Gallipoli – “the flies are terrible, worse than the Turks”

British_29th_Division_HQ_Cape_Helles

British_29th_Division_HQ_Cape_Helles

At the end of 1914 my granddad, Ernest Donaldson, joined the army where he began his training and stayed in tents at Aldershot until January 2nd 1915.

The sequence of events that led to him joining the army went something like this:

1914

Jun 28th Archduke Francis Ferdinand assassinated at Sarajevo

Jul 28th Austria-Hungary declares war against Serbia

Aug 1st Germany declares war against Russia

Aug 3rd Germany declares war against France

Aug 4th German invasion of Belgium. GB declares war against Germany

Aug 12th GB declares war on Austria-Hungary

Aug 23rd Japan declare war on Germany

Nov 5th GB declares war against Turkey

Luckily from 1915 onwards he kept a diary and most days captured what would have been his twitter or facebook status. A few years ago I set about transcribing most of his daily thoughts. So it now seems appropriate, exactly 100 years later to publish his personal story. Part one – Gallipoli… [copyright @rondon all rights reserved]

1915

Jan 2nd

Went to LLANDRINDOD WELLS. Made an allotment(will) leaving everything to my mother.

Jan 12th

I bought Polly’s [my grandmother] engagement ring

Transferred to South Wales Borderers

Mar 29th

We were fully equipped for 1 Company and first draft but it was cancelled. Had to parade every day until orders came. Askew was our sergeant.

Mar 30th

Just the usual rout march etc. Pictures at night.

Apr 1st

At the Pavilion at night, it was great – a revue – one of the best that has been here.

Apr 2nd

No parade today. Dave, Dick, Archie and I went for a long walk, it was a lovely night.

Apr 5th

Roll call, then dismissed. The weather was glorious and the sports went off fine, took Sybil [don’t ask] Top of the list with 32 points.

Apr 6th

Raining like hell, pictures at night. Sybil went away, a very nice girl, promised to send me a photo.

Apr 10th

Received orders, examined by doctor – passed fit. Had to give our kit in. Dick and I were a bit late, and got left behind. Talk about rotten luck, spent a miserable day. Everything can go to hell.

Apr 13th

Called out for another draft.

Apr 14th

Gave the boys a good send off at the station, they were bound for France. Sent a letter, downhearted, but will soon get over it.

Apr 16th

Another lovely day. Didn’t get paid until afternoon. Received a letter from Polly. Happy as a king.

Apr 22nd

Squad drill. Received a letter and a box of old flake from Alice [again don’t ask]. Starting to smoke a pipe, Dick and I.

Apr 26th

Red hot weather, on the golf links. Pavilion at night to see Pygmalian by G.B.Shaw. It was great, best I have seen here.

May 2nd

Up before 6 o’clock for Sunday parade at quarter past 8. They picked a draft out and Dick and I were left again. We have hellish luck. I feel proper fed up.

May 8th

Paraded in the N.C.O. class. We were dismissed early to start on Monday morning. I intend to stick in. No drafts for us now.

May 9th

Wonk’ left today. Very nice, dry, warm day, did not go to church. Had a good time at night seeing the boys off, they are going to Malta.

May 10th

Marched with the N.C.O. class today, by it was hot drilling on the parade ground. I am buying a drill book tonight and going to the Pavilion “Under two flags”.

May 13th

Raining. Studying drill all afternoon. Saw Archie and the lads off, going to Egypt, they left by 9:30 train.

May 15th

Squad drill, detailing. Letter from home and a pair of socks. Dick and I had a sleep in the afternoon. In the town at night, plenty of girls about.

May 21st

Pay day, lovely morning. Received a letter from Polly, I will think her idea well over. Got my new suit altered, it was fine.

May 22nd

Stretcher drill in the parade ground, lots of visitors looking in. Stayed in and wrote to Polly a long letter.

May 26th

Stretcher drill this morning. I am getting sick of this carry on, so I put our names down for a transfer to the R.C..

May 27th

Received a letter from Polly, quite a change. Transfers are coming off.

Jun 1st

Paraded at 7 with our bags and left on the 9:30 train for Pembroke Dock – what a hole, we have been pushed into the SOUTH WALES BORDERERS.

PRIVATE E DONALDSON 24654

2nd Battalion South Wales Borderers, 87 Brigade, 29 Division

Jun 2nd

Parade at 8:30. Squad drill – what a difference to ours. Rout march afternoon. Not much of a town.

Jun 3rd

Pay day. I received 6/- for my first pay in the S.W.B.. Usual parades. Town at night in a pub with Dick.

Jun 5th

Finished at half past 12 for the day. Never went out, I had terrible pains in my insides, never slept al night. I wished I was dead.

Jun 7th

Reported sick after a rotten night. Went to Hospital No 79 Ward. Decent chaps in, the nurse and sister were nice too. Diet – milk and beef tea, pain’s a bit better.

Jun 8th

Still on milk. Examined by doctor, said it was appendicitis, not serious, pains not so bad now.

Jun 12th

Doctor says I can go out on Monday (14th) and I have to go on to Liverpool to join the Regiment. They left on Thursday. I would sooner be in hospital for another week.

Jun 14th

Left Pembroke Dock at 10:30 for Sniggers Camp, Liverpool . passed through Llandrindod, had our teas in Llandilo, a nice little place. slept on the floor, rotten.

Jun 16th

I have a nice bed now, blankets and feel a lot better. Parades as usual. We have a treat of an instructor, a very smart chap. Going to put a pass in for Liverpool, Saturday.

Jun 17th

Getting on fine with aiming and loading, skirmishing etc. We are going shooting next week. In the soldiers club at night.

Jun 19th

Did not get my pass but did not care as I had no money. Dick has gone to Liverpool, there is no-one in the camp, all out on pass.

Jun 21st

Fired at the range, and picked out to fire over at Alcar on Tuesday.

Jun 22nd

Parade at half past six, firing party off to Alcar at half past nine. Fired 35 rounds.

Jun 23rd

Picked out for a draft for Turkey. Parade as the draft now.

Jun 24th

Tried for passes for home, don’t know how we will get on.

Jun 25th

Skirmishing on the sand hills. It was red hot. I was about dead. We were out until seven at night.

Jun 26th

Inspected by the Col. I could not get a pass for so far. Went to Liverpool for the day. Enjoyed myself, great, the best time I had for a bit.

Jun 27th

Church Parade. Went for a walk with Jones at night round Seaforth and Bootle, a fine walk. Stoney broke.

Jun 29th

One parade today. Invited out to tea at Formby, it was great. Left at 1 o’clock and reached Plymouth at half past 12 noon. A long journey.

BRITISH MEDITERRANEAN EXPEDITION – ON ACTIVE SERVICE

Jun 30th

Sailed at 6 pm from Plymouth. Two T.P.D. patrols. Fine scenery round Plymouth, forts etc. Slept in hammocks, not bad for first night.

Jul 4th

Reached Gibralter at 4 am, everybody was up and kicking up a row. The scenery was great, especially the town under the rock. Sailed same day

Jul 6th

The S.W.B. turn to do 24 hour guard., I had mine from 2 till 4, could see the plains, mountains and little islands, it has been glorious, if I come home safe.

Jul 7th

One of the best days we have had the sea was like a pond. Reached Malta at 12 noon. It is a glorious place, all the boats coming round selling things. Left at 7 o’clock at night.

Jul 8th

I am orderly today, rotton job. Work all day and cannot get on deck. Terribly hot, I am losing tons of sweat.

Jul 10th

At 4 am reached Alexandra. Anchored in the harbour, by heavens it is hot and does look as though we are going to land today. Cannot see much of the town yet, seen lots of natives in their boats selling fruit.

Jul 11th

Still at the quay. It is rotten, they will not let us ashore. The natives are causing lots of fun, singing etc. One of them is a nut, they call him Scotty, he could sweat a treat, been to England before.

Jul 12th

Left Alexandra this morning at 6 am. The sea is a bit rough. No-one knows where we are going to.

Jul 13th

It was a rough night, and we were travelling. There must have been a submarine around about somewhere, we could not land all along, looked like small islands. Made a zig zag course all day.

Jul 14th

Reached the base near Dardanelles I believe it is called Lemnos Island (harbour). Nothing to see but a wild windy hillside, with the sun blazing on it. Warships, T.P.D.s running round and troop ships. It is hellish hot.

Jul 15th

We are still on board and look as though we are here for a good bit. It is terrible hot, I am wasting away with sweat.

Jul 16th

No signs of going ashore yet. We had permission to swim from the ship. I enjoyed it, it was nice and cool. No pay today.

The most total heresy in war is the heresy that battles can be won without heavy loss” – Sir Ian Hamilton, Diary 1915

His director of Medical Services drew up a medical plan for 30,000 casualties in the first three days. This turned out to be fairly accurate.

Hamilton had been led to expect much from the Kitchener army divisions on their way to join him. What he was not told was that they had been trained up for the Western Front, and had no experience of night work in open country or of amphibious warfare. They were unacclimatised to the savage heat of the parched Gallipoli landscape in high summer, and vulnerable to the pathogenic organisms that would immediately assail their guts

[all quotes in italics from the book ‘Gallipoli’ by Michael Hickey]

Jul 17th

Breakfast at 5 am. Left the ship for shore at 9 o’clock. By it was hot on shore, my arms are burning. We have found the 2nd Battalion sleeping in the open making shade with their blankets. This is rough, make no mistake.

Jul 18th

Church Parade at six o’clock then three miles for water. Got some water and melon, great. My arms are terrible with the sun.

Jul 19th

A lot of French troops are passing the road near the sea.

Jul 21st

Parade as usual, got orders to get ready to move. Left Lemnos at 7.30 am on trawlers packed like sardines, hardly room to sit down. I was dirty as hell. Reached Cape Helles at 10 pm the same day and I heard my first sound of the guns. Landed at Dardenelles and slept on the sand.

Jul 22nd

Woke to the sound of heavy guns, were told to dig ourselves in on the side of the cliff. We got bacon etc issued and had to make our own meals. What a life, cannot get a good wash, oh for a nice drink.

Jul 23rd

Up at 4 o’clock. A big battle ship came up and bombarded the Turkish positions. The Artillery were going strong too, what a row, they must have been bombarding ‘arthur baba’ all day.

Jul 24th

The Turks started sending shrapnel over us this afternoon, my first time under fire. Killed one chap and wounded 11, one of them slept next to me, he had two toes taken off with the shell. Poor old Tug Wilson, he was a nice chap.

Jul 25th

Church Parade on the beach. It does seem strange having had a service with shells flying past. These flies are driving me mad. The guns are very quiet tonight.

Jul 27th

I got the job as servant to Mr Burrel our Platoon Officer for 10/- per month. Nothing much to do, only make his meals when we are in the trench.

Jul 28th

Up at 4 am, woke Mr Burrel and packed up all his kit and left for the trenches and went onto the reserve line. There are tons of bullets and shrapnel flying around all the time. Plenty of water.

Jul 29th

In the firing line on the extreme left of the line. The trenches are safe enough if you keep your head down. The Turks fire like hell during the night.

Jul 30th

Not much sleep, standing to most of the night. There are one or two snipers round about. Quiet during the day.

Jul 31st

The flies are terrible, worse than the Turks.

Aug 1st

The Turks hand the ‘wind up’ last night. Rapid firing for hours they must have been expecting an attack from us.

Aug 2nd

August Bank Holiday – Ye gods, here I am thousands of miles away, mid shot and shells. Left the trenches for the reserves on the hill. The food is a lot better and plenty of tea.

Aug 3rd

No meals to carry now, he dines at the mess. I miss the little bits of feeds. Two battle ships heavily bombarded the Turkish positions, what a row they were kicking up, we can get a good night sleep now, thank heaven.

Aug 4th

A year to the day since England declared war, I never dreamt that I would be here this time last year. We had to stand to last night as the TURKS had the wind up.

Aug 5th

Some of the chaps were out burying the dead last night and bringing in all these letters etc. Thank heaven I miss all these jobs. Our trench was shelled this morning, knocked it about a bit.

Aug 6th

Moved into the firing line again, up at day break. I feel weary carrying all these things about. A big bombardment today and an attack by our right wing captured two Turkish trenches. We could see them advance a treat.

Aug 7th

Another bombardment today by the French. We don’t know whether they advanced any. Stood to almost all night, I wish it was all over.

Aug 9th

Left the trenches for Ghurkha Bluff, we are resting a few days, thank heaven for a nice good sleep. Four of us, all servants are in one dugout, nice and warm.

Aug 11th

Washed my shirt and socks and some of the officers things. Received two letters, one from Sybil and one from Charlie Dodds, if I could only get one from home I would be all right.

Aug 12th

Left for front line again. We are further on the right now, not half as good a position. Such a long way to carry the meals too.

Aug 13th

The Artillery started to bombard the Turks with some [patent?] torpedoes, why heavens they very nearly blew us up too.

Aug 14th

More bombs today again. It is like being in hell. The Turks started to send shrapnel over and there were two chaps hit close to me. One of them died. We had an awful job bandaging him up.

Aug 15th

Moved down into support. We got a nice mess for the officers, proper bomb proof. Three of them were dining together.

Aug 16th

My birthday, preparing to move again to Gully Beach for a rest or something, don’t know really. Reached Gully Beach, had tea, moved on to W. Beach. Trawler took us from Cape Helles to the new landing place.

Aug 17th

Landed at the new landing place at day break. Got on the side of a hill and dug ourselves in. Left their at night for the firing line. Marched about all night until daybreak.

Aug 18th

We found the trenches after a most awful night. We lost one or two men. We got settled down with the Welsh Fusiliers. There was tons of water but nothing to eat.

Aug 19th

Went out with Burrel at night to mark off new trenches. By jingo it was a rotten job. I was glad when we got it done. I hopped it at 4 am and stayed away all day.

Aug 20th

Slept under a tree most of the day, it rained for an hour, the first I have seen since we arrived here. I found Burrel at tea time and made him some tea.

Aug 22nd

Lay about all day until about 5 o’clock. Then got prepared for an advance. We were supposed to be in [?????], we were charging at the finish. Burrel was killed, Good god, what a night, I never saw anything like it. Capt [Byron?] joined us.

At Suvla, the Battle of Scimitar Hill on 21 August was the final push of the failed August Offensive. The 29th Division had been moved from Helles to Suvla to participate. The 87th Brigade was briefly able to capture the summit of the hill but was soon forced to retreat.

From Wikipedia

Aug 23rd

Yesterday was the most terrible day I have ever been through. We lost very heavily in men and officers. Our regiment has six officers left and about 3 hundred men. I hardly know how I got through the night. Left for a new place.

Aug 24th

We slept in a new place last night, four of us mucking in together. I believe we are here for a weeks rest, I hope it is true. I am fed up.

Aug 27th

We got some bread today and steaks for dinner, by jove they were great.

Aug 28th

We got an issue of cigarettes today – 30 fags and 2 ounces of baccy, about time too.

Aug 29th

Had a big surprise today, Dicky came out in a draft and was put in our company. I was pleased to meet him, we are moving tonight, I don’t know where to.

Aug 30th

Moved into the reserve trenches on the hill last night

Aug 31st

In the front line for 48 hours, the Turks started to shell us and rapid fire just as it got dark. We all had to line the trench and fire but we never saw a Turk, it was all a wash out.

Sep 4th

Same as usual, hot as hell, millions of flies and digging at night

Sep 5th

Started as servant to Mr Ballantyne (great chap) a new officer just joined us yesterday. Now for a little better time, I hope so.

Sep 6th

Left for 24 hours rest on the beach, my boss gave me permission to go.

Sep 7th

Had a rotten night, and we were in a rotten hole, but I got a new shirt, socks and a bath, enjoyed it. It is a hell of a walk back to our camp, never mind, I’ll get over it.

Sep 8th

Back from the beach and straight into the trenches. Feeling very lonely at this time – nothing to eat and feeling rotten.

Sep 9th

I was hungry and could not eat any of the bully etc so I took two of the eggs that were for the officers and ate them, they were fine. I feel like putting a bullet through myself.

Sep 10th

How I wish this bloody war would end. I nearly go mad when I think of nice things to eat. Thank god we are relieved tonight.

Sep 11th

didn’t get relieved last night. I had a lovely feed as the officers left all of their dinner. We enjoyed it a treat. I feel like a new man now after a good feed. We got a tin of butter also that they did not want.

Sep 17th

These trenches are better than the top ones. I was digging a dug out for Mr Ballantyne all day, made a fine one. Big flare up tonight, party of bomb throwers went out. We had fourteen casualties, Mr Hall was wounded.

Sep 21st

Very quiet day, packed the officers kit and took it down to headquarters at 6 pm. We had steaks for our tea, enjoyed them a treat.

Sep 22nd

we are leaving for Julvus tonight. I am going to try and have a good time to make up for the time I have lost. I hope so.

Sep 23rd

Packed up and got on the boat. At 11am bound for Imbros (small Greek Island) fell asleep straight away It was very rough. When I woke up it was blowing a gale and we could not go to shore.

Sep 24th

Still the same, too rough to land. About 3 o’clock it got calmer and went ashore and marched to camp. I slept a treat with my boots and socks off.

Sep 25th

Paid out today £1 per man. I also got 2/6 from Mr Ballantyne. Good food now and plenty of time for resting. These are the best few days I have spent since landing here.

Sep 27th

Boiled bacon and 3 eggs for breakfast, I am feeling great, living like a lord. I bought 4/- worth of chocolate. I intend to make a bread pudding tonight.

Sep 30th

Got another 10/- from Mr Ballantyne. Received parcel from Polly.

Oct 1st

Packed up in a hurry for the firing line again. Left at 4 pm. Landed last night at Cape Helles again. Had good dugouts, all ready made for a change. Steak and onions for tea, we are having a good time here.

Oct 4th

At night the bagpipes are playing, you would hardly think it was war.

Oct 5th

We are resting here and in reserve to the *th Army Corps. I hope we are here for a few weeks, if only we had some money.

Oct 6th

Still in these reserve dugouts and having a good time, just looking after Bally. We have a candle for our dugout and we either write letters or read at night. Received a parcel from Sybil containing fags.

Oct 7th

We had four new officers joined us late last night. Gave my helmet in and got a service cap, nice and light

Oct 9th

Had a big storm last night, wind and rain. The wind blew the tops off our dugouts and we were wet to the skin, but next day we were soon dry again in the sun.

Oct 11th

We are sending in a list of the things we want. I put in for 4 pkts of biscuits, 1 tin of butter, 4 pkts of chocolate and 2 tins of condensed milk. I do hope they get these.

Oct 15th

Up at sunrise and packed up ready to move. Went up to the firing line and relieved the Argyles. I was left behind to look after the officers kit and reached the trenches just after dinner. We are in the 3rd line and cooking for the officers.

Oct 19th

Up at 5 am, moving to the front line. Had a rotten time in the front line. Cold and wind up every night and all meals had to be carried up from headquarters.

Oct 21st

the French are bombarding this morning, they do worry the Turks.

Oct 23rd

Relieved today by the Inshillings and moved off at 10 and reached the new dugouts at 3. These dugouts are built in the form of streets with a section in every “house”. Our street was called Carnavon Street. Had a great time here until Oct 30th. Plenty to eat and pay out of 10/- per man.

Oct 25th

Got a new suit, shirt and socks. Bought 2 tins of salmon and 4 of sardines.

Oct 27th

Had to go and put our blankets in the boiler to get steamed.

Oct 30th

The stores are getting very low, I have nothing left for breakfast.

Oct 31st

Moved to the same place as before just next to the French. New orders state “all servants to ‘stand to’ from 5 to 5.

Nov 4th

so I am relieved by the Border Regt so left for Reserve trenches near the ‘Brown House’

Nov 7th

It was a bit lively last night, lots of rifle fire.

Nov 8th

Going to the beach for a rest and our company is very weak now. We will need a big draft to make us up to strength. Bob Reed and I are polling up here – a nice chap Bob

Nov 16th

Raining all night and very windy, looks like a storm.

Nov 17th

Had one of the worst storms I have ever been in, everything flooded. Went into reserve in Trotman’s Road. Great dugouts and a cookhouse. Mr Beardshaw was Mess president

Nov 18th

What a night the whole heavens opened, the water coming down Oxford St was like a river.

Nov 20th

Moved off at 8 am to the front line

Nov 21st

Turks made an attack and took back two trenches we took off them last week but we took them back again but with heavy losses.

Nov 25th

Very cold weather. Relieved at noon by K.O.S.B.s and went down to the camp for the day. We are going into new winter dugouts in the side of the cliff facing the Aegean Sea.

Nov 26th

These dugouts are great, built like flats with doors, windows and fireplaces, all in the side of the cliff.

Nov 27th

Made a good start this morning and had breakfast ready, prompt, everything went smoothly. The Doctor was there for dinner and he enjoyed himself a treat. They were strafing whiskey.

Nov 28th

Had a great parcel from home, cake, milk and tins etc. The officers dinner went off splendid, 4 courses and hot.

Nov 29th

Having decent weather but I haven’t much time to myself. I am head cook and they have someone to tea or dinner every day.

Nov 30th

I would stay here for the duration just looking after the officers, we had a very nice dinner last night – soup, stew, potatoes, rice pudding and cauliflower in a tin and pineapple for sweet.

Dec 1st

Our last day here. Up at 5 am packing. Left at 10 am and stayed the night at Romanos Well – rained all night.

Dec 2nd

Went into the firing line, our position this time is more to the left near the Horse Shoe. What a walk from the beach, it was hellish. We had to do two journeys for the blankets etc.

Dec 3rd

Got orders in a hurry to pack up Mr Ballantynes kit. He was ordered to hospital. What a hell of a job I had getting all his kit down. I’ll never forget it.

Dec 4th

Slept in a tent near the Hospital and next morning got orders to get his kit ready for the ship. Took it down to the ship and went on board. I was shown all around – great. Got £2 from Mr Ballantyne, shook hands, he said he would be back again in a few days.

Dec 5th

I stayed at the hospital all day and went up to the trenches for some letters. Got two and went back to the ship after dinner but the hospital ship had gone. I am afraid it’s goodbye Mr Ballantyne

Dec 6th

Left the Hospital about 7 am and joined the Batt. Came back into the Eski Lines. I went straight back to duty and donned my fatigues.

Dec 7th

Capt Byrne our C.O. asked if I would go servant to him. I accepted so I am back once again as servant.

Dec 9th

Slept rotten last night, awful pain in my left arm and we are only on biscuit rations – rotten.

Dec 10th

Packed up today for our rest camp. The Turks are sending more, and better, shells over now.

Dec 12th

The rations are better. Had some good meals. There is now a Y.M.C.A. on the beach and we gave it a visit this afternoon and enjoyed it.

Dec 15th

Still in Rest Camp. Nothing to do but inspections, eat and sleep. I still have a nasty pain in my arm and cannot sleep at night for it. I have had it for over a week now. I only go down to my officer morning and night.

Dec 18th

Relieved the K.O.S.B.s in a new part of the line – new to us. We do all the cooking. Great dugout and cookhouse

Dec 19th

Big bombardment today. The H.L.I. attacked and took two trenches and a couple of SAPS. We were all ordered under cover – Funk Holes – hellish while it lasted

Dec 20th

Wind up, rapid fire , all last night. Firm all along the line and I got no sleep through the pain in my arm. My officer feeling ill today, he is in his bed.

Dec 21st

Turks commenced again at ‘stand to’ just as it got dark but we got the dinner ready and everything went off OK

Dec 22nd

We have lost an awful lot of men in this position, always somebody getting hit. I am fed up.

Dec 24th

Xmas Eve, everything quiet and to think I am in this rotten hole and poor old Polly will be lonely this Christmas, thousands of miles away. I wish I was with her.

Dec 25th

Xmas day 1915, To celebrate the day Sgt Press (the officers mess sergeant) sent up a plum pudding and a tin of apricots. Ye Gods what a christmas dinner. However it was quite a change. This is the worst hole we have been in, losing men all day – sniping etc.

Dec 28th

Our big guns bombarded JOHNNY TURK today and of course he replied and knocked the hell out of us. One big shell hit the Captains dug-out dead centre and blew everything to blazes, everything was riddled with holes. Good thing there was no-one in at the time. I’ll never forget it.

Dec 29th

Very quiet this morning but at 2 o’clock in the afternoon hell broke loose. The 52nd Division attacked and took a trench in Krither Nollah. It was hell all night after that. I am absolutely fed up by now.

Dec 30th

We had the F.O.O. Officer to dinner, champagne and whiskey, great.

Dec 31st

New Years Eve. No wind up last night, slept fine. Bully rissoles for dinner and we had a good chat about old times. I thought of home and Poll tonight – how far away it seems. I hope this New Year brings more happiness and all this trouble over.

1916

Jan 1st

New Years Day. I had bacon and bread for breakfast and Maconache for dinner. And so we begin the new year.

Jan 2nd

Packing up today for the Eski Line for four days rest. Reached there at 2pm

Jan 3rd

Everything is going to the beach now, all extra stores etc. I reckon we will be leaving this place some night, according to the rumours we hear and a good job too.

Jan 4th

Still living on biscuits and waiting for the word.

Jan 8th

By dawn on the 8th, there were still nearly 17,000 men ashore but it was decided to complete the operation after dark. The garrison now consisted of the greatly reduced 13th, 29th, 52nd and Royal Naval Divisions. The 52nd, as the result of its devastating casualties and lack of reinforcement, was down to less than 3,000 all ranks, and the 29th, which had been brought up to near its full war establishment of over 17,000 for the August battles, could muster only 4,145.

Gallipoli, Michael Hickey, p. 333

After an anxious few days we got orders to say that the Batt. Leaves tonight. EVACUATION Left the trenches at 5:15pm for the beach and got on the small boats about 9pm. Annie put over three shells quite near the pier, she fairly put the wind up all of us.

JANUARY 8th 1916 – EVACUATION OF GALIPOLI COMPLETED

Jan 9th

Slept on board an old tramp steamer then transferred to a big troop ship. We first had a good feed then a wash and shave and lay in our cabins all day talking and smoking. Great this …

Jan 10th

In Mudro’s Harbour having a good time. Plenty to eat and plenty of sleep. It’s heaven compared to Gallipoli.

Jan 11th

We are on board the YS Scotian and sailed today at 8 am. We have plenty of books and cigarettes.

Jan 12th

Reached Alesan at 8 am and disembarked at 8 pm. Marched to the station and boarded the train, 48 in each truck, back to war again. Rotten

to be continued

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