07 July 1915

HELLES - Lieutenant William Ker, Hawke Battalion, 1st Naval Brigade, RND - The Royal Naval Division were enjoying a brief lull in the fighting at Helles. They are one of the best recorded of units as they had a peculiarly large number of literate officers, while we have also got a lot of accounts from the ranks, both in books and memoirs at the IWM.

At 09.00 on 7 July Lieutenant William Kerr wrote a letter summing up the recent existence of the Hawke Battalion.

"Here we are back in the rest camp again. We were relieved last night by the 7th H.L.I., who have never been in the trenches before. We had another eight days in there this time. That is, out of the last twenty-one or twenty-two days, we have spent sixteen in the trenches. ' C ' Company had the first three days in the firing line, and then went back to supports (only about 200 yards behind), where they were shifted about a good deal and not given much peace. My platoon alone remained fairly stationary. The men had a good many digging fatigues, but the officers had little to do. It is a ludicrous existence. For three days in the supports I did absolutely nothing except take a two hours' watch at night, and occasionally inspect a rifle or two. I spent the time in a vain endeavour after a comfortable position and some shade in a trench that was apparently designed by the architect of ' Little-Ease,' and that lay open to the sun at every point. We saw a lot of Turks as large as life this time. The French attacked on our right, preceded by a lot of high-explosive shelling. We saw the Turks rushing about on the sky line - perturbabantur Constantinopolitani "

The cartoon explains the quote at the end and is taken from Punch Vol. 150, February 16, 1916

The caption was "Perturbabantur Constantinopolitani Innumerabilibus sollicitudinibus." and the translation as I'm sure you all know is 'Constantinople is much perturbed'. Oh! The wonders of a classical education!

W. Ker quoted by D. Jerrold, The Hawke Battalion: Some Personal Records of Four Years, 1914-1918, (London, Ernest Benn Ltd, 1925), p79