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Remembered Today:

Light Railway Lemnos and Tramways at Gallipoli


green_acorn

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In view of Monuryurda's photograph above which, as Hendo points out, shows only one track, but importantly, was built with enough room for a double line,

I wonder if a second set of rails was not first laid and then taken up again later?

This question is prompted by the RE history which mentions (more than once) that they found rails very useful for the construction (reconstruction) of the piers, particularly after the autumn/winter storms. The CE is quoted as saying “Railway rails were found particularly useful in places where they could be driven by improvised pile-drivers, as they were less liable to storm damage owing to the smaller resistance offered to the waves.”

Does anyone know if the WDs suggest that previously laid rails were in fact the source of “a supply of rails became available and they were driven vertically into the sea bed.”?

 

regards

Michael

Edited by michaeldr
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Another map for the collection

WreckofHMSLouisMAP.jpg

 

dated "end of November 1915" alas it does not take forward the question as to whether or not the double track was originally longer

nevertheless it is a useful plan of this part of the base including the foot and the transport bridges

 

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Today I received a magazine called "The Narrow Gauge" Number 238, Summer 2016 which has a fascinating and very detailed article on "The railways of Mudros" by Iain Logie. I will do an internet search for some of the images he uses in the article and post them here.

 

Cheers,

Hendo

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Here is a panoramic photograph of West Beach Harbour and the surrounding area from an un-named contemporary photo album in my collection. Unfortunately, it does not show the tramway which must be behind the photographer.

Sepoy

WEST-BEACH-SUVLAa.jpg

Edited by Sepoy
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On 13/08/2016 at 10:37, michaeldr said:

For comparison with the sketch map showing the light railway at Suvla Point

below is the Turkish post-evacuation map indicating the railway as they found it

37ca8e9f-11df-42c9-8b40-1d3224aa25d5_zps

It is interesting to compare the two (English sketch & Turkish map) with the satellite view provided by Google. Either the sea has risen, or the coastline has sunk, but anyone going over that ground today should note the differences

 

regards

Michael

Out of interest, Michael, are the multiple line features shown on this map, concentration or rest trenches???? If not, what are they, because they can still be seen on the Google Earth.

 

Sepoy

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Sepoy,

 

I have not had a chance yet to go back to the Turkish maps, but I wonder if these features are similar to something which we have previously discussed at Helles

 

if they are, then I am inclined to think that they were trenches used for forming-up units as they came down from the front line and before they moved off to the beaches to board the evacuation transport [see posts 3 & 9 in the old thread, and in particular the map in the latter post]

 

regards

Michael

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Sepoy and Michael,

 

I would agree with Michael's thoughts, they look like protected "holding bays" where troops were held in their embarkation/disembarkation groups.  A period equivalent of the airport gate waiting lounge. Having dug and filled a few weapon pits in my youth, that these bays are still visible on Google Earth doesn't surprise me. Rarely are filled in pits indistinguishable from the surrounding grounds, unless the ground is ploughed often. Plus if the pits have been partly filled with rubbish/wood and so forth they will leave a more pronounced impression, as the rubbish composts.

 

I believe, Sepoy's image in the other thread is also a holding bay, that the centre of the bay isn't dug out isn't surprising, a. it saves effort, b. it gives the occupants somewhere to put bags and so on, and c. it gives the controller and other individuals a means of getting out and walking to the ends without climbing over each other.

 

 

Cheers,

Hendo

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15 hours ago, michaeldr said:

Sepoy,

 

I have not had a chance yet to go back to the Turkish maps, but I wonder if these features are similar to something which we have previously discussed at Helles

see http://1914-1918.invisionzone.com/forums/index.php?/topic/194961-strange-features-between-skew-bridge-and-backhouse-post/#comment-1908372

if they are, then I am inclined to think that they were trenches used for forming-up units as they came down from the front line and before they moved off to the beaches to board the evacuation transport [see posts 3 & 9 in the old thread, and in particular the map in the latter post]

 

regards

Michael

Thank you Michael and Hendo

Gosh my memory is getting bad - I had completely forgotten about my original "Helles" post :)

I have attached a current image from Google Earth showing the area. It would be interesting if anyone, visiting Sulva, could see how these trench features have survived on the ground.

Sepoy

suvla.jpg

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Alan,

 

Thanks for adding that link to the IWM collection.

This is another of their's taken within 24 hours of the evacuation [http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205193296]

On the copy here I have indicated an example one of the light trucks used on this tramway

and what I think may be one of the bridges across the line

0f9b329f-9500-472e-9564-1981a5d9be42_zps

4cd7bcb5-5e0a-4e28-b22d-143729502b6a_zps

7c0d8a87-a803-481b-9d2b-5be7c361c369_zps

 

 

Regarding rails used for piles as mentioned in the RE history:-

Perhaps a better theory than the first which I advanced (taking up rails already laid)

would be that rails were indeed ordered up for the planned double line of track

but they were diverted (before being laid) by the CE, after the storm damage and when it became clear that an evacuation was under serious consideration by the powers-that-be

 

regards

Michael

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  • 7 months later...
On ‎09‎/‎03‎/‎2016 at 17:30, IainAlexander said:
Construction of this railway continued into November 1916, which links well to the Bill Pollard article in Cross & Cockade that celebrates the opening of the RNAS Mudros Light Railway in December 1916, which was operated by the RNAS and not by the RE.
 
Egyptian Pier and Australian Pier were very close to each other at Mudros East so the road and railway were probably part of the wider RNAS Repair Base project.
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

It's been a while since the last post on this topic but I thought I would add this piece of recently discovered information contained in TNA ADM137/546, Weekly Operations Report No. 38, Enclosure 'C', covering the month of November 1916, referring to the RNAS railway at East Mudros.

 

'An Austin lorry has been converted into [a] locomotive for [the] light railway from Repair Base to Egyptian Pier and tested.  A two compartment coach has been made ready for the Railway to minimise motor transport by road.'

 

As for the exact position of the Repair Base and aerodrome, I too have yet to find any conclusive evidence but believe it to have been roughly mid-way between East Mudros and Marsh Aerodrome, located near Port Kharos on the East coast of Lemnos.

 

 

 

 

 

 

On ‎09‎/‎03‎/‎2016 at 17:30, IainAlexander said:

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Interesting to hear about TNA ADM137/546. Recently, I looked at the Mudros base records - TNA ADM 137/2164 - but couldn't find any reference to the railways.

 

I can now add some detail on the route of the RNAS Railway. A map of Port Mudros has been referred to before on the GWF and can be downloaded from the British Library website but close inspection shows that it was printed in 1920 and the RNAS Railway is not shown, only the Army's railway at Mudros West. A 1917 version of that map does exist in the Caird Library at the National Maritime Museum at Greenwich and it shows both railways in situ. I inspected that earlier map late last year at Greenwich and then transcribed the route onto the attached map. I can confirm that the Repair Base was at the Airship Shed beside Ormano Bay, not at Mudros Marsh airfield.

 

The route of the railway may look odd but can be explained. The converted Austin lorry used as a locomotive would not have ridden well travelling in reverse and so the line was laid out to minimise reverse running, with a turning triangle at Egyptian Pier and a reversing loop close to the airship shed at the other end of the line. There was also a short siding at the start of the causeway to Ispathos island, probably to service the seaplane base there. This type of railway layout is often found on small miniature railways offering passengers an out-and-back ride!

 

Also, a further source of information on the RNAS Railway is the War Diary of the DQMG - EEF. An entry for August 1916 noted that on 20 August 1916, the SS Nitonian left Alexandria for Salonika but embarked for Mudros were 2.5 miles of track, 6 wagons and 3 hand-worked trolleys. This is after the Battle of Romani in Egypt and occurs at a time when the light railways along the Suez Canal were starting to see less traffic, so Egypt was able to supply track and wagons - there was no need to canabalise the line at Mudros West.

 

Iain Logie  

Map - RNAS Railway route - compressed.jpg

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On ‎30‎/‎03‎/‎2017 at 19:14, IainAlexander said:

Interesting to hear about TNA ADM137/546. Recently, I looked at the Mudros base records - TNA ADM 137/2164 - but couldn't find any reference to the railways.

 

I can now add some detail on the route of the RNAS Railway. A map of Port Mudros has been referred to before on the GWF and can be downloaded from the British Library website but close inspection shows that it was printed in 1920 and the RNAS Railway is not shown, only the Army's railway at Mudros West. A 1917 version of that map does exist in the Caird Library at the National Maritime Museum at Greenwich and it shows both railways in situ. I inspected that earlier map late last year at Greenwich and then transcribed the route onto the attached map. I can confirm that the Repair Base was at the Airship Shed beside Ormano Bay, not at Mudros Marsh airfield.

 

The route of the railway may look odd but can be explained. The converted Austin lorry used as a locomotive would not have ridden well travelling in reverse and so the line was laid out to minimise reverse running, with a turning triangle at Egyptian Pier and a reversing loop close to the airship shed at the other end of the line. There was also a short siding at the start of the causeway to Ispathos island, probably to service the seaplane base there. This type of railway layout is often found on small miniature railways offering passengers an out-and-back ride!

 

Also, a further source of information on the RNAS Railway is the War Diary of the DQMG - EEF. An entry for August 1916 noted that on 20 August 1916, the SS Nitonian left Alexandria for Salonika but embarked for Mudros were 2.5 miles of track, 6 wagons and 3 hand-worked trolleys. This is after the Battle of Romani in Egypt and occurs at a time when the light railways along the Suez Canal were starting to see less traffic, so Egypt was able to supply track and wagons - there was no need to canabalise the line at Mudros West.

 

Iain Logie  

Map - RNAS Railway route - compressed.jpg

 

Iain, many thanks for this new info re the exact location and extent of this railway.  I am also interested to note the position of the airship shed, a structure -  along with the repair base itself - that I have always understood to be further inland.  I shall have another search through my records to see if any other references to light railways crop up.

 

Cheers,

Pete.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Quote from Iain's post No.12

CAPE HELLES

The war diary of the 117th Railway Company RE includes two references to Cape Helles.

On 7 October 1915, officers visited Gallipolli where they ‘inspected prospects for 2’ 6” line at Helles and reported adversely as a 2’ already there. Met Gen Gibbon & Gen Williams CE VIII Corps and Eng-in-Chief GHQ.’

On 5 November, Lt. J M Cooper and 10 men were sent from Mudros to work on the 2’ gauge tramways at Cape Helles under CE VIII Corps. They returned on 2 December and Cooper then submitted a detailed report that I have summarised below:-

The sappers were attached to the ‘VIIIth Army Corps Railway Company’ which had an establishment of 2 officers and 175 men drawn from infantry battalions within the Corps.

The sappers were split into two parties:

  • Four fitters assisted by 10 other soldiers overhauled about 50 tip and flat-decked wagons of the 100 wagons then in use. Mainly this involved cleaning and lubricating axle bearings and adjusting brakes but timber was also renewed on the wooden flat-beds.

  • The other six sappers joined the soldiers operating the tramway and trained them in the proper use of handbrakes, in hand signalling and in how to slip the mules from wagons as they reached downward slopes so the wagons could run by gravity.

Lt. Cooper explains that there were three miles of track radiating from the top of an incline up from W Beach, to the South Quarry and to the depots of the RN, 42nd and 52nd Divisions.

The tramway was used to supply the RN Division and half the 52nd Division with their rations. This was accomplished by the use of a few mules (only) and 24 wagons which made a double trip daily and altogether occupied about 3 hours in the morning.’

The tramway was also used for the conveyance of stone from South Quarry to the beach daily in connection with the construction of piers, as many as 40 wagon loads being delivered per day and this would be increased as wagons became available.’

 

I've recently been looking at various map & aerials of Cape Helles and thought that this post-evacuation Turkish map may be of help here.

It shows an extensive system of light railways, however it is not clear if all of those shown are British.

 

58f36093751b3_MapTurkpostevacWBeachM_012448.jpg.ea06e1d64ed596bb108dcd9cab51e13c.jpg

 

Lt Cooper refers to “3 miles of track radiating from the top of an incline up from W Beach”

This point I have indicated with a letter 'A'

Cooper also mentions a tramway “used for the conveyance of stone from South Quarry to the beach”

What I believe to be South Quarry I have indicated with the letters 'SQ'

 

A quarry is shown near there on an RND sanitation sketch map dated 10 Dec 1915, though a little further east, beneath the Light House (see 'LH'). The RND sketch map also shows the tramway from V Beach extending beyond the pier/breakwater, formed by the sunken French vessels, and almost reaching a point beneath the ruined light house. [caveat – The RND sketch had an entirely different purpose (sanitation) and was not surveyed with  the quarry, rail & tramways in mind]

 

58f360bc4e62d_MapWBeachRNDSanitationcrop.thumb.jpg.f8e9a40269298109554e32ae55c555ce.jpg

 

Acknowledgments

The Turkish map is from the IWM/WFA disc

the RND map is from Len Sellers' magazine 'RND'

Edited by michaeldr
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Thanks Martin

..................................

 

re the RND Sketch Map - On further reflection, that could well be the word 'quarry' which appears beneath the irregular pentagon designated “1st Indian Mule Corps”

If so, then that would be a better fit for the rail/tramway line shown on the Turkish map and could well be the South Quarry referred to by Lt Cooper

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On 3/30/2017 at 19:14, IainAlexander said:

Interesting to hear about TNA ADM137/546. Recently, I looked at the Mudros base records - TNA ADM 137/2164 - but couldn't find any reference to the railways.

 

I can now add some detail on the route of the RNAS Railway. A map of Port Mudros has been referred to before on the GWF and can be downloaded from the British Library website but close inspection shows that it was printed in 1920 and the RNAS Railway is not shown, only the Army's railway at Mudros West. A 1917 version of that map does exist in the Caird Library at the National Maritime Museum at Greenwich and it shows both railways in situ. I inspected that earlier map late last year at Greenwich and then transcribed the route onto the attached map. I can confirm that the Repair Base was at the Airship Shed beside Ormano Bay, not at Mudros Marsh airfield.

 

The route of the railway may look odd but can be explained. The converted Austin lorry used as a locomotive would not have ridden well travelling in reverse and so the line was laid out to minimise reverse running, with a turning triangle at Egyptian Pier and a reversing loop close to the airship shed at the other end of the line. There was also a short siding at the start of the causeway to Ispathos island, probably to service the seaplane base there. This type of railway layout is often found on small miniature railways offering passengers an out-and-back ride!

 

Also, a further source of information on the RNAS Railway is the War Diary of the DQMG - EEF. An entry for August 1916 noted that on 20 August 1916, the SS Nitonian left Alexandria for Salonika but embarked for Mudros were 2.5 miles of track, 6 wagons and 3 hand-worked trolleys. This is after the Battle of Romani in Egypt and occurs at a time when the light railways along the Suez Canal were starting to see less traffic, so Egypt was able to supply track and wagons - there was no need to canabalise the line at Mudros West.

 

Iain Logie  

Map - RNAS Railway route - compressed.jpg

 

 

This photo should tie in nicely with the map above using the airship shed as a reference. Shown under Fair Dealing.

 

Edit. I am informed that this is probably not the same location i.e Imbros not Lemnos.... So it looks as if I am wrong. I will leave it here anyway as it is an interesting photo. . 

 

http://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/205248853

Airship Hangar.JPG

Edited by Guest
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First, thanks for posting the Turkish map and the additional information about the tramway at Cape Helles. Interesting to see where the rails may have gone.

 

Second, I believe that the IWM photo shows the airship shed when it was located at Imbros and before it was relocated to Lemnos. Cross & Cockade magazine Vol 38 includes a series of photos by Bill Pollard and one of those is an aerial shot showing the airship hangar and nearby coast in Mudros Harbour. It was that photo that I used to check the map that I drew.

 

IainAlexander

 

 

 

 

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15 hours ago, IainAlexander said:

Cross & Cockade magazine Vol 38 includes a series of photos by Bill Pollard and one of those is an aerial shot showing the airship hangar and nearby coast in Mudros Harbour. 

 

If you have not seen them yet, then it is well worth following Iain's lead and obtaining the Cross & Cockade International Journal, Vol.38, Nos.2 & 3 of 2007. 

The diary of P.O. W. (BILL) Pollard RNAS is illustrated by over 150 of his photographs, plus a good selection of his water colours

 

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21 hours ago, QGE said:

 

 

This photo should tie in nicely with the map above using the airship shed as a reference. Shown under Fair Dealing.

 

Edit. I am informed that this is probably not the same location i.e Imbros not Lemnos.... So it looks as if I am wrong. I will leave it here anyway as it is an interesting photo. . 

 

 

IWM also has another image of the airship hangar and more of the surrounding area.  Kephalo Bay, Imbros, with HMS Ark Royal being the nearest large vessel to the shore in the line of ships on the left.

 

 

large_000000.jpg

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  • 11 months later...

Diary Entry by Reg Fuller F22540 RNAS

Tuesday September 11th 1917

 

My 19th birthday and no one to wish me many happy returns.  Feel better but still have a bit of a headache.  Heard that another submarine was observed and encountered by our escort during the night

7.00am  Sighted Grecian Archipelago.  Sail through the Archipelago which seems to be only a cluster of barren rocks.

5.00pm  Dropped anchor in Mudros Harbour on the SE corner of Lemnos.

Food on the Osmanieh has been the best we have had all along this trip.  The majority of the fellows call it a starvation trip.

7.15pm Left Osmanieh by a tug from Ark Royal and landed at HQ Pier.

Travelled by shaky small gauge railway and arrived at Repair Base at 9.00pm.

Here we were quartered in an old mud hut which we used as a mess deck.  The hut is built of mud bricks, (i.e. bricks made of mud and straw) and the mortar used is just mud.  The roof is of mud covered with a tarred material.  After a frugal meal of biscuits and bully we slung our hammocks from the rafters and piped down.

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A minor point regarding Steve Becker's post of August 2016:

 

"McLEAN Henry Abraham 1105 Pte 02 LHR 7R tos A Sqn 10-15 att tram sect 11-15 (G) died dysentery on HS "'Glenart Castle" 'NKG listed on Lone Pine Memorial Gallipoli" 

 

Rather than being 'NKG', Henry was buried at sea in the Mediterranean, which is regarded as a known location of burial. At least 212 Australians who died aboard transports, either while off the beach or in transit to Alex or Malta, were listed as 'buried at sea'. About 2/3 died of wounds, the remainder of disease and at least one by suicide.

 

Mike

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On ‎27‎/‎03‎/‎2018 at 14:01, Reg's Son said:

Diary Entry by Reg Fuller F22540 RNAS

Tuesday September 11th 1917

 

My 19th birthday and no one to wish me many happy returns.  Feel better but still have a bit of a headache.  Heard that another submarine was observed and encountered by our escort during the night

7.00am  Sighted Grecian Archipelago.  Sail through the Archipelago which seems to be only a cluster of barren rocks.

5.00pm  Dropped anchor in Mudros Harbour on the SE corner of Lemnos.

Food on the Osmanieh has been the best we have had all along this trip.  The majority of the fellows call it a starvation trip.

7.15pm Left Osmanieh by a tug from Ark Royal and landed at HQ Pier.

Travelled by shaky small gauge railway and arrived at Repair Base at 9.00pm.

Here we were quartered in an old mud hut which we used as a mess deck.  The hut is built of mud bricks, (i.e. bricks made of mud and straw) and the mortar used is just mud.  The roof is of mud covered with a tarred material.  After a frugal meal of biscuits and bully we slung our hammocks from the rafters and piped down.

 

This is a very long shot Reg's Son, but did F22540 Reg Fuller by any chance live in, or have any connection with, the town of Great Yarmouth?   I believe there may be a chance that your father and my grandfather continued their friendship after the war.    Just in case you don't pick this up, I am sending you a PM.

 

Peter.

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  • 2 years later...

The Gallipoli Association have highlighted this TWEET re V Beach by Halim Gençoğlu

This crop from the photograph which he provides gives an good look at the jetties and light rail infrastructure

489615042_VBeachcropA.jpg.2cba81967f9c204ef03f79cb5c5450a5.jpg

 

 

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