Withdrawal from the Dardanelles: thousands of Irish lives lost

1916/2016: a miscellany

Sir Ian Hamilton

Sir Ian Hamilton

 

A daily notebook, Monday to Friday, recalling the events of the day 100 years ago, leading to the Easter Rising and noting the commemorations this spring.

January 7th, 1916

As reports come in of the final withdrawal from the Dardanelles – at a cost of 250,000 lives, 3,411 of them from the 10th (Irish) Division – the authorities publish a report by former commander of the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force, Sir Ian Hamilton (below), on the bloody fiasco of Suvla Bay in August 1915.

There, Lieut -Gen Sir Frederick Stopford’s failure to press on against weak, un-reinforced Turkish lines resulted in huge losses, notably Irish. Both generals would be sacked.

IT editorial: “Sir Ian Hamilton’s despatch amply confirms the common report that the valour and devotion of the men left nothing to be desired; that, nevertheless, their heroic sacrifices were made in vain; that victory absolute and complete, was thrown away when it was within our grasp by blunders in the command.”

IT report: “The case of alleged impersonation of a soldier by Pte John Goulding was dismissed at Widnes yesterday. In cross-examination Mrs O’Connor, the complainant, said: ‘I told him I did not think he was my husband from beginning to end. I did not believe him all the time.’”

“Fashionable Intelligence”: “The King has sent a gift of game from Sandringham to the Church Army.”

The “Golfing Notes” column (January 8th), written from a wider UK perspective, reflects the mood on the fairway: “Now that compulsory military service promises to become an accomplished fact in Great Britain, the prospects for golf during the year are considerably brighter. Since the outbreak of war men were bashful about appearing on the links. They felt that they were doing something they were not entitled to do, since so many others who had voluntarily offered their services to the country were laying down their lives on the battlefield. There will be no such timidity in future, for the State will have allotted to each and every one his particular duties.”

At a meeting yesterday, the directors of the Dublin Tramway Company recommended the payment of a dividend at the rate of 6 per cent per annum, less income tax, for the year ended December 31st, 1915, and set aside £18,000 towards the renewal of rails.

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