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 At dusk ‘C’ Coy lines altered and consolidated and parties of ‘A’ and ‘D’ consequently enabled to be withdrawn.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.

Finsbury Rifles

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.

Left to right: Captain Hammond, 1/11th London Regiment; Major H. F. Byrne, D. A. D. O. S. , 13th Division; Major Malcolm, M. O. 1/11th London Regiment, in the Aghyl Dere, Anzac, August 1915. Major Malcolm died of dysentry in Malta, October 1915. © IWM (Q 57864)
Left to right: Captain Hammond, 1/11th London Regiment; Major H. F. Byrne, D. A. D. O. S. , 13th Division; Major Malcolm, M. O. 1/11th London Regiment, in the Aghyl Dere, Anzac, August 1915. Major Malcolm died of dysentry in Malta, October 1915. © IWM (Q 57864)
Finsbury Rifles

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.

One Tree Gully, foothills south of Kiretch Tepe Sirt, Suvla Bay, where a successful attack was made by the 162nd Infantry Brigade, 15th August, 1915. © IWM (Q 57872)
One Tree Gully, foothills south of Kiretch Tepe Sirt, Suvla Bay, where a successful attack was made by the 162nd Infantry Brigade, 15th August, 1915. © IWM (Q 57872)
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