[Editor: A cable message from Major-General Sir Ian Hamilton of the British Army, reporting on the fighting at Gallipoli. Published in The Register, 7 June 1915. This is one of the first newspaper articles in which the word “Anzac” was used.]
Australians at work.
Brisk battles fought.
Heavy losses reported.
Melbourne, June 6.
The following cable message was received to-day by the Minister for Defence (Mr. Pearce) from Major-Gen. Sir Ian Hamilton:—
“The Turks, having heavily bombarded a small fort which the French had captured in front of their extreme right, and breached it in the north-eastern angle, launched an infantry attack against it. This was repulsed. About the same time they set fire to the scrub in the front and the left centre of the 29th Division and made an attack, but without success. On the morning of the 4th inst. I made a general attack on the Turkish trenches in the southern area of the Gallipoli Peninsula, commencing with a heavy bombardment by all the guns, including those of two battleships, two cruisers, and several destroyers with 4-in. guns. On the cessation of the bombardment the troops rushed forward with the bayonet and were immediately successful all along the line, except in one spot near the left, where a heavy entanglement had not been destroyed by gun fire. The 6th Gurkhas on the extreme left made a fine advance, and took two lines of trenches; but owing to the regiment on their right having been held up by the wire, they were eventually obliged to retire again to their original trenches. The 29th Division made good progress in the left centre, capturing a strong redoubt and two lines of trenches beyond it, about 500 yards in advance of their original line.
“The Territorials in the centre did brilliantly. Advancing 600 yards, they captured three lines of trenches; but though the most advanced captured trench was held all day and half the night, the troops had to be ordered back in the morning to the second captured line, as both flanks were exposed. The naval division of the right centre captured a redoubt and a formidable line of trenches, constructed in three tiers, some 300 yards from their front, but were so heavy enfiladed when the French retired that they had also to come back to their original line.
“The French 2nd Division advanced with gallantry and elan, and retook for the fourth time that deadly redoubt they call ‘The Haricot.’ Unfortunately, the Turks developed heavy counter-attacks through prepared communication trenches. Under cover of accurate shellfire they were able to recapture it. On the extreme right of the French line the French Division captured a line of trenches, which, though counter-attacked by the Turks twice during the night, they still hold. I have not yet heard details of the casualties; but I am afraid they are considerable. We captured 400 prisoners, including 10 officers. Among the prisoners were five Germans, the remains of a volunteer machine gun detachment from the Turco-German battleship Goeben, whose officer had been killed, and whose machine gun was destroyed during progress of the fight. I received information from Anzac that enemy reinforcements had been seen advancing from Maidos towards Krithia. Consequently Gen. Birdwood arranged to attack the trenches in front of the Ginn’s post at 10 p.m. This attack was successfully carried out, and the trenches were held during the night. The Turkish casualties were heavy. At 6.30 a.m., however, the enemy heavily counter-attacked and bombarded our men out of the captured trench with a new heavy description of bomb. We still hold the communication trenches, which had been constructed during the night. To sum up, a good advantage of at last 500 yards — including two lines of Turkish trenches — has been made along a front of nearly three miles in the centre of our southern section; but we are back to our original right and left, and making a fresh effort now to advance the left, to bring it up in line with the centre. The Turkish position there, however, is extraordinarily strong, and naturally so, with a deep ravine on one side and the sea on the other.”
The Register (Adelaide, SA), 7 June 1915, p. 8
Also published in:
The Age (Melbourne, Vic.), 7 June 1915, p. 9
The Bendigo Independent (Bendigo, Vic.), 7 June 1915, p. 5
The Mercury (Hobart, Tas.), 7 June 1915, p. 5
The Sydney Morning Herald (Sydney, NSW), 7 June 1915, p. 7
elan = (élan) an eager and energetic enthusiasm, a lively and vigorous spirit, a dashing manner (may also refer to acting with flair or a refined style)
enfilade = sweeping gunfire directed along the length of a target (may also refer to a position subject to such gunfire)
inst. = instant; in this month; a shortened form of the Latin phrase “instante mense”, meaning “this month”; pertaining to, or occurring in, the current month
Territorials = the Territorial Army, the British Army volunteer reserve force; Army Reserve
[Editor: Added a full stop after “Major-Gen”. Inserted a line break after “Sir Ian Hamilton:—”.]
Leave a Reply