the Secretary of of the Admiralty.
" HMS Triad," July 1, 1915.
Sir,—I have the honour to forward herewith an account of
the operations carried out on the 25th and 26th April, 1915, during
which period the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force was landed
and firmly established in the Gallipoli peninsula.
The landing commenced at 4.20 a.m. on 25th. The general scheme
was as follows: — Two main landings were to take place,
the first at a.point just north of Gaba Tepe, the second on the
southern end of the peninsula. In addition, a landing was to be
made at Kum Kale, and a demonstration in force to be carried out
in the Gulf of Xeros near Bulair. The night of the 24th-25th was
calm and very clear, with a brilliant moon, which set at 3 a.m.
The first landing, north of Gaba Tepe, was carried out under the
orders of Rear-Admiral C. P. Thursby, C.M.G. His squadron consisted
of the following ships:
Prince of Wales.
To "Queen," "London," and "Prince of
Wales" was delegated the duty of actually landing the troops.
To " Triumph," " Majestic," and "Bacchante"
the duty of covering the landing by gunfire. In this landing a
surprise was attempted. The first troops to be landed were embarked
in the battleships "Queen," "London," and
"Prince of Wales." The squadron then approached the
land at 2.58 a.m. at a speed of 5 knots. When within a short distance
of the beach selected for landing the boats were sent ahead. At
4.20 a.m. the boats reached the beach and a landing was effected.
The remainder of the infantry of the covering force were embarked
at 10 p.m., 24th. The troops were landed in two trips, the operation
occupying about half an hour, this in spite of the fact that the
landing was vigorously opposed, the surprise being only partially
The disembarkation of the main body was at once proceeded with.
The operations were somewhat delayed owing to the transports having
to remain a considerable distance from the shore in order to avoid
the howitzer and field guns' fire brought to bear on them and
also the fire from warships stationed in the Narrows, Chanak.
The beach here was very narrow and continuously under shell fire.
The difficulties of disembarkation were accentuated by the necessity
of evacuating the wounded; both operations proceeded simultaneously.
The service was one which called for great determination and coolness
under fire, and the success achieved indicates the spirit animating
all concerned. In this respect I would specially mention the extraordinary
gallantry and dash shown by the 3rd Australian Infantry Brigade
(Colonel E. G. Sinclair Maclagan, D.S.O.), who formed the covering
Many individual acts of devotion to duty were performed by the
personnel of the Navy; these are dealt with below. Here I should
like to place on record the good service performed by the vessels
employed in landing the second part of the covering force; the
seamanship displayed and the rapidity with which so large a force
was thrown on the beach is deserving of the highest praise.
On the 26th the landing of troops, guns and stores continued throughout
the day; this was a most trying service, as the enemy kept up
an incessant shrapnel fire, and it was extremely difficult to
locate the well-concealed guns of the enemy. Occasional bursts
of fire from the ships in the Narrows delayed operations somewhat,
but these bursts of fire did not last long, and the fire from
our ships always drove the enemy's ships away. The enemy heavily
counter-attacked, and though supported by a very heavy shrapnel
fire he could make no impression on our line, which was every
minute becoming stronger. By nightfall on the 26th April our position
north of Gaba Tepe was secure.
The landing at the southern extremity of the Gallipoli peninsula
was carried out under the orders of Rear-Admiral R. E. Wemyss,
C.M.G., M.V.O., his squadron consisting of the following ships:
in this area were to be attempted at five different places; the
conditions at each landing varied considerably. The position of
beaches is given below.
Position of Beach.—
" Y " beach, a point about 7,000 yards north-east of
"X" beach, 1,000 yards north-east of Cape Tekeh.
"W" beach, Cape Tekeh—Cape Helles.
"V" beach, Cape Helles—Seddul Bahr.
Camber, Seddul Bahr.
" S " beach, Eski-Hissarlik Point.
Taking these landings in the above
Landing at " Y" Beach.—The troops to be first
landed, the King's Own Scottish Borderers, embarked on the 24th
in the '' Amethyst'' and '' Sapphire '' and proceeded with the
transports "Southland" and "Braemar Castle"
to a position off Cape Tekeh. At 4.0 a.m. the boats proceeded
to " Y " beach, timing their arrival there at 5.0 a.m.,
and pulled ashore covered by fire from H.M.S. "Goliath."
The landing was most successfully and expeditiously carried out,
the troops gaining the top of the high cliffs overlooking this
beach without being opposed; this result I consider due to the
rapidity with which the disembarkation was carried out and the
well-placed covering fire from ships. The Scottish Borderers were
landed in two trips, followed at once by the Plymouth Battalion
Royal Marines. These troops met with severe opposition on the
top of the cliffs, where fire from covering ships was of little
assistance and, after heavy fighting, were forced to reembark
on the 26th. The re-embarkation was carried out by the following
ships: " Goliath," "Talbot," "Dublin,"
"Sapphire," and " Amethyst." It was most ably
conducted by the beach personnel and covered by the fire of the
warships, who prevented the enemy reaching the edge of the cliff,
except for a few snipers.
Landing at " X " Beach.—The 2nd Battalion Royal
Fusiliers (two companies and M.G. Section) embarked in "Implacable"
on 24th, which ship proceeded to a position off the landing-place,
where the disembarkation of the troops commenced at 4.30 a.m.,
and was completed at 5.15 a.m. A heavy fire was opened on the
cliffs on both sides. The "Implacable" approached the
beach, and the troops were ordered to land, fire being continued
until the boats were close into the beach. The troops on board
the " Implacable " were all landed by 7 a.m. without
any casualties. The nature of the beach was very favourable for
the covering fire from ships, but the manner in which this landing
was carried out might well serve as a model.
Landing at "W" Beach.—The 1st Battalion Lancashire
Fusiliers embarked in " Euryalus " and " Implacable
" on the 24th, who proceeded to positions off the landing
place, where the troops embarked in the boats at about 4 a.m.
Shortly after 5 a.m. "Euryalus" approached "W"
beach and " Implacable " " X " beach. At 5
a.m. the covering ships opened a heavy fire on the beach, which
was continued up to the last moment before landing. Unfortunately
this fire did not have the effect on the extensive wire entanglements
and trenches that had been hoped for, and the troops, on landing
at 6 a.m., were met with a very heavy fire from rifles, machine
guns, and pom-poms, and found the obstructions on the beach undamaged.
The formation of this beach lends itself admirably to the defence,
the landing-place being commanded by sloping cliffs offering ideal
positions for trenches and giving a perfect field of fire. The
only weakness in the enemy's position was on the flanks, where
it was just possible to land on the rocks and thus enfilade the
more important defences. This landing on the rocks was effected
with great skill, and some maxims, cleverly concealed in the cliffs
and which completely enfiladed the main beach, were rushed with
the bayonet. This assisted to a great extent in the success of
the landing, the troops, though losing very heavily, were not
to be denied and the beach and the approaches to it were soon
in our possession The importance of this success cannot be overestimated;
" W " and " V " beaches were the only two
of any size, in this area, on which troops, other than infantry,
could be disembarked, and failure to capture this one might have
had serious consequences as the landing at " V " was
held up. The beach was being continuously sniped, and a fierce
infantry battle was carried on round it throughout the entire
day and the following night. It is impossible to exalt too highly
the service rendered by the 1st Battalion Lancashire Fusiliers
in the storming of the beach; the dash and gallantry displayed
were superb. Not one whit behind in devotion to duty was the work
of the beach personnel, who worked untiringly throughout the day
and night, landing troops and stores under continual sniping.
The losses due to rifle and machine-gun fire sustained by the
boats' crews, to which they had not the satisfaction of being
able to reply, bear testimony to the arduous nature of the service.
During the night of the 25th-26th enemy attacked continuously,
and it was not till 1 p.m. on the 26th, when " V '"beach
was captured,that our position might be said to be secure. The
work of landing troops, guns, and stores continued throughout
this period and the conduct of all concerned left nothing to be
Landing at. "V" Beach.—This beach, it was anticipated,
would be the most difficult to capture; it possessed all the advantages
for defence which "W" beach had, and in addition the
flanks were strongly guarded by the old castle and village of
Seddul Bahr on the east and perpendicular cliffs on the west;
the whole foreshore was covered with barbed wire entanglements
which extended in places under the sea. The position formed a
natural amphitheatre with the beach as stage. The first landing
here, as at all other places, was made in boats, but the experiment
was tried of landing the remainder of the covering force by means
of a collier, the " River Clyde." This steamer had been
specially prepared for the occasion under the directions of Commander
Edward Unwin; large ports had been cut in her sides and gangways
built whereby the troops could reach the lighters which were to
form a bridge on to the beach. " V " beach was subjected
to a heavy bombardment similarly to "W" beach, with
the same result, i.e., when the first trip attempted to land they
were met with a murderous fire from rifle, pom-pom and machine
gun, which was not opened till the boats had cast off from the
steamboats. A landing on the flanks here was impossible and practically
all the first trip were either killed or wounded, a few managing
to find some slight shelter under a bank on the beach; in several
boats all were either killed or wounded; one boat entirely disappeared,
and in another there were only two survivors. Immediately after
the boats had reached the beach the '' River Clyde '' was run
ashore under a heavy fire rather towards the eastern end of the
beach, where she could form a convenient breakwater during future
landing of stores, &c. As the "River Clyde" grounded,
the lighters which were to form the bridge to the shore were run
out ahead of the collier, but unfortunately they failed to reach
their proper stations and a gap was left between two lighters
over which it was impossible for men to cross; some attempted
to land by lumping from the lighter which was in position into
the sea and wading ashore; this method proved too costly, the
lighter being soon heaped with dead and the disembarkation was
ordered to cease. The troops in the " River Clyde "
were protected from rifle and machine-gun fire and were in comparative
safety. Commander Unwin, seeing how things were going, left the
" River Clyde " and, standing up to his waist in water
under a very heavy fire, got the lighters into position; he was
assisted in this work by Midshipman G. L. Drewry, R.N.R., of H.M.S.
"Hussar"; Midshipman W. St. A. Malleson, R.N., of H.M.S.
" Cornwallis " : Able Seaman W. C. Williams, O.N. 186774
(R.F.R. B.3766), and Seaman R.N.R. George McKenzie Samson, O.N.
2408A, both of H.M.S. " Hussar." The bridge to the shore,
though now passable, could not be used by the troops, anyone appearing
on it being instantly shot down, and the men in " River Clyde"
remained in her till nightfall. At 9.50 a.m. " Albion "
sent in launch and pinnace manned by volunteer crews to assist
in completing bridge, which did not quite reach beach; these boats,
however, could not be got into position until dark owing to heavy
It had already been decided not to continue to disembark on "
V " Beach, and all other troops intended for this beach were
diverted to "W." The position remained unchanged on
" V " beach throughout the day, men of war and the maxims
mounted in " River Clyde " doing their utmost to keep
down the fire directed on the men under partial shelter on the
beach. During this period many heroic deeds were performed in
rescuing wounded men in the water. During the night of the 25th-26th
the troops in "River Clyde" were able to disembark under
cover of darkness and obtain some shelter on the beach and in
the village of Seddul Bahr, for possession of which now commenced
a most stubborn fight. The fight continued, supported ably by
gunfire from H.M.S. "Albion," until 1.24 p.m., when
our troops had gained a position from which they assaulted hill
141, which dominated the situation. " Albion" then ceased
fire, and the hill, with old fort on top, was most gallantly stormed
by the troops, led by Lieutenant-Colonel C. H. H. Doughty-Wylie,
General Staff, who fell as the position was won. The taking of
this hill effectively cleared the enemy from the neighbourhood
of the "V" Beach, which could now be used for the disembarkation
of the allied armies. The capture of this beach called for a display
of the utmost gallantry and perseverance from the officers and
men of both services—that they successfully accomplished
their task bordered on the miraculous.
Landing on the Camber, Seddul Bahr.— One half company Royal
Dublin Fusiliers landed here, without opposition, the Camber being
" dead ground." The advance from the Camber, however,
was only possible on a narrow front, and after several attempts
to enter the village of Seddul Bahr this half company had to withdraw
after suffering heavy losses.
Landing at " De Totts" "S" Beach.— The
2nd South Wales Borderers (less one company) and a detachment
2nd London Field Company R.E. were landed in boats, convoyed by
" Cornwallis," and covered by that ship and "Lord
Nelson." Little opposition was encountered, and the hill
was soon in the possession of the South Wales Borderers. The enemy
attacked this position on the evening of the 25th and during the
26th, but our troops were firmly established, and with the assistance
of the covering ships all attacks were easily beaten off.
Landing at Kum, Kale.—The landing here was undertaken by
the French. It was most important to prevent the enemy occupying
positions in this neighbourhood, whence he could bring gun fire
to bear on the transports off Cape Helles. It was also hoped that
by holding1 this position it would be possible to deal effectively
with the enemy's guns on the Asiatic shore immediately east of
Kum Kale, which could fire into Seddul Bahr and De Totts. The
French, after a heavy preliminary bombardment, commenced to land
at about 10 a.m., and by the afternoon the whole of their force
had been landed at Kum Kale. When they attempted to advance to
Yeni Shehr, their immediate objective, they were met by heavy
fire from well-concealed trenches, and were held up just south
of Kum Kale village. During the night of the 25th-26th the enemy
made several counter-attacks, all of which were easily driven
off; during one of these 400 Turks were captured, their retreat
being cut off by the fire from the battleships. On the 26th, when
it became apparent that no advance was possible without entailing
severe losses and the landing of large reinforcements, the order
was given for the French to withdraw and re-embark, which operation
was carried out without serious opposition.
I now propose to make the following more general remarks on the
conduct of the operations : — From the very first the co-operation
between army and navy was most happy; difficulties which arose
were quickly surmounted, and nothing could have succeeded the
tactfulness and forethought of Sir Ian Hamilton and his staff.
The loyal support which I received from Contre-Amiral E. P. A.
Guepratte simplified the task of landing the Allied armies simultaneously.
The Russian fleet was represented by H.I.R.M.S. "Askold,"
which ship was attached to the French squadron. Contre-Amiral
Guepratte bears testimony to the value of the support he received
from Captain Ivanoff, especially during the landing and re-embarkation
of the French troops at Kum Kale. The detailed organisation of
the landing could not be commenced until the Army Headquarters
returned from Egypt on the 10th April. The work to be done was
very great, and the naval personnel and material available small.
Immediately on the arrival of the Army Staff at Mudros, committees,
composed of officers of both services, commenced to work out the
details of the landing operations, and it was due to these officers'
indefatigable efforts that the expedition was ready to land on
the 22nd April. The keenness displayed by the officers and men
resulted in a good standard of efficiency, especially in the case
of the Australian and New Zealand Corps, who appear to be natural
boatmen. Such actions as the storming of the Seddul Bahr position
by the 29th Division must live in history for ever; innumerable
deeds of heroism and daring were performed; the gallantry and
absolute contempt for death displayed alone made the operations
possible. At Gaba Tepe the landing and the dash of the Australian
Brigade for the cliffs was magnificent—nothing could stop
such men. The Australian and New Zealand Army Corps in this, their
first battle, set a standard as high as that of any army in history,
and one of which their countrymen have every reason to be proud.
In closing this despatch I beg to bring to their Lordships' notice
the names of certain officers and men who have performed meritorious
service. The great traditions of His Majesty's Navy were well
maintained, and the list of names submitted of necessity lacks
those of many officers and men who performed gallant deeds unobserved
and therefore unnoted. This standard was high, and if I specially
mention one particular Action it is that of Commander Unwin and
the two young officers and two seamen who assisted him in the
work of establishing communication between "River Clyde "
and the beach. Rear-Admirals R. E Wemyss, C.M.G., M.V.O., C. P.
Thursby, C.M.G., and Stuart Nicholson, M.V.O., have rendered invaluable
service. Throughout they have been indefatigable in their efforts
to further the success of the operations, and their loyal support
has much lightened my duties and responsibilities. I have at all
times received the most loyal support from the Commanding Officers
of His Majesty's ships during an operation which called for the
display of great initiative and Captain R. F. Phillimore, C.B.,
M.V.O., A.D.C., as principal Beach Master, and Captain D. L. Dent,
as principal Naval Transport Officer, performed most valuable
[A list of those "mentioned" in this Despatch follows].
I have, &c.,
J. M. DE ROBECK, Vice-Admiral.