Arrival in Gallipoli
The Regiment spent the first part of the war training and guarding installations on the East Anglian coast; the threat of an invasion was ever present. Then the Brigade, like that of his brother Gethin, was sent to reinforce the troops of Sir Ian Hamilton in Gallipoli. (See historical background.)
In rough seas, on the evening of 21 July 1915, the men sailed from Devonport aboard SS Marquette. Conditions had improved by the time they reached Valetta. Reinforcements were so urgently required in Gallipoli for a major Allied push that revised orders were sent for the ship to sail directly from Valetta to Mudros on the island of Lemnos but these arrived too late so she sailed via Alexandria. The captain then made all speed to Mudros, arriving on 8 August, just two days after the start of the push, which was meeting with mixed success. The men disembarked with their stores, horses and mules and, over two days, steamers transported all to Suvla Bay, where the docking of the last convoy was delayed by heavy Turkish shelling. On arrival, the Battalion suffered its first fatality from dysentery - disease was to have a debilitating affect on the Division in the ensuing months – but there was a general advance towards Anafarta (see map.) The next day the Battalion went into the Reserve Trenches, thence to the trenches on Norfolk Hill. In the first week, several officers were killed or wounded and casualties began to mount.
At midnight on 17 August the Battalion entrenched on the southern slopes of Kiretch Tepe (map.), a ridge just north of Suvla Bay in preparation for a major assault; the ground rises steeply to about 400 feet, thence more gradually. The men advanced in snake formation, 1/5 Essex to their left and 162nd Brigade to their right. Almost immediately they suffered casualties, including their CO, when the Turks open-fired on their left flank. The terrain, in particular the huge stone ridges that stretched, finger-like, towards the sea from the ridge, made it impossible to retain contact with the troops either side and to maintain a line. Eventually an Australian guide led each flank in turn to their designated positions.