PDA

View Full Version : Naval VC's at Gallipoli


herakles
02-01-2008, 04:12
One of the chosen landing sites for the Galipoli invasion in 1915 was called V Beach. The ingenious idea was to use a Trojan horse to get the men ashore. Accordingly the steamer SS River Clyde was chosen and filled with troops, mostly the Royal Munster Fusiliers, the Royal Dublin Fusiliers and the Royal Hampshire Regiment. She was commanded by Commander Edward Unwin. She was beached and arrangements were made for the men to rush out.

It was a huge disaster. Virtually everyone was killed or seriously wounded mounting the attack. Later a pilot of a light plane flying over the site reported that the blood stain extended well out to sea.
The men were supposed to run along lighters to reach shore. But the cables holding them failed. It was the attempt to rectify this that several naval personnel were awarded the VC.

The attack was called off finally until night when the remaining troops were able to reach shore and press the attack which did prove successful.

I have visited the war cemetery on the beach. It was sobering, especially in one case to see three brothers lying side by side.

Details of the actions that caused these men to get their VC:

Commander Unwin VC left the ship and under murderous fire attempted, to get the lighters into position. He worked on until, suffering from the effects of cold and immersion, he was obliged to return to the ship, where he was wrapped up in blankets. Having to some degree recovered, he returned to his work against the doctor's orders and completed it. He was later again attended by the doctor for three abrasions caused by bullets, after he once more left the ship, this time in a life-boat, to save some wounded men who were lying in the shallow water near the beach. He continued his heroic labour under continuous fire, until forced to stop through pure physical exhaustion.

Midshipman Drewry VC assisted Unwin at the work of securing the lighters under a very heavy rifle and Maxim fire. He was wounded in the head, but continued his work and twice subsequently attempted to swim from lighter to lighter with a line. He later achieved the rank of Lieutenant and was killed in action, Scapa Flow, Orkney Islands, on 3 August 1918.

George McKenzie Samson VC assisted Unwin at the work of securing the lighters under very heavy rifle and Maxim fire. He worked all day under very heavy fire, attending wounded and getting out lines. He was eventually dangerously wounded by Maxim fire. He later achieved the rank of Petty Officer. Samson was a Scottish recipient of the Victoria Cross. He was 26 years old, and a Seaman in the Royal Naval Reserve during the First World War.

William Charles Williams VC was assisted Unwin at the work of securing the lighters. He worked all day under very heavy fire, attending wounded and getting out lines. He held on to a rope for over an hour, standing chest deep in the sea, under continuous fire. He was eventually dangerously wounded and later killed by a shell whilst his rescue was being effected by the commander who described him as the bravest sailor he had ever met. During his career, he served on eighteen different ships, more than once on some. He was awarded the Victoria Cross posthumously.

Midshipman Malleson VC assisted Unwin at the work of securing the lighters under very heavy rifle and Maxim fire. When the other midshipman with the party had failed, through sheer exhaustion to get a line from lighter to lighter, Midshipman Malleson swam with it himself and succeeded. The line subsequently broke and he afterwards made two further unsuccessful attempts at his self-imposed task. He later achieved the rank of Captain.

The attachments show the River Clyde and Mallenson attempting to secure the lighters