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.

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