Posted 21 August 2012 - 09:36 pm
He is mentioned here;
September, 2, 1915
Vivid Story of Irish Gallantry.
Clare Officer tells how the advance was made from Suvla Bay.
The following account of the operations of the 7th Royal Dublin Fusiliers in the Dardanelles between the 6th and 14th August was written by our gallant Captain Poole H. Hickman, who commanded the D Company, and was killed on the 15th inst. It is as vivid a picture as has been given by anyone yet from the firing lines—
We left Mitylene at 3 p. m. on Friday, August 6th, and arrived here at 4 a. m, on Saturday morning. We carried our rations with us—a sandwich for the voyage, and two days iron rations, consisting (each day’s ration) of a tin of bully beef, tea, sugar, biscuits, and Oxo tablets. From 2 o’clock in the morning we could see the flashing of the big guns and hear the rattle of musketry, the first indication to us that we were within the war zone. Our first two boats, consisting of A and C Companies, started landing at 5. 30 a. m. , but did not get ashore without mishap as a shrapnel struck the boat, killing one man and wounding eleven. Amongst the wounded was one of our officers, Second Lieutenant Harvey. We landed a short time later, but escaped without being hit, and then about 8 a. m, we commenced a general advance. It was allotted to us and to another Irish Regiment to take a certain hill, which was 3 ¼ miles from where we landed. We had not advanced one hundred yards when we were greeted with a perfect hail of shrapnel. And shrapnel is not a pleasant thing. You hear a whistle through the air, then a burst, and everything within a space of 200 yards from where the shrapnel burst is liable to be hit. The wounds inflicted are dreadful—deep, big irregular gashes, faces battered out of recognition, limbs torn away.
“An open target to the enemy. ”
We got some protection under cover of a hill, and steadily continued our advance in a line parallel to the enemy’s position. We had to change direction and advance in a direct line on a position at a small neck of land, and the crossing of this neck was awe-inspiring but ghastly. The enemy guns had got the range to a yard, and a tornado of high explosives and shrapnel swept the place. Your only chance was to start immediately after a burst, and run as fast as you could across the place, as there was some cover at the other side. We lost heavily at this particular place, and from then on commenced the serious business. The enemy were strongly entrenched on a line of hills about two miles from the neck of land. The right of the attack had to get over a bare, sandy sweep, but there was some cover, such as it was for the left. The heat was intense and the going very heavy. We advanced in long lines, with two paces between each man, and about eight such lines altogether at the start; of course, by the time we got to the hill the supports and reserves had closed up with the firing line. Meanwhile we presented an open target to the enemy, but, though we advanced through a regular hail of bullets and shrapnel, our casualties were not heavy. Major Harrison was in command of the first line, and was marvellously good. About 3 o’clock in the afternoon we were within 600 yards of the hill, which was fairly high—a net-work of trenches, and sides covered with furze and thorny scrub, which afforded cover from view. When we got to the foot of the hill, A and D Companies, led by Major Harrison, were in the first line, about a platoon of each, with some Enniskillings and a few stragglers.
“At the point of the bayonet. ”
They took the hill at the point of the bayonet, the Turks fleeing in all directions. It was a magnificent performance, and we have been personally congratulated on it, and we called the hill Fort Dublin. Our casualties were over 100, including Major Tippett, shot dead, and Lieutenant Julian, who has, I hear, since died. D Company lost 22 altogether, and only one killed outright, though I am afraid some of the others will not recover. It was just disk when the hill fell, and then we had to go and get water for the men, who were parched with the thirst. This was a long job, and we had to go some miles back to a well. Meanwhile we had established ourselves in the trenches on the hill, and at 1. 30 on Sunday morning I ate a biscuit, which was my first food since breakfast the previous morning. The enemy counterattacked during the night, but were easily driven off.
All Sunday morning and afternoon a furious fight was going on on the ridge to our right, where our forces had the advantage. Meanwhile, all day shrapnel and high explosives were spoiling our day’s rest, and the place was full of snipers. These snipers----unreadable-----, and it is very hard to spot them. We captured some, including a woman, and a man dressed in green to resemble the tree he was in, and shot several more. On Monday there was a tremendous fight for the hill on our left by an English division. The brigade on the right rant out of ammunition, and D Company were called upon to supply them. I sent 40 men, under Captain Tobin, to bring uo 20, 000 rounds to the supports, and took 80 men myself with 40, 000 rounds, which were further away, to the same place, but with orders from the Colonel to come back immediately, as our side of the hill was very weakly held. When I got up I found that
Tobin and twelve of his party had gone on further, as the ammunition was very urgently needed. I dumped down our ammunition with the supports, and came back to the hill, as ordered. Meanwhile Tobin and his party got into the firing line, and one of my best sergeants, Edward Millar, was killed…. He died gallantly, and his name has been sent forward for recognition.
“Waiting to go forward again. ”
The next few days were uneventful, save that we got no sleep, as we had to stand to arms about six times each night; and the incessant din of howitzers and heavy guns allowed no rest whatsoever. Finally, on Thursday night, or rather Friday morning, at 1. 30 a. m, we were relieved, and were not sorry to leave a hill which none of us will forget, and the taking of which was an achievement which will add lustre to the records of even the Dublin Fusiliers. “D” Company’s casualties amounted to 40 out of 188 men landed on Saturday morning. I forgot to say that we discarded our packs at the landing (and have never seen them again), and all this time we never had even our boots off, a shave, or a wash, and even the dirtiest water was greedily drunk on the hill, where the sun’s rays beat pitilessly down all day long, and where the rotting corpses of the Turks created a damnably offensive smell. That is one of the worst features here—unburied bodies, and flies, but the details and more gruesome, some than my pen can depict. Well, we marched out at 1. 30 on Friday morning, a bedraggled and want of sleep tired body, and marched seven miles back to a rest camp. Several of the men walked back part of the way in their sleep, and when we arrived at 4. 30 on Friday morning everyone threw himself down where we was and fell asleep. But our hopes of a rest were short-lived, as we were ordered out again at four the next day, and here we are now on the side of a hill waiting to go forward again and attack. Meanwhile it is soothing for us to know that we have achieved something which has got us the praise of all the Staff and big men here, but I dare say you will hear all about it in despatches from the front.
The Pals Battalion.
Letter from Dublin Man.
The following interesting letter, dated 14th, August, 1915, has been received from Lance Corporal W. B. Honeyman, 7th Service Battalion, Royal Dublin Fusiliers, at present fighting in the Dardanelles;--
“ Just a few lines to let you know that we have been through our first engagement, and came through it with credit. It was quite a success, and we did everything that was required of us. It lasted about fourteen hours, and was very severe; but, as all the troops behaved splendidly, we captured the position just at sundown, and have finally established ourselves since then, despite repeated attacks by the enemy. Owing greatly to the courage and resource of our officers, our losses, considering everything, were slight. What I have written so far occurred a week ago, and are now having a few hours away from the trenches. At first one felt the roar of shot and shell—like hell let loose—but now I can sleep soundly through it all.
“Wonderful is no name for the supreme courage and fortitude displayed by one and all, and it makes me feel so proud to be associated with such men. Poor Jack McGrath met his fate cheerfully and bravely the first day as did our dear brave Major Tippet, who fell like a hero, heading his men on the first day’s attack. God was very good to me, as so far I have escaped a scratch, although I have been with the rest through it all.”
“ We need safety matches, cigarettes and writing materials badly. In the daytime the beat is awful, but the nights are cool enough.
“If the enemy get a sight of the bayonet they run, but we are troubled slightly by snipers; otherwise at times it is like spending a holiday on the hills. There was great excitement when the first post for five weeks arrived to-day.
“Tell anyone having friends in this regiment they should be proud, and, if circumstance permit, should join one of our other battaliuons.”