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compton Mackenzie and the battle of waterloo ...

The Plummed Goose

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Dear All,

Just finished reading Mackenzie's memoirs, a good read and great fun. (as long as you don't read it as your first gallipoli book)

On page 149 he described the "celebration" of the centenary of the battle of waterloo by Hamilton and hunter bunter. (presume the French were not invited there :rolleyes: )

he also mentiones that that day the turks drove "the 125 brigade out of the salient they had captured on the 4th June".

Checked whatever I could lay my hands & eyes on but couldn't find anything detailled which "trench" this might be ...

The turks were active in that period near Turkey trench and the boomerang but the 125 (42 Div) was in the vineyard area ... was it the vineyard ???

help help help : probably someone with a division history of the 42 or even better the 125th Brigade can help me here.

thanks in advance !!


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Monty Mackenzie is not very clear on this is he

And Westlake's entries for the 18th June re the 125th Brigade's battalions don't help much either

However, Monty does mention that

'...the Fifth Royal Scots with one company of the Fourth Worcesters had come to its help led by Lt-Colonel J. T. R. Wilson...'

And for these two Westlake does have some detail


1/5th Batt (Queen's Edinburgh Rifles) The Royal Scots

"Enemy attacked during the night 18th and occupied part of line held by troops on right of Battalion. Some casualties among Y Company who counter attacked at 4 p.m. (19th) and regained position.

Lieutenant J. S. Merriles killed by bomb, Captain W. Russel killed whilst leading the charge, Second Lieutenant C. N. Rundle killed on parapet of enemy's trench. Total casualties - 20 killed, 40 wounded. Lieutenant Colonel Wilson awarded the D.S.O."

The 88th Brigade were towards the left of the line and this suggests a position further over (north-west) left from the Vineyard – but no firm evidence from what I have available here

Best regards


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Col Wilson's DSO

from the


His Majesty the KING has been graciously

pleased to approve of the undermentioned

rewards for gallantry and devotion to duty in

the Field: —

To be Companions of the Distinguished

Service Order.

Lieutenant-Colonel James Thomas Rankine

Wilson, 1st/5th Battalion, The Royal Scots

(Lothian Regiment) (Queen's Edinburgh

Rifles), Territorial Force.

For conspicuous ability and resource on

19th June, 1915, during operations in the

neighbourhood of Krithia, Dardanelles,

where he reorganised and carried out the

recapture of a Turkish trench from which

the troops of another division had been

forced back. The success gained was due to

Lieutenant-Colonel Wilson's skilful and bold

leading and his prompt assumption of


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In my copy of the book, given to John from Jim X-Mas 1929, John has written some notes...on page 153, next to a comment about the Americans he has written just one word.... 'Rot!'


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Hi, it was Krithia Nullah area for 4th June, I think the H11 / G11 trenches, but will check the War Diary a little later today for you. I think by 18th June 125 Bde and the rest of 42 Div were out of this line, so will have to check the movements of the other Brigades for this period.

As you say a lot of heavy fighting was in the Turkey Trench area above Gully Ravine, here the 2/SWB lost their trench to the Turk attack.

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Hi Mr Goose,

I can find no relation betwen 125 Bde as all seemed quiet with the Lancashire Fusiliers within this Bde on this date.

The Royal Scots as mentioned by Michael and the Worcestershires were in fact supporting the Manchesters in a planned attack that night, the relevant War Diary entries are as follow:

The 4th Worcestershire Regt diary for Friday 18th June states

".... We should have been relieved at 10 p.m. but this has now been altered until all is quiet as the Manchesters are attacking at 7.30pm."

This was an attack made by 9th and 10th Btn Manchester Regiment (126 Bde) at Krithia Nullah.

The 9th Manchester diary states "Attack made on Turkish trenches in Krithia Nullah by B Company and portion of C Company under Captain Sugden, directed by Lt Col Rye 1/10th Manch.R. Strong enemy attack met with and attack fails to take Turkish trench." Sugden later died of wounds.

Gibbons 42nd Div History states

"126th Brigade attack between the Vineyard and Krithia Nullah on June 18 was anticpated by the enemy, and the 10th Manchesters suffered severely."

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Thanks steve,

could it be that he has got his numbers mixed up and that he is actually referring to Turkey Trench/Boomerang which was a very important "salient" at that moment.

On the other hand it is MacKenzie who wrote the dispatch for the london newspapers of the 3rd Krithia as AB was away in london buying new piyamas ...


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I am particularly fond of Monty Mackenzie, but have to admit that in the wide scope of his writing, he was more of a novelist than an accurate historian

The 'salient' which was captured on the 4th of June in the Third Battle of Krithia is covered on page 51 of the OH

"On the 42nd Division front the Territorials had captured all their objectives on a front of 1,200 yards, and small parties had pushed forward to within three quarters of a mile of Krithia. But both flanks of this division were in the air, and the two nullahs -Kanli Dere and Kirte Dere - offered the enemy covered lines of approach for a counter attack.

Despite the failure on both flanks, therefore, the centre of the Turkish main line had been pierced on a comparatively wide front. The Lancashire Territorials had fought their way clean through the enemy's defences, and there was scarcely another trench between the leading troops and the top of Achi Baba."

I think that this was less of a salient, and more of a bump in the line. The OH does however mention one "awkward salient," but with regards to another brigade

On to page 54 and two days later, i.e. 6th June 1915

"On the 42nd Division front the (Turkish counter-) attack succeeded in some places in gaining ground, and on the front of the 88th Brigade the whole of the awkward salient in H12 was recaptured."

I think that in his account of the 18th June, Mackenzie has mixed-up both events and forces:

of the 125th Brigade, the 1/5th Batt The Lancs Fusiliers were particularly active on the 4th-6th June - but were at that time attached to the 127th Brigade - see Westlake

They were back in the front line on the 18th June - but Westlake does not mention any action

While, as Steve has pointed out above, the 126th Brigade were in action that day

and this action also involved the 5th Royal Scots (they of the 88th Brigade and the true 'Salient' which was recaptured by the Turks on 6th June)

With the story as confused as it is I am by no means fully confident of this explanation

But the ingredients are there and it is one possible explanation for the cocktail served by Monty

Best regards


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