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1st Battalion War Diary, May 1915

    1st Border Regiment War Diary Transcriptions (1915-1918)
The National Archives WO/95/4311 & WO/95/2305    
Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Place Date Hour Summary of Events
[not shown — at Cape Helles, Gallipoli]
30th April
The Battalion was relieved by the K.O.S.B.s[1] under Major A.J. WELCH & went in to Brigade reserve at Gully Beach sq. 168. c5.
The Battn were settled down very comfortably all fatigues finished & the men having had a good meal were to get all the rest they could.
night 30th April to 1st May
Telephone message received calling the battalion up the gully. Were not wanted & returned to camp. One company, 'A' Coy detailed to go to Brigade Headq for the remainder of the night & were used for carrying ammunition up to the R.I. Fusiliers[2]. Fairly quiet day spent in inspections [illegible].
night 1st to 2nd May
A telephone message from the Bde ordering the Battn to stand by ready to move up the nullah in support of the left centre was received.
The Battn was ordered to move up the nullah to the firing line, where fresh instructions were to be received. The Adjt Capt Ellis & Regt Scouts hurried on in advance to get these orders & on arrival at the headquarters of R.I.F. was informed that the Battn was not required.

A message was accordingly sent to the Battn to return to bivouac. On reaching the bivouac the Battn was met by Capt PETRE Staff capt. 87th Bde who conducted it to a position in rear of Bde. Hdqrs some 600 yards S.W. of SNIPERS HUT. Here the Battn formed up in close columns & lay down awaiting further orders.
A heavy attack appeared to have been going on since dusk on the whole of the line and seemed to be pressed with particular violence against the portion of the line between the nullah and SNIPERS HUT.

'B' Coy under Capt R.H.H. Moore was ordered up to reinforce the firing line, & were directed by Capt. PETRE towards Lancashire Fusiliers, each man being ordered to carry up extra ammunition from the Brigade reserve. The front line was reached in the trenches held by the DUBLIN FUSILIERS, to whom [illegible] ammunition was handed over. The company moved up behind their lines past the ROYAL MUNSTER FUSILIERS to whom more ammunition was handed over & then reached the lines of the LANCASHIRES to whom the balance of the spare ammunition was handed over. The men were not required so the men remained in a shallow communication trench till morning in the hopes of opening up communications with the remainder of the battalion in the morning. The platoon under Segt [illegible] took charge of 130 prisoners captured by the Lancashire Fusiliers & marched them to headquarters of the Division in the early morning.

Meanwhile the remaining companies under Capt MORTON remained near SNIPERS HUT. The enemies artillery opened well directed [? - reaching] artillery fire & were very lucky in escaping casualties as shells were bursting in front, rear and either side but none actually got home.

2nd May
The Battn received verbal orders to advance via SNIPERS HUT direction Achi Baba peak & reinforce the first portion of the firing line it encountered.
This was accomplished & the support trenches of the ROYAL FUSILIERS occupied the fire trenches being already fully manned. From now till dawn the fire, both artillery & infantry on both sides, was terrific & it was evident that the enemy was bent on making a desperate effort to break the line.
A verbal order was received for the BORDER Regt to evacuate the trenches & form up ready for a counter attack at daylight, which was to be pushed in between the 87th & 88th Bdes. ie, between the left of the ROYAL FUSILIERS & the right of the S.W. BORDERERS.

The Battn was got into position some 200 yards in rear of the most advanced fire trench, & led by Capt MORTON dashed forward under heavy fire to the trench itself.
Here great difficulty was experienced partly on account of the fire trench being overcrowded already but more especially from inability to stop the men in the fire trench from firing, so as to get us forward with the bayonet.

Capt MORTON realising that the position was not being improved by delay seized the opportunity of a slight hill in the firing to lead a charge on the enemies trench. The charge was within an ace of being successful but was pulled up within 5 yards of the enemies trench when Capt MORTON & Lt PERRY were both killed & Capt & Adjt ELLIS, who was coming up with a few more men from the fire trench was wounded. A bare half dozen remained unwounded in a shallow trench within 10 yards of the enemies rifles & these after holding their ground for over 1/2 an hour, managed to crawl back a man at atime to the fire trench.
Capt Moore heard of death of Capt MORTON & of capt ELLIS wound[ed] & of the position of the battalion & came down the line & attempted to collect the battalion, who were much scattered amongst the other regts in the fire trenches. A portion of the trenches between the ROYAL FUSILIERS & S.W.Bs.[3] were occupied until about 4pm when orders were received to return to GULLY Beach.
Again ordered up Gully in support but were stopped by the Staff Captain before we had gone very far. One company was detailed to support the KOSBs in our old trenches on the left or N.E. side of GULLY. 'B' Company under 2nd Lt WRIGHT were detailed for this duty. They did not return till about 11am next morning. They were not needed as serious attack was made on the trenches.
3rd May
Fairly quiet day. Bathing parades inspections etc. Again up GULLY at night but returned fairly soon.
4th May
Fairly quiet all day. Ordered to relive South Wales Borderers at night in their trenches which were on the right S.W. flank of the R. Inniskilling F. Paraded at 7.15pm & carried out relief 3/4 hour later. Enemy opened fire during relief but there no casualties. A certain amount of confusion occurred, somewhat naturally as it was the first time trench relief under these conditions had been carried out 7 the trenches were not very good ones. Neither continuous nor deep enough. Only one casualty occurred. Quiet night after the relief except for sniping. One coy S.W.Bs. in support.
Fairly quiet day. occasional shelling & sniping. Worked on trenches. Heavily shelled at night but not much in the way of infantry against us. One company S.W.Bs. left in support.
General advance by the 88th Bde through our lines. We remained in our trenches. New line some 500x or 600x in front of us. The regt. immediately in front was the 5th Royal Scots. They had to retire some 200 yards & finally occupied a line about 400 yards in front of us.
Fairly quiet day except that we were fairly heavily shelled at times. At about 4.45pm O.C. was sent for by O.C. 88th Brigade to whom we had been attached, who was at a position about 800 yards to South of our lines behind the right of those held by DUBSTER Battn.[4]

Orders were received to advance at 5.30pm for the advance to a line some 600 yards in advance of the line then held by the Royal Scots. O.C. returned to Battn lines about 5.20pm when orders were hurredly issued to make good this line of a nullah some 200 yards in front of Royal Scots trenches as a preliminary line to the final position. 'D' Coy at 5.30pm moved out in first line followed by B, C + A Coys. The Essex Regt were ordered to advance on our left but owing to some delay in the receipt of the orders did not move till about 6.30pm. The DUBSTERS Battalion on our right moved about 6pm. The battalion advanced with much dash to the nullah, where they remained until it was possible to open up communications with the units on our flanks. On the arrival of the ESSEX Regt, the left was advanced to join them at WHITE HUT. Soon after the DUBSTERS moving upon our right [?] the line to be straightened out. The Battn had advanced under a heavy shrapnel, machine gun & rifle fire, but the extensions were well kept & the movement was very rapid. This together with the covering fire of our machine guns accounted for the facts that losses amount to 60 all told. No other covering fire could be arranged for owing to the shortness of time available between the receipt of orders and the advance. As soon as the battalion was in line companies dug in. By 2am a good line of trenches had been constructed.
Our portion of the line was as strong one on the reverse slope of a hill fairly well protected from artillery fire, with a field of fire from 100x to 200x. Some Royal Scots wounded were brought into their lines by our patrols that night. A good many Turkish dead were found in the small wood about 100x to 200x to the front by our patrols who went out at dawn but owing to heavy sniping it was impossible to take any count of them.

10.30am to 5.30pm
Remained all day in trenches. New Zealanders advanced through us at about 10.30 am and took up line close in front of us.

At 5.30pm New Zealanders received orders to advance again on Krithia. 88th Brigade sent orders to cover their right flank by the fire of machine guns of BORDER Regt & by one company if necessary. 1/2 of A Coy advanced to crest of Hill some 200 yards to front. Lt Proctor in command & C.S.M. Botham with him. Fire was very severe & in a few minutes Lt. Proctor & C.S.M. Botham rejoined men Knocked out. Company withdraw slightly & remained out about 1/2 and hour when it withdrew to our line.
The New Zealanders advance was magnificent, made with great dash.

About this timeorders from 87th Bde were received ordering us into Divisional reserve. Owing to a breakdown of telephone this message was not received in time to enable us to move at 5.30pm. O.C. decided to move after dark, as a retrograde movement at that time did not seem sound. An officer who was sent Bde Hdqrs. to ask for confirmation of this order.
Returned with this confirmation, and the move accordingly took place at about 8pm to rear sq 175.u.9. Bde Hdqrs were situated. Quiet night on the whole.
Capt Le Mesurier rejoined & took command of the battalion. Quiet day except for occasional shelling. Returned to divisional reserve trenches near X Beach, arriving about 10.30pm. Quiet night.
Quiet day. Occasional shells. Quiet night.
Quiet day. Occasional shells. Coys paraded & inspected etc.
Quiet day. Fatigue parties of 100 men at Lancashire Landing S end of peninsula for landing stores, road makiing etc.
Same as 12.5. General Hunter-Weston commanding 29th Division inspected Battn in lines & made avery complimentary speech to men as to their conduct during past fortnight.
14.5 to 16.5
4am to 10.30am
Fatigues as above for 12.5 but 130 men in [?] relief. Quiets days & nights on the whole as far as we were concerned. On 14.5.15 Lt W.D. Lay of the battn attached to Cycle Coy was wounded. On 16.5.15 Lt wallace & draft of 40 men joined.
As above but fatigues a5 5.30 & 9am.
As above but fatigues a5 5.30 & 9am.
Usual fatigues. Capt G.H. Harrison rejoined & took over command of battalion from Capt Le Mesurier. Capt J.P.G. Mostyn Norfolk Regt attached to Egyptian Army reported his arrival & was attached to the regiment & took over command of “A” Company.
Usual fatigue parties. At night orders received to hold oneself in readiness to move, but were not required.
Usual fatigue parties. Capt Nelson rejoined & took over command of battalion from capt G.H. Harrison. Capt Le Mesurier took over command of “D” Coy.
Usual fatigue parties.
Usual fatigue parties. Church parade service 6.30pm.
Usual fatigue parties. Notification received from Brigade that Capt MOTT & Lce Cpl MORRISSEY had been awarded Distinguished Conduct Medal.
1/2 battalion reported to Brigade Headqaurters 88th Bde in front trenches for improvement of communications 1/2 battalion at 12 noon.
Fatigues under R.E. as usual. Draft of 10 officers (Lt N. CASTLE, 2nd Lt H.R. WRIGHT, 2nd Lt T.L. WILSON, Lt R.F. MILLARD, 2nd Lt P. NEW, 2nd Lt J.L.E.R. LAKE, Lt ROBINSON, Lt F.B. GOODALL, Lt P de SOISSONS, 2nd Lt B. BRADSHAW) & 70 rank & file joined the battalion from england.
Two officers + 96 other ranks 9th MANCHESTER Regt attached to Battn for instruction.
3 officers + 123 other ranks of 5th East Lancashire Territorial Battalion attached to the battalion for instruction. Fatigues as usual.
2 officers + 96 other ranks 9th MANCHESTER Regt returned to their battalion.
Fatigues as usual.
[? - Interior] economy etc.

See also

References / notes

  • National Archives Catalogue Reference: WO/95/4311
  • The transcription above is available under the National Archives Open Government Licence for public sector information.
  1. King's Own Scottish Borderers.
  2. Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.
  3. South Wales Borderers.
  4. This was a composite battalion made up from the Dublin Fusiliers and the Royal Munster Fusiliers.
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