Finsbury Rifles in Gallipoli: 29 August to 31 August

Location: AGHYL DERE

Date: 29.8.15
Several men wounded by machine gun in early morning. Day otherwise uneventual and spent in fatigues and improving bivouac. Digging parties provided during night to link up right and left sections of fire-trenches occupied by 1/5th Bedfordshire to whom the battalion is being held in reserve.

Date: 30.8.15
Bulk of missing transport now recovered. Much sickness reported amongst troops and numerous cases of dysentery sent to hospital. Big fatigue [party] provided to move Divisional Headquarters. At dusk, two lines of 2nd line trenches taken over by ‘B & C’ companies, ground having previously reconnoitred by Adjutant and 2nd in command (Capt. Windsor) and O.C Cos [officers commanding the two companies]. Later in evening orders received to occupy two posts held by Worcester Regt in neighbourhood of ”C” Co lines. Posts occupied by 50 men from A&C Cos respectively. Owing to shortage of men, digging started previous night discontinued.

Date: 31.8.15
No 9 Platoon of ‘C’ company suffers heavy loss from enemy shrapnel through undue exposure. Three killed and about twelve wounded including Captain Clark. New Brig Gen Mudge holds lengthy conference with battn. commanders and adjutants and explains policy.

Further cases of dysentery etc. sent to hospital. At dusk ‘C’ Coy lines altered and consolidated and parties of ‘A’ and ‘D’ consequently enabled to be withdrawn. Digging started on 29th continued.

Month’s diary signed off by Lt. L.Newton & Adjutant XI London, 03.09.15

More Information

Aghyl Dere was a long dry watercourse in which the Finsbury Rifles and the Bedfordshires dug in trenches to gain some sort of security from shells and snipers.

Click to see an image of D Company Headquarters. Part of Finsbury Vale. Over the Ridge to the right was the Main Aghyll Dere, in which were the front line trenches. The small mound in the left centre of the picture was a sniper’s post.
Lewthwaite A. T. Collection IWM (Q 48992)

Also see machine gun sergeant, Joe Guthrie’s interview for more information.

Finsbury Rifles in Gallipoli: 22 August to 28 August

Location: SUVLA

Date: 22 August 15
Orders received that battalion would be relieved during day by part of 29th Division. In the meanwhile to be still prepared to take part in any general advance. A quiet day. Battalion not called upon to move. Just before midnight relieved by 5th Royal Scots and returned to Base Camp.

Date: 23 August 15
Left Base Camp after breakfast for Rest Camp. Day spent in forming camp & in bathing.

Date: 24 August 15
Battalion paraded for inspection of arms and equipment, also bathing parades. Lt. & QM Tutin wounded by shrapnel and one man killed and three wounded. Day otherwise uneventful.

Date: 25 August 15
Battalion warned to be prepared to take over trenches of 1/4th Norfolks previous day. A number of shells fall near lines but no damage done. Warning cancelled midday and battalion ordered to proceed to Lala Baba at midnight next day under orders of 11th Division.

Date: 26 August 15
A quiet restful day in camp. At midnight battalion falls in and proceeds to Lala Baba.

Location: Lala Baba

Date: 27 August 15
Arrived at bivouac about 3am. Four officers proceed to reserve trenches about 11/2 miles inland, which battalion is ordered to occupy at 8pm. Order cancelled later but bivouac moved about 500 yards north of old one. Heavy fighting in neighbourhood and at 7.30pm C.O. inspects other trenches which battalion may have to occupy in case of emergency.

Date: 28 August 15
Alarm at 3am and battalion ordered to be in readiness to move at a moment’s notice. In the end not called upon. Orders received to be prepared in evening to move to neighbourhood of Anzac. At 8.30pm battalion moved with Bgde Hgrs and 1/5 Beds to Aghyl Dere arriving there about midnight. Lines of 6th Loyal North Lancs taken over. Lt Col Byrne resumes command of Battalion. Brigade transport temporarily lost and much inconvenience caused thereby.

More Information

This photo was taken by Lt. Col. Byrne, presumably once he was back as Battalion Commander at Aghyl Dere. Major Malcolm was the Finsbury Rifles’ Medical Officer. He died of dysentry in Malta, October 1915.

Finsbury Rifles in Gallipoli: 17 August to 21 August

Location: SUVLA (Lone Tree Gully)

Date: 17 August 15
Quiet day in trenches. Reinforcing draft under Capt Collins arrived. Effort made to get companies reorganised and men of the battalion withdrawn as far as possible from other battalion trenches.

Date: 18 August 15
Quiet day in trenches. Shelling and sniping at intervals and a few casualties. Battalion now practically accounted for.

Date: 19 August 15
Quiet day in trenches. Three men sniped. Battn relieved at 8pm by 1/4th NORTHANTS.

Date: 20 August 15
Battn resting until 8pm. Whole battalion other than base details and sick and including. Captain Collins’ draft paraded during the morning and nominal roll completed. Casualty roll also completed to date.

Date: 20 August 15          Hour: 8pm
Trenches of 1/5th Bedfordshire taken over. Uneventful night. Reconnoitring patrol reported small numbers of Turks in immediate vicinity of trenches.

Date: 21 August 15
Heavy firing on right of line during early morning. Companies in reserve warned to be prepared to stand to arms.

Lieut Maxwell badly wounded in front line trenches. Battalion warned to be prepared to take part in possible advance during afternoon.

Date: 21 August 15           Hour: 3pm

Batt Hqrs and companies in reserve moved up to immediate vicinity of front line trenches. Very heavy artillery bombardment of Turkish positions on extreme right of the line and advance by the 53rd Division (29th & 11th)

162nd Brigade not called upon and after a quiet afternoon, half battalion withdrawn into next trenches.

Night uneventful on our front.

More Information

The Finsbury Rifles were very lucky not to be called upon on the 21 August, as that attack was as catastrophic as the one on the 15 August. Had the Battalion been involved it might well have been more or less wiped out.

Finsbury Rifles in Gallipoli: 15 & 16 August

Location: SUVLA

Brigade Gully, foothills of Kiretch Tepe Sirt, looking towards Suvla Bay. 15th August, 1915, Lt. Col. Byrne © IWM (Q 57860)

Brigade Gully, foothills of Kiretch Tepe Sirt, looking towards Suvla Bay. 15th August, 1915, Lt. Col. Byrne © IWM (Q 57860) This photograph shows the position just before the attack.

Date: 15 August 1915

Party returned to camp 4.30am. Position held by Lieutenant Fox and 80 men. Battalion moved out of camp 12.30pm and deployed on a position 1 ½ miles E by NE of camp. Thence advanced under distant rifle fire on the position previously entrenched. From here in connection with the remainder of the Brigade, attacks were delivered on various Turkish positions under heavy rifle, machine gun and shell fire.

The attacks were generally successful but owing to the necessary support not being forthcoming, the captured positions had to be given up at night and very heavy losses were sustained during the retirements, as well as during the previous actions.

The Brigade spent the night on the position round about Lone Tree Gully, the various units being by then inextricably mixed. Early in the action Brig. Gen de Winton was wounded and the command of the Brigade devolved on Lt Col Byrne, Major Davis assuming command of the Battalion.

During the night Major Davis was reported wounded and missing and Captain Lewer assumed command. The Adjutant (Capt Crosbie) was also wounded early in the day.

On the evening of August 15th Sir Frederick Stopford was sacked as Divisional Commander and replaced by Major General de Lisle. Several other commanders were also replaced over the next few days.

Location: SUVLA (Lone Tree Gully)

Date: 16 August 15
Trenches under heavy fire all day. Casualties again heavy. Captain Lewer badly wounded and Captain Windsor took over command. During night position consolidated and trenches partially reconstructed as far as possible.
Casualties during 15th & 16th 9 officers and about 350 rank and file.

More Information

Sir Frederick Stopford was in charge of the landings. An elderly general, his earlier wartime service had consisted of a ceremonial posting at the Tower of London. He possessed no battle experience, a fact which proved crucial during this disastrous operation.

15 August 1915 was a day of appalling suffering. There is a good account here from the perspective of the Bedfordshire Regiment who led the assault.

Take a look at this interview with machine gun sergeant, Joe Guthrie.

Finsbury Rifles in Gallipoli: 10 August to 14 August

Location: SUVLA BAY

© IWM (Q 57866)

“A” Beach, Suvla Bay, August 1915. © IWM (Q 57866)

Date: 10 August 1915          Hour: 1pm
Started for Suvla Bay arriving 3pm, disembarked 5pm, proceeded at 9pm with 163rd Brigade two miles due north. Then placed in reserve.

Date: 11 August 1915
Moved one mile east and remained in reserve. Slight shelling by the Turks, shells falling half mile in front of the battalion, which was in cover in a long ditch.

Date: 12 August 1915
Fatigues in camp.

Date: 13 August 1915
Camp shelled by enemy.
Battalion ordered out to entrench position 800 yards north of 10th division trenches. Work commenced. Our casualties 5 wounded including Sgt Gardener.

Date: 14 August 1915
Continued entrenching position. Again shelled and sniped. Our casualties 4 wounded including Lieutenant Kilby. Work discontinued until dark, then carried on until daybreak. One man wounded.

More Information

The Finsbury Rifles were some of the reinforcements sent by British war minister Lord Kitchener to break the stalemate in the Gallipoli campaign. Suvla Bay was chosen as the ideal spot for landing a sizeable number of additional troops with the aim of securing the Anafarta Hills.

Read more about this disastrous landing at

Finsbury Rifles in Gallipoli: 6 August to 9 August


Allied ships in Mudros Harbour, 1915 © IWM (Q 57753)

Allied ships in Mudros Harbour, 1915 © IWM (Q 57753)

Date: 6 August 1915
Arrived Mudros Bay. Lemnos Isle.

Date: 7 August 1915
Parades as usual for gymnastics. Ship remains in harbour.

Date: 8 August 1915
Orders received for all troops Aquitania to hold themselves in readiness to proceed to the Isle of Imbros.

Date: 9 August 1915          Hour: 3pm
Embarked HMT Charon for Imbros arriving 9pm.

More Information

Mudros Bay was a small port on the Mediterranean island of Lemnos. The harbour was the base for all allied shipping in the Gallipoli campaign.