Day 5, Friday 27 September
Turning in late again yesterday has led to my waking rather later than I would prefer as I always need time to write up my blog. While it would be ideal for me to type in my notes, I resort to producing handwritten ones, even over breakfast. However much of the detail can be added later from onsite and online sources. I just need to list the site visits for now.
Suvla Bay (2)……..
After completion of the Ariburnu landing sites yesterday, we had hoped to make some progress in covering the Suvla Bay landing area also, but had limited success due to extensive roadworks taking place south of the salt marsh. Accordingly, today we need to make a big detour through the villages north of Eceabat but after half an hour we are close to our first site. The number of remaining sites is small but at each of the CWGC cemeteries we need to check every grave for casualties of our local regiment the 1st/1st Bn. Herefordshire Regiment.
The tour today around the Suvla Bay is the location for the landings on the night of 6th/7th August 1915 in an attempt to break the deadlock.
Suvla Bay, Eceabat District, Çanakkale Province
The cemeteries and memorials visited today are:
Yusufçuk Tepe Yazıtları, Suvla Bay, Eceabat District, Çanakkale Province
Yusufçuk Tepe Yazıtları……..The monolith Yusufçuktepe is located at the summit of a low hill overlooking the Anafartalar Plain and Mestantepe. The monolith was built recently and is of a standard curved faced design similar to others on the peninsula. The inscription explains that after the initial Allied landings on the night of the 6th/7th August intended to surround a weak surveillance force, Turkish troops directed by Mustafa Kemal counter-attacted and threw enemy forces back along the Kirectepe Mestantep line. By the 21th August the defence of Anafartalar had halted the attack. In all 8,155 Turks were killed while the Allied attack sustained 19,850 casualties.
YA 24, Green Hill Cemetery……..The Allies landed on the peninsula on 25-26 April 1915; the 29th Division at Cape Helles in the south and the Australian and New Zealand Corps north of Gaba Tepe on the west coast, an area soon known as Anzac. On 6 August, further troops were put ashore at Suvla, just north of Anzac, and the climax of the campaign came in early August when simultaneous assaults were launched on all three fronts. The aim of the Suvla force had been to quickly secure the sparsely held high ground surrounding the bay and salt lake, but confused landings and indecision caused fatal delays allowing the Turks to reinforce and only a few of the objectives were taken with difficulty. Green Hill and Chocolate Hill (which form together Yilghin Burnu), rise from the eastern shore of the salt lake. They were captured on 7 August 1915 by the 6th Lincolns and the 6th Border Regiment but once taken, no further advance was then made. On the two following days, unsuccessful efforts were made to push on along the ridge of 'W' Hill (Ismail Oglu Tepe), leading to Anafarta Sagir and on 21 August, the attack of the 11th and 29th Divisions and the 2nd South Midland Mounted Brigade to take Scimitar Hill, although pressed with great resolution, left the front line where it had been. Green Hill Cemetery was made after the Armistice when isolated graves were brought in from the battlefields of August 1915 and from small burial grounds in the surrounding area. These earlier burial grounds were known as York; 40th Brigade Nos. 1 and 2; Green Hill Nos. 1 and 2; Chocolate Hill; Inniskilling; Salt Lake; and Scimitar Hill (which contained 520 graves, almost all unidentified). There are now 2,971 servicemen of the First World War buried or commemorated in this cemetery. 2,472 of the burials are unidentified but special memorials commemorate a number of casualties known or believed to be buried among them.
Green Hill Cemetery, Suvla Bay, Eceabat District, Çanakkale Province
In Memory Of:
Drummer B. M. Sherwood, B M, Service Number 2555, Died 27/11/1915, Aged 23, 1st/1st Bn. Herefordshire Regiment. Son of Thomas and Mary Ann Sherwood, of 11, Kyre St., Ross, Herefordshire (bottom right).
YA 25, Hill 10 Cemetery……..The Allies landed on the peninsula on 25-26 April 1915; the 29th Division at Cape Helles in the south and the Australian and New Zealand Corps north of Gaba Tepe on the west coast, an area soon known as Anzac. On 6 August, further troops were put ashore at Suvla, just north of Anzac, and the climax of the campaign came in early August when simultaneous assaults were launched on all three fronts. The aim of the Suvla force had been to quickly secure the sparsely held high ground surrounding the bay and salt lake, but confused landings and indecision caused fatal delays allowing the Turks to reinforce and only a few of the objectives were taken with difficulty. Hill 10, a low isolated mound to the north of the salt lake, was taken by the 9th Lancashire Fusiliers and the 11th Manchesters on the early morning of 7 August 1915. The cemetery was made after the Armistice by the concentration of graves from isolated sites and from the 88th Dressing Station, 89th Dressing Station, Kangaroo Beach, 'B' Beach, 26th Casualty Clearing Station and Park Lane. There are now 699 servicemen of the First World War buried or commemorated in this cemetery. 150 of the burials are unidentified but special memorials commemorate a number of casualties known or believed to be buried among them.
Hill 10 Cemetery, Suvla Bay, Eceabat District, Çanakkale Province
In Memory Of:
Private A. Bowkett, Service Number 1853, Died 23/10/1915, 1st/1st Bn. Herefordshire Regiment.
Private Edward John Hodnett, Service Number 3103, Died 30/09/1915, Aged 35, 1st/1st Bn. Herefordshire Regiment. Son of John and Elizabeth Hodnett, of Docklow, Herefordshire; husband of Mary Elizabeth Hodnett, of 4, Victoria St., Leominster, Herefordshire.
Lance Corporal Thomas John Osborne, Service Number 1633, Died 15/08/1915, Aged 24, "C" Coy 1st/1st Bn. Herefordshire Regiment. Husband of Winifred Alice Hickey (formerly Osborne), of "Sweet Briar," Lugwardine, Hereford.
Private J. Winters, Service Number 1171, Died 26/08/1915, 1st/1st Bn. Herefordshire Regiment.
Lance Corporal W. Knight, Service Number 1603, Died 16/08/1915, 1st/1st Bn. Herefordshire Regiment.
Private R. E. Gunn, Service Number 2246, Died 24/08/1915, Aged 27, 1st/1st Bn. Herefordshire Regiment. Son of William and Esther Gunn, of 110, Park St., Hereford.
TA 60/A 12, Suvla Point/Ancient Settlement……..Suvla Point lies at the tip of Anafarta Plain (Suvla Plain). It is also referred to as the ‘Great Bony Cape’. There is a strong belief that the city of Alopekonnesos, one of the ancient Greek cities, is in this region.
Büyük Kemikli Yazıtı (Suvla Bay Point), Eceabat District, Çanakkale Province
In early August, the Great Bony Cape region was occupied by surveillance troops of the 3rd Company of the Bursa Gendarmerie Battalion. Part of the landings, which were carried out by the 9th British Corps to the Anafartas region as part of the British siege operation on August 6, was carried out on the beach in Anafarta Port, coded as "A Beach". Due to insufficient reconnaissance, the 34th Brigade of the 11th Division, however, began landing on A beach around 10:05 p.m. with troops landing on the coasts B and C as the first wave. Of the three motorised layters, each carrying 500 soldiers, only one was able to land. The soldiers jumped into the water and came ashore from the water up to their necks. The Anafarta Battle had begun.
This historic site is now marked by a monolith, similar to the ones at Yusufçuk Tepe Yazıtları and elsewhere on the peninsula, giving an account of and commemorating the events that took place here.
Gazı Baba Mezarı……..Returning east the way we came we see a sign to Gazı Baba Mezarı. Closer inspection reveals that this must be part of the coastal defences in 1915. No referrence to these, however, can be found on Google Map or the Historic Guide Map for Gallipoli.
Gazı Baba Mezarı, Eceabat District, Çanakkale Province
YA 26, Azmak Cemetery……..The Allies landed on the peninsula on 25-26 April 1915; the 29th Division at Cape Helles in the south and the Australian and New Zealand Corps north of Gaba Tepe on the west coast, an area soon known as Anzac. On 6 August, further troops were put ashore at Suvla, just north of Anzac, and the climax of the campaign came in early August when simultaneous assaults were launched on all three fronts. The aim of the Suvla force had been to quickly secure the sparsely held high ground surrounding the bay and salt lake, but confused landings and indecision caused fatal delays allowing the Turks to reinforce and only a few of the objectives were taken with difficulty. With Hill 10 Cemetery, Azmak recalls the northern part of the Suvla operations and the attempts to take and hold the Kiretch Tepi ridge and the high ground to the east. The cemetery was made after the Armistice when graves were brought in from isolated sites in the area and from the following smaller cemeteries:- Dublin (from the 1st Royal Dublin Fusiliers); Sulajik; 5th Norfolk (under the foothills of Tekke Tepe, where some of the 1st/5th Norfolks, who fell on the 12th August, were buried); Borderers' Ravine; Oxford Circus; Worcester (from the 4th Worcesters); Kidney Hill; Irish; Azmak Nos. 1, 2, 3 and 4; Jephson's Post (named after Major J. N. Jephson, attd. 6th Royal Munster Fusiliers who was mortally wounded capturing the position on the 15th August); Essex Ravine; Hill 28; and Lone Tree Gully. There are now 1,074 First World War servicemen buried or commemorated in this cemetery. 684 of the burials are unidentified, but special memorials commemorate by name a number of casualties known or believed to be buried among them. Also among the unidentified graves are those of 114 officers and men of the 1st/5th Bn. Norfolk Regiment (which contained the Sandringham Company) who died on 12 August 1915.
Azmak Cemetery, Suvla Bay, Eceabat District, Çanakkale Province
In Memory Of:
Private John Lewis Millar, Service Number 2236, Died 15/08/1915, Aged 18, 1st/1st Bn.
Herefordshire Regiment, Son of Robert and Isabella Millar, of "St. John's Mount," Bodenham Rd., Hereford.
Private W. Partridge, Service Number 2739, Died 30/08/1915, 1st/1st Bn. Herefordshire Regiment.
Private W. H. Poyner, Service Number 2772, Died 16/08/1915, 1st/1st Bn. Herefordshire Regiment.
Private Edward Minchin, Service Number 2497, Died 19/08/1915, 1st/1st Bn. Herefordshire Regiment, Son of Robert and Hannah F. Minchin, of Letter House, Bromesberrow, Dymock, Glos.
Private R. H. Page, Service Number 8226, Died 19/08/1915, Aged 19, 1st/1st Bn. Herefordshire Regiment, Son of John and Matilda Page, of Rhayader, Radnorshire.
Lance Corporal Thomas Mills, Service Number 8209, Died 19/08/1915, Aged 25, 1st/1st Bn. Herefordshire Regiment, Son of Mr. C. and Mrs. S. Mills, of 29, Middleton Rd., Oswestry, Salop.
TA 65, Kireçtepe Gandarma Memorial……..Kiretch Tepe Gendarme Memorial and cemetery or Kireçtepe Jandarma Aniti ve Mezarlığı includes fallen members of Turkish units interred in this cemetery. They include not only Jandarma (Infantry), but also Topçu (Artillery), Istihkam (Engineers) and Piyade (Infantry). None of those buried here has been identified and the exact number is unknown. It is thought that about 1,700 Turks died in the fighting here in early August 1915, including the commander of the Gelibolu Jandarma, Captain Kadri Bey. Regarding the fighting nearby at Kiretch Tepe on the 15th & 16th August 1915, Erickson* gives more specific details;
'the Turks lost 3 officers and 315 men killed, 8 officers and 1,238 men wounded and 2 officers and 85 men missing.'
[*quoting Çanakkale Cephesi Harekati (Haziran 1915-Ocak 1916)]
The monument of shells was first erected very shortly after the burials were made in 1915. Prof. Haluk Oral, in his 'Gallipoli 1915 Through Turkish Eyes' informs that 'This monument was built while the Battle of Gallipoli was still in progress. According to Cevat Abbas (Ģűrer) the monument was commissioned by Mehmet Arif (Ayici Arif).'
Prof. Oral's book also reproduces the famous photograph of Mustafa Kemal striding past the monument and identifies the image as being taken from the front cover of the January 1916 issue of the magazine Harp Mecmuasi.
The original monument was demolished in the 1950s. It was rebuilt in 1995/6 by the 116th Gendarme Private Education Regiment's commander Cafer Çağlayan.
The memorial lies just to the east of the line where the Allied advance was checked at North Redoubt and Limestone Hill.
Kireçtepe Gandarma Memorial, Kiretch Tepe, Eceabat District, Çanakkale Province
After four hours at around 2:30pm we are done and return via a more scenic route along an unmade road leading to Ece Limanı on the eastern side of the Peninsula.
Ece Limanı (Bay), Eceabat District, Çanakkale Province
A 14, Ece Limanı (Bay)……..Ece Limanı is a cove in the district of Eceabat on the Saros Bay of Çanakkale. It's 31 kms north of Eceabat and is noted as a fishing village.
From Ece Limanı the road is better as we return south but more roadworks are taking place. At one point we take a road recently tarmaced. Big mistake as we later find out.
Returning to Eceabat by mid afternoon, there are now some issues to resolve with the car. One of the issues resulted from our first night’s drive locating our hotel in Sultangazi district of Istanbul when the mirror on the right wing became detached after a whack. This is repaired at a local workshop at far less cost than might have been incurred if we returned the car without the repair. The second issue is the substantial amount of tar we picked up during the return trip from Suvla Bay. Taking the vehicle to a car wash has added more cost today but there is time for a siesta before dinner which I sorely need after the last few days.
Up to this point the owner of Crowded House has been really helpful with the issues that have arisen and we regularly see him at a seafood restaurant in the town Square. Curious, I investigate what seafood is on offer and realise this is a cheaper place to eat seafood than on our first night here. Taking dinner at around 7 pm we order sea bass and prawns in a cheese sauce. We are also told that we could buy beer at the nearby off-licence and drink here discreetly as presumably the restaurant has no license. Basically the beer has to be put in a black plastic bag and the staff hold it under the counter. When it appears on the table it’s in a teacup. How amazing is that? The result is a far cheaper evening, added to which I suggest we take a break and make it an earlier night for a change. That should allow a straightforward start tomorrow for a long day as we make it to the Helles Peninsula further south where the British landed on the 25th of April 1915.
The tour today has taken us to a more inaccessible area of the Gallipoli battlefields but we have been well rewarded with a completely new perspective on the Sulvla Bay operations. We have also managed to substantially expand our knowledge in relation to the difficulties and traumas facing our local regiment, the 1/1st Bn. Herefords. Next Page.