New Zealand Artillery in the Field, 1914-18
Chapter II. The Landing at Anzac
Chapter II. The Landing at Anzac.
At last on the afternoon of April 24th the great fleet of men-of-war and crowded transports began to clear Mudros harbour, and set out for the shores of Gallipoli. The New Zealand transports lifted anchor early, and steaming down the long lane of ships, dropped anchor again near the netted and closely guarded entranceway. From this vantage point the New Zealanders watched with swelling emotions the vessels of the fleet, and the host of transports move in stately procession out into the open sea. Elated at the thought that at last after their weary months of training and waiting they were to be tried on the testing ground of battle, and thrilled by the moving spectacle, the men cheered vociferously as each ship went slowly past. Night fell at last, calm and very dark, and at midnight, while the soldiers slumbered in their quarters below, the New Zealand transports steamed out to sea with darkened lights. They needed no reveille that morning. The boom of heavy gun-fire heralded the dawn, and clustering up on deck the troops caught their first glimpse of war. Looking shorewards they could see the hills of the Gallipoli Peninsula faintly outlined in the half-light of the coming day; and lined along the coast the dim shapes of great ships of war, which broke again and again into vivid bursts of flame.
By the time it was full day the transports had arrived opposite the little bay on which the covering force of Australians had landed, and which was to become famous for all time as Anzac Cove. The whole line of warships could now be plainly seen stretching away south towards Cape Helles until they became lost in the clouds of smoke. Close at hand were the transports, some of them moving out after having unloaded their troops; but the majority awaiting their turn to transfer their human freight on to the destroyers or big barges.page break
The New Zealand and Australian Division commenced to disembark at 9 a.m. The troops of the 1st Australian Division had driven the Turks beyond the tangled mass of spurs and steep ridges which overlook the beach at the landing place, and were then endeavouring in face of superior numbers to hold the ground which they had won. The task of the New Zealanders on landing was to extend the line on the left of the Australians, and particularly to support the left of the 3rd Australian Brigade, which had landed as the covering force at 5 a.m. The enemy had rushed some batteries of field artillery into action, and as the New Zealanders climbed from the transports into the barges and boats in which they were to be towed ashore, they could see the shrapnel bursting along the water's edge. The densely packed barges offered a very tempting target to the Turkish gunners as they drew slowly in to the shore; but though casualties in the boats were frequent they were not heavy. As they landed the men were flung into the fight without regard to particular units. The need was desperate, and there was no delay. Discarding their weighty packs they went straight up the slopes and gullies and engaged in the desperate struggle against great odds. But the Division was being landed very slowly; night had fallen before the whole Brigade of New Zealand Infantry had been got ashore. For some hours in the middle of the day there was a complete stoppage in the disembarkation; and this at a time when the enemy had been strongly reinforced and was fiercely counter-attacking.
Artillery Headquarters landed with the boats of the first tow, which reached the shore a few minutes before 10 a.m., and the C.R.A. and staff immediately commenced to reconnoitre positions for the Brigade. It needed no reconnaisance to show that in such country it would be a matter of the greatest difficulty to select positions for the 18pr. batteries; it was, however, quite suited for howitzers. Efforts were made to get some of the guns ashore, but without avail; and Headquarters had to content itself with the selection of positions, and the partial preparation of some of them during the night.
The only guns that had been landed by evening were two Indian mountain batteries, and one solitary Australian 18pr. page 26The infantry's need was a desperate one, and they suffered severely owing to the absence of artillery support. The guns of the Navy, owing to their flat trajectory, could not search the gullies or engage the concealed enemy batteries, nor could they lend close support to the infantry. Two shore observation parties were provided by the New Zealand Artillery Brigade to direct and control the fire of the naval guns; but the difficulties of observation and communication were enormous. The Indian gunners did wonderfully good work with their light mountain guns, but they were few in number, and in any case could not hope to silence the Turkish guns. Advancing and fighting in the open, the infantry were exposed to the full effects of the bursts of shrapnel which swept the beaches, and sprayed the scrub-covered ridges where they stubbornly stood their ground, stemming each rush with a desperate courage that took no count of odds. Stretcher bearers of the Field Ambulance and volunteers were working tirelessly to get the wounded down on to the beaches, where the congestion of suffering men became so great that the doctors were overwhelmed, and almost every outgoing barge and boat was crammed full. Out in the Bay the artillerymen on their transports were consumed with impatience; from early morning they had been eagerly expecting the arrival of the barges which were to take them ashore with their guns.
The Artillery in Action.
Casualties during the day had been extremely heavy, and the troops were almost exhausted with their terrible and continuous struggles. The enemy, too, had suffered severe losses, but he had been constantly reinforced, and threatened at any moment to sweep the troops of the Army Corps from their precarious hold on the precipitous and hard-won ridges. The night brought no relief, and the anxiety was so great that a conference was held at which the possibility of a withdrawal was discussed; on the Artillery transports orders were received to stand by the boats in case a re-embarkation should be ordered. But the idea of withdrawal was peremptorily dismissed by the Commander-in-chief; it was decided that the page 27force must hold on; and orders were issued for the hastening of the disembarkation of more troops, including the 4th (How.) Battery and more 18prs. During the night the guns of the 4th Battery were unloaded from the Australind on to barges. The Left Section of the Battery landed at 6.30 a.m. on the 26th April, and immediately went into action at the foot of Howitzer Gully, the guns being pulled along the beach by two teams of Australian horses which had been brought ashore the previous afternoon. The first round, fired at ten minutes to seven, was sent into the "blue" at a range of three thousand yards, so that the infantry might know without delay that their artillery had commenced to arrive, and an involuntary cheer went up from the hillside at the welcome sound. It was music to the ears of the battle-weary men in the line Within a few minutes of firing its first round the section had been linked up with an observing station on Plugge's Plateau, and was busy engaging targets with an unvarying accuracy that certainly did not suggest that the gunners were having their first practice with live shell. Soon after coming into action this section was engaged by hostile guns firing from Gaba Tepe, but they were silenced by the fire of the warships. The remaining two guns of the Battery were landed about noon, and occupied positions which had been prepared overnight to the north of Ari Burnu Point. The first target was the Fisherman's Hut, from which enemy snipers had done a good deal of execution, and a direct hit was registered with the third round. These two guns remained in action on Ari Burnu during the whole period of the campaign, being moved only when the orders came for evacuation.
By the close of the second day a line had been established with some continuity; trenches were gradually being dug and strengthened, and ammunition, stores and water were being got up to the line by the carrying parties, who laboured up the gullies and precipitous slopes oblivious of the enemy shrapnel, or the snipers who took toll of their numbers from the scrub-covered tops. On the beach a pier had been improvised from some barges which had been stranded on the shingle, which on subsequent days was strengthened with planking and stout beams, and did service until the more page 28substantial Watson's Pier was erected. On this narrow shelving strip of shingle everything was landed—mules, men and guns, and stores of every description, and here grew up great square stacks of bully beef and biscuits, the staple diet of the soldier at Anzac. The transport mules were picketed in lines on the beach until the guns from either flank commenced to make the area so unhealthy that they took refuge up the deep, narrow gullies which ran up between the ridges.
Late in the afternoon of April 26th arrangements were made to disembark the 2nd Battery, but it was the early morning of the 27th before the guns were finally got ashore. Two big barges went alongside the Surada about dusk, and into each was loaded a section of guns and limbers, and a full complement of ammunition. About 9 p.m. a trawler took charge of the two barges and towed them close in shore, where the Battery was informed that it could not land that night. The gunners spent a cheerless night lying off-shore in the barges, listening to the patter of the stray bullets in the water all round them. At dawn the trawler took them to within a hundred yards of the shore, near Hell Spit, the gunners laboriously manœuvring the unwieldy barges over the remaining distance. As they were landed the guns and vehicles were drawn up on the beach and concealed as far as possible; but the disembarkation had hardly been completed when the enemy commenced to shell the beach with shrapnel. The Battery did not go into action at once, but the officers spent the day endeavouring to find a position for the guns which would be accessible besides being suitable in other respects. Everywhere they were faced with sheer cliffs or apparently impossible slopes; but it was recognised that the guns would have to be dragged up a track which must be prepared without delay. There was no alternative; as the flat trajectory guns could not shoot over the cliffs they must be got up on top of them. In the meantime the two guns of the Right Section were manhandled up to a temporary position on the shoulder of the ridge above Ari Burnu. The position afforded only a limited field of fire to the north-east; but the guns did some very effective shooting on this zone.page break page break page 29
There was an exciting moment cm the crowded beach during the afternoon of the 28th, when observers, watching through a telescope the busy movements of the Turks on the distant point of Nibrunesi, reported that a heavy gun was being dragged into position. A gun firing from Nibrunesi Point could enfilade the beach, and play terrible havoc on the crowded slopes sheltered by Plugge's Plateau and the shoulders running down to the sea. The left section of the Howitzer Battery opened fire, but failed to reach the Point, and beach parties working with feverish energy to get the ammunition from the beach to the shelter of Howitzer Gully, were filled with anxious apprehension. Messages had been sent out to the Navy, however, and a cruiser away on the left opened fire on the Point, and relieved the situation. A party of New Zealand Infantry, which made a successful landing on Nibrunesi Point at dawn on May 2nd, destroyed an observation post as well as capturing a number of prisoners, and reported the existence of a prepared gun position, but no gun.
The Left Section of the 2nd Battery, which had been in reserve on the beach, got a sudden call into action some time after midnight on the 28th. Infantry patrols had reported that the enemy was moving along the flat to the north of the Cove, evidently with the idea of attacking the somewhat exposed left flank. All spare men and beach parties stood to arms, a defensive line was occupied, and the gunners dragged their two guns through the heavy sand to a position near the left section of the 4th Battery. Supplies of ammunition were brought up, and the guns stood ready for action, but the threatened attack was abandoned. Once again the Navy had come to the rescue, destroyers standing in and throwing a concentrated beam across the flat from their searchlights. On this brightly illumined path the Turk very wisely refused to show himself. As the two guns were in full view of the enemy by day, they were removed with the first flush of dawn.
A position had now been found for the 2nd Battery on the top of Plugge's Plateau, but the question of how the guns were to be got up had yet to be settled. However, a working party of infantry, some hundreds strong, was set to work to makepage 30a road up Maclagan's Ridge, and with such energy did they apply themselves to their task that the track was sufficiently prepared by evening to permit of the passage of the guns. Horses could not be employed on those sheer slopes, and accordingly, with long ropes and one hundred lusty men heaving in unison the guns were literally lifted up on to the plateau. Ten days later the Right Section was brought up from Ari Burnu, and there the Battery remained until shortly after the opening of the big August attack. The position was eminently one which in ordinary times would have been considered "impossible"; but so would most positions at Anzac. But to the bold imagination and indomitable spirit of the Australasians who took and held for so long that narrow sweep of barren, broken country, nothing appeared impossible. This position looked straight across to the Turkish trenches at Quinn's Post, and the Turks, on their part, were able to look almost down the muzzles of the guns.
Plugge's Plateau was an almost level piece of ground a few acres in extent which crowned the slopes of Anzac Cove. Standing on the Plateau and looking east across Monash Gully the forward trenches at Quinn's Post were in full view; while lower down were the communication trenches with which the beaver-like industry of sapper and infantryman had honeycombed the face of the cliff. Above these forward trenches, almost in the same line of sight with them, and a bare twenty yards further on, was the Turkish front line. The 2nd Battery watched this point, the most vulnerable in the whole system, and the most vital. It could see and shoot at scarcely any other; but though its arc of fire was so limited, the shooting the guns could do within this arc was so effective and of such value as to make the position one of great importance. Careful ranging and most accurate fuze-setting alone rendered it possible for the guns to engage the enemy twenty yards beyond their own line at a range of between nine hundred and a thousand yards. The deadly effect of this direct fire can be imagined; and after one or two experiences the enemy was little disposed to leave his trenches in the face of it.
Three guns of the 1st Battery arrived on the beach on the afternoon of April 30th, and were followed by the remaining page 31gun at 6 a.m. on May 1st. A somewhat exposed position on the left flank had been selected and partly prepared for one section, and despite the risks, an attempt was made to occupy it during daylight. The two guns, drawn by six-horse teams, had not proceeded far north of Ari Burnu Point when the leading team came under heavy rifle fire. As the team could not turn in the heavy sand, the horses were unhooked, and the attempt to get the guns into position was postponed till nightfall. This position, which had been occupied with a view rather to moral than material effect, afforded only a restricted field of fire, and four or five days later the two guns were withdrawn to the beach at the Cove, where the Battery remained in reserve until May 17th. From that date until the evacuation the Battery occupied what was without doubt one of the best gun-positions, from a shooting point of view, in the whole of the Anzac area, commanding as it did a field of fire which practically extended from the sea on the right to the sea on the left. This position was on Russell's Top, the apparently insurmountable summit of Walker's Ridge, the guns being got there only by dint of the same initial labour and great exertions that had been necessary to place the 2nd Battery on the summit of Plugge's Plateau. Engineers and infantry working parties made a track up Walker's Ridge, and a big team of infantrymen, whose enthusiasm made them willing volunteers, pulled the guns up the long, dragging way from the beach to the top. As the 2nd Battery looked directly into Quran's, so from the 1st Battery gun-pits the enemy works at Lone Pine and Johnston's Jolly lay in full view, at a range of from eight hundred to one thousand yards. These were the only field guns which could bear on these two places in the line, this fact alone making the position one of tremendous value.
It will readily be seen that in addition to possessing a preponderance in guns, and more plentiful supplies of ammunition, the enemy enjoyed every advantage of position and observation. In the Anzac area, circumscribed and altogether unsuitable for the use of field guns, batteries were obliged for the most part to occupy positions that might almost be described page 32as inaccessible, and were plainly exposed to the enemy's view, or altogether nullify the value of their support to the infantry. There were no alternative positions, and even if there had been, the labour involved in moving the guns in such country would have rendered them of little use. Being thus plainly exposed to the enemy's view, there was no recourse for the batteries but to endeavour to protect their positions, and particularly their personnel, by digging trenches and constructing protective earthworks. The 1st Battery position in front of the Sphinx was fairly well protected on the left by the lie of the ground, which sloped up to the cliff-edge. The Turkish guns firing from Anafarta seldom did any damage, most of the shells striking the face of the cliff, or going right over. The 2nd Battery on Plugge's Plateau, was even more exposed to view, but the position was made very strong despite the almost total lack of materials. Sandbags were to be had in small quantities, but timber was unprocurable—through ordinary channels of supply, at any rate. This lack of material made it impossible to construct strong overhead cover on the gun-pits; but communication trenches were dug between the guns, approaches were prepared, and the accommodation for the detachments was much improved. This work was done as opportunity offered; much of it during the quiet days at the end of May, and in June. The gunners lived beside their pieces in small burrow-like dug-outs or excavations, which were often very comfortable and always clean, and models of neatness in the arrangement of their few personal belongings. Observing officers, with their telephonists, lived at the observing stations in or near the front line while on duty. They were usually relieved at intervals of a week, or thereabouts; but during those periods when there was a shortage of officers, chiefly due to dysentery and similar complaints, these hours of duty extended over very lengthy periods. An observation station for the direction of naval fire was also constantly maintained, and the data and information as to targets which were supplied to the vessels of the fleet, considerably increased the value of their fire. All messages were sent to a naval wireless station established in the Cove, and thence they were transmitted to the fleet.page break page break page 33
At the commencement of the campaign ammunition had all to be taken up to the guns by hand, but when the Corps settled down, and such things became better organised, the employment of transport mules relieved the gunners of a heavy burden. It was not a long carry to the howitzers; but few of the gunners will forget the dragging climb up to Plugge's Plateau, or to the 1st Battery's position on Walker's Ridge. Most of the ammunition for the 1st Battery was taken up by pack mules on the road constructed for the guns, and a fair measure of success attended a scheme for hauling it up the cliffside by a rope let down on the right of the Sphinx.
The Turk long cherished the illusion that it was possible by sheer weight of numbers to fling back into the sea the adventurous soldiery who had wrested this narrow footing on his coast, but the absolute failure of all his desperate attempts in the closing days of April must have gone some way towards dispelling it. During most of this time the 4th Battery was the only field battery supporting the Division, and the value of its support to the wearied infantry is almost beyond estimation. The only limit to its activities was the ammunition supply, which had to be husbanded with the most jealous care. For two hours, at one of the most critical periods, the guns were entirely without ammunition. This was on April 27th, and difficulty was at first experienced in getting fresh supplies sent ashore, but at last some arrived from the Australind, and the guns were able to resume shooting.
By the end of April the line had been reorganized by extricating troops which had become mixed with ether units in the confusion of the early fighting, preparations following for an attack on May 2nd, with the object of improving the line by capturing a commanding knoll between Quinn's Post and Walker's Ridge. The attack, which was made at night over unfamiliar, broken country, was not successful. It was preceded by a bombardment by the field guns that were in action, and the guns of the Navy; but owing to the conditions it could not be directly supported by artillery fire. The attacking troops suffered heavy losses from machine-gun and rifle fire during the night, and when the dawn came found their positions so exposed as to be absolutely untenable.
The Turkish Attacks in May.
Three days later the New Zealand Infantry Brigade, with the 2nd Australian Infantry Brigade, left Anzac for Helles. The temporary withdrawal of these two brigades so weakened the line that the gravest anxiety prevailed, until the tension was relieved by the arrival on May 12th of the New Zealand Mounted Rifles and the men of the Australian Light Hone. On the arrival of these fresh troops the battalions of the Royal Naval Division, who had been assisting to hold the line, were embarked for Helles. While the line had been so thinly held the New Zealand batteries in action played a very responsible part in the defence of the position. The 2nd Battery, tirelessly vigilant in following every movement of the enemy in front of Quinn's and the neighbouring posts, lent invaluable aid to the infantry on the morning of May 10th, during a strong enemy counter-attack. On the previous night troops of the Royal Marine Brigade had made a sortie and captured some trenches, the possession of which would materially have improved the position at that point. The assaulting troops had succeeded in establishing themselves in the captured trenches, and reinforcements had been sent up, but at dawn the Turks heavily counter-attacked, and recaptured the trenches. The direct fire of the 2nd Battery's 18prs. on Plugge's Plateau, and the high explosive of the 4.5in. howitzers inflicted very heavy casualties on the enemy, who paid dearly for their success. Later in the morning the 2nd Battery so effectually shelled the trenches in front of Quinn's Post that the shooting drew warm praise and a message of thanks from Brigadier-General Trotman, R.M.L.I., commanding No. 3 Section of the line. Further evidence of the deadly effectiveness of the fire of these two batteries on this occasion was had some time later, when an entry was found in the diary of a Turkish officer to the effect that two Turkish regiments on May 10th lost 600 killed and 2,000 wounded.
Despite the fact that they were few in number and so ill supplied with ammunition, the three New Zealand batteries shot so well and so consistently on every emergency, and at every critical period, that invariably they received the warm page 35thanks of the Infantry Commanders in the line. The gunner's regret was that his activities should be so drastically limited by the unkind circumstance that every round he expended had almost to be begged for. But by accurate service on the guns, and careful skill at the observation post, as much was done with the meagre supply as was humanly possible. The 4th Howitzer Battery suffered more by the shortage than did any of the 18pr. batteries. The only howitzer battery at Anzac for many months, there fell to it the multitude of tasks which the flat-trajectoried 18prs. were not able to undertake in a country so unsuited for anything else but howitzers. Not a day passed but requests were sent in to the howitzers for fire to be brought to bear on some particular target which the other guns could not reach, and very often the Battery Commander found himself without ammunition, and unable to accede to the request. A reserve had always to be kept on hand lest some critical emergency should suddenly arise; and to make inroads on it for the purposes of normal daily fire was out of the question.
On May 16th, the day before the 1st Battery guns were got up to Walker's Ridge, Major-General Sir A. J. Godley sent to the C.R.A. a message referring in appreciative terms to the shooting of the batteries then in action. "Please convey," the message ran, "to all your batteries now here my high appreciation of the excellent shooting they have made while in action here. All commanders of posts are loud in their praises of the support they have had from the, howitzers and No. 2 Battery, and on behalf of the whole Division I wish to express to them our thanks for the good work which has led to such substantial results."
When the Turks made their big attack on May 19th, the shore artillery supporting the Division consisted of the 4th Howitzer Battery, the 1st and 2nd Batteries, and one 6in. howitzer manned by men of the Royal Garrison Artillery. This gun had been landed on the night of May 16th, and on the following day hauled up Walker's Ridge to an excellent position which gave a good field of fire, but its value was rather discounted by the fact that only one hundred and fifty page 36rounds of ammunition had been sent with it. At the time of this attack the troops holding the line were disposed as follows:—
- No. 1 Section—3rd Australian Infantry Brigade, 6 guns A.F.A., 6 guns Indian Mountain Battery.
- No. 2 Section—1st Australian Infantry Brigade, 5 guns Australian F.A., one 6in. howitzer.
- No. 3 Section—1st Light Horse Brigade and 4th Australian Infantry Brigade, 3 guns Indian Mountain Artillery, 2 howitzers 4th Battery, N.Z.F.A., 2nd Battery, N.Z.F.A.
- No. 4 Section—N.Z. Mounted Rifles Brigade, 4 guns 1st Battery, N.Z.F.A., 3 guns Indian Mountain Artillery, 2 howitzers 4th Battery, N.Z.F.A., one 6in. howitzer.
The attack was expected and prepared for. Word had been received of considerable movement of enemy troops along the roads on the Peninsula, and reinforcements had been seen marching to Anzac from the southern zone at Helles. The Navy vigorously shelled these roads and communication ways; the Turkish response at Anzac making it clear at once that his artillery had received an accession of strength, including some guns of very heavy calibre, which had not previously opened fire. The attack opened suddenly at midnight on May 18th, when rifle and machine-gun fire more violent than anything that had previously been experienced, broke out along the whole Anzac front. All ranks had been warned of the imminence of the attack, both the riflemen in the trenches, and the gunners by their pieces, calmly awaiting the moment of assault. The crash of the Turkish shells punctuated this prolonged roar from rifle and machine gun. Towards 3 a.m. the fire slackened somewhat, but increased in intensity again when the Turkish infantry at last advanced to the attack. The first effort, which was directed against the left of No. 2 Section, was repulsed with rifle, machine-gun, and artillery fire; but it was only a foretaste of what was to follow. The Turks came on four times, always to be repulsed with loss. At the same time a heavy attack was delivered on the north-east salient of No. 4 page 37Section; and between 4.30 and 5 a.m. fighting became general along almost the whole line. At Quinn's and Courtney's, and in front of the trenches held by the New Zealand Mounted Rifles, the Turks came on in masses, dimly seen in the smoke of battle, and the half light of the coming dawn. There was little doubt about their courage, and there was less doubt about their numbers. Concentrated rifle fire, and the terrible stream of lead from machine-guns, swept great gaps in their ranks, but there was no wavering; they faced death bravely.
The growing light gave the artillery observers a better chance, and while the 2nd Battery was pouring its short range murderous fire into the trenches opposite Quinn's and Courtney's, the 1st Battery and the Howitzers were making good practice on large bodies of the enemy assembling in Johnston's Jolly. Employing an increased number of guns, the enemy shelled the trenches, interior positions and the beach. The 2nd Battery in particular was subjected to a fairly steady fire from light calibre guns, but little damage was sustained. This Battery, whose left section was getting most of the targets, got some splendid shooting about ten o'clock; a large force of the enemy which had been unable to make any headway in an attack directed against the left of Courtney's Post and the right of Quinn's, swung round to the left of Quinn's, where they were so severely handled by the guns that their attack was completely broken up. By that time the impetus of the attack was spent, but the enemy was further harassed by gun-fire in the valley east of Plateau 400, where they were endeavouring to reorganise their shattered ranks.
For the not inconsiderable part which it had played in thus definitely checking this great attack, which it was later discovered was ambitiously designed by the Turks to drive the invaders back into the sea, the 2nd Battery received the thanks of Colonel Chauvel, commanding the 1st Australian Light Horse Brigade, and Brigadier-General Monash, commanding the 4th Australian Infantry Brigade, both of whom stated that the Battery saved Quinn's Post, as they could not have held the position without its support. When the enemy was page 38attacking with such determination in front of the Post, the shells of the Battery were bursting a few feet beyond the front line trenches and covering the enemy with a hail of shrapnel. The expenditure of ammunition was of course considerable, but amply justified by the results. The 18prs. fired 1,360 rounds, the Howitzer battery 143 rounds, and the Mountain Guns 1,400 rounds, while the expenditure of small arms ammunition was estimated at little short of a million rounds.
Desultory firing continued until the afternoon of May 20th, when there came a marked lull, and about six o'clock Red Crescent and white flags appeared at various points in the enemy's line. The Turks appeared at first desirous of an armistice to get in wounded and bury their dead; but it soon became apparent that the flags were part of a ruse to gain time and cover the massing of troops for another attack after dark. Those of the enemy who had left their trenches were warned to go back, the 1st and 2nd Batteries were ordered to open fire, and troops in the line were warned against a possible attack. The enemy did actually attack during the night in the direction of Courtney's Post, but the attack lacked vigour, and was broken up. An hour and a half after midnight, however, the whole line was shelled, and a determined attack was made on Quinn's Post; but the attackers again fared badly at the hands of the 2nd Battery, whose fire drove them to the shelter of their trenches, and beat back all other attempts to assault. Slow fire was kept up on the enemy's trenches in this locality until 4 a.m., when all guns opened up in a general bombardment which extended over half an hour.
The following day negotiations of a formal character were opened by the enemy with a view to arranging a suspension of arms. A Turkish officer made his way along the shore from Gaba Tepe, under cover of a white flag, and was met and escorted, blindfolded, through the lines and along the beach to Army Corps Headquarters. The negotiations extended over some two or three days, but a suspension of arms was finally arranged for May 24th, to commence at 7.30 a.m., and to terminate at 4.30 p.m. At the appointed hour the armistice parties from each force met on the right flank of the Anzac page 39position, and proceeded to mark out with, small white flags a dividing line down the centre of No Man's Land. By ten o'clock this preliminary disposition had been completed, and the burial parties, Turkish and Colonial, set to work each on their own side of the dividing line. It had been agreed that in addition to burying its own dead, each side should carry to the centre line and hand over all the enemy dead for identification and burial. This was not found practicable when the task came to be faced, and it was therefore agreed that each side should bury where they lay all the dead within its zone. The burying was completed about 3 p.m., by which time it was estimated some 3,000 Turkish dead, killed on or since the 18th May, had been buried in the area between the opposing lines.
The day following the Armistice was marked by a tragic and dramatic happening, which for the time, at any rate, left an even more marked impression on the minds of everyone than had the grim business of the previous day. This was the sinking by a submarine of H.M.S. Triumph, in the light of broad day, and almost at the very feet of the watchers on the slopes of Anzac. A hostile submarine had been reported off Gaba Tepe on May 22nd, and in consequence all transports lying off shore had been ordered to Mudros, although this meant the dislocation of the supply arrangements for the force on shore. Extra precautions had also been taken by ships of the navy, which were kept under way as much as possible. The Triumph was standing about a mile off shore, a little south of Anzac Cove, when a great column of smoke and water rose up from her side, and she quickly commenced to heel over. The big ship must have flashed the news abroad that she was hit and in her death agony, for from every quarter came racing destroyers and naval small craft. From away down south in the direction of Cape Helles black shapes on the skyline, each of them a torpedo-boat destroyer, began to increase in size, and presently into plain view they came, spreading out fan-shape, with the foam rising to their decks almost, and the smoke spreading out in a black mottled wake overhead. One or two destroyers cruising nearer at hand had page 40raced at once to the Triumph, and were busy taking off the crew, while picquet boats and pinnaces had put off from the shore with a like despatch. Slowly the Triumph heeled over until her decks were almost perpendicular and her port guns were tilted skywards, and within twelve minutes of being struck she had turned completely over, the great length of her red keel glistening in the sun. While the questing destroyers circled round, hungry for a sight of the submarine, the vessel gradually sank deeper in the waters, until with a little swirl she disappeared completely from view. The old ship had become familiar to everyone at Anzac, and the spectacle made a profound impression on the thousands who stood on the hills and watched her tragic end. At midday she rode trim and strong, the sun beating on her clean bare decks, and the smooth, shining length of her big guns; but within the hour she had been stricken to the vitals, and found her last resting place in the blue waters of the Ægean.