoculation is stopped here, an extensive outbreak at the Base is highly probable.”

Cholera to date at Base – 73 cases with 24 deaths.

May 25th

Two cases of Cholera have occurred amongst the civil population of ASHAR & one at BASRA.

Saw the IGC with reference to the Civil Contact Camp, etc. at MUSHARI. Nothing has yet been done on the matter although I put in my recommendations on this subject on 30th April. IGC ordered AQMG to see the Political Officer with a view to getting things going.

Also spoke to Military Governor of BUSRAH & impressed him with the necessity of making adequate arrangements in view of the threatened outbreak of Cholera.

May 26th

Visited camp at MUSHARI; things are now beginning to move. Dr. BARRIE, Port Health Officer, will be in charge and I have detailed a Senior Assistant Surgeon, with a knowledge of Arabic for the sub-charge? The place should be ready by Sunday. A very good out-building will hold 30 beds comfortably.

No 105 FA reported arrival from EGYPT. They are to go up to Corps as soon as possible.

Cholera cases – 80 with 25 deaths.

May 27th

A case of Cholera on the BI Steamer EKMA, and several cases in the ASAR Bazar. Am starting an inoculation Station for the Arab population. They are quite keen on inoculation.

Sanction received from DMS to continue inoculation with BONEY’S vaccine pending arrival of vaccine from INDIA.

May 28th

Borrowed a motor car from IGC & at last got out to see the Camps on SHAIBA BUND where the cases of Cholera have occurred. Found that they were entrenching night soil which stopped at once & ordered them to make incinerators. A large Arab coolly encampment was in a filthy condition. Sent special medical officer (L DENDON RAMC) out to live there & take the sanitation in hand.

Loaded the KARADINIZ with British & Indian sick for the Bar, to tranship to the MADRAS. The TAKADA also is not coming up this time, so I propose using the VARELA as a feeder. I have taken up the EKMA & ALNWICK CASTLE for 31st to take walking cases to KARACHI & BOMBAY.

May 29th

Borrowed a launch from Gen COWPER AQMG & so was able to visit the Infectious Hospital at Quarantine Island, where they have had 86 cases of Cholera to date, with 27 deaths. An Officer (Flight Lt HODGES) admitted yesterday with Cholera, is doing well. The Engineers have now got the new huts in hand and an improvement may shortly be looked for.

Cholera cases to date 96 with 28 deaths.

May 30th

Owing to illness of Capt. ELLIOTT RAMC ordered Capt. DUNBAR for duty with OC Infectious Hospital. Recommended that Infectious Hospital be reorganized for purposes of changing it as a General Hospital of 200 beds.

Owing to the gradual extension of MAKINA & MAGIL Camps & the increasing distance from the hospitals, made the following arrangements today –

  1. No 24 FA to move further out in the desert so as to divide between 41st Brigade & outlying Camps
  2. Increased hospital accommodation to be provided at MAGIL; patients (British) to be detained during the heat of the day, and sent in evening by 5:45pm ferry to Pontoon Pier; here they will be taken in by Red Cross launch to 32 BGH. This will save the long road journey across the desert.
  3. A Medical Officer RAMC to be attached for temporary duty to the Herts Yeomanry at MAKINA.

Owing pressure of accommodation for British sick, ordered 15 CC Stn. to prepare to receive 50 British at Jaffa Khan’s Bldg KHANDAK Creek.

Cholera – 102 with 29 deaths.

May 31st

Arranged to place two Medical Officers with special knowledge of Cholera Camps in charge of Cholera operations in BASRA & ASHAR. Saw DMG ASHAR about finishing inoculation & circulating in vernacular some simple anti-Cholera rules which I have drawn up.

Accompanied Army Commander & DMS around the hospital areas with a view to seeing what additional tinkering is necessary.

Cholera to date – 108 cases, 32 deaths.

Am still badly hung up for want of a launch and motor car.

June 1st

Ample supply of Cholera vaccine having been received from INDIA, the local manufacture has been discontinued.

Another Contact Camp for civilians of BASRA & ASHAR has been selected – in the desert, SW of ZOBEI GATE. This will be more convenient and popular than the camp down river at MUSHARI, which however will be continued.

With a view to relieving congestion at River Front in neighbourhood of Post Office, selected a camp at Indian Base Depot area, KORUN as “Gordons Camp”. The place will require some levelling, filling and treatment with heavy oil – reported to Base Commandant.

Accompanied Army Commander to Infectious Hospitals.

June 2nd

Ordered the drawing down of the British General Restaurant & Soda Factory much patronised by Troops, owing to general insanitary conditions. A YMCA restaurant opening close by in a few days will replace it.

Attended conference at DMS Office with reference replacement of certain Indian personnel in British Hospital by British (RAMC).

Cholera 116 cases, with 33 deaths.

June 3rd

AQMG lent me his launch so I was able to inspect at MAGIL, where I found several matters requiring attention, more specifically the lack of sufficient hospital accommodation, now that the camp has grown so large. 197 British ranks reported sick yesterday. I propose putting No 15 CCS at MAGIL, in replacement of one section of No 9 IGH – if DMS approves.

SICILIA arrived & reported one fatal case of Bubonic Plague – a ward servant re-enforcement buried at sea.  All necessary vaccinations taken.

Posted Capt. BISHOP IMS as Civil Surgeon BASRA, during the period he is employed in Cholera operations. Asked Civil Surgeon and Port Health Officer to furnish me with names of civil medical practitioners who might be used for Cholera inoculation, etc. if required.

Cholera Cases to Date 118, with 34 Deaths.

June 4

Inspected No 8 IGH at Custom House & also the Infectious Hospital. Put in several recommendations to AD Works in connection with each.

Accompanied DMS on his inspection of the present hospital at MAGIL, the new huts for the future hospital for 50 British & 150 Indian sick being visited.

June 5/6/7

On sick list with fever. Lt Col PERRY, IMS DADMS (San) being also ill, the whole of the office was carried in for three days by Capt. JS McCOMBE RAMC.

June 8th

HS VARSOVA arrived bringing DMS India and 14 RAMC officers for duty. One there one was detailed for duty with Hotchkiss Battery proceeding up river – one for NASIRIYEH tomorrow. One to 3 BGH & one to No 2 Sanitary Area. The others will be posted in due course.

Have established a Medical Reinforcement Camp at MAKINA, under command of a Medical Officer. As many as 400-500 have recently been in camp awaiting passage up river, & at one time last month, there were over 70 medical officers also waiting. Reinforcements will in future be distributed by the EMO who is to be kept posted as to transport requirements by the OC Medical Reinforcement Camp.

Instruction received that the personnel of 33 BGH is to arrive on the HS VITA on 11th; their equipment being ahead at the Bar.

Arranged for 40 EP Tents for personnel (33 Officers & 187 men) to be pitched at TANOUMA. The equipment to be landed at Dorset Camp.

Cholera to date: Military (incl. Followers) 150 cases with 40 deaths. Civilians 40 cases with 21 deaths.

Four cases of Plague in ASHAR.

June 9th

Inspected camps at MAKINA in the evening. My recommendation regarding a new Officers Hospital to relieve present congestion has gone in to GHQ.

One case Plague in ASHAR.

June 10th

Attended IGC’s conference at 11am where various medical matters were dealt with.

In the afternoon conference with DMS – reference dispatch of river boat convoys to FILAYIEH. There are now 21 RAMC & 3 IMS Officers available for this purpose but the supply of medical subordinates (ISMD) is nil.

As S&J have no mosquito nets and young British troops are arriving in large number, asked D.M.S. to cable INDIA with a view to providing troops with nets before they leave in INDIA.

Owing to Cholera at MOHAMERAH assuming epidemic form had to send a Sub-assistant Surgeon to British Consul MOHAMERAH for duty there. They asked for a compounder but none are available.

NASIRIYEH wired that a hospital river steamer was urgently required. Ordered the ARDLUI to proceed there as soon as her repairs are completed.

Cholera: Military 161 cases with 50 deaths. Civilians 40 cases with 22 deaths.

June 11

No 33 BGH arrived on VITA. It is to be located, half at Liquorice Factory (in place of 1/2 32 going to AMARA), and half at MOHAMERAH.

Arranged details of River Convoy Unit consisting of 6 sections, under command of Major BEANCHARD WILLIAMS IMS. They will probably proceed to Advanced Base on 14th

Cholera: Military (with Followers) cases 163, deaths 51. Civilian cases 41 with 26 deaths.

June 12

No 33 BGH disembarked from VITA & proceeded to Camp at TANOUMA. 105 F.A. embarked for Advanced Base to act as river convoy. Visited TANOUMA Camp with Sanitary Engineer (Col EWBANK RE) & A.D.M.S. Sany.

June 13

Borrowed a launch from Gen COWPER & visited Infectious Hospitals. Considerable progress has been made with new huts which are being built on piles.

At 11am had to go down river in a bellum, or native boat, to attend Committee at Base. This, in addition to being very wasteful of time, is a highly dangerous method of progression during the present heat stroke period. I must again place on record that it is impossible for one to perform the duties of A.D.M.S. Base efficiently without a launch & motor car.

Greatest difficulty experienced in the to visit of sick at the Base owing to shortage of motor launches. They are all being sent up river. They are still under the control Lt Col GOULD, IMS, Red Cross Commissioner, instead of being run by the D.M.S.

Committee had reference to accommodation & water supply at MAGIL – 12,000 MAKINA, 6,000 MAGIL.

Cholera: Military (with Followers) cases 174, deaths 43. Civilian cases 54 with 27 deaths.

June 14

Visited camps at SHAIBA BUND.

Later visited 15 CCS at KHANDUK CREEK.

Ordered 1 section 108 FA to open at MAKINA for treatment of local sick; & 2 sections of 24 CFA to proceed to SHAIBA; also 20 motor ambulances to be in readiness when required.

June 15

Inspected 2 sections of 24 CFA proceeding to SHAIBA today. Visited also Medical Reinforcement Camp & No 32 BGH. Arranged there the dentist of 33 BGH, installed in a hut at MAKINA.

June 16

Arranged details of transfer between Nos 32 & 33 BGH. The former is to go to AMARA; latter to open half at TANOUMA & half at LIQUORICE FACTORY, taking over from No 32. The equipment actually in use replacing it with their unopened equipment.

A considerable shortage of ice for hospitals is being experienced. Wrote BC recommending taking over a BASRA Factory & moving it under the Military Governor.

Over 5,000 in hospital at Base. Shortage of hospital ships, as long ago pointed out. Informed DMS several months back that we should need a hospital ship every other day during June & July. Have taken up three transports for class III cases – the CHILKA, CHAKDARA & EDARAMA? Great difficulty in getting IMS office & subordinate personnel to man these ships. Recommended that two IMS officers be taken off each hospital ship and replaced by RAMC officers. We must have IMS officers speaking Hindustani on transports taking Indians.

Also recommended to D.M.S. today shortage of hospital ships that the ERINPURA & ELLORA be expedited & that some of the Egyptian ships be directed here.

June 17

Attended IGC’s conference. The question of allocating a 1,000 bedded hospital to MAKINA (near railway) was considered, to deal with Indian sick of MAKINA & MAGIL.

Two more deep draught hospital ships have been cabled for to come to the Bar, as all hospitals are becoming clogged.

June 18

Heat very great. Only 5 degrees between wet and dry bulb. Five deaths occurred last night amongst men newly landed from ships & marching to MAKINA – 4 Wilts & 1 HLI. At each of the 3 landing places two motor ambulances with supplies of chlorinated drinking water and a medical officer are stationed. Both stations are already close to each place. These men fell, out on the way to camp. There now arranged for the ambulances to follow in rear of each party of young troops landing to pick up stragglers. Landing young troops in BASRA at this time of year is trying them rather high. They simply go in to hospital & return to INDIA in many cases.

June 19

Heat again very great. Numerous cases of heatstroke. Ice is short and water limited, especially at TANOUMA, where 33 BGH is encamped. Urgent representations regarding provision of more water were made to A.D. Works.

June 20

Owing to very great number of sick had to send a Medical Officer for duty to SHAIBA FORT and one to No 2 Base Depot. All hospitals at the Base are crowded & sick are coming down from AMARA in large numbers daily. Have taken up 4 hired transports for walking cases.

Cholera Report: Military (inc. Followers) cases 208, deaths 67. Civilian cases 48, deaths 37.

DAG & QMG informed that the 50 tents which I asked him last night at TANOUMA had not been pitched, as owing to the shortage of water, there he did not consider it advisable. Asked him to carry out my instructions at once, as great inconvenience was being caused by shortage of tents for sick. SMO TANOUMA now reports that he has enough water.

Orders received from DMS that all motor ambulances at the base were to stop working. Many of them have got bent axles; the cars sent out are much too heavy (2 tons 6 cwt) for the bad roads of this country. Light cars of the Ford type are what are required here.

June 21

Attended conference with IGC touching the arrival of a Cavalry Brigade next month – the trouble being to find a dry place for them to encamp in, & where they will be able to get drinking water in sufficient quantity.

June 22

Arranged that the river steamers with sick are not to arrive here before 6pm, so that the embarking can be done after dark. Numerous cases of heat exhaustion having occurred amongst the fatigue parties embarking – mostly mere boys just landed in the country.

Visited the Isolation Hospital in the evening. Much progress has been made and a considerable improvement is noticeable, although much still remains to be done. Cholera remains steady – 3 or 4 cases a day. The Arab doctors say that it will continue like this until September when it will fulminate.

No sign of the SHAMAL, or NW Wind, & it continues extremely hot and unhealthy.

Accompanied D.M.S. at his inspection of No 20 IGH. A general untidiness and dirtiness of the wards was noticed; accumulations of blankets, shirts, pajs, etc. in the wards; inaccuracy of diagnosis, no microscopic or bacteriological work being done, and such diseases as Malaria & dysentery being diagnosed by guesswork. Dozens of cases diagnosed in their admission as “PUD”, with no attempt to secure accuracy of diagnosis.

June 23

Asked DA & IMG to send permanent fatigue party to TANOUMA for the present until expansion of camp is complete. Ordered 15 CC Station to provide increased accommodation in tents or otherwise, as all the hospitals at the Base are full. There are 15,000 sick in the Force, of whom 6,000 are at the Base. Evacuation is proceeding apace, but the steady flow of sick from up river, and from the Base continues. This evening 30 Officers and 475 men were loaded on to the KARADINIZ for transit to HS DEVANHA at the Bar. The HS SICILIA also left here with a full load, and HT ARONDA with walking cases. The CHILKA and CHAKDARA are to be loaded tomorrow with Class II cases.

Cholera: Military cases 211, with 71 deaths. Civilian cases 54, with 39 deaths.

June 24

Attended IGC’s conference at 11am. The shortage of mosquito nets was again drawn attention to. Also the question of medical attendance for dredges in the HAMAR Lake, this I shall arrange from KURNA.

June 25

Accompanied Army Commander at his visit to 3 BGH & 32 BGH. The extreme slowness with which the engineers are building the huts for sick was commented on.

Numbers transferred from up river to Base since 1st June: 5,600. Numbers transferred to INDIA since 1st June: 7,700.

June 26

Visited the British Base Depot MAKINA where there were about 4,000 men awaiting passage up river. There was a great deal of sickness amongst them, chiefly “effects of heat”. Men are actually being sent out to this country without helmets. No mosquito nets, spine pads or goggles are yet attainable. Is it to be wondered that the sickness and invalidity are so great?

Put in application for 3, 40ft huts for sick, dispensary, etc. at No 2 British Base Depot, MAKINA. These are urgently needed owing to high sick rate amongst young recruits.

Visited MAGIL with DMS – a noticeable improvement in hospital conditions since last visit. Visited also Prisoners of War Camp, which is extremely hot and steamy.

June 27

As a result of his recent inspection of No 2 IGH and also of various letters and correspondence which I had forwarded to him, the DMS has decided that Lt Col JW GRANT, IMS is unfitted for his command & his return to INDIA has been applied for.

Cholera to date: Military cases 228, with 62 deaths. Civilian cases 79, with 43 deaths.

June 28

Inspected No 33 BGH and P of War Hospital at TANOUMA. Former is now capable of taking in 500 light cases and convalescents in tents. Indian Contact Camp has been closed, and the tents, etc. taken over by 33 BGH.

Major MUNRO, IMS appointed in charge of new Officer’s Hospital (100 beds) at BEIT NAMA, which will be taken over in part on 1st July.

Lt Col MADDEN, IMS appointed to take over equipment, etc. of No 22 IGH & to establish at KHANDUK CREEK in lace of 15 CC Station.

June 29

Accompanied DMS India to 32 BGH, 20 IGH, 9 IGH (MAGIL Section) & 3 BGH.

Evening visited P of War Hospital, & 33 BGH.

June 30

DMS India inspected Convalescent Depot & British Base Depot in the morning & in evening, the Isolation Hospital at Quarantine Island.

July 1

Attended IGC’s conference – the main points were the shortage of ice & incineration of litter at MAKINA; the removal of the Veterinary Hospital from its present site in the heart of the town. D.D. Works was told that all open incinerators were to be covered in before the onset of the rains.

July 2

6,300 patients in the base hospitals today & great difficulty in getting transports.  No hospital ship until SYRIA on 4th, mainly for Indians & no likelihood of getting a transport for a week. The river is full of transports but owing to shortage of labour they cannot be unloaded.

Issued orders for 15 Casualty Clearing Station to proceed to SHAIBA SAAD on 6th inst.

July 3/4

On sick list.

July 5

Ordered Lt Col JHR BOND, RAMC to take over half No 33 BGH TANOUMA from Lt Col DELAP; the other half will open (500 beds) at LIQUORICE Factory, MAKINA, on 9th inst. on departure of 32 BH to AMARA.

July 6

Visited British and Indian Base Depot. At both places complaints of shortage of ice, and many men suffering from effects of heat. Wrote DMS asking that the whole of the YMCA hut at Custom House should be handed over to No 8 IGH, by whom it is urgently needed, whereas there’s no raison d’etre for YMCA in this situation.

Visited 32 BGH MAKINA, whither transfer to No 33 is taking place.

July 7

Visited the new Officer’s Hospital at BEIT NAMA – equipment is being landed and the place is being cleaned by the Sanitary Section.

Evening selected site for an infectious hospital and Cholera Contact Camp for BASRA city, in the desert West of the ZOBEIR Gate of BASRA.

No 16 Sanitary Section and the Benares Ambulance Corp arrived from INDIA.

No 15 CCS left for SHAIKH SAAD.

July 8

Visited site for a new British General Hospital which is arriving shortly from England. The site is at the Northern extremity of the MAKINA Camps in the desert; a fairly good site close to road & railway, but a long way from the river.

July 9

Visited DMS with reference to the appointment of an OC for No 16 Sanitary Section & for the new BGH, TANOUMA, in the event of Lt Col BOND going to AMARA. It was decided to appoint Major FOSTER, RAMC to command this hospital. Evening inspected British & Indian Base Depots at MAKINA.

July 10

Attended Committee at ASHAR Barracks to enquire into the ages & physique of the recruits now being sent from England to this country.

No 32 BGH, No 18 Sanitary Section, & 1 Section of No 13 IFA left for AMARA on MALAMIR.

Accompanied DMS at his inspection of No 33 BGH MAKINA. Some structural alterations to Sisters Quarters are required.

July 11

Again attended Committee on recruit question, where several medical witnesses were examined.

Accompanied D.M.S. to HT EGRA to inspect the Bengal Ambulance Corp prior to return to duty.

July 12

There is now talk of abandoning the excellent site for a hospital at TANOUMA, & the IGC has offered the DMS, as an alternative, DORSET Camp, which as I informed DMS today, is easily the worst camp in BASRA being at the present moment nothing but a stinking swamp. It would take a year’s filling to make it fit to build on & then it would be a very hot and dirty place.

July 13

The Committee on drafts from home concluded its investigation this evening; the main findings were – that it is inadvisable to send men under 20 to this country, & equally unwise to send old men, and that all drafts from home should be acclimated to Eastern methods in INDIA before sending them to the Persian Gulf.

Visited (with DMS) site of new BGH which is to be opened in SALONIKA huts at MAKINA, Northern end.

Cholera Report: Military cases 272, with 66 deaths. Civilian cases 104, with 47 deaths.

July 14

Two Hospital Ships arrived today – the SYRIA and VARSOVA – being the result of my demand for a Hospital Ship daily. From this onwards, whilst the heavy invaliding continues, there will be a daily service of Hospital Ships – this ought to help get rid of the enormous number of sick at present in the force.

Selected, with Base Commandant, a new site for No 8 IGH which is to be moved out of the Custom House as soon as a water supply is available at the new site.

July 15

Visited BGH TANOUMA & the Isolation Hospital. On today, the hottest day so far, with room temperature 105 degrees, & wet bulb 85 degrees, the supply of ice failed, and numerous cases of heatstroke resulted. As far back as December last, the question of provision of ice was raised, and I now understand that several machines are on ship in the river, but cannot be unloaded. Even if they were now unloaded, it is doubtful whether ice would be available before the cold weather.

July 16

Another hot day – wet bulb up to 89 degrees, which is a record for BASRA.

Cholera Report to date: Military cases 282, with 66 deaths. Civilian cases 107, with 47 deaths.

D Section of 122 Indian Feld Ambulance arrived from BOMABY ex CHAKDARA without equipment, which is to follow them.

July 17

Col COLLINS visited the new Officer’s Hospital at BEIT NAMA this morning & returned ill. This Diary is carried on now by Lt Col T. L. PERRY, IMS DADMS (San) Base.

The new Officer’s Hospital is progressing and as soon as a supply of soda water can be secured a few Officers can be taken in.

July 18

In evening visited 33 BGH at LIQUORICE Factory. Saw many cases of heatstroke. It is excessively dusty, sultry and depressing at the LIQUORICE Factory. The sun in evening beats on the corrugated iron side of the large shed and the North side of this requires matting over it as several cases of heatstroke have occurred along this side of the shed. Other cases of heatstroke may have occurred in wards where men lie on the floor.

July 19

Col COLLINS transferred sick to INDIA left this morning on HS SICILIA.

For last 3 days strong South winds have prevailed with high wet bulb temperatures and excessive sultriness. Today a strong hot North wind as begun to blow giving great relief.

The BLOSSE LYNCH went up stream with following medical details:

Lt Col BOND, RAMC to command 32 BGH at AMARA.
Lt Col GRAVES, IMS to be SMO at KURNA.
15 Nursing Sisters to AMARA
100 personnel of 16 San Sec for NASIRIYEH
160 personnel medical reinforcements for DDMS 3 each 3 Army Corps
136 personnel medical reinforcements for AMARA
40 personnel reinforcements for River Steamer Convoy Units

As only as 50% of drafts sent up stream during present hot weather reach their units, IGC has stopped all British drafts except medical personnel going up stream.

There is a grave shortage of fluid milk at the local supply depots. I have telegraphed for DD S&T to take action.  He has purchased supplies from local firms to meet present emergency & is expediting unloading of stocks in the stream. Recently the supply of gur failed at some depots for a fortnight. Many troops, both the British and Indian, are without mosquito nets still.

July 20

The Shamal continues to blow with great force.

2 cases of Plague (bubonic) occurred yesterday in shed used as ward by 9 & 10 IGH. One case occurred behind here one week ago. Another case has occurred this morning at the far end from where yesterday’s case occurred. The whole Shed, a large L shaped building, is being evacuated reducing accommodation by 300. Listerine is freely used, floors are being opened up and all huts are freely exposed to sun daily.

July 21

Cholera cases continue to occur in No 3 BGH. One case of cerebral-spinal meningitis also occurred in 3 BGH. A plan for a temporary pipe water supply for 3 BGH was submitted by Works Dept. today and approved for installation pending carrying out of more comprehensive scheme for both Indian & British General Hospitals. Great relief continues to be felt here from continuance of Shamal.

July 22

Conference with IGC where it was decided to establish a combined British & Indian Medical Base Depot at MAKINA to be located in camp at present occupied by the Medical Reinforcements.

Reports have been received of deaths amongst patients of heatstroke during transhipment at the Bar. Orders have today been issued that cases with history of hyper-pyrexia or in which there is reason to anticipate occurrence of hyper-pyrexia should only be sent on ships going direct to INDIA from BASRA.

A rather sultry day the Shamal having died down.

July 23

The increased service of hospital ships for evacuation to INDIA is beginning to make itself felt and congestion at the base is becoming reduced though the reduction of congestions not keeping pace with the depletion of medical personnel by sickness. There is a most serious dearth of regular RAMC Officers with a knowledge of service routine and eastern conditions. The only regular officers in the British Base Hospitals at present are the respective OCs.

July 24

Nothing to report.

July 25

Ill and went on sick list.

Aug 8

Arrived & announced appointment as ADMS Base W MENLIL, Colonel

Aug 9

Daily State shows 4,248 cases in hospital of which 62 were Officers, 962 other ranks British. For evacuation 60 British & 890 Indian, with the hospital ships now running, unless a large influx from above, base will soon clear.

Aug 10

With DMS visited No 20 IGH

Aug 11

Visited No 3 BGH this morning. Owing to the steady evacuation by hospital ships to INDIA there are plenty of vacant beds here now & the staff are having a welcome relaxation.

Visited GURMAT ALI this afternoon. Camp & all arrangements of Norfolk Regt. very satisfactory. Camp of Tehri Garwhal Sappers Labour Corps not so good. Defects were pointed out & M O/C Norfolks instructed to supervise the Sanitation. Went on to Medical Services Base Depot & found all the arrangements there quite satisfactory except as regards incineration, as the Beehive Pattern entered has not yet been built.

Aug 12

Attended conference at IGC Hd Qtrs this morning – it was arranged that alternate rows of huts in No 3 BGH should be pulled down as soon as possible, there being plenty of accommodation. The same is to be done in No 9/10 IGA as soon as the Serai is available – this is to lessen the danger of fire. Some closed rooms in Store at No 3 BGH & Officers Hospital are to be given us if the Base Commandant can arrange it with the owners.

Weather conditions are pleasant as the steady Shamal Wind is keeping the temperature down.

In hospital 60 Officers 930 OR British. 25 Officers 1,758 fighting men & 1,163 followers – Indian troops. The Cholera patients are 103. No case of Plague since 8th inst.

In the evening visited Indian Base Depot BASRA & find its sanitary state unsatisfactory & have written to the Base Commandant making suggestions.

I also went to British Base Depot in ASHAR Barracks & found all very satisfactory except that the convalescents were getting supper too early & directed that it should be provided not before 7pm.

Aug 13

Visited Nos 9 & 10 Combined IGH his morning. All in good order but made some suggestions on minor points.

No 2 Combined Casualty Clearing Hospital arrived today in Base Depot.

Interviewed Mr. GRIVE, Enterologst of the Base Verbally explained the position & duties to him. Introduced him to OC Sanitary Section. I am issuing him a memo defining his position, work, etc.

Went to SHAIBA in afternoon with DDMS L/C. Saw general situation Lines of 1/4 Somerset L.I., 6th Jats & No 22 Combined F Ambulance. Everything very satisfactory from a sanitary point of view except some minor matters. Somerset LI have an undue proportion of youths, & 6th Jats of recruits & OC. Fld Ambulance is of the opinion that at present only half of each battalion is fit for active duty.

Sister BLACKLOCK QAIMNS/R, died of acute dysentery this evening.

Visited MAKINA Area in the evening. General state very good, in parts excellent & it reflects great credit on Capt. ADAMS RAMC, the Sanitary Officer of the area. Lines of 56 Bgd RFA below required standard, wrote about it to Base Commandant.

Aug 15

Met ADW on site at Hyde Park Corner this morning to discuss matters regarding Nos 24 & 25 IGH.

Over 80 Officers & 750 other ranks RAMC are arriving on 19, 20 & 21st without equipment. The difficulties as regards their accommodation are naturally great. They are 2 Forward Units in advance of their equipment & the next re-inforcements.

Aug 16

Visited No 22 IGH this morning. Hospital in good order considering its situation & many improvements in progress & contemplation.

Went to MAGIL this afternoon with DDMS L/C & saw part of area & No 9 IGH (? Section).

Aug 17

Visited No 33 BGH MAKINA this morning.  Saw layout, etc. & reviewed matters with OC. In the evening visited No 33 TANOUMA, P of W Hospital & generally went over all occupied area there & found most in excellent order & nothing at all seriously wrong.

Aug 18

Selected site for a new Slaughter House for area S of ARHUR Creek & made recommendations. Also visited I.B.D. & surroundings with a view to getting a move on regarding removal of the defects I found at my last visit, & spent 3 hours there seeing CO representative, ADW, etc.

Visited Isolation Hospital. Found much work in progress to render this a satisfactory unit. The cases in hospital are well cared for & were quite satisfied, the care being excellent.

Aug 19

Attended IGC Conference today. Nothing particular to report.

Sick in Hospital today: British Officers 102 Other Ranks 873. Indian Officers 16 Fighting men 2,021 Followers 1,380.

No 8 IGH has practically evacuated Custom Sheds, will complete on 21st. All Stores, etc. have been transported to T. P. of W ? C at TANOUMA.

Aug 20

Visited Prisoner of War Camp at MAGIL today, & also went round much of the area. Present water supply is defective but matters are in hand to improve it.

1,700 Indian sick have come down the river during past 48 hours. This on account of difficulties of evacuation by Hospital Ship, has thrown a great strain on the IGH has caused sick to be returned for night on river boats owing to their late arrival, & No 8 IGH will have to reopen at TANOUMA in an imperfect state.

Issued circular forbidding dysentery recovered men, etc. being employed in any way in the handling of food – believe it has happened at No 1 Camp.

Wrote A.D.W. Base approving pattern of hut built at AMARA to be put up here. Suggested some minor improvements recommended by ADMS AMARA.

Aug 21

Visited 22 IGH this morning to arrange expansion as required, also went into Nos 9 & 10 IGH & 3BGH Officers Hospital.

RAMC Details arrived yesterday as follows:

40 BGH (Lt Col PRICE PORTER) O37 WO 2 OR 193 at Med Base Depot
31 B St TP (Lt Col STONE) 14 WO 1 OR 112 at TANOUMA
Reinforcements O4 OR 399 in No 1 BBD
Dispensers OR 49 at 3 BGH

Major STJOHN MOSES, IMS assumed appointment of DADMS (San) vice Lt Col PERRY, IMS who went on sick list the day I joined & has been invalided to INDIA.

The Army Commander visited Nos 9/10 IGH & No 3 BGH this afternoon.

Sent in a proposed establishment for Officers Hospital, BEIT NAMA.

Aug 23

Visited No 2 Area, this morning with OC 10 San Section. Position is very bad, many men of small units living in different sorts of accommodation all insanitary. Directed him to clean up whole occupied area with 60 new sweepers ported to him & to see OC with a view to their arranging for their own Sanitation which they apparently have not done at all or very badly supervised.

Have prepared Establishment Seale for Isolation Hospital.

Verbally authorized, as an urgent case, a large amount of rotten onions to be thrown into river 5 miles below towns, pending provision of destructors.

Met Army Commander who visited No 33 BGH TANOUMA & No 8 IGH.

Aug 24

Visited M.S.B.D. this morning, rode around various camps & noted no particular defects. In afternoon visited SERAI [Creek] BASRA & found it in very good order. Also proposed Camp for Camel Corps near ZOBAIR GATED Railway line & SALONIKA Hut Hospital.

Aug 25

1,100 Indian cases evacuated to MADRAS & TAKADA, in port 2 days, which has relieved congestion. Went to 22 IGH & BBD this morning.

Sep 1

Visited site & arranged for a Cholera Clearing Station near DORSET BRIDGE on the ROBUT CREEK.

Verbally informed D.D.M.S. L/C that I did not consider that the present service of Hospital Ships is sufficient to evacuate the sick without the occasional use of transports for walking cases.

Accompanied Army Commander to 8 IGH & 33 BGH TANOUMA in the afternoon.

Sep 2

IGC Conference this morning. Chief question is for medical matters were (1) site for a disinfecting station, (2) demolition of huts 3 BGH, (3) emergency rations on P boats.

Went to GURMAT ALI in evening to investigate an outbreak of Diphtheria on 2 Norfolk Regt. Arranged to exchange MO who is in bad health.

The Sanitary Commission, Lt Col LEGG Consulting Surgeon, 50 Officers & 750 OR RAMC arrived today.

Owing to non-arrival of hospital ships daily a great congestion of Indian sick at the base, which with the deficient personnel, is rendering their proper care a very difficult matter, particularly as with the increasing population (fighting men & followers) the local admissions to hospital is exceeding our expectations. Sandfly Fever is giving a great many admissions amongst British Troops.

Sep 3

Visited No 9/10 & No 22 IGH this morning. Sick are being well cared for as fortunately although the overcrowding is great there are but few serious cases. Interviewed A.D.W. (M&E) as regards the provision of adequate hot water supplies at Indian Hospitals in the winter.

Sect. A, No 137 Combined Field Ambulance left for KURNA yesterday.

Sep 4

Met the Sanitary Commission & went round No 33 B.G.H. with them.

In afternoon went to GURMAT ALI & inspected No 117 C.F.A. & lines 13th & 14th Lancers. Made a good many suggestions.

Sep 5

Visited ASHAR River Front Area in the morning & found an improvement since my last visit.

The direct admissions to British Hospitals at BASRA for the week ending 3rd were 794 including 14 cases Cholera with 3 deaths & 6 cases Enteric. To Indian Hospitals 1,288 of them 19 were Cholera with 6 deaths. 466 British ranks & 2,666 Indians were invalided to INDAI during the week. The deaths were 17 British & 21 Indians, a low rate of mortality.

I met the Army Commander at No 33 B.G.H. MAKINA this afternoon.

Sep 6

Inspected Supply Depot near Customs House. State on the whole satisfactory. Also RGM Dockyard the conditions there are very bad & but little done since. A report was made to SO a week ago by DADMS (Sanitary). I wrote again myself this morning. RGM authorities have used P.51 as a hulk for some 400 men, Cholera has broken out so I now had her sent to Isolation Hospital for “treatment” & as many contacts as possible to be landed.

I visited 6th Jats at SERAI & in BASRA Port this evening found the men very debilitated & many with a scorbutic taint, so have recommended an extra vegetable ration, total 1lb mixed vegetables only. Capt. McCOMBE, RAMC, my staff officer, on sicklist.

Sep 7

Cholera reported on RGM vessel KARLIN this morning so sent her to Isolation Hospital for disinfection & such contacts as possible to be burned.

Met Sanitary Committee at Isolation Hospital in the afternoon. Also discussed possibility of entering the Segregation Camp for contacts with OC.

Sep 8

Visited 22 IGH, 33 BGH & Med Reinforcement Camp

Sep 9

IGC Conference in the morning. No special medical points but I noted that more labour corps were coming.

The SIKKIM arrived with 11 sick Officers 131 sick other ranks 11 Medical Officers, 16 followers from BAGDAD, they were all placed on VARSOVA for passage to BOMBAY.

Sep 10

Transport BANKURA left for KARACHI & BOMBAY with 380 “fit” convalescents, special care to send no case requiring much attention was taken. Visited hospital sites at Hyde Park Corner to discuss matters.

In afternoon accompanied Army Commander to No 9/10 IGH.

Sep 11

Inspected portions 3 BGH. Went to see Norfolk Regt & gave special instructions as regard Diphtheria Contacts in view of their move up river.

Sep 12

Inspected remainder 3 BGH & noted & have forwarded various points to administrative departments concerned.

Visited BEIT NAMA to arrange improvements as regards water & dairy.

Lt Col LEGG Consulting Surgeon inspected the surgical arrangements at the same time.

Sep 13

Direct admissions at Base for week ending 10th:

British 926 including 4 Cholera, there were 5 deaths.

Indian 1,663 including 11 Cholera, there were 29 deaths.

Sandfly Fever is still giving many admissions amongst British Troops which accounts for the increase over last week.

Inspected 3 BGH in the morning. Camp of 10 GR & 4 Somerset LI at SHAIBA in the afternoon. Great improvement since my last visit at the latter camp. Most if not all my suggestions have been carried out, particularly as regards the feeding of the men. Visited Hyde Park Corner Camps later.

Sep 14

Visited Isolation Hospital, & discussed question of extending the Segregation Camp if required.

Sep 15

Visited MAKINA Area & agreed to sites for Hospital Destructors in the area. There is trouble over rotting onions at MAGIL & urgent action is being taken.

Sep 16

I.G.C. Conference in the morning, no special medical matters to be noted but minor matters brought up and agreed to be done as possible with labour.

Sep 17

Having been informed that I.W.T. details were going to be housed between GURMAT ALI & MAGIL, went there in evening and found 3 separate works in progress, with 200 residents OC had made good temporary arrangements. Wrote to D.D.I.W.T. asking for proposed strength & location of his present proposed personnel so that I can make proper medical arrangements.

Sep 18

Visited 33 B.G.H. in morning & called on D.M.S. In evening went to I.W.T. details TANOUMA & found a lamentable state of affairs, so wrote to Director.

Sep 19

Visited 24 IGH in progress at Hyde Park Corner. There are now hopes that it may be able to open early next month. Also with D.M.S. went to 40 BGH (SALONIKA Hospital Huts). Visited 22 IGH to oversee improvements with O.C.

Sep 20

Visited MAKINA area, Specialty Camps of 157 Bgd. RGA, 23 M.A.C. & 20 IGH. Interviews with Base Commandant & Embarkation Commandant on pending matter.

Direct Admissions at Base last week: 2,510 of which 691 B & 1,829 Indian. Deaths: British 12 Indians 28, of which 2 & 10 were Cholera. Enteric Fever 70 cases amongst British troops, with P.U.O. as chief causes. Scurvy 356 & Malaria 324 were chief causes amongst Indian troops.  694 British & 1865 Indians (all) Ranks sent to INDIA.

Visited 8 IGH in afternoon.

Sep 21

Owing to a series of 6 Deep Water Hospital Ships being sent to the Bar with only two “Ferry Boats” available, the HT ARONDA was sent to the Bar with invalids to tranship to the TAKADA. Ships at Bar have not been loaded in order of arrival as INDIA sent up contradictory telegrams & we had to act in order of embarkation.

Sep 22

Major MOSES, IMS DAMS Sanitary has been invalided to INDIA (20th Inst.). Capt. POWELL, IMS the E.M.O. has been on the sicklist from 17th inst.

Sep 23

IGC Conference this morning. No special medical or sanitary matters. Reports received that HS SICILIA is aground on the Bar which will delay evacuation of sick to ships at the Bar.

Sep 24

Met A.D.W. (M&E) & settled site of water intake for River Front Works Scheme, concerning previous site in the KHERA Creek, the intake will be above creek.

Visited B? Port & reported on it as HQ & Port for 41 Bde – it is overcrowded, accommodation for British NCOs & men bad & latrines too far off.

Sep 25

Visited most of RA Camps in MAKINA this morning. Sanitation on the whole satisfactory. Also Medical Reinforcement Camp.

In afternoon accompanied DMS & DAG at an inspection of No 33 BGH & Nos 9/10 IGH.

Sep 26

Visited 24 IGH this morning. Visited new hospital & arranged to begin to open on 1st October.

In evening went to GURMAT ALI & discussed matters with G.O.C. 7th Cav Bde, he agreed to take the necessary steps to remedy various insanitary matters I pointed out.

Sep 27

Visited 22 IGH & new area, arranged plans with OC.

Evening met Army Commander at Isolation Hospital. A case of Plague has been reported from TANOUMA, probably brought infection from INDIA with him as he only arrived in I.W.T. Camp from there on 11th inst. & was ill from 22nd. Two cases today are reported from ASHAR in home of A.A.G. 3rd Echelon Staff, no time for enquiry yet.

Direct Admissions to Hospital last week showed a marked diminution.  There were 480 British against 691 & 1,078 Indian against 1,829 (this figure last week was not absolutely accurate), of which each had 5 Cholera. Evacuations were 490 British & 1,236 Indians.

Sep 28

We were told VITA from BOMBAY was bringing repatriated Prisoners of War, no indication was given that they were sick men until S.M.O. reported to me. We then found 34 required hospital treatment so I sent them to 8 IGH. The remainder were convalescent & S.M.O. considered them fit to go Prisoners of War Camp.

More Hospital Ships are coming up than required so I am detaining them in stream.

Plague has been discovered in the River Front Area. 6 cases found in huts belonging to the Works Company, & dead rats also reported. Cases sent to Isolation Hospital. All people living in the area are to be inoculated. Contacts & good many others are being removed into camp. Trapping for rats will be energetically carried out & poisoned fruits laid in the area. Case at TANOUMA has no apparent connection with this.

The cases from ASHAR, Accounts Office are also associated with dead rats & the same steps of disinfection of rooms, evacuation of contacts, free inoculation are being carried out. Major KUNHARDT, a Plague specialist from INDIA attached for duty at the Base, has the whole matter in hand.

Sep 29

Accompanied D.M.S. in a visit to No 3 BGH & Nos 9/10 IGH to enquire into dietary arrangements.

Visited MAGIL re rotting vegetables, GURMAT ALI B?ppelds & camping area across EUPHRATES & made recommendations to BC.

Sep 30

Capt. MITCHELL, RAMC (SR) has joined my staff as an Assistant E.M.O. for river duties.

Visited 33 BGH re dieting? & Medical Reinforcement Camp about report of Medical & Sanitary Advisory Committee Report on it. Saw Base Commandant this morning & informed him that I did not consider that a case of Plague reported in a Sepoy of 44 Merwara Infantry in JEYPUR Lines need stop the regiment from leaving for the front on 22nd October. Plague Specialist would advise on necessary measures.

Oct 1

Went to MOHAMMERAH in connection with the formation of a Convalescent Camp for British Sick.

Lt Col PERRY, IMS having completed his duty with the Medical Advisory Committee has joined as D.A.D.M.S. Sanitary. Office 23 Church Street.

Oct 6

Have been absent from duty ill since last note.

Direct admissions to hospital showed a slight increase of 21 British, total 501 with 13 deaths, of which 7 admissions & 4 deaths were Cholera.

Indian ranks showed a decrease of 41, total 1,037 with 27 deaths, 4 cases with 2 deaths being Cholera.

Evacuated to INDIA 690 British Ranks & 1,685 Indian Ranks.

Oct 8

Visited 33 BGH & met the Army Commander there.

Oct 9

Went to 24 IGH which began to open on 1st. No water is yet laid on although promised for 27th. The pump at MAGIL does not seem to have sufficient power to deliver the water. 112 patients & can take but few more as long as dependent on carted water from MAKINA.

Also went to 33 BGH & have drawn attention of A.D.W. to defects.

Oct 10

Visited 22 BGH. The hospital is rapidly becoming a credit to all ranks as a remit of unremitting hard work of the Staff.

Selected a site in No 9/10 IGH for Sisters Quarters on river front to accommodate 10 ladies, 8 there & 2 for No 22 IGH, & wrote to Base Headquarters about them.

Oct 11

After a lull, four more cases of Plague reported amongst telegraphic employees living in River Front Area.

Oct 12

Direct admissions at the Base last week British 449, a decrease of 50, with 8 deaths, Cholera admissions 7 with 3 deaths.

Indian admissions 1,017 with 21 deaths. Cholera 22 admissions with 7 deaths.

Evacuated to INDIA 497 British 892 Indian Ranks.

Oct 13

Visited No 9/10 IGH in connection with an outbreak of Cholera in the ward. 5 scattered cases. Visited 8 IGH & also selected site for Sister’s Quarters there & wrote to Base Headquarters about building.

Oct 14

Visited SALONIKA Huts, very slow progress is being made. Have handed to No 10 medical Store Depot from England, two completed huts for now as a Store.

Visited BEIT NAMA in afternoon to enquire into cases there.

Oct 15

Visited 20 I.G.H. Hospital much improved real but not showy work being done there. Major WILLIAMS IMS has reported his arrival for duty. He will be D.A.D.M.S. Embarkation.

Oct 16

Visited No 9/10 I.G.H. in connection with Cholera outbreak.

Oct 17

Visited Isolation Hospital & found an unauthorized type of hut being erected & have written to AD Works.

Saw base Commandant & arranged extensions of dispensaries in No 2 Area & am detailing a third Officer for duty in it.

Oct 18

Visited SALONIKA Huts & found very slow progress & have written to A.D. Works, M&E re Water & Works MAGIL as to how I would like work carried on. Have handed over two complete huts to British Medical Store Depot & am arranging for a third.

Four Sanitary Sections (British) have arrived from England completely without any notification being given us.

Evacuation of cases to INDIA has been easy notwithstanding a temporary reduction in Ships.

Oct 19

Direct admissions at the base Hospitals shows a very small increase over last week. British 453 cases with 11 deaths. Indian 1,151 with 35 deaths. British Cholera less. Indian a few more but type has been severe. No prevailing disease but an increase of Malaria probably relapses one to chills as nights are colder.

45 BO sent to INDIA no men, Indian all ranks 1,754.

Oct 20

Visited 9/10 IGH. Cholera outbreak has ended. The probable cases have been put to rights, viz (1) patients surreptitiously using creek water contrary to orders, (2) a possible breakdown of milk sterilization owing to illness of the supervisor & his substitute not carrying out orders.

Capt. McCOMBE D.A.D.M.S. placed on the sicklist.

Oct 21

Attended IGC Conference. News received that Hospital Ships SICILIA & ERINPURA both aground at Shatt al-Arab Bar, which will stop evacuation of sick to several days.

Oct 23

Have arranged transfer of all Venereal patients in 20 & 22 IGH to 24 IGH for further treatment, all Indian Venereal patients on this side of the river will be treated there, those in TUNOOMA side will be treated at 8 IGH.

Oct 24

Visited 20 IGH & to relieve pressure arranged that 3 days General duty should be given to Convalescent Sepoys on discharge so as to accelerate discharges & to relieve pressure.

The British Convalescent Camp at MOHAMMERAH which has been formed there by a detachment of 40 BGH was opened yesterday. 100 cases being transferred. It will soon get 500 & ultimately will accommodate 1,000.

Oct 25

No 46 & 99 British Sanitary Sections having arrived from England are detailed for duty on the MAKINA-MAGIL & ASHAR Areas respectively.

The Sanitary Officers with their temporary personnel working in their areas, are (under instruction from G.H.Q.) being organized as No 27 & No 29 Sanitary Sections for duty in those areas.

The Cholera outburst has ceased & no new fresh cases of Plague have been reported.

The direct admissions to Hospitals at the Base show a small increase in British Ranks. Total 490 including 41 Officers with 3 deaths. Cholera 2 admissions no deaths. Malaria shows an increase, no other prevailing disease.

Indian admissions show a decrease 972 with 30 deaths, including 26 Cholera with 8 deaths, the type being very mild. No special prevailing disease but 17 admissions for Scurvy. This is good as a large influx of troops & followers has been reported.

Oct 27

Visited 3 B.G.H. & rearranged some accommodation, the new block up river is to be reserved for cases of the Enteric Group.

Oct 28

I.G.C. Conference. No special medical matters.

Oct 29

31 British Stationary Hospital left for SHEIKH SAAD today. Personnel of Nos 100 & 107 Sanitary Sections have also gone up river.

Oct 30

Visited 20 IGH & MR Camp today.

Oct 31

Visited MAGIL Area, specialty Sect No 9 I.G.H. & No 1 Camp & cursorily several other places.

Evacuation of cases to INDIA shows a marked decrease. British Ranks 1,730 instead of 2,949 a gain of 1,219. Indian Ranks 5,317 instead of 7,583 a gain of 2,266.

Direct admissions to the Base for week ending 28th show a decrease of 90 British ranks, being 399 with 7 deaths, 4 cases of Cholera, 1 death. The most serious cause of admission is Malaria but is lower than week before, 80 against 90 cases.

Indian admissions increased largely chiefly due to a large influx of labour & a heavy admission rate amongst them.  Total cases 1,342 with 29 deaths, 15 Cholera cases 7 deaths. “Dysentery” (sic?) gave most admissions but proportion was not serious.

 

Notes:
EP Tents              European Pattern Tents
P.4                           Paddle Steamer No 4.
KARADENIZ      A captured enemy ship converted to a Hospital ship
Mahelas               A high-sterned yawl
Ballams                Small river craft
Serais                    Local administrative buildings
Pratique               Permission granted to a ship to have dealings with a port, on showing a clean bill of health

Abbreviations:
AAG                       – Assistant Adjutant-General
ADMS                   – Assistant Director Medical Services
ADS&T                 – Assistant Director Supply & Transport
ADW                      – Assistant Director Works
AQMG                   – Assistant Quarter Master General
BGH                       – British General Hospital
CFA                        – Combined Field Ambulance
DAG                       – Deputy Adjutant-General
DD                          – Deputy Director
DDIWT                 – Deputy Director Inland Water transport
DMS                      – Director Medical Services
EMO                      – Embarkation Medical Officer
GHQ                      – General Headquarters
IFA                         – Indian Field Ambulance
IGC                        – Inspector General Communications
IGH                        – Indian General Hospital
IMS                        – Indian Medical Service
ISMD                    – Indian Subordinate Medical Department
IWT                       – Inland Water Transport
LofC                      – Lines of Communication
OC                         – Officer Commanding
OR                         – Other Ranks
PUO                      – Pyrexia of Unknown Origin
PHO                      – Port Health Officer
QMG                     – Quarter Master General
QAIMNS/R         – Queen Alexandra’s Imperial Military Nursing Service Reserve
RGA                      – Royal Garrison Artillery
SMO                     – Senior Medical Officer
S&T                       – Supply & Transport

Vincent-Bingley Commission:

In March 1916, a new commission was formed and Sir William Vincent, a senior Indian civil official, and Major General A. H. Bingley, two of the members of this commission, began their duties. They were subsequently joined at Basra bythe third member, Mr. E. A. Ridsdale, a Red Cross Commissioner. This group became known as thhe “Vincent-Bingley Commission”.  The report of this commission was damming, swiftly compiled and was signed on June 29, 1916 but not published.