Frozen to death heroes of Suvla Bay


A medical officer who was present at the evacuation of Gallipoli writes:

"I believe I have told you of the great blizzard and frost at Suvla, and here on the fourth and fifth days dozens of men came in frozen solid to the knees, many with gangrene far advanced. A lot of them were mere boys, but they refused to leave the trenches till reinforcements poured in. Even the sick in hospital rose up and took their rifles and went up to hold the line. It was truly magnificent.

"One little picture I will draw illustrative of our life for five days. One morning a Newfoundlander in a trench near us called my attention to two figures in a ditch out by the salt lake. I took out a stretcher party and there we found two lads of the City of London Regiment sitting in the ditch, frozen and dead.

"One had his arms round the other, who held fragments of biscuit in the corner of his mouth. Fancy the struggle for life across one and a half miles of frozen marsh in the teeth of a blizzard, and then, within sight of the lights of our camp, the weaker had given way and his chum had sat down with him and put his arms round him and tried to get him to eat a piece of ration biscuit. And so death had found them both.

"The agony of the battle of Sari Bahr was matched by the despair of the blizzard at Suvla. But these men were the heroes of the child's dream."

[Beds & Herts Saturday Telegraph: February 12th, 1916]