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 17-20

Aug 17  General Mahon came on board to see me soon after breakfast and tell me about the position on the Peninsula. None too rosy. About midday received orders to tranship at 4.30 to HMS ‘Doris’ to proceed to Gallipoli. All got on board by 7 pm, a big crowd and a tight fit, not even standing room on board. Besides our own Brigade there were the Westminster Dragoons, Warwicks & Worcesters. General Peyton and the HQ staff also on board. Capt Larkin of the ‘Doris’ made us as comfortable as possible, all the senior officers sleeping on the floor of the captain’s cabin. Sailed about 10 pm. 

Aug 18  Arrived off Suvla Bay at dawn and quietly steamed into the Bay at about 5.30. Were transhipped into barges and landed on the north side of the bay in which are the ‘Bacchante’, ‘Canopus’, ‘Swiftsure’, ‘Talbot’, a monitor and 6 destroyers. The Turks began shelling directly after we landed, 2 or 3 shells bursting almost amongst us. We were ordered to camp on the side of the ridge on the north shore of the bay, a rough bit of ground. Later on there was a pretty artillery duel between the Turks and the Fleet which we watched with interest. They put 2 shells into one of the transports lying in the bay but the Navy silenced the gun. In the afternoon the Turks gave us a good taste of shelling, they have the range of the landing places to a tick. A Taube came over us later and we all lay doggo in the dugouts which we had by this time dug. The Taube dropped bombs about but none near us. A terrific battle began at dusk on the right and lasted the whole night, incessant and very heavy rifle fire. We are attacking part of the Turkish position which we have named Chocolate Hill. 

Aug 19  The ‘morning hate’ started soon after sunrise shelling out landing places and the ships in the bay. We had a few casualties at the landing stages and amongst the men drawing stores but no men of my Regt hit. The battle on our right went on all day & we watched it through our glasses as well as we could. Another fine artillery duel this afternoon between the fleet and the Turks who fired many shells amongst the battleships and transports without effect. The guns of the fleet eventually silenced the Turkish guns. From where we are lying on the hill it is like having a front place in the stalls. De Pass, Brooks and a fatigue party of our men had some very near shaves in the afternoon, desultory firing all night. 

Aug 20  Another heavy duel with the fleet at daybreak, many of the barges having close shaves but no harm done…The Division marched at 8 am for Lala Baba, some 3 miles, without blankets or packs – rough road, very much congested, arrived about 12.30 pm  and bivouacked on the side of the hill.