Private George Denis Davies Service No: 2336 Herefordshire Regiment 1/1st Battalion Account & experiences in Gallipoli & the Dardanelles

Telephone Classifieds -HEREFORD 269601 THE HEREFORD TIMES AUGUST 81385-13 70th anniversary of Suvla Bay SEVENTY years ago tomorrow August 9,1915 the 1/ist Batta­lion (TF) Hereford­ shire Regiment landed on A beach Suvla Bay. The Suvla plan was to land a force of 20000 men on the shores of the bay at the same time as a planned breakout by the Anzacs from their posi­tion immediately south to cut the waist of the penin­sular and so isolate the Turkish forces opposing the Allied troops who had landed at Cape Helles and Anzac Cove on April 25 and could make no progress against the fanatical ana successful Turkish defences. The Herefords were embodied in the 158th Brigade which with three others formed the 53rd (Welsh) Division. They were commanded by Lieut Col Geoffrey Drage of Presteigne and among the company commanders were Cap­tain Carless of Hampton- Park Captain Yates of Ross-on-Wye Captain Capel of Hereford Cap­tain Nott of Kingslana, Col Bourne of Ledbury and Captain Sir Archer Croft of Lugwardine Court lately High Sherrif of Herefordshire. Among the subalterns was Lieut D. W. Hamlen Williams of Kingsland who now aged 92 still lives in the village and is believed to bethe sole surviving officer. He still retains a remarkable memory of the events and on his recollections some of this short account is based. If any others are still alive then surely this 70th anniversary will bring back poignant memories. Twenty-nine officers and 969 other ranks sailed from Devonport in the S. S. Euripides on July 16 bound as they knew for Egypt but no one had any aoubts their destination was the Galli­ poli Peninsular. DESTINATION On July 22 the batta­lion reached Port Said where the establishment was reduced to 25 offi­cers and 750 men. On August 7 the Euripides reached Mudros Har­ bour Lemnos where she grounded on the edge a reef and all on board were transferred toS.S. Snaefell. The Herefords landed on A beach Suvla Bay on August 9. They were the second wave the first e Regiment TF suf- Safiipofi campaign mtr- Tomomsw August 9, Suvfe of Karen Ccutt, !(!§-.landing being by the 10th and 11th Divisions on the night of August 6/7. The tregedy of Suvla is now history. The 20,000 men who landed there unopposed remained inactive for a whole day during which time the only Turkish forces opposing them were about 1500 men mostly gendarmerie two field guns and a few small mountain guns. The fatal delay brought about in the failure to gra'sp the opportunitues open enabled the Turks to rush up reinforce­ments ana establish almost impregnable defensive positions which defied all the efforts of the assaulting troops when —too late —they attacked and suffered terrible casualties. On the day after they landed the Herefords were sent into action to support a company of Sherwood Foresters. Typical of the indecision which prevailed Lieut Col Drage was (riven no directions as to the posi­tion of the enemy or even the troops he was sup­posed to support The official history describes those orders as "as inex­ plicit.” During this attack they were under heavy fire from Turkish artillery and particularly snipers, well concealed in the scrub took heavy toll of company and platoon commanders. Major Car- less and Captain Croft were killed —his ances­tor fought at Mortimers Cross in 1461 and his heir, a commando was killed in 1941 —and Lieut Col Drage Captains Yates Capel and Nott were wounded. CASUALTIES By the next days says the regimental history, “the abortive attempt to cut the waist of the penin­sular had failed due to bad staff work and iack of leadership helped by the heavy casualties among officers and the hopeless inertia shown by senior generals.” The Herefords remained at or near Lala Baba until September 21, constructing defences and erecting wire and then moved to Karakol Dagh on the coast to the north of the Salt Lake where they were engaged in handling stores and ammunition landed on the beaches. They were inaction again at the end of October very near the scene of the first landing. Soon the weather began to deteriorate and heavy casualties were suffered from disease and exposure —some men were actually frozen to death. By the begin­ning of December the battalion was reduced to 130 men in the line. As all the world knows, the whole force was evacuated miraculously without loss in Decem­ber and the battalion laxt on the 11th. Captain Ashton wrote: “We packed up and embarked about 8 p.m. By a strange coinci­dence we left from iden­tically the same bit of beacn as we had landed on just 18 weeks before. “It was impossible to help noticing the contrast —that brilliant August morning the battalion full of fight and high en­ deavour 750 strong —this dark December night, slinking away under 100 strong weary dirty, blase disilusioned. And, yet I was sorry togo.”
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