Colonel's Gallipoli Diary

Colonel Alexander Weston Jarvis, Commanding Officer of the 3rd County of London Yeomanry, writing his diary in his trench at Suvla Bay, Gallipoli, 1915

August 13-16

Aug 13  Hard at work from early morning getting everything ready for our departure. Our train leaves at 3.30 am tomorrow and we are due at Alexandria at 10.40.

Aug 14  Paraded at 2.30 am in heavy marching order, packs, etc and marched to the Station – 2 squadrons each 160 strong under Llewellyn and Bill, Kerry remaining in charge of details and horses which we hope to see again before long, either coming back for them or having them sent up to us. The train left at 3.30 am and we arrived at Alexandria soon after 10 and at the docks by 10.30 when we embarked on the SS ‘Caledonian’ (Anchor Line, 9500 tons) a nice big ship. Besides the 3 Regiments of our Brigade we have the Westminster Dragoons on board.

Aug 15  church parade on deck in the morning. Heard by wireless of one of our transports having been torpedoed yesterday amongst the Greek Islands whither we are bound.

Hope it will not be our fate ! Men all told off to stations. Went round the troop decks, all very nice and clean but very hot. All maxims on deck with orders to shoot at any suspicious object without waiting for orders. Passed Crete about 3pm and threaded our way during the evening through the Greek islands.

Aug 16 Passed Skyros about 8 am and arrived in Mudros Bay, Island of Lemnos at 1 pm, a wonderful harbour full of transports. We are the first of the Transports containing the Division to arrive and as they will all probably concentrate here, we shall no doubt have to wait for some hours before getting further orders. Later we tied up alongside the ‘Francoise’ full of drafts from England. Eric Long who is still ADC to Genl Wallace, now commanding here, came on board and told us all the latest news which is none too rosy. He confirmed the loss of the Transport ‘Royal Edward’ off Rhodes on Friday morning – 3 torpedoes were fired into her and she went down in 4 minutes, as far as is known about 600 being saved out of 1400, details for the 29th Division. The ‘Sunbeam’ with Lord and Lady Brassey on board is here doing hospital work. After dinner Major Acland-Hood and Major Wayley, both of them on Genl Wallace’s staff came over to see me – from all one can gather things appear to be none too far advanced and the casualties lately have been very severe. It is a nasty nut which has to be cracked. We are lucky to have had such a successful voyage and it is wonderful how these sailors thread their way through all those islands a night with all lights out.