1/9th Battalion Manchester Regiment. 1915.

Below is the transcription of the 1/9th Battalion Manchester Regiment War Diary, May to December 1915 covering their time in Gallipoli. At this time, the 1/9th Manchesters were part of the 126th Infantry Brigade in the 42nd Division.

The PDF version of the transcription is available to download  here.  The Ancestry version is available here (requires a subscription to Ancestry.com).

Map of War Zone in Gallipoli 1915
By Rcbutcher [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

MAY 1915

May 1st
KANTARA. SUEZ CANAL. Preparatory measures taken for a move.

May 2nd
Order received for Brigade to concentrate at PORT SAID on Tuesday evening 4/5/15.

May 3rd
Recalled Capt. Hamer from PO War Camp MEADI. Joined 11:30pm.

May 4th
Battn. left KANTARA for PORT SAID. Bivouacked close to Railway Station.

May 5th
Embarked on H.M.T. AUSONIA.

2 Officers (Maj. NOWELL O.C. Troops and 2nd Lt. BROADBENT, Transport Officer) with 26 Other Ranks embarked on H.M.T.  COMMODORE along with Horses, Mules and 1 Cart M.G. Carriages.

May 6th
All quiet at sea. Iron ration issued.

May 7th
2 platoons 13 & 14 told off to double up on deck with Rifles & ammunition to help repel attack by torpedo boats. Ammunition up to 200 rounds per man served out.

May 8th
Arrived off CAPE HELLES and witnessed general advance by own troops.

May 9th
Battalion landed at SEDD-EL-BAHR and was first under shell fire. HMHT COMMODORE arrived. Battalion moved from beach to bivouac.

May 10th
Another change of bivouac.

May 18th
Bn moved to a fresh bivouac, which afterwards came to be regarded as its permanent bivouac.

May 21st
Battalion moved into Redoubt Trenches.

May 22nd
Lt. Col. D. H. WADE wounded. Major NOWELL assumes command.

May 23rd
A digging party establishes a line of rifle pits 100 yards in front of the fire trench. Lance Cpl. SILVESTER “C” Coy brings in Pte. PENNY wounded, on his back, and returns to his duty.

May 24th
Congratulatory telegram received from Major-General DOUGLAS commanding the Division on good work done by battalion. Lt. Col. EGERTON D.S.O. from G.H.Q. takes over command. “C” Company advances & consolidates advanced position. 2nd Lieut. F. JONES killed. Weather very wet.

May 25th
“C” Company continues consolidation. Battalion relieved & returns to Bivouac. Lt. R. G. WOOD wounded in attempt to rescue wounded man of 1/10 Manchester Regt. from their advanced trench. Weather very wet.

May 26th
Battalion in bivouac. Orders received for batt. to be attached – 2 Companies Indian Bde. 2 Companies 87th Bde.

May 27th
Batt. attached to Bdes. Of 29th Division, left bivouac 7am HQGS remain in Bivouac.

May 29th
C & D Companies returned to HQGS in the evening.

JUNE 1915

June 1st
A & B Companies rejoined from Indian Bde. at 1pm.

June 3rd
Battalion advanced to 3rd line trenches.

June 4th
Heavy bombardment of enemy position by Army & Naval guns commences 11am. Advance of the whole Army Corps continues until nightfall 8pm. Batt. in divisional reserve.

June 5th
Fighting still continues. Batt. constructing redoubts.

June 7th
C Company charges Turkish trench, relinquished after general attack at 7pm. Capt. F. HAMER, 2/Lt. A. E. STRINGER killed; 13 other ranks reported missing, 3 killed and 25 wounded.

June 9th
Major NOWELL assumes command and battalion goes to the firing line.

June 12th
Batt. returns to Redoubt Line.

June 13th
2/Lt. A. H. HUDSON killed.

June 15th
Batt. returns to the fire trenches.

June 18th
Attack made on Turkish trenches in KRITHIA NULLAH by B Company and portion of C Company under Capt. SUGDEN, directed by Lt. Col. J. RYE 1/10th Manch. R. Strong enemy attack met with and attack fails to take Turkish trench.

Capt. H SUGDEN mortally wounded. Lt. J. M. WADE wounded and missing; 17 other ranks reported missing, and 33 wounded, 9 killed.

June 20th
Capt. SUGDEN dies in hospital.

June 22nd
Batt. relieved in trenches & returns to Bivouac.

June 29th
Bivouac heavily shelled with H. E. from Asiatic side.

JULY 1915

July 2nd
Batt. moves to trenches in Australian Line.

July 7th
Batt. moves to ESKI LINE. (Major R. P. LEWIS attached E. A. left on 6th).

July 10th
Batt. returns to the firing line.

July 12th
Lt. SUTTON & Sgt. GRANTHAM congratulated by Maj-Gen. for reconnaissance work.

July 13th
2/Lt. H. Y. DIXON attached, 11th York & Lancaster Regt. killed by shrapnel during advance by 52nd Division. 2/Lt. E. BALMFORD, wounded.

July 14th
Batt. moves back to Redoubt Line.

July 16th
Lt. Col. R. W. FALCON assumes command.

July 18th
Batt. relieved by 38th Bde & returns to Bivouac.

July 23rd
5 Officers and 222 other ranks from 2/9th Bn. Manch. R. Capt. D. B. STEPHENSON, 2/Lt. W. M. BARRATT, Lt. S. W. RUTTENAU, 2/Lt. H. INGHAM, 2/Lt. W. G. GREENWOOD.

AUGUST 1915

Aug 7th
Battalion divided.

Right Half Battalion.

Headquarters arrived in Redoubt Line at 7am and were attached to 125th Brigade. Two platoons under Lt. SUTTON proceeded to reinforce firing line on the right at 14:30 o’ clock. Shortly after arrival, Lt. SUTTON was wounded by shrapnel and eventually had to go back to Clearing Station. At 15:18 two platoons under Lt. FORSHAW and with 2/Lt. COOKE proceeded to reinforce advanced line near the vineyard.

Aug 8th
Early this morning (8th) an advanced party of 12 men, 7 killed and 5 wounded, were reinforced by Lt. FORSHAW and the trench held. The above are all A Company.

The remaining Company under Capt. KERSHAW with Lt. VYVYAN-ROBINSON went up to the old firing line about 17:30 and took up position with old ACHI BABA NULLAH on right and point where F12 joins firing line on left. Capt. KERSHAW assumed command of the two platoons of A in addition to his three platoons. Lt. ROBINSON and one platoon having been sent off to W of No7 SAP.

Lt. FORSHAW reports about 07:30 that 1 and 2 platoons A Coy had had about 25 casualties (one man killed).

Aug 7th
Left Half Battalion.

A reinforcement of 100 rifles of C Company under Lt. PORTER with 2/Lt. RUTTENAU sent up to the firing line on the extreme left of the 127th Brigade. Lt. PORTER was shortly after hit in the fire trench and died of his wounds. Shortly after an attack was arranged on a Turkish Redoubt to the left of H 11 b. The attack was not carried out but about 16 men of C Company led by 2/Lt. RUTTENAU advanced but being unsupported had to fall back again – all these men were hit, 2/Lt. RUTTENAU having 2 grazes, which hit his clothes without wounding him. Later in the afternoon Major R. B. NOWELL commanding left half battalion was wounded in the arm by a bullet, when in the Redoubt Line and was compelled to withdraw to Clearing Station, leaving Capt. WOODHOUSE in command. 50 more men were sent later from C Coy. to join the rest of C Coy. in the fire trench in the left and 100 men of C and D under  Lt. HANDFORTH were sent across KRITHIA NULLAH into the Redoubt Line, under the orders of O.C. 1/6th Manchester R. leaving Capt. WOODHOUSE and about 2 men in the Redoubt Line W of KRITHIA NULLAH.

Aug 7th & 8th
Machine Guns.

The three regimental machine guns under Lt. KNOWLES were posted in the HORSESHOE line. At mid-day on the 7th Lt. STOTT acting B.M.G.O. reported that Corporal HOWARD had been doing very good work. At night 2 guns were moved up OXFORD ST to trench near the French, 1 gun remaining in the HORSESHOE Redoubt. 3 casualties reported on the morning of the 8th.

Aug 8th
Orders were received at mid-day that the battalion was to be redistributed under the orders of the G. O. C. 127th Brigade – C and D Companies up to a strength of 250 rifles took over the firing line W of the KRITHIA NULLAH, A Company and the balance of the men returned into the Redoubt line with Headquarters.

August 9th
At 9am Lt. FORSHAW returned to Headquarters and was relieved temporarily by 2/Lt. COOKE. Lt. FORSHAW was quite done up and covered with bomb-fumes – he had been hit by a shrapnel-case and had been fighting practically for 2 days and nights without ceasing. He had shown extraordinary bravery and had by his personal example been the cause of the Vineyard trenches G.12 being retained by us – he had been assisted by 2/Lt. COOKE, who had also done extremely good work together with 2 platoons of A Company who had all behaved extremely gallantly. The B.G. of the 126th Brigade personally congratulated the commanding officer on the gallant behavior of Lt. FORSHAW, 2/Lt. COOKE and the 2 platoons under them. The following congratulatory messages were received from the 8th Army Corps commander and from the Brigadier-General 126th Brigade:

To G.O.C.

126 Bde. D20 9th

Tell O.C. 9th Machs to let his officers and men know that I have only just heard the part they took in action 7th and 8th. I congratulate you and them including the 4th E. L. on the splendid gallantry, initiative and endurance they have shown and I shall have the greatest pleasure in bringing to notice their gallant conduct.

From (sig) Maj. Gen. DOUGLAS

O.C. 9th Manchesters

16:30 I should like to add my appreciation of the fine fighting qualities shown by your officers and men in the vineyard. They did splendidly.

Sig HAMPDEN. Brig. Gnl.

Cmdg 126 Inf Bde

Also from 125th Bde for Lt. FORSHAW attached here.

Further casualties make the total 1 officer and 10 men killed, 1 man missing, and 2 officers and 80 other ranks wounded.

A party of 41 men of B Company originally intended to garrison duplicate firing line E. of NULLAH were diverted and sent off to the vineyard trench on the evening of the 8th and remained there holding the trench until the evening of the 9th until they were relieved having sustained 14 casualties.

Aug 10th
Redistribution of 250 rifles on the W. of the NULLAH took place, leaving 50 rifles in the firing line, 95 in the duplicate firing line, 70 in the support line, and remaining 35 rejoined Headquarters in the Redoubt line.

Aug 12th
Headquarters and 160 rifles went into the firing line on the left sub-section on E. of KRITHIA NULLAH. At 7pm the Turks made a strong demonstration by rifle fire and shelling but did not attack. The actual attack was made on the vineyard. Pte. POTTS (No 1347) volounteered to join the bombing party of the 1/4th East Lancashire Regt. up the W. sap of the vineyard.

Aug 13th
2/Lt. COOKE and a bombing party went up the W. sap of the vineyard and rejoined the battalion at 10 o’ clock. At 10:30 Headquarters and A & B Companies were relieved and returned to bivouac: the rest of the battalion following during the day.

Total casualties from the 7th to the 13th were killed 17, missing 1, wounded 69, slightly wounded 17, making a Total 104.

Aug 19th
The battalion moved to a new bivouac on GULLY BEACH.

Aug 25th
The battalion moved up into the trenches.

August 18th
G.H.Q. wires Inform No 180 Cpl. S BAYLEY 9th Manchester Regt. that the General Commanding has awarded him the Distinguished Conduct Medal in recognition of his gallantry on night Aug 8/9th.

RICHARDSON Capt.

For Staff Capt. 126 Inf. Bde.

Aug 26th
Congratulatory card for gallantry issued to No 1347 Pte. R. POTTS.

SEPTEMBER 1915

Sept 10th
Batt returns to bivouac. Following telegram received:-

It is with much pride and gratification that I repeat the following message from G. O. C. in Chief & G.O.C. 8th Army Corps. Lieut. FORSHAW really deserved the coveted prize that he has won for gallantry and I feel sure it will be followed by heroism of other Officers, N.C.O.s and men resulting in similar recognition. Message begins.

Following received from G.H.Q. please convey to Lieut. WILLIAM T FORSHAW 1/9th Manchester Regt. 126th Inf. Bde. 42nd Div. congratulations of Commander in Chief on the well deserved award of the Victoria Cross gazette Sept 9th. The Lieut. General commanding 8th Army Corps also desires to add his hearty congratulations both to Lieut. FORSHAW & to 1/9th Manch. Regt.

Signed Major General DOUGLAS

Sept 11th
Lt. Colonel R. W. FALCON invalided. Major R. L. LEES assumes command. Following telegram received:

On behalf of 125th Bde. I desire to express to Lieut. W. T. FORSHAW my hearty congratulations on the grant to him of the Victoria Cross. The Brigade will ever remember with gratitude the invaluable assistance he gave us in the Vineyard.

O. C. 125th Bde.

Sept 12th
102 men under Capt. F. WOODHOUSE left for training camp at IMBROS. W. J. ABLITT 2/Lieut. and Acting Adjutant admitted to hospital.

Sept 18th
Batt moved up into the trenches. The G.O.C. in Chief visited the trenches.

Sept 9th
102 men under Capt. G. W. HANDFORTH proceeded to the Light Training Camp, IMBROS.

Sept 19th
Capt. G. W. HANDFORTH admitted to hospital sick.

Sept 30th
Major R. L. LEES, D.S.O. relinquished command of the batt. Major W. J. V. ANDERSON assumed command.

OCTOBER 1915

Oct 1st
The batt. moved into Divisional Reserve at GEOGHEGAN’S BLUFF.

Oct 2nd to 6th
Nothing to record. Every available man was on fatigue for 6 hours a day during the week.

Oct 7th
Five new Officers join the batt. from England and are posted to companies as follows:

2 Lieut. G R. BERNARD                 12th Essex Regt.
2 Lieut. G. F. BARKER                     12th Essex Regt.
2 Lieut. A. J. SOUTHCOTT            12th Essex Regt.
2 Lieut. L. KIRWAN                          10th South Lancs Regt.
2 Lieut. G GREEN KELLY              10th South Lancs Regt.

Oct 8th
The batt changes with 1/10th Bn. Manch. R. and goes into bivouac on GULLY BEACH south of GULLY RAVINE. A sharp rainstorm with heavy wind from the sea came on about 7pm and owing to no preparation against bad weather having been made for infantry, all troops got wet.

Oct 9th
Temp Capt. D. B. STEPHENSON goes to hospital sick.

Oct 11th
Weather broke again about 1-30pm when a sharp shower came down. Troops did not get very wet and the sun which came out very strongly dried clothes and blankets.

Oct 14th
Orders received that two companies to be attached to 1/5th E. Lancs Regt. and Batt HQ and two companies to 1/10th Bn Manch R. for tactical purposes. The object being to economise in Senior Officers and senior N.C.O.s. A & C Companies under Capt. WOODHOUSE proceed to 1/5th E. Lancs Regt.: B & D Companies under the command of Capt. KERSHAW to 1/10th Bn Manch R.  The Transport, orderly room staff and quartermaster dept are kept intact. The batt moves up to the trenches attached as above.

Oct 16th
Capt. KERSHAW with 95 men return from Light Training Camp at IMBROS.

Oct 18th
Weather conditions wet.

Oct 19th
Major W. J. ANDERSON killed in action by a bomb whilst visiting the trenches. Lt. Col. G. W. ROBINSON 1/10th Bn Manch R. is placed temporarily in command by Brigadier General.

Oct 22nd
Weather very bad. Draft arrived from England 3 Officers and 134 O.R. 2 Lieut. ROBINSON. 2 Lieut. DEMEL & Lieut. AINSWORTH. No senior N.C.O.s sent with the draft.

Oct 23rd
9-30pm message received from Brigade Major 126th Inf. Bde. that the artillery had seen Turks massing for an attack in GULLEY RAVINE. All troops stood to arms. About 10-30pm information arrived that these men were two large working parties which were endeavouring to mend parapet of enemy trenches knocked down by artillery during the day.

Oct 24th & 25th
Nothing to report.

Oct 26th
11 Officers arrive from England from 2/9th Bn. Manch R. Owing to the fact that they are junior to two officers of the 1/9th Batt who are still here and are still 2nd Lieuts. Some of these new officers have to relinquish temporary rank and become 2nd Lieuts.

2nd Lieuts. BURY, W. B., NAYLOR S., DEARNALEY I., BRISTER J. F., NEIDHAM O.S., FIELDING P. P., HAMPSON F. C., BEARD F., DALE R. J. N., TOMMIS, J. R. GRAY A.

Oct 27th & 28th
Nothing to record.

Oct 29th
Batt was relieved in the trenches by 1/8th Bn Manch R. & 1/6th & 1/5th Bns. Manch. R. All the draft proceeded to GULLY RAVINE where a training camp for the drafts of the Brigade has been formed the men not being properly disciplined nor having been sufficiently trained in musketry for active service.

Oct 30th & 31st
Nothing to record.

Appendix 1 CASUALTY REPORT FOR THE MONTH

Summary of Killed, Wounded, Missing and Sick to Hospital for Month Ending Oct 31st 1915.

Officers                                                 Other Ranks
Total      Killed        1                           Total      Killed           3
Wounded            Nil                            Wounded                10
Missing                Nil                             Missing                   Nil
Sick to Hospital  2                            Sick to Hospital  114
Total                         3                            Total                         127

 

NOVEMBER 1915

Nov 1st to 8th
Weather conditions good. Very large fatigue parties. Nothing to record.

Nov 9th
Captain KERSHAW and 2nd Lieut. BURY to Hospital. Lieut. NASH, RAMC.

Nov 10th
Training camp finished. Weather broke in night and heavy rain fell.

Nov 11th
Nothing to record.

Nov 12th
Battalion moved to the trenches to the left subsection and took over from S. E. Mounted Brigade.

Nov 13th
Enemy bombed persistently but were stopped by our bombers.

Nov 14th
Nothing to record.

Nov 15th
Very heavy thunderstorm accompanied by hurricane from sea. Came on about 7pm. There being no shelters, troops in sub section reserve got wet through. The men in the fire trenches kept fairly dry owing to the parados protecting them. As the trenches are entirely undrained they were in a very bad condition underfoot.  52nd Division attacked and took trenches in the centre.

Nov 16th
Turks counter attacked 52nd Division in the centre, all quiet on our front.

Nov 17th
Another heavy rainstorm. Conditions similar to the 15th.

Nov 18th
German aeroplane flying low over our lines. Small gun of the enemies close up to trenches damaged parapet of firing line by direct fire. No casualties. Two yeomanry hit in MULE TRENCH by shell case.

Nov 19th & 20th
Nothing to record.

Nov 21st
Great number of large grenades sent over, some 70 in the night.

Nov 22nd
Nothing to record.

Nov 23rd
2nd Lieut. I. DEARNALEY killed near BOYES PT.

Nov 24th & 25th
Considerable shelling and large grenades by evening.

Nov 26th
Battn. relieved by South East Mounted Brigade and went into bivouac in GULLY RAVINE. Most of the men put under cover in winter quarters but very crowded.

Nov 27th to 30th
Very heavy fatigues. Very few men available for making winter quarters, owing to extremely large fatigues. Weather very cold, several degrees of frost being registered.

DECEMBER 1915

Dec 1st
Fatigues heavy. Draft of 7 N.C.O.s & men arrived from England. Machine Gunners.

Dec 2nd to 6th
Fatigues very heavy. All men who were not out on fatigue were engaged in making winter quarters.

Dec 7th
6 men arrived form Hospital. Nothing of importance to record.

Dec 8th & 9th
Fatigues very heavy. Work on winter dug-outs continued.

Dec 10th
Battalion relieved S. E. Mounted Brigade in the left sub-section. Enemy shelled the MULE TRENCH during the move and several casualties ensued.

Dec 11th
Nothing to record.

Dec 12th
Enemy quiet, weather conditions good.

Dec 13th
Patrols out from beach and also from NE corner of FUSILIER BLUFF report no movement of the enemy and that the front line trench is very thinly held.

Dec 14th
Nothing to record.

Dec 15th
Work on trenches continued and good progress made.

Dec 16th
Nothing to record.

Dec 17th
Two forward saps started from the N.E. corner of FUSILIER BLUFF towards a crater made by a mine explosion. The idea being to seize the crater in two days time and hold as a bombing station.

Dec 18th
Saps towards crater going on well but do not look as if they will reach by the crater 14:00 tomorrow. Three congratulatory cards from the Major General Commanding, received for:-

No 5 QMS G BOOCOCK
400 Sgt Mr Cook JOHN CHAPMAN
1659 Pte. P. WOODRUFF

Dec 19th
Morning quiet. In the afternoon a small action took place at 14:15, a large mine was exploded about 30 yards from the N.E. corner of FUSILIER BLUFF and immediately after 5 smaller mines. It was expected that this mine would form a large crater and a party was told off to occupy this. The party consisted of 16 bombers, a working party under 2nd Lieut. GRAY and 26 men of ‘B’ Coy. All went exactly as ordered and the men went over the parapet in a splendid manner, but unfortunately the mine failed to form a crater and when the men got out there was no cover at all and the Turkish trench being intact the enemy fired deliberately from loop holes at the party. 2nd Lieut. GRAY stayed out until it became evident that nothing could be done when he gave the order to retire. The enemy shelled the MULE TRENCH and our Support Line very heavily whilst the action was in progress but did little damage. Our casualties amounted to 3 killed, 1 missing, 11 wounded. The night passed quickly.

Dec 20th
Appended messages marked A, B, C & D received. Nothing of importance to record.

Dec 21st
Weather broke about 12:00 and heavy rain fell.

Dec 22nd & 23rd
Nothing to record.

Dec 24th
Battalion relieved and went into Divisional Reserve at GEOGHEGAN’S BLUFF.

Dec 26th
Orders received to leave the Peninsula on the 27th.

Dec 28th
Battalion left the Peninsula embarking on H.M.T. REDBREAST at 23:00.

Dec 29th
Battalion arrived at MUDROS WEST and went into camp.

Dec 30th & 31st
Battalion spend these two days in cleaning up and transferring baggage.

Appendix 1 – CASUALTY REPORT FOR THE MONTH

Summary of Killed, Wounded, Missing and Sick to Hospital for Month Ending Dec 31st 1915.

Officers                                              Other Ranks
Total      Killed    Nil          Total      Killed                          15
Wounded            Nil                           Wounded                31
Missing                Nil                            Missing                   Nil
Sick to Hospital  2                            Sick to Hospital  63
Total                         2                            Total                       109

 

Appendix 2 – MESSAGES

Copy Messages

A

To 126 Bde

B. 409 20th

8th Corps have received following wire from GENERAL BIRDWOOD commanding Dardanelles Army last night begins: –

Many congratulations on your success today which has been of greatest assistance. Please thank 52nd and 42nd Divisions from me for their good work. I hope their casualties were only small and am anxious for early details. All goes well elsewhere. Ends. Inform troops.

From 42nd Division

To 126 Bde

B. 410 20th

8th Corps have received following wire from General BIRDWOOD commanding the Dardanelles Army after hearing of repulse of counter attack, begins: –

Well done 42nd & 52nd Divisions. Ends.

B

To 9th Man          20th

I am sorry you had bad luck yesterday. I know that the men did very well and I wish them better luck next time.

General DAVIS

C

From: Major General HUGHES

To 126th Inf. Bde.

19th Dec

I congratulate the Brigade on the way in which the attacking party went out. Had the mine formed a crater across Turkish trenches as intended, I feel sure our men would be holding it now. I am also very pleased with the steadiness of all ranks in the trenches under shell fire. I shall be glad to hear if any wounded men still out, are got in tonight.

D

Brigadier General G.S. McD ELLIOT, Commanding 126th Inf. Bde.

19-12-1915

The Brigadier is very pleased with the behavior of all ranks today. Everything went off exactly as arranged, except that after the explosion there was no crater to occupy, and the operations fell through. This was no fault of the Brigade. The Brigadier feels sure that all ranks will not be disheartened by lack of success today, and will always respond cheerfully and bravely to the call of duty, as they did today.