James Owen of Penrhos

and his descendants
Note that the maps on this page are not the same

Gallipoli: Failure at Sari Bair

The field report of General Sir Ian Hamilton describes the impossible terrain the troops faced as well as the horrific events that Gethin and 40th Brigade would have almost certainly witnessed from their vantage-point. The impossible terrain - the country gave new sensations in cliff climbing even to officers and men who had graduated over the goat tracks of Anzac: the efficacy of the enemy’s shell, rifle and machine gun fire from above: inadequate reconnaissance of routes, so essential where operations are to be carried out by night, due to shortage of time - In plain English, Baldwin, owing to the darkness and the awful country, lost his way and to these can be added the delay in the arrival of reinforcements landed at Suvla Bay.

At daybreak on Tuesday, 10 August, the Turks delivered a grand attack …. First our men were shelled by every enemy gun, and then at 5.30 a.m. were assaulted by a huge column, consisting of no less than a full division plus a regiment of three battalions. … The ponderous masses of the enemy swept over the crest, turned the right flank of our line below, swarmed round the Hampshires and General Baldwin's column, which had to give ground, and were only extricated with great difficulty and very heavy losses.

The result was that the troops from Anzac were unable to retain their position on the crest of the hills, and after being repeatedly counter-attacked they were ordered to withdraw to positions lower down. … A further attack on the Turkish entrenchments was delivered on the 21st, but after several hours of sharp fighting it was not found possible to gain the summit of the hills occupied by the enemy, and the intervening space being unsuitable for defence, the troops were withdrawn to their original position.

It must have been totally demoralising and the failure to advance was to lead to several miserable months of stalemate. The pattern of the campaign was established, ground being taken but proving impossible to hold. Day after day the attacks and counter-attacks continued in a horrific parody of the trench warfare going on the Western Front, both sides losing more and more of their men.