10 August 1915

SUVLA - Sergeant William Phillipson, 8th Northumberland Fusiliers, 34 Brigade, 11th Division - With Major General Lindley’s 53rd (Welsh) Territorial Division ashore, Stopford had hoped that this new injection of manpower would help him change his Suvla fortunes. On Scimitar Hill there was still a battle raging from the previous day, with brigade after brigade, and battalion after battalion being pushed piecemeal into the attack to no avail.

Drawing: R Caton Woodville impression of the fire on Scimitar Hill, August 1915.

At one stage there was panic when two battalions broke, believing that they were being attacked by the Turks, and streamed back from the line. It was hard to blame them; direct from England the Territorials found themselves that morning on an unknown shore, with no maps and no orders. Sent blindly forward, and lost in this new scrub covered land, most of which was ablaze or shrouded in smoke, they found themselves fighting an almost invisible enemy. The rout was stopped however and the line once again surged forward but, unsupported, these few disorganised troops achieved little and eventually everyone had to pull back to the start line. An eyewitness, Sergeant William Phillipson, of 8/Northumberland Fusiliers, who was one of those ordered forward in support, wrote:

"We were surprised to see men of two regiments (one a Welsh Territorial Regiment) doubling back. One man shouted “You don’t want to go up there!” Well, perhaps we didn’t, but an order to get a move on settled the question."

When the Northumberland’s were ordered to withdraw the following day, Phillipson wrote:

"When we got out of the trench we were followed by some of the Welsh who didn’t seem to like the idea of staying in the trench and seeing us come out. They were ordered back but hesitated to comply, showing great lack of discipline."

It was a worrying start for the Territorials.

The fighting at Suvla had ended for now. IX Corps, as well as the Turks, were utterly exhausted, having fought themselves to a standstill, which allowed 11 August to pass uneventfully for both sides. For the Turks they probably thought the offensive was over, but for the British they were already planning another attack.

The Turks had retained the high ground, leaving IX Corps to their gains along part of Kiretch Tepe, Lala Baba, Hill 10 and the Chocolate Hills. To the right flank of IX Corps, Chunuk Bair had been captured and lost, with the Anzacs fighting themselves to a standstill. At Helles the diversionary attacks failed to keep the Turks in the area engaged. The plan had failed on all three fronts, with an estimated 25,000 British and 20,000 Turkish losses in four days of fighting.

SOURCE:
National Army Museum: W. Phillipson, 34th Brigade Collection, p.6.