Finsbury Rifles

Finsbury Rifles in Gallipoli: 22 September to 30 September

Location: AGHYL DERE (Anzac)

Date: 22.09.15
Hostile aeroplane over trenches about 11 am. Between 4.30 and 5.30pm heavy bombardment of lines. Two men wounded, one machine gun out of action and damage done to parapet of trenches in parts. At night small parties of Turks again seen in neighbourhood of advanced post. Two officer patrols sent out in early morning but without result.

Date: 23.09.15
Battn. relieved by 1/5 Beds between 5 and 6 am proceeded to old bivouac in Divisional Reserve where day spent in settling down. No fatigues. Capt Collins invalided home with pulmonary affection[sic].

Date: 24.09.15
150 men provided for work on new supply road during day. No signs of improvement in health of troops. Lieut Heilgers to hospital. Much firing on our right during early hours of evening and many shots fall in bivouac; one man slightly injured.

Digging fatigues at night as usual in front line trenches. 14 men to hospital and effective strength of Battn. reduced below 300.

Date: 25.09.15
Quiet day. 20 men to hospital and many on light duty. Camp inspected by ADMS. Fatigues as usual night and day becoming increasingly difficult to obtain necessary numbers of men. Heavy gun fire during night.

Date: 26.09.15
Fatigues as before and ordinary routine inspections in camps. Battn. paraded at 3pm for Divine Service. Apparent improvement in health of troops, only 8 men to hospital. Uneventful day and night.

Date: 27.09.15
Bivouac shelled at intervals throughout day with shrapnel and high explosive, the latter apparently from 6 in howitzer. No damage done. Bombing course re-started under officer of 1/5 Norfolks. Fatigues and routine as usual. Very heavy firing on our left in early hours of evening but no alarm. 8 men to hospital.

Date: 28.09.15
Orders received for relief of 1/5 Beds R. following morning in firing line. Quiet day and night. Australian trenches visited by 1 officer and 1 NCO. Machine gun course started under Lieut. Hooke. 3 officers of this unit attend. 4 men to hospital. Fatigues during day only.

Date: 29.09.15
1/5 Beds.relieved at dawn. Lines inspected at 10 am by GOC. Divn [General Officer commanding the Division]. Trenches heavily shelled by shrapnel from 4.30 to 5pm, little damage done. About 5pm. Sandbag Ridge bombarded by our howitzers with little effect. Quiet night. Nil report from officer patrol and out at 9pm. Good progress made on trenches by Coy of 1/5 Beds in local reserve. No men to hospital.

Date: 30.09.15
Trenches shelled at intervals during day ineffectually but whole line heavily bombarded at 8pm and two men killed and wounded. At dusk big fire noticed near Apex and clouds of smoke coming towards our trenches, Battn stood to for ¾ hour as a precaution any measure. Remainder of night quiet and nil report from patrol, one man wounded in advanced port, & 4 to hospital. Usual routine and much work on trenches by ourselves and parties of 1/5 Beds.

[September War Diary signed off by Lt Newton again]


More Information

By the end of September the Finsbury Rifles had suffered terrible losses from the fighting in August and diarrhoea and dysentery. Only 300 men remained fit from a battalion that probably numbered 800 when they sailed from Liverpool.

For more information about the problems of disease at Gallipoli look at


Archive Blog Post

Canonbury rate collector’s adventures: newspaper story

Islington Daily Gazette and North London Tribune
16th September 1915

Canonbury rate collector’s adventures
Somewhere in Gallipoli
Cake badly wanted.

We have received a copy of a letter from Mr. R. A. Jordan, the Canonbury rate collector, who is serving “somewhere in Gallipoli.” He writes:-

I have landed at last. We arrived at Alexandria and embarked to his point to effect a new landing.

I was on one ship with about 100 others and we were put into small boats and were towed in a line shorewards. Every chap was merry and bright, but Mr. Turk was not in the mood to let us have a fair sailing.

He had our range, and boom, a whistle and a splash; and we knew that after all these months we had struck war.

It was no good. Though the shells went all round he did not get a bull’s eye.

When we landed the boys marched off and I had to stop for all the stores to come from the other ships.

All the day the shells came all over the place, but I had the good luck to escape. One shell caught a poor fellow and wiped him out and also wounded four others.

It had turned twelve at night ere I left and found the others, and I can tell you I was absolutely tired out.

In the morning I took a party to the beach to draw rations. All the other quartermaster-sergeants did the same, and when we met we numbered and looked a big party.

Mr. Turk soon sent a message that we should scatter. I can tell you that at the first message we did very quickly, and all the time we dodged out and got the stuff on to the carts the pumped shells into us.

In less than an hour he put twenty-two out of action. We do not go there now in parties.

Yesterday we advanced towards him with the battleships in the bay covering the advance. The ships threw shells at half-minute intervals, with what effect I cannot say.

All the scrub caught fire and at night all along the Turks’ ground was one mass of flames.

Then we realised what it must be for the wounded lying about. Good God, it must have been awful! I trust that they were soon out of their misery.

Our regiment had forty-six casualties, including Sergeant McGloston, of my troop, who was killed. He was shot through the head by a sniper. He would not takes his stripes off and pencil them on his tunic as we have done.

I have heard that it is much better, as Kipling says, to roll on to your rifle and put yourself out of the way rather than fall into the Turks’ hands. I have not seen any case myself, but the tales we are told as to what has happened to prisoners, wounded or otherwise is terrible.

Grub is good, but the water is awful and dysentry is very rife. Well, I suppose it will all end in due course, but am afraid that the loss of life must be totalled up in thousands are the job is over.

There is one thing asked for here, and that is cake. We would go through the whole Turkish line if we knew we could get a feed of it there. It seems rather strange, and it is an extraordinary taste.

Do not worry: we shall, with luck, pull through all right.

Finsbury Rifles

Finsbury Rifles in Gallipoli: 15 September to 21 September

Location: AGHYL DERE (Anzac)

Date: 15.09.15
Uneventful day. Night fatigues as before, number of men available 150 only. No improvement in health of battalion. Australian trenches visited by Capt Windsor. At dusk Lt. Lord and party returned from N.Z Inf. Bde, no casualties during stay. Bathing continued.

Date: 16.09.15
Uneventful Day. Fatigue parties provided as usual for work on new mule road and sap in Hampshire Lane. Orders received for relief of 1/5 Beds in fire trenches at dawn on 17th Bathing parties as before. Capt Tattersall to hospital with dysentery.

Date: 17.09.15
Relief of 1/5 Beds effected between 4 and 6 am. Trenches shelled between 9 and 10am. 1 man killed by shrapnel. Three men wounded by snipers in communication sap. Major Malcolm, RAMC,to hospital with acute diarrhoea. Quiet night.

(Note: Major Malcolm, the Battalion’s Medical Officer, never recovered, but died in hospital at Malta.)

Date: 18.09.15
Camp shelled between 10 to 10.30am, no casualties. Uneventful day but much firing on our flanks at dusk, following bombardment of enemy trenches on Hill 100 Sandbag Ridge: one man wounded. Night quiet.

Date: 19.09.15
Quiet day and night. Lt Col Byrne to hospital with diarrhoea. Capt Windsor assumes command of Battn. Trenches visited by ADMS [Assistant Director Medical Services]. Still much sickness. Voluntary Church Parade in afternoon, about 20 attended.

Date: 20.09.15
Uneventful day. At night parties of 1/5 Beds engaged on deepening and otherwise improving fire trenches. Arrival at base of 9 officers from England reported. Effective strength of Batt reduced below 400.

Date: 21.09.15
8 officers from 2nd Batt arrive. Uneventual day. Small party of Turks seen at night working near ‘C’ Coy trenches. Fire opened on them and two bombs thrown. Party dispersed and one killed. Working parties of 1/5 Beds engaged during night and day on trenches. Over 20 men to hospital. One man sniped and one accidentally shot.

Archive Blog Post

Holloway man who was killed in action: Newspaper Story

Islington Daily Gazette and North London Tribune
14th September 1915
Holloway man who was killed in action
Chaplain’s letter to bereaved mother

Mr. W. B. Parker who has already written in regard to the death of Mr. Alfred Jones – a Holloway man who was killed in Gallipoli – adds us the following further particulars:

Alfred S. Jones was the mounted orderly to General Baring, and was exceedingly popular with his brother yeomen of the Hertfordshire Yeomanry…

The Chaplain (the Rev. C. Colin Hamilton) sends the following letter to the bereaved mother: –

H.M. Hospital Ship “Nevasa,”

23rd August, 1915

Dear Mrs. Jones / I am very sorry to have to tell you that your son Alfred Jones was very badly wounded in battle on August 21st. He was brought on board this ship that night, and died this afternoon.

He was quite conscious, and not suffering much, and talked to me for a long time this morning. His thoughts were all with you, and he was longing to be able to see you again, but he felt that it was not to be so, and he was content to leave it to God to do as He might see best.

I read him the 23rd Psalm and prayed with him; and he seemed at rest in his mind.

I was with him again when he died – there was no suffering or struggle then at all – and the nurse and I knelt by his side and commended his soul into God’s keeping.

You will be thankful to know that his last hour were so peaceful, and that everything possible was done for him: he was so patient and so graeful for all that was done for him. Almost the last thing he said to the nurse was to tell her that I had prayed with him, and how nice it was.

We buried his body to/night at sea, about five miles from Mudros Bay in the Island of Lemnos. A little group of us gathered on deck and committed his body to the deep, in the sure and certain hope of the Resurrection of the Body ( when the sea shall give up her dead) … through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

May He and His infinite pity and mercy give you and yours His comfort and strength in your great sorrow. – Yours very sincerely.

Colin Hamilton, C.F.

Milner Square

The Premiere of through the hole in the wall: Life in Milner Square 1935-1975

The premier of through the hole in the wall: Life in Milner Square 1935-1975 was held at the Screen on the Green, Islington Green on Tuesday 8th September.


It was a full house attended by all those who had contributed to the film including the interviewees and their families and current residents who allowed the film to be shot in their flats. Guests from Age UK Islington, Islington Pensioners’ Forum and Veterans’ Association were also invited to attend.24

After the screening an afternoon tea supplied by Marks and Spencer was held for the attendees at the Islington Town Hall.(photos Tony Oudot)

For more information on this HLF funded project visit the Milner Square project or contact


Finsbury Rifles

Finsbury Rifles in Gallipoli: 8 September to 14 September

Location: AGHYL DERE (Anzac)

Date: 08.09.15
About 1am. Advanced post retired and reported enemy advancing. Whole line roused and stood to arms but no attack made. At 3am advanced post sent out again and reported all quiet. In early morning white flag brought in. Remainder of day quiet and without incident.

Date: 09.09.15
Uneventful day. Warning received that enemy positions in front of our left would be bombarded at dusk, but nothing done.

Date: 10.09.15
Orders received that battalion would be relieved following morning by 1/5th Bedfords also that rifle and machine gun co-operation was to be given to bombardment postponed from previous day. About six pm, about a dozen shells dropped near enemy redoubt on Hill 100 but little damage done, shelling then ceased. One corporal killed and two men wounded by rifle fire.

Date: 11.09.15
Battn. relieved by 1/5th Bedfords. ‘A’ Coy took over 2nd line trenches held by 1/5 Beds but relieved shortly after by 161st Brigade. Day spent in cleaning up bivouacs. At dusk two fatigue parties of 50 and 150 men sent out. Lieut Ford and 50 men proceed to N.Z Inf. Brigade for temporary attachment.

Date: 12.09.15
Battn. paraded for Divine Service at 11am. Remainder of day resting. At dusk two digging parties of 125 men each placed at disposal of O.C 1/5 Bedfords. Lieut Akerman and two men wounded during digging. Permanent fatigue party for N.C.O and 12 men provided for Divisional water depot. Nominal effective strength of batt.reduced to under 500 men. Much sickness still prevalent.

Date: 13.09.15
Close order and arm drill by companies. All available men after dusk employed on various digging and road making fatigues. Routine work as usual. Much sickness.

Date: 14.09.15
One man killed and one wounded during morning digging. At night fatigues as previous day but under 200 men available. Sick parade of over one hundred, mostly diarrhoea and dysentery. Batt drill during morning; day otherwise as normal. Bathing during day.

Carrying the wounded on stretchers from hospital to the jetty for transhipment to the Hospital Ship. © IWM (Q 13449)
Carrying the wounded on stretchers from hospital to the jetty for transhipment to the Hospital Ship. © IWM (Q 13449)


Finsbury Rifles

Finsbury Rifles in Gallipoli: 1 September to 7 September

Location: AGHYL DERE (Anzac)

Date: 01.09.15
Very uneventful day. Second line positions inspected by C.O. Experimental bathing parade returned without incident. Digging continued at dusk but interrupted about midnight by heavy firing all along the front line.

Date: 02.09.15
Quiet day. Numerous bathing parades return without casualties. Digging continued at night in force. Much sickness in camp.

Date: 03.09.15
Orders received to take over first line trenches from 1/5 Bedfords at dusk tomorrow. Positions inspected and four Coy [Company] Commanders proceed to trenches in afternoon to remain until arrival of the battalion. Digging continued at night as before. ‘C’ Coy withdrawn from their second line trenches.

Date: 04.09.15
A quiet day but a few men wounded by stray bullets; still a good deal of sickness about. Battn paraded at 4.30pm and proceeded to take over first line trenches held by 1/5th Beds relief completed by six pm. Uneventful night.

Date: 05.09.15
Ordinary routine work in trenches. One man wounded. Uneventful night.

Date: 06.09.15
Quiet day. Advanced post and listening patrol both report no movement in front of lines. Digging party of 1/5th Beds engaged during night on trenches linking left and centre subsections.

Date: 07.09.15
Quiet day. White flag noticed in front of right of line. All attempts to communicate therewith unsuccessful. At night attempt made to fetch in flag but failed. At 6pm trenches in right half of centre subsection taken over by 1/5th Norfolks who had taken place of 1/4th Northants in Brigade. A certain amount of digging by enemy about 1000 yards in front of our line noticed and reported.

More Information

The presence of illness and disease, especially dysentery, was widespread at Gallipoli. Brought on – and exacerbated by – the unhygienic living conditions, rotting corpses and huge numbers of flies, few soldiers escaped untouched. It sapped men of their strength and resulted in thousands of soldiers being evacuated off the peninsula.

A Royal Irish Fusilier attempts to draw the fire of a Turkish sniper to reveal the enemy position, Gallipoli, 1915 © IWM (Q 13447)
A Royal Irish Fusilier attempts to draw the fire of a Turkish sniper to reveal the enemy position, Gallipoli, 1915 © IWM (Q 13447)



August: we remember

Using data from census records, war graves and war memorials we can begin to discover the names of those Finsbury Rifles from the historic boroughs of Finsbury and Islington who died at Gallipoli.

The attacks on the Finsbury Rifles in August 1915 seem to have been particularly devastating for our local soldiers. We remember the deaths of:

Finsbury Rifles


 Sergeant William Richard Millichamp, 390 Essex Rd.
Aged c.27
Married to Ada, two children
Artificial flower painter in the 1911 Census

Rifleman Ernest Lester

Rifleman Alfred Daniel A.

Rifleman Ernest Howard Hancock, 35 Gainford St., Barnsbury
Aged 19
Unmarried, 9 siblings
Page boy at doctor’s in the 1911 Census

Rifleman James Harman, 34 Hanover St. (1911 Census)
Aged 21
Unmarried, 4 siblings
French polisher in the 1911 Census


Rifleman John Barrier

Rifleman Frederick Brown

Sergeant Frederick Charles Chatterley, 114 Bethune Rd., Stoke Newington
48 Plimsoll Rd., Finsbury Park (1911 Census)
Aged 32
Married to Emily, 1 child
Insurance Agent in the 1911 Census

Sergeant Frederick William Efford, boarding with the Holmans at 311, Goswell Rd. (1911 Census)
Aged 22
Packer, tobacco factory in the 1911 Census

Rifleman John Henry Forey, 8 Church Street, Upper Street
Aged 18
Unmarried, 5 siblings
Printer’s machine hand in the 1911 Census

Rifleman Alfred Harlow, South Cottage, South Street, New North Rd.
Aged 19
Unmarried, 2 siblings
Box cutter in the 1911 Census

Lance Corporal Henry John Hewson, 10 Prospect Place, Barnsbury
Aged 21
Unmarried, 6 siblings
Pipe mounter in the 1911 Census

Rifleman James Henry Hollister, 21 Baron St., Clerkenwell
Aged 19
Unmarried, 5 siblings
Costermonger in the 1911 Census

Rifleman Walter Eric Jones, 106 Wynford Rd., Barnsbury
Aged 17
Unmarried, 1 sibling
Scholar in the 1911 Census

Rifleman Frank Ernest Merry, 147 Holmeleigh Rd., Stamford Hill
Aged 32
Unmarried, 4 siblings
Camera fitter in the 1911 Census

Rifleman William David Simmonds
Aged 39
Married to Rosina, 2 children
Colour etcher fitter in the 1911 Census

Lance Corporal Alfred Charles Wootton, 38 Warren St., Islington
Aged 20
Van guard, Railway Company in the 1911 Census

Rifleman Hugh Fraser Hamilton, 29, Thornhill, Barnsbury
Aged 20
Son of Albert and Ellen


Lieutenant J Maxwell


Sergeant George Albert Barber

Rifleman Albert Edward Thomas Crocker

Rifleman J R Smith

Lance Corporal  Ammon Willis Whitehead, 4 Ella Rd, Crouch Hill 
Aged 29
Son of Amos P and Mary Willis. Married to Emily

Other Regiment’s


Private Alfred Baker
Hampshire Regiment, 2nd Battalion

Private Daniel Benson, 125A Offord Rd, Barnsbury
Worcestershire Regiment, 9th Battalion

Private Herbert Binks, 4 Charlotte Terrace, Barnsbury
Essex Regiment, 1st Battalion

Private George Thomas Byran, 15 Windsor Terrace, City Rd
Hampshire Regiment, 2nd Battalion

Sergeant Percy Harold John Davey, 96 Grantham Rd, Manor Park
Essex Regiment, 1st Battalion

Private William Alfred Dineen, 18 Hyde Rd, Hoxton
Hampshire Regiment, 2nd Battalion


Private John Henry Coles
Princess Victoria’s (Royal Irish Fusiliers), 5th Battalion

Private Joseph Patrick Donovan,
Royal Dublin Fusiliers, 1st Battalion


Private William Bishop
Gloucestershire Regiment, 7th Service Battalion

Lance Corporal Albert Richard Cowell
Gloucestershire Regiment, 7th Service Battalion


Lance Corporal A S Card
Sherwood Foresters (Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire Regiment), 9th Battalion

Private Joseph Michael Coster, 55 Rahere Street, Goswell Rd
South Staffordshire Regiment, “D” Company, 7th Service Battalion

Private John Henry Cripps
Royal Munster Fusiliers, 6th Battalion


Lance Corporal George Fred Burkett, 9 Charles Square, Hoxton
Duke of Edinburgh’s (Wiltshire Regiment), “C” Company, 5th Battalion

Driver William Dlght,
Royal Horse Artillery and Royal Field Artillery


Private George Annett Atkin
Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers, 5th Battalion

Private Albert Charles Curtis
London Regiment, 10th (County of London) Battalion (Hackney)

Private Ernest Daynes, 21 Kemp Street, Old Street, Finsbury
London Regiment,10th (County of London) Battalion (Hackney)


Private Albert Dunford, 49 Alsen Rd, Finsbury Park
Princess Victoria’s (Royal Irish Fusiliers), 6th Battalion


Private Arthur Frank Barrett, 15 Effingham Rd, Hornsey
London Regiment, 10th (County of London) Battalion (Hackney)

Private Thomas Caffrey Alias Herbert Slap Aldhous, 2 Robinson’s Retreat, Retreat Place, Hackney
Border Regiment, “A” Company, 1st Battalion

Lance Sergeant Ernest Stanley Carroll, Ardrossan 22 Grovelands Rd Palmer’s Green
Household Cavalry and Cavalry of the Line (incl Yeomanry and Imperial Camel Corps), Hertfordshire Yeomanry

Private Leslie George Dulieu
Household Cavalry and Cavalry of the Line (incl Yeomanry and Imperial Camel Corps), 1st (County of London Yeomanry Middlesex Duke of Cambridge’s Hussars


Private Francis Beard
Royal Dublin Fusiliers, 6th Battalion


Private George William Clarke
Border Regiment, 1st Battalion

Finsbury Rifles
Finsbury Rifles

Islington Daily Gazette and North London Tribune

Reading the Islington Daily Gazette and North London Tribune helps us to understand how the war was reported at home in Finsbury and Islington. It makes harrowing reading as we discover how little of the Finsbury Rifles’ suffering in Gallipoli is reported at home.

Islington Daily Gazette and North London Tribune
5th August 1915 

Parcels for soldiers

‘It should be noted that parcels for the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force should, in view of their transhipments and exposure to heat, be very carefully packed, as round as possible, and the outer covering should consist of strong linen, calico, or canvas, securely sewn up. Small parcels arrive in better condition than larger ones…

Islington Daily Gazette and North London Tribune
12th August 1915 

The WAR: The position in the Dardanelles

‘Depression, dissension, and anti-war feeling are prevalent in Turkey…’

Note: this is not accurate. There is no mention of the Finsbury Rifles landing at Suvla Bay. See the war diary entries for the 10th August 1915.

Islington Daily Gazette and North London Tribune
19th August 1915 

‘At Suvla the troops on the left flank made a short advance on the afternoon of the 15th with a view to straightening out the line.

They moved forward under considerable gun and rifle fire and gained about 500 yards, capturing a Turkish trench and taking two officers and 20 other prisoners.’

Note: There is a strictly censored version of this disastrous campaign, which led to the sacking of Frederick Stopford as Divisional Commander. The attacks by the Rifles, among other regiments, were initially successful but what is not mentioned is the regiment’s inability to hold onto the gained ground, due to a lack of support, and their heavy losses in the retreat. See the war diary entries for August 15th 2015.

Islington Daily Gazette and North London Tribune
20th August 1915 

News of the World-War in Brief

‘Another dispatch with regard to the operations in Gallipoli has been received. It is of an encouraging character….

The recent operations on the Gallipoli Peninsula (says an official bulletin) consisted of attacks on the enemy’s position along the southern and Anzac lines, and included a fresh landing in strong force at Suvla Bay.

There is evidence from prisoner’s statements that the Turks had been considerably reinforced with a view to heavy attacks, and that the Allies forestalled the enemy by about 24 hours.

Consequently the fighting was very severe, and on the both sides the casualties were very heavy.

The landing at Suvla Bay was well planned and carried out by the Navy, but in spite of the fact that the Turks developed their greatest strength in the ‘Anzac’ region, Allied troops from Suvla could not make very satisfactory progress before the enemy was able to move up considerable forces from his reserves and to bring further advance at this point to a standstill.

Within the past week the positions won have been consolidated at all points.
The spirit of the troops is excellent.’

Note: This is the first extensive report of the landing at Suvla Bay. It seems written to keep up spirits at home, rather that report the realities of the campaign. I’m not convinced spirits would have been as excellent among the Rifles as was reported.
There is no specific mention of the huge casualties suffered by the Rifles on the 15th – 18th August 1015. It seems that the first families waiting at home would know about these losses would be the telegrams arriving from the War Office.

Islington Daily Gazette and North London Tribune
25th August 1915 

‘Give us 500 men’: Remarkable Address by Islington Rector

Borough battalion ought to be at full strength

The paper publishes a speech by the Right Rev. Monseigner Groach calling for 500 more men to sign up to the Islington Battalion.

‘If there is any delay the recruitable men of Islington will be open to reproach. We are the premier borough of London; we have an enormous population; we refuse to be though less patriotic or less plucky than the men of other places in any part of the Kingdom, or indeed in any part of the Empire…
Every man joining the Army brings victory nearer.
‘Just look at the mistakes that have been made; so-and-so should not have done such and such.’ If mistakes have been made, it is because mistakes must be made in all human things. The man who never made a mistake never made anything.
Come and help others to remedy the mistakes. Criticism is cheap, and like most cheap things is often worthless. The biggest mistakes any man can make is to think he can neglect his duty with impunity.’

Note: The Rifles among other battalions would certainly need more recruits after their heavy losses at Gallipoli. Note the plea to patriotism, freedom and justice. Conscientious Objectors are dismissed and criticised, their objection considered invalid.

Islington Daily Gazette and North London Tribune
27th August 1915 

The WAR: The Position in the Dardanelles

News of the World-War in Brief
‘The position in the Dardanelles is not quite so rosy as rumour would paint it, but nethertheless substantial progress is being made.
The British move in the Dardanelles, which, had it completely succeeded, would have carried us at a stroke long way towards the realisation of our project, has been temporarily checked.’

Note: A small acknowledgement to the reality of the stalemate in Gallipoli.

Islington Daily Gazette and North London Tribune
31st August 1915

Recruiting for Finsbury Rifles

Meeting at Islington EmpireGazetteScan2
‘A most successful meeting was held outside the Islington Empire on behalf of the recruiting of the Finsbury Rifles.
The first battalion has won a glorious name in Gallipoli, but at the expense of heavy casualties. The 3/11th has to supply a number of men to take the place of the fallen heroes of Finsbury and Islington. They are now urgently in need of men to fill the ranks.
The speakers included Corporal Burgess, Lance-Corporal Goddard, both of the Finsbury Rifles, and Sergeant Cash, D.S.M., of the Royal Fusiliers, who came home from France deaf, dumb and blind, but regained his faculties by accident.
He also brought with him the famous six year old mascot of the 4/4th Royal Fusiliers, ‘Morny Cash,’ who delivered an excellent speech.
This young lad has secured 95 recruits, and is the youngest sworn-in soldier in the British Army.’

Note: An acknowledgement of the huge casualties among the Rifles at Gallipoli but painted as a necessary sacrifice.

Finsbury Rifles

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.