13 June 1915

HELLES - The intensive fighting at Helles led to terrible conditions in the trenches. Captain Guy Nightingale, 1st Royal Munster Fusiliers, 86th Brigade, 29th Division, described the chaotic conditions.

"The trenches are awful - very badly made - narrow, not bullet proof and smell absolutely revolting from dead bodies. We are occupying Turkish trenches which we captured, but there is an absolute maze of trenches. We are all round the Turk and they are all around us too. The Dublin's trenches have their back to Achi Baba and face our base, the Turks being between them and us! We share several trenches with the Turks, with a barricade between and throw bombs at each other over the top! The whole place is up and down hill not in the slightest bit like the trenches in France. To get to our trenches we go 4 miles up a deep nullah with sides 200 feet high. There is a great barricade up right across the nullah at the furthest point we hold. To get into our trenches we go up a zig zag track and enter a hole in the cliff which leads into our support trenches and from them there are innumerable communication trenches leading into the firing line. Of course you can't show your head above the trench for a second, but have to look through periscopes or through peep holes. The smell is awful, though we throw down quantities of chloride of lime and creosote. We are always sapping and digging day and night, and so are the Turks, who in places are about 30 yards away and in others 100, and where we share trenches only the other side of the barricade."

SOURCE:
IWM Documents, Nightingale, letter dated 13/6/1915