14 July 1915

On 14 July, the day after the big attack, Townsend of the 5th HLI was sent forward. "The bullets make a nasty noise coming close past your head! We arrived in an empty Turkish trench. I say empty, but it was piled half way up to the parapet in places with Turkish dead, and one had to walk for yards over the bodies." (Lieutenant Eric Townsend, 5th Battalion, Highland Light Infantry, 157th Brigade, 52nd Division)

My company was on the way up to support the firing line when part of the line gave back a bit and some troops came retiring back on top of us down the narrow communication trench. It was an anxious few minutes, but we got the men into a side trench and eventually got up into the firing line, our Captain, myself and some men doing a spurt across the open on the way. The bullets make a nasty noise coming close past your head! We arrived in an empty Turkish trench. I say empty, but it was piled half way up to the parapet in places with Turkish dead, and one had to walk for yards over the bodies. The stink was appalling! When we reached the front line, we found a mixture of about four battalions and we were all utterly exhausted - no breakfast and no food or water with us."

 

SOURCE:
IWM DOCS: E. T. Townsend, Manuscript copy of letter, 20/7/1915