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"At a mile distant their thousand hooves were stuttering thunder, coming at a rate that frightened a man - they were an awe inspiring sight, galloping through the red haze - knee to knee and horse to horse - the dying sun glinting on bayonet points..." Trooper Ion Idriess

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Wednesday, 9 December 2009
King Edward's Horse, King Edward's Horse, Military Journal by H. Hamilton Fyfe
Topic: Militia - K.E.Horse

King Edward's Horse

King Edward's Horse, Military Journal

H. Hamilton Fyfe

 

King Edward's Horse, 1913


 

The following collation of articles put together by H Hamilton Fyfe was called King Edwards Horse and published in the Commonwealth Military Journal in January 1914.

Hamilton Fyfe, H, King Edwards Horse, Military Journal, January 1914, pp. 161 – 164.

 

King Edward's Horse

Whenever there is a general military parade in London one uniform attracts local notice. It is at the same time ornamental and workmanlike. Khaki tunic; boots and breeches; a wide-brimmed felt sun-hat with a springing feather. The wearers of this uniform sit their horses easily. You can see they are men accustomed to the saddle. As they ride by you never fail to hear the question asked: "Who are they?" Often in the past this has been a puzzler. But as soon as Mr. Hassall's arresting poster has made Londoners more familiar with this picturesque kit there will be plenty of voices to answer, "King Edward's Home."

Ten or eleven years ago, when I first became aware of the regiment, then called the King's Colonials, it seemed to me that no one was inclined to take it very seriously. Most of its officers and the larger number of its men had been through the South African War; there was no doubt of their keenness or their ability to "ride and shoot." For that very reason it seemed unlikely that they would long continue the mild unexciting routine of the old Volunteer Force. That presentiment was not ill-founded. As it began, the regiment exists no longer. But, happily, it did not go under. It only changed its shape.

 

ROYAL INTEREST.

That its name would alter was obvious. Already ten years ago the implication of "Colonial" was resented. It became the king's Over-sea Dominions' Regiment. A little clumsy, perhaps, but without any hint of that patronage which "Colonial'' wits supposed to convey. Later it was granted the more tripping as well as more honourable title, Ding Edward's Horse. King George has been from the beginning, its Colonel-in-chief, and takes a close interest in its fortunes. Lord Stamfordham, His Majesty's private secretary, took the presidency of its administration committee, on which many distinguished public men serve. Lord Strathcona made it a present of £10,000. Naturally you ask, "Why?"

The reason lay in this. The idea at the back of the regiment had altered. The adoption of universal military service in Australia suddenly enlarged the sphere of its usefulness. From that moment its destiny widened. It was not to remain merely a force which young men from the Dominions could join if they pleased. It was to develop into a powerful link between Australia and Home. In its ranks the young Australian happened to be in England could do his compulsory service. When he went back he could take with him a certificate of proficiency. If he were a sergeant here he would rank as a sergeant there. An English commission would be recognized in the Commonwealth.

 

SYMPATHY OF THE DOMINIONS.

A fine imaginative development, due in great part to Colonel Fortescue, who commanded the regiment during the perilous years of transition. This gave the regiment a solid basis, a serious part to play, an important standing. The Commonwealth Government fell in with the plan readily. It not only accepts the certificate and allows promotion in ping Edward's Horse to count in Australia; it pays over a grant of five pounds a year for every Australian who takes advantage of the scheme. New Zealand makes this grant also, and if the South African union adopts universal service it will do the same. Thus the regiment finds itself with an assured income - enough to keep its bank balance steady, if not to keep it going altogether. From the War Office it draws a certain amount as well, and it has, in addition, annual subscribers, headed by the King. The Rhodes Trust gives it £250 a year on account of its value to the Empire. Sir Owen Philipps, 'Mr. Otto Beit, Sir Sigismund Neumann, Sir Abe Bailey, Mr. H. J. King, Sir R. Lucas Tooth, Senator Fraser, and Mr. G. F. Godman all contribute to it as an imperial bond.

 

Week-Ends in the Saddle.

Yet all it gets it spends, and it would be glad to spend more if more came in. So says the adjutant, Captain Wickham, D.S.O., sitting in his office at the Duke of York's School, Chelsea, now the head-quarters of the London Territorial Association. For their drill hall here, their officers' and non-commissioned officers' messes, their men's billiards-room and canteen, their offices, and their share of the riding school they pay nothing. Although they are now attached to the Special Reserve, and therefore not Territorials any longer, they are allowed to live rent free. But this is not their only habitation. There are detachments at Oxford and at Cambridge, always kept up to their strength by Rhodes scholars and other undergraduates from overseas. There is a squadron at Liverpool. In each of these places they have to hire head-quarters, and there is an idea of starting another squadron in Edinburgh.

Another heavy expense is the hire of horses. For the men of this regiment are really trained. They do not turn up on parade twice or thrice a year. They do not content themselves with trotting round on the tan. After they have been passed by Colonel V. S. Sandeman, the commanding officer, they are seen in the riding school no more. All their drills are in the open. In the spring and autumn they spend weekends at Aldershot or Windsor. Here they can get cavalry horses, not only far stronger than jobbed animals, but trained into the bargain. Splendid these tonic days in the breezy pine country, "days of fresh air in the rain and the sun," as the old Harrow School song says. First rate for practice in soldiering too. It does not take a trooper long to master his drill under conditions like these.

 

Practical Training.

Then at Easter and at Whitsuntide come short spells of barrack life and field work at Colchester. Fifty per cent of the strength take part in these, and in the summer camp on Salisbury Plain a much higher percentage. What could be more attractive? Jolly camp-life, moderately hard work; up in the early freshness; astride when the townsman is just stretching indolent limbs in a stuffy bedroom; trotting, galloping, scouting, supplying all the muscles of the body and all the fibres of the intelligence too; returning bronzed and fit and "hard as nails" after the finest change and holiday a healthy man could enjoy. Boys from the Dominions are lucky to have such a chance offered them. Their uniform is given tilt-m. Almost all the expenses of training are paid for them. All through the year they have something to occupy them. And, as an extra to its many other advantages, the regiment is a famous cementer of friendships. A young fellow coming Australia, New Zealand, Canada, South Africa, at once meets in the barrack-room troopers from his own part of the world.

King Edward's Horse has passed through storms. It has made false starts, tried to march up blind alleys. But its feet are on the right path now. The condition that its members must really be connected, either by birth or long residence, with the Empire outside the United Kingdom is strictly enforced. Its future is assured: by all tokens it should be brilliant. It deserves well of the Empire. It is living up to its name.

 

Message from the King.

The Duke of Tuck resided at a regimental dinner which was given by King Edward's Horse (the King's Oversea Dominions Regiment) last night at the Criterion Restaurant.

He said the regiment was an Imperial asset of first value and importance, and announced that he had received the following telegram from the King:

"I am glad to think hat you are presiding at the annual dinner of King Edward's Horse. Please thank all ranks of the regiment for the kind message which you have addressed to me as their Colonel-in-chief. I was much struck by the smart appearance of the Liverpool contingent of the regiment, and look forward to inspecting the guard honour an the occasion of any laying the foundation-stone of the Commonwealth buildings on the 24th.

GEORGE R.I."

Colonel Seely, Secretary of State far War, in responding for the guests, promised Colonel Sandman that he would do all that lay in his power to make that splendid body of men as efficient as possible. They were a unique regiment. Sir George Reid had indicated that they were more important than their numbers, right cause them to think. That regiment formed the germ of the great idea for which they hail to work, and that idea, was one Imperial Army. (Cheer.) There must be diversities of conditions and training as there were diversities of climate, but the ideal they should seek for was one Imperial Army for the purpose of safeguarding the great Dominions of the King, and it was fitting that it should be named after the King who was the greatest friend of peace that their generation had known, and that his son should have honoured the regiment by becoming its Colonel-in-chief. (Cheers.) They were the germ of the great idea of the future, and he had no doubt that, as time went on, that thing which they had begun would spread beyond the limits they now saw. All parts of the Empire had made up their minds to share the burden of defence. He was asked to see to it that the ideal should be attained that there should be one man one horse. It was very necessary that they should make sure that the horse supply for military purposes was sufficient, and he could promise them more than two horses for each man when the time arrived. (Cheers.) They had to put the matter on a business-like footing in order to secure that when they had a fine regiment like theirs they should have good horses to ride.

(Cheers.) - London Times, 17th July 1913

 

Cavalry at Work.

The special correspondent of the London Standard, writing from Andover on 6th August, 1913, thus refers to the King Edward's Horse, to which are allied the majority of the Light Horse Regiments of Australia:

To-day I have had the advantage of seeing another corps d'elite at work - King Edward's Horse, camped at Bulford, over 300 strong, under the command of Lieut.-Colonel Sandeman. One wing of the regiment has been working against the other win, in a most realistic scheme of cavalry operations. The idea was that two squadrons were escorting a convoy, which the other two squadrons were out to capture. The whereabouts of the convoy was only vaguely known, and the escort to the convoy were not told from what quarter they might expect attack. It was a genuine case of military "hide and seek," with scope for rapid and skilful scouting work and for subtleness and resourcefulness on the part of the side on the defensive.

Reveille sounded at dawn this morning for King Edward's Horse, and when the squadrons marched out a little later on it was for a job that will last until near high noon to-morrow. It would have been most interesting to have been able to follow the operations of the day. Nothing was stereotyped. The opposing sides had to find one another; but if they didn't manage to do so well, the game went on. I followed as long as I could the probing search of the attacking side, but did not witness the success of their endeavours. Nightfall will not end the operations; the troops will bivouac where they happen to be, and the struggle will go on in the morning.

It will be a test of handiness and adaptability and resource, such as only very good troops could undertake with confidence; but there is no fear that King Edward's Horse will come out of it with anything but full credit. They are by far the smartest mounted regiment that I have seen outside the Regular Army. But I ought perhaps not to say outside the Regular Army, for King Edward's

Horse belongs, not to the Territorial Force, but to the Special Reserve of the Army - and that is in the first line."

 

 

Further Reading:

King Edward's Horse

The Light Horse

Australian Light Horse Militia

Militia 1899 - 1920

 


Citation: King Edward's Horse, King Edward's Horse, Military Journal by H. Hamilton Fyfe

Posted by Project Leader at 12:01 AM EAST
Updated: Thursday, 17 December 2009 7:12 AM EAST
King Edward's Horse (The King's Oversea Dominions Regiment), Army Order 79, 1913
Topic: Militia - K.E.Horse

King Edward's Horse

King Edward's Horse (The King's Oversea Dominions Regiment)

Army Order 79, 1913

 

The members of King Edward's Horse on parade

 

 

The following is a extract from British Army Orders, cited as Army Order 79, 1913, King Edward's Horse (The King's Oversea Dominions Regiment) which formalised the specific establishment of the Regiment by clearly defining its purpose.

 

Army Order 79, 1913, King Edward's Horse (The King's Oversea Dominions Regiment) 

 

Instructions, Regulations, Etc.

His Majesty the ping has been graciously pleased to approve of the conversion of King Edward's Horse (The King's Oversea Dominions Regiment), now a unit of the Territorial Force, into a unit of the Special Reserve, under the title of “King Edward's Horse (The King's Oversea Dominions Regiment)."

The conversion, with His Majesty's approval, of King Edward's Horse (The King's Oversea Dominions Regiment), from a unit of the Territorial Force to a unit of the Special Reserve, is intended to mark the connexion of the regiment with the Oversew Dominions, and the fact that the regiment is solely recruited front citizens of, or those intimately connected with, the ding's Oversew Dominions.

The appended orders regarding the conversion are published for the information of all concerned

 

Introductory.

1. Since the Territorial and Reserve Forces Act 1907 does not provide for the transfer of a Territorial Force unit to the Special Reserve, it becomes necessary, in order to effect the conversion of King Edward's Horse Yeomanry to a unit of the Special Reserve, to disband the regiment, and to reconstitute it as a Special Reserve unit, under the title of " King Edward's Horse (the King's Oversea Dominions Regiment)."

2. Those officers and non-commissioned officers and men who elect to continue in the regiment will be required to serve in the Special Reserve of Officers and in the Special Reserve, respectively.

3. This procedure will not cause any break in the services of those officers and non-commissioned officers and men who elect to serve in the Special Reserve of Officers and in the Special Reserve, respectively.

4. On mobilization being ordered, all ranks will be liable for service, both at home and abroad. In undertaking to serve in the Special Reserve of officers and in the Special Reserve, officers, non-commissioned officers and men serving in the new unit will be liable for service with their own corps, or such part of that corps as may be required.

 

Organization.

5. The organization of the regiment will remain as at present, viz.:-

Head-quarters,

Machine gun section,

4 squadrons.

 

Establishment.

6. The peace establishment of the unit will be as shown in the Appendix to this Order.

 

Command and Training.

7. The officer commanding the regiment will be responsible for the command and training of his unit, under the orders of the General Officer Commanding, 4th Cavalry Brigade, and the General Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Eastern Command.

8. Recruits' training and annual training will be carried out as laid down for yeomanry in the Regulations for the Territorial Force, but in the case of trained soldiers a minimum of fifteen days' annual training in camp must be performed.

9. Additional training will be given as far as the subscribed funds in the hands of the Committee of Administration admit, but no expenditure will be admissible from army funds beyond that authorized for a regiment of territorial yeomanry.

10. Training will be carried out in accordance with the Yeomanry and Mounted Rifle Training Manual, 1912.

 

Administration.

General Provisions.

11. The regiment will cease to be subject to the control of the Territorial Force Association for the County of London.

12. Correspondence will be conducted in accordance with the general rules of Section XIV of the King's Regulations.

13. Such matters as have hitherto been dealt with by the Territorial Force Association for the County of London and the General Officer Commanding, London District, respectively, will in future be dealt with by the present Committee of Administration, and the General Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Eastern Command, respectively.

14. The regimental head-quarters will remain in the present premises at the Duke of York's Head-quarters, Chelsea. All correspondence regarding the upkeep and repair of the buildings occupied will be addressed to the County of London Territorial Force Association.

15. The regiment will be affiliated to the Cavalry Record Office at Canterbury.

 

Pay and Allowances.

16. All grants to the regiment, whether in money or in kind, and the personal emoluments of the officers, non-commissioned officers and men will be those of a regiment of territorial yeomanry, and will be issued at the rates and subject to the conditions laid down from time to time in the Territorial Force Regulations. The special outfit allowance, gratuities and bounties of the Special Reserve will not be admissible.

17. All grants, other than personal emoluments, will be payable to the Committee of Administration, which, in regard to the expenditure and administration of such funds, will occupy the same position as a County Association, and will be guided by the instructions in Part II, section 4, Territorial Force Regulations. The Committee's accounts will be rendered under section 5.

18. Any extra expense incurred for training in excess of the prescribed periods will be borne by the private funds of the regiment. The prescribed periods of training, for which pay and allowances are admissible, are as laid down for a regiment of yeomanry in the Territorial Force Regulations.

 

Officers-First Appointment.

19. All officers serving on the date of conversion will be eligible for commissions in the Special Reserve of Officers on condition of accepting the liability –

(a) To serve abroad in time of war.

(b) To perform the annual training prescribed for this regiment.

 

Soldiers-Enlistment and Terms of Service.

20. As a soldier cannot be held to serve in the Special Reserve on a Territorial Force attestation, all non-commissioned officers and men now serving will be discharged forthwith from the Territorial Force. Those willing to continue serving under the new conditions will then be re-attested for the Special Reserve, either for a period corresponding with the remainder of their current engagement in the Territorial Force or for a fresh period of four years, as they desire.

21. In the case of future enlistments which will be solely confined to citizens of, or those intimately connected with the King's Oversea Dominions, the standards of age, height, &c., will be as laid down in the Recruiting Regulations for the Irish Horse, and the limit of age for continuance in the service will be thirty-five years, except in the case of non-commissioned officers of and above the rank of sergeant, for whom it will be forty years.

22. In future, enlistments will be for the term of four years, and re-engagements up to thirty-five years of age may be permitted at the discretion of the officer commanding the regiment. Payments for purchase of discharge will be regulated by the Committee of Administration in accordance with the general principles laid down in paragraph 802, Territorial Force Regulations.

23. Recruiting will be carried out by the officer commanding the regiment, with the assistance of the adjutant and the regular establishment under the authority of the Committee of Administration.

 

Status.

24. All men joining the Special Reserve become army reservists and therefore subject to the same conditions of service and liabilities as regular reservists.

25. When called out for training, or on mobilization, they become subject to military law.

 

Further Reading:

King Edward's Horse

The Light Horse

Australian Light Horse Militia

Militia 1899 - 1920

 


Citation: King Edward's Horse (The King's Oversea Dominions Regiment), Army Order 79, 1913

Posted by Project Leader at 12:01 AM EAST
Updated: Thursday, 17 December 2009 3:35 PM EAST
The Battle of Anzac Cove, Gallipoli, 25 April 1915, 2nd Infantry Brigade Signals - No. 53
Topic: BatzG - Anzac

The Battle of Anzac Cove

Gallipoli, 25 April 1915

2nd Infantry Brigade Signals - No. 53

 

 2nd Infantry Brigade, AIF, Signals - No. 53

 

The following is a transcription of the Signal No. 53 of the 2nd Infantry Brigade, AIF, which forms part of a series which illustrates the chaos and problems experienced in executing their role in the landings at Anzac on 25 April 1915.



Aust Div

KB79 26/4/15 AAA

Begins:

Situation at 2 am Sixth Seventh and Fifth holding their ground fourth the same but the last with losses AAA Eighth Bn heavy losses in Officers and NCO's has been attacked several times on its right but has repelled attacks with bayonet charges AAA It has had to extend its line to the right to avoid enfilade fire AAA My whole line is very thin

Ends.

2 AIB

224 R 5

2.07 am



Previous: 2nd Infantry Brigade Signals - No. 52

Next: The Battle of Anzac Cove, Gallipoli, 25 April 1915

 

Further Reading:

The Battle of Anzac Cove, Gallipoli, 25 April 1915

The Battle of Anzac Cove, Gallipoli, 25 April 1915, 2nd Infantry Brigade, Roll of Honour 

The Battle of Anzac Cove, Gallipoli, 25 April 1915, AIF, Roll of Honour 

Battles where Australians fought, 1899-1920

 


Citation: The Battle of Anzac Cove, Gallipoli, 25 April 1915, 2nd Infantry Brigade Signals - No. 53

Posted by Project Leader at 12:01 AM EAST
Updated: Friday, 9 April 2010 2:35 PM EADT
The Battle of Anzac Cove, Gallipoli, 25 April 1915, 16th Infantry Battalion War Diary
Topic: BatzG - Anzac

The Battle of Anzac Cove

Gallipoli, 25 April 1915

16th Infantry Battalion War Diary 

 

War Diary account of the 16th Infantry Battalion, AIF.

 

The following is a transcription of the War Diary of the 16th Infantry Battalion, AIF, of their role in the landings at Anzac on 25 April 1915.

 

24 April 1915

Operations issued.


25 April 1915

Sailed from Lemnos in splendid weather. Left here around as we steamed out at 1 pm about 3 hours later warships in line were sighted preparing and assisting the landing of troops which had disembarked earlier in the day Gaba Tepe was the centre of heavy fire as we approached.

Roadways, trenches, ledges for men, shelves for ammunition and stores well under way. Very good progress has been made in short time. Mules were being used and further extensions to earlier positions being made and best ground for defence selected. Disembarkation still continues under incessant fire. Well concealed Turkish batteries from both north and south points of beach would sweep certain points which pulled out and boats conveying men and makes use of shore despite very accurate shooting or all likely positions. Many big advantages open to the enemy under set of conditions at line of landing not fully seized. Troops landed without sheets and blankets. Machine guns played a foremost part in the operation of the past day or two. Troops on landing threw away packs.


26 April 1915

The Sunfloure? with small guns shelled Fisherman's Hut which seemed to be an observation post. This on the extreme left. Queen Elizabeth went from Gaba Tepe to Cape Helles every day or so. Turks advancing along the highest point over the farm house and crept on left in small parties. There were subjected to heavy shell fire from boats. Enemy could be plainly seen breaking up under the fire. Shortly after advanced again in extended order (three lines). These could not be observed from where our troops were but the whole were visible from the boat. Balloon ships and aeroplanes very busy. Reformed about 2½ miles gradually entrenching to both flanks. Our batteries getting into position principally on right. Wounded returning all day to ships converted into temporary Red Cross boats.



 

Further Reading:

The Battle of Anzac Cove, Gallipoli, 25 April 1915

The Battle of Anzac Cove, Gallipoli, 25 April 1915, 16th Infantry Battalion, Roll of Honour

The Battle of Anzac Cove, Gallipoli, 25 April 1915, 4th Infantry Brigade, Roll of Honour

The Battle of Anzac Cove, Gallipoli, 25 April 1915, AIF, Roll of Honour 

Battles where Australians fought, 1899-1920

 


Citation: The Battle of Anzac Cove, Gallipoli, 25 April 1915, 16th Infantry Battalion War Diary

Posted by Project Leader at 12:01 AM EAST
Updated: Monday, 12 April 2010 9:52 PM EADT
The Battle of Anzac Cove, Gallipoli, 25 April 1915, 16th Infantry Battalion, AIF, Unit History Account
Topic: BatzG - Anzac

The Battle of Anzac Cove

Gallipoli, 25 April 1915

16th Infantry Battalion, AIF, Unit History Account

 

Pope's Hill

As seen on April 26, 1915, by the artist, Signaller Ellis Silas, of the 16th Battalion. Note Russell's Top on the left occupied by concealed Turks.

 

After a decade from the conclusion of the Great War, Cyril Longmore, a former member of the 44th Battalion Machine Gun Section was commissioned by the History Committee of the 16th Battalion Association to record the events of the 16th Battalion with the assistance of the Commonwealth book grant. Longmore wrote the history of this Battalion called The old Sixteenth: being a record of the 16th Battalion, A.I.F., during the Great War, 1914-1918. The book was published Perth during 1929. The following is an extract from this book detailing the landing at Anzac in a manner that is seen from the members of the Battalion and so contains all the humour, fears, joy and sadness that is the full gamit of human emotions. As such this story fills in the gaps between the dry reports and the official histories.

Longmore, C, The old Sixteenth: being a record of the 16th Battalion, A.I.F., during the Great War, 1914-1918, Perth, 1949, pp. 39 - 45.

 

Chapter 8

The Landing



About noon on April 25, the "Haida Pascha" weighed anchor and put to sea. During the morning distant firing was heard, which announced that the Australians were in action at last.

Approaching the shore of Gallipoli about 4 o'clock in the afternoon, all that could be seen from the "Haida Pascha" was a thick haze of blue smoke and flashes of guns ahead. Battleships and destroyers were numerous and very busy bombarding the shore where the 3rd Australian Brigade had landed at daybreak. The scene from the deck of the "Haida Pascha" was a memorable one. From right to left the ships of the navy were spread like the ribs of a fan, each battleship and cruiser having an allotted section of the coast to attend to with its enormous guns. The work of disembarking the rest of the 1st Australian Division was actively in progress and destroyers were fussing about between transports and the shore, towing long lines of boats, laden to the gunwales with Australian soldiers.

The covering force, the 3rd Brigade, had succeeded in effecting a landing at daybreak on the 25th and during the day the rest of the 1st Division had disembarked and been absorbed into heavy fighting in the tangle of hills and gullies that skirted the coast of Anzac.

By far the most critical position in the front on the evening of the 25th was the gap then known to exist at the head of what was later called Monash Valley. Row narrow or how wide this gap might be was unknown. A-11 that was clear was that touch had not been gained between the 3rd Brigade's left at the spur, known afterwards as Pope's Hill, and the New Zealanders on Walker's Ridge. Between them came Russell's Top - unknown and unexplored - and looking into the back of Pope's Hill. Who held Russell's Top, none was certain. The Turks were threatening to appear on it and the commander of the 3rd Brigade at dusk asked urgently for reinforcements of the 4th Brigade, which was then due to land.

The first party of the 16th to land were its first reinforcements, 98 men under Lieuts. Brashaw and Taylor. They landed at 5.45 a.m. and were detailed as a beach fatigue party, occupied in unloading ammunition and stores from the boats, and later carrying ammunition to the front line of the 1st Division. They were returned to the battalion on May 2.

At about 1.30 p.m. the 16th came ashore from the "Haida Pascha." The destroyer "Ribble" and the open boats from which the landing was made were heavily shelled, but with only half a dozen casualties. Colonel Pope, Capt, McDonald, Lieut. Wilton, R.S.M. Emmett, with headquarters.

"A" Coy., under Major Mansbridge, "B" Coy., under Capt. Margolin, and the MG section were in the first landing party. The C.O. was taken to General Godley and was ordered to move to the top of Monash Valley with a mixed column of all the troops available - two companies and M.G.S., 16th, one company 15th and half company of New Zealanders - about 400 rifles all told. A staff officer, Major Villiers Stuart, was sent with Colonel Pope as guide. The light was failing and the pace was slow. As they filed into Shrapnel Gully, the mules of the 26th Indian Mountain Battery, which was landing at the time, moved across the track and cut the column in two. Major Villiers Stuart went to find its tail and eventually put it into the line between Courtney's and 'Steele's Posts. Colonel Pope, with "A" Noel "B" Companies and M.G.S. of the 16th and half company New Zealanders, went forward in the direction of the head of the gully.

In the dark, the column filed up the muddy channel of Monash Valley and reached the fork at the valley's end. Between the two branches rose the dark mass of Pope's hill, The Colonel reconnoitred the vicinity. The roar of rifle fire came from the heir around, hot this bill and Russell's Top, on its left, were found to be empty except for a few men on Popes from various units of the 1st Division, under Captain Jacobs. Then the column occupied the sharp edge of the spar, which ever afterwards bore Pope's name.

As to the position at the valley's head, the C.O. was entirely in the dark. All that he knew was that the 3rd Brigade had been driven back with heavy losses. Captain McDonald found on the left of Pope's Hill, in charge of a small party there, a sergeant of the 11th. The sergeant said that his men formed the extreme left flank; that no officers near them were left alive and that their losses in the retirement had been very heavy. He added that Indian troops had been fighting on their left ever since the retirement began and were still on their left rear. McDonald, not suspecting any mistake in this information, reported it to the C.O., who sent Lieut. Elston, of "A" Company, and Private Lushington to the left to obtain communication - the latter understanding, Hindustanee. They moved for 150 yards through the low scrub and shouted back that they had obtained touch with Indian soldiers-and that a senior officer was required to discuss matters with their officer. Captain McDonald was, therefore, sent forward and he called back through the night that they wished to deal with the C.O. Accordingly, Colonel Pope went forward and about 150 yards along the northern ridge of the gully found McDonald, Elston and Lushington in parley with six soldiers who had rifles and bayonets fixed. A suspicious movement among them made the Colonel think that these men were Turks and not Indians. He warned the others, whereon the strangers pressed around the party. The C.O. burst through and jumped over the edge of the ridge into the gully and so escaped, although several shots were fired at him. Captain McDonald, Lieut. Elston and Private Lushington were less fortunate and became prisoners of war.

On getting back to his own party, and it being evident that the information received as to Indian troops on the left was false, the C.O. decided to occupy the position on the summit of the spur (Pope's Hill) covering about 300 yards of front, and to entrench at once. This was done acid the defences were improved and organised from time to time as opportunity allowed. All night long the fighting for this portion of the line was very fierce, for as soon as the Turks located the new line, they poured in an incessant rifle and machine gun fire. It was found that the position was not only open to fire from the front, but was subsequently much harassed by the fire of snipers who had penetrated Russell's Top, and were actually in rear of the 16th trenches. This sniping fire caused many casualties.

On the morning of the 26th, the trenches were down to a depth of 3 or 4 feet. It was found that 450 men word necessary for the proper defence of the position. The problem at this time was to link up the left of the 16th line on Pope's Hill with the right of the Australians and New Zealanders, on Walker's Ridge. The warships had shelled Russell's Top at dawn and broken up the organised bodies of Turks who occupied it, but there were still many snipers left, who kept up an extremely accurate and destructive fire. Later in the evening more Turks came across the head of Monash Valley, past The Nek and on to Russell's Top. From there they commenced to make the position on Pope's Hill untenable, picking off the men at the back of the hill like flies. At 8 o'clock Colonel Pope reported the position to headquarters. The men in the trenches on Pope's Hill were better protected than the supports at the back of the hill, who were entirely without cover from the fire coming from Russell's Top. Both the 16th machine guns were placed in position with the supports and all day long these guns sniped the snipers and the Turks creeping about on Russell's Top. The gun crews did magnificent work. Both guns were hit often with Turkish bullets. Percy Black, shot through the hand and later through the ear, refused to leave his gun during any of the heavy fighting of this and the following week. The barrel casings, shot through in many places, had to be plugged with pieces of ammunition boxes in order to hold the water necessary to keep the barrels cool. Murray was wounded during the morning but remained on duty Indeed, it was necessary that he should do so, for by this time many of the original gun crews had been killed or wounded. The work of the guns, while it kept down organised movement of Turks along Russell's Top, could not prevent various small parties of two or three from becoming established.

This was the situation all through the day of April 26. As opportunity offered, the men belonging to other units in the 16th's trenches were weeded out and instructed to report to their battalions, while during the day various parties of 16th men reported who, when they had landed the night before, had been thrown into the line at other points. Towards nightfall both machine guns were disabled by hostile fire and the gun crews commenced a diligent salvage hunt for others, without success. However, two naval machine guns were sent up at daybreak the next morning and, when mounted, they lifted at least one load off the mind of that sorely tried officer, Colonel Pope.

In the meantime, on the morning of the 26th, the 13th Battalion was brought up and in the face of a desultory fire, the men climbed Russell's Top and effected a junction with the composite force of Australians and New Zealanders who were holding Walker's Ridge. Unfortunately, they could not advance sufficiently far along the Top to relieve the 16th of the fire from its rear. During the afternoon the 13th was heavily attacked and forced to withdraw into Monash Gully, and this left the whole length of Russell's Top still open to the Turks. On the morning of the 27th it was found that the Turks had dug themselves in there and a company of the 2nd. Battalion was sent forward to take the trench. A desperate struggle then began for the much prized possession of Russell's Top. The 2nd Battalion took it. It was driven out, but rallied and took the trench again. This time it was held and with a reinforcement of New Zealanders it was strongly manned.

At about 2.30 in the afternoon, the Turks delivered an attack in six lines across the whole face of Battleship Dill, advancing on Walker's Ridge, Russell's Top, and Pope's Hill. The navy's guns opened on them and the first shell fell on Pope's Hill; the second beyond and the third, a huge shrapnel shell, which passed overhead with a heavy rumble, burst fairly over the Turks. As the dust of the explosion cleared, they could be seen running around, dazed, like ants on a disturbed nest. They then took cover in the scrub and commenced to snipe. The organised attack had completely failed.

But the snipers on Russell's Top were still doing considerable damage to the 16th. The 13th was not far enough along the ridge to relieve Pope's Hill from this harassing fire, which made communication very difficult. The slightest indiscretion of movement was met by a very well-aimed bullet.

Later in the afternoon a determined local assault was made upon Pope's Hill. A line of about 300 Turks emerged from a gully and charged across the Chessboard. An officer led them with his sword flashing and others, revolver in hand, were encouraging their men. This party was practically annihilated by an intense rifle and machine gun fire which the 16th brought to hear.

The night of the 27th was full of tension following a series of attacks. Signs of Turkish activity could be heard in bugle calls, shouts of officers rallying their men and the men calling on Allah in between times opening up a furious fusillade on the Australian trenches. Some of the 16th, worried by the continual bugle calls, climbed over the parapet and reconnoitred in front of the trenches. When daylight came, however, on the 28th, it was evident that no Turkish attack was imminent. It was probable that they were just as exhausted as were the Australians. So far as the 16th was concerned, the one thing that worried the troops was the fact that the snipers on Russell's Top were still active and invisible.

The 28th was a day of digging with intervals of rest and some fighting. The whole situation was still obscure, although as the men got their holes dug and connected them up, matters in this connection improved. The runners and stretcher bearers, whose jobs necessitated movement, suffered heavily during the day, but there was never a lack of volunteers to fill the places of casualties. As the messages were pieced together at the various headquarters in rear and the whereabouts and number; of the front line troops were made known, so, gradually, was order and system brought into the business of supplying them with ammunition and food. The rear slope of Pope's Bill was so steep that access to the firing line on top was a task of no small difficulty even to an unencumbered man, to those with water, ammunition and rations, it was almost impossible to surmount.. A stout rope was therefore secured from the navy and, fastened securely to a bush on the top of the hill, it formed a useful help in sealing the slope.

The situation did not change to any marked degree during the 29th. The rifle and machine gun fire during the period was intense, but both sides had got below ground and the casualties were not so severe as previously. Pope's Bill trench was continuous and afforded a safer position than the slope in rear, which was still covered by the fire of snipers.

On the evening of Friday, April 30, after having been in action on Pope's hill for five days, the 16th was relieved by the 15th Battalion. As the various sectors of trench were relieved, the weary occupants moved down the slope in rear and congregated at a spot in one of the gullies, called Rest Camp. Here they rested until Sunday, May 2. The rest was by no means a peaceful one, and the spot could only be called a rest camp in comparison with the greater activity of the front line. During its two days "residence," the 16th lost 50 men through snipers, so that much of the time that should have been devoted to rest was occupied in digging a "possy" which would be proof against the efforts of the wily Turk.

 

Further Reading:

The Battle of Anzac Cove, Gallipoli, 25 April 1915

The Battle of Anzac Cove, Gallipoli, 25 April 1915, 16th Infantry Battalion, AIF, Roll of Honour 

The Battle of Anzac Cove, Gallipoli, 25 April 1915, 4th Infantry Brigade, Roll of Honour

The Battle of Anzac Cove, Gallipoli, 25 April 1915, AIF, Roll of Honour 

Battles where Australians fought, 1899-1920

 


Citation: The Battle of Anzac Cove, Gallipoli, 25 April 1915, 16th Infantry Battalion, AIF, Unit History Account

Posted by Project Leader at 12:01 AM EAST
Updated: Thursday, 22 April 2010 11:59 PM EADT

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