HELLES - When the main fighting that followed Third Krithia finally petered out there were still a series of minor attacks to ‘straighten the line’ or to counter the equivalent activities of the Turks. Thus it was that Second Lieutenant Bertie Bradshaw found himself faced with an acute dilemma on 10 June. His regiment were occupying trenches including H11 to the right of Gully Ravine and they were being threatened by a Turkish sap pushed out from the communication trench leading in to the centre of the trench held by the Border Regiment. Bradshaw left this sad little note in his diary.
"The Company Commander asked Platoon commanders for list of subalterns and men from platoons who would volunteer for an attack on a Turkish sap which is getting perilously near 'B' Company's lines. It means a DCM for men who get through. It is hardly fair to ask for volunteers, work of this [kind] should he done by rota, I have volunteered of course, and I expect the rest of the subalterns will do also. Out here one does everything that comes ones way. Trusting in God." (Second Lieutenant Bartle Bradshaw, 1st Border Regiment, 87th Brigade, 29th Division)
The war diary gives the bare bones of what happened on the night of 10 June and the next morning.
Photograph: Captain Reginald Henry Hamilton Moore, 1/Border Regiment.
"Orders were received that the Regiment was to capture the enemy's sap and communication trench up to the ravine, the South Wales Borderers to attack a small trench near the communication trench simultaneously. Thirty volunteers were obtained including bomb throwers and 'D' Company under Captain le Mesurier was detailed to occupy the trench after the assaulting party had captured it. The party under Second Lieutenant Wallace crawled out under the parapet by two saps and rushed the enemy sap in spite of heavy fire, bayoneting or bombing all the enemy in the sap. They also captured about 200 yards of their communication trench in a very short time. 'D' Company occupied the trench and held it all night aided by a large supply of bombs. Second Lieutenant Wallace carried out the attack with great coolness and courage and Captain le Mesurier skilfully held the trench. Captain Harrison was sent down to verify the clearing of the sap and was slightly wounded in the chest whilst doing so. No. 10180 Lance Sergeant Friend, No. 9085 Sergeant A Elwin, No. 8157 Dr. D. Crone and No. 10463 Pte A. Mansell all showed great gallantry in the attack"
There is an addendum that gives more details of the attack and shows how poor Bartke Bradshaw met his end early next day.
Plan for night attack. The Turkish sap had approached to within 30 yards of 'C' Company's trenches and the enemy had sandbagged a small redoubt from which to throw bombs into our trenches. A line of old trench ran from this point right into C Comany's parapet, very similar to the situation at H11. The plan was for a storming party of thirty men (twenty-five from 'C' Company plus five from 'A' Company) under Lieutenant Wallace to crawl out of the saps already made by 'C' Company preceded by bomb throwers and dash the Turkish sap ahead. And then to move on down the Turkish trench towards the gully. As soon as the storming party had successfully stormed the sap head 'D' Company under Captain Le Mesurier was to move on in support and reoccupy the trench. This company was to debouch through cutting made in the parapet. The attack was timed to commence at 10pm. The SWB were to cooperate by rushing a small Turkish redoubt in their front. At 10pm precisely the storming party under Lieutenant Wallace crawled under the parapet and made for the Turkish sap & a hand to hand fight with bayonets and bombs proceeded but the Turks gave way and retreated down the trench to lines by the storming party, the opposition being slight. 'D' Coy now pushed on behind the storming party and the whole moved down the trench together. The men carrying sandbags and fork for improving the trench. Le Mesurier pushed on ahead and [illegible] with Wallace and together with the bomb throwers gradually pushed the Turks back. Captain Ward of 'C' Coy was killed by a bomb about 12 midnight but the attack was proceeding satisfactorily. Capt. Harrison was slightly wounded about 12 midnight. The following message was received from G.O.C.: "G.O.C. Division congratulates all ranks in the excellent work performed by them last night and feels confident that they will hold the ground gained at all costs" At 1am and again at 3.30am the enemy bombed the end of the communication trench. At 4.15am they retired. Our casualties were slight. About 4.30am the Turks made a counter-attack on the communication trench and Captain Le Mesurier was hit by a bomb. The men became a trifle demoralized & retreated about half way down the trench, the Turks occupying the portion vacated. Captain R. H. H. Moore happened to be in the trench at the time & rushing forward called on the men and successfully recaptured the lost part of the trench. He was killed by a shot in the head in doing so. His immediate and gallant action undoubtedly saved an awkward situation. Lieutenant Bradshaw was wounded in the counter-attack and died later. Lieutenant de Soissons was also wounded. Total casualties: 2 officers killed and 3 wounded, 12 other ranks killed and 33 wounded. The enemy fired about twelve heavy shells at the trenches during the day. 'A' Coy under Captain Mostyn relieved 'D' Coy in the captured trench and the barricade at the end was strengthened. Snipers successfully drove back bomb throwers who tried to come up and bomb the end of the trench.
Bartle Bradshaw and Reginald Moore are buried in Twelve Tree Copse Cemetery.
IWM Documents: B. Bradshaw, Typescript letter/diary, p.18, Internet Source: A wonderful resource - the Border Regiment Wiki specifically http://www.border-regiment-forum.com/wiki/index.php?title=1st_Battalion_War_Diary%2C_June_1915#Part_Four_.2810th_June_1915.29