Letter to his mother:
This is the first opportunity I have of writing to you since we left the boat. You will have seen in the papers by now that we have forced a landing, but ourselves and the Dubliners got most awfully badly mauled in doing so.
We left Lemnos for Tenados one day, and from there we got into a collier called the 'River Clyde', which had been fitted for the purpose of beaching. We anchored at midnight about 2 miles from the mouth of the Dardanelles and at dawn the whole fleet began a bombardment of the end of the peninsula where we were going to land. At 7.30am the Dublins set off in open boats to their landing place which was the same as ours. As each boat got near the shore snipers shot down the oarsmen. The boats then began to drift and machine gun fire was turned onto them. You could see the men dropping everywhere and of the first boatload of 40 men, only 3 reached the shore all wounded. At the same time we ran the old collier onto the shore, but the water was shallower than they thought, and she stuck about 80 yards out. Some lighters were put to connect with the shore and we began running along them to get down to the beach. I can’t tell you how many were killed and drowned, but the place was a regular death trap. I was down at the lighters but was sent back by Jarrett, as there was no room on them. Then the wounded began crawling back then Turks sniping at them, the whole time. The men who had managed to reach the shore were all crouching under a bank about ten feet high, among them Jarrett.
At 2pm the Col. told me to go down onto the barge, collect as many men as I could and join the force on the shore. We jumped into the sea and got ashore somehow with a rain of bullets around us. I found Jarrett and a lot of men, but very few were not hit. We waited till dusk, and then crept up into a sort of position a few yards up. We took up an outpost line and I had just put out my security groups, and Jarrett came up to have a look when he was shot through the throat by my side. He died very soon, and that left me the senior officer on shore. We had an awful night, soaked to the skin, bitterly cold, wet and sniped at all night. At dawn the fleet began another heavy bombardment, and by that time all the troops from the collier had come ashore. We were told to storm an old ruined castle which was held by the enemy, so what remained of us and a company of Dublins and 2nd co. of the Hants charged the place. We turned them out but got hung up under from nasty fire from a village which we did not succeed in occupying until 2 in the afternoon. We then formed up and together with the rest of the Dublins stormed the hill with a redoubt on the top, which commanded the whole place.
[Image: Sketch from Guy Nightingale's diary via National Archives UK]
We drove 2000 Turks off the top and finally dug ourselves in and across the peninsula, holding about half a mile of the south of the peninsula. We lost an awful lot, and had only 8 officers left. The Dublins had only 3. That night we were attacked at intervals all through, but held our own until 1000 French reinforced us… We get shelled at all day, and sniped at and attacked all night, but are very cheery. We have plenty of food now and water, and have dug ourselves into the ground like in France. The Dublins and ourselves have been formed into one regiment. We both left England 1000 strong, and now together we are 8 officers and 770 men!... It has certainly been a tough job. The heaps of dead are awful, and the beach where we landed was an extraordinary sight the morning they buried them. I buried Major Jarrett just before dawn and have his few personal belongings which I hope to send to his people soon. Pollard was killed before we landed, shot in the head on board ship from the shore. Geddes was hit beside me, through the shoulder and out at the back - not serious. Henderson had his arm shattered. I think he will lose it. All the others are recovering slowly. Wilson was hit in the leg and Mason in the chest.
I have had some extraordinary escapes but haven’t been touched yet… Both the Padre and the Dr of the Dublins were killed. We hope to have a bit of a rest now, and go into reserve. We lost more men and officers in this battalion, in the first three days here than we did in three years in S. Africa.