21 October 1915

HELLES - Ordinary Seaman Joseph Murray, Hood Battalion, 2nd Brigade, RND attached to VIII Corps Mining Engineers - The saps that Murray and the VIII Corps Engineers were digging in the Krithia Nullah area allowed the 52nd Division to creep forward their line, reducing the depth of No Man's Land. to creep as Murray reports on 21 October.

"We have completed several of these bombing saps and our men have already made considerable headway in joining them up. However, in one particular place the Turks have a trench that juts out towards our line and as long as they hold it, they command the whole area; Using our advanced saps, the Highland Light Infantry were able to overrun the Turks before they realized what was happening and, having captured the offending trench, made their way along a communication trench and erected a barricade. They then settled down to await the inevitable counter-attack; they did not have long to wait. Time and time again the Turks came forward and were driven back, but still they came; Several times, groups of them managed to secure a footing in their lost trench, only to be killed or thrown back again. The barricade changed hands many times but at the close of day the lads of the 1/7th Highland Light Infantry were in possession of all the ground they had originally won. "

This work and the series of action around the top of Krithia Nullah is referred to in the excellent 52nd Division history.

"The work of pushing forward various bombing saps at night was carried out several times in October and with complete success. From this time we may date the commencement of the systematic operations which finally drove the Turks out of the trench marked on the British maps as G11a and accordingly out of the main fork of Krithia Nullah. After this watercourse divided, the two branches were called respectively West and East Krithia Nullahs. On the 9th the 5th KOSB, Lt. Col. W. J. Millar, advanced a bomb-sap on the east side of East Krithia Nullah to within about 25 yards of a Turkish trench. During the night of the 12th the 4th KOSB., Lt. Col. G. Wilson, pushed the North-East bombing station forward about 15 yards. This brought it within 15 yards of the Turks, and the first intimation of the change to the latter was a salvo of bombs at daybreak. Five nights later the 5th HLl, Col. F. L. Morrison, advanced the North-West Bombing Station from the Vineyard to very close quarters with the Turkish trenches guarding East Krithia Nullah. The 7th Royal Scots, Lt. Col. W. C. Peebles, had drawn up a scheme to capture a trench which ran along the west side of West Krithia Nullah, but, before they had time to put it into effect, they were relieved by the 7th HLI, Lt. Col. H. Galbraith, who put the projected plan into execution. On the 20th, under bright moonlight, a party of 7th HLl, under Capt. E. Watson, stole across No Man’s Land to this trench (part of H11a), and found it unoccupied for the time being. Before the Turks realised what had happened, the 7th HLI had erected a barricade, and dug a communication trench of their own across to it without the loss of a man. The portion captured ran along the top of the cliffs of West Krithia. Nullah, directly overlooking and almost enfilading the Turkish trench G11a, which ran across the more low-lying tongue dividing the two watercourses. The Turks showed their appreciation of this very clever theft from them of a valuable trench, by making a heavy bomb attack on the new barricade at 9.45 pm on the next night. Lieutenant Arber, 7th HLI, and one other rank were killed, and seven other ranks were wounded, but the attack was beaten off. In the afternoon of the 22nd the enemy tried to creep up and throw bombs over the barricade, whilst their artillery shelled it and their machine-gunners swept it with fire. Meanwhile, a party of Turks left G11a as if to attack, but they were driven back, and the attempts to retake the trench failed. The Turks put bridge-traverses across G11a, and, because of the hollow in which that trench ran, it was very difficult for British guns to destroy them without imperiling their own lines. All of this made the Turks very nervous, and they became extremely active in making overhead cover, putting out wire, and otherwise strengthening their lines. They also tried to destroy our bombing stations by bombing and shelling, but without success. Frameworks, covered with wire-netting and fixed at the end of bomb-saps, made it much more difficult for the Turks to throw grenades into the British 'T' heads, and they copied this means of defence."

SOURCE:
J. Murray, "Gallipoli As I Saw It" (William Kimber: London 1965), p.168, "The Fifty-Second (Lowland) Division, 1914-1918" (Glasgow, Maclehose, Jackson & Co, 1923) pp.160-161