Wetherby War Memorial - The Great War 1914 - 1918

Dardanelles

Introduction
Gunter, R B N
Durrant, C M
Weston, C G
Kelly, K G
Armitage, G J
Durrant, H M L
Hargreaves, J P
March, G
Dukes, W
Fowler, R
Westerman, H
Kirk, J C
Wiggins, T A
Telford, G
Harper, J W
Alexander, H W
Mason, T F
Wilkinson, W
Brown, C
Adkin, J
Barton, F
Hobman, A
Webster, A E
March, E A
Miller, G
Hannan, E
Utley, G
Walker, F
Bygrave, E W
Chapman, E
Varley, N W
Bowen, F J
Byrom, F
Backhouse, S
Dalby, M
Crossland, A
Crossley, J S
Dean, R
Frost, A E
Hodgson, F H
Holt, J
Hood, W H
Hill, W
Kitchen, T
Linfoot, E
Metcalfe, J C
Marsden, J
Pawson, W
Precious, G
Scutt, T G
Shields,P
Wiggins, J
Walker, E
Wood, A
Young, T
Pratt, W
Taylor, H
Dawson, G W
Lister, J
Binge, T
Atack, G
Durham, E F
Precious, G R
Wheelhouse Smith, W
Backhouse, H
Swann, J W
Burnsides, G A
Coles, W
Kelly, H W
Miles, J G
Tapsell, K
Acknowledgements
Dardanelles

9th (Service) Battalion, West Yorkshire Regiment
 
 No Hope!
 
"Something like forty young men from the Wetherby district took part in the landing at Suvla Bay, and about three quarters of those have been previously reported killed, or are now recorded as having lost their lives, nothing having been heard of them since the 6th and 8th August last year. Many of their parents and relatives had been hoping against hope that some, if not all, were in the hands of the Turks, and even now seem loth to accept the word of the Government that a full list of prisoners has been received."
 
A newspaper article dated August, 1916

The Dardanelles Campaign: An Introduction
 
The Dardanelles Campaign can still even today provoke controversy and heated debate as to why the campaign was fought in the first instance. The origins of the Campaign date back to over a century before the outbreak of the Great War primarily due to who had control over the vital sea route to Russia through the Dardanelles Straits. It was an appeal from Tsar Nicholas of Russia that prompted allied interest in conducting an 'expedition' to Gallipoli however tensions between Britain and Turkey had begun to escalate prior to the request from the Russians with hostilities formally commencing on the 31st October, 1914.
Originally conceived as a purely naval operation to force the Straits and open the sea route to Russia, the Campaign eventually evolved into an amphibious landing on the Peninsula, the latter eventually evacuated as a result of political 'wranglings' and 'in-fighting' amongst the Allies.
I for one cannot possibly do justice to this complex subject during the course of this narrative of events relating to operations of the 9th West Yorkshire Regiment during the Dardanelles Campaign. I therefore recommend two books that will provide the reader with a greater understanding of the events that unfolded on the Gallipoli Peninsula in 1915. In no particular order of preference, Gallipoli by Alan Moorehead, published 1956 by Hamish Hamilton, London, and Defeat At Gallipoli by Nigel Steel & Peter Hart, published 1994 by Macmillan, London.
 
Embarkation Of The 32nd Infantry Brigade, 11th (Northern) Division
 
At 3 p.m. on the afternoon of the 31st June 1915, orders were received by the 32nd Infantry Brigade of the 11th (Northern) Division to prepare for entrainment the following day. Orders dictated that the Brigade would depart in 8 half Battalion Trains, i.e. all constituent units would form a First and Second Party, departing Milford Station at one and a half hours intervals. The first parties would begin to entrain between the hours of 4.05 p.m - 11.35 p.m. on the 1st July, the Second, between the hours of 7.05 a.m - 8.35 a.m. on the morning of the 2nd. Brigade Headquarters occupying the last train to leave and consisting of the following personnel:
Brigadier-General Henry Haggard, Officer Commanding 32nd Infantry Brigade
Captain Betham Wilkins Shuttleworth, attached, 45th Sikhs, Brigade Major
Captain William Norman Town, Staff Captain, attached, West Riding Regiment
Captain John Francis Mott, attached 6th Yorks & Lancs,  Brigade Machine Gun Officer
Second-Lieutenant Owen Leo Daly Gill, Officer Commanding No. 2 Signal Section, 11th Signal Company, Royal Engineers
Headquarters would consist therefore on embarkation of 5 officers, 22 Other Ranks, 15 Horses and 3 Four Wheeled Vehicles. The Signal Section would comprise on embarkation of one officer, 26 Other Ranks, 8 Horses and one Four Wheeled Vehicle. N.B. To Embark at a later date and attached to Headquarters were allocated a further 5 Other Ranks and 10 Horses.
 
Ca Ira! The 9th (Service) Battalion, West Yorkshire Regiment Depart Witley Camp
 
At Witley, the 1st Party of the 9th (Service) Battalion, West Yorkshire Regiment marched out of the Camp at 2.15 p.m. on the afternoon of the 1st July 1915 departing Milford Station at 3.50 p.m. Strength; 15 Officers, 3 Warrant Officers and 460 Other Ranks. The party was also accompanied by 7 Four Wheeled Vehicles and 2 Two Wheeled Vehicles, destination, Alexandra Docks, Liverpool.
As this first party departed the Station, the 2nd Party proceeded to march out of Camp at 3.45 p.m. departing the Station at 5.20 p.m. Strength, 15 Officers, 3 Warrant Officers and 467 Other Ranks. This party would also be accompanied by transport consisting of 8 Four Wheeled and 2 Two Wheeled Vehicles.
In the early hours of the morning of the 2nd July, the 1st Party arrived at Alexandra Docks, Liverpool at 1.30 a.m followed by the arrival of the 2nd Party at 3 a.m.
Embarkation of the 1st Party commenced at 2.30 a.m. and at 4 a.m., the 2nd Party also commenced embarkation, both parties boarding the S.S. Aquitania, operated before being commandeered as a Troop Ship by the Cunard Line, and built in 1913 by John Brown & Co. Ltd., Glasgow.
Similarly, the other respective units that constituted the Brigade had departed Witley Camp under the same orders, the last train arriving at Liverpool about 6 p.m. on the evening of the 2nd July. In addition to the 32nd Infantry Brigade aboard the Aquitania, the Brigade were also accompanied by 11th Division Headquarters, the 8th (Service) Battalion, Northumberland Fusiliers and the 5th (Service) Battalion, Dorsets, both battalions allocated to this voyage from the 34th Infantry Brigade of the Division, and details of both the Divisional Army Service Corps and that of the 34th Field Ambulance.
Including the crew and attached personnel, the total number of souls aboard the Aquitania numbered 6389 (Source, Brigade War Diary, T.N.A.,WO/95/4299).
 
Goodbye To Blighty!

During the early hours of the morning of the 3rd July 1915, the Aquitania began to build up steam in preparation for departure. It was at 3 a.m. that the four steam turbines that powered the ship began to rotate the propellers as the ship departed Alexandra Docks, at 3 a.m. One can only imagine the heightened state and emotions of the men as the vessel proceeded out into the muddy waters of the River Mersey. As the port of Liverpool slipped slowly by it must have been somewhat of an anti climax to the men when the ship suddenly dropped anchor at the mouth of the Mersey to await a destroyer escort. Promptly at 1.30 p.m. the destroyers arrived, vessels names unfortunately not recorded, and the Aquitania along with its escort set out into the Irish Sea, a sea menaced by the threat of German U-Boat attacks.
As the ship adopted a 'zigzag' course in an attempt to combat the threat of attack by enemy submarine, it was at 5.45 a.m. on the morning of the 4th July off the coast of the Scilly Isles that the Alarm resounded across the decks as the men proceeded to their respective boat stations. It soon became apparent to the men that an enemy submarine had been sighted and more fearfully the latter had managed to launch a torpedo. Luck however had prevailed and the latter most fortunately missed the ship and passed about 12 feet from the stern. The Brigade War Diary records that the enemy torpedo 'missed' due to a number of factors; the 'zigzag' course being maintained and the speed of the ship which was capable of maximum of 24 knots (Service Speed, 23).

SSAquitania.jpg
Aquitania

Their were however precautions in place should this exact situation arise. Twelve machine-guns had been mounted on the ship, three either side of the Navigation Bridge and three also either side of the After Bridge but it was found that no target could be acquired. This incident had though underlined the fact that vigilance was of paramount importance and to further reinforce the defences of the ship 100 rifles were placed on the deck, 50 on the Forecastle and 50 on the Poop Deck, each section under the command of an officer.
As the Aquitania continued her voyage passing Gibraltar and entering the Mediterranean Sea on the 6th, it was not until the 7th July that anything of note was recorded. Suddenly, at 4.45 a.m. on the latter date, the Alarm was sounded once again and following their evacuation procedures the men proceeded to their Boat Stations as those allocated to the machine-gun and rifle positions manned their posts to counter any threat. It soon became apparent that the Alarm had been raised due to an enemy submarine being sighted.The submarine was surfaced and engaged in the act of replenishing her fuel from a supply ship but was consequently out of range of the ships defences. So preoccupied with re-supply, the enemy boat had no opportunity to attempt an engagement allowing the Aquitania to continue onwards unmolested. Once again good fortune had prevailed in yet another encounter with the U-Boat threat that could have easily resulted in catastrophe.
 
Passing Malta on the 8th July, finally at 7 a.m. on the morning of the 10th July 1915 the Aquitania arrived at her destination, the island of Lemnos located in the Aegean Sea whereupon the ship sailed into Mudros Bay. The men however would have to wait nearly twenty-four hours to commence disembarkation.
 
Lemnos
 
At 8 a.m. on the morning of the 11th July disembarkation commenced with the transports of each unit onboard ship being given priority.
Six tows then came alongside the Aquitania, each towing four boats capable of holding 30 men and pulled by a piquet boat. Four gangways were then put into operation, two on either side of the ship as the 9th West Yorkshire's commenced their disembarkation at 9 a.m. completing this task at 11.50 a.m., all units landing at the South Landing, Turks Head, Mudros Bay. A break was then taken for a period of one hour from noon till 1 p.m. whereupon the six battalions that had landed proceeded to West Camp on the island and bivouacked, the last tow departing the ship at 5 p.m. however a number of men forming fatigue parties were left onboard.
 

 
 
 
 

WestCampLemnos.jpg
Schematic Of Landing Based On A Sketch Included In The 32nd Infantry Brigade War Diary

Whilst the men were preparing camp the last of the Brigades Baggage Waggons were landed from the Aquitania at noon on the 12th July followed during the afternoon by the supplies. With all necessary equipment and supplies landed, the ship was declared 'cleared' by 11 a.m. on the morning of the 13th instant, the Brigade War Diary also recording that both units of the 34th Infantry Brigade, the 8th Northumberland Fusiliers and the 5th Dorsets who had boarded the Aquitania at Liverpool, were now to be attached to the Brigade.
 
It was not until the 16th July that any event of any importance is recorded in the Brigade or War Diaries. At 9.45 a.m. on this date the 32nd Infantry Brigade were inspected by the Commander of the IX Army Corps, Lieutenant-General Sir Frederick Stopford.
No doubt this inspection was a precursor to an impending movement as at 9 p.m. on the evening of the 17th July orders were issued to the Brigade for the 8th Battalion, Northumberland Fusiliers attached, to prepare for movement the following day.
At 6.30 a.m. on the morning of the 18th, the Northumberland Fusiliers departed Lemnos in two destroyers, H.M.S. Grasshopper and Basilisk, both Beagle Class destroyers, bound for Imbros. Their baggage with a Baggage Party assigned to it, boarded H.M.S. Osmanieh, the Battalion completing this embarkation by noon. During the following day and adhering to the same timetable, the 5th Dorsets also departed Lemnos in two destroyers, H.M.S. Raccoon and Mosquito, both Beagle Class destroyers, their Baggage Party being transported to Imbros on board the S.S. Uganda. On the 20th, it was the turn of the 6th Battalion, Yorkshire Regiment who also departed the island according to the schedule on two destroyers, their Baggage Party travelling on the returning Osmanieh. Authors note: Although not recorded in the Brigade War Diary, the War Diary of the 6th Yorkshire's records these two ships as H.M.S. Harpy and H.M.S. Savage, both Beagle Class destroyers.
 

   Copyright http://www.clydebuiltships.co.uk and http://www.clydesite.co.uk. John Ward~McQuaid from the original records by Stuart Cameron MOSQUITO465.jpg
HMS Mosquito. Copyright http://www.clydebuiltships.co.uk and http://www.clydesite.co.uk

On the 19th July, orders had been received by the 9th West Yorkshire's to prepare for embarkation at 6.30 a.m. during the following morning however these were rescinded and the Battalion ordered to 'Stand Fast' until further notice. It was at 5.15 p.m. on the evening of the 20th that further orders were issued to prepare to move at short notice however the destination was not to be the island of Imbros but Cape Helles on the Peninsula itself, these warning orders also being issued to the three battalions already at Imbros. One can only imagine the almost 'feverish' preparations being conducted by the Company Commanders of the battalions as orders were received, rescinded, and of course, the interminable wait for definitive orders to commence a movement. For the West Yorkshire's at least, the wait ended for the time being when orders were received at 6.20 p.m. on the evening of the 21st that stated that the anticipated move to Cape Helles had been "suspended temporarily."
It was at 11.05 a.m. on the morning of the 22nd July that orders were finally received to prepare for embarkation to Imbros at 1 p.m. During the afternoon embarkation by the Battalion, minus the Rear Party as recorded in the Brigade War Diary, this terminology referring to the Battalions Baggage and associated party comprising of 1 officer and 50 Other Ranks, was completed by 3 p.m. (chronology as recorded in the War Diary of the West Yorkshire's). The Battalion would depart Lemnos in two parties, one part on board H.M.S. Mosquito, the second, on H.M.S. Racoon, both ships being Beagle Class Destroyers. On completing disembarkation at 8 p.m. on the evening of the 22nd, the West Yorkshire's then marched to "C" Area, Kephalos Camp, Imbros, where they proceeded to bivouac.
Between the hours of 2 p.m. and 11 p.m. on the 22nd, 32nd Brigade Headquarters, 8th West Riding Regiment and the 6th Yorks & Lancs accompanied by the Baggage Party of the 9th West Yorks also commenced embarkation onto the ships H.M.S. Rowan, an Armed Boarding Steamer, and S.S. Uganda, arriving at Kephalos Harbour, Imbros, at 6 a.m. on the morning of the 23rd July. Source: Brigade War Diary. Authors note: The War Diary of the 6th York & Lancaster's only records embarkation on the Uganda, the Diary of the 8th West Riding's records no ship by name.
 
Kephalos Camp: Imbros
 
With the men now safely ashore, the baggage was delayed. No doubt in preparation for this situation arising, the Brigade were allocated one days landing rations with each man also carrying his own supply of 'Iron Rations,' consisting of such food stuffs as preserved meat, usually Corned Beef ('Bully Beef'), cheese, hard biscuits and beverage items. In addition to his food, each man had landed at Imbros with 120 rounds of S.A.A. (Small Arms Ammunition).
The Baggage Party of the 9th West Yorkshire's did not arrive until the morning of the 23rd July with the remainder of the Brigade's arriving as late as the night of the 24th.

Kephaloscamp.jpg
Schematic Based On A Map From The 32nd Infantry Brigade War Diary: Positions Approximate.

It is at this juncture that the Author will now include a Nominal Roll of Officers of the 9th (Service) Battalion, West Yorkshire Regiment who departed Liverpool on board the Aquitania:

Commanding Officer    Lieutenant-Colonel John O'Brien Minogue


Majors

Maximilian David Francis Wood

Algernon Hubert Cathell


Captains

William Barras Hore

Cecil Evelyn Long-Price

Reginald Lupton

Thomas Francis Fraser

Eric Aldhelm Torlogh Dutton

Arthur William Browne

Andre Mellard Pearkes


Lieutenants

Alan Augustus Adams

Horace Curtis

Oswald Vernon Guy

Lawrence Boston

Frank Ernest Gent

Richard Oswald Girling

Charles A. Elliott

Edgar Worsnop


Second-Lieutenants

Cecil Thomas Coyne

Harold Davenport

John Aldersley Craven Spencer

Clive Sanders

Martin Haddon Miles

Bertram Saxelbys Evers

Harold Arthur Gough

Albert Bernard Gent


Adjutant   Captain Alexander Geary-Smith

Quartermaster   Lieutenant Alfred William Taylor

Medical Officer   Lieutenant N. Matthews (Possibly Newton Matthews, a native of New Zealand)

R.C. Chaplain   Father Thomas Joseph Rigby



As the Battalion settled into their new surroundings in "C" Area, Kephalos Camp, the 11th (Northern) Division were inspected by the General Officer Commanding the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force, Sir Ian Hamilton, at midday on the 24th July. Hamilton commented in his despatch published in the London Gazette on Tuesday, the 4th January 1916 that "the spirit and physique of the 11th Division had impressed me very favourably."

The War Diary of the 9th West Yorkshire's during the remainder of the month is sadly lacking in any detail other than the remark, "nothing of importance." The 32nd Infantry Brigade War Diary however records that from the 25th - 29th July, Battalion and Brigade training continued including the practising of night advances. Particular reference to specific battalions are recorded on the 30th and the 31st when at 4 p.m. the 6th Yorkshire Regiment were training in the act of embarkation and disembarkation from "Lighters" and the seizing of a covering position, the 8th West Riding's and the 6th York & Lancaster Regiments performing the exercise at 4 p.m on the 31st respectively. As the month of August dawned, from the 1st - 5th these exercises were repeated with an emphasis also now being placed on operations at night. What the men had trained for was now about to come to fruition. The 11th (Northern) Division were now about to commence operations on the Peninsula.

The Objectives