10 May 1915

HELLES - The French had suffered dreadful casualties at Second Krithia. Medical Officer Joseph Vassall, 6th Colonial Regiment, Brigade Coloniale, 1st Division, CEO, witnessed the aftermath for the 6th Colonial Regiment.

"I was asleep in my dugout when the 75 began its usual 'fanfare', and it lasted without the slightest interruption until 8 o'clock. My sleep became a sort of nightmare. Through the leitmotif of the 75s I could distinguish the more or less violent firing of the guns from the battleships; then voices. How wonderful the penetration of the human voice! I went to my dressing station under the cliff, and there I met all the doctors and Nibaudeau, whom I had not seen for several days. He told us of his experiences in the awful struggle and of his narrow escapes. All about him fell. Certainly his is a lucky star! At last out regiment, which is completely exhausted, is to be given a rest for two or three days. It has perished almost entirely. One single officer of the regiment is left. That is Nibaudeau, who is in command, and he is not yet a major. Two battalions are commanded by adjutants. Captain Tell is missing. He had gone on a reconnoitring expedition with a patrol of four men. He must have been taken by the Turks. Commandant Simonin did not fall into their hands. He had been wounded and had been taken on a ship. Away from the scene of the action the officers, when questioned, are most optimistic. You hear from one, Oh! But they are not such great losses as all that!" from another, "Oh! It's because the officers expose themselves too recklessly! Many fine young subalterns will no doubt realise for themselves what things are really like. The medical staff has been over-worked, but we have not lost a single doctor. Many orderlies and stretcher bearers have been killed and wounded. Nibaudeau has seen d'Amade. He told him that he could not count on the 6th Regiment, which was done for. It has been rumoured for three days that d'Amade will be recalled and replaced with Gourard."

Joseph Vassall, Uncensored Letters from the Dardanelles, (London, Heinemann, 1916) pp.89-90