Posted 25 April 2012 - 03:26 AM
Was just reading The Royal Engineers Corps History (Vol VI) -
"Incredible as it may seem, it was not until 11th March that the General Staff was informed that any large military operations in the Dardanelles were contemplated. On 12th March, Sir Ian Hamilton learned that he was to command the expedition, and next day, with his Chief of Staff and a few General Staff offciers, he left England. For over a fortnight he had no "A' or "Q" staff officers with him, nor any engineer officer. Events were to prove that his arrival at the Dardanelles was not an hour too soon, but the separation of his staff caused by this hurried departure was a misfortune from which the force never quite recovered..."
Regarding the transports reloaded at Alexandria, a section is quoted from the Official History - Military Operations, Gallipoli, Vol. I, p.116 - excerpt below:
"In the hurry of embarkation in England the contents of the transports had been even more intermixed than was at first realized, and there was no alternative to completely unloading every ship. One of the infantry battalions of the 29th Division, for instance, had been embarked in four different vessels. Units had been separated from their first line transport, wagons from their horses; guns had been loaded in one vessel, their ammunition in a second and, in some cases, the necessary fuses in a third. For a whole week, the ammunition of the 29th Division's ammunition column could not be traced at all..."
There is a section on Mudros, how it was never intended as an advanced base and was not suited to the role given it after Triumph and Majestic were torpedoed, and no ocean-going craft were permitted beyond Lemnos - "...cargoes would be transferred to smaller vessels in its harbour ... the complete tonnage of maintenance stores and supplies was to be handled at least twice ... ships often took six or eight weeks to discharge ... and furthermore even when cargoes had been unloaded the items required by the troops could not be sorted out so as to be reloaded for transshipment in smaller vessels ... moreover the one method by which cargoes might have been handled more quickly - adequate tugs and lighters - were also lacking." Work on piers began in earnest in July 1915, the Corps History lists the piers built and in use by December 1915.