17 August 1915

SUVLA - Captain M. B. Buxton, 1/5th Norfolks and Captain Montgomerie, 1/4th Norfolks, 163 Brigade, 54th Division, IX Corps - By dawn on 17th August the Irish and Territorials were back in the trenches whence they had started the day before. The cost, for little gain, was about two thousand men. The Turks also lost close to that number. Relieving the 6th Royal Munster Fusiliers, near Jephson’s Post, were the 1/4th and 1/5th Norfolks.

Photograph: Jephson's Post photographed by Stephen Chambers in August 2010. View from the vicinity of the post, the area marked today by a stone cairn, looking towards the Pimple and the Turkish lines.

Captain M. B. Buxton, 1/5th Norfolks:

"The line here stretched from the top of the ridge at Jephson's Post down to the sea. Jephson's Post was a strong post manned by machine-gunners, some from the brigade and some from the crew of a naval destroyer which stood about 400 yards off the shore. This post was able to command all the Turkish line down to the sea. The destroyer was able to render effectual help on several occasions; for if there was any movement in the Turkish lines, she at once opened fire with her guns. At night also her searchlight was directed on the Turkish line as it stretched up the hill, rendering the enemy's trenches clearly visible to our troops while our own were in darkness. The trenches here consisted, when the Norfolk battalions first reached the line, only of rifle pits, and the first thing that was done was to make a strong line of trenches and to build dug-outs. The gullies behind the line were generally deep and afforded excellent cover, but the country was so cut up by these gullies and so covered by scrub that it was extremely difficult to find the way about."

"During all this time the troops had been very short of water, often having only about a mugfull each day. The water was very scarce on the Peninsula and such wells as were dug in the plain were brackish. The 5th Battalion sank several small wells in the hope of finding water, but these produced nothing more than brackish and muddy puddles. Water, in these first weeks, was sent to the battalion in skins, and in the extreme heat a great deal of it evaporated. Later, when petrol tins were used they were found to be more satisfactory. All the water was brought in tank steamers from Egypt and pumped on to the Peninsula, where it was stored and distributed. As the left of the 5th Battalion rested on the sea, this was an excellent opportunity for bathing and washing, when things were quiet, which was taken much advantage of. While there the shortage of water and food and the hardships they had encountered much reduced the health of the battalion, and the majority were suffering from mild or severe forms of dysentery. This disease, and jaundice, and various fevers, from this time onwards, caused far more casualties than the Turks. The battalion was still only in fighting order, i.e. with haversacks only and no packs, and they were unable to get any blankets or change of underclothes till the end of August. While in the day it was extremely hot, at night it became very cold, so much so that it was almost impossible to get much sleep."

Captain Montgomerie, 1/4th Norfolks were alongside their sister battalion, and noted in his diary:

"17th. - A quiet day improving trenches. Had a little shrapnel in the morning on the right. Bampton was killed by one of the shells. I was ordered to take over the lines held by the 8th Hampshires on ridge just to right of where I had been previously. This suited us well, as we would then have all four companies in that line. I had made all arrangements, and we were starting to move when I was sent for to brigade head-quarters, and told to take the battalion in support of 30th brigade on top of Kiretch Tepe. At this time I had also under me the remnants of the 5th Norfolk, which consisted of 150 men under one officer - Lieutenant Evelyn Beck. I sent out orders to collect the various companies and had to rapidly issue ammunition, water, and food. While preparing to move our men were heavily shelled with shrapnel and a few high explosives. We lost eight men. We started our movement up the hill at 7 p.m. It was a very tedious climb and as we were all heavily laden it was very slow. Anyhow, we managed to arrive at the brigade headquarters at 12 midnight without any mishap. We were put right away into some trenches facing south on top of the ridge."

SOURCE:
F. LORAINE PETRE, THE HISTORY OF THE NORFOLK REGIMENT 1685-1918, Vol.II. (Norwich: Jarrold & Sons, Limited, 1953)