[Editor: This article, reporting on the comments of Lord Brassey regarding on the Dardanelles campaign, during the First World War (1914-1918), was published in “The War” section of The Barrier Miner (Broken Hill, NSW), 29 October 1915.]
In the Dardanelles.
Campaign condemned by Lord Brassey.
“Insurmountable obstacles on Gallipoli.”
Lord Brassey (late Lord Warden of Cinque Ports and from 1895 to 1900 Governor of Victoria), in an interview with the Australian Press Association on his return from a visit to the Allies’ fleet in the Mediterranean and the Dardanelles region, made comments on the campaign:—
“I never met any officer, naval or military, who was not of the opinion that the operations contemplated in the Dardanelles were, from every point of view, a huge mistake. We were forced to undertake the Dardanelles expedition on account of the pressure brought to bear by Russia, who said, ‘We are fighting very hard; you must try and open the Dardanelles.’
“The Foreign Office felt the justice of the Russian representations, and no doubt urged the Admiralty to act. Mr. Winston Churchill (then First Lord) was a dashing administrator, but he did not know how difficult the operation would be. Orders were accordingly given to the fleet to undertake the task. Having failed in the first attempt by naval means alone, it was decided, late in the day, that it should be a combined naval and military operation. It took considerable time to prepare both forces. In the meantime the Germans were officering the Turks, and when the second attempt was ready to be made Gallipoli had been transformed into a fortress of first-class magnitude. It was absolutely impregnable.
“We tried our men at three of the least prepared places, and with fearful sacrifices. General Sir Ian Hamilton, who has a high reputation to maintain, was exceedingly anxious to carry out the utterly impossible task placed upon him by the Government. He appealed for reinforcements, and Egypt was depleted. Australians and New Zealanders together tried to penetrate the peninsula of Gallipoli, which, however, presented insurmountable obstacles, defended by moving artillery.
“I say it was perfectly impossible to get our guns into position for bombardment. Yet attack after attack was made, hoping against hope. One doctor told me that he saw our men climb a difficult slope. They were invisible to the gunners on top, who were waiting till they came into view, and then mowed them down. All this happened again and again. I consider that the Government should have much earlier realised the futility of the operations and stopped this useless slaughter.
“When I was at Lemnos Island a ship was sent there full of Red Cross supplies, but there was no person with authority to distribute them. In that extremity the captain asked me to help them with clothes for the Australians, many of whom needed them sorely. We got together pyjamas and such other things that we could provide, and temporarily relieved them.”
The Barrier Miner (Broken Hill, NSW), 29 October 1915, p. 1 (2nd Edition)
Also published in:
The Daily Telegraph Tasmania (Launceston, Tas.), 30 October 1915, p. 7
Although this article is not directly about Australia, it is relevant to the Dardanelles campaign, during which many Australians lost their lives whilst fighting at Gallipoli, during the First World War (1914-1918).
The version of this article published in The Daily Telegraph Tasmania differs regarding the account of the assaults on a Gallipoli slope. The version published in The Barrier Miner (29 October 1915) says “One doctor told me that he saw our men climb a difficult slope. They were invisible to the gunners on top, who were waiting till they came into view, and then mowed them down.” However, the The Daily Telegraph Tasmania (30 October 1915) reported that quotation as “One doctor told me that he saw the men climb a difficult slope, where invisible gunners on the top were waiting till they were in view. Then all were mowed down.” The latter version (30 October 1915) would appear to be the correct one.
Dardanelles = (also known as the Strait of Gallipoli) the strait which connects the Sea of Marmara (north-west end of the strait) with the Aegean Sea (south-east end of the strait), the latter of which connects to the Mediterranean sea; it is bounded on its northern side by the Gallipoli peninsula and on its southern side by the mainland of Turkey; it is considered to be part of the continental boundary between Asia and Europe (thus separating Asian Turkey from European Turkey); it was the site of a military campaign during the First World War, when the Allied powers attacked the Gallipoli peninsula (part of Turkey) in 1915
Gallipoli = the Gallipoli peninsula (in western Turkey), which is located in the southern part of East Thrace, the European part of Turkey; it was the scene of heavy fighting during the Gallipoli Campaign (February 1915 to January 1916), during the First World War (1914-1918); running along the eastern coast of the Gallipoli peninsula is the Strait of Gallipoli, also known as the Dardanelles (or, the Dardanelles strait)
Ian Hamilton = Sir Ian Standish Monteith Hamilton (1853-1947), a British Army general, who served in various British military campaigns; he was the commander in chief of the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force in the Gallipoli Campaign (1915-1916), during the First World War (1914-1918); he was born on the island of Corfu, in the Ionian Islands (Greece) to British parents in 1853, and died in London (England) in 1947
See: 1) “Sir Ian Hamilton: British general”, Encyclopaedia Britannica
2) “Ian Hamilton (British Army officer)”, Wikipedia
Lemnos Island = a Greek island in the north of the Aegean Sea, situated to the east of the Mount Athos peninsula (on the Greek mainland) and west of the Turkish mainland; the island was used as a base by Allied forces during the First World War (1914-1918)
See: 1) “Lemnos: island, Greece”, Encyclopaedia Britannica
2) “Lemnos”, Wikipedia
Lord Brassey = Thomas Brassey, 1st Earl Brassey (1836-1918), a British Liberal Party politician, and Governor of Victoria (1895-1900); he was born in Stafford (England), and died in England in 1918
See: 1) B. R. Penny, “Brassey, Thomas (1836–1918)”, Australian Dictionary of Biography
2) “Thomas Brassey, 1st Earl Brassey”, Wikipedia