The Diary of an RAMC Lt - Suvla Bay 1915

Discussion in 'Military History and Militaria' started by Team_SLAG, Aug 4, 2010.

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  1. Today is the anniversary of the outbreak of War with Germany, 1914. At the time my Grandfather held a TA Commission as 2/Lt with 3rd Bn Monmouthshire Regt while living and practicing medicine in SW Cork - he was a GP. He was ordered by wire to join his unit in Abergavenny on 4 Aug 1914.

    For the first few months of the War he was occupied with instruction as an Infantry Officer while his application to join the RAMC was considered. He was transferred to the RAMC in March 1915 and after a variety of courses was embarked on ship to the Dardenelles.

    I will copy his daily diary entries here for the next month which cover his departure from Port Said (4 August 1915) to his evacuation from Suvla Bay (4 Sept 1915). There's an almost whimsical tone to many of the entries but also an insight into some of the events and conditions and the prevailing mindset... bear with me, it does get quite interesting!

    Wednesday, August 4th, 1915. Port Said.

    When I go on deck I am told the whole Division has assembled in the Harbour. Seven Troopships visible together with two Russian Cruisers, one English and one French. Shore leave granted from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m. I go ashore. Port Said a decent little place full of British Officers. Returned to ship at 1 p.m. Watched some Arab conjurors on board after lunch. Very smart but with an inclination to swindle. Left Port Said at 6 p.m. We were second ship out of the canal and had a great send off from those on board a French Battleship at the mouth of the canal. All the men assembled on the deck of the Battleship, while the ship's band played "Tipperary". In fact "Tipperary" seems to be the National Anthem just now. It is played everywhere. Even the Arab street bards make a specialty of it. Our send off from Port Said was the heartiest we had since leaving England. We soon passed the leading ship and struck due North West. Twelve months today we mobilised.
  2. Looking forward to this one. My Great-Grandad served with the Royal Munster Fusiliers during the Dardenelles campaign and the British contribution is often overlooked and obscured by all the myth-making from some quarters. Almost half the allied dead were British or Irish.
  3. Ditto.

  4. Thursday, August 5th 1915. At sea.

    When daylight broke on us we were out of sight of all our sister ships. Early in the afternoon we slowed down apparently to wait for them, and as day waned one of them came into view behind us and to starboard. Lights out early and bed in the dark. A report of the ship's crew breaking in on the rum stores is current throughout the ship, and numerous guards are mounted for the night. I am awakened very early by Cory shouting that a scorpion was by his side and munching one of his biscuits. By the light of a match we located the Animal, but it got clean away and I am afraid poor Cory's sleep was very disturbed for the night.
  5. Thanks for starting this thread, I look forward to seeing it develop.
  6. Good point and one I was explaining to Mrs regular_imbiber last night,coincidentally.

    The French also suffered heavy losses during this ill-fated campaign.

    Like others, I'm also looking forward to following this thread.
  7. Thank you mr Team_SLAG for posting your Grandfather's diary entries, I am looking forward to them immensely. Please see PM.
  8. Thanks in advance for the insight.
  9. Yes - a really brilliant idea. BZ.

    MIT - I don't want to spoil your enjoyment but the development isn't all you hoped for! Apparently we still come second...

    The myth of Australian casualties at Gallipolli - it is alright Wedge35, your tact does you credit but we knew who you meant - has in many ways obscured the real value of the AIF contribution there and later in France. It is worth bearing in mind that the AIF lost 8709 killed at Gallipolli over eight and a half months. In the engagements at Pozieres and "Mucky Farm" on the Somme, the Australians suffered 23000 casualties in under two months. At Fromelles, topical point this, the AIF lost over 5,500 casualties in 24 hours. In 1916 a total of 40000 Australians were killed or wounded on the Western Front. That is 10% of all Australians who enlisted in WW1. One in ten Australian soldiers in WW1 were killed or wounded on the Western Front in 1916...sobering.
  10. No point in having a bet on the outcome then!

    I think the most unfair (to the British) myth is that Anzac (let's not forget the Kiwis were there too) troops were sent because they were considered expendable by the British High Command.
    Interestingly and to their credit, the Australians refused to execute their own, especially for cowardice or desertion, very forward thinking considering what is now known about PTSD.
  11. The initial landing force ORBAT at Suvla reflected the best of the K1 divisions. The performance of units like the Lancs Fusiliers - possibly one of the most gleaming examples of unit cohesion, commitment and both individual gallantry and corporate bravery in the history of British arms - underwrites that.

    Interestingly George Lambert, the Australian war artist, post-war was instructed to paint Gallipolli scenes with the AIF troops wearing slouch hats. Yet most actually wore the same peaked caps as their UK contingent comrades.
  12. Thanks for starting this thread, looking forward with interest to see it develop.
  13. Whilst researching the family history,I came across my Grandfathers,brothers son,not sure what that makes him,on the CWGC site.

    I picked him up,because of the his parents being mentioned,He was in the 6th Bn,South Lancashire Regt, they landed at Anzac Beach 4th August 1915,he was killed 5 days later on the 9th August 1915,aged 23.

    Having obtained a copy of his Birth Certificate,I find that he was born in May 1898,which made him just over 17yrs old,when he died,and his name is inscribed on the Helles Mermorial.

    It certainly makes you think.
  14. Friday, August 6th 1915. At Sea.

    A lovely morning finds us cruising between the Isles of Greece. Byron's words return to one instinctively.

    "The Isles of Greece, the Isles of Greece,
    where burning Sapho loved and sung."

    A view of the Islands does not impress one towards loving or singing. Where we see them they are bare, barren and uninhabited.
  15. Thanks for the encouragement - as I said "bear with me", from tomorrow's entry and onwards it does get more interesting than this!

    For those unfamiliar with the geography of the landings, there's a useful map in this link: -
    Gallipoli: Suvla Opening