Heavy Artillery at Anzac Cove, 1915

#1
Was wondering if a spotter or historian somewhere could help.

I have a photo of a gun my great-grandfather crewed, along with his account. Can anyone ID the type of gun?

He claims to have been on the only piece of heavy artillery behind the Anzacs (not too far behind, as they were only 150 yards from the Turks). In August his gun fired the round to start the attack on Lone Pine.

Nowhere in any accounts on Gallipoli is there any mention of British Gunners at Anzac - though his account claims 40 volunteers from the Royal Garrison Artillery (Coys based in Malta) were at Anzac Cove, with another 40 going to Cape Hellas.

He arrived at Anzac Cove on the 30th June according to his account, which places his gun before any 6 inch howitzers are due to have arrived at Anzac according to what I've read - but accounts etc indicate it is some form of 6".

So... ummm help?

Account
 

Attachments

#2
Sorry, no help on the gun... but it made me think fondly of my great grandfather, who was a sapper at Gallipoli.

In one diary entry he writes, simply: "Under heavy fire all day. Made jam."

Such a triumph of understatement & British reserve.
 
#3
sobonty said:
Sorry, no help on the gun... but it made me think fondly of my great grandfather, who was a sapper at Gallipoli.

In one diary entry he writes, simply: "Under heavy fire all day. Made jam."

Such a triumph of understatement & British reserve.
Yep, have been reading my Grandfather's account of 42. He was sailing from Glasgow to Alexandria - the long way round - and one of the entries in his diary is merely "Ship bombed today. Darts contest started"

If you've not read it I really recommend "Gallipoli" by Carlyson as a starting point - opinionated but gives character detail of the major players - strategic problems and accounts of the landings and all the major battles + conditions.
 
#4
Most interesting about the Brit Arty...

My grandfather was an ANZAC at Gallipoli. I never met him, he died in '29.

He left Ireland to cut sheep or shear cane or something, and didn't get back home for a while. He was captured in 17 on the north west front, and because it was so hard to move men and materiel around, wasn't able to get back to Blighty till late 19 or early 20.

He was then told that he would have to take ship to Aus to demobilise, since he was in the Aussie Army. A letter from his mother to the Irish MP in Kerry persuaded all concerned that he could just as well sign the paers in London.

Oh wot a laverly war :D
 
#5
sobonty said:
Sorry, no help on the gun... but it made me think fondly of my great grandfather, who was a sapper at Gallipoli.

In one diary entry he writes, simply: "Under heavy fire all day. Made jam."

Such a triumph of understatement & British reserve.
shouldn't that be british preserve :D
 
#6
Try contacting Will Townsend the sec of the RA Historical Society. He is at HQDRA Larkhill and ought to either tell you or know a many who can..
 
#7
Could be a 6in 30cwt howitzer. Another option could be the 6in 26cwt howitzer, but that wasn't fielded until the Fall of 1915. Based on the flare of the muzzle, I would say its the 30cwt.
 
#8
Ill go with ABN on this BL 6 INCH 30-CWT HOWITZER, the 26cwt was introduced at the end of 1918.
 
#9
Yep 6" 30 CWT Howitzer. A collection of sad books does come in handy occasionally!
 
#10
Thanks - that's useful. It also means a couple of accounts I've read may be wrong about the arty support at anzac cove - based on dates supplied by my great-grandfather and something else I've now managed to find (online)

As a side note I think it's a really sad photo, seeing all those crosses in the background. My Great-Grandfather had lost 20 of his 25 men by August as casaulties. The 7th light horse infront of their gun lost huge numbers in their time there.
 
#11
Don't jump down my throat, for being late but just to confirm the Gun is a BL 6in 39cwt Howitzer.
I have a copy ofTwentieth Century Artillery by Ian Hogg, which I bought in a sale Waterstones Man airport 5 quid and on P 61 there be your 6inch howitzer complete with 'Flared' barrel end and hydro spring recoil system.
Introduced in 1896 for Brit army from an Indian Army design.
Aprox 120 made and replaced by 6in 26cwt howitzer.
john
 
#12
jonwilly said:
Don't jump down my throat, for being late but just to confirm the Gun is a BL 6in 39cwt Howitzer.
I have a copy ofTwentieth Century Artillery by Ian Hogg, which I bought in a sale Waterstones Man airport 5 quid and on P 61 there be your 6inch howitzer complete with 'Flared' barrel end and hydro spring recoil system.
Introduced in 1896 for Brit army from an Indian Army design.
Aprox 120 made and replaced by 6in 26cwt howitzer.
john
Why would I jump down your throat? Thanks for the ID.
 
#14
I have an untitled photo of what appears to a 6 inch 30cwt how being landed at Anzac Cove... there appear to be Anzac troops and British gunners watching. Could this be the how in question ?
 
#15
In my ignorance I had thought that 6-inch 30 cwt had only a siege mounting and could not fire from a field carriage. But I'd agree its a 6-inch 30 cwt ordnance.

The next question is what makes you think it was at ANZAC cove?

14 Siege Bty with 4 x 6 inch How landed at Helles and joined 29 Div on 1 Jun 1915. There's nothing nothing to suggest that any other 6 inch btys were at Gallipoli, even when the UK force reached 9 divisions the only RGA 'heavies' were 14 Siege and 90 Hy (with 60-pr) Btys both originally with 29 Div. The French had a couple of 155mm but the pic isn't them!

What people forget is that ANZAC troops were detached to Helles for the 2nd battle of Krithia in May-Sep 1915 . I'd suggest the picture of a 6-inch How was taken there and not ANZAC cove, it's a common assumption that if troops were Aust it must be ANZAC Cove. The ANZACs at Krithia included 1 (NSW) FA Bde (1, 2 & 4 Btys), 6 Bty AFA and 3 Bty NZFA. Also at Krithia was the Composite Divsion under GOC of the Naval Div, comprising RN Bde, 2 Aust Inf Bde and NZ Bde.

Of course there were RGA at ANZAC cove, the corps troops - 7 Indian Mtn Bde with 21 and 26 Mtn Btys - total 12 x 10 pr.
 
#16
I'd assumed regulars were equipped with the modern 26 cwt 6 inch, not this old dinosaur. Not the case ?
But I understand that the Australian 1st Heavy Artillery Battery was formed at ANZAC in July, after their 2 30 cwt hows arrived (first 1 came on 15th May) and used them against the Olive Grove. So that's why I thought it might be ANZAC Cove. Timeline looks right. And if so, it may tie in with the original post, as somebody else told me that some British gunners assisted the Aussies with their hows.
cheers
Rod
 
#17
Petardier said:
In my ignorance I had thought that 6-inch 30 cwt had only a siege mounting and could not fire from a field carriage. But I'd agree its a 6-inch 30 cwt ordnance.

The next question is what makes you think it was at ANZAC cove?

14 Siege Bty with 4 x 6 inch How landed at Helles and joined 29 Div on 1 Jun 1915. There's nothing nothing to suggest that any other 6 inch btys were at Gallipoli, even when the UK force reached 9 divisions the only RGA 'heavies' were 14 Siege and 90 Hy (with 60-pr) Btys both originally with 29 Div. The French had a couple of 155mm but the pic isn't them!

What people forget is that ANZAC troops were detached to Helles for the 2nd battle of Krithia in May-Sep 1915 . I'd suggest the picture of a 6-inch How was taken there and not ANZAC cove, it's a common assumption that if troops were Aust it must be ANZAC Cove. The ANZACs at Krithia included 1 (NSW) FA Bde (1, 2 & 4 Btys), 6 Bty AFA and 3 Bty NZFA. Also at Krithia was the Composite Divsion under GOC of the Naval Div, comprising RN Bde, 2 Aust Inf Bde and NZ Bde.

Of course there were RGA at ANZAC cove, the corps troops - 7 Indian Mtn Bde with 21 and 26 Mtn Btys - total 12 x 10 pr.
If you are questionning whether or not there were any RGA at ANZAC cove then I can tell you that my great grandfather was there and NOT at Helles, as explicitly mentioned in his diary. Also placement of his gun (just around from "dead man's corner") and the naming of the attack on pine point gives me no doubt he was at ANZAC cove.

He did land on June 1st 1915, according to the diary. He was 14 siege and I could probably even get his company if anyone's interested.
To start with the weapon was manned by the British, but by mid-august there had been so many casualties that, according to my great-grandfather, he was the only Brit left on the gun.

He was also visited by General Birdwood, who was at ANZAC cove.

The photo just posted is incredibly interesting. I'd suggest it's far more likely to be ANZAC cove than Cape Hellas due to the ground shown in the background. Cape Hellas had a deeper beach for landing stores and in many areas flatter ground beyond than portrayed in that photo.
 
#18
spooky, my granfather was asc-army service corps.and arrived at gallipoli with , in his words a hugh gun,,he told me it took ages to get the thing off the ship onto a pontoon then to the beach then an even bigger struggle by hundreds of men to haul the thing ashore,,he also told me it only fired one shot,,.im afraid the grand old chap is no longer around, up till now i always thought it was a tale..history itself..
 
#19
14 Siege Bty was just that. In 1914 the regular RGA had divisonal heavy btys with 60 pr and by late 1914/early 1915 had mobilised something like 6 siege btys with the old 6 inch 30 cwt.

6 inch 26 cwt didn't exist at the beginning of the war, the only 'modern' heavy howitzer in existence was Mother, the first 9.2.

The Aust Army did not have any 6 inch How until after WW1. Dring WW1 there were only 2 Aust hy btys, both on the W Front, 1 with 9.2 the other with 8 inch (and I've just checked the RAA regimental history to be sure).

There's nothing in the RA history to indicate that 14 Siege ever left Helles (the opposite in fact). However, 17 Siege Bty arrived at ANZAC on 15/16 Sep from out of theatre. They had 4 x 6 inch How, but the RA history doesn't state the model. More puzzling are some stray guns shown at ANZAC in August, 1 naval 4.7 and 3 x 6 in H. No unit is given for them, they're just called 'corps troops'. One possibility is that 14 Siege provided some key men and the numbers were made up with local volunteers. However, there were several RGA 5 inch How btys there who might have manned them.

Amazingly 17 Siege were evacuated with guns 3 times in Dec-Jan, from ANZAC to W beach, from W to V and from V out! This tends to suggest they had 26 cwt.
 

Latest Threads