12 June 1915

ANZAC - In early June 1915 there were great things afoot back in London. The Liberal government had fallen as a result of the shells scandal and other problems; although Asquith was continued as Prime Minister, Winston Churchill was forced to leave the government. The War Council was in charge of the strategic direction of the war was recast and it was significant that the name selected was the Dardanelles Committee. This new body consisted of six of the original War Council, five Conservatives and Kitchener. Both service representatives were dropped from the equation.

Photograph: Lieutenant General Sir William Birdwood, creater of the original August Offensive plans

Amidst all the political manoeuvring the Dardanelles Committee did not actually meet until 7 June. Hamilton had already asked for three more divisions in total, in addition to the 52nd Division that he had already been promised by Kitchener. For the moment he would have to make do with the 52nd Division. Everything else was left up in the air. Then there was a change of tack: Kitchener who considered evacuation far too damaging to even think of, decided that he was, after all, in favour of a full scale renewal of the campaign. The Dardanelles Committee agreed that Hamilton's request for four divisions should be met in full. As the 52nd Division had already been sent out to him as agreed on 10th May, the three remaining divisions of the first New Army not yet detailed for use on the Western Front, consisting of the 10th, 11th and 13th Divisions, would now also be sent to Gallipoli. This decision had been forwarded to Hamilton on 8th June. The question was what to do with the new legions? The answer came in a new plan being formulated by Birdwood for a break out to the north of Anzac to sweep through to capture Hill 971, the highest peak of the Sari Bair range, by surprise. On 11 June Hamilton checked the progress of the new scheme for what would be the August Offensives.

"Sailed over to Anzac with Braithwaite. Took Birdwood's views upon the outline of our plan (which originated between him and Skeen) for entering the New Army against the Turks. To do his share, durch und durch (God forgive me), he wants three new Brigades; with them he engages to go through from bottom to top of Sari Bair. Well, I will give him four; perhaps five! Our whole scheme hinges on these crests of Sari Bair which dominate Anzac and Maidos; the Dardanelles and the Aegean. The destroyers next took us to Cape Helles where I held a pow-wow at Army Headquarters, Generals Hunter-Weston and Gouraud being present as well as Birdwood and Braithwaite. Everyone keen and sanguine. Many minor suggestions; warm approval of the broad lines of the scheme. Afterwards I brought Birdie back to Anzac and then returned to Imbros. A good day's work. Half the battle to find that my Corps Commanders are so keen. They are all sworn to the closest secrecy; have been told that our lives depend upon their discretion."

SOURCE:
I. Hamilton, Gallipoli Diary, (London, Edward Arnold Ltd, 1920), p.288