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.


[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 across 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 at4 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.



[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.

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

March 1917

Battalion entrains 22:00 departing for ALEXANDRIA 22:50. Capt. D. HOW leaves to rejoin his unit in EGYPT.

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.

Remain alongside Quay at ALEXANDRIA.

Sail from ALEXANDRIA with escort.

Inspection by commander and O.C. Troops, and Boat Deck parade.

Customary inspection by Commander and O.C. Troops. Test alarms 09:30. Medical Inspection.

Arrive MALTA and anchor in ST PAUL’S BAY. Depart with escort of one Destroyer & one sloop.

Boat deck parade cancelled on account of rough weather.

Boat deck parade cancelled on account of rough weather. Anchor off CORSICA (PORTO VECCHIO).

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Divine Service volountary. Conference of Company Commanders on New Formation (W.O. pamphlet SS 144)

Route march by Companies. Dress fighting order. Training under Company arrangements.

Companies and specialists engaged in Training. Message from MAJOR GEN DOUGLAS received.

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 2Lt. J. G. E. HAYWARD appointed acting 126 Brigade. Salvage Officer vice 22Lt. J. CARREY.

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.

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.

Route march through OISEMENT. Inspection by Brigade. GEN TUFFNELL of Battalion in New Formation. 11pm Summer Time adopted throughout France.

10am Parade Divine Service.

Training in Billet Area.

Battalion proceeds by Companies. to HUPPY for bathing. A & D Company practice attack in New Formation. Squads of 10 practice rapid wiring.

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.

9am Lecture to Battalion on Gas by Divisional Gas Officer. 10am Fitting of Box Respirators. 10am to 3pm Bombing Pit and Trenches.

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.

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

Divine Service, volountary. 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).

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.

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.

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 form 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.


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

A Company work on roads near TINCOURT (J24). Remaining Companies training during morning and afternoon. Lt. Col. D. H. WADE invalided home.

Companies engaged in fatigues and Training. 2/Lt. H. H. KNIGHT proceeded to hospital sick.

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.

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

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.

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

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.

Battalion in Support. Night working parties amounting to 300 O.R. found by Battalion.

Battalion in Support. Night working parties amounting to 300 O.R. found by Battalion.

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.

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.

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.

Billets inspected by Brigade. GEN TUFNELL.

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.

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.

Lt. H. SHATWELL returns from Divisional Gas course.

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


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

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.

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


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


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


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


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.


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

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.

1/9th Battalion Manchester Regiment. 1915.

Below is the transcription of the 1/9th Battalion Manchester Regiment War Diary, May to December 1915 covering their time in Gallipoli. At this time, the 1/9th Manchesters were part of the 126th Infantry Brigade in the 42nd Division.

The PDF version of the transcription is available to download  here.  The Ancestry version is available here (requires a subscription to

Map of War Zone in Gallipoli 1915
By Rcbutcher [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

MAY 1915

May 1st
KANTARA. SUEZ CANAL. Preparatory measures taken for a move.

May 2nd
Order received for Brigade to concentrate at PORT SAID on Tuesday evening 4/5/15.

May 3rd
Recalled Capt. Hamer from PO War Camp MEADI. Joined 11:30pm.

May 4th
Battn. left KANTARA for PORT SAID. Bivouacked close to Railway Station.

May 5th
Embarked on H.M.T. AUSONIA.

2 Officers (Maj. NOWELL O.C. Troops and 2nd Lt. BROADBENT, Transport Officer) with 26 Other Ranks embarked on H.M.T.  COMMODORE along with Horses, Mules and 1 Cart M.G. Carriages.

May 6th
All quiet at sea. Iron ration issued.

May 7th
2 platoons 13 & 14 told off to double up on deck with Rifles & ammunition to help repel attack by torpedo boats. Ammunition up to 200 rounds per man served out.

May 8th
Arrived off CAPE HELLES and witnessed general advance by own troops.

May 9th
Battalion landed at SEDD-EL-BAHR and was first under shell fire. HMHT COMMODORE arrived. Battalion moved from beach to bivouac.

May 10th
Another change of bivouac.

May 18th
Bn moved to a fresh bivouac, which afterwards came to be regarded as its permanent bivouac.

May 21st
Battalion moved into Redoubt Trenches.

May 22nd
Lt. Col. D. H. WADE wounded. Major NOWELL assumes command.

May 23rd
A digging party establishes a line of rifle pits 100 yards in front of the fire trench. Lance Cpl. SILVESTER “C” Coy brings in Pte. PENNY wounded, on his back, and returns to his duty.

May 24th
Congratulatory telegram received from Major-General DOUGLAS commanding the Division on good work done by battalion. Lt. Col. EGERTON D.S.O. from G.H.Q. takes over command. “C” Company advances & consolidates advanced position. 2nd Lieut. F. JONES killed. Weather very wet.

May 25th
“C” Company continues consolidation. Battalion relieved & returns to Bivouac. Lt. R. G. WOOD wounded in attempt to rescue wounded man of 1/10 Manchester Regt. from their advanced trench. Weather very wet.

May 26th
Battalion in bivouac. Orders received for batt. to be attached – 2 Companies Indian Bde. 2 Companies 87th Bde.

May 27th
Batt. attached to Bdes. Of 29th Division, left bivouac 7am HQGS remain in Bivouac.

May 29th
C & D Companies returned to HQGS in the evening.

JUNE 1915

June 1st
A & B Companies rejoined from Indian Bde. at 1pm.

June 3rd
Battalion advanced to 3rd line trenches.

June 4th
Heavy bombardment of enemy position by Army & Naval guns commences 11am. Advance of the whole Army Corps continues until nightfall 8pm. Batt. in divisional reserve.

June 5th
Fighting still continues. Batt. constructing redoubts.

June 7th
C Company charges Turkish trench, relinquished after general attack at 7pm. Capt. F. HAMER, 2/Lt. A. E. STRINGER killed; 13 other ranks reported missing, 3 killed and 25 wounded.

June 9th
Major NOWELL assumes command and battalion goes to the firing line.

June 12th
Batt. returns to Redoubt Line.

June 13th
2/Lt. A. H. HUDSON killed.

June 15th
Batt. returns to the fire trenches.

June 18th
Attack made on Turkish trenches in KRITHIA NULLAH by B Company and portion of C Company under Capt. SUGDEN, directed by Lt. Col. J. RYE 1/10th Manch. R. Strong enemy attack met with and attack fails to take Turkish trench.

Capt. H SUGDEN mortally wounded. Lt. J. M. WADE wounded and missing; 17 other ranks reported missing, and 33 wounded, 9 killed.

June 20th
Capt. SUGDEN dies in hospital.

June 22nd
Batt. relieved in trenches & returns to Bivouac.

June 29th
Bivouac heavily shelled with H. E. from Asiatic side.

JULY 1915

July 2nd
Batt. moves to trenches in Australian Line.

July 7th
Batt. moves to ESKI LINE. (Major R. P. LEWIS attached E. A. left on 6th).

July 10th
Batt. returns to the firing line.

July 12th
Lt. SUTTON & Sgt. GRANTHAM congratulated by Maj-Gen. for reconnaissance work.

July 13th
2/Lt. H. Y. DIXON attached, 11th York & Lancaster Regt. killed by shrapnel during advance by 52nd Division. 2/Lt. E. BALMFORD, wounded.

July 14th
Batt. moves back to Redoubt Line.

July 16th
Lt. Col. R. W. FALCON assumes command.

July 18th
Batt. relieved by 38th Bde & returns to Bivouac.

July 23rd
5 Officers and 222 other ranks from 2/9th Bn. Manch. R. Capt. D. B. STEPHENSON, 2/Lt. W. M. BARRATT, Lt. S. W. RUTTENAU, 2/Lt. H. INGHAM, 2/Lt. W. G. GREENWOOD.


Aug 7th
Battalion divided.

Right Half Battalion.

Headquarters arrived in Redoubt Line at 7am and were attached to 125th Brigade. Two platoons under Lt. SUTTON proceeded to reinforce firing line on the right at 14:30 o’ clock. Shortly after arrival, Lt. SUTTON was wounded by shrapnel and eventually had to go back to Clearing Station. At 15:18 two platoons under Lt. FORSHAW and with 2/Lt. COOKE proceeded to reinforce advanced line near the vineyard.

Aug 8th
Early this morning (8th) an advanced party of 12 men, 7 killed and 5 wounded, were reinforced by Lt. FORSHAW and the trench held. The above are all A Company.

The remaining Company under Capt. KERSHAW with Lt. VYVYAN-ROBINSON went up to the old firing line about 17:30 and took up position with old ACHI BABA NULLAH on right and point where F12 joins firing line on left. Capt. KERSHAW assumed command of the two platoons of A in addition to his three platoons. Lt. ROBINSON and one platoon having been sent off to W of No7 SAP.

Lt. FORSHAW reports about 07:30 that 1 and 2 platoons A Coy had had about 25 casualties (one man killed).

Aug 7th
Left Half Battalion.

A reinforcement of 100 rifles of C Company under Lt. PORTER with 2/Lt. RUTTENAU sent up to the firing line on the extreme left of the 127th Brigade. Lt. PORTER was shortly after hit in the fire trench and died of his wounds. Shortly after an attack was arranged on a Turkish Redoubt to the left of H 11 b. The attack was not carried out but about 16 men of C Company led by 2/Lt. RUTTENAU advanced but being unsupported had to fall back again – all these men were hit, 2/Lt. RUTTENAU having 2 grazes, which hit his clothes without wounding him. Later in the afternoon Major R. B. NOWELL commanding left half battalion was wounded in the arm by a bullet, when in the Redoubt Line and was compelled to withdraw to Clearing Station, leaving Capt. WOODHOUSE in command. 50 more men were sent later from C Coy. to join the rest of C Coy. in the fire trench in the left and 100 men of C and D under  Lt. HANDFORTH were sent across KRITHIA NULLAH into the Redoubt Line, under the orders of O.C. 1/6th Manchester R. leaving Capt. WOODHOUSE and about 2 men in the Redoubt Line W of KRITHIA NULLAH.

Aug 7th & 8th
Machine Guns.

The three regimental machine guns under Lt. KNOWLES were posted in the HORSESHOE line. At mid-day on the 7th Lt. STOTT acting B.M.G.O. reported that Corporal HOWARD had been doing very good work. At night 2 guns were moved up OXFORD ST to trench near the French, 1 gun remaining in the HORSESHOE Redoubt. 3 casualties reported on the morning of the 8th.

Aug 8th
Orders were received at mid-day that the battalion was to be redistributed under the orders of the G. O. C. 127th Brigade – C and D Companies up to a strength of 250 rifles took over the firing line W of the KRITHIA NULLAH, A Company and the balance of the men returned into the Redoubt line with Headquarters.

August 9th
At 9am Lt. FORSHAW returned to Headquarters and was relieved temporarily by 2/Lt. COOKE. Lt. FORSHAW was quite done up and covered with bomb-fumes – he had been hit by a shrapnel-case and had been fighting practically for 2 days and nights without ceasing. He had shown extraordinary bravery and had by his personal example been the cause of the Vineyard trenches G.12 being retained by us – he had been assisted by 2/Lt. COOKE, who had also done extremely good work together with 2 platoons of A Company who had all behaved extremely gallantly. The B.G. of the 126th Brigade personally congratulated the commanding officer on the gallant behavior of Lt. FORSHAW, 2/Lt. COOKE and the 2 platoons under them. The following congratulatory messages were received from the 8th Army Corps commander and from the Brigadier-General 126th Brigade:

To G.O.C.

126 Bde. D20 9th

Tell O.C. 9th Machs to let his officers and men know that I have only just heard the part they took in action 7th and 8th. I congratulate you and them including the 4th E. L. on the splendid gallantry, initiative and endurance they have shown and I shall have the greatest pleasure in bringing to notice their gallant conduct.

From (sig) Maj. Gen. DOUGLAS

O.C. 9th Manchesters

16:30 I should like to add my appreciation of the fine fighting qualities shown by your officers and men in the vineyard. They did splendidly.

Sig HAMPDEN. Brig. Gnl.

Cmdg 126 Inf Bde

Also from 125th Bde for Lt. FORSHAW attached here.

Further casualties make the total 1 officer and 10 men killed, 1 man missing, and 2 officers and 80 other ranks wounded.

A party of 41 men of B Company originally intended to garrison duplicate firing line E. of NULLAH were diverted and sent off to the vineyard trench on the evening of the 8th and remained there holding the trench until the evening of the 9th until they were relieved having sustained 14 casualties.

Aug 10th
Redistribution of 250 rifles on the W. of the NULLAH took place, leaving 50 rifles in the firing line, 95 in the duplicate firing line, 70 in the support line, and remaining 35 rejoined Headquarters in the Redoubt line.

Aug 12th
Headquarters and 160 rifles went into the firing line on the left sub-section on E. of KRITHIA NULLAH. At 7pm the Turks made a strong demonstration by rifle fire and shelling but did not attack. The actual attack was made on the vineyard. Pte. POTTS (No 1347) volunteered to join the bombing party of the 1/4th East Lancashire Regt. up the W. sap of the vineyard.

Aug 13th
2/Lt. COOKE and a bombing party went up the W. sap of the vineyard and rejoined the battalion at 10 o’ clock. At 10:30 Headquarters and A & B Companies were relieved and returned to bivouac: the rest of the battalion following during the day.

Total casualties from the 7th to the 13th were killed 17, missing 1, wounded 69, slightly wounded 17, making a Total 104.

Aug 19th
The battalion moved to a new bivouac on GULLY BEACH.

Aug 25th
The battalion moved up into the trenches.

August 18th
G.H.Q. wires Inform No 180 Cpl. S BAYLEY 9th Manchester Regt. that the General Commanding has awarded him the Distinguished Conduct Medal in recognition of his gallantry on night Aug 8/9th.


For Staff Capt. 126 Inf. Bde.

Aug 26th
Congratulatory card for gallantry issued to No 1347 Pte. R. POTTS.


Sept 10th
Batt returns to bivouac. Following telegram received:-

It is with much pride and gratification that I repeat the following message from G. O. C. in Chief & G.O.C. 8th Army Corps. Lieut. FORSHAW really deserved the coveted prize that he has won for gallantry and I feel sure it will be followed by heroism of other Officers, N.C.O.s and men resulting in similar recognition. Message begins.

Following received from G.H.Q. please convey to Lieut. WILLIAM T FORSHAW 1/9th Manchester Regt. 126th Inf. Bde. 42nd Div. congratulations of Commander in Chief on the well deserved award of the Victoria Cross gazette Sept 9th. The Lieut. General commanding 8th Army Corps also desires to add his hearty congratulations both to Lieut. FORSHAW & to 1/9th Manch. Regt.

Signed Major General DOUGLAS

Sept 11th
Lt. Colonel R. W. FALCON invalided. Major R. L. LEES assumes command. Following telegram received:

On behalf of 125th Bde. I desire to express to Lieut. W. T. FORSHAW my hearty congratulations on the grant to him of the Victoria Cross. The Brigade will ever remember with gratitude the invaluable assistance he gave us in the Vineyard.

O. C. 125th Bde.

Sept 12th
102 men under Capt. F. WOODHOUSE left for training camp at IMBROS. W. J. ABLITT 2/Lieut. and Acting Adjutant admitted to hospital.

Sept 18th
Batt moved up into the trenches. The G.O.C. in Chief visited the trenches.

Sept 9th
102 men under Capt. G. W. HANDFORTH proceeded to the Light Training Camp, IMBROS.

Sept 19th
Capt. G. W. HANDFORTH admitted to hospital sick.

Sept 30th
Major R. L. LEES, D.S.O. relinquished command of the batt. Major W. J. V. ANDERSON assumed command.


Oct 1st
The batt. moved into Divisional Reserve at GEOGHEGAN’S BLUFF.

Oct 2nd to 6th
Nothing to record. Every available man was on fatigue for 6 hours a day during the week.

Oct 7th
Five new Officers join the batt. from England and are posted to companies as follows:

2 Lieut. G R. BERNARD                 12th Essex Regt.
2 Lieut. G. F. BARKER                     12th Essex Regt.
2 Lieut. A. J. SOUTHCOTT            12th Essex Regt.
2 Lieut. L. KIRWAN                          10th South Lancs Regt.
2 Lieut. G GREEN KELLY              10th South Lancs Regt.

Oct 8th
The batt changes with 1/10th Bn. Manch. R. and goes into bivouac on GULLY BEACH south of GULLY RAVINE. A sharp rainstorm with heavy wind from the sea came on about 7pm and owing to no preparation against bad weather having been made for infantry, all troops got wet.

Oct 9th
Temp Capt. D. B. STEPHENSON goes to hospital sick.

Oct 11th
Weather broke again about 1-30pm when a sharp shower came down. Troops did not get very wet and the sun which came out very strongly dried clothes and blankets.

Oct 14th
Orders received that two companies to be attached to 1/5th E. Lancs Regt. and Batt HQ and two companies to 1/10th Bn Manch R. for tactical purposes. The object being to economise in Senior Officers and senior N.C.O.s. A & C Companies under Capt. WOODHOUSE proceed to 1/5th E. Lancs Regt.: B & D Companies under the command of Capt. KERSHAW to 1/10th Bn Manch R.  The Transport, orderly room staff and quartermaster dept are kept intact. The batt moves up to the trenches attached as above.

Oct 16th
Capt. KERSHAW with 95 men return from Light Training Camp at IMBROS.

Oct 18th
Weather conditions wet.

Oct 19th
Major W. J. ANDERSON killed in action by a bomb whilst visiting the trenches. Lt. Col. G. W. ROBINSON 1/10th Bn Manch R. is placed temporarily in command by Brigadier General.

Oct 22nd
Weather very bad. Draft arrived from England 3 Officers and 134 O.R. 2 Lieut. ROBINSON. 2 Lieut. DEMEL & Lieut. AINSWORTH. No senior N.C.O.s sent with the draft.

Oct 23rd
9-30pm message received from Brigade Major 126th Inf. Bde. that the artillery had seen Turks massing for an attack in GULLEY RAVINE. All troops stood to arms. About 10-30pm information arrived that these men were two large working parties which were endeavouring to mend parapet of enemy trenches knocked down by artillery during the day.

Oct 24th & 25th
Nothing to report.

Oct 26th
11 Officers arrive from England from 2/9th Bn. Manch R. Owing to the fact that they are junior to two officers of the 1/9th Batt who are still here and are still 2nd Lieuts. Some of these new officers have to relinquish temporary rank and become 2nd Lieuts.


Oct 27th & 28th
Nothing to record.

Oct 29th
Batt was relieved in the trenches by 1/8th Bn Manch R. & 1/6th & 1/5th Bns. Manch. R. All the draft proceeded to GULLY RAVINE where a training camp for the drafts of the Brigade has been formed the men not being properly disciplined nor having been sufficiently trained in musketry for active service.

Oct 30th & 31st
Nothing to record.


Summary of Killed, Wounded, Missing and Sick to Hospital for Month Ending Oct 31st 1915.

Officers                                                 Other Ranks
Total      Killed        1                           Total      Killed           3
Wounded            Nil                            Wounded                10
Missing                Nil                             Missing                   Nil
Sick to Hospital  2                            Sick to Hospital  114
Total                         3                            Total                         127



Nov 1st to 8th
Weather conditions good. Very large fatigue parties. Nothing to record.

Nov 9th
Captain KERSHAW and 2nd Lieut. BURY to Hospital. Lieut. NASH, RAMC.

Nov 10th
Training camp finished. Weather broke in night and heavy rain fell.

Nov 11th
Nothing to record.

Nov 12th
Battalion moved to the trenches to the left subsection and took over from S. E. Mounted Brigade.

Nov 13th
Enemy bombed persistently but were stopped by our bombers.

Nov 14th
Nothing to record.

Nov 15th
Very heavy thunderstorm accompanied by hurricane from sea. Came on about 7pm. There being no shelters, troops in sub section reserve got wet through. The men in the fire trenches kept fairly dry owing to the parados protecting them. As the trenches are entirely undrained they were in a very bad condition underfoot.  52nd Division attacked and took trenches in the centre.

Nov 16th
Turks counter attacked 52nd Division in the centre, all quiet on our front.

Nov 17th
Another heavy rainstorm. Conditions similar to the 15th.

Nov 18th
German aeroplane flying low over our lines. Small gun of the enemies close up to trenches damaged parapet of firing line by direct fire. No casualties. Two yeomanry hit in MULE TRENCH by shell case.

Nov 19th & 20th
Nothing to record.

Nov 21st
Great number of large grenades sent over, some 70 in the night.

Nov 22nd
Nothing to record.

Nov 23rd
2nd Lieut. I. DEARNALEY killed near BOYES PT.

Nov 24th & 25th
Considerable shelling and large grenades by evening.

Nov 26th
Battn. relieved by South East Mounted Brigade and went into bivouac in GULLY RAVINE. Most of the men put under cover in winter quarters but very crowded.

Nov 27th to 30th
Very heavy fatigues. Very few men available for making winter quarters, owing to extremely large fatigues. Weather very cold, several degrees of frost being registered.


Dec 1st
Fatigues heavy. Draft of 7 N.C.O.s & men arrived from England. Machine Gunners.

Dec 2nd to 6th
Fatigues very heavy. All men who were not out on fatigue were engaged in making winter quarters.

Dec 7th
6 men arrived from Hospital. Nothing of importance to record.

Dec 8th & 9th
Fatigues very heavy. Work on winter dug-outs continued.

Dec 10th
Battalion relieved S. E. Mounted Brigade in the left sub-section. Enemy shelled the MULE TRENCH during the move and several casualties ensued.

Dec 11th
Nothing to record.

Dec 12th
Enemy quiet, weather conditions good.

Dec 13th
Patrols out from beach and also from NE corner of FUSILIER BLUFF report no movement of the enemy and that the front line trench is very thinly held.

Dec 14th
Nothing to record.

Dec 15th
Work on trenches continued and good progress made.

Dec 16th
Nothing to record.

Dec 17th
Two forward saps started from the N.E. corner of FUSILIER BLUFF towards a crater made by a mine explosion. The idea being to seize the crater in two days time and hold as a bombing station.

Dec 18th
Saps towards crater going on well but do not look as if they will reach by the crater 14:00 tomorrow. Three congratulatory cards from the Major General Commanding, received for:-

400 Sgt Mr Cook JOHN CHAPMAN
1659 Pte. P. WOODRUFF

Dec 19th
Morning quiet. In the afternoon a small action took place at 14:15, a large mine was exploded about 30 yards from the N.E. corner of FUSILIER BLUFF and immediately after 5 smaller mines. It was expected that this mine would form a large crater and a party was told off to occupy this. The party consisted of 16 bombers, a working party under 2nd Lieut. GRAY and 26 men of ‘B’ Coy. All went exactly as ordered and the men went over the parapet in a splendid manner, but unfortunately the mine failed to form a crater and when the men got out there was no cover at all and the Turkish trench being intact the enemy fired deliberately from loop holes at the party. 2nd Lieut. GRAY stayed out until it became evident that nothing could be done when he gave the order to retire. The enemy shelled the MULE TRENCH and our Support Line very heavily whilst the action was in progress but did little damage. Our casualties amounted to 3 killed, 1 missing, 11 wounded. The night passed quickly.

Dec 20th
Appended messages marked A, B, C & D received. Nothing of importance to record.

Dec 21st
Weather broke about 12:00 and heavy rain fell.

Dec 22nd & 23rd
Nothing to record.

Dec 24th
Battalion relieved and went into Divisional Reserve at GEOGHEGAN’S BLUFF.

Dec 26th
Orders received to leave the Peninsula on the 27th.

Dec 28th
Battalion left the Peninsula embarking on H.M.T. REDBREAST at 23:00.

Dec 29th
Battalion arrived at MUDROS WEST and went into camp.

Dec 30th & 31st
Battalion spend these two days in cleaning up and transferring baggage.


Summary of Killed, Wounded, Missing and Sick to Hospital for Month Ending Dec 31st 1915.

Officers                                              Other Ranks
Total      Killed    Nil          Total      Killed                          15
Wounded            Nil                           Wounded                31
Missing                Nil                            Missing                   Nil
Sick to Hospital  2                            Sick to Hospital  63
Total                         2                            Total                       109


Appendix 2 – MESSAGES

Copy Messages


To 126 Bde

B. 409 20th

8th Corps have received following wire from GENERAL BIRDWOOD commanding Dardanelles Army last night begins: –

Many congratulations on your success today which has been of greatest assistance. Please thank 52nd and 42nd Divisions from me for their good work. I hope their casualties were only small and am anxious for early details. All goes well elsewhere. Ends. Inform troops.

From 42nd Division

To 126 Bde

B. 410 20th

8th Corps have received following wire from General BIRDWOOD commanding the Dardanelles Army after hearing of repulse of counter attack, begins: –

Well done 42nd & 52nd Divisions. Ends.


To 9th Man          20th

I am sorry you had bad luck yesterday. I know that the men did very well and I wish them better luck next time.

General DAVIS


From: Major General HUGHES

To 126th Inf. Bde.

19th Dec

I congratulate the Brigade on the way in which the attacking party went out. Had the mine formed a crater across Turkish trenches as intended, I feel sure our men would be holding it now. I am also very pleased with the steadiness of all ranks in the trenches under shell fire. I shall be glad to hear if any wounded men still out, are got in tonight.


Brigadier General G.S. McD ELLIOT, Commanding 126th Inf. Bde.


The Brigadier is very pleased with the behavior of all ranks today. Everything went off exactly as arranged, except that after the explosion there was no crater to occupy, and the operations fell through. This was no fault of the Brigade. The Brigadier feels sure that all ranks will not be disheartened by lack of success today, and will always respond cheerfully and bravely to the call of duty, as they did today.


War Diary HM HS VITA 1917-1919


The transcribed War Diary can be downloaded here.

Below is the HM HS Vita’s log transcription for embarking and disembarking RAMC Other Ranks and Nursing Staff:

19 Jun, 1917
Sister Mrs GIBSON QAIMNS (R) who was acting matron disembarked
22 Jun, 1917
Sister Z M BONSER QAMNSI embarked as acting Matron
Sister  M McINTOSH QAIMNS (R) joined to fill a vacancy
14 Jul, 1917
Sister CHAPMAN AANS transferred
Sister SAVAGE QAIMNS (R) transferred
Sister  M McINTOSH QAMNSI (R) transferred
15-20 July, 1917
Accommodation brought up to 436 by replacing swing cots w/ fixed double tiered cots in wards 1, 2 &4.
25 Jul, 1917
Sister HUNT QAMNSI (T) joined
16 Sept, 1917
Miss HORNE AANS joined as Matron in place
Miss BONSER QAMNSI transferred
17 Sept, 1917
Staff Nurse S BLACK AANS joined for temp duty
11 Oct, 1917
Miss HORNE AANS & Staff Nurse S BLACK AANS transferred.
12 Oct, 1917
Nursing Sister SARGENT QAIMNSI (R) joined as acting Matron
13 Oct, 1917
Temporary Nurse N. FTIZGERALD transferred
83130 Pte NEWBOLD AE RAMC joined
23 Oct, 1917
Pte McMINN RAMC joined
24 Oct, 1917
Temporary Nurse Mrs ANDERSON joined

12 Feb, 1918
Pte VOGWILL J L No6 Co RAMC Att 32 BSH Died of Malaria (Buried at Sea)
24 Mar, 1918
Nursing Sister D. HUNT QAMNSI (T) was transferred sick
10 Apr, 1918
Nursing Sister Mrs Over QAIMNSI (T) disembarked
18 May, 1918
Probationer Nurse Miss L FINLAYSON SAMNS embarked
25 May, 1918
Probationer Nurse Miss L FINLAYSON SAMNS disembarked
1, Jun, 1918
Cape Town. RAMC ORs = 18, Indian ORs = 51. Left for 5-day shore leave.
1 Aug, 1918
58732 Cpl JS CHARNOCK RAMC disembarked
7 Aug, 1918
97391 Pte F PICKUP RAMC embarked
7869 AF SAWYER RAMC embarked
17 Aug, 1918
Staff Nurse T MUNDAY AANS embarked
Staff Nurse M BYRNE AANS embarked
Staff Nurse I BRADSHAW AANS embarked
Staff Nurse E MONAGHAN AANS embarked
Staff Nurse M DARNELL AANS embarked
6 Sep, 1918
Sister Miss HILDA JONES embarked as Sister in Charge
9 Sep, 1918
Staff Nurse Miss E BENT disembarked
12 Sep, 1918
46268 Cpl DWYER I RAMC embarked
21522 Pte ELLIS H RAMC embarked
Sister Miss MARY MORROW AANS embarked as Sister in Charge
Sister Miss HILDA JONES disembarked
13 Sep, 1918
11434 Pte MONKS L J RAMC transferred to Deolali for training w/ Detachment 1st Btn South Staffs Regt
68069 Pte KNIGHT T RAMC transferred to Deolali for training w/ Detachment 1st Btn South Staffs Regt
14 Oct, 1918
97391 Pte PICKUP F RAMC granted pay increase
Asst. Surg. F G STEINHOF is granted 30-days leave
15 Oct, 1918
Staff Nurse Miss LILIAN PENROSE AANS embarked
19 Oct, 1918
Miss SARGENT QAIMNSI(R) is struck off strength from 6 Sep, 1918
21 Nov, 1918
Sister Miss M MORROW AANS disembarked
Staff Nurse T MUNDAY AANS disembarked
Staff Nurse M BYRNE AANS disembarked
Staff Nurse I BRADSHAW AANS disembarked
Staff Nurse E MONAGHAN AANS disembarked
22 Nov, 1918 
40786 Pte CLOUGH A RAMC disembarked (transferred) sick
21522 Pte ELLIS H RAMC disembarked (transferred) sick
26 Nov, 1918
Pte JH CUSS RAMC disembarked
43480 Pte HOLFORD F RAMC embarked
29 Nov, 1918
Asst. Surg. F G STEINHOFF MD transferred to East Persia
30 Nov, 1918
11434 Pte MONKS L J RAMC rejoined
68069 Pte KNIGHT T RAMC rejoined
7869 Pte SAWYER A F RAMC rejoined
57731 Pte COLE G RAMC rejoined
3 Dec, 1918
62089 Pte ADSHEAD F L RAMC embarked
84657 Pte KENSHAW W E RAMC embarked
79702 Pte MARSHALL H J RAMC embarked
56509 Pte LYONS T RAMC disembarked
Matron Mrs J E MOLLOY AANS embarked
Sister Miss C McKECHNIE AANS embarked
Sister Miss VERA DESAILLY AANS embarked
Staff Nurse Miss ANNIE MORRIS AANS embarked
Miss L PENROSE ANNS rejoined
4 Dec, 1918
31595 Pte HATCH A J RAMC promoted acting Corporal w/o Pay
105266 Pte CHADWICK L W RAMC promoted acting Corporal w/o Pay
Pte HOLFORD F RAMC awarded 6d per diem as operating theatre orderly
Staff Nurse Miss L BECKER embarked
17 Dec, 1918
46368 Cpl DWYER W RAMC embarked

2 Jan, 1919
Nursing Sister Miss A MORRIS AANS transferred sick
3 Jan, 1919
60059 Pte DENTON J H RAMC transferred sick
67077 Pte HOOLEY A RAMC disembarked
68069 Pte KNIGHT T RAMC disembarked
11434 Pte MONKS L RAMC disembarked [in Bombay. Permanently]

Simple map of the locations listed in the HM HS VITA’s log between June 1917 and January 1919.

[intergeo id=”QOzQTM”][/intergeo]

Below is the Ships Log transcription showing locations during the period June 1917 to January 1919.

Date Where Notes
1-Jun-17 At Sea Left Basra
2-Jun-17 Karachi Arived 8:30am
Departed 3pm
4-Jun-17 Bombay
22-Jun-17 Departed 8am for Basra
26-Jun-17 At Sea Persian Gulf
27-Jun-17 Arrived Shatt-el-Arab
28-Jun-17 Basra Anchored @ Saraji
1-Jul-17 Hospital Pier
7-Jul-17 At Sea Left Basra for Bombay
14-Jul-17 Bombay Alexandra Dock No2 Shed
25-Jul-17 Sailed at 1pm
31-Jul-17 Basra Hospital Pier
Shatt-al-Arab Bar
5-Aug-17 At Sea Left Basra for Bombay
10-Aug-17 Bombay Harbour
11-Aug-17 Alexandra Dock No2 Shed
17-Aug-17 Left Bombay for Basra
22-Aug-17 Basra Shatt-al-Arab Bar
25-Aug-17 Basra Hospital Pier
28-Aug-17 Bushire Bushehr, Iran
29-Aug-17 At Sea
2-Sep-17 Bombay Alexandra Dock No 2 Shed
3-Sep-17 Anchored in the Stream
18-Sep-17 At Sea Left Bombay for Basra
23-Sep-17 Basra Shatt-al-Arab Bar
4-Oct-17 Left Basra for Bander Abbas
5-Oct-17 Bandar Abbas Iran
6-Oct-17 At Sea Sailed for Bombay
10-Oct-17 Bombay Alexandra Dock No 2 Shed
11-Oct-17 Anchored in the Stream
24-Oct-17 At Sea Left Bombay for Dar Es Salaam
30-Oct-17 Crossed the Line
1-Nov-17 At Sea Diverted to LINDI
3-Nov-17 Lindi Tanzania
4-Nov-17 At Sea Sailed for Dar Es Salaam
5-Nov-17 Dar es Salaam Anchored in harbour
6-Nov-17 At Sea Sailed for Zanzibar
9-Nov-17 At Sea Sailed for LINDI
10-Nov-17 Lindi
11-Nov-17 At Sea Sailed for Dar Es Salaam
12-Nov-17 Dar es Salaam
13-Nov-17 At Sea Sailed for LINDI
14-Nov-17 Lindi Anchored in harbour
16-Nov-17 At Sea Sailed for Dar Es Salaam
17-Nov-17 Dar es Salaam Anchored in harbour
19-Nov-17 At Sea Sailed for LINDI
20-Nov-17 Lindi
21-Nov-17 At Sea Sailed for Dar Es Salaam
22-Nov-17 Dar es Salaam Anchored in harbour
23-Nov-17 At Sea Sailed for LINDI
24-Nov-17 Lindi
25-Nov-17 At Sea Sailed for Dar Es Salaam
26-Nov-17 Dar es Salaam Anchored in harbour
27-Nov-17 At Sea Sailed for Zanzibar
29-Nov-17 Zanzibar
30-Nov-17 At Sea Sailed for LINDI
1-Dec-17 Lindi
3-Dec-17 At Sea Sailed for Dar Es Salaam
4-Dec-17 Dar es Salaam
5-Dec-17 At Sea Sailed for KILINDINI
6-Dec-17 Kilindini Mobassa, Kenya
7-Dec-17 At Sea Sailed for LINDI
8-Dec-17 Lindi
10-Dec-17 At Sea Sailed for Dar Es Salaam
11-Dec-17 Dar es Salaam
12-Dec-17 At Sea Sailed for LINDI
13-Dec-17 Lindi
14-Dec-17 At Sea Sailed for Dar Es Salaam
15-Dec-17 Dar es Salaam
19-Dec-17 Zanzibar Sailed for Zanzibar
23-Dec-17 At Sea Sailed for LINDI
24-Dec-17 Lindi
25-Dec-17 At Sea Sailed for Dar Es Salaam
26-Dec-17 Dar es Salaam
27-Dec-17 At Sea Sailed for LINDI
28-Dec-17 Lindi
29-Dec-17 At Sea Sailed for Dar Es Salaam
30-Dec-17 Dar es Salaam
1-Jan-18 MISSING Nothing for January 1918
1-Feb-18 Zanzibar Coaling; Sailed for Lindi.
4-Feb-18 Lindi Sailed for Dar Es Salaam
5-Feb-18 Dar es Salaam Arrived inner harbour Dar es Salaam
7-Feb-18 Lindi
8-Feb-18 Lindi Sailed for Dar Es Salaam
9-Feb-18 Dar es Salaam
10-Feb-18 Dar es Salaam Sailed for LINDI
11-Feb-18 Lindi
12-Feb-18 Lindi Sailed for Dar Es Salaam
13-Feb-18 Dar es Salaam
14-Feb-18 Dar es Salaam Sailed for LINDI
15-Feb-18 Lindi
17-Feb-18 Lindi Sailed for Dar Es Salaam
18-Feb-18 Dar es Salaam Anchored in inner harbour Dar es Salaam
20-Feb-18 Kilindini Arrived Kilindini; Sailed for Zanzibar.
22-Feb-18 Zanzibar Arrived Zanzibar
23-Feb-18 Zanzibar Coaling
24-Feb-18 Zanzibar Coaling
25-Feb-18 Zanzibar Sailed for LINDI
26-Feb-18 Lindi Arrived LINDI
28-Feb-18 Dar es Salaam Arrived Dar es Salaam. Indian Patient Died.
1-Mar-18 Dar es Salaam Sailed for LINDI
2-Mar-18 Lindi Arrived LINDI; Sailed for Dar es Salaam
3-Mar-18 Dar es Salaam Arrived Dar es Salaam.
4-Mar-18 Dar es Salaam At anchor in harbour
5-Mar-18 Dar es Salaam Sailed for LINDI
6-Mar-18 Lindi Arrived LINDI
7-Mar-18 Lindi Sailed for Dar es Salaam
8-Mar-18 Dar es Salaam Arrived Dar es Salaam. Patient death; Buried at Sea.
9-Mar-18 Dar es Salaam Patient died. Sailed for Zanzibar
10-Mar-18 Zanzibar Arrived Zanzibar
11-Mar-18 Zanzibar Coaling
12-Mar-18 Zanzibar Coaling
13-Mar-18 Zanzibar Coaling
14-Mar-18 Dar es Salaam Sailed for Dar es Salaam. Arrived Dar es Salaam.
16-Mar-18 Dar es Salaam Sailed for LINDI
17-Mar-18 Lindi Arrived LINDI. Sailed for Port Amelia, Mozambique
18-Mar-18 Port Amelia Arrived Port Amelia. Patient died; Buried at Sea.
19-Mar-18 Port Amelia At anchor; Cleaning & Disinfecting wards
20-Mar-18 Port Amelia Sailed for LINDI
21-Mar-18 Lindi Arrived LINDI
22-Mar-18 Lindi Sailed for Dar es Salaam
23-Mar-18 Dar es Salaam Arrived Dar es Salaam. Anchored in harbour.
25-Mar-18 Dar es Salaam At anchor. Staff painted beds in Wards I, II & IV.
26-Mar-18 Dar es Salaam At anchor. Staff painted beds in Wards I, II & IV.
27-Mar-18 Dar es Salaam Sailed for KILINDINI.
28-Mar-18 Kilindini Arrived KILINDINI.
29-Mar-18 Kilindini Sailed for Dar es Salaam
30-Mar-18 Dar es Salaam Anchored in Dar es Salaam harbour
31-Mar-18 Dar es Salaam Anchored in Dar es Salaam harbour
1-Apr-18 Dar es Salaam Sailed for KILINDINI
2-Apr-18 Kilindini Arrived KILINDINI. Sailed for ZANZIBAR.
3-Apr-18 Zanzibar Arrived ZANZIBAR
4-Apr-18 Zanzibar Coaling. Sailed for Port Amelia.
7-Apr-18 Port Amelia Arrived Port Amelia.
10-Apr-18 Dar es Salaam Sailed for KILINDINI
12-Apr-18 Kilindini Arrived KILINDINI. Sailed for ZANZIBAR.
15-Apr-18 Lindi Arrived LINDI. Sailed for ZANZIBAR.
17-Apr-18 Dar es Salaam Sailed for KILINDINI
19-Apr-18 Kilindini Arrived KILINDINI. Patient death. Sailed for ZANZIBAR.
20-Apr-18 Zanzibar Arrived ZANZIBAR
21-Apr-18 Zanzibar Coaling
23-Apr-18 Zanzibar Coaling
24-Apr-18 Zanzibar Sailed for LINDI
25-Apr-18 Lindi Arrived LINDI
27-Apr-18 Lindi Sailed for Dar es Salaam
28-Apr-18 Dar es Salaam At anchor Dar es Salaam Bay
30-Apr-18 Dar es Salaam At anchor Dar es Salaam Bay
1-May-18 Dar es Salaam Heaved anchor and went to inner harbour.
2-May-18 Dar es Salaam Sailed for Kilindini
3-May-18 Kilindini Arrived Kilindini; Sailed for Dar es Salaam
4-May-18 Dar es Salaam Dropped anchor in Dar es Salaam Bay
5-May-18 Dar es Salaam Went into inner harbour.
8-May-18 Dar es Salaam Sailed for Kilindini
9-May-18 Kilindini Arrived Kilindini; Sailed for Dar es Salaam
10-May-18 Dar es Salaam Sailed for KILINDINI
11-May-18 Dar es Salaam Sailed for Zanzibar
12-May-18 Zanzibar Arrived ZANZIBAR. Sailed for ZANZIBAR.
13-May-18 Zanzibar Coaling
14-May-18 Zanzibar Coaling
15-May-18 Zanzibar Sailed for Dar Es Salaam; Anchored in Bay
18-May-18 Dar es Salaam Sailed for Durban, South Africa
25-May-18 Durban Tied up alongside the Wharf at Durban.
26-May-18 Durban Sailed for Cape Town
30-May-18 Cape Town Anchored in Table Bay
31-May-18 Cape Town Tied up alongside the Wharf.
2-Jun-18 Cape Town Went into dry dock for repairs
10-Jun-18 Cape Town Sailed for Durban
14-Jun-18 Durban Arrived; Took in Coal.
15-Jun-18 Durban Sailed for Zanzibar
21-Jun-18 Zanzibar Arrived Zanzibar; Ships stores took onboard
22-Jun-18 Zanzibar Sailed for Bombay. No patients embarked.
30-Jun-18 Bombay Dropped anchor in Bombay harbour
1-Jul-18 Bombay At anchor in stream
6-Jul-18 Bombay Went into Alexandra dock to Coal
7-Jul-18 Bombay Coaling
8-Jul-18 Bombay Left dock and anchored in stream
9-Jul-18 Bombay At anchor in stream undergoing repairs
31-Jul-18 Bombay At anchor in stream undergoing repairs
1-Aug-18 Bombay At anchor in stream
14-Aug-18 Bombay Alexandra Dock
15-Aug-18 Bombay Coaling
16-Aug-18 Bombay Coaling
17-Aug-18 Bombay Sailed for Basra
23-Aug-18 Basra Tied up to Hospital Pier at Basra
25-Aug-18 Basra Sailed for Karachi, Pakistan
30-Aug-18 Karachi Arrived Karachi; Sailed for Bombay
31-Aug-18 At Sea
1-Sep-18 Bombay Arrived Bombay; Dropped anchor in stream
2-Sep-18 Bombay Tied up to No2 Shed
7-Sep-18 Bombay Sailing for Basra Cancelled.
8-Sep-18 Bombay In stream
12-Sep-18 Bombay Came into No7 Alexandra Dock dock to Coal
13-Sep-18 Bombay Pte. MONKS and Pte. KNIGHT Disembarked for Training @ Deolali
Bombay Arrived BOMBAY. Sailed for ZANZIBAR.
14-Sep-18 At Sea Arabian Sea
24-Sep-18 Suez Egypt
5-Oct-18 Aden Yemen
11-Oct-18 Bombay Arrived BOMBAY. Sailed for ZANZIBAR.
16-Oct-18 At Sea Sailed for Suez
27-Oct-18 Suez Arrived SUEZ. Sailed for ZANZIBAR.
3-Nov-18 At Sea Sailed for Bombay
10-Nov-18 At Sea Turned around to Aden. Coal Shortage!
11-Nov-18 At Sea Germany Signed Armistice!
12-Nov-18 Aden Arrived ADEN. Sailed for ZANZIBAR.
18-Nov-18 Bombay Arrived BOMBAY. Sailed for ZANZIBAR.
22-Nov-18 Bombay Indian Personnel went on shore for peace celebrations
23-Nov-18 Bombay RAMC Personnel went on shore for peace celebrations
30-Nov-18 Bombay Pte. MONKS and Pte. KNIGHT Rejoined the Ship
Bombay Arrived BOMBAY. Sailed for ZANZIBAR.
Bombay Arrived BOMBAY. Sailed for ZANZIBAR.
Bombay Arrived BOMBAY. Sailed for ZANZIBAR.
1-Dec-18 Bombay In Stream
3-Dec-18 Bombay Came into No2 Shed Alexandra Dock
5-Dec-18 At Sea Sailed for Aden & Suez
10-Dec-18 At Sea Gulf of Aden
11-Dec-18 Aden Arrived Aden; Took in Meat. Left Aden
12-Dec-18 At Sea Red Sea
15-Dec-18 At Sea Gulf of Suez. Patient Died; Buried at Sea.
16-Dec-18 Suez Arrived Suez
18-Dec-18 Suez Suez Docks; Coaling
19-Dec-18 Suez Suez Docks
21-Dec-18 At Sea Sailed for Bombay.
22-Dec-18 At Sea Patient Died
24-Dec-18 At Sea Patient Died; Buried at Sea
26-Dec-18 Aden Arrived Aden. Left Aden
31-Dec-18 At Sea Indian Ocean
1-Jan-19 Bombay Anchored in Stream
2-Jan-19 Bombay Alexandra Dock No 2 Shed
3-Jan-19 Bombay Pte. MONKS Permanently left the Ship

Between the Aisne and the Marne

The following excerpt is a pre-published copy of one chapter of Capt. Sydney Rogerson’s “The Last of the Ebb”, published in 1937. Capt. Rogerson served on the Staff of the 2nd West Yorks, (8th Division). It was included as an Appendix in the War Diary for Headquarters Branches and Services: General Staff (May – June 1918). WO 95/1678/3. Crown Copyright.

You can download the PDF version here.


On May 5th, 1918, the battle-weary units of the 8th Division de–trained at Fere-en-Tardenois, and, for the second time during the war, British troops found themselves in the country between the Aisne and the Marne.

The Division had been terribly shattered in both German offensives of March and April, and sorely needing rest and respite. But rest behind the line was impossible owing to the shortage of men, while the British front contained no quiet sectors where tired divisions could, while holding the line, recuperate their energy and assimilate their heavy reinforcements. Such homes of rest were at this period only to be found on the front held by the French Armies, and so it came about that at the beginning of May the IXth Corps was formed of the 8th, 21st, 25th, and 50th divisions and, under the recently affected unity of command, was transferred to the 6th French Army taking over a section of line about 15 miles length between Rheims and the Chemin des Dames.

To the battered, battle-weary troops, whose only knowledge of France was based upon their experience of the Northern front, the Champagne country in the full glory of spring was a revelation. Gone was the depressing monotony of Flanders, drab and weeping, with its muds, its mists, its pollards and its pave; gone the battle – wrecked landscapes of Picardy and the Somme, with their shattered villages and blasted woods.  Here all was peace. The countryside basked contentedly in the blazing sunshine. Trim villages nestled in quiet hollows beside lazy streams, and tired eyes were refreshed by the sight of rolling hills, clad with great woods golden with laburnum blossom; by the soft greenery of lush meadowland, shrubby vineyards and fields of growing corn. Right up to within two miles of the line civilians were living, going about their business of husbandry as if ignorant of the imminence of war.

Nor was the illusion of rustic tranquillity shattered by the trench area itself, although this had been the scene of the great French offensive of 1917, – one of the bloodiest battles of the whole campaign on the Western Front.

The ground was everywhere pitted with shell-holes, honey-combed with dug-outs and littered with tangles of barbed wire. Here were concrete “pill boxes”, super- “pill-boxes”, resembling square forts and all bearing the marks of artillery fire; there in a line, the remains of seven or eight French tanks – a grim memento of the disastrous first use of these “chars d` assaut”.  But whereas only a year before it had been an area of death and destruction, in May 1918, Nature had reasserted herself and hidden the grosser evidence of battle under a mantle of green.   Only the actual front line trenches, dug in the chalk, seared the landscape with white scars.  The woods had been blasted by the shell-fire of the previous year, but now each shattered tree stump had covered its wounds with a wealth of close foliage. In the shell-holes grass had grown and water plants; near the gun emplacements in the reserve line grew lilies of the-valley, forget me nots, larkspur and honeysuckle.  The whole battle area had become a shrubbery, a vast garden fashioned by artillery.

In places coils of rusty wire showed redly through grass.  While derelict tanks and shattered pill-boxes still resisted all natures attempts to conceal the evidence of battle.  Occasionally, too, a shell would break the summer silence and wake echoes in the sleeping hills.  But even the shells seemed tired, arriving in a leisurely sort of way and exploding apologetically, without injury to anyone.

These were small blemishes.  They served, if anything, to increase rather than diminish the general impression that hostilities were impossible in such a setting appearing rather as relics from the dim and distant past, instead of as the coffin at the feast.

So forceful was the illusion that even the French command appeared to have been lulled into a sense of security, and this in spite of the fact that it was well-known that the Germans had [not] had an attack “mounted” on this front for a considerable time.  Indeed, the French had themselves made extensive counter-preparations and had heavily fortified the Roucy heights, a range of steep, heavily wooded hills marking the south side of the Aisne Valley.

The actual sector taken over by the IX Corps lay between Bermicourt  and Bouconville, north-west of Rheims, the 50th Division holding the left, the 8th the centre, and the 21st the right. The 25th Division arrived later and was placed in reserve.  The 8th Division was disposed with all three Brigades in line, each on a one battalion front.  Our own Brigade, the 23rd (Brig. Gen. Grogan) took the left flank and relieved the 371 Ieme French regiment (Commandant Villemorin) with Headquarters at Bois des Buttes.

The international relief occasioned some difficulty, but more amusement, much laughter being caused by the French relief orders which ended with two sentences. “Pas de manoeuvres de lampes electriques; en cas de bombardement on se couche!” Never did such simple instructions cover such a multitude of contingencies!

The forward trench system was only a matter of one and a half miles in front of the Aisne River, with which ran parallel at a distance of about one hundred yards the Aisne Canal.  These two waterways in turn ran almost parallel with the line on our immediate front.   According to the dispositions which, in conformity to French orders, we had taken up, the battle stations of all troops were on the German side of the Aisne, while the artillery were in emplacements used by the French for months, and, consequently, it is safe to say, well known to the enemy.  Moreover, 8th Divisional Headquarters were in Roucy Village, where the staff were billeted in the Chateau, perched upon the hillside in full view of the enemy.

THESE WERE TACTICAL MISTAKES OF THE FIRST ORDER, as events were soon to prove, but at the time we pooh-poohed the idea of any activity developing which might necessitate battle positions being taken up.

Half-left from us, and on the further flank of the 50th Division, ran the hogs back of the Chemin des Dames, a veritable mountain range held by a dismounted French Cavalry Corps.  Away to the right, in the 21st area, was the famous Cote 108, with its blasted crest showing dazzling white in the sun.  On our own Divisional front the ground was uniformly flat, only broken by the Bois des Buttes, which rose like a giant mole-hill from the plain. An ideal aiming mark for the German gunner.

Except for this topographical prominence, the Bois des Buttes was an ideal headquarters. Around its base deep shafts led down to a regular underground barracks, thirty feet below ground level, excavated originally by the enemy and improved by the French. Apart from the burrows actually running under the hillock itself and occupied by the personnel of Brigade Headquarters, were three other sets of tunnels, all lighted by electricity and big enough if necessary to hide three Battalions, in addition to the heterogeneous collection of British artillery observers and French electrical mechanics, anti-tank gunners and heavy machine gunners already located in them. Indeed, an entire German regiment had been found in them when taken a year previously.

As living quarters at this time of the year they were suffocatingly hot, but into the sides of the Bois de Buttes roomier shelters had been built enjoying both light and air.   Our mess, Officers and sleeping quarters were in these ground-floor dwellings, out of which opened the stairs to the underground bolt holes in case of emergency.  The General`s bedroom was a most pretentious apartment, containing an imposing four poster bed, a legacy reluctantly left behind by Commandant Villemorin. At the other side of the hill in similar habitations and connected by the underground passages were the Headquarters 45 Brigade R.F.A. who were covering our Brigade front. This was at once a tactical and a social convenience – not only were we in close touch with our guns but we never lacked a fourth at bridge o `nights!   From the dugouts a perpendicular chimney had been pierced through the centre of the hill.  Opening at the summit in a heavily protected concrete lookout post.  As a defensive position, the place might have been made one of great strength.  The trouble was that the vast and ramified systems of tunnels were never half-used nor half explored.

Similarly with the trench system.  In every direction ran trenches, some relics of German occupation, some dug by the French and never occupied, some filled with wire, some with grass and brambles.   For ten days we endeavoured to follow them on the maps handed over by the French, but to no purpose.  Dignified by high sounding names, “premiere parallele de doublement”, “deuzieme ligna de reduits”, “ligna de surveillance”, most of them were found to be disused and overgrown.

Despite much individual effort, it was never possible in the time at our disposal even to reconnoitre the system thoroughly, much less to organise it into some adequate scheme of defence. We had to trust to the parting assurance of the French we had relieved, “The line is very strong; there is much wire”, the last part of which remark was certainly true!  There were such quantities that it was practically impossible to move anywhere except along a trench.

None of these things seriously worried us.  We had come down to the trench front as a “rest cure”. We expected neither to attack nor to be attacked. Yet it was due to this very combination of circumstances that the enemy was able to successfully develop his offensive.

The first week in the line passed peaceably enough. The 23rd Brigade was a very happy family. Brigade Headquarters itself was a remarkably enjoyable “mess” and in the three battalions were as cheery a crowd as it was possible to meet.  The Middlesex out at rest near Roucy instituted a regimental sports day, when Colonel Page found scope for his humour in some novel competitions.

The West Yorkshires in support lived a life of ease and the Devons in the front line could find little but the heat and an inadequate water supply of which to complain. The heat certainly was terrific, the chalk trenches having a way of converting themselves into ovens of glaring whiteness.

At Brigade Headquarters we found plenty of work to do in reorganising the area as far as possible on English lines, and when work permitted, there were many calls to be paid on friends in other units, whom we had little chance of seeing since the war of movement began.


After eight days in the line the first relief took place, the West Yorkshires moving into the front line and the Middlesex into support, while the Devons went back to Roucy to rest.

It was about this time that people began to grow uneasy.  The enemy was too quiet.  Intelligence observers began to notice unusual signs – the enemy balloons especially one behind Juvincourt, were being pulled down and run up again and moved about with great frequency; more railway movement was noted; enemy artillery increased.   True there was no shelling as we had become used to it, but there was an increase in steady, methodical “crumping” of battery positions, one shell at a time.  This was the more significant as the suspicious observer could only put it down to ranging or to calibration of new guns.

Further colour was lent to this view by the fact that once on the target the shelling ceased.

8th Division G. decided that further information about the enemy must be obtained. “Patrolling must be pressed with energy and identification secured”. But this identification was found to be difficult to get.      The enemy were very much alert and had, moreover, withdrawn from their first two lines of trenches, which they had wired up. This fact in itself was disquieting.

At last something happened. A West Yorkshire patrol of one officer and three men succeeded in getting through the enemy wire when they collided with an enemy patrol of some twenty men. Bombs were thrown and one of our men killed. The patrol withdrew taking the dead man with them, but on regaining “No Man’s Land” met a second German patrol.  Another exchange of bombs resulted in a German being killed, but the English patrol had one wounded and were forced to retire, abandoning the dead man – a regrettable occurrence, as it told the enemy quite definitely that British troops were in the line before him.   The officer on returning handed in a shoulder strap which he had found near the German wire and which bore the number of an enemy regiment not previously known to be on the Aisne front.  Great excitement prevailed at Divisional Headquarters on this discovery, and the wires to all parts of the front were kept busy trying to get corroboration.

Eventually a report was received to the effect that the regiment in question had been definitely located at another part of the line, the particular unit in question being one with which we had been engaged with on the Somme.  Still the mystery remained until one of the West Yorkshire intelligence section who had been out on patrol confessed that he had lost a shoulder strap taken from a German at Villiers Bretonneux.  By which it is seen that whole armies can be much put about by such a casual thing as a private soldier dropping an apparently harmless souvenir!

No identification having been secured, the West Yorkshires again sent out a patrol, which went at once to the body of the German killed the night previously.   But the enemy had been thorough.  Every distinguishing mark had been stripped from the man’s uniform, every incriminating document apparently taken from his pockets. It was to the lasting credit of O i/c patrol that he refused to admit himself beaten. With great care he searched the corpse and was rewarded by finding in a hip-pocket a scrap of envelope bearing the address and unit of the dead man.

The information was reassuring. The regiment opposite us was one which had been long in the line. They were merely holding troops. They would not attack. We breathed again.

Our respite was short lived. From that time events moved rapidly.

One morning three pathetic figures stumbled into the front line, French soldiers escaped from captivity.   They were eagerly cross-examined.  Had they noticed unusual activity behind the enemy lines?  Yes, the prisoners’ camps were being emptied, great masses of troops were arriving; everywhere was bustle and movement.  In the German support trenches guns were dug in up to the muzzle.

A day later the Intelligence Officer 24th I.B. reported the presence of a number of black boards in the enemy lines. These could only be the direction boards known to be used for the guidance of tanks or heavy transport.

Then from the French on the left came the final blow. News of a great enemy attack was impending was elicited from three members of a German patrol captured on the Chemin des Dames.  On further SPECIAL examination, the prisoners confessed that this attack would open at midnight 26/27th May.

Official information reached the Brigade about 3.45 pm on the 26th May.  Millis, the Brigade-Major was stretching himself in the sun outside the dug-out.  A signaller approached, saluted and handed him the little pink telephone form.  “The enemy will attack on a wide front at 01.00 hours tomorrow 27th inst. AAA” – then followed instructions as to dispositions.

In a flash, the world around seemed altered. The landscape smiled no longer.  It was all a grinning unreality, a mockery, the earth decked in spring finery so that hopes aroused might be more completely dashed.

These reflections forced themselves home.  There was little time to indulge them.  Everything was haste and energy.   Moments were of importance.  Much had to be done before zero hour, all the hundred and one points of detail attendant upon the complicated game of modern war.  The largest item was to reconnoitre dug–out accommodation for the 2nd Devons, who would form the garrison of the reserve or battle line – a hot and tiring job involving much climbing of crazy stairs and hurrying, bent double, along long underground corridors.

About 6 p.m. arrived a signal officer from French Army Headquarters to inspect communications in the Brigade area.  He was informed that the Brigade signal Officer, Prance, the baby of the H.P. Mess – was very busy up the line supervising arrangements for the morrow’s attack.  This was apparently the first intimation that he had had of the impending offensive, but the news merely caused a smile. What, the enemy attack? Nonsense, they had been GOING to attack for four months on this front, but of course everyone knew they never would.  “IIs sont plus sages que ca.  On ne passerait jamais ici”.  It is more than probable that he left Bois des Buttes confirmed in the opinion that the English were very “Windy”.

His departure coincided with the arrival of the O.C. French “mitrailleuses de position”, heavy Etienne machine guns which had been left as an additional garrison to the line.  No one knew their locations, but the grey-haired old French Captain in charge arrived to place himself under British command and assure the British General of his unswerving obedience. A pleasant interlude, reminiscent of more chivalrous days, at a time when chivalry was at a discount.

Dinner over, the more prudent or more credulous as it then seemed, set to work to pack up everything not absolutely necessary.  Meanwhile it was growing dark. The transport arrived, bringing rations and ammunition and taking away the surplus kits.

With the coming of night an uncanny silence settled over the countryside, a silence such as can only prevail in crowded places.  About nine o’clock “harassing” fire was opened on enemy communications and assembly points. All along the line batteries gave tongue, the sharp bang of eighteen pounders, mingling with the hoarse reports of the field howitzers. Behind the river the few French heavies coughed asthmatically now and again. While the intermittent rattle of machine guns came as a staccato punctuation.

Yet the feeling of silence persisted. Not a shell came from the enemy, and his quietness removed any lingering doubts as to his intentions.

How that evening dragged!  The time crept slowly on towards zero hour, till only a few minutes were left …………… Suddenly, whizz – plop!   Whizz – plop! Two German gas shells burst close at hand, punctual heralds of the storm.  Within a second a thousand guns roared out their iron hurricane.  The night was rent with sheets of flame.  The earth shuddered under the avalanche of missiles …………. leapt skywards in dust and tumult.  Ever above the din screamed the fierce crescendo of approaching shells, ear splitting crashes as they burst …………… all the time the dull, thud, thud, thud of detonations …………… drumfire …. Inferno raged and whirled round the Bois des Buttes ……………. The dug-outs rocked …………… filled with the acrid fumes of cordite, the sickly sweet tang of gas.  Timbers started; earth showered from the roof; men rushed for shelter, seizing kits, weapons, gas-masks, message-pads as they dived to safety. It was a descent into hell.  Crowded with jostling, sweating humanity, the dug-outs reeked, and to make matters worse, Headquarters had no sooner got below than gas began to filter down.  Gas-masks were hurriedly donned and anti-gas precautions taken – the entrances closed by saturated blankets, braziers lighted on the stairs. If gas could not enter, neither could air.  As a fact both did in small quantities, and the long night was spent forty foot underground, at the hottest time of the year, in stinking, overcrowded holes, their entrances sealed up and charcoal braziers alight drying up the atmosphere – suffocation rendered more complete by the gas-mask with clip on nostrils and gag in teeth.

Downstairs the clamour of the barrage was somewhat deadened, but even so far underground the walls shivered occasionally as a heavy shell burst overhead. Contact was established by ‘phone and wire both with the battalions and the flank brigades. The latter were undergoing similar experience to ourselves, but the West Yorkshires reported “We’re all right! You’re getting the worst of it!” – then the line went, and no more news was heard of the front line battalion.  The Middlesex, who were located in dug-outs close to the Bois des Buttes, were being terribly pounded, while the first wave of the barrage had all but overwhelmed the artillery. The emplacements of the 45th F.A. Brigade had all been so accurately registered that after the first half-hour of the bombardment, only one gun remained in action. Dawn began to break, but no news came of any infantry attack.  The Brigade I.O. reported that the barrage and a very heavy ground mist rendered observation impossible, but shortly afterwards came the amazing message – “Enemy balloons rising from our front lines”.  Hot upon this came another from the 24th Brigade on the right “Enemy advancing up the Miette stream. Close to Brigade headquarters. Cannot hold out without re-inforcements”. Such news was startling in the extreme, but worse was yet to come, and at about 5.30 a.m. the left Brigade, 149th reported “Enemy has broken our battle-line and are advancing on Ville au Bois”.  Thus before word had come of the front being assaulted, the enemy had turned both flanks and was closing on the Bois des Buttes.

In view of this there was nothing left but to withdraw from Headquarters and fall back across the Aisne.  Orders to this effect were given and in some confusion the dug-outs were evacuated, practically everything with the exception of the Brigade confidential dispatch-box being abandoned. Once outside, the scene in the light of day was appalling.  Everywhere was ruin – desolation thinly veiled by mist and smoke. The barrage had lifted a little but remained very heavy and the line of the Aisne spouted black with shell-bursts.  Some deliberation took place as to the route to be followed to Pontavert. The road was receiving particular attention from the enemy guns but it was eventually chosen as the quickest way and as it would have been impossible in such shelling to pick a way cross-country over the wire-strewn, shell ploughed ground.

Accordingly Headquarters moved off led by the General and, although flying splinters of shell rang on steel helmets and clipped great pieces from the road, the little gas – goggled procession wound its way to Pontavert without a single casualty. Very different was the experience of others and shortly after Headquarters left the Bois des Buttes, enemy infantry closed on the hillock. To quote the Brigade I.O. – “I could see vast quantities of the enemy advancing almost unopposed and I therefore retired with my six observers, four of whom were either killed or wounded before we crossed the Aisne “.  Again, some artillery officers, making across country in an attempt to reach the Bois de Gernicourt whither Headquarters were supposed to move in the event of the Bois des Buttes having to be evacuated, found themselves with the Aisne before and the enemy close behind.  Without hesitation they Chose the former and divesting themselves of their equipment swam valiantly across both the river and the canal, one of them losing his false teeth in the effort!

A thin stream of wounded, a few stragglers began to trickle back across the bridge at Pontavert, General Grogan standing there to direct the former and collect the latter with a view to holding the line of the river. How terribly the Brigade had suffered was soon evident. Hardly a soul had escaped. Colonel Lowry of the West Yorkshires, with a bullet wound in the foot; a corporal of the same regiment; a mere handful of the Middlesex; and two or three of the Devons and a few gunners completed the tale of the survivors.   

It is difficult to get a true picture of the attack. It had been so violent and the trenches so thinly held that all organised resistance on the divisional front was overwhelmed at once.  But even then the chief danger lay in the flank movements.  The enemy had fiercely assaulted and carried the French lines on the Chemin des Dames, and at the same time under cover of the heavy mist: the sure shield of the German offensives  –  and helped by the sparse nature of the trench garrison, had worked his way up the Miette stream on the right. The advance on this flank was so rapid that small groups of Germans were across the Aisne near the Bois de Gernicourt before the remnants of the Brigade had been collected at Pontavert, but even before this was known it had become evident that any attempt to hold the line of the river with the few troops available would be out of the question.


Meanwhile the 25th Division had been moved up with orders to take up positions in length along the corps front. One Brigade being assigned to each of the three divisions in line.  By this arrangement the 7th Brigade went to the 21st Division, the 75th to the 8th and the 74th to the 50th Division. The 21st Division which had been on the flank of the attack had not yet, relatively speaking, been heavily engaged, but both the 8th and 50th Divisions had ceased to exist as fighting units.

As regards the 8th, it is doubtful if the total strength of all ranks who succeeded in getting back across the river, reached a thousand, and while the other Brigades had both suffered as heavily as the 23rd, their staffs had even worse experiences. The 24th Brigade staff had been surrounded and bombed in their Headquarters, and, although more by good luck than good management, most of them had managed to escape.  Wimble, the Staff Captain, was a prisoner, and General Haig was sufficiently gassed to prevent his taking any further part in the battle.  The 25th had suffered still more heavily.  The Brigadier, General Husey, was missing together with Pascoe, his young Brigade Major. Both had only been appointed to their respective posts a few short weeks previously, but now all that was known of their fate was that the General had been seen on the bridge at Berry-au-Bac sick unto death in the throes of gas-poisoning, while when last seen Pascoe was rallying the remains of the Brigade in a despairing effort to arrest the enemy onrush. 

The command of what was left of the 8th Divisional infantry accordingly passed to General Grogan, and from this point the story of the 8th Division is identified with that of the 23rd Brigade.

The arrival of welcome reinforcements in the shape of 24th Brigade and some 650 men of all units from the Divisional Lewis Gun School enabled some sort of defensive line to be organised in front of Roucy Village. This line was not established before 11 a.m. and a large gap was found to exist on the left flank where the remnants of the 50th Division should have touched the French.

By this time the barrage had died down, though steady long-range shelling was kept up on the back areas.  Viewed from the hills above the village the area of operations presented a vivid spectacle. The day was extremely hot, the sunshine brilliant, and, but for the deep drone of heavy shells winging their way rearwards, all sounds of battle were temporarily stilled.  Below, the steep green slopes showed few signs of activity save where the fields and gardens round Roucy little groups of khaki figures moved busily about. The Aisne and its attendant canal glittered like silver ribbons in the sun, but in the vacated trench area beyond hung a pall of haze and dust, which lifting at intervals revealed the roads thick with marching regiments in field grey, with guns, lorries and wagons. Above like great unwinking eyes, rode observation balloons, towed along by motor transport.

On no other occasion perhaps did the enemy so rapidly follow up his attack.  Battalions advanced in fours across the captured trenches before the last elements of resistance were subdued, while as if to add insult to injury, the war lord himself with his general staff actually arrived to view the battle from the Bois des Buttes at about the same time as its dispossessed occupants were awaiting the German attack in front of Roucy Village!

What a target the whole scene presented and what havoc even a few eighteen pounders would have worked on those crowded roads! But not a gun of either the 8th or 50th Divisional Artillery had been got across the river; while of the 25th Division, the 110th Artillery Brigade which had taken up positions on the low ground south of the Aisne, was practically wiped out by 9.a.m. and the 112th Brigade, though more fortunate, was only able to keep a few guns in action until the afternoon.  Moreover the bridges across the river at Pontavert, Concevreux and Maizy were not destroyed in time. Consequently, not only was it impossible to engage the enemy until he had come within rifle range, but he was enabled to move his guns and transport across the river without let or hindrance.

By mid–day German infantry had crossed both canal and river in force – at Maizy on the left and at Pontavert in the centre, but not till between 2 and 3 p.m. did any attack develop. Large numbers of the enemy then advanced in open order on a front of about two miles. They were met with very heavy rifle and machine gun fire and, unsupported as they were by artillery, suffered severe casualties without piercing the defence.  But it was not long before the gaps in the British line were found out and the enemy working rapidly round the left flank, forced the defenders to make a precipitate retirement to the crest of the Roucy hills.

The heavily fortified positions in the woods above the village had all to be abandoned, and a line taken up astride the Roucy – Ventelay road, where although cover, either natural or artificial, was scanty, the field of fire was excellent.

By this time enemy aerial activity had considerably developed, and low – flying planes machines – gunned the roads with unpleasant regularity.  The observation balloons had come much nearer and against the clear sky looked startlingly close – a heated Cockney even guaranteeing that “e could spit  into the barsket from `ere – easy!”

In a ditch shelter by the side of the road the Brigade Officers enjoyed their first meal since dinner the previous night.   It was not a very sumptuous repast, being a “cold collation” consisting of one tin of sausages divided between eight people and eaten of one penknife.  It is also regrettable that the kind contributor of the tin (the Intelligence Officer, who had rescued it from falling into Boche hands) was the only one who got no share of its contents.

Little respite was given for digestion, as about 5 p.m. the enemy attempted to storm the position. Lines of infantry in extended order advanced from the cover of the woods, cheering and shouting, but again the frontal attack was halted by the steady volume of rifle and machine-gun fire which it encountered. Was momentary for the gap on the left must by this time have been some miles in width, taking full advantage of which the enemy commenced an encircling movement, at the same time subjecting the front to a bombardment from trench mortars, these tactics were employed throughout his advance.   The front would be pinned down by trench mortar fire, while small groups of infantry with light machine guns would dribble round in ones and twos and, taking advantage of depressions in the ground and any natural cover, endeavour to turn the flanks of the position.

The situation became critical.  It was obvious that the position could not be held against a determined attack, the left flank was already turned and in addition every danger existed that the rapidity of the German advance up the valley from Maizy to Meurival would cut off the line of retreat.  At the same time the enemy`s tactics gave the defenders a short but much – needed breather.  8th Division Headquarters, which had evacuated Roucy the previous night now moved back to Montigny, while Brig. Gen. Kennedy of the 75th Brigade took over the command of the front from General Grogan, who was recalled by Division. The day began to wane and the glow of the sunset was dimmed by the rolling clouds of smoke which arose from blazing villages, farmsteads and huts.  Never was the coming of night more welcomed, and in the gathering dusk the line was hastily withdrawn behind Ventelay and new positions taken up at about 11.30 p.m. on the ridge above Montigny between Les Grands Savarts and Romain which by 9 p.m. was blazing fiercely.

The way back led through the area of the old transport lines and camps which the night previously had sheltered the stores, canteens, regimental details and general impedimenta of the Division.  Now only deserted, shell – swept ruins remained, but the road to Ventelay was strewn with the bodies of man and horse, with charred limbers and splintered wagons, destroyed as they had attempted to escape.

The withdrawal was not accomplished without collisions with enemy patrols, whose advance on the right was so rapid that at Bouvancourt the entire 25th Field Ambulance was captured. The village was surrounded before the Ambulance knew that any danger existed, Colonel G.J. Ormsby, A.D.M.S. 8th Division actually entered the village in a Ford ambulance to warn them to retire when fire was opened on him by an enemy machine gun.  He was hit in the arm but, his car being uninjured was able to escape.   Later on the same evening Colonel Puddicombe, O.C. 25th Field Ambulance, and Lieut. Kelly, M.O.R.C., U.S.A. also managed to give his captors the slip and regain our lines.

Behind the line the congestion was appalling, the roads for miles being blocked by long lines of retreating transport. The rapidity of the enemy advance; the accurate long – range fire on road junctions and bridges; the convergence of routes; the hilly nature of the country and the heavy casualties to beast and driver; these were factors which made the task of saving the transport one of extraordinary difficulty, and it says much for the discipline and devotion of all ranks concerned that the seemingly impossible was accomplished.  All night long the columns crawled slowly back, toiling up steep hillsides and pounding down sudden valleys; the march over and again interrupted by the crash of a shell, squeals of wounded animals, an abrupt halt – then on again. Still daylight found practically all vehicles across the Vesle and on the high ground above Jonchery.  Here the brigade transport unlimbered for food and a brief rest. Even in such a predicament the resource of the old soldier was unruffled, and the quartermaster of the West Yorkshires ate for his breakfast a fresh egg, laid during the night by a fowl which was living in an improvised coop on one of the wagons!  A pretty domestic touch.

The pleasures of the breakfast – table had been barely tasted or nose bags half emptied, when the infantry on the far side of the river were seen to be falling back. Almost simultaneously an alert enemy gunner “spotted” the halted column and started a sharp burst of shelling. Horses were hastily harnessed; the retreat resumed with all possible speed, but not before two men had been hit.

The shell that did the damage burst right in the middle of the road.   Before its smoke had cleared away, a dishevelled private, blood pouring from a deep scratch on his face, dashed up to an officer, seized him by the hand and in the richest Sheffield accent exclaimed “By goom, sir, I’m glad to see thee! I thowt thou was deead when I didn`t see thee leave the doog–outs”.

He was the officer’s servant, a man over 40, who by his own confession “joined up” in a moment of extreme alcoholic exuberance one night after seeing a pal off to the front.  When next morning the recruiting sergeant claimed him he had quite forgotten the incident, which did not please his wife who as he put it, “fair played pop wi` me”.

It is impossible to follow the transport further on its journey throughout the long summer day; suffice it to say that under a blazing sun without adequate halts and harassed by enemy planes, tired and frightened animals and cursing sweating men plodded wearily rearwards by way of Vendeuil, Savigny, Faverolles, Lhery and Romigny until towards evening they reached a temporary haven of refuge in the wooded slopes above Jonquery.

During the small hours of the morning a sudden enemy attack from the direction of Bouvancourt had enabled him to break through on the right, forcing the scattered line on the Montigny heights to beat a hasty retreat towards the Vesle, where another position was taken up in front of Jonchery.  At the same time General Grogan was despatched by General Heneker which had moved rapidly back, with orders to collect what stragglers he could in the neighbourhood of Jonchery and with them to hold the south bank of the river, while General Kennedy of the 75th Brigade was ordered to fill the gap to the right and join up with the 21st Division. By some marvel of improvisation, this was done and a line established by daylight from where the Prouilly road crosses the Vesle to the farm about 1 1/2 miles northwest of Jonchery.

Dawn on the 28th therefore saw the position retrieved so far as the remnants of the 8th, 50th and the greater part of the 25th Divisions were concerned, and the morning wore slowly on without any further action manifesting itself.  The sun climbed high into a cloudless sky beating fiercely down upon a panorama which was curiously peaceful, although the roads smoked with the passage of troops and transport, and here and there burning farmsteads glowed dully in the brilliant sunshine.

The enemy`s temporary inactivity afforded a most valuable respite, in which feverish efforts were made to consolidate the position against a fresh assault.  Touch was again established on both flanks and although the line was exceedingly “sketchy” it was some satisfaction to know that it was more or less continuous. On the right the 21st Division, despite heavy casualties, was still able to maintain an organised front and was in touch with the French on its further flank. On the left the situation was far less reassuring.  Here, towards the centre of his main stroke, the enemy advance had been even more rapid and a deep salient had been driven into the allied front; the disintegration of which was complete.   It was on this flank that the next blow fell, and shortly after noon a determined attack was launched against the front held by remnants of the 50th Division about two miles to the west of Jonchery.  So vigorous was this onslaught that the line gave, and the enemy, pushing through the gap with great rapidity, began to work his way towards the high wooded ridges above Vendeuil.  The attack was simultaneously extended towards the right, forcing a hasty retreat across the Vesle along the whole front held by the British Corps.

All the morning’s work of consolidation had been for nothing, and as the tired khaki figures struggled up the steep slopes south of the river, they could see enemy artillery and transport pouring in continuous streams down the two roads converging on Jonchery, while infantry swarmed busily across the open country.  It was a sight given to gunners only in dreams, but not a gun was available.

On the crest of the hills overlooking the river, along the Jonchery – Branscourt road, was an old French strongpoint, and here a stand was made for about two hours.  It was a wonderful position commanding the passage of the river and considerable toll was levied on the advancing masses by machine guns and rifle fire.  Once again the frontal attack was halted and for a time remained discreetly out of effective range.  The check was not of long duration as little opposition was offered to him on either flank, and German patrols, plentifully provided with light machine guns, occupied the high ground west of Jonchery towards Vendeuil about 4 p.m.

The position was soon nearly surrounded, and towards 5 o`clock it was hastily vacated, its defenders falling back under fire towards the crest running almost parallel with and to the east of the main Jonchery – Savigny road.  Here some old practice trenches furnished most welcome cover, and by the strenuous personal efforts of General Grogan and Millis, the heterogeneous collection of tired troops, representing almost every unit of three divisions, artillery as well as infantry, was again formed into some coherent line.   On the left of the position was a large farmstead occupied by a handful of French infantry, but on the far side of the road the ground sloped upwards towards a great mass of woods. That these were already in enemy hands was obvious from the number of grey clad – figures that from time to time could be seen moving among the trees, but the General wisely decided that at all costs the enemy must be prevented from securing the Jonchery – Savigny road, as the longer use of this was denied him the more effectively would his main advance be delayed.   A party of about seventy men under Major Cope of the 2nd Devons and Thompson was accordingly sent forward to take up a position on the far side of the road and to check any German attempt to debouch from the woods.

As it was not known how many of the enemy were already concealed in the undergrowth and cornfields between the woods and the road, which by the way, were nowhere more than 100 yards apart, the task of this party was not an enviable one but actually their antics provided a little much needed comic relief.   The short advance was made in extended order, and was accomplished without casualties, finishing up with a truly ferocious bayonet charge through a large cornfield, out of which several Germans scuttled like bolting rabbits.

The party took up their position in the cornfields between the road and the woods, from the cover of which the enemy made no further attempt to advance, although intermittent rifle fire was kept up until dusk.   Then about 100 yards in front of the position, two round heads in coal scuttle helmets popped up inquisitively from some bushes. Their owners, realising at once that they had come too far for the good of their health, bobbed down and began to crawl away. Unfortunately for them their movements had been observed by the watchful Thompson.  Pointing the retreating pair out to the man nearest him a sergeant of the 1st Sherwood Foresters – he remarked – in much the same tones as one would use to a waiter    “Sergeant, shoot me those Boche!”. “Very good, sir “came the perfectly composed answer, two quick shots and those two Germans were no more.  Whereupon Thompson promptly marched out and rifled the bodies of the slain, gaining precious identification and also, what was of more immediate importance, matches!

The coming of darkness rendered the isolated position of the party still more precarious, but throughout the night they kept up a perfectly astounding pandemonium and a great deal of rifle – fire. Whether the bluff succeeded, or whether the enemy were equally tired, or both, it is impossible to say, the fact being that no further action developed during the night.

Meanwhile the transport had largely unlimbered in the woods above Jonquery, when Quartermasters ever importunate – were reminding transport officers that rations had to go up the line.   This was a bitter pill to swallow! Remember the transport had been forced to retire at least three times the normal distance behind the line; horses and men were almost “all in “.  Yet, altho` the usual grouses were forthcoming – , “Why the blinking `ell couldn`t we `ave dumped rations on the way?”; `ow can I arsk these perishin` mules o`mine to go back and shake `ands with jerry again? “, and many more comments of a more sanguinary nature. The ration limbers set out in the cool of the evening to do the whole journey twice again. It was a weary pilgrimage along strange roads in the dark.  Several times they lost their way, once turning back when almost into Crugny, which was in enemy hands, but finally dumped their precious loads on the roadside close behind the ridge held by the brigade.

Parsloe, the Brigade Transport Officer, riding on ahead to report, found a very cold, hungry and irate General huddled up in a length of trench struggling to snatch a little sleep, and, such is human nature, was heartily cursed for not having brought rations right up to the line.  But in extenuation it must be remembered that both Officers and men had had practically no food and less sleep for forty-eight hours of hard fighting; also that the nights were as cold as the days were hot – ample excuse surely for ragged tempers.

Except for this incident, the night past quietly and, although the uncertainty of the situation rendered sleep impossible, the very fact of remaining stationary and un-attacked throughout the hours of darkness enabled the bulk of the scattered garrison to start the day of the 29th May a little more refreshed in spirit.


Unlike the previous day the enemy commenced operations early and, just as the first glow of dawn began to gild the horizon, large bodies of infantry issued from the woods in the apparent belief that the advance party had been withdrawn.  A fierce gust of rifle – fire sharply disillusioned them and they scuttled hastily back to cover.

This was about 3 a.m. after which hour no further overt action took place for some time, although it was obvious that a more determined move was impending and that the enemy was massing in the woods.   In spite of this, the little party vigorously kept up its ridiculous bluff until nearly 11 a.m. when strong parties of Germans were seen working round both flanks. Then, and not till they were in imminent danger of being entirely surrounded, was the order given to fall back and rejoin the main body on the far side of the road. Needless to say this was obeyed with alacrity and the mere handful of troops, which by sheer bluff had held up an overwhelming number of the enemy since the previous afternoon, fled precipitately back to the ridge behind.  Immediately their withdrawal was observed the enemy swarmed out after them, opening a furious fusillade from rifles and machine guns which caused serious casualties.

Moreover, this time the Boche meant business, and with much shouting and cheering advanced to the assault of the main position. For a time he was held, but the weight of numbers gave such an impetus to the attack that about noon General Grogan saw the fruitlessness of further resistance and accordingly ordered the line to retire by bits – to say “retire by platoons” would sound absurd! – on to the ridge in front of Treslon village about a mile to the rear. Closely followed by the enemy and pursued by his attentions in the shape of an embryonic machine – gun barrage,   this retirement was not accomplished without difficulty or casualties but once again the General by his energy and personal example extracted order out of chaos and some sort of line was again formed.

By this time the force under his command had become pitifully thin – a ragged army of Falstaffian dimensions.  And what a collection!  The General himself; his brigade staff – officers; Smythe, the G.S.O. III 8th Division, Major Cope of the 2nd Devons: Colonel Moore of the 1st Sherwood Foresters, the only infantry C.O. of the 8th Division not already a casualty; two colonels of the 50th Division without a single man of the units they once commanded; a knot of machine gunners from the same division whose gun refused to function from lack of water; a woeful sprinkling of all units of the 8th and most of the 25th and 50th Divisions; in all about two hundred – all hungry, sleepless, dirty; many bleeding from wounds of greater or less severity.  A number of French colonial troops, part of a division which had just come up as reinforcements, completed the tale of men.

This scattered remnant was disposed along a steep ridge, deep in growing corn, which sloped away towards the left into the wooded valley of the Ardre.  Here among the trees which bordered the river were more French, blue clad “Poilus” as well as Khaki – clad colonials, chattering and laughing and making great play with their Hotchkiss automatic – rifles against Boche planes.  In rear the hillside sloped abruptly down to a miniature valley in which nestled the village of Treslon and at whose further side the ground rose sharply up to another ridge of a more wooded nature, which owing to its close proximity to a village of that name was known as the Bouleuse ridge.

For some unaccountable reason the enemy did not follow up his advantage.  Instead he sat down and contented himself with subjecting the ridge with a machine gun barrage of some intensity.   The air hummed with bullets.  Bullets scythed shrilly through the standing corn; kicked vicious spurts of dust from the sun – baked earth.  Ricochets droned angrily away overhead. Fortunately the fire was very inaccurate and, although disconcerting actual damage to the scattered forces lying in extended order along the crest of the ridge.

Weary and hungry as they were, the spirits of the little band were marvellous.  This was largely due to the example set by the General.  In a position of extreme personal and tactical danger after three days of incessant fighting, he bumped backwards and forwards along the line on a commandeered mount – his round, red face wreathed in smiles, his eyes twinkling, chuckling to himself as if the whole affair were a boyish joke.

His borrowed steed was quickly wounded – no matter, by this time the grooms had arrived with the Brigade chargers.  Mounting himself on “Sandy”, his pet pony, the General resumed his ride in full view of the Boche, laughing and talking with the men as he passed – all the time affectionately belabouring “Sandy” with a great crook handled walking stick.

Yet at the same time he was perfectly conscious of the seriousness of the situation, and took what immediate steps he could to ameliorate it.  A picked handful of his small command were surreptitiously withdrawn to the Bouleuse ridge to act as a covering party when the inevitable retirement from the present position should take place. An Officer was also sent down to the Headquarters of a French regiment believed to be in Treslon Village with a request that they should conform to the dispositions and strengthen the little force on the Bouleuse ridge.

The French were eventually located comfortably ensconced in a cellar but General Grogan`s message met with a frankly incredulous reception.  An English General in the firing line? Impossible!  Only the prompt evidence of an eye witness – a “sous officer” – who exclaimed “But yes, my Colonel, there is – a mad English General on horse – back! I have seen him!“ – convinced the regimental commander who even then politely but firmly declined to contribute the desired support.

Millis kept galloping across to the left in a series of attempts to stop the French – who were without officers and continually announced their intention of retiring “en soutien” – to stay their ground; Ledward, the Staff Captain, and the grooms made journeys from a S.A.A. limber in the valley to the line with bandoliers of ammunition; Prance was ostensibly busied with his signal communications.

The Whole scene – its sunny fields of ripening corn, its galloping horsemen – was for a time more reminiscent of some old time battle picture than an episode from the Great War, and in spite of the pressing attention of machine – gun bullets, one was strongly reminded of field days on Laffan`s Plain or the long valley.   But such pre-war memories were destined to be rudely shattered.   The reason for the enemy`s infantry inactivity was soon explained, and he was shortly observed to be man – handling into position several heavy trench – mortars.  Owing to the weight of these pieces and their ammunition it was some little time before they were ready to open fire, but about 3 p.m. an aimed bombardment started which in an entrenched position would have been serious enough but which no troops, however fresh or however good their morale, could have long withstood in the open.  The effect of the big Minenwerfer shells – huge two hundred pound canisters of high explosive on the hard soil was terrible, the tearing crash of the burst being as demoralising as the execution wrought by the flying splinters.  The little red – tiled houses in Treslon Village crumbled in columns of black dust; men were torn to bleeding shreds; the line quickly thinned out. Nerves on edge before became still more jagged.

Worse was yet to come. On the left the French again grew restive, seeing which Millis started once more across to rally them.  Prance, snatching a hasty meal of dry bread and wine in the saddle, shouted “Hang it all wait a moment for a fellow! I`m coming too” – and catching Millis up, galloped with him across the ridge.  The two had not gone more than 50 yards when a shell burst right between their horses, killing both animals and Prance outright.   Millis being hit through both ankles.  From an individual standpoint the moral effect of this was out of all proportion to its actual significance.  Looking back on that afternoon after so long an interval. It is difficult to tell why.  Yet at the moment these two casualties seemed to mark a turning point.  Probably the reason was that up to that time the little family of Brigade Headquarters had come unscathed through the holocaust. Then in a second an irreparable gap had been made.  The sun seemed to have gone in. In no one was the effect more noticeable than in the General.   His cheerfulness vanished and again his attitude was contagious.

The breaking point both individually and tactically was being reached. The pitiless bombardment continued. Colonel Moore was killed. To complete the hopelessness of the situation, allied guns, whether British or French, began shelling the ridge. The first salvo, all too accurately aimed, burst well in the middle of the tired line, doing fearful havoc.  Frantic messages were sent back to stop this havoc. At the same time Bourdillon, the D.A.M.S. 8th Division arrived in the little valley behind the line with three ambulances to pick up the wounded.

A vivid picture stands out of the thin stream of mutilated humanity, English and French, being carried down on hurdles and ground sheets – such medical amenities such as stretchers had long since disappeared – when suddenly the Bombardment increased to rapid fire  …… stopped suddenly ……. then followed a fierce rattle of musketry, shouts and cheers, a rush of Khaki clad figures down the hillside, the General and Ledward galloping past, the ambulances clattering off down the valley in a cloud of dust – the ridge was in German hands.

If at other times he had been slow at following up his advantage, the enemy on this occasion lost no time in attempting to exploit his success.  The assault lost none of its momentum.  Scores of light machine guns were brought into play upon the survivors of the mixed force as they scrambled breathlessly up the steep slopes of the Bouleuse Ridge.  At the same time, urged on by the loud shouts from their non-commissioned officers, the German line swept forward in pursuit, and before the British line could even be rallied, German signal lights were rising from the clumps of woods all along its forward slope. Worse still, in one place a party of the enemy actually established a footing on the crest of the ridge itself.

Action of a very decided character was necessary.  Hastily gathering together about a dozen men under a young officer of the 2nd East Lancashire’s, the General led them at the charge straight into the wood into which the enemy were established.  The stroke succeeded and the German post, surprised at the unexpectedness of the little counter attack, was driven headlong down the slope.

An amusing incident in connection with this sortie was again provided by General Grogan.   A German infantryman drew a bead on him from about 20 yards range, but his shot went so wide that Sandy, the Generals pony, was hit through the nose.  With a total disregard of the niceties of military etiquette, the General signalled his miss by “cocking a snook” at the offending marksman, then leaving him to be dealt with by the troops following him, the General calmly got down and bandaged up Sandy’s nose with his own handkerchief.   As a matter of fact, the wound was simply a clean hole through the fleshy part of the nose and did not appear to inconvenience the beast in the least.

Elsewhere along the ridge. The enemy thrusting forward had met with an unexpectedly stubborn resistance and sat down with the apparent intention of repeating the same tactics he had employed with such success in the capture of the ridge in front.  In the respite thus given, efforts were made once again to organise a continuous defensive line, although by this time its length had so contracted that it did not appear to be in touch with either flank.

Shortly news arrived that the 19th Division were expected to reinforce the front at any moment, while most welcome reinforcements of two composite units about the strength of half a battalion each made up from the rag – tag and bobtail, chiefly of the 8th Division, arrived into the line.  The word “reinforcements” is somewhat of a misnomer since actually the new arrivals outnumbered the force that General Grogan had left.  By this time dusk was beginning to fall and the position was one of extreme anxiety. The enemy patrols were definitely established in the clumps of woods on the forward slopes of the ridge about 300 yards from the crest.  The line could not be expected to stand any further prolonged pressure.

Once again the General was a miracle of endurance, although other officers had reached such a point of exhaustion that not even the realisation of imminent personal danger could keep them awake or stir their tired limbs.  Thompson for example, in the rush that took place in the retreat from the Treslon to the Bouleuse ridge, managed to reach the summit of the latter; then out of breath sat down for a minute and, even while the enemy were attempting to carry the position, fell asleep and resisted all efforts to awake him.  He was eventually removed by one of the grooms who lifted him on a charger and bore him out of the immediate scene of battle without awakening him from his slumbers.

Signal communication was once more established with Division and night fell without any further enemy action.  During the night word arrived that the 56th Infantry Brigade of the 19th Division would take over command of the front from General Grogan.

Here properly the story of the 23rd Brigade`s part in the Battle ends, tho` actually only the General, in a state bordering on collapse, the relief brigade major and Thompson were relieved.  Neither change of command nor the arrival of fresh troops brought any respite to the gallant survivors on the Bouleuse ridge.

Although that morning the 8th Division handed over the whole of the front to the 19th Division and retired comfortably across the Marne to Villiers – au –Bois, the pitiful remnants of the division, with their fellows of the 25th and 50th Divisions remained in line and often in action until about the 12th June – and this in spite of the fact that sorely tried 21st Division was taken out of the line the following night.

The 56th Brigade opened their headquarters in the village of Sarcy on the morning of the 30th May, and it was amusing to see them settling down to breakfast and cursing the non-arrival of Kidneys and bacon.  They were new to the open warfare game of hare and hounds with the Boche playing the latter and more enviable part and we battle – scarred veterans could afford to smile, hungry as we were, and say “you wait “ nor had they to wait long.

The new Division had been rushed into action so rapidly that its transport had not been able to keep up with the fighting troops and as a result Viscount Fielding – the A.A. and Q.M.G 8th Division – ordered the effective portion of the 8th Division first line transport to remain for the moment at the disposal of the 56th Brigade.  As a further long withdrawal was imminent, instructions were given that the limbers should make their way rearwards, laying dumps of S.A.A. and rations as they went.

A large part of the transport was in SARCY village, but about 9 a.m. news came from the 56th Brigade Headquarters that the enemy had taken Lhery on the left and was also making progress on the right.  This double stroke threatened both the avenues of retreat and the transport was at once galloped out of the village taking the less dangerous of the two routes, that to Chaumuzy.  Even so the column came under fire outside the village, Mathews the transport officer of the 2nd Middlesex, being hit in the hand.

A little way down the road the traffic congestion became appalling. English wagons mingled with French wagons and mules met an advancing wave of transport, Guns and men of both nationalities pushing up towards the line.  After a seemingly interminable march, Chaumuzy was reached only to find Divisional Headquarters had left the town which was in a state of wild confusion, full of demoralised French troops, who had apparently looted a canteen.  At a time when chaos was at its height an enemy gun began shelling the town with dreadful effect.

By making a wide detour across the country the 8th Divisional limbers eventually got ahead of the traffic block and regained the main road between Marfaux and Pourcy, but it was not till Nanteuil – la Fosse was reached late in the afternoon that any responsible staff – officers could be found who could give information as to where they could make for, or orders as to what they were to do.

In this village the 19th Division had established their advanced Headquarters, while in a potato cellar were located a few officers of the 8th Division who had been left in the forward zone to superintend the evacuation of remnants of the Division other than fighting troops.  The brick walls of that cellar could have witnessed few more comic spectacles than the supper which was served there that night. Everyone was hungry but food was difficult to beg, buy or steal.   For all that Reddington, Colonel Fielding`s big Coldstream servant, procured a loaf or the of bread, a tin of sardines some jam, and a bottle or two of white wine.   These were laid out imposingly upon a trestle and Reddington announced to the Colonel in the most imperturbable way “Supper is ready m`lord!”  The small group of red – tabbed but very unshaven officers fell to with a will, and afterwards sank down in a sleep of sheer exhaustion on the uncomfortable couch provided by the big heap of potatoes.  Wallace, the Brigadier – Major of the 25th Infantry Brigade and another officer started by rolling up together with an old piece of sacking over them, but morning found Wallace, minus the sacking, on the potatoes,  the other plus the sacking had rolled off without waking on to the flags.

The next day everyone but the wretched infantry personnel were moved across the Marne and the whole divisional transport parked in the Bois de Boursault to the West of Epernay.   A last comb – cut and reorganisation was effected with the result that a small composite battalion (about 500 strong) together with a machine – gun company was sent up on June 2/3rd to join the 800 odd troops of the division which had been collected in the firing line.  These two so – called battalions held positions in the Bois de Courton and were under the command of Lt. Col. E. M. Beall, D.S.O. ( M.G.C.) and LT. Col. D. Mitchell (22 D.,L.I. Pioneers).

In order the more effectually to ration these units and also to avoid the threat to the Bois de Boursault of the enemy crossing the river at Chateau Theirry further west, the transport was moved further to the rear, the first line being collected at La Loge Turbanne, a farm at a main road junction to the south east of Epernay.  To this forward station rations and S.A.A. were delivered direct by the Divisional Motor Transport Company which had incidentally suffered severely in the enemy shelling of Fismes on the night of the 26/27 May – and taken on by the limbers to the Quartermaster of the composite force in the woods near Romery, and to Mortimer, the A.P.M., who was encamped with his “slops” close to Hautvillers.

It was a new experience for “infanteers” to do supply work and many secrets of the A.S.C. were revealed, such as why army mutton or beef never has kidneys – at least when it arrives at those for whom it is destined! Rations were plentiful, except for a shortage of cigarettes.  This was so acute that it was eventually necessary to send a staff car into Paris to purchase smokes for the troops in the line.

La Loge Turbanne was a very peaceful spot – a Dutch barn to sleep in, a stream to bathe in and in addition to rations, quantities of eggs, milk, and yes! champagne.  Champagne was plentiful simply because German gunners were devoting particular attention to the delectable city of Epernay with the result that wine – merchants at least those that stayed were selling off at panic prices.  The rich fare together with just enough work transformed haggard scare – crows into fleshy men in an incredibly short time and there were many none too willing to leave the farm when the division finally moved out of the area.

Although it had ceased to exist as a fighting formation, although its staff was at Villiers – au Bois with nothing to do since all the surviving troops were in the line under the 19th Division, the division remained in the area till the second week in June.   For ten days the wretched composite battalions hung on to their positions though it is only fair to say that the German advance had spent itself.  Except for two strong attacks against the Montagne de Bligny on June 6th, the enemy made no further attempts to advance on this particular piece of front.  The line settled down. Trenches began to be dug and for a time there was peace, while on both sides efforts were being renewed for the resumption of the struggle which was to result first in the desperate German effort to advance and then in the great allied counter stroke which drove the enemy back almost to the lines he had left to attack IX Corps on May 27th.

Of all battles in which the 8th Division was engaged this was at once the most disastrous and the most remarkable.  The first break through was so overwhelming, so complete that nothing the Boche did before or after it could be compared to it.  It may be that with more experience of the sector a more coherent defence might have been organised, but as it was tired battalions much under strength were holding each about a thousand yards of front when the enemy loosed on them an artillery preparation of a violence and an accuracy that far outdid, in the opinion of the most seasoned soldiers, any other barrage they were ever under.  There was no artillery support, while the Germans speedily drove the few allied planes out of the sky.  Troops did not know their whereabouts or where the trenches led.  The 2nd Devon Regiment, which had been rushed up the night before the attack to support the 23rd Brigade, won a “citation “in French Army Orders and the award of a Croix de Guerre for a “forlorn hope” stand which would compare with the highest annals in their history.  But only a portion of the Battalion was engaged in this epic, the others lost their way in the vast tunnels and were killed or taken by the enemy as they emerged.

The amazing speed of the enemy advance has already been remarked but a good instance of it is provided by the following experience.  Miller, a subaltern of the Devons, who was captured, recounts that he was in a shell – hole with a few men firing hard at enemy skirmishers advancing across the open in front.   The battle was still hot.  Suddenly a big camouflage screen on his left was blown down by a shell to reveal an enemy battalion marching in column down the road!

The complete disintegration of formations and the impossibility (owing to road congestion, rapidity of the retreat) of the higher staff keeping in close touch with the situation resulted in a “soldier`s battle”.  Time after time the situation was only saved by the gallantry and resource of some officer or man whose action went unheard of and unrecognised.  History will never know the number of deadly isolated struggles which were fought out in the mists and marshes of the Aisne, in the valleys of the Vesle and the Ardre, amid the standing corn on the successive ridges, or in the vast woods of the Montaigne de Rheims.

Still there was no lack of awards and decorations, among which it is sufficient to record that General Grogan was awarded the Victoria Cross which he had so well earned and that, in addition to the 2nd Devon Regiment, the 5th Battery R.F.A. under Captain Massey, which perished to a man fighting to the last with rifle, bayonet and Lewis gun, were cited by the French Army Commander and awarded the Croix de Guerre.

Nor must the part played by the Medical Officers go unrecorded. All the Infantry M.O`s except one had become casualties by the third day of the battle while one field ambulance had, as has been recorded, captured lock, stock, and barrel.  Leaving one or two of the M.O’s from the remaining ambulance to attend to the troops in the line, Bourdillon (Col. Ormsby having been wounded), took all the others off to the big French clearing–station at Epernay, whither a stream  of British wounded was flowing, and where they could be of greater use in saving life.  Indeed how many English lives this devoted little band saved will never be known, but, at a time when the British were none too popular with their allies and when even had they been, the French had neither the staff nor the resources to deal adequately with the numbers of casualties, they sweated as stretcher bearers, acted as dressers, physicians, surgeons, nurses for days until practically all our own wounded had been evacuated either by ambulance or by the crude hospital trains on which the French grudged any Englishman a passage.

The Division was wiped out in the strict sense of the word.  While it is always unsafe to generalise, it is extremely doubtful whether any other British Division on the Western Front, certainly after early 1915, suffered such obliteration.  Not an infantry C.O. or adjutant survived.  Two out of the three Brigade Commanders were casualties, the third won the V.C.  The field ambulances, the motor and horse transport of the divisional supply train all suffered in proportion to the fighting services.  Among the infantry rank and file, the casualties mounted in almost every battalion to over 600. The total ration strength of the division during the time that the transport was at La Loge Turbanne was about 1,500 out of 12,000!

In other words the battle of the Aisne and Marne following the battles of the Somme and Villers Bretonneux brought the grand total of casualties suffered by the 8th Division in under two months to over 17,000.   Of a truth there is some justification for the division claiming with a certain mournful pride to be the unluckiest in France.  Throughout the war from November 1914 onwards all the engagements “went wrong” in which it took part.  Neuve Chapelle, Festubert, Fromelles in 1915; the Somme on July 1st and again in October 1916; Ypres on the 31st July, in August and November 1917; All these were but preliminaries to the Spring of 1918 when the last week of three successive months saw the division practically wiped out – March 23 – 30th on the Somme, April 23 – 26th at Villers Bretonneux, and May 27 – June 1st between the Aisne and the Marne.

© Crown Copyright.

War Diary 9th Loyal North Lancashire Regiment May 1918


9 May                   Battalion left at 3am, march route to WAYENBERG, to entrain. Transport proceeded in advance. Battalion arrived at 7:30am. Battalion entrained in record time, viz Transport Complete – 1 1/2hsr. Train left at 11:15am

10 May                Battalion on railway journey. Made halts at NOYELLES and PONTOISE. Arrived at FERE en-TARDENOIS at 7:00am. Arrived In camp at 10pm.

11 May                Battalion cleaning up, etc. Inspection by Maj-Genl. Bainbridge KCB at 6pm who complemented 25th Division on good work done and conveyed same from Corps Commander and C in C.

12 May                Church parades in camp. Inspection of men by CO.

13 May                Battalion in training as per orders. Battalion provided working party under French Camp Commandant.

14 May                Battalion training. Military Medal awarded to 7 men of the Battalion. Lieut. AE Bulling appointed assistant adjutant.

Major (Lt Col) EL Nares, MC proceeded to join 66th Division.

Lt. Col. AM Tringham DSO took over command of the Battalion.

15 May                Battalion training

16 May                Route march with halt for Tactical Scheme, Lewis Gun Detachment formed. Military Medal awarded to 4 Other Ranks.

17 May                Range allotted to Battalion. Transport inspected by BPC.

18 May                Route march.

19 May                Church parade. CO’s inspection

20 May                Range allotted to Battalion.

21 May                Tactical Schemes on Training Area. Major OS Derby-Griffiths, MC takes over command of the Battalion. Lt Col. AM Tringham DSO to 75th Brigade.

22 May                Entrenching scheme carried out on Training Area.

23 May                Range allotted. Moved to VANDEUIL in the evening


24 May                Arrived at VANDEUIL, early hours of morning.

25 May                CO’s inspection of Battalion

26 May                Church Parades. Orders for move.

7:15pm Received orders to prepare to move at once.

11pm     Marched to MUSCOURT. During latter part of journey Box Respirators were worn owing to gas shelling by enemy.


27 May                Arrived at camp at MUSCOURT at about 4am.

9am       1 Platoon per Coy ordered to proceed to a line along Canal bank, NE of MAIZY, to form a nucleus of defence for that place.

12noon Remainder of Battalion ordered to reinforce at once line already taken up.

Total going into action 12 Officers, 496 other ranks.

Capt. WF Loudon MC – Wounded. Lieut. A Sumner – Wounded.

Capt. PR Shields MC – Wounded and missing. 2nd Lieut. AE Downing – Wounded and missing.

Major OS Darby-Griffiths MC – Killed.  2dn Lieut. JBM Lightbody – Wounded.

Capt. RJP Hewetson – MIssing.

Major Lloyd 105th RE assumed command of Battalion.


War Diary Total Casualties During the Month:

Killed     Wounded           Wounded & Missing       Missing

2             6                            1                                           1                            Officers

6             123                       4                                           232                       Other Ranks