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 causalities, 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:
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 HOWARTH 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 ? O.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.
August 8. Sunday. 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. Relieved Sunday 4:30 afternoon, 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.