Preliminary stage of the evacuation from Anzac Cove: narrative from battalion war diaries

18 November 2015 by Theresa Cronk

Map of Gallipoli

 

The evacuation of Gallipoli began on 22 November 1915, when a plan was adopted during a conference at General Headquarters, Mudros. This was after Lord Kitchener's visit to Gallipoli in early November, during which he told General Birdwood to start thinking about how to evacuate, and before the recommendation was approved by British Parliament. Charles Bean, the official Australian historian of the First World War, wrote that this was the reason behind the evacuation plan being divided into three stages.

The evacuation from Anzac Cove and Suvla Bay occurred simultaneously, with the final evacuation of Helles coming later on 9 January 1916. The operation from Anzac Cove, beginning on 22 November and ending on 20 December, consisted of the preliminary, intermediary, and final stages. To mark the centenary of the evacuation from Anzac Cove, a narrative blog post will be released in accordance with the dates that each of these stages commenced in 1915.

The idea was that the preliminary stage (16 days) could begin immediately, regardless of the decision made by the British Parliament, and would involve reducing the number of men required to defend positions during winter. In the official history Bean described the intermediary stage (ten days), as one where "the force and material would be reduced until there remained only a bare sufficiency to enable the positions to be held for a week against attack". During the final stage all remaining men were to be withdrawn over a period of two days. The following table, taken from the second volume of the Official history of Australia in the war of 1914–1918, provides an overview of the numbers involved in each stage.

Force before Evacuation commenced 41, 218 men 2368 animals 105 guns
End of the Preliminary Stage 35, 786 men    
End of the Intermediate Stage 26, 195 men 500 animals 40 guns

The preliminary stage of the evacuation

Three infantry battalions had already left Gallipoli for good. Although receiving orders to leave for Mudros on 13 November, the 9th and 11th Battalions, together with ten men from the 12th Battalion, were among the first to leave on 16 November 1915. This delay was caused by the weather, but four days later the 10th Battalion also departed. Already at Mudros, at this time, was the 7th Battalion who returned to Anzac on 26 November 1915.

Of the 28 battalions of the Australian Imperial Force that served on Gallipoli, 23 remained at Anzac Cove on the day that this phase of the evacuation commenced.

The narrative below tells the story of the preliminary stage of the evacuation of Australian troops from Anzac Cove between 22 November and 7 December, based entirely on reports contained within the official unit war diaries kept by the Australian battalions that remained at Gallipoli until the early hours of 20th December 1915:

Where possible, names of people mentioned in the diaries have been identified and links provided to their profiles on the Australian War Memorial website. The war diaries for the units mentioned above have also been completely transcribed in the course of compiling this blog post and can be read here.

Note: Not all battalions kept a unit war diary during the months of November and December 1915, or did so for one but not the other (the 1st, 6th, 10th, 16th, 23rd and 25th Battalions fall into this category). Similarly, not all battalions recorded daily entries. The chart below shows the dates of all war diary entries recorded by each of the infantry battalions reporting from Gallipoli during this period.

Daily narrative from the infantry battalion war diaries November – December 1915

22nd November 1915

Location of Battalions: 22 November 1915
Place Battalion No
Anzac 1, 4, 5, 6, 8, 12, 21, 22
Shell Green 2, 3
Durrant's Post 13, 14
Hay Valley 15
Quinn's Post 17
Courtney's Post 18
Pope's Post 19
Fatigue Gully 20
Brown's Dip 23
Lone Pine 24
Reserve Gully 25
Russell's Top 26
Gallipoli 27
Happy Valley 28

At 6.30 am on the first day the preliminary stage of the evacuation from Anzac Cove was described by the 2nd Battalion:

Cold, bleak and windy. The winter is now on us in earnest. The days are cold, and the nights worse. There are frequent showers making things very unpleasant in the trenches.

Extract from 2nd Infantry Battalion unit diary 2nd Infantry Battalion unit diary November 1915 RCDIG1007892

Prior to this, at 6 am, the 24th Battalion position at Lone Pine was subjected to an enemy bombardment coming from the direction of Olive Grove. The 3rd and 4th Battalions later reported that naval and land guns bombarded Olive Grove at 10 am and 11 am respectively but "failed to silence the guns" that had launched the earlier enemy bombardment.

Throughout the day construction of underground winter shelters, mining, and improvements to communication trenches were undertaken and reported upon by the 3rd, 13th, and 19th Battalions.

At the end of the day it was reported that one man from the 3rd Battalion had been wounded and five others from various other battalions had been sent to hospital (see appendix A). The 2nd Battalion reported an effective strength of 22 officers and 508 Other Ranks, while the 22nd Battalion recorded 34 officers and 858 Other Ranks (see appendix B).

23rd November 1915

Location of Battalions: 23 November 1915
Place Battalion No
Anzac 1, 4, 5, 6, 8, 12, 21, 22
Shell Green 2, 3
Durrant's Post 13, 14
Hay Valley 15
Quinn's Post 17
Courtney's Post 18
Pope's Post 19
Fatigue Gully 20
Lone Pine 23, 24
Reserve Gully 25
Russell's Top 26
Gallipoli 27
Happy Valley 28

According to some battalions, 23 November 1915 was a quiet day where "nothing of importance happened". The weather was described by the 2nd Battalion as "still bitterly cold and windy". The 3rd and 19th Battalions continued to work on improving trenches while the 4th Battalion also undertook general duties.

Brigadier General Reginald Spencer Browne visited the 24th Battalion at Lone Pine before its return to White's Valley at 10 am, at which point the 23rd Battalion took over. The 13th Battalion observed that the enemy was using steel loopholes for the first time, and reported a failed attempt to intercept a Turkish patrol.

Extract from AWM4 23/30/13 13th Infantry Battalion unit diary November 1915 RCDIG1004137

As shown in appendix A, three men were wounded and a total of six were sent to hospital. Effective strength for the 2nd Battalion remained the same as the day before. In contrast, the 22nd Battalion reported a decline from 858 to 856 Other Ranks (see appendix B).

24th November 1915

Location of Battalions: 24 November 1915
Place Battalion No
Anzac 1, 4, 5, 6, 8, 12, 21, 22,
Shell Green 2, 3
Durrant's Post 13, 14
Hay Valley 15
Quinn's Post 17
Courtney's Post 18
Pope's Post 19
Fatigue Gully 20
Lone Pine 23
White Valley 24
Reserve Gully 25
Russell's Top 26
Gallipoli 27
Happy Valley 28

Another cold day at Anzac Cove was made all the more memorable by the commencement of the Silent Ruse. Referred to variously in these diary entries as a "new policy", a "ruse of silence", and the "silent stunt", this saw the cessation of firing by all guns for 48 hours in order to force the enemy into believing an evacuation was in progress. If enemy aeroplanes were noticed overhead, the procedure was given that all men were to take cover.

4th Infantry Battalion unit diary November 1915 RCDIG1005261

The 18th Battalion also gave a detailed account of the procedures to be followed during the Silent Ruse, including the cessation of mining, no fires other than those necessary for cooking, and that no sign of life be visible in the trenches.

18th Infantry Battalion unit diary November 1915 RCDIG1004219

The 2nd and 13th Battalions reported that the enforced silence commenced at 9 pm, with the 20th Battalion diary recording commencement at midnight. By 11 pm the 2nd Battalion observed: "Apparently the enemy is at a loss to understand the silence."

The 19th Battalion, together with the 24th, recommenced work with the construction of underground winter shelters.

That day 16 men were sent to hospital, the highest tally since the commencement of the preliminary stage (see appendix A). Effective strength was reported by the 2nd Battalion as 23 officers and 506 Other Ranks, and by the 22nd Battalion as 34 officers and 855 Other Ranks (see appendix B).

25th November 1915

Location of Battalions: 25 November 1915
Place Battalion No
Anzac 1, 4, 5, 6, 8, 21, 22
Shell Green 2, 3
Durrant's Post 13, 14
Hay Valley 15
Quinn's Post 17
Courtney's Post 18
Pope's Post 19
Fatigue Gully 20
Brown's Dip 23
Lone Pine 24
Reserve Gully 25
Russell's Top 26
Gallipoli 27
Happy Valley 28

The morning began as another cold and windy day on the peninsula, where the silence of the guns was maintained. The effect of this on the Turks was captured by both the 3rd (see quote below) and 22nd Battalions. The 22nd Battalion reported:

This apparently mystified the enemy as at times he remained perfectly silent and others would breakout with bursts of fire as if uncertain as to what to do.

3rd Infantry Battalion unit diary November 1915 RCDIG1008415

At 9 pm the 3rd Field Artillery Brigade reported a suspected gas attack, with the 2nd Battalion responding at Shell Green by rousing sleeping men, manning alarms, lowering gas curtains, and donning helmets. Thirty minutes later a message was received that the report had been false. At Lone Pine the 24th Battalion did not hear of the suspected attack until 10.30 pm.

2nd Infantry Battalion unit diary November 1915 RCDIG1007892

Lieutenant Francis was transferred from the 5th Field Ambulance to the 20th Battalion. The 24th received a visit from Brigadier General William Holmes and Brigadier General Reginald Spencer Browne. The enemy was reported to be actively working in Johnston's Jolly, and enemy snipers had gained control of Chailak Dere. Work on tunnels and underground winter shelters were also reported to be progressing by the 3rd and 19th Battalions.

Three men were reported wounded and five were sent to hospital sick. Lance Sergeant Donald Wally Wallace of the 20th Battalion was killed in action (see appendix A). Effective strength was given by the 2nd Battalion as 23 officers and 504 Other Ranks, with the 22 Battalion reporting 34 officers and 852 Other Ranks (see appendix B).

This day also marked the end of the Gallipoli campaign for the 12th Battalion, which returned to Mudros with the following reference in its unit diary:

7 months continuous work on the peninsula. Orders received to move. Left Bivouac area at 1745.

12th Infantry Battalion unit diary November 1915 RCDIG1005687

26th November 1915

Location of Battalions: 26 November 1915
Place Battalion No
Anzac 1, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 21, 22
Shell Green 23,
Durrant's Post 13, 14
Hay Valley 15
Quinn's Post 17
Courtney's Post 18
Pope's Post 19
Fatigue Gully 20
Brown's Dip 23
Lone Pine 24
Reserve Gully 25
Russell's Top 26
Gallipoli 27
Happy Valley 28

From 7 am it was reported to be another cold and windy day on Gallipoli, and rain fell during the morning. Heavy rain fell again that evening, and the wind was reported to be blowing with great force. The 4th Battalion commented that the men had fairly good cover in spite of the scarcity of timber and iron, whereas the 2nd Battalion reported that all ships in the area had "made off for shelter", and at 11 pm added: "Conditions unpleasant in the lines, wet underfoot and very cold."

2nd Infantry Battalion unit diary November 1915 RCDIG1007892

The continuing silence that characterised the Silent Ruse was reported by the 3rd, 13th, and 24th Battalions. The desired attack that was hoped to be undertaken by the enemy did not eventuate, and the silence ended at midnight on 27 November 1915. The 3rd Battalion also reported on an encounter with a Turkish patrol during the course of the day:

A patrol was sent out and came in contact with a Turkish patrol. Owing to an excess of enemy numbers our patrol retired.

3rd Infantry Battalion unit diary November 1915 RCDIG1008415

Work also continued on constructing underground winter shelters and improving trenches. Brigadier General Reginald Spencer Browne and Brigadier General William Holmes again visited the 24th Battalion at Lone Pine.

Enemy stick bombs destroyed a machine-gun, and shells fell on the 22nd Battalion's position, wounding one man and wreaking havoc in "the cook's lines". Two men were sent to hospital, one was wounded, and another from the 22nd Battalion (unidentified) was killed (see appendix A).

The 2nd Battalion's reported effective strength was 13 officers and 504 Other Ranks, with 23 officers and 422 Other Ranks from 7th Battalion and 34 officers and 852 Other Ranks from 22nd Battalion. The increase in the number of battalions reporting on effective strength is indicative of the return to Anzac Cove of the 7th Battalion. It arrived back from Mudros just after midnight and stayed the night in Shrapnel Gully (see appendix B).

27th November 1915

Location of Battalions: 27 November 1915
Place Battalion No
Anzac 1, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 21, 22
Shell Green 2.3
Durrant's Post 13.14
Hay Valley 15
Quinn's Post 17
Courtney's Post 18
Pope's Post 19
Fatigue Gully 20
Lone Pine 23
White Valley 24
Reserve Gully 25
Russell's Top 26
Gallipoli 27
Happy Valley 28

The weather and early morning rises caused by observations of enemy movements were commented on by several battalions. The 2nd Battalion was "turned out of bed" at 4 am owing to reports of a Turkish party from the 1st Battalion, but could see nothing from its position at Shell Green. At Lone Pine the 24th Battalion stood to arms at 4.50 am for a similar reason. The 18th Battalion also reported Turkish patrols of about 20 appearing at 4 am and again between 5 and 6 am.

2nd Infantry Battalion unit diary November 1915 RCDIG1007892

At 7 am the 2nd Battalion was "miserably cold and windy, with occasional showers", and by 11 pm the cold had become "intense". Just 15 minutes later snow was falling, but this apparently made the temperature much warmer. The 24th Battalion also commented that men were suffering from the weather extremes marked by the blanket of snow covering the ground to a depth of six inches.

24th Infantry Battalion unit diary November 1915 RCDIG1004254

At 10 am the 24th Battalion left the trenches at Lone Pine to the 23rd Battalion and returned to White's Valley. Improvements to trenches continued to be made, with the 2nd Battalion starting to dig "funk holes" to provide shelter against heavy artillery fire.

The reports of 11 men hospitalised and one wounded also appear in the chart featured in appendix A. The reported effective strength was 23 officers and 505 Other Ranks from the 2nd Battalion, 23 officers and 422 Other Ranks from the 7th Battalion, and 32 officers and 852 Other Ranks from the 22nd Battalion (see appendix B).

28th November 1915

Location of Battalions: 28 November 1915
Place Battalion No
Anzac 1, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 21, 22
Shell Green 2, 3
Durrant's Post 13, 14
Hay Valley 15
Quinn's Post 17
Courtney's Post 18
Pope's Post 19
Fatigue Gully 20
Lone Pine 23
White Valley 24
Reserve Gully 25
Russell's Top 26
Gallipoli 27
Happy Valley 28

At 7 am that morning everything was under snow, and the 24th Battalion declared it was "Freezing". The cold weather continued to wreak havoc, and a blizzard blew all day. Short bursts of fire and the occasional single shot were ordered to keep the machine-guns warmed up, with blankets placed over the water jacket and glycerine added to the water to prevent freezing.

Both the 4th and 13th Battalions reported feeling the cold. Cardigan jackets and thigh-high gumboots were issued. On a positive note, the 2nd Battalion wrote:

Fortunately the mud and slush has frozen hard, making progress through the trenches by night more pleasant.

2nd Infantry Battalion unit diary November 1915 RCDIG1007892

The conditions also interfered with the processes of improvements and new works. Patrols on the western slopes of Aghyl Dere, in particular, had a difficult time as well as a shortage of water.

On this day 13 men were hospitalised and one was reported wounded (see appendix A).  Effective strength was reported as 23 officers and 503 Other Ranks for the 2nd Battalion, 23 officers and 421 Other Ranks for the 7th Battalion, and 34 officers and 849 Other Ranks for the 22nd Infantry Battalion (see appendix B).

29th November 1915

Location of Battalions: 29 November 1915
Place Battalion No
Anzac 1, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 21, 22
Shell Green 2, 3
Durrant's Post 13, 14
Hay Valley 15
Quinn's Post 17
Courtney's Post 18
Pope's Post 19
Fatigue Gully 20
Brown's Dip 23
Lone Pine 24
Reserve Gully 25
Russell's Top 26
Gallipoli 27
Happy Valley 28

Although snow was reported to still be lying on the ground at the beginning of the day, it was no longer falling. It was reported to be very cold, with the wind blowing and the sun failing to make an appearance. Water rations were reduced to ¼ gallon per day.

Between 10 am and 12.45 pm the "heaviest bombardment ever given was poured into Lone Pine" and resulted in more than 100 casualties. From the 24th Battalion: Lieutenant Andrew Christopher Fogarty and Lieutenant William Seymour Finlay were killed in action; Major Charles Edye Manning, Lieutenant Duncan Beith, Lieutenant Percival George Denton-Fether, and Second Lieutenant Charles Morrice Williams were wounded; and Second Lieutenant John Harry Fletcher was reported suffering from shock.

At the time this report was written final casualty records were still being compiled, but 11 NCOs had been reported killed and wounded, with three missing. Of the men, ten were killed and 20 wounded. The 22nd Battalion's position was also bombarded but the damage was reported as "exceedingly small considering volume of fire". The 18th Battalion also received a heavy bombardment, which resulted in "considerable damage" but brought no casualties. Some of the 6-inch shells failed to explode, and this was attributed to the three inches of snow covering the ground.

24th Infantry Battalion unit diary November 1915 RCDIG1004254

On this day 31 men were reported wounded and seven were hospitalised (see appendix A). The effective strength was reported as 23 officers and 503 Other Ranks from the 2nd Battalion, 25 officers and 500 Other Ranks from the 7th Battalion, and 34 officers and 847 Other Ranks from the 22nd Battalion (see appendix B).

30th November 1915

Location of Battalions: 30 November 1915
Place Battalion No
Anzac 1, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 21, 22,
Shell Green 2, 3
Durrant's Post 13, 14
Hay Valley 15
Quinn's Post 17
Courtney's Post 18
Pope's Post 19
Fatigue Gully 20
Brown's Dip 23
Lone Pine 24
Reserve Gully 25
Russell's Top 26
Gallipoli 27
Happy Valley 28

It was reportedly a pleasant day with warm sunshine, and almost all of the snow had disappeared. An enemy aeroplane was spotted flying towards the lines but left when anti-aircraft guns fired at it. The 4th Battalion reported that Captain Stanley Lyndall Milligan was appointed staff captain and attached to the 1stBrigade Headquarters with Lieutenant Cecil Guildford Kimmorley Judge acting in his previous position as adjutant to the 4th Battalion. The 13th Battalion completed an underground kitchen, and reported that seven men suffering from frostbite.

The 24th Battalion reported more on the previous day's bombardment of Lone Pine, with every available man assisting to repair the damage. Brigadier General Cyril Brudenell Bingham White, Brigadier General William Holmes, and Brigadier General Reginald Spencer Browne visited Lone Pine, and the 24th also received a telegram from General Birdwood expressing regret for the number of casualties. Many men suffered shell shock, with total casualties reaching 79. Fourteen of those who died did so from suffocation.

Ten men were hospitalised that day, including Chaplain Keith Stewart Cresswell Single of the 20th Battalion. Three men were reported wounded. From the 3rd Battalion Private Ralph Osborne Harwood and Warrant Officer William Inson Trelease were identified as having been killed in action. The effective strength, as reported, was 53 officers and 503 Other Ranks from the 2nd Battalion, 25 officers and 500 Other Ranks from the 7th Battalion, and 34 officers and 847 Other Ranks from the 22nd Battalion (see appendices A and B).

1st December 1915

Location of Battalions: 1/12/1915
Place Battalion No
Anzac 4, 5, 7, 8, 21, 22
Shell Green 2, 3
Durrant's Post 1314
Quinn's Post 17
Courtney's Post 18
Pope's Post 19
Fatigue Gully 20
Lone Pine 24
Russell's Top 26
Gallipoli 27
Happy Valley 28

At 10 am the day had brought sunshine and a clear sky. Water rations equating to two pints each meant that all companies of the 2nd Battalion had to use snow water to make tea for breakfast. The 4th Battalion ventured to North Beach to secure more for the evening meal.

2nd Infantry Battalion unit diary December 1915 RCDIG1007893

Construction of underground shelters was continued, and an enemy aeroplane was spotted firing a machine-gun at the 2nd Battalion at 12.22 pm. The 18th Battalion reported that Major Phipp's invention to allow firing through loopholes was "tried and found useful". A mine was also exploded under Turkish lines in front of Quinn's Post.

The 4th Battalion lost one man, Lance Corporal Laurie George Bell. His death and the wounding of three others resulted from an enemy shell landing on a machine-gun crew. One of the wounded men may have been Sergeant Jack Herbert, who died from multiple shell wounds on 1 December 1915. In total, four men were reported killed on this day. Two of the others were from the 19th Battalion but could not be further identified. The third man was Private William Henry Williams from the 3rd Battalion.

The effective strength, as reported, was 23 officers and 500 Other Ranks from the 2nd Battalion, 25 officers and 499 Other Ranks from the 7th Battalion, and 34 officers and 842 Other Ranks from the 22nd Battalion (see appendices A and B).

2nd December 1915

Location of Battalions: 2/12/1915
Place Battalion No
Anzac 4, 5, 7, 8, 21, 22
Shell Green 2, 3
Durrant's Post 13, 14
Quinn's Post 17
Courtney's Post 18
Pope's Post 19
Fatigue Gully 20
Lone Pine 24
Russell's Top 26
Gallipoli 27
Happy Valley 28

The 2nd Battalion reported that the day started with a "fine fresh morning and sunshine", which at 2 pm had "turned out perfect, just a crisp feeling in the air". Several battalions carried out fatigue work, including placing wire entanglements. Observations of enemy working parties and the retrieval of enemy greatcoats were also reported.

Chaplain Edmond McAuliffe returned from leave in Egypt to re-join the 2nd Battalion. Twenty-one men were sent to hospital, six were wounded, and Private John Dudley Blanch of the 3rd Battalion was killed. 2nd Lieutenant Hubert Gordon Thompson of the 4th Battalion was one of those hospitalised.

Effective strength, as reported, was 23 officers and 500 Other Ranks from the 2nd Battalion, 25 officers and 499 Other Ranks from the 7th Battalion, and 34 officers and 822 Other Ranks from the 22nd Battalion (see appendices A and B).

3rd December 1915

Location of Battalions: 3/12/1915
Place Battalion No
Anzac 4, 5, 7, 8, 21, 22
Shell Green 2, 3
Durrant's Post 13.
14
Quinn's Post 17
Courtney's Post 18
Pope's Post 19
Fatigue Gully 20
Lone Pine 24
Russell's Top 26
Gallipoli 27
Happy Valley 28

The day was reported to begin as a fine and warm morning although the mercury only reached 24 degrees Fahrenheit by 6 am. According to reports, this weather continued for most of the day. At 9.30 am a glass globe was reported to have been sent to 1st Brigade Headquarters for more investigation, as it was believed to have once contained gas. The 3rd Battalion started construction of underground winter shelters, while the 4th Battalion secured 212 gallons of water and practised stand-to-arms.

On this day 40 men were sent to hospital, including Lieutenant Leslie Keith Chambers, 17th Battalion, and Lieutenant Thomas Arthur Essex Picot, 18th Battalion. Three men were reported wounded, including two from the 18th Battalion. One was wounded when approximately 12 enemy shells fell at Courtney's Post at 10 am, while another was wounded at 9 am during water fatigue duties. Private George William Smart of the 22nd Battalion was killed in action.

The effective strength, as reported, was 23 officers and 498 Other Ranks from 2nd Battalion, 25 officers and 496 Other Ranks from 7th Battalion, and 33 officers and 808 Other Ranks from 22nd Battalion (see appendices A and B).

4th December 1915

Location of Battalions: 4/12/1915
Place Battalion No
Anzac 5, 7, 8, 21, 22,
Shell Green 4, 2, 3
Durrant's Post 13, 14
Quinn's Post 17
Courtney's Post 18
Pope's Post 19
Fatigue Gully 20
Lone Pine 24
Russell's Top 26
Gallipoli 27
Happy Valley 28

The day began as a "fine warm morning with bright sunshine". At 10 am there were reports of an "interesting duel" between field guns and Turkish light guns, and is described in the quote below:

Extract from AWM4 23/19/92nd Infantry Battalion unit diary December 1915 RCDIG1007893

Rations of three blankets per man were authorised but water rationing was still a concern. The 4th Battalion reported receiving 112 gallons of water, and was said to be the most efficient unit in the 1st Australian Division in regards to sanitation. The enemy was observed putting up wire entanglements during the night, and approximately 100 shells landed near the 18th Battalion's trenches during the night, with no casualties reported.

In all, 17 men were hospitalised and two were reported wounded. The efficient strength, as reported, was given as 23 officers and 495 Other Ranks for the 2nd Battalion, 25 officers and 494 Other Ranks for the 7th Battalion, and 33 officers and 803 Other Ranks for the 22nd Battalion (see appendices A and B).

5th December 1915

Location of Battalions: 5/12/1915
Place Battalion No
Anzac 5, 7, 8, 21, 22
Shell Green 2, 3
Durrant's Post 4, 13, 14
Quinn's Post 17
Courtney's Post 18
Pope's Post 19
Fatigue Gully 20
White's Valley 24
Russell's Top 26
Gallipoli 27
Happy Valley 28

It was a fine, warm, and hazy morning. Water rationing was still causing concern, with reports that some units had been able to source only about 2.9 pints per man during the morning. By the end of the day the 2nd Battalion had received almost full rations again, but the 4th Battalion was less successful: it received only 140 gallons of water instead of the previously allowed 580 gallons.

Fatigues work continued throughout the day, with attention given to improving firing lines, placing wire entanglements, and continuing work on underground winter shelters.

2nd Lieutenant Stanley Walter Neale and 17 Other Ranks from the 7th Battalion were assigned to escort duty at Headquarters, while Lieutenant Llewellyn Claude Symonds  departed Gallipoli to take up the position of transport officer in Egypt. One NCO and 18 Other Ranks returned to the 4th Battalion from being stationed as guards at General HQ on Imbros.

The 22nd Battalion observed semaphore signalling at a house behind enemy lines, but were unable to read the entirety of the transmitted message.

Just six men were sent to hospital that day, and there were no reports of any men being killed or wounded. The effective strength was given as 23 officers and 495 Other Ranks for the 2nd Battalion, 23 officers and 477 Other Ranks for the 7th Battalion, and 31 officers and 798 Other Ranks for the 22nd Battalion (see appendices A and B).

6th December 1915

Location of Battalions: 6/12/1915
Place Battalion No
Anzac 5, 7, 8, 21, 22
Shell Green 4, 2, 3,
Durrant's Post 13, 14
Quinn's Post 17
Courtney's Post 18
Pope's Post 19
Fatigue Gully 20
White's Valley 24
Russell's Top 26
Gallipoli 27
Happy Valley 28

By 9 am the 2nd Battalion reported it to be a "fine morning, warm but cloudy". Major D J Ross returned from England and re-joined the 2nd Battalion. Lieutenant Colonel Richard Armstrong Crouch and Colonel Harold Edward "Pompey" Elliott assumed command of the 22nd and 7th Battalions, respectively. Lieutenant Hector Ernest Bastin of the 7th Battalion and Major Richard Lewis Hay Blake Jenkins of the 20th Battalion re-joined their units from hospital. Major Arthur George Charles Hart and 137 reinforcements also joined the 7th Battalion.

The 4th Battalion reported an improvement in the water-rationing situation, while the 2nd Battalion war diary detailed how the men were supplied with Bovril or OXO and hot water to mix with their rum.

2nd Infantry Battalion unit diary December 1915 RCDIG1007893

The men continued building underground winter shelters and placing wire entanglements in front of the lines. A lecture was given on the new gas helmets and the dangers of gas attacks. Sniping and periodic artillery fire from both sides occurred throughout the day.

Six men were hospitalised, but there were no reports of men being wounded during the course of the day. The effective strength was given as 24 officers and 495 Other Ranks for the 2nd Battalion, 26 officers and 633 Other Ranks for the 7th Battalion, and 31 officers and 798 Other Ranks for the 22nd Battalion (see appendices A and B).

7th December 1915

Location of Battalions: 7/5/1915
Place Battalion No
Anzac 5, 7, 8, 21, 22
Shell Green 4, 2, 3
Durrant's Post 13, 14
Quinn's Post 17
Courtney's Post 18
Pope's Post 19
Fatigue Gully 20
Lone Pine 24
Russell's Top 26
Happy Valley 27
Russell's Top 28

A weather report from the 4th Battalion revealed the day to be clear and bright. Command of the 22nd Battalion was handed over to Lieutenant Colonel Richard Armstrong Crouch, while Lieutenant Colonel Charles Melville Macnaghten assumed command of the 4th. A recommendation was despatched to promote 2nd Lieutenant Victor Clarkson Alderson of the 22nd Battalion to the rank of captain.

Tunnelling for underground winter shelters continued, as did efforts to strengthen positions. At 2 pm Olive Grove was shelled heavily by the ships offshore for around 90 minutes. At 11 pm the 2nd Battalion reported "a species of shrapnel" being fired into their lines:

There is a very faint report, just as though a very bright bursting charge were used, then the swishing sound of the pellets through the air. The pellets do not seem to have any great force behind them, for they strike the earth with quite a soft thud.

2nd Infantry Battalion unit diary December 1915 RCDIG1007893

The reported strength for the 2nd Battalion was given as 24 officers and 526 Other Ranks. The 7th Battalion reported no change to its unit strength.

Appendix A: Numbers of men hospitalised, wounded and killed during the Preliminary Stage

Appendix B – Reported strength of 2nd, 7th and 22nd Infantry Battalions during the Preliminary Stage