WEEK 58: THE ANNIVERSARY OF THE WAR
Monday 2 to Sunday 8 August 1915
Lack of progress on the Helles front led General Ian Hamilton to pursue a new plan to break the deadlock. His aim was to seize control of Gallipoli by capturing the Sari Bair ridge which dominated the middle of the peninsula. The Battle of Sari Bair, also known as the August Offensive, was based on a three-point strategy: a landing of reinforcements at Suvla Bay on the west, a holding move from Helles at the southern tip of the peninsula, and an attack from Anzac Cove further north. The offensive commenced on 6 August when the 29th Division charged north towards a feature known as the Vineyard and the Anzac units made their way south towards the peak of Chunuk Bair in order to divert the Turkish forces from the Suvla Bay landing later in the evening. While preparations for the attack were being finalised in Gallipoli, families in Folkestone gathered together at the parish church to commemorate the anniversary of the war on 4 August 1915.
Monday 2 August
Stayed in bed till lunch, then afterwards took Tom up to the Grand to play with John, & wrote letters up there. Muz & Heppie did some tidying. I lay down for a bit. Then after tea I went with some notes, & Tom came with me. It was very hot all morning. Muz & Heppie did more things in the smoking room, & they went out for a walk after dinner.
Gully Beach. Parade of staff at 7 o’c. Great improvement. Left here at 8.30 with Curling & went out to Brown House1 where we met Whaley. 6 guns under Patison shoot from B11 A of 88 Bde under Moodie from Cross Cat B Whaley’s guns in Port Arthur.2 Got back about 1.30. Left again about 2.45. Registered3 guns in from behind Winter’s Battery.
Tuesday 3 August
Ione went up to London by the 8-30, to meet Harry. The men hung the pictures on the stairs, & Muz, Heppie & I helped them, they didn’t finish them till about six. They look very nice. Then I helped Muz to settle the photographs in her room, then wrote to Zooie. Wen to bed at about 9-30. Ione came back by the 9 train, as she missed the other one.
Gully Beach. Saw Anderson’s horses at 7 am. Left at 8.30 & registered maxim guns at Brown House got back about 12.30. Went up to J11 at 5 o’c & registered Hants guns (87 Bde) couldn’t get observation & ended by getting shelled.
Wednesday 4 August
Did some tidying, then Muz, Tom & I met Mrs Winstanley & Mrs Phillips at the church, as this is the anniversary of the war. Then there was a big procession down to the Parish Church to have a service there. But it began to rain & thunder when we were half way so Muz & Tom went to see the Stubbses, & we three went on. But it began to pelt when we got down the town, so we got into a door to shelter, as Mrs Phillips didn’t want to get wet, so we had to stay there all the time, & got back in a bus. Afterwards we tidied the place outside the schoolroom & did some of the dining room, & fixed the schoolroom, & put the carpet down. Two letters from Pat, 19th.
Gully Beach. Went to 42 Div4 Hd Qrs with Curling at 8.30 & discussed about helping their attack on Saturday with Long range machine gun fire. Left here about 3 o’c with Curling went up by trench the side of zig zag to where 12 pr5 gun is. Reconnoitred ground to our [—] front. Got back about 5 o’c.
Thursday 5 August
Went round to Mrs Winstanley but she was out. Went down the town & did some shopping, & got the 87th brooch from the shop. Read for a bit after lunch, then Mrs W. came round & she, Tom, & I went out to the band. Then Tom went back, & I had tea with Mrs W. Helped Muz with the furniture when I came back. After dinner we finished the pictures on the 1st landing, then I put Muz to bed, & then we talked. Went to bed at about twelve. Letter from Pat dated 20th.
Gully Beach. Left at 8.30, went to Brown House & reconnoitred trenches. H13 & J14 do. Then went on to Port Arthur, saw the gun emplacements then on to “the Dump” in Parsons road up into French line & back by Regent St6 then got back about 1.30. […] 88th Bde attack to-morrow.
Letter from Elise ‘Disi’ Paul, Ballydavid, [County Waterford] to her nephew Pat Armstrong
I have just got yr. letter by 2nd post. I did send you a box of biscuits early in July. You do not seem to have got them, but I will at once set about sending you another, by this day’s post I send you some fly papers that may be a help, flat ones, on those just put a piece of sugar, the ones to hang up leave as they are – those I find the best here. I have seen in the papers what a pest they are. These papers I send are only just what I had in the house – but the first day anyone goes to W.ford will send you more. I do hope they will be of some use to you – the weather here is shocking, rain & never stopping every day, the crop here so good but the hay is black, most difficult to save & the Potatoes the same. I wish there was a chance of your coming home , you must have been gone a year. I think you went out some of the first & it seems such a long time. Mildred is staying at Greystones, Co Wicklow, & goes up to Dublin twice in the week to try & pass her exam (nursing) but she says it is most difficult. I did write to you when sending the box of biscuits. Everything takes so much longer to get to you now. Bobby is fairly well, he is suffering now & then a good deal from rheumatism. We both send much love dearest Maurice.
Ever yr. loving Disi.
Friday 6 August
Muz & I went round to Mrs Winstanley, & then went down the town with her. We got things to send Pat for his birthday. It was very hot. After lunch Muz & I put down the carpets on the top landing, her room & Ione’s. Then Mr Hudson & Mr Spong came for tea, & afterwards we went up to the Grand, to look for M de M. but she was out, so we walked about on the Front. After dinner put out some china things, went to bed at about 10-30. Letter from Algie dated 3rd.
Gully Beach. Went out at 8.30 to Crosscut B & saw our observation station. Saw that guns had correct line at 2 o’c. The 88th Bde attacked H13 H13a H12b & H12a & H12. Wonderful attack but was met by superior Turkish forces & the Bde was practically decimated. We lost all the ground we gained. The 13 Div7 landed at Anzac & some strong Turkish reinforcements were sent down here. Casualties 54 officers, 1851 men.
Letter from Pat Armstrong to Mrs Armstrong
My dear wee Mus.
Two grand long letters from you last night. One of the 16th & the other of the 20th. Posts are awfully queer aren’t they. My letters seem to roll up at all sorts of odd times. Thank you ever so much for all the things you sent me. I got a mass of small parcels & had great fun opening them. The cakes came too. One is a wee bit squashed but I expect they will eat alright. I will let you know more about them when I write again. I haven’t tried all the patent things you sent me for flies. The Chloride may come in very useful. It is stuff I like to have by me but never use it if possible.
Odd you asking about the 17th & 18th. I had a very hard day on the 17th. I’d been out with the General all morning finding dead & all sorts of horrors. Then I had been working all afternoon. Sir Ian Hamilton arrived about 4 o’c & I had to go all round the left sub section with him. I got back that night feeling awfully beat & felt still worse next morning. In fact my innards went wrong that night & I was seedy for about a week till I went away to Imbros. I got quite right over there & now feel simply grand. I have been working awfully hard these last few days & it hasn’t worried me the least. I was walking for about 5 hrs yesterday, then I was lazy & slept in the afternoon. I had a good many things to do in the evening round the camp. I have just built a new kitchen for the men which makes things more comfortable for them. That little bottle of smelling salts is awfully neat, just the very thing I wanted. The carbolic acid things strike me as being very strong. I expect that they are good all the same. Particularly if one had to live near a lot of dead Turks. Talking of dead Turks I saw a horrible thing yesterday. I was going up Regent St & just before I got into the French firing line I saw a dead man’s hand sticking out of the side of the trench. It was perfectly dry. So wasn’t so bad really. One gets awfully callous as there are dead everywhere. I looked over the parapet of the French trenches & in one place one could see about 50 or 60 dead Turks not 50 yards away. But I must say that on those occasions smelling salts are very nice.
I am sorry you sent my jodhpurs off. They are the old thick ones & are too thick to be of any use out here. I wanted you to give them to Ward as a pattern. He will never be able to make jodhpurs to fit me unless he has a pair to copy exactly from. He has never even made breeches for me & jodhpurs are the hardest thing to make. If Ward hasn’t had those ones to copy there is absolutely no hope of his making a pair to fit me. However as they have gone it can’t be helped & I can send them back again when they arrive. I am going to send you those big boots I got from Cording in the winter. They are too big & heavy to be any use out here. I have ordered a pair of light ones which ought to be out here soon. […] I heard from B yesterday. They want to use the ponies for exercising the hounds & cub hunters. I can’t refuse as they have had them so long. I’m not keen on the idea but can’t now take them away just when they want to use them. It is rather nice that they will be of some use to them as they have been so awfully good about keeping them. I do wish I could see the house. It sounds most awfully nice. The ball room will be a great asset in the winter. It will be lovely for you having a fine [?] house & garden.
Hardress got some grand things out yesterday. They are called Fly-sag [?]. It’s a sort of long sticky tape thing that pull out of a sort of little pill box in the middle of a bit of cardboard. [Sketch.] They are awfully good. I’ve had quite a good catch already in my tent this morning. We’ve had no bullets here lately. The Horses are absolutely invaluable, one can ride practically anywhere. One can ride about in the open in full view of Achi Baba8 & they never bother about one. If you could see this place you wouldn’t ask about it being wise putting the horses near here. The whole Peninsula is absolutely packed with horses troop wagons, stores & every imaginable sort of thing. They only have to loon off shells & they are bound to hit something. But they are very short of shells & hardly fire at all. We are going to stir up a hornet’s nest this afternoon. I hope to do good work with my maxims. I can’t tell you anything about the scheme. But you may expect news from here. I may be very busy these next few days so don’t mind if letters are few & far between for a bit. No they haven’t tried gas out here. I don’t think they would have any success with it in any case. It would all sink down in the gulleys & people could get away by getting up the sides.
I had a letter from the Boss yesterday. He is sending me out stuff weekly from Harrods. That’s splendid & will just make all the difference. As a matter of fact we are pretty well off for things at present but if we get a move on it will be a very different state of affairs. I haven’t answered Brock’s letter yet so can’t send it to you. Will you send me some more films sometime soon. My supply is getting rather low. I am just going out to see that my observation station is to my liking. We’ve got some iron plates which I sent out last night to be put up. Best love dear wee Mus.
Your loving Pat.
Letter from Elise Marie ‘Zoo’ Maude to her nephew Pat Armstrong
I loved yr. letter, thanks so much, I hope you’ll see lots of coloured folk & be reminded again!! I was at Folkestone 10 days lately, & it was grand seeing them all again, it’s over a year now since I had a look at them. Muzz looked really rightly, & is so keen on the house, it’s a great interest to her, & keeps her mind fixed a bit. Yr. letters dear boy make just all the difference, I expect you know yr. [—], rightly!! So I’ll not flatter you any further – they are v interesting ones, & we had such fun finding the places in those grand maps she has!! […] I had a nice 3 weeks in England, stayed at Cantreyn & saw “Nano” off to the front. Norah Sloane-Stanley came too, she is a dear wee girl, v like Jess, I stayed a couple of days with them too, they are v warm hearted people. I liked Nevy’s mother greatly, “Willie” is a funny old lad, but very kind – they were v interested about you – Nevy is v dull poor boy – shut up in Magdeburg9 since Mons. – Clodiagh is going to be lovely. Muzz has such lovely things, & the house is so very nice – Ione was dancing away, Jess feeding soldiers & Tomtit playing tennis!! Heppie very comfortable!! I gave Gretta yr. message, & she laughed & said dear boy, I’ll write!! I hope you get it, she may!! She wrote to Nevy once & said “I wish I was with you dear boy, the Germans must be v nice people, yr. so happy” & she got an answer in 10 days, it takes 3 weeks generally!! romped thro!! I heard of Basil lately from Janey Richardson that was, her husband had seen him & he was v. well – all the hay is rotting here rain every day!! horses all out suffering flies as you are! We have 5 spaniel pups, dearest things, all running about wagging tails like Papa Sam – Jess & her big dog are so nice. She is wrapped up in it, you couldn’t have given the wee thing anything she’d rather have – I hope yr. keeping well dear son? I expect you laugh my complain each of you!! I saw “Angela” & her Ma. God forbid!! Such voices, we couldn’t let a voice like that into the family. Please give up the notion, are you still determined to take her?! Con Putten [?] went to Dardanelles last Wed. If you see him, say so, so as we can tell Pat!! – Doots (Major Pierce) has gone too – good bye Maurice dear,
bless you, & best love Zoo
Saturday 7 August
Went down on the sands with Mrs Winstanley & Mrs Phillips, & the children bathed, & we paddled. Mr Penrose – Ned’s uncle – had been while I was away, to ask if we had heard anything fresh about Ned. Mrs Winstanley & Mrs Phillips came for tea. Kathleen Warren was coming, but didn’t turn up. Just as they were going Mr Penrose came, & we showed him any letters we had got, that we hadn’t sent to Mrs Penrose. He is an awfully nice old man. He is going to stay with them on Monday, so is taking Mr Irvine’s letter to her. We went to the theatre with Mr Hudson & Mr Spong, he took a box. Then we went on to the dance afterwards. It was very crowded. Daisy & Captain Young were there, staying at the Hotel. We got there in time for about four dances. I forgot all about the club!
Gully Beach. Left here about 8.30 with Ames & went up to Zig Zag & on to the 14 Siege observation station. The bombardment was so intense that scarcely anything could be seen. At 9.40 the 42 Div attacked followed at 9.50 by another attack & at 10 o’c by supports. They made a wonderful attack which was met by extremely heavy fire. They got to G13 & G13a & F13 & some of them went on towards G14 & F14. They however only succeeded in holding the vineyard & F12. Good news from Anzac, the landing successful10 & they had captured Chunuk Bair.11
Sunday 8 August
Ione, Tom & I went to church, & then went out on the Front afterwards, & walked about with Mrs Winstanley. After lunch washed some of the white paint. Then Eveleen, Mrs Wyndham, Mrs Winstanley, Mrs Phillips, Daisy & Captain Young & Mr & Mrs [blank] Mrs Ritchie & a friend of hers came for tea, & Mrs Stubbs, Mrs Weeks & Colonel Peel & Kathleen Warren came later. Then Mr Hudson & Mr Spong came, & Muz & Tom went to church, & Ione & I & the two men went out on the Front, Mr Hudson stayed till very late. Put Muz to bed, & then went to bed at about 11-30.
Gully Beach. The Gen inspected the Worcesters, Hampshires & 1st Essex at 8 am. We heard that Chunuk Bair had been taken.12 Left here at 4 pm & went to the 86 Bde Hd Qrs. Went all round their support line & got back here about 7.45. Found a very good place to implode J13 from.
Letter from Pat Armstrong to Mrs Armstrong
My dear wee Mus.
We attacked here on the 6th & the Div on our right attacked yesterday. Neither met with quite the success we had hoped for & casualties on both sides were heavy. However we held the Turks here while more important operations were carried out elsewhere. I am writing to you a long account of all I have seen & what has been happening generally these last couple of days. I have written an account of the fight of the 6th by this Div & will also get you the official copy & send it along to you. I will write an account of yesterday’s doings & send it along at the same time but don’t want to send anything like that away for a week or so. There might be trouble if it was found going through the post at present till the situation is cleared up a bit. There is some heavy fighting going on at Anzac & from all accounts things seem to be going pretty well. I’ll enclose a copy of a message we got last night from Corps & which I had to copy out & send round the Brigades. The IX Corps consisting of the 10th & 11th & 13th Div landed at Anzac on the night of the 6th.13 We’ve had no details through yet & are pushing inland. I will probably be able to get a clear account of it all in a few days, but this will just let you know what is happening at present. Things are very quiet here to-day. There were just outbursts of fire last night & we think it was done to hide the withdrawal of troops. If all goes well now this might be an enormous success. I like the way they say that opposition is weakening, sounds good. It is now 3 o’c & I can hear a very heavy bombardment going on in the distance which must be from Anzac. I am enclosing you a letter I got from Mrs de Lisle also one from Brock. I have answered them both so don’t want them back. Did you see that photo of B in the Tatler of July 14. Not a very nice one of her. I never like those sort of photos of people looking down. Nice letter that from Disi. I haven’t heard from her from some time now. I am returning your rather an interesting letter you sent me from Algie. He puts 4th Bde 10th Div. I don’t know why he puts 10th Div as they are out here. I have got the engineers on painting my boat to-day then they are going to put a little petrol engine in it which will be great value. I’ve had no time to go out in it for about a week but when things quiet down again it ought to be good value. Will you thank Ione & Jess for their letters & tell them I will write when I have time. I’m going round the 86 Bde trenches at 4 o’c with the General it’s nearly that now. Best love wee Mus.
Your loving Pat.
- An area of reserve trenches in the Royal Navy Division area a short distance to the south-west of Eski Line so named after a ruined farm house nearby.⇑
- A redoubt (temporary defensive work) probably so named after the town of Port Arthur in Tasmania, Australia ⇑
- To register = to sight a gun on a target; more specifically to pre-record the position of a target relative to a gun in readiness for future engagement. ⇑
- 42nd East Lancashire Division ⇑
- Pounder ⇑
- A communication trench so named after the famous street in London. It ran parallel to another communication trench called Oxford Street, and the junction of the two trenches was known as Piccadilly Circus⇑
- The 13th (Western) Division, which had landed at Anzac on the Gallipoli peninsula in July in preparation for the August Offensive ⇑
- A hill feature dominating the Gallipoli peninsula and the main position of the Turkish defences the capture of which was the stated priority of the Allies ⇑
- A prisoner-of-war camp in Germany ⇑
- While the landing of reinforcements at Suvla Bay had gone virtually undetected by the Turkish forces, the British Commander Lieutenant General Frederick Stopford failed to capitalize on its success and push for an advance inland. As a consequence, little more ground than the beach was seized.⇑
- One of the three high points on the Sari Bair range in Gallipoli ⇑
- The Wellington Mounted Rifles Regiment and Gloucester Regiment had reached Chunuk Bair at 3 o’clock in the morning on 8 August 1915. However, the peak proved to be hard to defend: by nightfall, 711 of the 760 men who reached the summit had become casualties.⇑
- This attack was a prelude to the launch of the August Offensive (also known as the Battle of Sari Bair).⇑