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8th (service) battalion Cheshire Regiment, gallipoli, 1915


harrison_ja

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I'm researching my great-great-uncle, a lance corporal (Harold Harrison, 11606, 8th Bn Cheshire Regiment) who died of wounds "from Suvla Bay" (this is family folklore rather than based on any empirical evidence other than a small piece of card with Suvla spelt Sulva...) on 19/10/1915. He'd obviously been evacuated back to the UK, possibly in the SS Perseus, so I presume he caught a 'blighty', but unfortunately died of "a fever, possibly typhus" in a hospital in Manchester. Tracing his story backwards from Manchester seems to be impossible - there were at least 40 military hospitals in Manchester and the records are gone.

I would really like to discover when and where he was wounded, but I am also interested in his service in Gallipoli, and below is a chronology that I have pieced together from other sources. I have a little detail from the Imperial War Museum's audio testimony of Sgt William Henry Davies 11104, mentions in other unit histories (usually along the lines of 'XX were relieved by the Cheshires') and have been working on his service in detail, having reached August 7th supporting the Aussies & the RWF at The Nek. If anyone has any of the following (or suggestions), I'd be eternally grateful:

1) The 8th Cheshires war diary - I will get to the national archives at some point, but if anyone has it already...

2) Records or references that help me shape or enhance the chronology below

3) Records of casualties at either the 13th Division's field ambulances (39th 40th or 41st field ambulances) or any Hospital ships operating June-October 1915 at Gallipoli

4) Anything confirming involvement in the 27-28 August 1915 Second attack on Hill 60

5) Trench scale maps of Suvla, particularly the Sulajik Sector

CHRONOLOGY

12 August 1914 8thC formed at Chester as part of Kitchener’s First New Army (K1)

21 August 1914 Army Order No. 324 issued creating the six new Divisions, including 13th Division

August 1914 8thC moved to Tidworth in the 40th Brigade of the 13th (Western)Division

September 1914 8thC with 40th Bde moved to Cirencester

October 1914 8thC moved to Chisledon.

During October 1914 – February 1915 8thC at Codford St. Mary's Army Camp, Wiltshire

February 1915 8thC moved to Pirbright (Woking, Surrey)

End February 1915 13th Division concentrated at Blackdown, Hampshire

9 February - 16 March 1915 The Naval bombardment of the Dardanelle Straits Forts

18 March 1915 Naval attempt to force the Dardanelle Straits

25 April 1915 Landings at Cape Helles and ANZAC Cove

Vice-Admiral Sir John de Robeck's Despatch about the landings

28 April 1915 The First Battle of Krithia

2 May 1915 Russian fleet shells forts on the Bosphorus.

2 May 1915 The Turkish night counter-attack

General Sir Ian Hamilton's Despatch on the landings and the opening battles

6 May 1915 Second Battle of Krithia begins

19 May 1915 Turkish attack at Anzac defeated

4 June 1915 Third Battle of Krithia begins

7 June 1915 All mechanical transport was withdrawn and the first reinforcement drafts were ordered not to sail (other than those for the artillery, end RE Companies). First 13th Division transports left port, and sailed to Alexandria

13 June 1915 8thC ordered to deploy to Alexandria, Egypt

26 June 1915 Pte John Williams, 8thC departs Avonmouth on HMT Ivernia for Egypt

28 June 1915 The Battle of Gully Ravine

General Sir Ian Hamilton's Despatch on the fighting of May and June

4 July 1915 8thC deployed to Mudros, Gallipoli

6-16 July 1915 13th Division landed on Cape Helles to relieve 29th Division aboard the transport ship “Whitby Abbey” and landed at “V” beach.

19 July 1915 8thC moved up into the firing line at Worcester Flat

25 July 1915 8thC relieved by the 8th Royal Welsh Fusiliers

28 July 1915 8thC moved to Gully Beach

31 July 1915 13th Division incl. 8thC returned to Mudros or “returned to Lemnos”

3-5 August 1915 13th Division land at Anzac Cove

4 August 1915 8thC land at Anzac Cove, bivouac below Walker’s Ridge and with “Australian troops at Quinns & Courtney's”

5 August 1915 8thC with HQ, A & B Coy RWF moved up onto Russell’s Top in reserve

6-10 August 1915 ANZAC attack on Chunuk Bair, Battles of Lone Pine and Sari Bair (8thC)

7 August 1915 Battle of Russell’s Top (8thC)

7 August 1915 Landing at Suvla Bay

7-8 August 1915 “An entry in the Battalion's War Diary shows that the 8thC were in support trenches at Russell's Top and were being moved up to support the Australian Light Horse Brigade to assist in their attack at the Nek.”

9 August 1915 Half Bn at No 2 post while half Bn into support at Quinn and Courtney's Post

2th August 1915 Major W. B. Gover moves from 8thC to take command of 9th Warwickshires due to Nil Officers, Other Ranks 288

13 August 1915 Bn moved to the Apex near Chailak Dere and Rhododendron Spur

15 August 1915 8thC in positions at ‘Chailak Ridge’ where, over the next few days, they dug trenches and constructed other defences.

21 August 1915 Battle of Scimitar Hill & first attack on Hill 60 (Anzac) begin

27-28 August 1915 Second attack on Hill 60 (8thC )

28 August 1915 Canterbury Battalion NZ relieved the 8thC which had been assisting the Wellington Battalion NZ to garrison the Apex post (Durant's Post was at the junction of the trenches called Upper and Lower Cheshire Ridges, and was about five hundred yards north-west of the Apex.). Others have suggested “moved into reserve near Kaiajik Dere”

1-2 September 1915 8thC in dug-outs in the cliffs, south of Suvla Bay

1-20 September 1915 8thC moved into reserve at Suvla Bay, but lost nearly 200 men from Dysentery.

20 September 1915 8thC moved to the forward area in the Sulajik Sector

23 September 1915 8thC casualty at Lala Baba

30 September 1915 relieved in the Sulajik Sector by the 1 LF

17 October 1915 Sir Ian Hamilton relinquishes command of MEF

27 October 1915 Sir Charles Munro assumes command of MEF

13 November 1915 Lord Kitchener lands at Anzac

7 December 1915 Government orders evacuation of Anzac & Suvla

10-19 December 1915 Evacuation of ANZAC bridgehead and Suvla Bay

10 December 1915 Evacuation of Cape Helles bridgehead begins

19-20 December 1915 13th Division evacuated from Suvla

20 December 1915 Evacuation of Suvla & Anzac completed

c.26 December 1915 13th Division moved to Helles bridgehead (after ‘a weeks rest’)

7 January 1916 Last Turkish attacks at Helles repulsed, 13th Division

8-9 January 1916 13th Division evacuated from Helles

9 January 1916 Evacuation of Cape Helles bridgehead completed

January 1916 8thC Evacuated to Egypt due to severe casualties from combat, disease and harsh weather and

moved to Port Said to defend the Suez Canal.

I hope that the above helps anyone else looking for the 8th Cheshires, feel free to email me (harrison_ja@hotmail.com).

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You might be able to get "British Regiments at Gallipoli" by Ray Westlake (ISBN 978-0850525113) from a library. It has a section for each Regiment.

There is also a book about the Cheshire Regt,by Battalion, in the Great War. If you go to the Cheshire page in the Long Long Trail it has details there.

War Diaries,there are four,are not yet digital:

8 Cheshires WO95/4303 (Jun 1915 to Jan 1916)

39/40/41 Field Ambulances WO95/4301 - a file for each and all in the same box ! You will only get something like a daily total of casualties in and out,no names etc.

HHs MIC shows a date into (2B) theatre of 26 Jun 1915,but it seems more like a date of departure from the UK.

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