Finsbury Rifles

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.

© IWM (Q 57725)
Left to right – French officer, Captain Hay (Brigade Major), Lt. Col. Stanley Byrne, temp. Comdg. 162nd Infantry Brigade, Captain Tunstall (Brigade Signalling Officer), Capt. Wright (Staff Captain). Lala Baba beach, 1915. © IWM (Q 57725)
Cooks, batmen and signallers of the 162nd Brigade, Lala Baba, Suvla Bay, August 1915. © IWM (Q 57877)
Cooks, batmen and signallers of the 162nd Brigade, Lala Baba, Suvla Bay, August 1915. © IWM (Q 57877)
Finsbury Rifles

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

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.

Milner Square

Filming ‘through the hole in the wall’ in Milner Square.

The film crew and interviewees spent the first sweltering week of July filming the documentary in Milner Square and other locations. Some current residents kindly allowed the film crew access into their homes to film some of the scenes.Filming2

Eight former residents were filmed being interviewed in the square and inside some of the houses (now converted into flats) that they used to live in. Ron is seen here being filmed in Almeida Street about to walk into the square ‘through the hole in the wall’. He was interviewed talking to Susan in the square and also inside the house he grew up in.

The support team!

Support-Team1A big thank you to Runner Emma, Data Wrangler Georgia and Show Runner Julie who looked after the film crew and the interviewees and made sure everything was logged and backed up. Some Age UK users braved the heat and came along to watch the filming in the square. But three crew members from Italy who had joined us on the project were totally at home in the heat: Virginia Sedia (Second Camera and Stills Photography), Giuliano Barbieri  (Additional Second Camera) and Federica Binanti (Production Assistant).

Watch this space to hear news on the final film.

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


Finsbury Rifles

Finsbury Rifles in Gallipoli: 29 July to 5 August

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.

Finsbury Rifles City Recruiting Campaign, Finsbury Square
Finsbury Rifles City Recruiting Campaign, Finsbury Square

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.

Transport and Machine Gun limbers on bows of SS Aquitania © IWM (Q 57871)
Transport and Machine Gun limbers on bows of SS Aquitania © IWM (Q 57871)


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.

More Information

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.

Milner Square

Through the hole in the wall: Milner Square 1935-1975

Islington Local History Centre and Museum has been awarded funding from the Heritage Lottery Fund for a documentary film and oral history project that looks at the history of Milner Square, Barnsbury, and examines the social and economic changes experienced by those living there from 1935-75. Milner Squ Hole in the Wall 1975

A group of past residents, spanning three generations, were filmed in the square, talking about how life has changed since the 1930s-70s and comparing their experiences with those living there today. The film also revisits the square’s industrial past, looking at the Richford Iron Foundry and the British Syphon Factory (which later became the Kardonia Greetings Card Factory) which provided work for many local people before their closure. The oral histories and archive material – photographs, news cuttings etc. –  provide a unique insight into this period and discuss issues around the break-up and re-housing of the community through the compulsory purchase order of property by the council in 1972.

The resulting documentary film will then be shown in elderly care and support centres throughout Islington, as part of reminiscence therapy and enrichment sessions for the elderly. This will not only provide a catalyst for further oral histories and engagement, but will inform those resident in the borough today of its heritage.

MSq-1952-PatCoxWriter and producer, Susan Oudot, says: “Having been born and brought up in Milner Square I am very excited to be working on this project. My hope is that we can produce a film that will give people some understanding of what this now-affluent area used to be like. But, more importantly, that it will remind those who lived through that period of their own past and encourage them to talk about it, in the hope that we are able to capture more of this important time in our local and national history.”

Keep an eye on the Milner Square page for further updates on this exciting project. For more information contact