Author Topic: 'Counter Operations' at Krithia Nullah - by C Company, 1/9th Manchesters Part 3  (Read 88 times)

Offline Krithia Spur

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As darkness fell the Ashton men in G.11 clung on as they waited for the Chathams to attack. But whether through lack of ammunition, or from broken telephone lines, the artillery support failed to materialise causing Lieut. Col. Egerton, O.C. of the 9th Manchesters, to tell the O.C. 8th Lancashire Fusiliers that he had “given up the idea of getting beyond the line of trenches across the fork of the Nullah”. 21

Around 2 am on the 8 June Captain Okell sensing the attack would not go ahead, and as he later explained to the Ashton Reporter, he took the decision to relinquish G.11 in order to save the lives of his men:
“Captain HAMER fell before he reached the trench. WADE succeeded in capturing the trench, and held it until about 2 o'clock in the morning. I was of the opinion that the trench would be enfiladed as soon as dawn came, and ordered the troops to evacuate the trench.”  22

2nd Lieutenant Jack Wade, novice soldier and one of the battalion’s most junior officers, together with his small band of ‘Saturday afternoon Terriers’ held on in G.11 for over six hours before the order came to retire. Its safe to assume that the barricades separating G.11 from the British firing-line would have been removed by this time, allowing Wade and his men to withdraw along G11 without further loss.
            
The operation although initially successful had ended in failure, and at great cost to ‘C’ Company. Of the 100 men who advanced, two officers and at least twenty men were killed in action or died of their wounds. Around twenty-five others were wounded including Lieutenant Wade. A few days after the attack Captain Okell “collapsed under the continuous strain, and shock to the nervous system”, and was invalided from the peninsula. 23

Only four of the men have known graves, Pte. 1859 Eddie Heinemann, Pte. 2126 James Martin, Pte. 2012 John Tetlow and my great uncle Pte. 1210 John Arthur Crane and all are buried in the Redoubt Cemetery.
Eleven days after the action some of the survivors from ‘C’ Company volunteered to take part in an attack on H.11a, this time in cooperation with the 10th Manchesters and under the control of its O.C. Lieut. Colonel Jack Rye. It also ended in failure and with even greater loss. 24 2nd Lieutenant Jack Wade was one of those who volunteered and was last seen by his men jumping into a packed Turkish trench. 
Further attempts to take H.11a, G.10 and G.11 were for the time abandoned and it would not be until December, after a series of brilliantly planned and executed attacks by the 52nd Division, that they and the trenches between the nullahs were finally captured.


Footnotes:

1. I first visited Jack’s grave in June 2012, and have returned every year since.
2. 29th Division General Staff war diary, entry for 25 May 1915.
3. 42nd Division Staff War Diary, entry for 6 June 4.21 pm: The effective strength of the three Brigades: 125th Brigade, 53 Officers and 1,304 Other Ranks. 126th Brigade, 92 Officers and 2,396 Other Ranks. 127th Brigade,30 Officers and 1,250 Other Ranks
   The Division went into battle with a strength of 320 Officers and 9,446 Other Ranks.
4. 42nd Division General Staff War Diary, entry for 8 am, 7 June: 125th Brigade reports that 6th Lancs Fusiliers have a machine gun flanking the junction of Nullahs. It had been impossible to carry out intended reliefs owing to fighting.
5. Report by ‘9th Manchesters N.C.O.’ published in the Ashton Reporter, 6 November 1915
6. Kenneth Best [edited by Gavin Roynon] ‘A Chaplain at Gallipoli,’ London: Simon & Schuster2011, entry for 7 June 1915.
7. Kenneth Best was probably referring to the point where G.10 & G.11 joined the 9th Manchester’s firing line.
8. The designation G.10 was used at different times to describe three separate trenches, all close proximity. Before the Third Battle of Krithia it was used to denote a 100-yard length of trench running in front of the main Turkish firing line just to the right of the Krithia Nullah. For a few days after the battle, it was used to describe a section the new British firing-line from the angle of G.11 up to the Krithia Nullah. Finally, the designation G.10 was used for the small trench running parallel to G.11.
9. Royal Naval Division war diary – Sketch map Appendix C 
10. Chatham Battalion R.M.B. war diary entry for 7 June 1915
11. Chatham Battalion R.M.B. war diary, entry for 7 June 1915: “For this work the Bn. was supplemented by consolidating party of 200 all ranks, with tools of the Manchester Regiment which was holding the line E.B. and south of Vineyard.” The diary also states incorrectly that the attack was carried out by the 5th Manchesters.   
12. Ashton Reporter, 26 June 1915
13. Chatham Battalion R.M.B. war diary entry for 7 June 1915
14. VIII Army Corps General Staff war diary, entry for 7.30 pm, June 1915: ‘The 42nd Division make an attempt to capture trench G.11. They were well supported by artillery fire and though they succeeded in capturing the right portion of the trench, no progress was made in the centre or on the left’.
15. Ashton Reporter, 10 July 1915
16. "He charged with fearless heart, and died for his country". No finer epitaph could be desired by an Englishman than this phrase from a letter written by Captain G. OKELL, to Mrs FRANK HAMER, of Brookfield, Stockport Road, Audenshaw, in which he broke the sad news that Captain FRANK HAMER had been killed whilst leading a bayonet charge against the Turkish in the Dardanelles on June 7th. - Published in the Reporter 26 June 1915.
17. Ashton Reporter, 18 December 1915: Account by Lance Corporal Albert Platt given in interview in Ashton whilst recovering from his wound.
18. 5th Bn. Lancashire Fusiliers.
19. 125th Brigade Staff war diary entry for 8.40 pm on 7 June 1915.
20. Ashton Reporter, 26 June 1915: Letter from Captain Okell to Captain Lees.
21. 125th Brigade Staff war diary, entry for 9.35 pm on 7 June 1915.
22. Ashton Reporter, 26 June 1915: Letter from Captain Okell to Captain Lees.
23. Ashton Reporter, 7 August 1915: Interview given by Captain Okell.
24. On the night of 18/19 June 1915 32 men of ‘B’ and ‘C’ Coy’s, 9th Manchesters were killed or died of wounds [including Captain Harold Sugden and 2nd Lieutenant Jack Wade] and 27 men were wounded. In addition, the 10th Manchesters had 12 men killed and Captain H.G. Booth and 20 men wounded.
NB: It has recently come to the authors attention that ‘Mack’ from this forum provided Linda Corbett with copies of all the articles used on the ‘Ashton Pals website.