Gallipoli - "The Imperials" 1915

- Private Ernest Scott Petch
- Private Edward Found
- Lance Corporal Robert Green
- Private Douglas Constable
- Private Percy Lawty
- Lance Corporal Horace Harding
- Private Samuel Dixon
- Private Henry Green Norris

The Dardanelles Strait is the name of the narrow sea passage between the Aegean Sea and the Sea of Marmora. At the northeastern end lies the Turkish city of Istanbul [Constantinople during the Great War]. Between the Sea of Marmora and the Black Sea is the Bosphorus Strait. On the North western side of the Sea of Marmora stands the Turkish Gallipoli Peninsular, on the northern side of which is the Gulf of Saros.

A place of great beauty in spring and early summer the hills and ravines of Gallipoli are ablaze with wild flowers. As summer progresses however the days get hotter the flowers wilting and eventually vanish under the searing heat of the sun. The stunted scrub that abounds on the peninsula takes on a parched withered appearance, the grass dies and an almost constant breeze stirs up the deep red dust of the earth until everyone and everything on the barren peninsula is covered in a thin film of the stuff.

In 1915 the Gallipoli Peninsular had been sparsely populated, the few poverty riddled dusty villages had been small and almost invariably infested with the hordes of flies and rats that were to become so familiar to the men who were to serve there. There had been little in the way of a living to be had from the inhospitable soil and a lack of fresh water in the summer months did not allow for the extensive grazing of cattle. In addition there had been no roads to speak of, merely deeply rutted and hazardous cart tracks.

This had been the God forbidden place that thousands of British, Australian, New Zealand, Indian, and French troops had set foot on in the spring of 1915 in a valiant but futile attempt to wrest from Turkish hands. Forty four thousand of them were never to return to their homelands and Turkey would sacrifice three hundred thousand of her troops in the defence of the soon to be dreaded peninsular.

Often relegated to the status of a ‘side show’ of the First World War, the campaign that had taken place on the Gallipoli Peninsular, if it had been successful may have had immense influence on the war that by 1915 had stagnated into the morass of stalemate. The Dardanelles Strait would have been free to allow the passage of allied shipping, Turkey who at the time had been making serious military moves in the Middle East, may have been crippled, and in addition it may have put an end to the Turkish harassment of Russia’s Black Sea ports, thus enabling the safe arrival of the much needed supplies bound for Russia. In the event the campaign [which had been the brainchild of Britain’s First Sea Lord Winston Churchill] had failed miserably, due mainly to bad planning, inept leadership, and an enemy who had been sorely underestimated for it’s stamina for fighting for its homeland.

The Allied landings at Gallipoli had gone wrong from the start. On Sunday April 25TH 1915 British, New Zealand, Australian, and French troops had been put ashore, more often than not at great cost, at Kum Kale on the southernmost end of the mouth of the Dardanelles Strait, and on the Northern shore at Cape Helles [the landing places here were known as ‘S’, ‘V’, ‘W’ and ‘X’ Beaches] and at a place that was to be forever after referred to as Anzac [an acronym for Australian and New Zealand Army Corps] Cove and ‘Y’ Beach on the western side of the Peninsular. The landing forces had fought with great courage but had failed to penetrate inland from their beachheads which had been raked with a murderous hail of Turkish machine gun and rifle fire.

Nonetheless advances had eventually been made, but the huge cost in lives, an average of a thousand lives for every hundred yards gained had hardly warranted the effort. Unfortunately the carnage had not ended there and throughout the remainder of the month and into May the Allies had been ordered to assault the enemy positions with fruitless frontal suicide attacks. Virtually without the support of the vital artillery, the troops of Britain, in particular the Australians and New Zealanders had fought themselves to oblivion for the hills and ravines that would gain notorious names such as ‘The Nek’, ‘Scimitar Hill’, ‘Lone Pine’, ‘Chocolate Hill’, ‘Baby 700’, and inevitably the murderous ‘Gully Ravine’ and ‘The Spur’.

Ten thousand and nine hundred raw and very ‘green’ Territorials of the 56TH [Lowland] Division had landed on the southern most tip of the Peninsula at ‘W’ Beach [also known as Lancashire Landing] during the afternoon of Monday the fourteenth of June 1915. As the young pink-cheeked soldiers had made their way off the beach the first sighting of their new surroundings had appalled even the strongest of hearts. Chaos and confusion had seemed to be the rule of the day, no one seemed to be doing anything in particular, litter and bits of discarded military equipment had lay strewn it had seemed, over all of the beach.

The most distressing sight however had been the hundreds of wounded lying on stretchers in the full heat of the afternoon awaiting their evacuation from hell and the relative comfort of one of the hospital ships waiting in the bay. The groaning of the badly wounded had been terrible and had sent shivers down the backs of the men who had arrived to take their places. To round off the men’s worst fears had been the awful smell of the many unburied bodies that been strewn about all of which had been coated with hordes of green bloated flies which had been known as corpse flies by everyone who had spent some time on the peninsular.

Skeletal dysentery riddled veterans of the campaign, their exposed skin burnt to the colour of mahogany had watched with jaundiced eyes the passing of the ‘fresh off the boat’ newcomers, ‘more cannon fodder for Johnny Turk’ one or two had muttered as the men had marched up the hill their boots stirring up the red dust that had eventually hung above the brigade in a cloud filling the men’s noses and eyes. The brigade had been marched inland and had eventually come under enemy shellfire for the first time, shortly afterwards about a mile north of the beach the soldiers had been ordered to dig in for the night. Exhausted by their exertions the men had tried to sleep, the sound of gunfire however had deterred most, ‘welcome to the cradle of the devil himself’, some wag had been heard to mutter.

Amongst the infantry battalions that had landed on the sixth of June had been the 1ST/4TH Battalion [Queen’s Edinburgh Rifles] The Royal Scots, a pre war Territorial Force unit that had assembled at Larbert, Stirlingshire during May 1915. Composed of thirty officers and nine hundred and forty one ‘other ranks’ the battalion had belonged to the 156 Brigade [which had consisted of 1ST/4TH and 1ST/7TH Royal Scots, 1ST/7TH and 1ST/8TH The Cameronians [Scottish Rifles] of 52ND Division and had begun their journey to the Dardanelles on the 22Nd of May when the battalion had travelled from their assembly point at Larbert by train to Liverpool where they had boarded the R.M.S. Empress of Britain [minus one man who had deserted from the quay] that had first taken them to Gibraltar where they had arrived on the 28TH sailing onwards to Malta the following day, arriving at their next port of call Malta on the 31ST of May. The battalion had then set sail for Egypt on the first of June and had arrived at the port of Alexandria on the third of the month, moving by train to their camp at Abukir the same day. The unit had been afforded five days rest at Abukir; however on the eighth of June the battalion had made their way to Alexandria where they had again boarded the Empress of Britain which had taken them to the Greek island of Lemnos, arriving in Mudros Bay at 9am on the eleventh.

The following afternoon the first elements [‘C’ Company] of the battalion had sailed for Helles in the transport ‘Carron’. Headquarters, ‘A’ and ‘B’ Companies following in the ‘Reindeer’ later in the evening. The Battalion’s War Diary records the vessel colliding with the ‘Immingham’ [which had sank] and had been forced to return to Mudros severely damaged. The men had subsequently been transferred to a French ship [moulooya], and later back to the Empress of Britain which had been bombed by enemy aircraft during the transfer of the men fortunately no damage was done. Headquarters with ‘A’ and ‘B’ Companies had eventually sailed in the ‘Basilisk’ and ‘D’ Company in the ‘Grasshopper’ to land at ‘W’ Beach [also known as Lancashire Landing] at 2pm on the fourteenth.

Like all the reinforcements the battalion had spent nearly a month cooped up in a cramped troopship therefore the powers that be had at first given the formation the task of digging a communication trench as a method of toning up their flabby muscles and giving the men a chance of getting used to being under enemy shellfire before being sent to the front as a fighting unit. Their ‘acclimation’ had eventually come to an end on the nineteenth of June when they had at last received orders to move up to the front at Gully Ravine where they had relieved the 1ST/5TH Battalion of the regiment.

Desperate to break the deadlock which had existed at Helles by June the allies had begun to make preparations for an all out assault on the Turkish positions in the Gully Ravine area and in addition the capture of the village of Krithia which the Turks had still held on to despite two other gallant attempts by the British at its capture. However, before a general advance could be made it had been essential that the Turks had been ejected from their entrenchments, which had run across Gully Spur and Kereves on the left and right flanks of the ravine. At the time however, the British especially had suffered an acute shortage of artillery shells, which had meant that a simultaneous assault had been out of the question therefore two entirely separate operations, had eventually been carried out.

The French with sufficient supplies of ammunition had begun the Third Battle of Krithia on June the twenty first with a bombardment of the Turkish position on the right flank of the Peninsular known as ‘Haricot Redoubt’ and a series of trenches on the crest of a hill overlooking Kereves Dere which much to the envy of the shell starved British had expended 28,000 field artillery and 2,700 heavy artillery shells and in addition some 700 trench mortar rounds. The French infantry had followed this up with an operation, which although not wholly successful had taken the redoubt and the trenches overlooking Kereves Dere.

A week later on Monday the 28TH of June the British had begun their ‘limited’ operation on the left flank. The plan had been for the 29TH Division on the left flank of the attack to take possession of a heavily wired series of trenches known as ‘J’’s which had ran across Gully Spur. These had been strongly built with dugouts that had already proved capable of resisting medium artillery fire. On the right flank the objective had been the seizure of two lines of trenches H12a and H12, which had been situated on Fir Tree Spur. The unit chosen for the assault had been the untried in battle 156TH Brigade.

During the early morning of the 28TH the men of the brigade had made their way by a precarious route [known to the British as ‘Zig Zag’] up onto the high ground above Gully Ravine where they had waited in the front line trenches for the artillery bombardment to begin. The day had eventually turned out to be one of the hottest yet experienced on the peninsular and the men had sweated freely under their thick serge uniforms. To make matters worse their had been encumbered with full marching kit, filled haversacks and water bottles, entrenching tool, extra ammunition, rifle and bayonet, upwards of seventy pounds of equipment. On their heads some had been wearing sun helmets to keep off the broiling rays of the sun, however many would discard these at Zero Hour and ‘go over the top’ in the regimental Glengarry caps.

At 9am precisely seventy-five British artillery guns, supported by the guns of warships firing from offshore had begun their bombardment of the enemy’s positions, a witness would later write:

‘For an hour and a half they sent death itself into the enemy’s positions. Parapet after parapet went into the air accompanied by bodies and rags. The air became so thick that at the close of the bombardment, to see a yard in any direction was impossible—it reminded me of a London fog—green in places to a shade of brown’…

Two hours later the bombardment had abruptly ended and shortly afterwards the Scottish Territorials, spurred on by their regimental pipers, had gone over the top for the first time. Unknown to the ‘Jocks the bombardment had had little effect on the courage and determination of the Turkish troops in the positions atop Fir Tree Spur.

For the assault each man had sewn twelve-inch long strips of discarded bully beef tins onto the backs of their tunics in the shape of an equilateral triangle as an identification device for observers watching the progress of the assault from the rear. The effect as the men had gone over the top had been dramatic, an officer had subsequently written:

‘The spectacle was extraordinary. I could follow the movement of every man. One moment after 11am the smoke pall lifted and moved on with a thousand sparkles of light in it’s wake; as if someone had quite suddenly flung a big handful of diamonds onto the landscape’

The effect had not been noticed by the men taking part, within seconds of leaving their assembly point they had been assailed with a wall of Turkish machine gun and rifle fire which had cut down the attackers en masse until the front of the British positions had literally been carpeted with the dead and wounded. Nonetheless the survivors had pressed on to their objectives:

‘When we got up over the parapet my platoon were practically enfiladed, the air seemed thick with bullets, I remember thinking the puffs of sand all around were awfully funny; the platoon started going too much to the left, I yelled at them to keep to the right but I hardly heard my own voice for the row. The gap between my platoon and ‘D’ Coy on the right got rapidly wider, I dashed off to the right thinking they would follow, I crossed an old trench and then saw the Turkish trench perhaps twenty yards further on, looked around…and suddenly realised I was all alone! ‘C’and ‘D’ Coys were perhaps150yards apart and I was about mid-way between. I think some cells of one’s brain be numb because I don’t seem to have had the slightest sense of danger at any time, it reminded me of nothing so much as a football match, the thrill of a good dribble up field’

‘I reached the Turkish trench and found it almost battered to pieces, further along on either side it wasn’t so bad and there had been a lot of Turks about putting up a good fight. By the mercy of providence I had struck a bit which was almost obliterated. I sank in almost to my knees in the soft earth; the place was a fearful mess, blood everywhere, arms legs, and entrails lying around. There was only one man who had tried to put up a fight, although what looked like an officer badly wounded tried to get me with his revolver’...It sounds horrible in cold blood…. But at this time all that is savage in one seemed to be on top. I remember two things distinctly, one was wanting to cut off the mans ears and keep them as a trophy, the other was jumping on the dead, hacking their faces with my feet or crashing my rifle into them…. Looking along to my left I saw dozens of our men, they came on to within a yard or two of the trench, seemed to hesitate, then dashed into it… Men fought with their rifles, their feet, and their bare fists, a pick, a shovel, anything. But the orders had been ‘go for the second trench, never mind the first.’ So it was on again I scrambled out, something seemed to force me on, and started running again’ [Lieutenant Leslie Grant].

The 1ST/ 4TH and 1ST/7TH Royal Scots had eventually reached the second line albeit at great cost. On their right however the 1ST/8TH Cameronians had been ripped to shreds by the intense machine gun fire. The 1ST/7TH battalion of the regiment [in brigade reserve] had fared little better and only a few of the men had reached the Turkish front line before being driven back by the murderous enemy fire. The attack had collapsed by 10-30am and the Scots who had survived the initial assault had begun consolidating the gains they had made in anticipation of the counter attack that the Turks were surely to make. These had developed shortly after 10-30, however the two that had been made had been repulsed by the handful of survivors. Throughout the night of the 28TH and into the afternoon of the following day the Royal Scots had held on to their prizes until they had been relieved by a unit from the 29TH Division and had subsequently withdrawn to the reserve trenches.

By the evening of the twenty eighth the British had suffered some four thousand casualties and with the exception of the positions on Gully Spur, where the line had been pushed forward nearly half a mile, no progress had been made, and as one witness had remarked… ‘A blood red sun had fallen over the peninsular where the scrub was burning fiercely. A bloody sunset closing a day of bloodiness’… In addition, over ten thousand Turks had been killed during the fighting, all of whom were never buried.

On July the second as the bloodied and battered remains of the 1ST/4TH Royal Scots had made their way back down the dusty track to a rest camp at the mouth of Gully Ravine they had come across two spotless ‘red tab’s’ [Staff Officers] standing to one side of the path, the weary men had clearly heard one say to the other ‘that he had been glad to have had the opportunity of blooding the pups’. Too bad some of the men had muttered under their breath that he had not taken part in the f…ing attack.

Once back in comparative safety the survivors had been assembled for the customary post battle ‘roll call’ where it had been found that twenty two of the battalions officers had either been killed, wounded [The battalions C.O. Lieutenant Colonel S.R. Dunn had subsequently died from the effect of his wounds] or were missing. Of the ‘other ranks’ two hundred and four had been killed or were missing, a further one hundred and forty one had been wounded. Amongst the missing had been; 1215 Private Ernest Scott Petch.

Born in Scarborough during 1884 at No 36 Highfield, Ernest had been the youngest of four children of Elizabeth and ‘architect and surveyor’ John Caleb Petch who had been living at No 13 Stepney Road in Scarborough in a house named ‘Stepney Rise’ during 1915. A pupil of St Martin’s Grammar School [which had been in the town’s Ramshill Road] between 1895 and 1897 Ernest had consequently left the town for further education at Silcoates College at Wakefield in the West Riding of Yorkshire. [1]

Upon leaving College Ernest Petch had joined his father in the family business, which had been in ‘Bar Chambers’ in Westborough, where he had ‘served his articles’ and passed his final examination as an architect, he had eventually been elected an Associate of the Institute of Architects in 1909. During 1911 Ernest had gone to Edinburgh to work on the temporary staff of His Majesty’s Office of Works where he had remained until April 1914 when he had left to work with a private firm of Architects with the ultimate intention of joining his father in partnership at Scarborough. A Territorial soldier in the Royal Scots before the war he had rejoined his battalion at their H.Q. at Forrest Hill in Edinburgh immediately at the outbreak of war in August 1914.

Aged 31 years and unmarried in June 1915, Ernest’s parents, residing at ‘Stepney Rise’, No 60 Stepney Road in Scarborough had at first been informed that their youngest son was missing in action from the 28TH of June and had not heard any more official information for an unbelievable two years, when during September 1917 they had been told officially that their son had been killed in action on the twenty eighth of June 1915.

In the meantime, the Petch family had received a letter from the battalion stating that during December 1915 a party of Ernest’s comrades had found the badly decomposed body of the missing soldier and had buried his remains where he had fallen. Unfortunately the grave had never been located at the end of the war and Ernest’s name had been commemorated on the Helles Memorial that stands on the southern tip of the Gallipoli peninsula overlooking the Dardanelles Strait. The memorial remembers the names of over 21,000 British and Dominion soldiers who had lost their lives during the campaign and have no known graves. Ernest Scott Petch’s name can be found amongst those emblazoned on Panels 26 to30 of the memorial. [2]

Ernest’s name can also be found inscribed in Scarborough’s Manor Road Cemetery [Section W. Terrace. Grave 36] on a now broken and vandalised gravestone which also bears the name of his North Frodingham born father and noted architect of the town, John Caleb Petch, who had died on the 12TH of September 1921 at the age of sixty eight. Also included on the stone are the names of Ernest’s Scarborough born mother Elizabeth Petch who had passed away on the 1ST of February 1925 at the age of seventy-four and his eldest sister Winifred Sarah who had died on the 6TH of February 1934 at the age of fifty four years.

The Petch family had also had an epitaph to their soldier son who had lost his life so very far from home inscribed on the headstone, the well known and oft used sentence from the Book of St.John, Chapter 15, Verse 13.

‘Greater love hath no man than this,
That a man should lay down his life for his friends’…

By October 1915 Private Petch’s once proud battalion had been manning a section of the British front line known as Argyle Street, their War Diary records; ‘this part of the firing line is very safe with well made trenches, the enemy’s trenches being on an average of 100 to 200 yards distant’. During the same period the diary notes that; ‘Spirits of the battalion excellent, general health bad, however, six officers and sixty two ‘other ranks’ sent to hospital suffering from jaundice and dysentery’. The diary also records that by the end of the month the battalion’s strength had been twelve officers and three hundred and thirty ‘other ranks, the effective strength of the unit being down to a mere one hundred and eighty one men.

During the night of the sixth/seventh of August 1915 the newly arrived ‘Kitcheners men’ of the 10TH [Irish] and 11TH [Northern] Divisions had made a disastrous landing on the western side of the peninsular just to the north of ‘ANZAC Beach’ at place known to the British as ‘New Beach’ at Suvla Bay. The aim of the landings had been to quickly secure the seemingly sparsely held high ground known as the ‘Sari Bair Hills’ surrounding the bay and a wilderness known as the Salt Lake. Confusion during the landings and indecision on the part of the officers commanding the operation had caused fatal delays that had allowed the Turks to reinforce their positions.

The untried in battle ‘New Army’ soldiers, with little idea of what had been expected of them, had been slaughtered wholesale and during the three days that the battle of Sari Bair had lasted the British had suffered over 18,000 casualties for very little gain. Amongst the Imperial casualties had been:

18553 Private Edward Found. Born in Scarborough in 1877 Edward had been the son of Mary and George Found. Employed by Scarborough Council as a gardener during the pre-war years, Edward had been married in Scarborough during 1904 to Martha Elizabeth Reed, the pair residing with their only son Edward [born 1912] at No 21 Wykeham Street by the start of the war. Found had enlisted into the army at Scarborough in September 1914 and had eventually been posted to Richmond in North Yorkshire to join the then forming 6TH [Service] Battalion of the Yorkshire Regiment which had subsequently been incorporated into the 32ND Brigade of the 11TH [Northern] Division.

The 11TH Division had landed on the Peninsular at Suvla Bay on the sixth of August and had taken part in an assault that the Official History describes as; ‘The first to be undertaken by any unit of the New Army’, and goes on to say… ‘The attack being under conditions that would have tried the mettle of highly experienced troops’

Later in the campaign the sixth Yorks had suffered grievously during the battle of Scimitar Hill especially in the area of Hill 10 [over 260 killed and wounded]. Edward Found had been fortunate to be amongst those who had survived the slaughter of the ferocious fighting that had taken place around this now insignificant hill, Found had remained virtually intact until the terrible winter of 1915, when he had been killed in action on Sunday the fourteenth of November. At the time his battalion had been holding a section of the front line known as ‘Jepson’s Post’ on ‘Green Knoll’.

Aged thirty-seven years at the time of his death, Private Found’s remains had been interred in the Cemetery on Hill 10 at the end of the war and a gravestone commemorating his name can be found in Section 2, Row F, Grave 19.

A former member of Falsgrave’s All Saints Church, Edward Found’s name had once been included on the church’s War Memorial that had been unveiled during the evening of Wednesday the 27TH of July 1921 by Colonel Legard and dedicated by the Bishop of Hull that had listed forty-five former members of the church that had lost their lives on active service during the ‘Great War of 1914-1919 and five civilians [including the baby John S. Ryalls] who had been killed during the German Bombardment of Scarborough on the 16TH of December 1914. Sadly, the whereabouts of this fine oak screen is not known in 2008.

The Battalion had also lost; 3/9205 Lance Corporal Robert Green. Born in Scarborough in 1873, Robert had been a pre war regular army soldier and had seen service in South Africa with the 1ST Battalion of the Yorkshire Regiment. Married in Scarborough soon after his return from the campaign in Africa, during 1899, Robert had been the husband of Betsy Sellars, and had lived in the town at No.2 Potter Lane with Betsy and three of their surviving five children; Joseph born 1906, James Robert, 1912, and Fred G.R., 1914 [his son Robert William had at the age of two during 1907 whilst daughter Doris Green had also died at the age of two years, during 1911].

An Army Reservist at the outbreak of war, Corporal Green had been recalled to the colours and had rejoined the Yorkshire Regiment at Richmond during August 1914 to initially serve with the 3RD [Special Reserve] Battalion of the Regiment, which had eventually been stationed at West Hartlepool, the unit serving in the dual role of training new recruits and guarding the coast. Stood to arms at the time of the German bombardment of Hartlepool on the 16TH of December 1914, Green and the remainder of his battalion had taken part in the evacuation of the many casualties and clean up of the chaos that had been caused by the over one thousand shells that had rained into the town that dreadful day.

Remaining on home service until August 1915, Green had eventually been placed in a large draft of 788 men and 11 officers destined for service at Gallipoli with the 6TH Yorkshire, following the Battalion’s recent mauling during the futile attack on the heavily held Turkish position known as ‘Hill W’ that had reduced the strength of the Battalion from about nine hundred all ranks to around 285 officers and men.

A veteran of three months of trench warfare, and the terrible blizzard and thunderstorms that had engulfed the dreaded peninsular during late 1915, Green had been aged forty four years at the time that he had been killed by a Turkish shell on Sunday the 12TH of December 1915, that had reportedly ripped through the line that Green and a large number of his comrades had been standing in whilst waiting to be served with dinner.

A photograph of Corporal Green had been featured in ‘The Scarborough Mercury’ of Friday January 14TH 1916. Also included in the same newspaper had been a letter the Corporal had written to his family on the fifth of December 1915, just a week before his death

‘We have left Mudros for the firing line, but I hope to get back again all right. I shall keep my head as far under cover as I possibly can. Keep your heart up till I come back. I have not received either of the parcels you sent me; so do not send any more unless you register them. Give my best respects to all who ask about me, I shall never forget the 4TH of December, and shall have lots of tales to tell you if I get back safe. I think this is all this time, from your true and loving husband—Robert Green. Kisses for Jimmy, Freddy, and Joe, and the same for yourself’. Green fought in the Boer War and was in the 6TH Battalion Yorkshire Regiment’

The remains of Private Robert Green had been interred with those of his comrades in Hill 10 Cemetery’s Section 2, Row H, Grave 11, close to fellow Scarborian; 3/7930 Private Douglas Constable.

Born in Scarborough during 1896, Douglas had been the only son of Alice and ‘housepainter’ John William Constable, who had been residing in Scarborough at No.15 Gladstone Street during the war. A former worker in Scarborough’s Westborough based T. Rowntree & Sons; Douglas had enlisted into the army in the town during late 1914 and had also served with the 3RD [Special Reserve] Battalion of the Yorkshire Regiment before being sent to Gallipoli to join the 6TH Battalion, probably in the same draft as Corporal Green, during August 1915. Aged nineteen years, Douglas had been killed in action on the 5TH of November 1915, and his final resting place is located in Section 1, Row H, Grave 17 at Hill 10.

The same shell that had killed Corporal Green had killed another fifteen men of the 6TH Yorkshire outright including Hunmanby born [1897]; 17238 Private John Henry Frankish and wounded a further twenty-six other ranks. Amongst them had been; 18490 Private Percy Lawty.

Also born at Hunmanby, during 1898, Percy had been the fifth of seven sons of Frances Mary, and ‘Inn Keeper’ Edward Anderson Lawty. Although not a native of Scarborough, Percy had spent many of his years in the town residing at No.77 Hampton Road and had once been a well-known member of numerous football teams belonging to the town. Although officially underage for military service at the outset of the war, Percy had, nonetheless, managed to bluff his way into the army at the age of seventeen and had served with the 6TH Battalion of the Yorkshire Regiment since its raising in August 1914.

A friend and former school ‘chum’ of Private Frankish, Percy Lawty had been badly wounded by shrapnel in his hands and legs and had eventually been evacuated to St. Elmo’s Military Hospital at Malta, from where, despite his wounds, on the 29TH of December 1915, the nineteen years old had written a letter to his parents. It had said:

‘Just a line to let you know I am at present lying in hospital at Malta, and hope to be all right soon. I got the wounds last Sunday in the hand and leg, but don’t worry as they are nothing serious…we were lined up for our dinners when a shell came over, and killed ten and wounded twenty three, five of whom died within half an hour or so…I think he [Johnny Turk] might have let us have our dinners first don’t you? Well Mother dear, don’t worry, as I shall be all right. We are well cared for, and we want for nothing

Despite his cheerful optimism Percy’s wounds had become infected, and despite them only considered as being ‘nothing serious’, the youth had eventually lapsed into septic shock, and during the night of the 29TH of December 1915, a coma, from which he had never emerged.

The remains of Private Percy Lawty had subsequently been interred with full military honours in Malta’s Pieta Military Cemetery. Located two kilometres to the south west of Valetta on the road to Sliema in ‘Triq id-Duburi’ [‘Our Lady of Sorrows Street’], over one thousand fatalities from the various hospitals and convalescent Depots that had been established on Malta during the ‘Great War’ are interred in Pieta Military Cemetery, Percy Lawty’s final resting place is located in Section C, Row 4, Grave 2.

Another former member of the congregation of Scarborough’s All Saints Church, like that of Private Found’s, Percy’s name had once been included on this church’s now missing War Memorial.
[Just three days after Corporal Green had been killed, and Private Lawty wounded, the first party of men [5 officers and 491 other ranks] from the 6TH Battalion of the Yorkshire Regiment had withdrawn to the beach at Suvla Bay for evacuation from the peninsula. the last remaining men of the Battalion following on the twentieth of December 1915].

During October and November 1915 the Gallipoli peninsula had been ravaged by severe storms that had culminated on the 28TH of November with a violent thunderstorm, which had literally washed the British and Turks out of their positions, a witness had described the aftermath; ’North and south the front trench was full of sullen brown water and behind it there was no sign of life. A few men standing nearby were all blue with cold, shivering and wild eyed’

Conditions on the peninsula had deteriorated even further shortly afterwards when the wind had veered round to the north bringing with it a blizzard that had raged for three solid days. The diarist of the Royal Scots had noted that the hard frost had rendered many rifles and machine guns unserviceable. The battalion’s strength had fallen to twelve officers and three hundred and six other ranks, effective strength, 163 men.

[At Suvla the intense cold had caused over two thousand cases of frostbite, 3,000 at ANZAC and about a thousand at Helles].

At the beginning of December 1915 the rumours of evacuation from the peninsula had become reality, and by the eighteenth of the month only forty thousand men had remained. The first to go had been the men from Anzac and Suvla, the evacuation from Helles being postponed until January 1916. Ernest Petch’s old battalion, the 1ST/4TH Royal Scots, had received their orders to retire on the fifth and during the night of the eighth the battalion had boarded lighters at ‘W’ Beach which had ferried them out to the transport H.M.T. Prince George which had taken them to Imbros. Of the original battalion that had landed in June 1915 only the Medical Officer [Captain A.P. Watson] and a hundred and forty eight men had remained. For some the departure from Gallipoli had inspired mixed emotions, an officer Lieut. C.S. Black of 1ST /6TH Highland Light Infantry [157TH Brigade] had written in his diary:

‘Cape Helles had no happy memories for us; no one wanted to see the place again. But what of the men we were to leave behind us there? The good comrades who had come so gaily with us to the wars. Who had fought so gallantly by our side, and who would now lie forever among the barren rocks where they had died… No man was sorry to leave the Gallipoli; but few were really glad’…

During the early hours of the following day the last British troops had left the peninsular leaving behind forty four thousand dead, five hundred slaughtered or left to wander animals, fifteen pieces of artillery, one thousand five hundred and ninety assorted vehicles and enough military equipment and food to feed and clothe four Turkish divisions.

The Gallipoli campaign had lasted for eight and a half months the estimates of the casualties that had been incurred during that time vary. Records of Turkish casualties had been very loosely kept and the official figures of 86,692 deaths, 164,617 wounded and sick is believe to be an underestimation, the actual total may have been in the region of 300,000.

The British and Dominion armies had suffered from 198,000 to 215,000, including French losses however the number is estimated to have been in the region of 265,000, of these some 46,000 men had been killed in action, died of wounds, or as a result of sickness. Amongst the latter had been; Plymouth / 289[S] Lance Corporal Horace Harding.

Born in Scarborough at No 2 Commercial Street on the 24TH of October 1893, Horace had been the youngest son of Eleanor and Thomas Miller Harding who had been the proprietor of a newspaper/confectionary shop located in Scarborough at No 9 St Thomas Street in 1915 [in 2003 the ‘Knitter’s World’ wool shop]. Horace had enlisted into the Royal Marine Light Infantry at Manchester on the 19TH Of September 1914 and had eventually landed with the Plymouth Battalion at ‘Y’ Beach [Helles] on the twenty fifth of April 1915 and had served on the peninsular until mid May when he had contracted Enteric [Typhoid] Fever. Harding had subsequently been evacuated from the Dardanelles in the Hospital Ship ‘Sicilia’, however before the ship had reached her destination of Alexandria the dangerously ill marine had passed away, on Sunday the sixth of June 1915 at the age of twenty-one years. [3]

Shortly after his death the remains of Private Harding had been buried at sea with little ceremony. With ‘no known grave’ except the sea, Harding is commemorated on the Plymouth Naval Memorial that stands on The Hoe overlooking Plymouth Sound. [The memorial bears the names of 7,000 sailors and Marines from the First World War and nearly 16,000 from the Second who had served in the Division who have ‘no known grave’].

[1] At the time of the 1901 Census of the population of Scarborough the Petch family had been living at ‘Stepney Rise’ No 60 Stepney Road and had consisted of parents John Caleb and Elizabeth, their eldest daughter twenty one years old Winifred S. Eldest son Cecil T. aged 18years his profession is listed as a Bankers Clerk [Cecil Petch had served during the war with the Territorial 5TH Battalion of the Yorkshire Regiment and despite being wounded in Flanders during May 1915 he had survived]. At the time Ernest is listed as being a sixteen years old schoolboy. The youngest child had been the fifteen years old daughter and ‘schoolgirl’ Florence M. Petch, all of whom had been born in Scarborough.

[2] Also included on the memorial at Helles are the names of; 6695 Private Samuel Dixon. Born in Scarborough in 1879 Sam Dixon had been the eldest son of Rose A. and labourer Samuel Dixon who had lived at No 111 Lower William Street in Scarborough. A pre war army reservist and veteran of service in India and South Africa the thirty six years old and unmarried Sam Dixon had been serving with the Battalion of the East Yorkshire Regiment [the Pioneer Battalion of the 11TH [Northern] Division] when he had been killed in action during the fighting at Suvla Bay on the21ST/ 22ND of August 1915, during the battle of Scimitar Hill. At the time the battalion had been attached to the 32ND Brigade of 11TH Division that had been taking part in a savage contest for the ‘W Hills’. Twelve officers and five hundred men had gone into action on the 21ST, by the dawn of the following day five officers and twenty two other ranks had been killed, a further one hundred and twenty eight men had been wounded and forty nine men including Sam Dixon were missing, his body was never recovered. A member of the congregation of St Peters Roman Catholic Church in Castle Road, Samuel Dixon’s name can be found on the war memorial outside the main entrance of the church.

1789 Private Henry Green Norris. Born at Bishop Burton near Hull in 1888, Henry had been the son of Sarah Jane and gamekeeper Francis Norris who had been living in the High street at Cloughton at the time that their twenty-seven years old son had been killed in action, also at Suvla Bay, on Sunday the 22ND of August. A soldier in the Derbyshire Yeomanry [enlisted at Derby] which had been a part of the 2ND Mounted Division, Henry had, however, been serving as a dismounted infantryman at the time of his death. Although not commemorated on Scarborough’s Oliver’s Mount Memorial Henry Norris’s name is included on the war memorial in Cloughton village.

Of the thirty two thousand British and Dominion troops who had lost their lives at Gallipoli barely nine thousand have a known grave, the remainder, to this day, lay where they had fallen, their bodies never having been recovered. At Suvla Bay the Commonwealth War Graves Commission’s Cemetery atop a mound of earth barely ten metres high appropriately named ‘Hill10’ by the military during the campaign of 1915, contains the graves of six hundred and ninety nine men who had been killed nearby or had died of wounds in the many nearby Casualty Clearing and Dressing Stations amongst them are:

[3] In 1901 the Harding family had been living at No10 Belle Vue Parade in Scarborough and had consisted of Thomas Miller Harding, forty-one years old born at Bedford. Wife, Eleanor, thirty-nine years old, born Leicester. Eldest son Francis M. a fifteen years old solicitors clerk, born at Leicester and fourteen years old Herbert S. who had also been born at Leicester. Twelve years old daughter Beatrice, and seven years old Horace had both been born at Scarborough.

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