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 21

Aug 21  Incessant rifle fire in the trenches the other side of the hill all night, chiefly Turkish, very cold towards dawn. Shelling commenced soon after dawn but intermittent until 2.30 pm when a terrific bombardment was started by all our guns ashore and afloat – the ships firing all their guns. This was continued for an hour when (3.30 pm) an infantry attack commenced on the Turkish position – the 29th Division on the left and part of the 11th Division and Australians on the right. Our 2nd Mounted Division moving out simultaneously to reach Chocolate Hill (some 2½ miles) from which point we were to develop the central attack. After we had proceeded about a mile, we came under heavy shrapnel fire which lasted until we got to the cover of the hill. The men behaved splendidly and marched on in open order as if they were on parade. Men fell in all directions but not a man wavered.

 I had some very near shaves and never expected to reach the hill alive but luckily only got one through the toe of my boot without touching my foot and got a smack on the ankle from a spent bullet. We arrived eventually at the hill with the loss of about 30 officers and men, Llewellyn being hit through the foot and de Pass through the leg – nearly everybody had near shaves and many curious freaks of the bullet were recorded. All the Regiments had many casualties except the Westminster Dragoons who were in the rear and only had one man hit.

 After concentrating at the hill, the attack quickly developed and we pushed on to our objective under heavy rifle fire, at times very heavy. We had not reached the objective at dark but the Brigade rallied in perfect order and either dug or occupied old trenches or deep ditches which served the purpose. Bullets flow in all directions all night, snipers causing many casualties, both Sgt McGlashan and Sgt Inman being killed in this way. General Taylor and I were together in a deep ditch. Heavy firing at intervals on the ridge to our front and constant sniping from our right flank. After conferring with Gen Wiggin (Comdg 1st Brigade on our left), Genl Taylor decided to endeavour to occupy a further position during the night which we should never be able to do if we waited till dawn, so at 2 am he directed me to prepare to advance by sending an officer’s patrol to reconnoitre the position, At 2.30 am however we received orders for the Division to withdraw to Lala Baba.