WEEK 59: I SHOULD LIKE TO SEE YOU RIDING INTO CONSTANTINOPLE
Monday 9 to Sunday 15 August 1915
General Ian Hamilton’s hopes of a rapid, large-scale breakthrough in Gallipoli were thrown back at once. The offensives at Helles and Anzac Cove begun on 6 August broke down at heavy cost in the face of poor organization and violent resistance from the Turkish forces. The successful landing of reinforcements at Suvla Bay was rendered useless by the elderly and inexperienced General Sir Frederick Stopford, who instead of striking out at once with fresh troops merely contented himself with consolidating his position. It was not until Hamilton’s personal intervention on 8 August that the landing attack commenced in earnest. The delay however proved fatal, having given the Turkish army enough time to bring its own reinforcements and to secure the heights of the Tekke Tepe ridge. For three days the British forces struggled in vain to gain control of the ridge, suffering 15,000 casualties in the process. Stopford was dismissed and de Lisle placed in temporary command of his Corps. A small-scale drama was also unfolding In Folkestone, where the lack of servants had obliged Jess Armstrong to take on their duties and was feeling the pressure.
Monday 9 August
Did some weeding, then we started to get Pat’s room ready for Gordon. Muz, Heppie & I worked at that all day, & got the carpet down & everything. We changed some of the hooks on the drawing room pictures too. Gordon is coming sometime this week. We went to bed at about eleven.
Gully Beach. Dug terrace in front of my tent & went round the horses. Shavings [?] awfully bad, got at Cpt Yeates. The Gen & Hardress went to Corps. No news from Anzac. Walked up to Corps in the afternoon & saw Hamilton Moore about Yeates got back about 6 o’c.
Tuesday 10 August
Did some washing, & tidying, & then mended all afternoon. After tea Muz, Ione, Tom & I went down the town in the car, & did a lot of shopping. I got some stuff to put up behind my washing stand. This morning a motor went on fire just outside. It was one of the Canadian government waggons, but they got it out in about half an hour. Went to bed at about 10-30. Violet & Mary had to go suddenly, their mother’s come up to see Muz about it, & the girls went back with them.
Gully Beach. Left here with the Gen at 8.30 rode up to the 87th Bde Hd Qrs then along J10 & met our horses at Geoghan’s Bluff.1
Went to Corps at 1.30 got back about 3.30. Went up onto the bluff behind G Battery after tea – looked out at Anzac. Corps ordered to make demonstrations. The mine under grid iron was exploded. Barricade along [—] disturbed.
Letter from E. H. Parry, The Cottage, Stoke Green, nr. Slough, to Pat Armstrong
So glad to hear from you. I had no idea you were at the Dardanelles. What do they want everybody there for? The flies etc must be rather trying. We don’t know much of yr doings, & I’m afraid you’ve got a pretty tough job before you. However I expect you will get through allright, especially if the Turks can’t get their munitions. I shd like to see you riding into Constantinople. Achi Baba has first to be won, but you must be near that now. Warsaw’s a bad job2
but I think they’ll keep their armies allright. We rather want & need [—] at home , but I don’t know when he will turn up. Mr A is not much good. We came here 10 days ago, a very balmy climate after Enford. Dolly was over with her husband on Sunday for a short time: he expects to go out next week. Meantime we have to look after the dogs! Frightfully stuffy & hot, the harvest getting ruined by rain every other day. Belgians still at the house. The cure3 comes round for coffee of a night, a dullish fish, speaks French very slowly & his only pleasure is to fish in Vyse’s lake, there he is quite happy. De Lisle’s wife has been staying in the parish, but we haven’t met her yet. I remember teaching her to skate years ago on the B[—] lake. The Rifle Brigade & KRR’s were horribly cut up the other day,4 & nobody blundered.
Yrs E H P.
Wednesday 11 August
Was up at 6-30, & got the tea, & things. Then afterwards, I swept all the bedrooms & did them, & all the landings, stairs & sitting rooms, so every room in the house is clean. Worked hard all day, & didn’t go out at all. Heppie went off to look for servants, but couldn’t get any. Went to bed at about 11-30. It was a very hot day, & I was rather tired.
Gully Beach. Bickering not much of a success. 60 Turks [—] barricade. Crater of mine was small. Rode out & looked at new 29th Div well. Walked up to Picks [?] observation station in the evening with Col P.
Letter from Pat Armstrong to Mrs Armstrong
My dear wee Mus.
The enclosed is a description of the attacks on the 6th & 7th as I saw them. I am sending you a map off by this post so you can get a fairly clear idea of what happened.
Thursday 12 August
Was up at 6-30, & brought up the tea, hot water etc. After breakfast dusted & Muz, Heppie, & I fixed the rooms, & got the house nice for Gordon. Then we changed & went up to meet him by the four train. We showed him the house, & talked after dinner. Ione & I did the washing up, then went to bed at about 11-30.
Gully Beach. Left here at 8.15 with the General & Col Perceval went to the KOSB Hd Qrs where we met Gen Marshall. Wandered down J11. Went to Corps about 11 o’c & stayed there till 1 o’c. Tried some of the Police horses in harness in the evening.
Gen Davies came over about 7 o’c. […] Turks attacked 42nd Div suffering heavy casualties. Both attacks driven off. A lot of bullets about the mess.
Friday 13 August
Was up at 5-30, & did all the rooms, & lit the fire, etc. Gordon came down at about seven, & helped me. Then Ione came down at about eight. After lunch Muz, Gordon, Tom & I went to watch a cricket match, boys against women & girls. It was rather fiery. Mrs Edwards was playing. Ione went to the dance. We stayed here & talked. Did the washing up & laid the breakfast etc. Went to bed at about 11-30.
Letter from Pat Armstrong to Mrs Armstrong
My dear wee Mus.
I have just got two grand long letters from you of the 23rd & 28th. The one of the 28th by King’s Messenger came several days ago. It’s a good scheme that Messenger & means two mails a week instead of one. I have just sent you off some papers & things which may interest you. About the fighting on the 6th & the orders the machine guns had. I have sent you several things like that lately I hope they roll up alright. It is grand the house is nearly done, it will be a great blessing to get the workmen out of it. But I’m sure you are all awfully happy getting things fixed up & what a difference it will be after lodgings. I wonder how the garden is getting on. I’m sure you will get that awfully nice. I wish I knew more about it all. I don’t know which the schoolroom is. I’m simply longing to see it. How sickening it was all those boxes going wrong at Kilboy. I wonder if you have got that case of pictures of mine over from Moyaliffe. There are a lot of quite nice pictures that I had at Eton.
We don’t hear much news these times of Russia. I read a paper yesterday for about the first time for 10 days. We had a paper thrown into our lines yesterday morning by the Turks saying “Warsaw & Ivangorod have fallen, the Germans are victoriously marching through Russia”.5 One of our people pitched back a paper saying “Constantinople will soon share the fate of Warsaw” .6 There is little or no news from Anzac. I believe the Australians have done well but we’ve had no news of the IX Corps who landed at Suvla Bay. We know roughly the line they hold but have had no details about the landing or about the fighting since they landed. Of course it may take some days before they can get a move on but all that time the old Turk is digging like smoke. I should think that you will probably know more about it at home than we do out here. Every so many thanks for the peppermints which arrived to-day, they are awfully nice. Some papers arrived that you said are from Dot by the same mail. I must write & thank her for them. I haven’t written to thank her for the smelling salts yet but somehow I never seem to have time. I always feel so sleepy in the afternoons & by the time I have censored all the letters & then written you a scribe I don’t feel like writing any other letters. The smoking room sounds awfully nice. I am longing to be back to see it. It seems a long year since I left Tidworth. It will be a year to-morrow.
Ames & I went for a long row this morning. I will write you more some other time, but I’m going to have a cup of tea now. Best love dear wee Mus.
Your loving Pat.
Saturday 14 August
Was up at 5-30, did the stove & rooms etc. Gordon came down to get his tea. Then we went up & got dressed. Ione & I went to Mme Knolly’s house, as we were selling badges for Mrs Collins for the Belgian Red Cross. We sold from 11 till 4-30. I sold just under Moore Barracks, & Ione in Cheniton. Then Mr Hudson brought us back in a taxi, & we had tea here, & then we went for a drive with him up to the Camp. Muz, Gordon & Tom went to a Baseball match. Then I went to the club at six, but came back a bit early, as I was so awfully tired as it had been so awfully hot. When I got back, I changed & went up to the dance, as Muz, Ione & Gordon were there. I danced with Gordon & Mr Hudson. Went to bed at 1-30.
Gully Beach. Left at 8.30 & went up to the 87th Bde Hd Qrs saw Gen Marshall then walked back along the left section of the Eski Line.
Sunday 15 August
Was up at 5-30, & lit the stove & cleaned it out, & did all the rooms etc. Ione came down at eight, & then I went & had a bath, then washed up after breakfast. Then went to church. It was raining afterwards, so we came back. After lunch we talked in the dining room & then sang & danced. Then we went up to the Grand, & had tea with Mme de Marotte. Mr Hudson, Mr Spong, & Mr Tinley were there, we went out on the Front afterwards. I walked about with Mr Spong. We got dinner quickly, & then flew into our clothes, & went up to the Grand to see the conjuring tricks. Mr [blank] in Gordon’s rgt, came & sat with us, he is flying at Dover.
Gully Beach. The Gen was given temporary command of the IX Corps & went off with Hardress at 10.30. Had rather a head. Walked down to the paymaster about 5 o’c & afterwards went out in the boat. The 58th Div tried to retake the vineyard about 3 am but were unsuccessful. Gen Marshall took command of the Division.
- Staging point for the front line trenches ⇑
- The third Battle of Warsaw on the Eastern Front on 5 August 1915 had resulted in German occupation of the city ⇑
- (Fr.) Curé = a parish priest in French-speaking countries ⇑
- This is a reference to an incident in Hooge on the Western Front on 30 July 1915 when the Germans used liquid fire flamethrowers for the first time against the British. The 8th Rifle Brigade and 7th King’s Royal Rifle Corps bore the brunt of the attack and suffered heavy casualties⇑
- The Polish towns of Warsaw and Ivangorod had been occupied by German and Austro-Hungarian forces, respectively, on 5 August 1915⇑
- The objective of the Gallipoli campaign had been to capture Constantinople which would have allowed the Allied forces to link up with the Russians, to freeze Turkey out of the war and to entice the Balkan states to join the Allies⇑