Shortage of men in Gallipoli


"We are hung up for reinforcements and until we get them we have got to hang on." This is the position of the 1/5th Bedfords indicated in a letter from Acting Regimental Sgt-Major Milton, which bears out the need for more men emphasised in the recent letter from Lieut-Col Brighten.

"We are still in the trenches," writes Acting RSM Milton. "We have one week in and one week out but the week out is the worst of the two because you are exposed to more fire, artillery and rifle, than when in the trenches. And another thing, you are on fatigues practically day and night. We are doing a lot more than we ought to, owing to the shortage of men.

"We are holding the same length of trenches as when we were at full strength. We are very weak now. In addition to what we have lost in action, we have had a lot go away from here with dysentery. That is the chief complaint out here, and the two chief causes are impure water and tinned food.

"We are living a little better now, so perhaps we shall not lose so many. we have not made any advance at all for a month now, and we are simply sitting tight and hanging on for reinforcements, and until we get them we have got to hang on, but it is a slow game, this waiting, the longer we wait the worse it is going to be, as the Turks are strengthening their positions.

"It is going to be a terrific struggle to capture the trenches they are holding now, because we have got to cross an open stretch and then climb up a succession of very steep ridges, all of which are under shell and machine gun fire, in addition to rifles. So you can picture in your mind what the position is like."

Pte A. E. Dennis, from Leighton Buzzard, wrote from military hospital in Cairo: "All I can say is that the Turks are holding us quite easily with all the troops that are there, and now that the wet weather is coming on we will have a job to hold on. If they don't send out more troops the job will last as long as the one in France."

[Luton Reporter: Monday, November 22nd, 1915]