The Finsbury Rifles were part of the 54th (East Anglian) Division. The Division was made up of three Brigades, including the 162nd (East Midland) Brigade, which contained the 1/11 (County of London) Battalion (Finsbury Rifles.)
Each battalion had 4 companies: A,B,C,D company (Coy or Co.) Battalions usually started with 900/1000 men; each company would be 250 men.
At the end of July 1915 the Finsbury Rifles sailed from Plymouth to Mudros. On the 11 August 1915 they landed at Suvla Bay, Gallipoli.
Location: HMTS AQUITANIA
Date: 29 July 1915 Hour: 6pm
Embarked on HMTS Aquitania at Liverpool for Dardanelles.
Date: 30 July 1915 Hour: 10.45pm
Sailed escorted by destroyers. All lights lowered.
Date: 31 July 1915 Hour: 11.15am
Escort left ship off Scilly Isles
Date: 1 August 1915
Voyage continued. Sea rough. Ship not fitted with hammocks. Considerable difficulty experienced in keeping decks and berths tidy.
Date: 2 August 1915.
Passed Gibraltar 4pm, but did not touch. Night fire alarm 11pm very successful.
Date: 3 August 1915
Sea calm. Lecture given to all officers on sanitation.
Date: 4 August 1915
Malta passed 4pm. Sea calm. Remaining three men of battalion not inoculated were done.
Date: 5 August 1915
Rifles and helmets drawn from store.
RMS Aquitania was a magnificent transatlantic liner belonging to the Cunard Line. She was launched on 21 April 1913 and sailed on her maiden voyage to New York on 30 May 1914. She survived military duty in both the First and Second World War.
The journey on the Aquitania would have been quite an experience for the Finsbury Rifles. Joe Guthrie served as a machine gun sergeant with the Finsbury Rifles. He remembers the journey from Liverpool to Mudros in this oral history recording from the Imperial War Museum’s collection.
Lieutenant-Colonel Stanley Cesnola Byrne of the Finsbury Rifles was also a photographer. He documented the battalion’s time in Gallipoli. His collection is now held by the Imperial War Museum.