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Gallipoli by  John Masefield




The day passed, the night came, the King lay down in his vaulted room. St. Gabriel came from God to call him. "Charles, summon the army of your empire and go by forced marches into the land of Bire, to the city that the pagans have besieged. The Christians call and cry for you." The Emperor wished not to go. "God," he said, "how painful is my life." He wept from his eyes, he tore his white beard."

The end of the Song of Roland.

[211] THAT, in a way, was the end of the campaign, for no other attempt to win through was made. The Turks were shaken to the heart. Another battle following at once might well have broken them. But we had not the men nor the shells for another battle. In the five days' battle on the front of twelve miles we had lost very little less than a quarter of our entire army, and we had shot away most of our always scanty supply of ammunition. We could not attack again till fifty thousand more men were landed and the store of shells replenished. Those men and shells were not near Gallipoli, but in England, where the war as a whole had to be considered. The question to be decided, by those directing the war as a whole, was, "should those men and shells be sent?" It was decided by the High Direction, that they should not be sent: the effort therefore could not be made.

[212] Since the effort could not be made, the campaign declined into a secondary operation, to contain large reserves of Turks, with their guns and munitions, from use elsewhere, in Mesopotamia or in the Caucasus. But before it be-came this, a well-planned and well-fought effort was made from Suvla to secure our position by seizing the hills to the east of the Bay. This attack took place on the 21st August, in intense heat, across an open plain without cover of any kind, blazing throughout nearly all its length with scrub fires. The 29th Division (brought up from Cape Helles) carried Scimitar Hill with great dash, and was then held up. The attack on Ismail Oglu failed. Two thrusts made by the men of Anzac in the latter days of August, secured an important well, and the Turk stronghold of Hill 60. This last success made the line from Anzac to Suvla impregnable.

After this, since no big attempt could be made by the Allied Troops and no big attempt was made by the enemy, the fighting settled down into trench warfare on both sides. There was [213] some shelling every day and night, some machine gun and rifle fire, much sniping, great vigilance, and occasional bombing and mining. The dysentery, which had been present ever since the heats began, increased beyond all measure; very few men in all that army were not attacked and weakened by it. Many thousands went down with it; Mudros, Alexandria and Malta were filled with cases; many died.

Those who remained, besides carrying on the war by daily and nightly fire, worked continually with pick and shovel to improve the lines. Long after the war, the goatherd on Gallipoli will lose his way in the miles of trenches which zigzag from Cape Helles to Achi Baba and from Gaba Tepe to Ejelmer Bay. They run to and fro in all that expanse of land, some of them shallow, others deep cuttings in the marl, many of them paved with stone or faced with concrete, most of them sided with little caverns, leading far down (in a few cases) to rooms twenty feet under the ground. Long after we are all dust the goats of Gallipoli will break [214] their legs in those pits and ditches, and over their coffee round the fire the elders will say that they were dug by devils and the sons of devils, and antiquarians will come from the west to dig there, and will bring away shards of iron, and empty tins and bones. Fifty years ago some French staff officers traced out the works round Durazzo, where Pompey the Great fought just such another campaign, two thousand years ago. Two thousand years hence, when this war is forgotten, those lines under the ground will draw the staff officers of whatever country is then the most cried for brains.

Those lines were the homes of thousands of our soldiers for half a year and more. There they lived and did their cooking and washing, made their jokes and sang their songs. There they sweated under their burdens, and slept, and fell in to die. There they marched up the burning hill, where the sand devils flung by the shells were blackening heaven, there they lay in their dirty rags awaiting death, and there by [215] thousands up and down they lie buried, in little lonely graves where they fell, or in the pits of the great engagements.

Those lines at Cape Helles, Anzac and Suvla, were once busy towns, thronged by thousands of citizens whose going and coming and daily labour were cheerful with singing, as though those places were mining camps during a gold rush, instead of a perilous front where the fire never ceased and the risk of death was constant. But for the noise of war, coming in an irregular rattle, with solitary big explosions, the screams of shells or the wild whistling crying of ricochets, they seemed busy but very peaceful places. At night, from the sea, the lamps of the dugouts on the cliffs were like the lights of seacoast towns in summer, and the places seemingly as peaceful, but for the pop and rattle of fire and the streaks of glare from the shells. There was always singing, sometimes very good, and always beautiful, coming in the crash of war; and always one heard the noises of the work of men, the beat of pile- [216] drivers, wheels going over stones, and the little solid pobbing noises, from bullets dropping in the sea.

I have said that those positions were like mining camps during a gold rush. Ballarat, the Sacramento, and the camps of the Transvaal must have looked strangely like those camps at Suvla and Cape Helles. Anzac at night was like those crags of old building over the Arno at Florence; by day it was a city of cliff dwellers, stirring memories of the race's past. An immense expanse was visible from all these places; at Cape Helles there was the plain rising gradually to Achi Baba, at Anzac a wilderness of hills, at Suvla the same hills seen from below. Over all these places came a strangeness of light, unlike anything to be seen in the west, a light which made the hills clear and unreal at the same time, softening their savagery into peace, till they seemed not hills but swellings of the land, as though the land there had breathed-in and risen a little. All the places were dust-coloured as soon as the flowers had withered, a dark dust-coloured where the scrub grew [217] (often almost wine-dark like our own hills where heather grows) a pale sand colour, where the scrub gave out, and elsewhere a paleness and a greyness as of moss and lichen and old stone. On this sandy and dusty land, where even the trees were grey and ghostly (olive and Eastern currant) the camps were scattered, a little and a little, never much in one place on account of shelling, till the impression given was one of multitude.

The signs of the occupation began far out at sea where the hospital ships lay waiting for their freight. There were always some there, painted white and green, lying outside the range of the big guns. Nearer to the shore were the wrecks of ships, some of them sunk by our men, to make breakwaters, some sunk by the Turk shells, some knocked to pieces or washed ashore by foul weather. Nearly all these wrecks were of small size, trawlers, drifters and little coast-wise vessels such as peddle and bring home fish on the English coasts. Closer in, right on the beaches, were the bones of still smaller boats, pinnaces, cutters and lighters, whose crews had [218] been the men of the first landings. Men could not see those wrecks without a thrill. There were piers at all the beaches, all built under shell fire, to stand both shell fire and the sea, and at the piers there was always much busy life, men singing at their work, horses and mules disembarking, food and munitions and water discharging, wounded going home and drafts coming ashore. On the beaches were the hieroglyphs of the whole bloody and splendid story; there were the marks and signs, which no one could mistake nor see unmoved.

Even after months of our occupation the traces were there off the main tracks. A man had but to step from one of the roads into the scrub, and there they lay, relics of barbed wire, blown aside in tangles, round shrapnel-bullets in the sand, empty cartridge-cases, clips of cartridge cases bent double by a blow yet undischarged, pieces of flattened rifle barrel, rags of leather, broken bayonets, jags and hacks of shell, and, in little hollows, little heaps of cartridge-cases, where some man had lain to fire for hour after hour, often until he died at his [219] post, on the 25th of April. Here, too, one came upon the graves of soldiers, sometimes alone, sometimes three or four together, each with an inscribed cross and border of stones from the beach. Privates, sergeants and officers lay in those graves and by them, all day long, the work which they had made possible by that sacrifice on the 25th, went on in a stream, men and munitions going up to the front, and wounded and the dying coming down, while the explosions of the cannon trembled through the earth to them and the bullets piped and fell over their heads.

But the cities of those camps were not cities of the dead, they were cities of intense life, cities of comradeship and resolve, unlike the cities of peace. At Mudros, all things seemed little, for there men were dwarfed by their setting; they were there in ships which made even a full battalion seem only a cluster of heads. On the Peninsula they seemed to have come for the first time to full stature. There they were bigger than their surroundings. There they were naked manhood pitted against death in [220] the desert and more than holding their own.

All those sun-smitten hills and gullies, growing nothing but crackling scrub, were peopled by crowds. On all the roads, on the plain, which lay white like salt in the glare, and on the sides of the gullies, strange, sunburned, half-naked men moved at their work with the bronze bodies of gods. Like Egyptians building a city they passed and repassed with boxes from the walls of stores built on the beach. Dust had toned their uniforms even with the land. Their half-nakedness made them more grand than clad men. Very few of them were less than beautiful; whole battalions were magnificent, the very flower of the world's men. They had a look in their eyes which those who saw them will never forget.

Sometimes as one watched, one heard a noise of cheering from the ships, and this, the herald of good news, passed inland, till men would rise from sleep in their dugouts, come to the door, blinking in the sun, to pass on the cheer. In some strange way the news, the cause of the cheering, passed inland with the cheer; a sub- [221] marine had sunk a transport off Constantinople, or an aeroplane had bombed a powder factory. One heard the news pass on and on, till it rang from the front trenches ten yards from the Turk line. Sometimes the cheering was very loud, mingled with singing; then it was a new battalion, coming from England, giving thanks that they were there, after their months of training, to help the fleet through. Men who heard those battalions singing will never hear those songs of "Tipperary," "Let's all go down the Strand," or "We'll all go the same way home," without a quickening at the heart.

Everywhere in the three positions there were the homes of men. In gashes or clefts of the earth were long lines of mules or horses with Indian grooms. On the beaches were offices, with typewriters clicking and telephone bells ringing. Stacked on one side were ammunition carts so covered with bushes that they looked like the scrub they stood on. Here and there were strangely painted guns, and everywhere the work of men, armourer's forges, farrier's anvils, the noise and clink and bustle of [223] those at rest, men washed and mended clothes, or wandered naked and sun reddened along the beach, bathing among dropping bullets. Wounded men came down on stretchers, sick men babbled in pain or cursed the flies, the forges clinked, the pile drivers beat in the balks of the piers, the bullets droned and piped, or rushed savagely, or popped into a sandbag. Up in the trenches the rifles made the irregular snaps of fire-crackers, sometimes almost ceasing, then popping, then running along a section in a rattle, then quickening down the line and drawing the enemy, then pausing and slowly ceasing and beginning again. From time to time, with a whistle and a wailing, some Asian shell came over and dropped and seemed to multiply; and gathered to herself the shriek of all the devils of hell, and burst like a devil and filled a great space with blackness and dust and falling fragments. Then another and another came, almost in the same place, till the gunners had had enough. Then the dust settled, the ruin was made good, and all went on as before, men carrying and toiling and singing, bullets [222] a multitude. Everywhere, too, but especially in the gullies were the cave-dwellings of the dug-outs, which so dotted the cliffs with their doors, that one seemed put back to Cro-Magnon or Tampa, into some swarming tribe of cave-dwellers. All the dugouts were different, though all were built upon the same principle, first a scooping in the earth, then a raised earth ledge for a bed, then (if one were lucky) a corrugated-iron roof propped by balks, lastly a topping of sandbags strewn with scrub. For doors, if one had a door or sunshade, men used sacking, burlap, a bit of canvas, or a blanket. Then, when the work was finished, the builder entered in, to bathe in his quarter of a pint of water, smoke his pipe, greet his comrades, and think foul scorn of the Turk, whose bullets piped and droned overhead, all day and night, like the little finches of home. Looking out from the upper dugouts one saw the dusty, swarming warren of men, going and coming, with a kind of swift slouch, carrying boxes from the beach. Mules and men passed, songs went up and down the gullies, and were taken up by [224] piping, and the flies settling and swarming on whatever was obscene in what the shell had scattered.

Everywhere in those positions there was gaiety and courage and devoted brotherhood, but there was also another thing, which brooded over all, and struck right home to the heart. It was a tragical feeling, a taint or flavour in the mind, such as men often feel in hospitals when many are dying, the sense that Death was at work there, that Death lived there, that Death wandered up and down there and fed on Life.

Since the main object of the campaign, to help the fleet through the Narrows, had been abandoned (in mid-August), and no further thrust was to be made against the Turks, the questions "Were our 100,000 men in Gallipoli containing a sufficiently large army of Turks to justify their continuance on the Peninsula?" and "Could they be more profitably used elsewhere?" arose in the minds of the High Direction from week to week as the war changed.



[225] In the early autumn, when the Central Powers combined with Bulgaria to crush Serbia and open a road to Constantinople, these questions became acute. During October owing to the radical change in the Balkan situation which was produced by the treachery of Bulgaria and the bewildering indecision of Greece the advantage of our continuing the campaign became more and more doubtful and in November, after full consideration, it was decided to evacuate the Peninsula. Preparations were made and the work begun.

Late in November, something happened which had perhaps some influence in hurrying on the date of the evacuation. This was the blizzard of the 26th—28th, which lost us about a tenth of our whole army from cold, frostbite, exposure, and the sicknesses which follow them. The 26th began as a cold, dour Gallipoli day with a bitter northeasterly wind, which increased in the afternoon to a fresh gale, with sleet. Later, it increased still more, and blew hard, with thunder; and with the thunder came a rain more violent than any man of our army [226] had ever seen. Water pours off very quickly from that land of abrupt slopes. In a few minutes every gully was a raging torrent, and every trench a river. By an ill-chance this storm fell with cruel violence upon the ever famous 29th Division then holding trenches at Suvla. The water poured down into their trenches, as though it were a tidal wave. It came in with a rush, with a head upon it like the tide advancing, so quickly that men were one minute dry and the next moment drowned at their posts. They were caught so suddenly that those who escaped had to leap from their trenches for dear life, leaving coats, haversacks, food and sometimes even their rifles, behind them.

Our trenches were in nearly every case below those of the Turks, who therefore suffered from the water far less than our men did. The Turks saw our men leaping from their trenches, and either guessing the reason or fearing an attack, opened a very heavy rifle and shrapnel fire upon them. Our men had to shelter behind the parados of their trenches, [227] where they scraped themselves shallow pans in the mud under a heavy fire. At dark the sleet increased, the mud froze, and there our men lay, most of them without overcoats, and many of them without food. In one trench when the flood rose, a pony, a mule, a pig, and two dead Turks were washed over a barricade together.

Before the night fell, many of our men were frost-bitten and started limping to the ambulances, under continual shrapnel fire and in blinding sleet. A good many fell down by the way and were frozen to death. The gale increased slowly all through the night, blowing hard and steadily from the north, making a great sea upon the coast, and driving the spray far inland. At dawn it grew colder, and the sleet hardened into snow, with an ever-increasing wind, which struck through our men to the marrow. "They fell ill," said one who was there, "in heaps." The water from the flood had fallen in the night, but it was still four feet deep in many of the trenches, and our men passed the morning under fire in their shelter [228] pans, fishing for food and rifles in their drowned lines. All through the day the wind gathered, till it was blowing a full gale, vicious and bitter cold; and on the 28th it reached its worst. The 28th was spoken of afterwards as "Frozen Foot Day; "it was a day more terrible than any battle; but now it was taking toll of the Turks, and the fire slackened. Probably either side could have had the other's position for the taking on the 28th, had there been enough unfrosted feet to advance. It was a day so blind with snow and driving storm that neither side could see to fire, and this brought the advantage, that our men hopping to the ambulances had not to go through a pelt of shrapnel bullets. On the 29th, the limits of human strength were reached. Some of those frozen three days before were able to return to duty, and "a great number of officers and men who had done their best to stick it out were forced to go to hospital." The water fell during this day, but it left on an average 2 feet of thick, slushy mud, into which many trenches collapsed. After this the weather was fine and warm.

[229] At Helles and Anzac the fall of the ground gave some protection from this gale, but at Suvla there was none. When the weather cleared, the beaches were heaped with the wreck of piers, piles, boats and lighters, all broken and jammed together. But great as this wreck was the wreck of men was even greater. The 29th Division had lost two-thirds of its strength. In the three sectors over 200 men were dead, over 10,000 were unfit for further service and not less than 30,000 others were sickened and made old by it.

The Turk loss was much more serious even than this, for though they suffered less from the wet, they suffered more from the cold, through being on the higher ground. The snow lay upon their trenches long after it had gone from ours, and the Turk equipment though very good as far as it went, was only good for the summer. Their men wore thin clothes, and many of them had neither overcoat nor blanket. The blizzard which was a discouragement to us, took nearly all the heart out of the [230] Turks; and this fact must be borne in mind in the reading of the next few pages.

The gale had one good effect. Either the cold or the rain destroyed or removed the cause of the dysentery, which had taken nearly a thousand victims a day for some months. The disease stopped at once and no more fresh cases were reported.

This storm made any attempt to land or to leave the land impossible for four days together. Coming, as it did, upon the decision to evacuate, it gave the prompting, that the evacuation should be hurried, lest such weather should prevent it. On the 8th of December, the evacuation of Anzac and Suvla was ordered to begin. It was not an easy task to remove large numbers of men, guns and animals from positions commanded by the Turk observers and open to every cruising aeroplane. But by ruse and skill, and the use of the dark, favoured by fine weather, the work was done, almost with-out loss, and, as far as one could judge, unsuspected.

[231] German agents, eager to discredit those whom they could not defeat, have said, "that we bribed the Turks to let us go;" next year perhaps they will say "that the Turks bribed us to go;" the year after that perhaps, they will invent something equally false and even sillier. But putting aside the foulness and the folly of this bribery lie, it is interesting to enquire how it happened that the Turks did not attack our men while they were embarking.

The Turks were very good fighters, furious in attack and resolute in defence, but among their qualities of mind were some which greatly puzzled our commanders. Their minds would sometimes work in ways very strange to Europeans. They did, or refrained from doing, certain things in ways for which neither we nor our Allies could account. Some day, long hence, when the war is over, the Turk story of our withdrawal will be made known. Until then, we can only guess, why it was that the embarkation, which many had thought would lose us half our army, was made good from Anzac and Suvla with the loss of only [232] four or five men (or less than the normal loss of a night in the trenches). Only two explanations are possible. Either (1) the Turks knew that we were going and wanted to be rid of us, or (2) they did not know that we were going and were entirely deceived by our ruses.

Had they known that we were going from Anzac and Suvla, it is at least likely that they would have hastened our going, partly that they might win some booty, which they much needed, or take a large number of prisoners, whose appearance would have greatly cheered the citizens of Constantinople. But nearly all those of our army who were there, felt, both from observation and intelligence, that the Turks did not know that we were going. As far as men on one side in a war can judge of their enemies they felt that the Turks were deceived, completely deceived, by the ruses employed by us, and that they believed that we were being strongly reinforced for a new attack. Our soldiers took great pains to make them believe this. Looking down upon us from their heights, the Turks saw boats leaving [233] the shore apparently empty, and returning, apparently, full of soldiers. Looking up at them, from our position our men saw how the sight affected them. For the twelve days during which the evacuation was in progress at Anzac and Suvla, the Turks were plainly to be seen, digging everywhere to secure themselves from the feared attack. They dug new lines, they brought up new guns, they made ready for us in every way. On the night of the 19th—20th December, in hazy weather, at full moon, our men left Suvla and Anzac, unmolested.

It was said by Dr. Johnson that "no man does anything, consciously for the last time, without a feeling of sadness." No man of all that force passed down those trenches, the scenes of so much misery and pain and joy and valour and devoted brotherhood, without a deep feeling of sadness. Even those who had been loudest in their joy at going were sad. Many there did not want to go; but felt that it was better to stay, and that then, with another fifty thousand men, the task could be done, and their bodies and their blood buy victory for us. [234] This was the feeling even at Suvla, where the men were shaken and sick still from the storm; but at Anzac, the friendly little kindly city, which had been won at such cost in the ever-glorious charge of the 28th, and held since with such pain, and built with such sweat and toil and anguish, in thirst, and weakness and bodily suffering, which had seen the thousands of the 13th Division land in the dark and hide, and had seen them fall in with the others to go to Chunuk, and had known all the hope and fervour, all the glorious resolve, and all the bitterness and disappointment of the unhelped attempt, the feeling was far deeper. Officers and men went up and down the well-known gullies moved almost to tears by the thought that the next day those narrow acres so hardly won and all those graves of our people so long defended would be in Turk hands.

For some weeks, our men had accustomed the Turks to sudden cessations of fire for half-an-hour or more. At first, the Turks had been made suspicious by these silences, but they were now used to them, and perhaps glad of them. [235] They were not made suspicious by the slackening of the fire on the night of the withdrawal. The mules and guns had all gone from Suvla. A few mules and a few destroyed guns were left at Anzac; in both places a pile of stores was left, all soaked in oil and ready for firing. The ships of war drew near to the coast, and trained their guns on the hills. In the haze of the full moon the men filed off from the trenches down to the beaches and passed away from Gallipoli, from the unhelped attempt which they had given their bodies and their blood to make. They had lost no honour. They were not to blame, that they were creeping off in the dark, like thieves in the night. Had others (not of their profession) many hundreds of miles away, but seen as they, as generous, as wise, as forseeing, as full of sacrifice, those thinned companies with the looks of pain in their faces, and the mud of the hills thick upon their bodies, would have given thanks in Santa Sophia three months before. They had failed to take Gallipoli, and the mine fields still barred the Hellespont, but they had fought a [236] battle such as has never been seen upon this earth. What they had done will become a glory forever, wherever the deeds of heroic unhelped men are honoured and pitied and understood. They went up at the call of duty, with a bright banner of a battle-cry, against an impregnable fort. Without guns, without munitions, without help and without drink they climbed the scarp and held it by their own glorious manhood, quickened by a word from their chief. Now they were giving back the scarp and going out into new adventures, wherever the war might turn.

Those going down to the beaches wondered in a kind of awe whether the Turks would discover them and attack. The minutes passed, and boat after boat left the shore, but no attack came. The arranged rifles fired mechanically in the outer trenches at long intervals, and the crackle of the Turk reply followed. At Anzac, a rearguard of honour had been formed. The last two hundred men to leave Anzac were survivors of those who had landed in the first charge, so glorious and so full of hope on the [237] 25th of April. They had fought through the whole campaign from the very beginning; they had seen it all. It was only just that they should be the last to leave. As they, too, moved down, one of their number saw a solitary Turk, black against the sky, hard at work upon his trench. That was the last enemy to be seen from Anzac.

At half-past five in the winter morning of the 10th December the last boat pushed off; and the last of our men had gone from Suvla and Anzac. Those who had been there from the first were deeply touched. There was a longing that it might be to do again, with the same comrades, under the same chiefs but with better luck and better backing. Some distance from the shore the boats paused to watch the last act in the withdrawal. It was dead calm weather, with just that ruffle of wind which comes before the morning. The Turk fire crackled along the lines as usual, but the withdrawal was still not suspected. Then from the beaches within the stacks of abandoned stores came the noise of explosion, the charges had [238] been fired, and soon immense flames were licking up those boxes and reddening the hills. As the flames grew, there came a stir in the Turk lines, and then every Turk gun that could be brought to bear opened with shrapnel and high explosive on the area of the bonfires. It was plain that the Turks misread the signs. They thought that some lucky shell had fired our stores and that they could stop us from putting out the flames. Helped by the blasts of many shells the burning rose like balefire, crowned by wreaths and streaks and spouts of flame. The stores were either ashes, or in a blaze which none could quench before the Turks guessed the meaning of that burning. Long before the fires had died and before the Turks were wandering in joy among our trenches, our men were aboard their ships standing over to Mudros.

Some have said, "Even if the Turks were deceived at Anzac and Suvla, they must have known that you were leaving Cape Helles. Why did they not attack you while you were embarking there?" I do not know the answer [239] to this question. But it is possible that they did not know that we were leaving. It is possible that they believed that we should hold Cape Helles like an Eastern Gibraltar. It is possible, on the other hand, that they were deceived again by our ruses. It is however, certain that they watched us far more narrowly at Cape Helles after the Anzac evacuation. Aeroplanes cruised over our position frequently, and shell-fire increased and became very heavy. Still, when the time came, the burning of our stores, after our men had embarked, seemed to be the first warning that the Turks had that we were going.

This was a mystery to our soldiers at the time and seems strange now. It is possible that at Cape Helles, the Turks' shaken, frozen and out-of-heart soldiers may have known that we were going yet had no life left in them for an attack. Many things are possible in this world, and the darkness is strange and the heart of a fellow-man is darkness to us. There were things in the Turk heart very dark indeed to those who tried to read it. The storm had [240] dealt with them cruelly, that is all that we know. Let us wait till we know their story.

The Cape Helles position was held for twenty days, after we had left Anzac and Suvla. On the 8th—9th of January in the present year, it was abandoned, with slight loss, though in breaking weather. By 4 o'clock on the morning of the 9th of January, the last man had passed the graves of those who had won the beaches. They climbed on board their boats and pushed off. They had said good-bye to the English dead, whose blood had given them those acres, now being given back. Some felt, as they passed those graves, that the stones were living men, who cast a long look after them when they had passed, and sighed, and turned landward as they had turned of old. Then in a rising sea, whipped with spray, among the noise of ships weltering to the rails, the battalions left Cape Helles; the River Clyde  dimmed into the gale and became a memory, and the Gallipoli campaign was over.

Many people have asked me, what the cam- [241] paign achieved? It achieved much. It destroyed and put out of action many more of the enemy than of our own men. Our own losses in killed, wounded and missing were, roughly speaking, one hundred and fifteen thousand men, and the sick about one hundred thousand more, or (in all) more than two and one-half times as many as the army which made the landing. The Turk losses from all causes were far greater; they had men to waste and wasted them, like water, at Cape Helles, Lone Pine and Chunuk. The real Turk losses will never be tabled and published, but at the five battles of The Landings, the 6th May, the 4th June, the 28th of June, and the 6th—10th August, they lost in counted killed alone, very nearly as many as were killed on our side in the whole campaign. Then, though we did not do what we hoped to do, our presence in Gallipoli contained large armies of Turks in and near the Peninsula. They had always from 15 to 20,000 more men than we had, on the Peninsula itself, and at least as many more, ready to move, on the Asian shore and at Rodosto. In [242] all, we disabled, or held from action elsewhere, not less than 400,000 Turks, that is, a very large army of men who might have been used elsewhere, with disastrous advantage, in the Caucasus, when Russia was hard pressed, or, as they were used later, in Mesopotamia.

So much for the soldiers' side; but politically, the campaign achieved much. In the beginning, it had a profound effect upon Italy; it was, perhaps, one of the causes which brought Italy into her war with Austria. In the beginning, too, it had a profound effect upon the Balkan States. Bulgaria made no move against us until five months after our landings. Had we not gone to Gallipoli she would have joined our enemies in the late spring instead of in the middle autumn.

Some of our enemies have said that "the campaign was a defeat for the British Navy." It is true that we lost two capital ships, from mines, in the early part of the campaign, and I think, in all, two others, from torpedoes, during the campaign. Such loss is not very serious in eleven months of naval war. For the cam- [243] paign was a naval war, it depended utterly and solely upon the power of the Navy. By our Navy we went there and were kept there, and by our Navy we came away. During the nine months of our hold on the Peninsula over three hundred thousand men were brought by the Navy from places three, four, or even six thousand miles away. During the operations some half of these were removed by our Navy, as sick and wounded, to ports from eight hundred to three thousand miles away. Every day, for eleven months, ships of our Navy moved up and down the Gallipoli coast bombarding the Turk positions. Every day during the operations our Navy kept our armies in food, drink and supplies. Every day, in all that time, if weather permitted, ships of our Navy cruised in the Narrows and off Constantinople, and the seaplanes of our Navy raided and scouted within the Turk lines. If there had been, I will not say, any defeat of, but any check to the Navy, we could not have begun the campaign or continued it. Every moment of those eleven months of war was an illustration of [244] the silent and unceasing victory of our Navy's power. As Sir Ian Hamilton has put it "the Navy was our father and our mother."

"Still," our enemies say, "you did not win the Peninsula." We did not; and some day, when truth will walk clear-eyed, it will be known why we did not. Until then, let our enemies say this: "They did not win, but they came across three thousand miles of sea, a little army with reserves and short of munitions, a band of brothers, not half of them half-trained, and nearly all of them new to war. They came to what we said was an impregnable fort on which our veterans of war and massacre had laboured for two months, and by sheer naked manhood they beat us, and drove us out of it. Then rallying, but without reserves, they beat us again and drove us further. Then rallying once more, but still without reserves, they beat us again, this time to our knees. Then, had they had reserves, they would have conquered, but by God's pity they had none. Then, after a lapse of time, when we were men again, they had reserves, and they hit us a staggering blow, [245] which needed but a push to end us, but God again had pity. After that our God was indeed pitiful, for England made no further thrust, and they went away."

Even so was wisdom proven blind,

So courage failed, so strength was chained,

Even so the gods, whose seeing mind

Is not as ours, ordained.

          June 29, 1916.


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