Monday 28 June 1915 – We Lost 1,574

by greatwarliveslost

William Scott Moncrieff

William Scott Moncrieff

The British forces at Cape Helles attack hoping to drive the Turks out of Krithia. Although the village is not reached, the left flank of the British position, along Gully Ravine, is pushed forward a thousand yards. One British battalion, on entering the Turkish trenches, finds a breakfast of biscuits and hard boiled eggs waiting to be eaten. There is also a store of cigars. A more gruesome find is the bodies of members of the Dublin Fusiliers killed on 27th April and still unburied.  Several Turkish counter attacks are driven off, one group of Turkish soldiers breaking through the line and digging in between the British front line and support trenches. They seem to be making signs that they want to surrender, but when some British soldiers, go up to them, to bring them in, the Turks open fire. They are then attacked from both sides and overrun.

The attack at Gully Ravine had limited objectives and it is largely successful at achieving its objectives though at a high cost in casualties. The attack was planned for the left flank along Gully Spur, Gully Ravine and neighbouring Fir Tree Spur. The terrain around Gully Ravine is closer to the wild and rough terrain at Anzac Cove than to the ground elsewhere at Helles. The plan is for the British 29th Division and the 29th Indian Brigade to attack along Gully Spur and the ravine while one newly arrived brigade on loan to the 29th Division, the 156th Brigade from the British 52nd (Lowland) Division, will attack along Fir Tree Spur.

After two days of heavy bombardment, the battle begins at 10:45 with a preliminary raid to capture the Boomerang Redoubt on Gully Spur. The general advance commences shortly afterwards. The artillery fire on Gully Spur is overwhelming and the Gurkha Rifles and the Royal Fusiliers advance rapidly a distance of half a mile to a point named “Fusilier Bluff” which will become the northern-most Allied position at Helles. In the ravine the Border Regiment do not advance as far as those troops on the spur since Turks there are somewhat sheltered from the deadly bombardment from the sea. Their final position was fortified with rocks and boulders and becomes known as “Border Barricade”. On the right of the advance, along Fir Tree Spur, the battle does not go so well for the British. The inexperienced soldiers of the 156th Brigade lack artillery support and are cut down by Turkish machine guns and bayonet attacks. Despite the opposition, they are ordered to press the attack and so the support and reserve lines are sent forward but make no progress. By the time the attack is halted the Brigade is at half strength, having suffered 1,400 casualties of which 800 have been killed. Some battalions are so depleted that later they will have to be merged into composite formations.

The 1/4th, 1/5th and the 1/7th Royal Scots attack enemy trenches H12A and H12 on Gallipoli at 11:00. The first few yards of the advance are thick with dead and wounded.  Most of the officers become casualties the men being gallantly led by NCOs. The bravery of Pipe Major Andrew Buchan is noted, as although wounded he plays the men over the top before being killed. The attack on the second objective, lead by CSM Lowe, clears the Turks from H12 at the point of bayonet.  Heavy enemy counter attacks at 22:30 and 23:30 are repulsed. Twenty-three officers and three hundred and twenty-five other ranks are killed while seventeen officers and four hundred twelve other ranks are wounded another three officers and one hundred nine men are missing.

 Today’s losses include:

  • A Brigadier General
  • The son of a General
  • A battalion commander
  • Two Scottish Rugby Internationals
  • A member of the 1912 Olympic rowing team
  • The cousin of a Victoria Cross winner
  • The son of a man previously killed in the Great War
  • The son of a Justice of the Peace
  • The grandson of a Judge of the High Court and previous Member of Parliament
  • A son of a member of clergy
  • A prominent member of the Brunstane XV and Portobello Lawn Tennis Club
  • Multiple men who will have a brother killed in the Great War
  • Two brothers killed together
  • A man who will have two brothers killed in the Great War

 Today’s highlighted casualties are:

  • Brigadier General William Scott-Moncrieff General Officer Commanding the 156th Brigade, 52nd Division is killed in action at age 57 during his brigade’s assault on Turkish Positions. He personally leads the last two companies of the Cameronians by a forward sap and is killed as the sap begins to emerge on the surface level. When the Great War broke out he had retired but returned to duty as a temporary Brigadier General in August 1914. In January 1915 he was given command of the 156th
  • Lieutenant Colonel John Boyd Wilson (commanding 1st/7th Cameronians) is killed in the attack at age 40. He is a veteran of the South Africa War.
  • Captain Eric Templeton Young (Cameronians) is killed at age 23 at the Battle of Gully Ravine an attack Turkish trenches with no artillery support as it is felt that this area can easily be taken.. He is a Scottish Rugby International.
  • Captain William Campbell Church (Cameronians) is killed at age 32. He is a resolute Rugby runner and tackler who player for Glasgow and Scottish International.
  • Captain Augustus Arthur Cornwallis FitzClarence (Royal Fusiliers) is killed in action at age 35 He was a member of the 1912 Olympic rowing team and the cousin of a Victoria Cross winner. He is the husband of Lady Susan FitzClarence.
  • Captain George Clement Griffiths (Lancashire Fusiliers) is killed at age 44. He is a veteran of the South African War and son of Major General Griffiths.
  • Captain John Charles Hodgson (Border Regiment) is killed at age 33 on Gallipoli. His brother will be killed next April.
  • Lieutenant Archibald Douglas Templeton (Cameronians) is killed at age 25. His brother will be killed in July 1918 and they are sons of the Reverend Archibald Templeton.
  • Lieutenant Edward Watkin Colver (Royal Engineers) is killed at age 23 on Gallipoli. He took part in the original landing from S S River Clyde at Sedd-ul-Bahr on 25th April 1915 and his brother will be killed in December 1915.
  • Second Lieutenant Hugo Frederick Grantham (Essex Regiment) is killed. He is the son of Frederick William Grantham who was killed last month and grandson of ‘Sir’ William Grantham Judge of the High Court MP for East Surrey and Croyden 1874-85.
  • Private Francis Charles Charo (Devonshire Regiment) is killed at age 28. His brother will be killed in July 1916

Losses in the Royal Scots include:

  •  Captain George McCrae (Royal Scots) is killed. He is the son of ‘Sir’ George McCrae.
  • Lieutenant Charles Frederick Allan (Royal Scots) is killed at age 25. He is the son of James Allen JP.
  • Lieutenant Archibald Young (Royal Scots) is killed at age 22. His brother will be killed in Palestine in 1917.
  • Second Lieutenant Reginald James Gibson (Royal Scots) is killed at age 21. His brother will be killed in March 1918.
  • Privates Charles Henry Ford and George Turner Ford (Royal Scots) are killed together. Charles dies at 34 and was a prominent member of the Brunstane XV and the Portobello Lawn Tennis Club while his older brother is 36. Their father will found the Ford Memorial Prize at George Watson’s College for the winner of the 220-yard race every year.
  • Private Ralph Marshall Stewart (Royal Scots) is killed at age 19. His brother will be killed in April 1917.
  • Private Abraham Ballard (Royal Fusiliers) is killed on Gallipoli. He is the first of three brothers who will be killed in the Great War.