Krithia captured

Posted: May 16, 2015 by saraherhodes in 1915

We have our room full now. A fresh batch of men came in yesterday. There is a regular mixture of regiments here now. Royal marines, Munsters, Inniskillings, Worcester, Australians, Territorials, and New Zealanders. We have a Welshman who enlisted in the 4th Australians, a Marine and an Inniskilling.  He is a broad Irishman from Indian service.

Our chaps seem to be having a pretty hot time up at the “Front” now. The Turkish trenches are only 30 yards from ours. We have fine trenches though, ten feet deep with overhead cover for Shrapnel and loop holes, and they are using periscopes a lot. A man is comparatively safe in the trench, but the trouble is the snipers who crawl behind the firing line, and as soon as anyone gets down into the gullies he is ‘pinged’. One sniper was found in a hole with a bush over the top, and a month’s rations, and two boxes of ammunition in the hole with him. The first few days there was a far greater percentage of wounds than deaths, but now it is the other way. Everyman is shot through the head. At one place the Turks have a 12 pound field gun in their trench. It is too close to fire straight, so they swing it round to about 160 degrees each side, and swing enfilade fire on to us. It is too close for our artillery to fire because of the damage it would do to our own men.

I heard that the 10th had 400 men on the first Thursday, but since then they had been very badly cut up. The 16th were practically annihilated. They had to make a night attack with the New Zealanders. The 16th were told what to do, but the N.Z’s weren’t. They all charged, but instead of linking up they left 200 yards gap between the two battalions. They dug the Turks out who ran in between them and enfiladed the 16th horribly. There were only 137 left afterwards. There were about 400 South Australians (2nd Contingent) in this Regiment. I am afraid South Australia will see very few of her boys back again. The 2nd Brigade (5th, 6th, 7th, 8th Battalions, Victoria) were pulled out of the scrap and taken down the Peninsular on Transports to reinforce the French.

As soon as the Australians landed the French retreated, and our fellows had to go up into the firing line, and the French left them in the lurch. Instead of retreating our boys advanced on their own, and captured Krithia, but they lost very heavily in the process. It seems that time after time the French have let our chaps down, here, and in Europe. In fact Gen’l. D’Amade was recalled because of his blunders.

There is one big line now right down the peninsular of Australians, English, and French, and they are gradually working up. It seems that the British landed right at the south at cape Helles, and the French landed on both sides of the Dardanelles, just inside the mouth. Our machine gun Sergeant has been recommended for the D.C.M., and a Commission I believe. He did wonderful shooting – just mowed the Turks down.

I ought to be out in a few days, and then ‘hey ho for the Turks’. The 29th Naval Division who landed just below us had a very rough time. They got ashore alright but ran straight into barb wire entanglements, electric wires, mined ground, and all sorts of pleasant surprises. They lost 10,000 before they had effected their landing.

We had a number of interpreters on our boats, and about half of them have been shot for treachery. A lot of our men have been shot for looting. The Turks have been doing a lot of mutilating too, but our chaps are retaliating by taking no prisoners. Every night quite a number of Turks come up to our trenches, and offer themselves up; but it is “goodbye Mr Turk”. It is very interesting yarning to fellows who have just come back, and swapping experiences.

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