23 May 1915

ANZAC -"HMS Albion, an old battleship, had run in close to do a bit of shelling and got stuck on a sand bank. The Turks shot off everything they had at her and she fired broadsides in reply. With some difficulty HMS Canopus, another old battleship, got a 1ine to her and towed her off, to the accompaniment of loud, cheers from the troops. 1t was a good noisy show while it lasted and as one cynic remarked, “In all probability no-one on either side was hurt."


Captain Hugh England, HMS Chelmer

Midshipman R. Travers Young, HMS Canopus

Corporal Thomas Louch, 11th Battalion, 3rd Brigade, 1st Australian Division, AIF

Captain Hugh England of HMS Chlemer was watching as the predreadnought HMS Albion stood in too close to Gaba Tepe. This led to some considerable excitement.

"The Albion found herself hard and fast aground in the early morning close to Gaba Tepe. Fortunately it was some time before the Turks realised her predicament. After I had unsuccessfully tried to tow her off with Chelmer, she laid out anchors from astern and was busy heaving on these, when Roger Keyes, Chief of Staff to Admiral de Robeck, arrived on the scene. By this time the Turks had brought every gun they could to bear on her and she was covered with spray from bursting shells. He hailed me to send a dinghy and I realised before he stepped onboard Chelmer that he intended going onboard Albion. Shaping course to go alongside the starboard quarter of Albion was a thrilling moment, but when we had reached the fringe of rough water caused by bursting shells, we suddenly saw the wire hawsers attached to the anchors ease up and we knew Albion was afloat. It was an anti-climax relieved by Roger Keyes picking up a megaphone and going to the side of the bridge nearest Gaba Tepe saying in a clear voice, "Sucks you bloody Turks!"

Another version of the same event came from Midshipman R. Travers Young who was aboard another predreadnought HMS Canopus

"The Albion ran ashore close to the land just south of Anzac beach. We manoeuvred ahead of her and got a wire hawser across to her fo'csle and went ahead to tow her off, but she wouldn't move, so then we went further ahead of her, dropped an anchor and hove in on our cable as well as going ahead on the engines. By this time the Turk had woken up to the fact that he had a couple of sitting birds to shoot at and things became quite unpleasant but the silly asses concentrated their fire on the Albion who could keep most of her men under cover, instead of on us who had to have a number of men in the open, working cables and so forth. About 9 o'clock she came off and we towed her clear, but as a parting gift the enemy sent over a Taube aeroplane to bomb us but he didn't even get a near-miss. We, who had just had a 12-pounder anti-aircraft gun mounted aft, opened fire full of enthusiasm; but with no form of control available we might just as well have chucked buns at him."

Corporal Thomas Louch watched form the hills above Anzac beach.

"HMS Albion, an old battleship, had run in close to do a bit of shelling and got stuck on a sand bank. The Turks shot off everything they had at her and she fired broadsides in reply. With some difficulty HMS Canopus, another old battleship, got a 1ine to her and towed her off, to the accompaniment of loud, cheers from the troops. 1t was a good noisy show while it lasted and as one cynic remarked, "In all probability no-one on either side was hurt."

SOURCE:
IWM DOCS: H. T. England, Typescript account, pp.3-4, IWM DOCS: R. Travers Young, Typescript account, p.64, IWM DOCS: T. S. Louch, Typescript account, p.18