the southern sector, five landing places in the vicinity of Sedd-el-Bahr
had been allotted to the 29th Division. From right to left, they had been
named S, V, W, X and Y-beach.
aim was that in a first phase, 5000 troops would land in small rowing
boats. The River Clyde, a collier that had been rebuilt for the occasion,
was to be grounded on V-beach, with another 2000 troops on board.
a second wave, 1200 additional troops would land.
the evening of 24th April, Euryalus, Implacable, Cornwallis, 1
minesweeper, three transports and the River Clyde left the islands for
Helles. At dawn on 25th April, they were two miles out of the coast and
started to bombard the beaches. At 6 o' clock, the boats went on their way
to the different landing areas.
X-Beach, the first wave was composed of the 2nd Royal Fusiliers and
a company of the 1st Lancashire Fusiliers, both of them units belonging to
the 86th Brigade. They were confronted by exactly 12 Turks, who
understandably offered no resistance. To the troops, X Beach became known
as "Implacable Landing", because of the covering fire given by
HMS Implacable, only 500 m out of the coast, while the 2nd Royal Fusiliers
were rowed to the shore.
the beach and the cliff top had been secured, they were reinforced by the
1st Border Regiment and the 1st Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers. When the
Turks, who had been completely surprised by a landing at this spot,
started to react, a field gun firing from Krithia was silenced by
Implacable and all other opposition was quickly overcome On their right
flank however, on Hill 114 between X and W-Beach, there were defensive
positions of the enemy. Before noon however, these too were captured in a
combined action with the Lancashire Fusiliers at W Beach..
followed then, was probably one of the big Allied
mistakes during the first day of the campaign : instead of moving
inland, the British troops stayed where they were, and dug in to defend
their small perimeter. Through lack of proper orders, no initiative was
taken to threaten the village of Krithia, although from their position
they were in eye contact with the troops at S Beach, who reacted in the
same fashion at the other side of the landing area.
resolute advance against the Turkish defences would almost certainly have
prevented a lot of misery at the other landing places.
was much better defended : although only one company of the Turkish army
had been posted there, they had machine gun emplacements, on the hills at
both sides of the landing area. The beach itself had been prepared against
a possible landing with belts of barbed wire, some of which were to be
found under water.
storming of this position by the Lancashire Fusiliers is generally
considered as one of the most remarkable feats of arms of the entire
campaign : they suffered terrible losses, but during their action won no
less than six Victoria crosses 'before breakfast'.
7.15 h the beach was in their hands. On their left flank, supported by the
1st Essex of 88th Brigade, they captured Hill 114 and linked with the
troops that had landed on X Beach. To the right, Hill 138, just north of
the lighthouse between V and W Beach,
was also conquered.
sunset a continuous line had been established between Hill 114 and Hill
138. A further advance inland might have been considered, but the enormous
losses and the exhaustion of the survivors prevented that and the order
was given to dig in and consolidate.
situation at V Beach has been compared to the setting of an Greek drama :
the two companies of Turkish defenders looked down on the beach below as
so many spectators in an antique theatre. They occupied well-protected
positions in and around the small village of Sedd-el-Bahr. The preliminary
bombardment by the fleet had not caused substantial damage to their
the boats of the Dublin Fusiliers were only meters away from the beach,
they were suddenly caught in a devastating fusillade. Within minutes, the
results were simply disastrous : complete boatloads of dead soldiers
drifted back to sea. Some survivors managed to jump overboard and were
drowned while others were shot while they tried to wade through the water.
Only a handful of them reached the relative protection of a low sand ridge
on the beach.
better fate awaited the Munster Fusiliers of
86th Brigade on the River Clyde. As soon as the ship had grounded,
a couple of lighters were brought into position to be used as a gangway.
When the first companies came running through the doorways that had been
cut in the ship's flanks, they were annihilated to the last man. Before
long the dead and dying obstructed the passageways leading to the lighters
and only a handful men of the third company managed to reach the beach and
join the ones who were still hiding behind the sand ridge.
sources, among which the diary of Commander Samson who flew over the
landing area in his aeroplane, mention the fact that the sea around the
lighters was literally red with blood. For days after the landing, dead
bodies would be washed ashore.
16.00 h, a new attempt to get the troops off the ship was made, but with
the same disastrous outcome : it proved simply impossible to advance
against the Turkish storm of fire. At 18.30 h the fleet again bombarded
the positions of the defenders, but in the end the only possible solution
to get the remaining 1000 troops on land was to wait till night had
S Beach one single
platoon of Turkish defenders was no match for the South Wales Borderers of
87th Brigade. As the commander of the latter had received orders
only to advance in concert with the troops at the two central beaches, he
took this very literally and waited for new orders to arrive.
the landing at Y Beach, some 3 km north of X, was a success. The
1st King's Own Scottish Borderers, the 2nd South Wales Borderers and the
Plymouth Battalion of the RND, landed here without any Turkish opposition.
After climbing the cliffs using Y Ravine, they stayed inactive for the
better part of the day. In total, 2000 men were assembled here, exactly as
many as the complete Turkish presence in the area.
nobody knew exactly what to do next, the troops installed themselves
comfortably to have tea, while their commanding officers tried to contact
the divisional commander. Hunter-Weston however, was so occupied with what
was going on at V and W Beach, that he did not send a reaction, not even
when Hamilton himself and Keyes suggested ferrying more troops to Y Beach.
16.00 h the Turks attacked and a battle developed, which was to last all
night. The following morning, confusion among the Allied forces about who
was in command, a number of other misunderstandings and a serious lack of
ammunition and water, led to an unforeseen withdrawal. Ironically, at that
precise moment, their opponents took exactly the same decision. While the
British soldiers were being picked up by the Navy, the Turkish forces, who
had lost half of their strength, also fell back.
11.30, after an occupation that lasted 29 hours, Y Beach was completely
the same time of the British landings, the French bombarded Besika Bay and
successfully landed at Kum Kale. They kept the Turkish forces on
the Asiatic coast occupied till the night of 26th April, when they ended
their diversionary operation and withdrew under cover of darkness.
at Bulair, the Turkish positions were bombarded. Just before dusk,
the Royal Naval Division, went on board of landing boats, and started to
move in the direction of the coast, to make the Turkish defenders believe
that a landing was imminent. Only one single man did effectively land :
lieutenant Freyberg reached the shore after a swim that lasted one hour
and a half, fired a number of rockets, made a quick reconnaissance of the
defences and then swam back. When he was miraculously discovered by a
waiting boat, he was more dead than alive and had clearly deserved his