Battle of Hanna | Robert Palmer | 21 Jan 1916

Battle of Hanna

It’s time to attack at the Hanna chokepoint in Mesopotamia. The Siege of Kut has to be relieved somehow. Can’t make an omelette without breaking eggs, et cetera. And, after several months of relaxation and a few weeks of marching, it’s time for Robert Palmer of the 1/4th Hampshires to lead his men into battle, on the extreme left of the attack; it begins just before 8am.

As soon as we left the trenches we were under a heavy rifle fire, and as we advanced this became more and more intense, with machine gun and shrapnel fire added. The ground was perfectly flat and open with no form of cover to be obtained, and our casualties soon became very heavy. We continued to advance till we got to within about 150 yards of the enemy’s trenches, but by this time our casualties were so heavy that it was impossible to press home the attack without reinforcements, though at the extreme left of our line, our troops actually got into the first line of trenches, but were bombed out of them again by the Turks.

No reinforcements reached us, however, and we afterwards heard that the Regiment which should have come up in support of us was enfiladed from their right and was consequently drawn off in that direction.

But these are not his words; this account is credited only to “An Officer Who Was There”. A brother officer, Lieutenant Vernon, gives a few more details.

…He was the only Hants officer actually to penetrate the Turkish trenches with a few men. That was on the extreme left close to the river. Our men, however, had not been supplied by the Indian Government with bombs. Consequently the Turks, being so provided, bombed them out, and only one or two men escaped capture or death. It was here that [he] was mortally wounded while trying to rally his men to hold the captured sector.

A further account tells of Robert Palmer being seriously wounded in the chest by a grenade and surviving until mid-afternoon, before dying of the wound in an Ottoman aid post. However, it will take the better part of four months to collect the story and inform his family that he is dead; in the meantime, he will be officially missing.

Meanwhile, the battle goes on. Another bombardment is ordered for early afternoon, followed by another infantry charge. The rain has come back by now, heavy as ever it was. The ground has been pulped by both sides’ shells, and this attack sinks hopelessly into the mud, doomed to fail. The relief force has taken over 2,700 casualties and achieved absolutely nothing.

Before we leave the Battle of Hanna behind, a quick note. You may remember last week Robert Palmer telling us how he narrowly avoided having to organise a firing-party to shoot three Indian soldiers for either cowardice or desertion. Two Indian battalions were supposed to advance along with Robert Palmer, but according to Major Stilwell of the Hampshires, when they saw the impossible conditions, they refused, despite their white officers waving revolvers around.

It seems that, unlike Palmer, the executed men’s friends have drawn the correct conclusion from their example. Talk about giving your life so that your friends may live…

Louis Barthas

Louis Barthas’s leave is over. He’s acquired two companions to make the journey slightly less dull.

One was my friend Allard from Peyriac, a veteran of the 13th Squad and survivor of Lorette who was joining his new regiment of Territorials, where his age had earned him a spot. The other was Private Sabatier, from Rieux, in the same battalion as mine. Illiterate, ignorant, and simpleminded, not understanding even French, Sabatier would not have been able to get back to the front without me.

Here we pause to remind ourselves again that Barthas and his friends would have thought and spoke amongst themselves in Occitan, with standard French only used when necessary. (Anyone want to bet that Captain Cros-Mayrevielle always uses standard French?) We know the good corporal quite well by now, so it should be no surprise that he’s barely out of his village before he’s found something to complain about.

By the time we arrived in Toulouse, the train of returning leave takers had already departed. The railway employees compelled us to take the express train to Paris, which was just about to pull out. This obligation made us suspicious, and we were right. They wanted to rid the Toulouse station of the mob of soldiers, but then at each station they would empty out a car or two.

So there we were in Brive-la-Gaillarde, stuck for twenty-four hours. Since it was the same thing every day, the hotel keepers flocked to the station to offer their hospitality (at a price) for the night to the disoriented leave takers. We had no choice but to spend a night in a hotel bed.

Actions in Progress

Armenian Genocide
Siege of Kut
Erzurum Offensive

Further Reading

Support the blog! Buy the book! The book of 1915 is now in production and should, touch wood, be available to order very soon.

I have a Twitter account, @makersley, which you can follow to be notified of updates and get all my retweets of weird and wonderful First World War things. If you prefer Tumblr, I’m also on Tumblr.

The Daily Telegraph is republishing its archives from the war day-by-day. Worth a look. (If you find the olde-tyme style difficult to get along with, have a look at this reading guide.)

Mother | Hanna | 20 Jan 1916

Battle of the Somme

Today General Joffre pays one of his little visits to General Haig at GHQ in St Omer. You may recall that a month ago, he wrote a long letter suggesting that an area of Picardy around the River Somme might be a good one for an offensive. The British-held part of the Western Front currently extends from the Ypres salient to a point just south of the Somme. If they were to attack there, then French and British soldiers would be able to fight side-by-side, an important propaganda concern.

Whether by accident or design, Joffre has also managed to frame his proposal for the offensive in terms that Haig will be predisposed to approve of. A letter sent a few days later talks extensively of the need wear down the enemy before seeking a decisive victory. Hello, “wearing-out battle!” They’re still working around a rough start date of July 1st for the main push, but Joffre’s also trying to sell Haig on the idea of two major pre-push battles in April and May to wear the Germans down. (A large debate follows among Haig’s staff as to the best way for politely telling Joffre to place this idea where the sun does not shine.)

Mother

Back in Blighty, it’s another important milestone for the development of tanks. In Lincoln’s Burton Park, Mother has been brought out for her first live firing test. It’s worth remembering that this first tank design doesn’t look much like what we now think of as a tank. It’s a large diamond-shaped box with tracks running right up onto the roof and no turret. Instead, the tank’s weapons will be held in two “sponsons” (it’s a silly naval word), forward-facing boxes attached to each side of the tank.

tank

One sponson will hold a machine-gun, but the other will be armed with an artillery piece. French tank development quickly went down the road of “we ‘ave zese soixante-quinze guns, ‘ow do we make one to go on ze tank?”. However, without an iconic gun to adapt, the British designers have ended up trying to shoe-horn a Hotchkiss 6-pound naval gun into the things. There are now some concerns that the gun’s recoil might be too high for the design to cope with. Indeed, original Landships Committee member Thomas Hetherington has a £50 bet with one of the chief designers, Walter Wilson, that the entire hull will collapse under the shock.

And it’s not the best of starts. The first attempt to fire a shell fails to fire. Hetherington and Wilson wander over to inspect the gun, at which point Mother lets off what’s surely one of the most spectacular Bang-Fucks in British history. (So called because when they happen, the gun says “Bang” and you say “Fuck”.) After a long pause while they go off to find the shell, they manage a few better-controlled shots and the machine proves perfectly stable. A drive across some suitable obstacles follows.

Mother is now ready to be demonstrated in official trials; preparations have been underway for some time. Time to accelerate them. More soon!

Mesopotamia

Back to the desert. The best plan that General Aylmer and friends can manage to deal with the Hanna chokepoint is to send as many guns as possible onto the far bank of the River Tigris to shell the Ottoman positions from the side. They’ve got four battalions of infantry across, but “as many guns as possible” has turned out to be one battery of field artillery and half a battery of the Royal Arse Hortillery. The remaining men, also about 4,000 strong, wait on the right bank of the river to charge.

A frontal attack is the only thing possible. On the right the Ottomans’ flank is held firm by a vast marsh. On the left; the attackers may be able to put men across the river, but there’s no way of getting them back over the river to attack the defenders’ rear or flanks. Most of the day is spent launching intermittent artillery bombardments and demonstrations. They have no way of knowing that most of the defenders are quite safe in strong, deep dugouts. They have no means of digging proper jumping-off trenches, as would be done on the Western Front, to minimise the amount of open ground that the infantry will have to cross. No Man’s Land will be some 500 yards wide, five times the width that anyone would have planned for in France.

And yet, if they sit and do nothing, Kut-al-Amara only has so much food. Incidentally, the Ottomans have just made an unsurprising change of command. Colonel Nureddin is removed in favour of Colonel Halil, who will be more willing to listen to his boss.

Robert Palmer

Robert Palmer’s mind is on other things than writing. He spends the day on the march.

Fair, sun, heavy bombardment all day. Post going.

He’s spent the previous two battles in general reserve. That makes him and his fellows of the 1/4th Hampshires the closest thing available to fresh troops. The only consolation is that they will be fighting on the extreme left of the attack, next to the river; the main thrust will be further to the right. The attack is scheduled for dawn tomorrow.

Actions in Progress

Armenian Genocide
Siege of Kut
Erzurum Offensive

Further Reading

Support the blog! Buy the book! The book of 1915 is now in production and should, touch wood, be available to order very soon.

I have a Twitter account, @makersley, which you can follow to be notified of updates and get all my retweets of weird and wonderful First World War things. If you prefer Tumblr, I’m also on Tumblr.

The Daily Telegraph is republishing its archives from the war day-by-day. Worth a look. (If you find the olde-tyme style difficult to get along with, have a look at this reading guide.)

Hanna chokepoint | Dubail | 19 Jan 1916

Mesopotamia

Robert Palmer has something positive to report at last. He’s moving! I write while humming Here Comes The Sun.

Sun at last; first fine day since Thursday last. Orders to cross Wadi as soon as bridge repaired. Crossed at 4 pm and camped in a dry place.

An attack on the Hanna chokepoint is now possible. The question now is whether or not it’s advisable, and that’s a rather more interesting question. General Townshend’s last assessment of his situation at Kut-al-Amara was that he had rations for two months, perhaps three; by those calculations he now has less than a month’s food at his disposal and a very limited supply of ammunition. The need for relief to arrive as urgently as possible is still as great as apparently ever it was.

That’s the hard place. Now for the rock. The relief force’s effective strength is still under 10,000. Their estimates of enemy strength are wildly optimistic, at about 14,000; double that would be more accurate. Even with that wild optimism, they’re still outnumbered. Aerial recon may have failed to give an accurate picture of the enemy’s numbers, but it has shown them an accurate picture of the enemy defences in the Hanna chokepoint.

It’s being blocked by a double line of trenches, constructed to German designs, with plentiful quantities of barbed wire out in front of them. What aerial recon can’t spot is that the trenches are seven feet deep, and extensively accessorised with dugouts and shelters. It’s going to be a big ask for the relief force’s artillery to make a dent in them. But, again, only a few weeks’ worth of food are left at the Siege of Kut. They can’t just sit back and watch the garrison starve.

Time now for some ironies. The first one is back at Basra. For want of river transport, there are another 10,000 fresh men stranded at Basra, unable to move forward and help, with more due to arrive soon. If they’d all been sent forward, that’s now 20,000 men (and, crucially, their artillery batteries) at Hanna. The second irony is much more aggravating than this, though.

What General Lake (who arrives in Basra today to take over from General Nixon) and General Aylmer don’t know is that Townshend’s management of the siege, ahem, leaves something to be desired. For one thing, his men are still on full rations, which he later attempted to justify with some waffle about keeping morale up. For another, there’s a considerable quantity of food in Kut-al-Amara that’s been hoarded by the inhabitants, which he’s made no attempt to access. He signalled “Am commandeering all bazaar supplies” a while ago, but by this he meant only “Am buying up all supplies that people are willing to sell me”.

And it could have been worse still. He’s had to be talked out of expelling the entire civilian population by Sir Percy Cox, the British political officer. Cox pointed out to him the humanitarian effects (and, of course, the severe negative consequences for British prestige) of throwing 7,000 people into the desert to fend for themselves, and Townshend was eventually talked round. After the war, he claimed to regret the decision. Had he taken it, he’d have handed a propaganda gift to the enemy and probably secured a place among the likes of Colonel Dyer, perpetrator of the Amritsar Massacre.

Anyway. That’s what we can see now with 100 years of hindsight The situation that Lake and Aylmer are faced with is quite different. If they can’t find some way of getting through, round, under, or over the Hanna chokepoint, the Siege of Kut will be over and Townshend will have to surrender. It’s an impossible decision, but on the information the have, they quite clearly have no option other than to attack as soon as possible, and trust to luck or prayer.

Battle of Verdun

Despite his professed confidence in the improvement of Verdun’s defences, General Joffre is now a little more worried. Verdun’s commander, General Herr, has been asking for more men to complete work on the new defence system, in light of a slowly-increasing quantity of intelligence that points to the Germans trying something there. Joffre has dispatched his right-hand man Castelnau to inspect the situation, but regardless of the result of that, he’s going to make an important change.

Verdun lies right on the border between General Dubail’s Eastern army group (with responsibility for Verdun to the Swiss border) and General de Langle’s Central group (Champagne to Noyon). Until now it’s been under the Eastern group, but today Joffre has a meeting with Dubail and informs him that at the start of February, Verdun will be transferred into the Central group, for logistical reasons. Dubail quickly objects on the entirely selfless grounds that this will disrupt preparations as the commands swap over, but Papa Joffre didn’t get where he is today by changing his mind, bigads.

The city and its fortress network remain at the front of the French high command’s thinking. More soon.

Henri Desagneaux

Lieutenant Henri Desagneaux, you may recall, has been ordered to attend the last few days of the current training course for junior officers before starting his own course next week.

There are about sixty officers. In lorries, we are driven to the Epinal Range for a session of trench destruction by tunnelling. It’s cold. The preparations are long. At the end of half an hour there is an explosion, then another, then a third.

Theory work on machine guns. Tear gas, poison gas, etc. Finally, manoeuvres. The sessions are interesting, but how ordinary the officers are. The last offensive in Champagne cost us so dearly in officers. All those who are here are former sergeant-majors or NCOs.

People like Louis Barthas, in other words. Do I detect a little snobbery on the part of M. Desagneaux? I wonder what the “ordinary” people made of this PONTI who’s suddenly been dug out of the rear to do a proper job of work.

Actions in Progress

Armenian Genocide
Siege of Kut
Erzurum Offensive

Further Reading

Support the blog! Buy the book! The book of 1915 is now in production and should, touch wood, be available to order very soon.

I have a Twitter account, @makersley, which you can follow to be notified of updates and get all my retweets of weird and wonderful First World War things. If you prefer Tumblr, I’m also on Tumblr.

The Daily Telegraph is republishing its archives from the war day-by-day. Worth a look. (If you find the olde-tyme style difficult to get along with, have a look at this reading guide.)

Wearing-out battle | Admiral Scheer | 18 Jan 1916

Haig and the wearing-out battle

Right, time to engage with one of the more notorious subjects that comes up when discussing General Haig and the way the BEF fought under his command. Today, General Haig makes a very important note in his diary, about how the BEF should fight its battles.

The principles which we must apply are:

1. Employ sufficient force to wear down the enemy and cause him to use up his Reserves.
2. Then, and not till then, throw in a mass of troops (at some point where the enemy has shown himself to be weak) to break through and win victory.

This is, of course, far from a detailed roadmap to victory and shouldn’t be treated as the sum total of his thinking. But this is, fundamentally, how the British Staff College has taught him (and everyone else who’s passed through its doors for a very long time) to win battles and wars, and this is what people mean when they speak of the “wearing-out battle”. Haig himself had before the war taken care to insert those principles into doctrine, and he now also believes he has an example of these principles demonstrating themselves.

Yeah, it’s back to First Ypres, where Haig was the senior British general. The importance of this battle on Haig’s thinking, and by extension the rest of the BEF, simply cannot be overestimated. Haig’s assessment of that battle has entirely vindicated those principles. The Germans, as he sees it, first applied relentless force onto the Old Contemptibles, who did indeed use up all their reserves. By the time of the Battle of Nonnenboschen in mid-November 1914, it was the cooks and the quartermasters and the sanitary orderlies taking up rifles and going into battle. Fog of war then intervened and convinced the Germans that there was no point proceeding to stage 2. On the evidence they saw, however much they tried to wear the BEF down, more men kept appearing to hold them off.

So Haig sees First Ypres as a tale of the Germans throwing away a certain victory right when it seemed that all they had to do was kick the door down and relieve the butler of his elephant-gun before raiding the chateau at leisure. He’s a simple man with simple convictions (more on that later), and he is utterly determined that he will not make the same mistake. He will remember how the enemy, too clever by half, let him off the hook right at their moment of triumph. He will hold his nerve, maintain the stiffness of his upper lip, and so gain a great victory.

We shall have plenty more to say about this concept of the wearing-out battle in 1916; but there it is. Importantly, as formulated here, attrition is a key component (since without attrition the enemy does not need to commit his reserves so quickly), but it is clearly a means to an end. The enemy is to be worn down so that a breakthrough can be achieved. This is not the same as General von Falkenhayn’s professed concept for the Battle of Verdun (21 more shopping days to go!), in which attrition is an end in itself.

Reinhard Scheer

Meanwhile, over on the German side of the hill, it’s also a critcally important time for high command. The High Seas Fleet, in fact, has a new commander. The torpid Admiral von Pohl has departed for good, terminally ill with cancer (he has little more than a month to live). His replacement is Admiral Scheer, one of the HSF’s principal commanders.

Scheer’s attitude is about as far removed from von Pohl’s as is possible. He’s confident that, with proper planning, he can convince the Kaiser to reverse the directive issued after the Battle of Dogger Bank to preserve the fleet at all costs. He wants to return to the 1914 strategy of poking the Royal Navy with a stick, in the hope that he can gradually wear them down to a point where the Grand Fleet will lose its superiority in battleships; and then he can seek a direct, decisive fleet-to-fleet engagement.

He’s also very punchy about the potential for submarines. And, since they’re currently being restricted from commerce raiding duties, why not use them as an integral part of the wearing-down strategy? To say nothing of what might be done with the Navy’s airships…

I don’t like generals, or admirals, much. They’re boring. But lots of things start with them. You can’t ignore them if you want to understand why things happen. And the appointment of Scheer is the first step on the road to the Battle of Jutland, the only battle for four years in which one day could have completely changed the entire course of the war.

Hasankale

Meanwhile, in the Caucasus. The Ottoman rearguard breaks in front of the Cossacks at Hasankale. The only things between the Russian Caucasus Army and Erzurum are a very long road, a very large fortress, and a very rattled army. And the Russian Brains Trust is already turning its attention to the questions of what to do about the fortress and the army.

Salonika

In Paris, the French government underlines its commitment to the Balkans (ineffectual and not enough of it) by sending another division to Salonika. General Sarrail has been appealing for more men for quite some time, and now he’s got them by bypassing General Joffre and appealing directly to his political supporters in the government. There are now enough men in theatre to hold Salonika against a deeply hypothetical attack, but not nearly enough (and not enough logistical support) to support another offensive. For now, the theatre is going to have to rest while the Serbian Army can be re-moulded back into an effective fighting force. That is, if the Austro-Hungarians now marching through and occupying Montenegro don’t get to them first…

Robert Palmer

Today I am humming “London Bridge Is Falling Down” as I write about Robert Palmer in Mesopotamia. Weather continues to put paid to any thought of attacking the Hanna chokepoint.

Rain stopped at 8 am. Whole place a sea of mud ankle deep, and slippery as butter. Nearly the whole bridge had been washed away or sunk in the night. We got men’s tents from the ship, cleared spaces from mud and pitched camp again. Rain started again about 1 p.m. and continued till 4. The Wadi had meanwhile come down in heavy spate and broken that bridge, so we were doubly isolated.

I went out to post piquets. It took two hours to walk three miles. Jubber Khan sick all day, so I had to manage for myself, helped by North’s bearer. Foster being sick, North is Officer Commanding D Company, and I share a 40lb. tent with him. He is the son of the Duke of Wellington’s Agent at [Stratfield Saye House], but has served three years in Northern Rhodesia, so is quite used to camp life.

Stratfield Saye in Hampshire was bought by the nation for the first Duke of Wellington after his defeat of Napoleon. The house and its estates would have been managed by a hired agent rather than personally by the Duke, and it’s the agent’s son who Palmer is now sharing a tent with. Incidentally, the current 4th Duke’s son, a Boer War veteran, has rejoined the Army and is serving as a subaltern in France.

Actions in Progress

Armenian Genocide
Siege of Kut
Erzurum Offensive

Further Reading

Support the blog! Buy the book! The book of 1915 is now in production and should, touch wood, be available to order very soon.

I have a Twitter account, @makersley, which you can follow to be notified of updates and get all my retweets of weird and wonderful First World War things. If you prefer Tumblr, I’m also on Tumblr.

The Daily Telegraph is republishing its archives from the war day-by-day. Worth a look. (If you find the olde-tyme style difficult to get along with, have a look at this reading guide.)

Sykes-Picot | Hasankale | 17 Jan 1916

Sykes-Picot Agreement

I’ll take “Things which are extremely relevant to geopolitics in 2016”, please. Today the British and French foreign ministries have just finished the rough draft of what they think should be done with the Middle East after the end of the war. The Ottoman Empire is creaking badly, an early-modern empire struggling to survive in the face of an industrial Europe based on mono-ethnic nation-states. (See also: Empire, Austro-Hungarian.) We’ll examine its details more precisely once the diplomats Mark Sykes and Francois Georges-Picot have finished up all the boring details and cleared everything with Russia.

But, in short, this is a good old-fashioned “to the victor go the spoils” job. The Quay d’Orsay has been heavily investing in certain provinces of the Ottoman Empire; they will become a French colony as “Syria”. Likewise the British Empire in three others (do you think it might be where they know there to be oil?), so they will become a British colony as “Iraq”. So too will most of Palestine; there’s some froo-froo about an “international regime”, but everyone knows what it means. Russia gets a large chunk of territory around Constantinople so it can keep the Dardanelles and the Bosphorus open to Russian shipping.

Of the rest, there are currently large areas of the Middle East which at the moment might as well have “Sort this out later – Ed” scribbled in them. (Certain promises have been made by Sir Henry McMahon to the Sharif of Mecca based on this general concept which inevitably will be causing trouble later.) There’s also going to be a large slice taken out of eastern Anatolia (some of it might even become an independent Armenia), which is going to be turned into a nice big buffer state of some sort between the Russian Empire and whatever dismembered rump of Ottoman Anatolia is left behind.

Erzurum Offensive

The Ottoman Eighth Army’s rearguard makes a valiant stand today at Hasankale, and succeeds in obstructing those Siberian Cossacks we met earlier. They’ve finally managed to get into the battle, but sadly for the Russians it’s a job of direct pursuit; stiff resistance holds their cavalry up all day. Nevertheless, this first phase of the offensive, while not entirely disastrous, has still put a major dent in the defences of eastern Anatolia. Between dead, wounded, sick, and deserted, the “Third Army” now has less than 40,000 men straggling back towards Erzurum.

Meanwhile, General Yudenich has just unexpectedly been given a couple of aircraft to play with. They’re up in the air now, taking a look at the extensive defences of the Erzurum Fortress. More later, once they land.

Robert Palmer

In Mesopotamia, the relief column (and Robert Palmer) is being entirely frustrated by the rain. I’m writing this while humming “Bridge Over Troubled Water”, and I do hope you are too.

Rained on and off all day. Grey, cold and windy. Ordered to cross river as soon as bridge is ready. Bridge reported ready 6 pm so we struck camp. We took only what blankets we could carry. When we reached the bridge, we found it not finished, and squatted till 8.15. Then the bridge was finished and immediately broke. So we had to come back to camp and bivouac. Luckily the officers tents were recoverable, but not the men’s.

If your bridge washes away, never mind…

Bernard Adams

Meanwhile, Bernard Adams, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, is going off on leave.

Oliver and I started off in the darkness with our four followers. As we left the village it was just beginning to lighten a little, and we met the drums just turning out, cold and sleepy. As we sprang down the hill, leaving Montague behind us, faintly through the dawn we heard reveille rousing our unfortunate comrades to another Monday morning! Then came the long, long journey that nobody minds really, though every one grumbles at it.

There were men of old time who fell on their native earth and kissed it, on returning after exile. We did not kiss the boards of Southampton pier-head, but we understood the spirit that inspired that action as we steamed quietly along over a gray and violet sea.

We disembarked. But what dull people to meet us! Officials and watermen who have seen hundreds of leave-boats arrive, every day in fact! The last people to be able to respond to your feelings. Still, what does it matter! There is the train, and an English First! Someone started to run for one, and in a moment we were all running!

But you have met us on leave…

He’ll be back soon, never fear.

Flora Sandes

Corporal Flora Sandes continues to put the finer flourishes on her transformation into a soldier by misbehaving very slightly.

I got myself into sad disgrace one day by going away from the camp without leave. An officer from another battalion was going to lunch at another camp some miles away, and he invited me to ride over with him. We started very early in the morning, and, as I could not find the Commander of my company to ask leave, I just went. We stayed there, not only for lunch, but for supper and all the evening as well, and I would not like to say what time it was when we got back.

The next morning my company Commander pointed out to me one of the soldiers up on the hillside doing four hours’ punishment drill, standing up there with his rifle, accoutrements and heavy pack in the hot sun, and I was told that on this occasion I should be let off with a reprimand (although I had been three months in the Army and ought to know better by this time), but if I did not see the error of my ways I should find myself doing something similar to that next time.

I got my revenge, however, a few days later, when he fell sick, and I returned to my original vocation of nurse. He was a very docile patient for a week, though after that he suddenly thought it was time to reassert his authority, so got up one day when my back was turned, and ate everything I had not allowed him to eat while in bed.

They continue waiting their turn to be taken to Crete.

Actions in Progress

Armenian Genocide
Siege of Kut
Erzurum Offensive

Further Reading

Support the blog! Buy the book! The book of 1915 is now in production and should, touch wood, be available to order very soon.

I have a Twitter account, @makersley, which you can follow to be notified of updates and get all my retweets of weird and wonderful First World War things. If you prefer Tumblr, I’m also on Tumblr.

The Daily Telegraph is republishing its archives from the war day-by-day. Worth a look. (If you find the olde-tyme style difficult to get along with, have a look at this reading guide.)