“OUR SOLDIERS” IN THE DARDANELLES.
HONOURS GAINED BY FORMER GUESTS.
The following are included in the honours list published in connection with the recent fighting in the Gallipoli Peninsula.
DISTINGUISHED SERVICE ORDER.
Capt C Ridings, 1st Battalion Inniskilling Fusiliers, and Capt E W Atkinson, 1st Battalion Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.
DISTINGUISHED CONDUCT MEDALS.
Sergt S D Bean, 2nd South Wales Borderers; Pte S G Bidgood, 1st King’s Own Scottish Borderers; Company Sergt-Major W Magee, 1st Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers; Pte T Millward, 2nd South Wales Borderers; Lance-Corpl W Morrisey, 1st Border Regiment; Corpl E Mott, 1st Border Regiment; and Lance-Corpl D O’Neil 1st Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers.
HOW “ OUR SOLDIERS ” FOUGHT AT GALLIPOLI.
We have received the following extracts from a letter received by a resident of Rugby from Sergt-Major C G Douglass, of the 1st K.O.S.B. who was billeted upon him, and is now in the Gallipoli Peninsula. He writes :-
“ While I am writing this I am watching Turkish shells falling not too far from us. We are just out of the trenches for a couple of days’ rest ; but still the Turks send us a few shells in the morning and evening to say ‘ Good morning ‘ and ‘ Good night.’ There is some sort of a scrap on in front now as rifle fire is pretty brisk. Two aeroplanes are flying over our heads, keeping watch on the Turkish movements, and the Navy’s guns are dropping big shells away ahead of us ; but, forgetting all that, the sun is shining brightly over a country which looks quite nice, and the sea is a most wonderful blue and as calm as a mill pond. This would be a glorious place to come for a holiday cruise ; but let me out of it and dear Old England will suit me for the rest of my life.
” I have just heard that we can give any news of events that are a fortnight old, and I will tell you what happened to our regiment on last Sunday fortnight : We were ordered to do a special duty along with a few other troops-very few indeed considering the task-I am not allowed to say anything about numbers of troops-but we were to land some miles up the coast and hold on to the cliff edge for all we were worth until the main army came up with us. We transhipped on to two cruisers, which took us as close as they dared, and then we jumped into small boats and dashed ashore. The boats could not get nearer than 40 or 50 yards, and we had to jump into the water and wade ashore. We had awful loads on our backs, and I personally jumped over the bow of the boat and went clean out of my depth, right over the head, and had to swim a good bit before I found my feet. We got ashore somehow and made for the cliff, and it did not take us long to get to the top, as only one shot was fired at us. We took up positions around a gully, and after a couple of shells had landed amongst us and killed a couple of men it did not take us long to get dug into the earth. The Turks left us alone from then (6 a.m) till 3 p.m. Then the fun started, and from then until the next day at 10 a.m we went through hell. We have learnt since that the force attacking us outnumbered us by 6 to 1. The whole afternoon and livelong night the fight went on at white heat—rifle fire, shell fire, bayonets, and even entrenching tools were used to beat back the Turks. One of my men killed a German officer with a shovel. You can judge what close fighting it was. Several times they pressed us back to the edge of the cliff by sheer weight of numbers, and we managed to drive them back again by bayonet charges. The last charge took place just after dawn, and we suffered then. You remember my quartermaster-sergeant in Rugby (Quartermaster-Sergt Brown)—he was killed then, and others you know. Look out for the casualty lists, and you will see them all. Well, we hung on to that hill for a few more hours, and then our ammunition began to run out, and we knew we could not hold out another night. We received orders to re-embark. It took us hours to do this and getting the wounded on board. Anyhow, we got round to the bottom of the Peninsular, and next day landed on the beach, and the same day got into another scrap and lost more men, and we have been at it ever since until yesterday. I am afraid I have poorly described the scrap, but I could talk for hours on it if I were only near to you. The landing of the remainder of the division on the south of the peninsular was costly too. You can judge this all from the casualties.
You remember the major in command of my company at Rugby—Major Welsh. Well, I think the fact that we are here to-day, and that we were not completely annihilated that night, is entirely due to him. He was a wonder ; but, worse luck, he has since been wounded, and is at Alexandria. I cannot tell you any more now, but hope some day to have a good old yarn with you.”
AN OPEN LETTER TO “ OUR SOLDIERS.”
MY DEAR BOYS,—How pleased we were to hear from you, and how we do hope you are still safe. How anxiously we wait, and yet fear to read down the lists. One after another come the names we know, or our friends know. ” Not him. surely !” we say. Then hope against hope that the report is wrong. Oh, the cruel war! Some of you, our Rugby guests, are fighting the Turks, and some the Germans ; but wherever you are, be sure somebody or other is thinking of you. Even people who did not speak to you speak of you and enquire often now that you are in danger. No need to ask when the mails are in. See the girls stop in the street to read the letters, and see the landladies run hatless down to see if there’s “ one of their boys ” when a train load of wounded comes in ; and when there is one see how his face lights up. Some have gone through the station along with Australians and New Zealanders to Manchester and Birmingham and other hospitals, and about 40 have come to “ Ashlawn ” this last week. Some have had their Rugby friends visit them in hospital, and some are coming here to finish their sick leave.
How it grieves us to know of the terrible number that can never come back, who are sleeping their last sleep in the Dardanelles. You will get most of the news in the local papers which we send. Is there any small enclosure we might send you ? While thinking of our own kith and kin in khaki we shall not forget you boys. With best wishes for good luck and God-speed from
SEVERAL OF YOUR OLD LANDLADIES.
(We have been asked to publish the above letter in order that other landladies who find that it expresses’ their own feelings may postmark copies of the Advertiser to “ the boys ” who lodged with them. We do so with pleasure, and hope the letter may be the means of conveying encouragement and pleasure to those who are left of the gallant 87th Brigade at the Dardanelles.—
Rugby, May 25th, 1915.
REMONSTRANCE FROM THE TRENCHES.
A member of “ E ” Company of the 7th Battalion Royal Warwickshire Regiment writes :-
“ DEAR SIR,- I should like to say a few words about the preference given to the soldiers who were billeted in Rugby and men at the Dardanelles over the members of the local forces, i.e, ‘E’ Company and Howitzer Battery. It would be appreciated by us in France if we could see a little more in the local papers about the Rugby men, who seem to be forgotten since ‘ Our Soldiers’ were at Rugby. I think if we had been in the Dardanelles we might have done just as well. In the position we are in at present, with the enemy strongly entrenched in a ridge, over-looking our lines, it is practically impossible for us to make a move yet ; but no doubt, when the time comes, we shall not be found wanting. I might say we have had some rough times since we landed in France. We are being continually shelled and sniped at. As you can, doubtless, guess, it is much more aggravating to be hit by someone you cannot see than to able to have a fair and square go at them. We, being Englishmen , don’t want you to think we are running our comrades down. We all wish the soldiers in the Dardanelles the best of luck, and are sure they wish us the same out in Flanders. I hope you will take this letter in the sense in which it is sent.
[If there is a dearth of news about our local Territorials it is because none has come to hand either from the men themselves or friends to whom they write. We shall be pleased to insert news from our men-so far as the censorship regulations will permit-whenever it is sent to us.-Ed, R.A.]
RUGBY MEN SERVING WITH THE WARWICKS.
News of the Rugby men serving in the 7th Battalion of the Royal Warwickshire Regiment does not reach us often, but we know full well they are doing their duty in a hot corner of the firing line. In a letter received from one of these brave soldiers by a Rugby resident the suggestion is made that the men of the Rugby Company may have been forgotten ; but it is to be sincerely hoped, with the multiplicity of interests Rugby people have in the Dardanelles and elsewhere, this is not the case. In fact, we are sure the Rugby Infantry Company, although for obvious reasons little is published of their doings, still retain a warm place in the affections of the inhabitants, as do the Howitzers and all who have responded so nobly to their country’s urgent call from Rugby homes. The writer referred to mentions that the girls in the B.T.H offices have sent the Rugbeians some pipes for distribution. “ I can tell you,” he adds, “ they were a very nice present. . . .” He continues: “No doubt if I could write home and tell you what we are facing it is quite as bad as the others. For instance, the last four days we have been facing —— (name of certain German troops), who, I can assure you, are a tough lot.”