Official War History of the Wellington Mounted Rifles Regiment 1914-1919
Reorganisation at Lemnos, and Return to Gallipoli
Reorganisation at Lemnos, and Return to Gallipoli.
After the withdrawal of the N.Z.M.R. Brigade from Hill 60 the situation on Gallipoli remained practically unchanged for some days, and with the arrival of reinforcements it became possible to relieve the few remaining officers and other ranks of the regiments which had arrived at the commencement of the campaign, with the exception of the artillery men, machine-gunners, engineers, A.S.C. and ambulance personnel, who remained unrelieved till the evacuation. On 13th September the W.M.R.—less Lieutenant Tingey and thirteen other ranks of the machine-gun section—embarked on a barge with the other remnants of the Mounted Brigade to join the troopship Osmanieh, en route for the Island of Lemnos to rest and reorganise, the strength, including reinforcements, being three officers and sixty-seven other ranks. Of the original five hundred stalwarts who landed on Gallipoli, only twenty-four were left. Arriving at Lemnos next morning, the Brigade camped at Sarpi, where tents were issued, these proving of great service, for rain fell heavily during the night.
Reinforcements soon commenced to pour in, and on the afternoon of the 16th a French admiral inspected the Brigade. At the parade the few veterans from the Peninsula were paraded by themselves in front of the new reinforcments, and it was a tragic sight to see the thin lines of worn, sun-burnt men in front of the fresh troops. Two days later Colonel Meldrum left for Egypt, Lieutenant Strang, of the O.M.R., taking command of the W.M.R. till Major A. Samuel arrived shortly afterwards.
A strenuous course of general training was carried out during the whole of the month of October and till the 10th November, on which date the Regiment, then comprising only page 69nine officers and 363 other ranks, returned with the Brigade to Anzac, where it bivouacked in Waterfall Gully for some days.
Winter was then approaching rapidly, and to prepare for the blizzards which were known to sweep Gallipoli during that season, the work of "terracing" and constructing winter quarters commenced immediately. In doing this our men were well advised, for the threatened blizzard commenced a few days later. It raged with unmerciful severity for four days towards the end of November, numbers of men in other sectors being drowned and many others frozen to death.