The History of the Canterbury Mounted Rifles 1914-1919
Chapter IV. — Of the Desperate August Fighting and the Move to New Country
Of the Desperate August Fighting and the Move to New Country.
Before continuing the story of the Regiment's part in the great August offensive, which was to take place in conjunction with the Suvla Bay landing, it will be well to give a summary of the proposed operations. General Birdwood's plan was to seize the Sari Bair range about the high point called Chunuk Bair. This range dominated the Peninsula, and from it could be seen the Narrows, and from it would be commanded the Turkish positions and all his lines of communication. The highest point of the range, Hill 971, was at its northern end; and Chunuk Bair, a somewhat lesser point, was about a mile nearer Anzae, and about 1½ miles from the Nek. From the Nek and over Baby 700 was the natural line of approach, along which attempts were made to advance on the day of the landing. But this route was now closed by the formidable entrenchments of the Nek, Baby 700 and Battleship Hill, and there remained two lines of approach to the crest at Chunuk Bair. one up Rhododendron Spur and the other up the Abdul Rahman Spur. General Birdwood decided to use both.
The force at his disposal consisted of the Anzae garrison—1st Australian Division and N.Z. and A. Division. The former was to hold its ground, and in addition to capture the important position of Lone Pine. The N.Z. and A. Division was to be used to break out from the lines held so long and to attack the Sari Bair range, and would be reinforced by the troops for whom shelter had been dug and stores, water and ammunition provided. These troops were the 13th Division, 29th Infantry Brigade, and one brigade of the 10th Division.
The plan and the allotment of General Godley's command, to which had been added these reinforcements, were as follows:—
The first step during the early hours of the night on which page 46the grand attack was to be made, was to clear the Turks from the foothills. Upon this attack the whole movement hinged, and the task was allotted to the N.Z.M.R. Brigade, to which was attached the Maori Battalion.
The advance up Rhododendron Spur was given to the N.Z. Infantry Brigade, which was called the Right Assaulting Column. It was to follow through the N.Z.M.R. Brigade and to go up the Sazli Beit and Chailak deres. The task of attacking the Sari Bair range beyond Chunuk Bair was given to a force under General Cox, of the Indian Brigade. This force was called the Left Assaulting Column and consisted of the Indian Brigade and the 4th Australian Infantry Brigade. It would require some protection on the north as it turned eastward to the main range, so a portion of the 13th Division was allotted the task of following through after the N.Z.M.R. and seizing and holding the small cluster of foot hills known as the Damak Jelik Bair.
The remainder of General Godley's force, the 1st and 3rd Light Horse Brigades, were to attack the Turks in front of Quinn's and the Nek respectively. The latter attack was to take place as soon as Chunuk Bair had been captured and held by the N.Z. Infantry Brigade, which would then be in a position to come down the main ridge and attack the Turks on Battleship Hill and Baby 700, which commanded the Nek.
The task of the N.Z.M.R. consisted of the capture and holding of three definite objectives; the first, Old No. 3; the second. Table Top (just below and joining Rhododendron Spur); and the third, Beauchop Hill, which lay between the Chailak and Aghyl deres. Canterbury's task in this most interesting and intricate operation was perhaps the most difficult of the three. In conjunction with the O.M.R. the Regiment was to clear the entrance to the Chailak Dere, advance north as far as the Aghyl Dere, clearing and capturing Taylor's Hollow and Walden's Point, and then to swing to the east and to capture Beauchop Hill. The attack was to be swift and silent, rifles and magazines empty and the bayonet only used. Tunics were discarded, and white patches, 8in. x 8in. were sewn on the back of the shirt and a white armlet on each arm, so that identification in the dark would be easy.page 47
As usual, a destroyer was to shell Old No. 3 under the beam of the searchlight until 9 p.m. The shutting out of this light was to be the signal for the attack.
At 8 p.m. on August 5th the Regiment moved out to No. 2 Outpost, a total strength of sixteen officers and two hundred and eighty other ranks.
This last day passed quietly. The men were keen but unfit. Sickness had played havoc with their physique, but their confidence in their ability to carry out the task given them was amazing. As usual when there was "something doing" sick parades fell off; men simply would not go near the M.O. for fear of being kept back. Right through the whole of Anzae there was the same confident feeling.
As the manual says, everything went "according to plan" as far as the first step went.
Punctually at 9 p.m. on the 6th the Regiment moved out from the shelter of No. 2 Outpost. After getting clear of the trenches the three squadrons halted in a small depression and waited for the signal. The destroyers ceased fire, the searchlight went out and the attack began.page 48
The Regiment advanced with two squadrons abreast—the 1st and 10th, and the 8th in support with the machine guns and a platoon of Maoris. Slightly ahead of the leading troops went a few scouts. A piquet of four Turks was met, and a fight with the bayonet ensued, four men to four, neither side firing a shot. One of the Canterbury men was wounded in the jaw and another in the chest; but all the Turks were killed. A few stray bullets were flying; then by some mischance a searchlight from one of the ships flashed across the squadrons and was gone. But the damage was done. A machine gun on Walden Point opened fire, and heavy rifle fire came from Wilson's Knob. A silent rush across the two hundred yards of flat, then up the scrubby spur and into the enemy trench charged the 10th squadron. Simultaneously the 1st had pushed through the narrow pass separating Walden Point, from the end of Beauchop Hill, and thence charged at the gun from its rear. Magazines and rifles were empty, and it was easy for the Turks to shoot them as they climbed the hill, but every man, keeping to his orders, fired no shot and raised no cheer. The enemy could not tell from what quarter any part of this silent attack was coming, and the machine gun was rushed, the Turks near it being bayoneted. Swinging right handed through a small scrubby gully the Canterburys turned inland and advanced in silence up the northern edge of Beauchop Hill.
During the rush on the gun Colonel Findlay was wounded, but so well had he explained his plans, and such was the keenness of every man in the Regiment, that the most difficult of operations—changing direction in the dark when in. contact with the enemy—was successfully carried out, and trench after trench was rushed almost without sound, the enemy's garrisons being utterly confused by these tactics. Those in the trenches were bayoneted, but some found in the rear of the positions were captured. The machine gunners had kept up with the advance, but it was here on the northern slopes of Beauchop Hill that they lost their beloved young leader, Lieut. Frank (Mickey) Davison. Owing to casualties in officers and N.C.O's. a certain amount of confusion existed. Squadrons had become mixed up, but always the idea to get forward and up the page 49hill carried the attacking lines on. In the darkness, perplexed by the broken country, fired on from all quarters, small bands of men kept together, dealt with isolated bodies of Turks, and then pushed on to reach the top of the hill. And they got there, such as were not killed or wounded. No detailed story of that wild night is possible. From the moment of the first charge till men found themselves on Bauchop Hill, nobody can say exactly what happened. All they knew was that they struggled and fought with Turk, with scrub and with hill, they fell down gullies, were fired at always, and eventually found themselves at their objective. Here under rifle and machine gun fire they commenced to dig in, tired but confident; and a cheer coming to them across the ridges their confidence was much increased.
This cheer came from the Otagos led by Colonel Bauchop. They too, struggling through all their difficulties, had won to the top of the hill.
While the Canterbury and Otago Regiments were thus accomplishing their tasks, the Aucklanders had rushed Old No. 3, and the Wellington Regiment following them had forced their way up the Sazli Beit Dere and had captured Table Top. So at 1 a.m. General Russell reported that Old No. 3, Table Top and Bauchop Hill were in our hands.
The way was now clear for the Right and Left Assaulting Columns to advance upon their objectives.
Bean, in his "Story of Anzac" (being Vol. 11 Official History of Australia in the War), says:—"By this magnificent feat of arms, the brilliance of which was never surpassed, if indeed equalled, during the campaign, almost the entire Turkish defence north of Anzac was for the moment swept aside, and the way cleared for the Infantry to advance up the valleys to Chunuk Bair. The opening move by the mounted rifles was undoubtedly that upon which the success of the offensive mainly depended. The operation was one which in its conception went flatly in the face of the principles laid down by British Military authorities. "A thorough reconnaissance" said the Field Service Regulations, "is an essential prelude to a night advance or to a night assault… Every commander who orders a night operation which is not preceded by a complete reconnaissance increases page 50the risk of failure and incurs a heavy responsibility.… Reconnaissance from a distance is insufficient." It had been proved that in such operations there was extreme danger that various portions of the attacking force would lose touch, take the wrong direction, and even meet and fire upon other sections of their own side.
Yet the country through which Birdwood launched these troops had been explored only by picked scouts in a few daring expeditions. Its hills and valleys were so rugged and contorted that even after their capture men at first sometimes lost their way in them by day. Moreover the enemy's posts had to be attacked, not by a single advance on a straight front, but by several detachments moving by various intricate routes, in some cases to concentrate on the enemy's positions from widely different directions. For the maintenance of direction in the dark Birdwood depended almost solely upon the intelligence and experience of the New Zealand soldiers, while, to avoid the danger of friend firing upon friend, and also to conceal their attack from the enemy, they were to fight through to their respective objectives with rifles unloaded. It thus fell to them for several hours to bear down in complete silence, and with their bayonets alone, the opposition of an enemy who faced them with rifles and machine guns. What was demanded for such an operation was not a rigid military discipline but the highest degree of intelligent self-control, imposed on themselves by men understanding their task and determined to complete it."
Soon after 1 a.m. on August 7th, the enemy attacked several times, but their attacks lacked force and were easily repulsed by the combined regiments now under the command of Colonel Beauchop. This gallant and beloved officer, immediately the hill was won, set about laying off a trench line for its defence, and though unknown to most of the men of the Canterbury Regiment he immediately inspired everybody with his cheerful confidence. Shortly before daylight he was mortally wounded while assisting a wounded man.
Many prisoners were captured, together with several oldfashioned mortars made of bronze mounted on wooden carriages. These threw a spherical bomb of about 8in. diameter and had page 51much troubled No. 2 Outpost. The two-barrelled Nordenfeldt, so often used by the Turks to fire upon the destroyers at night, was also taken. Two enemy battalions encamped behind Bauchop Hill in the Aghyl Dere had fled, leaving a large amount of camp equipment behind them.
The Regiment had lost in killed and wounded 40 per cent. of its strength. The Commanding Officer, Colonel Findlay, had been badly wounded in the leg; his second in command, Major Overton, killed. Among all the gallant fellows who died during the bitter August fighting none was missed more than Major Overton. He was one of those rare men to whom the best was not enough. For ever on the look out to do more, to improve the set task, to alleviate the conditions under which the Regiment laboured, he was as an inspiration to all. In addition to the extraordinarily valuable reconnaissances he personally undertook, he summarised the knowledge thus gained in making an excellent raised map, out of clay, of the area to the north of Anzac, showing what was afterwards proved to be a faithful reproduction of that most intricate country. He was killed while leading the Left Assaulting Column through the broken country in the Aghyl Dere, and was buried in Warley Gap, where the Turkish track he had been so ably following winds up towards Abdul Rhaman Bair.
The remainder of the 7th was spent in digging-in; and the Regiment's machine guns were placed in position with those of Otago facing Chunuk Bair, and gave covering fire to the New Zealand Infantry. Throughout the desperate attacks of the 8th, 9th and 10th these guns fired almost ceaselessly.
From the top of Bauchop Hill could be seen the ships in Suvla Bay, but the advance towards Anafarta of the troops landed there was looked for in vain. From here also was seen the great tragedy of the Nek, upon which, on the morning of August 7th in full daylight, the brave 3rd Light Horse Brigade expended itself in vain,—a brilliant, gallant charge and futile slaughter of good men.
By 11 p.m. on the 9th all New Zealand units had been replaced by New Army Battalions and had withdrawn to Chailak Dere and Rhododendron Spur. These New Battalions were heavily attacked at daylight on 10th August, and, giving way, fell back upon the N.Z. Infantry Brigade on Rhododendron Spur, where the Turks' attack spent itself in vain.
With regard to the Left Assaulting Column, consisting of the 4th Australian Infantry Brigade and the Indian Brigade, under the guidance of Major Overton, of the Canterburys, this force during its advance up the Aghyl Dere in the darkness, also wasted much valuable time in endeavouring to clear the hills of small scattered parties of the enemy.
Daylight found General Cox and his two brigades far below their objective, and the Turkish opposition stiffened so rapidly and so strongly that the column was at a standstill by the morning of the 8th August, and hard put to it to hold what ground it had won by the 10th.
The landing at Suvla Bay, begun so well on the morning of the 7th, by the 10th also had come to a standstill. Had this landing been carried out with vigour and had the troops when landed pushed forward to the Kavak and Tekke Tepe and to the "W" Hills, the attack of the Anzac Forces on the Chunuk Bair position must have succeeded.
The position, briefly, on the morning of 10th August was that the Anzac garrison had broken the Turkish lines and had pushed up the slopes of the Great Sari Bair Ridge and were holding on just below the crest, and on the north they had advanced their line two miles and were feeling out on the Anafarta Plain towards the Suvla Bay Force.
This force had landed but had failed to seize the important tactical features surrounding the Anafarta Plain and had not in any way affected the struggle for the Sari Bair Range.
During these days all men who could be spared went to bury the dead and to assist the stretcher bearers with the wounded. Many of these, after being dressed in the field, lay page 55about the clearing stations or on the beach for two or three days waiting to be evacuated. For the Medical officers to cope with all cases was a physical impossibility. And all the time both wounded and doctors were under fire. Whoever was responsible for the evacuation of casualties had sadly underestimated the numbers, and had failed utterly in his provision of means of conveyance.
There fell on 9th August a brilliant troop leader, Lieutenant G. C. Mayne, of the 10th Squadron, who was killed whilst endeavouring to locate an enemy machine gun in country which he considered too exposed for his men and insisted upon going forward by himself.
The 8th Squadron lost a fine young officer in Lieutenant Cyril Hayter. He was in charge of a special patrol sent to gain touch with the Suvla Bay forces on the plain, and met his death in rallying a party of British infantry who were being fiercely attacked by the Turks.
The Regiment, now under the command of Major Hutton of the 10th Squadron, stayed on Bauchop Hill till the 15th, on which day it moved across to trenches at Holly Hill, near the entrance to the Aghyl Dere. Here at first it was in support to a regiment of South Wales Borderers, but the same evening took over their trenches. During the night an old Turkish trench about two hundred yards further forward was occupied and rapidly improved. While this was going on a covering party lay out in front from twenty to forty yards in the scrub to guard, against attack. To be one of a covering party was a trying ordeal. Bullets were plentiful and cover scarce.
This was the Regiment's first meeting with one of the raw units of "Kitchener's Army." Mere boys, and absolutely untrained, they were being expected to behave as Guardsmen.
An artillery bombardment had been promised, but at the last moment it was decided that the Anzac guns should assist the Suvla Bay attack. Punctually on time, 3.30 p.m., the men jumped from the trenches and raced down the hill. Casualties were numerous till comparative shelter was reached in the bottom of the dere. Then came the climb up the other side, a moment to gather breath, and the rush for the enemy trench 200 yards to the front. It was simply a ease of get there, and during the last part of this rush most page 57of the casualities occurred. Major Hutton was wounded, and Major Hurst of the 1st Squadron took command. The Turks in the trench were killed, and a machine gun was captured and immediately turned upon the Turks by the two Harper brothers of the Machine Gun Section. Though the Australians managed to cross the ravine, they could not reach the enemy trenches; and on our left, despite the fact that the New Army troops had seized the Kabak well with a splendid charge and captured the long trench on the eastern side of the hill in their first rush, they failed to hold the ground they had won. The Canterbury Regiment with the Otagos were now holding about 120 yards of enemy trench with both flanks in the air, and with no means of communication across the exposed valley. Both regiments had lost over 60 per cent. of their number in the space of a quarter of an hour. With the depleted numbers it was impossible to go any further, and orders were received from General Russell that the trenches gained were to be consolidated and held. At dusk the enemy fire slackened, and the Regiment was able to get into touch with the Indian Brigade who were holding the captured wells on the flat.
Major P. M. Acton-Adams, D.S.O., 2nd in Command.
The Regiment held on to this position until the evening of the 23rd, when with the Otago Regiment it was relieved by the Auckland and Wellington M.R., and went back to a quieter valley to gather strength for another attack. 6pt. footnote to be set.
Sergt-Major Norris, the gallant and popular R.S.M., was mortally wounded during the afternoon. This warrant officer had been serving in New Zealand when the war broke out, on loan from the British Army as a mounted instructor. He was at all times an unfailing source of help and information to officers and men, and his soldierly qualities did much to raise the standard of efficiency of the Regiment to the high place it held in the N.Z.M.R. Brigade.page 60
The Regiment returned to the trenches at Hill 60 on the 26th. The attack with which it was hoped to complete the operations on Hill 60 was timed to commence at 5 p.m. on the 27th. An endeavour had been made by General Russell to be allowed to carry out the attack in the dark, for which type of fighting the colonial troops had shown themselves peculiarly adapted. But he was over-ruled, and the daylight attack was promised a liberal artillery support. The force, again a mixed one of New Zealanders and Australians, consisted of the N.Z.M.R. Brigade of four weak regiments, totalling three hundred men, with one hundred from the 18th Battalion (5th Australian Infantry Brigade); about three hundred and fifty men of the 4th Australian Brigade; and two hundred and fifty men of the 5th Connaught Rangers. This mixed force was distributed for the attack as follows:—The New Zealanders with the 100 men from the 18th Australian Battalion were in the centre, and on their right were the men from the 4th Australian Brigade, and on their left the Connaught Rangers. General Russell commanded the attacking force, and Major J. H. Whyte, of the W.M.R., the combined New Zealand Mounted Rifles. In the centre the attack was to be made in three successive lines, Canterbury forming the first line under Major Hurst, together with about forty men of the Auckland Mounted Rifles. These latter carried bombs and their duty was to bomb along the east trench which formed the right flank of the attack of the centre party. An intensive artillery bombardment of the hill was to be made for an hour before the assault.
Right on time the men jumped from the trenches. It seemed no distance to go, probably sixty yards, but every yard of ground was swept by enemy shrapnel and high explosives. Casualties were fearful, but the line reached the first trench and disappeared into it. It seemed minutes, but was probably some seconds only, before they reappeared. A short rush and they were over the second trench and into the third on the top of the hill. But mortal man could go no further. In each trench there had remained many Turks in spite of the heavy bombardment from the Anzac guns. These were now killed and their bodies, together with those who had been slain by the bombardment, literally filled the trenches.page 61
On the right the Australians had failed to get into the enemy trench, and on the left the troops could not hold what they had gained in their first rush. Could the mounted rifles themselves hold on, bombed from all sides, with units mixed up, and practically all officers killed or wounded? Yet there was no thought of going back. All night the incessant bomb duel continued; for the first time in the history of Anzac our force was well supplied with bombs, and it is reported that five thousand three hundred were used on this hill during this night. Early in the evening the Regiment had been much heartened by the arrival of the remnants of the 9th L.H. Regiment from the 3rd Light Horse Brigade. These men, old friends of the Regiment, were used to reinforce each flank.
By daylight the enemy had expended his strength, and bis attacks throughout the day were not so violent. But shelling from the higher ground of the Abdul Rahman Bair went on unmercifully. Communication trenches had been dug during the night by the Connaught Rangers and the dead and wounded were removed. Of the one hundred and nineteen officers and men of the Canterbury Regiment who started the evening before there now remained eighteen men. The other page 62regiments of the brigade were in no better plight. Heavy as the losses were, the Turks suffered more. In the first trench captured their dead lay two and three deep.
It was now decided, as there were no more troops with which to carry the whole hill, that the line passing over the summit of the hill should be consolidated and held. To make this practicable it was evident that the trench along the western side, so gallantly taken by the Connaughts during the first attack on August 21st, but which had been lost by them, and which had since been taken and lost by the 18th Battalion 5th Australian Infantry Brigade, must be captured and held. So during the night of August 29th, one hundred and eighty of the brave 10th L.H. Regiment came into the trenches and by a masterly surprise attack completed the capture of this difficult trench.
The position on the hill was now secure, and on the 29th the Regiment, with the other remnants of the Mounted Rifle Brigade, was relieved.
Major Hurst, who was in command of the Regiment on the 27th, and who so gallantly led the first line, had been evacuated wounded, and the following day the Adjutant, Captain Blair, also went, having suffered a complete loss of voice owing to the bursting of a high explosive shell close to him. The only officer remaining with the Regiment at this time was Captain Gibbs, who had just returned from hospital.
So ended eight continuous days and nights of the hardest and most exhausting fighting the Mounted Brigade was engaged in during the whole war.
Throughout those strenuous nights and days every officer and man on the strength of the Regiment had given of his best, and of the sixteen officers and two hundred and eighty other ranks who broke through the Turkish line on the night of August 6th there remained but one officer and thirty-nine other ranks.
The work of the signallers was beyond praise. For days on end they stuck to their telephones almost without rest, and the repairing of lines entailed many casualties. Among those to lose their lives was Sergeant Hamilton, who had been given a commission as 2nd Lieutenant, but did not live to hear of his promotion.page 63
The Regiment lost another valuable and gallant soldier in sergt-Major R. Sloan, of the N.Z. Permanent Staff, who was Squadron Sergt.-Major to the 8th Squadron and who had served for many years in the 16th Lancers.
No mention has been made throughout this fighting of the stretcher bearers or machine gunners. The former were marvellous. They followed every attack, and though it was nearly always impossible to remove the wounded, yet they bandaged them and marked the place where they lay. By night they searched the ground over which the troops had advanced in case any wounded had been missed. The call for "stretcher bearers" never found them wanting. The Regiment's medical officer, Captain Neil Guthrie, was finally evacuated to hospital on August 22nd, after the greatest devotion to duty. On May 30th, whilst attending the wounded under fire, he was hit in the wrist, but carried on. On August 6th at Bauchop Hill he was wounded again, and finally during the first attack on Hill 60, while engaged in binding up the wounded under most trying conditions, he was seriously wounded in the neck and forced to be relieved. Chaplain H. Blamires rejoined the Regiment on August 21st and rendered good service to the wounded. He was helping Chaplain Grant of W.M.R. when this beloved padre was killed while attending to the Turkish wounded.
The machine gunners were always where they were wanted. In every attack or counter-attack they were in the front. How they got there, weighted with their heavy loads and weakened by sickness, it is impossible to say. For it must be remembered that the gun they used was the old Maxim, much heavier than the Vickers of later days, and in itself a load for a strong healthy man. Some unknown power, by which men rise superior to their physical weakness, must have been theirs.
On September 1st General Russell came to see the Regiment, and his few plain words of appreciation put heart into the tired men. He added that he was trying to get the brigade away from Anzac for a rest.
On September 2nd the Regiment took over the trenches on Cheshire Ridge. This was a fairly quiet place. The Turks had no inclination to attack, nor had the Regiment the strength, though they annoyed each other with an intermittent rifle fire, but that was all. Although literally crawling with vermin, Cheshire Ridge was a haven of rest after Hill 60. The nights were cold, but with the help of Turkish bivvie sheets taken from the enemy's camps, the Regiment kept itself warm. Day and night shell fire continued, but little notice was taken by the tired out men. On September 13th, the 5th Australian Infantry Brigade relieved the N.Z.M.R. Brigade, which, after handing over the trenches, marched down to the beach and embarked the same night on the S.S. Osmanieh and sailed at once for Mudros, leaving behind the machine gun section, now reduced to 12 men in position with their guns on Cheshire Ridge.
The following table, taken from the Regimental Record book, tells its own story:—
|Landed on Gallipoli 12/5/15||26||459|
|Reinforcements various dates||6||186|
|Killed in action||5||108|
|Died of sickness||2||10|
|Hospital sick and wounded||23||443|
|Regimental strength 13/9/15||1||39|
|Machine gunners to remain||—||12|
|Total to Lemnos||1||27|
Arrived at Mudros the Regiment, now under the command of Lt-Colonel George Stewart, marched to a camp site about three miles from the harbour, near the village of Sarpi. Good food and plenty of rest worked wonders in the brigade. Some men, now the reaction had set in, collapsed and were page 67sent to hospital, but the majority improved rapidly. Beyond physical exercises in the morning nothing was done but ordinary camp duties. On September 16th the Admiral of the French Station inspected the Brigade. The four regiments were drawn up in two lines in the camp, while he rode through. The total brigade state was 151, including brigade headquarters. The Admiral asked General Russell if this was all that remained of his regiment. He did not realise at first that he was inspecting the remnants of four regiments. When he did so he turned round, looked at the men in wonder, gravely saluted and rode off.
On the 6th October the Brigade was inspected by General Godley, the parade state now being 50 officers and 1,362 others, for on October 5th the looked for reinforcements had arrived. For the first week they were not drafted to the Regiment, as it was thought that the men from Anzac were not yet strong enough to take part in all necessary drill.
For a long time a controversy continued among the men as to whether the men from Anzac were drafted to the new arrivals or vice versa. The argument brought forward by the reinforcements was that they were ten times the number of the old hands, whereas the old hands maintained that they were the C.M.R. and the new arrivals their humble reinforcements.page 68
Towards the end of October Lieut-Colonel G. H. Stewart was evacuated sick to the Mudros Hospital, and the Regiment was taken over by Major J. Studholme, the senior officer among the reinforcements. The old hands were now worked harder as they became more fit, and drill, route marches and tactical schemes amongst the hills were the order of the day. There were long tiring walks with full equipment on, the older hands with packs stuffed with paper instead of clothing. The new officers were good, and time was soon to show the sterling grit of the reinforcements. Permission was given the men to visit the hot springs at Thermos, about six or seven miles away. The luxury of sitting in hot water, even though the baths were small, more than repaid the walk.
October passed all too quickly. The latest arrivals looked forward with intense eagerness to the day when camp should be struck, but the old hands smiled and shaking their heads expressed their willingness, were it not for the fact that their loved comrades lay buried there, never to see Gallipoli again.
On November 10th the Brigade embarked on its return journey. On arrival at Anzac disembarkation was made at the foot of Walker's Ridge, and the Regiment went straight to a bivouac area in Waterfall Gully in the heart of Bauchop Hill. It was now a different Anzac. Light railways ran round the beach. Roads wound in all directions. When the Regiment left tents did not number half a dozen; now they could be seen everywhere. Hospitals were erected on the very place where the Regiment had first taken over its trenches at Walker's Ridge and No. 2 Outpost. The only likeness of the Anzac as the old hands knew it was the noise of rifle fire and bursting bombs.
* Major Hurst, who was now in command of the Canterbury men, says: "There is not a doubt in my mind as to the intentions of the Turkish force. It was purely an attack. We distinctly heard the sound of a bugle about midnight, and as the sound came from the direction of the Turkish lines, our Regiment immediately stood to arms, and about ten minutes later two or three enemy ground scouts appeared creeping through the scrub. I passed the order along not to shoot, but that the Turks should be allowed to come up to the parapet and be pulled in. This was successfully done, and a few minutes later the main body of the enemy appeared, apparently deceived by the fact that no fire was opened on their scouts, who had evidently clambered into our trenches. I think they took this to mean that either our trenches were vacated or that we wished to surrender, and so came close up."