Tag Archives: Dardanelles

Diary entries which mention the Dardanelles.

18 March 1915; Thursday

At work as usual. Got work well up to date.

Bombardment of Narrows in Dardanelles. “Ocean” & Irresistible and Bouvet1 sunk. Bouvet lost about 500 men.

Out of sorts a bit, trouble with liver.

  1. During this incident Bouvet was hit approximately eight times by shellfire, although she did not suffer fatal damage. She struck a mine at around 3:15, and sank within two minutes; only some 50 men were rescued from a complement of 710. Two British battleships were also sunk by mines that day, and the disaster convinced the Allies to abandon the naval campaign in favour of an amphibious assault on Gallipoli

1 March 1915; Monday

At work as usual. Tom Faichen commenced in the mill. Father recommenced work at 9 oclock, first turn out since his accident. I had to do Mr Aitken’s letters, the summary, and the forecasts. Received news that the Queen Elizabeth 15 inch gun ship1 has been engaged at the Dardanelles. Wrote for two boys to call.

  1. HMS Queen Elizabeth was launched on 16 October 1913 and entered service in January 1915. She was the only modern battleship to participate in naval operations in the Dardanelles

22 February 1915; Monday

At work as usual. Busy all day. Busy in house at night. Charlie brought message that Father and I have to go to Heath’s tomorrow and see about compensation business.

Dardanelles1 Outer Forts bombarded by British & French fleet.

  1. The Dardanelles operation is probably too well known to need much explanation, but – there was disagreement throughout: whether any resources for it should be diverted from the Western Front; whether it was even possible to open the Dardanelles solely with naval action (this diary entry records the attempt to do so); whether, if that failed (which it did), troops should be sent in: they were, and that was a prolonged and very expensive failure, too. 

14 December 1914; Monday

Pretty busy at work. Stayed back a short time at night and completed stock sheets. Played piano at night for Charlie and tried some new songs through. Got on pretty well. Finer day, but still stormy. Received news that submarine B.11 had blown up Turkish shipMessudiyeh1 in the Dardanelles. Lieutenant Commander† Norman D Holbrook2. He passed under 5 chains of mines to do it.

  1. “Messudiyeh”: Actually the Ottoman ironclad Mesudiye, correctly noted to have been sunk by HMS B11 

  2. Norman D Holbrook: ALL’s shorthand appears to have Lt. “Commander”, but he was only a Lieutenant; awarded first naval VC of WW1 for this. 

4 December 1914; Friday

Kept busy at work. Went with Father at night to Dr Robinson to be examined. Interview lasted a good bit. Big recruiting meeting in the Victoria Hall1. Lord Charles Beresford2 speaking. Went along to Halford’s† and bought Charlie a flash lamp. Had walk last thing with Joe.

  1. Victoria Hall: see note on 10 January

  2. Lord Charles Beresford (1846 – 1919): a senior admiral, popular with the public, and an MP from 1874; a participant in the late 19th/early 20th century naval controversies, including unsuccessful competition for appointment as First Sea Lord in 1906 with Admiral Fisher (who would have had to retire in that year aged 65, if he had not been promoted to Admiral of the Fleet, for which the retirement age was 70.) Fisher, who was a leader in the pre-­1914 naval construction race with Germany, was a bizarre and unpredictable character, who effectively deserted his post during the political controversy regarding the Dardanelles debacle. 

3 November 1914; Tuesday

Pretty busy at work. Went up to the Garrison Field at night with Joe to join the scouts†, but they were out so we went to Green Street Hall and watched the Athletes’ Force drilling. Went to the choir practice late. Played one ping pong game and lost. Came up late with Charlie and Joe Edwards†. Received news that some German ships have been off Lowestoft1 and dropped mines which sank a Submarine2 and fired on a steamer Halcyon3.

Dardanelles forts bombarded by French & British ships4.

  1. “Lowestoft”: Wikipedia notes a Raid on Yarmouth, about 10 miles north of Lowestoft on the Norfolk coast. This raid took place on 3 November 1914. 

  2. “Submarine”: The submarine was the HMS D5, sunk by a German mine laid by SMS Stralsund

  3. “Halcyon”: Yarmouth coast was patrolled by the minesweeper HMS Halcyon and the old destroyers HMS Lively and Leopard. Halcyon had spotted two German cruisers, which she challenged.  

  4. “Dardanelles forts bombarded…”: On 3 November 1914, Churchill ordered the first British attack on the Dardanelles following the opening of hostilities between Ottoman and Russian empires. This attack actually took place before a formal declaration of war had been made by Britain against the Ottoman Empire.