F Hammond Field Post Card 15 May 15

FIELD SERVICE POST CARD

 

To E. Hammond, 9 Countess St. Stockport,

 

Postmarked Field Post Office 28 15 My 15

 

Reverse

 

I am quite well.

I have been admitted into hospital

            Sick                             and am going on well.

            Wounded                    and hope to be discharged soon.

I am being sent down to the base.

I have received your letter dated….  Telegram… parcel

Letter follows at first opportunity.

I have received no letter from you lately  for a long time.

 

Signature only  F. Hammond

 

Date   14 May 1915

 

Advertisements

H.M.S. “ALBION” 10 May 15

H.M.S. “ALBION”

10th May 1915

 

Relieved “GOLIATH” at noon on right flank.  No French troops East of stream in Kereves Valley.  At 1 p.m. opened fire on Turks in trenches just East of Kereves Dere, coming under fire 3 minutes later.  Worked Ship as requisite to avoid injury.  Continued process throughout the afternoon, frequently driving the Turks out of the advanced trenches.

 

Rather misty over Chanak.  Saw little traffic on Suandere Road.

 

Saw two steamers and believed one Torpedo Boat off Chanak.  Not certain about Torpedo Boat.  Unable to locate batteries that fired at “ALBION” except battery in 160.P which was seen firing at 7 p.m.

 

Expenditure of ammunition, 6” 51, 12 pr 65.  enemy fired 27 rounds at Ship.  No hits.

 

 

  1. Watts Jones

CAPTAIN (Act)

 

The Vice Admiral Commanding,

and the Rear Admiral Commanding

Divisions.

 

Eastern Mediterranean Squadron,

H.M.S. Albion 8 May 15

H.M.S. “ALBION”

8th May 1915

 

In accordance with orders “ALBION” relieved CANOPUS on right flank at 8 p.m. 7th May.  Situation was as follows.  French line extended from 169.I5, 169.N2, 169.T2, 169.U7.  Turks line 169.P5, 169.K5, 169F4 and behind this line appears to be four trenches.

 

Nothing of importance occurred during the night, and at 5 a.m. when relieved by “MAJESTIC”, the flanking station had nothing fresh to communicate.

 

 

  1. Watts Jones

CAPTAIN (Act)

 

The Vice Admiral Commanding,

and the Rear Admiral Commanding

Divisions.

Eastern Mediterranean Squadron,

H.M.S. Albion 2nd Report 8 May 15

H.M.S. “ALBION”

8th May 1915

 

Relieved “GOLIATH”, and at 5.18 informed that French held trenches vacated by Turks at bottom in valley of Kereves Dere, and later that French had not advanced farther than stream in Kereves Dere.

 

6.45 opened fire from Asiatic Side; worked ship to avoid injury.  7.5 opened fire, and fired occasionally on batteries both on Asiatic and on European side assisted about 9.5 by aeroplane, and occasionally catching Turks in the open.  Under occasional fire during most of the forenoon.  Had considerable difficulty in distinguishing objects which military desired fired on.  At 9.50 sighted a mine; believed sunk later by French trawler.  Observed large numbers of wagons and some mounted troops moving along road close to beach, east of Suanders.  All seen in forenoon going Eastward, largest number about 11.40 a.m.  range too far for “ALBION’s” 6”.  Fired a few rounds 12”, but did not get on target; suggest this road may be worth attention.

 

Ammunition expended up to noon, 12” 4, 6” 83, 12 pr 45 common 13 shrapnel.  Enemy fired 33 rounds at “ALBION”, no hits.   LATOUCHE TREVILLE also supported right flank.  One French kite float seen in Mendere Bay.

 

The shore signal station asked that an Officer from the Ship might be sent to see the position; replied suggesting that military Officer should be sent on board, and passed request on to MAJESTIC.

 

Damaged compartments apparently not much affected by firing.

 

Quantity of water which entered perhaps double harbour amount.

 

 

  1. Watts Jones

CAPTAIN (Act)

 

The Vice Admiral Commanding,

and the Rear Admiral Commanding

Divisions.

 

Eastern Mediterranean Squadron,

H.M.S. Albion Reoprt 4 May 15

H.M.S. “ALBION”

4th May 1915

 

2nd May; At 4.30 a.m. 7 miles off entrance course East, 14 knots observed heavy firing on shore.  At 5 a.m. Action.  5.15 arrived off Totts Battery; observed VENGANCE firing and under accurate fire, and came under fire on closing her.  Observed French retiring everywhere, but whether a retreat or retirement uncertain.  Told by VENGANCE to keep out of the way.  Dropped back off Morto Bay, and asked R.F. station for situation.  Received optimistic reply.  6.10 VENGANCE signalled us relieve.  Closed.  6.20 came under fire.  6.27 VENGANCE communicated situation as follows; from position about 163.F:- ”At present our troops have advanced to the ridge beyond yellow hollow on cliff joining west side Kereves Dere.  This position is best for close work like this, but it is exposed to Suandere River Guns at range of 12,000 yards from 7.B. battery.  Best post for general work and view is 163.0.  Three Asiatic disappearing Howitzer Batteries, a little Field Gun, and big howitzer hunt you everywhere”.  Asked for position of big  Howitzer and yellow hollow, but did not get them.  6.25, opened fire on relieving VENGANCE.  Remained under fire until about 8 a.m. firing at Turks on ridge.  7.40 hit Port side abreast B.2. Gun.  7.53 firing at small bodies of Turks advancing.  All forenoon firing occasionally at trenches as required.  Did not succeed in establishing signal communication for spotting, working ship as requisite.  At 12.30 concentrated fire on trenches.  Saw Turks running.  12.50 under fire, from whence not ascertained, about 1.5 hit twice, one in same place as at 7.40 the other Starboard side of boat deck.  Fired on Suandere on chance.  Went astern to change range.  AGAMEMNON signalled thought battery in 178.L but not certain.  Under fairly accurate intermittent fire until 5.36.  Hit Port side at 2.25, abreast of Y.I casemate.  Curiously enough this Shot, the first that has killed a man on board “ALBION” at the same time cut the Ensign Halliards and half-masted the colours.

 

Noticed some British and Indian troops on Hill 236.  1.50 fired on battery in position given by Totts, that was firing at them, and on supposed positions of guns that were firing at “ALBION” , occasionally.   2.50 noticed Ship had listed slightly; reported fact, stating relief not necessary at present.  Wells dry.  4.43 observed LATOUCHE TREVILLE under fire and firing.  5.33 Relieved by GOLIATH.  Turned over orders, and messages recently received from Military and proceeded to anchor in Billet 162 P off Seddul Bahr.  Ammunition expended 12” 6, 6” 151, 12 pr 272.  Enemy’s shot or Salvoes 76, including some heavy projectiles four hits.  Their fire as on 28th, apparently regulated according to the movements of their infantry, and our fire on the latter.

 

Casualties Ply/12797 Sergeant Edwin Kershaw R.M.L.I. killed.

 

Damage as far as then ascertained Wing Compartment 48 to 60 flooded, 30 ft Cutter smashed, 24ft Gig holed, Main Derrick Purchase and topping lift wires badly stranded, and engine damaged.  Main derrick slightly holed; Shelter and upper deck holed, other minor damage.  Reported same.  Received two cutters by order of R.A.I., ordered by R.A.3, to proceed to Mudros and make good defects.  Discharged Major A.F. Thomson, R.A. to Shore.  This Officer was not on board on 25th from no fault of his own, but has been of much assistance to me on the succeeding days, stationing himself in the Control position and exposed on 28th April and 2nd May to considerable danger.  9.30 proceeded at 7 ¼ knots, a cutter in tow, as boats falls shot through.  4.45 stopped.  Committed body of Sergeant Edwin Kershaw, R.M.L.I. to the deep.  6 a.m. anchored in Mudros.  Sent down diver; diver report armour plate (240 lbs) cracked and adjacent seams opened.  Some water found in wing bunker abaft 60.  Divers caulked seams.  Shored sluice valves; commenced pumping.  Later commenced cleaning bunker abaft protective deck.  6.15 p.m. examined compartment.  Damage as ascertained; outside superficial cracks on armour plate, plate pushed in about ½ inch.  Inside **** protective deck, side plating bulged but not fractured, many rivets gone; “B” Seacock and tranches off forward to C.O. 2 Rooms and Magazines, extensively damaged.

 

By 3 p.m. 4th May, bunker was sufficiently clear to examine above protective deck, when further damage as follows was found.

48 to 60 Armour driven in about 2”.  Below protective deck: – Lightened plate frames 3 in Number under protective deck much buckled, many connecting rivets sheared.

 

Side plating buckled for two frame stations, indented to about 6” from original line, and butt straps damaged, many rivets loose and fractured.  (B) Seacock, Downton Discharge, and Master Flood of C.O. 2 valves extensively damaged.

 

Above Protective Deck:- I Bulkhead much buckled, Z frames (3 in No) behind armour buckled, gusset plates torn from seating and distorted; armour bolts 6 in No appear to have had severe strain.

 

Compartments flooded Wing 48 to 60 stations

Reserve Coal Bunker, 60 to 68.

 

  1. Watts Jones

CAPTAIN (Act)

 

The Vice Admiral Commanding,

and the Rear Admiral Commanding

Divisions.

Eastern Mediterranean Squadron,

MAY 1915

The 2nd May 1915 saw the commencement of the Gorlice in the Carpathian Mountains and Artois, France offensive by the Central powers of Germany and Austria/Hungary. Included in the summer offensive was the sinking of the American Tanker “Gulflight” by a German U-Boat in the Mediterranean Sea near Sicily on the 1st May 1915.

 

2nd/4th May 1915, on the Eastern Front a combined German and Austro-Hungarian offensive began against the Russian Army at Gorlice and Tarnow in Galicia. The defences of the weakened Russian Army were broken down by a massive 700,000-shell bombardment. With the Russians suffering from a shortage of artillery shells and rifles, German and Austro-Hungarian forces broke through the Russian lines on the 4th May 1915. The Russian Army began a disorganised retreat.

 

The German submarine U-20 was patrolling the southern entrance to the Irish coast off Kinslade Old Head. On the 7th May 1915, the submarine Commander Schweigher sighted the Cunard Liner “Lusitania” on her final leg of her passage to Liverpool from New York.

Three months prior to the sighting of “Lusitania”, Germany had declared all waters around the British Isles a “war zone”.

Approximately 2.10pm the submarine fired two torpedoes at the “Lusitania”. The first torpedo struck the “Lusitania” causing a massive explosion. Within 20 minutes, the liner had keeled over and sunk. Aboard the “Lusitania” were approximately 2,000 passengers. Of the 1,198 that perished were 291 women and 94 children. Neutral America protested strongly at the death of 128 American citizens. An inquest was carried out after the victims bodies had drifted into Kinslade. The coroner’s court of Ireland (then part of the United Kingdom) gave a verdict of wilful murder against the German Kaiser.

Both combatant and neutral states were now aware of the deadly and ugly nature of modern warfare. The sinking of the “Lusitania” was the first of a number of reasons, which started to sway the American resolve toward the Allied cause.

 

On the 9th May 1915, the first divisions of the British Expeditionary Force New Army departed for France. When war was declared on the 4th August 1914 Field Marshall Earl Horatio Herbert Kitchener, Secretary of State for War, was almost alone in believing the conflict would last longer than the general response that the “war would be over by Christmas”. Anticipating a longer campaign Kitchener was in a position to do something about it. He received authorisation from Parliament to raise a new army of 100,000 men and on the 7th August 1914, he appealed to the nation for volunteers to boost the 150,000 regular troops of the British Expeditionary Force (BEF).  Within 3 weeks, Kitchener received his 100,000 volunteers. By early October 1914 over 760,000 young men had volunteered and before the end of the year the one millionth volunteer had been achieved.

In 1914, the army was short of officers and NCOs to train the New Army. They were also short of arms, equipment, accommodation, uniforms, food and supplies. These difficulties were slowly overcome and the first divisions of the British New Army began arriving in France in early May 1915.

 

Chief of French General Staff Joseph Joffre was one of the most experienced soldiers of France. On the 9th May 1915 Joffre launched an offensive in the Artois region. The offensive was centred on Vimy Ridge, which began with an artillery bombardment of 1,200 guns. The French were able to advance 4km (2.1 miles) to overlook the Douai Plain.

With French reinforcements 11.2 km (7 miles) away, the Germans were able to stabilize their line, the French having lost the opportunity to capitalise on their advance. The battle ended in mid June 1915 with little success on both sides. The overall losses were horrendous with the French sustaining 100,000 casualties and the Germans 75,000 casualties.

After the Vimy Ridge encounter the French realised they needed to reappraise their offensive tactics, the same way the British had modified their tactics after the Battle of Aubers Ridge.

 

On the 9th May 1915, in an effort to take Aubers Ridge, the BEF attacked over the same Neuve Chappelle battlefield of March 1915. Since the battle of Neuve Chappelle the Germans had improved and strengthened their front lines. Dug-outs were added to shelter the troops and trenches had been re-inforced. German barbed wire had been increased in depth, and their heavy guns were adequately positioned to repel any Allied attack. Because the German’s were aware of an imminent attack, reserves of ammunition were increased.

On the 9th May 1915 at 5.00am, the British guns began their bombardment and at 5.40am, the infantry advanced. The bombardment had been insufficient to destroy German machine guns and consequently the BEF sustained huge losses. The BEF consisted of British and Indian troops. By the evening of 9th May 1915, the BEF had gained some positions in the German front line trenches. The BEF did not have sufficient troops to exploit the successes. This was due to the heavy casualties taken together with the lack of artillery fire owing to the shortage of ammunition.

 

The battle of Aubers Ridge was abandoned at 20.00 hours on the 10th May 1915.

 

On the 15th May 1915, the Battle of Festubert began with the fifth, sixth and Garhwal (Indian) brigades attacking 1,700 yards of German trenches. Longer and systematic artillery bombardment began on the 13th May 1915 and continued for 36 hours. The Battle of Aubers Ridge, a few days before, had taught the BEF a valuable lesson. The attack was to be realistic and not too ambitious with orders to advance 1000 yards. The German front line trenches were 300 yards behind a 12-foot ditch away allowing the Allies to capture German held rear area. Although there was a shortage of heavy artillery, considerable success was obtained. The attack began at 11.30pm on the 15th May 1915 with the sixth brigade reaching the German front line and capturing ground behind the enemy trenches, without a shot having been fired.

North of the sixth brigade attack, the element of surprise was lost. When the fifth and Garhwal brigades advanced, the Germans lit up “No Mans Land” and bombarded the advancing troops with shells, machine gun and rifle fire. Only half of one battalion reached the German front line trench close to the left of the sixth brigade, leaving its flanks exposed.

Attacks and counter-attacks continued until the 25th May 1915 when the order given to abandon the offensive operation of the British First Army.

 

On the 22nd May 1915, Italian General Luigi Cadorna was officially appointed Commander in Chief of the Italian army, although from June 1914, he was Chief of the Italian General Staff. Italy declared war on Austro-Hungary on the 23rd May 1915 after having mobilised the Italian army the day before on 22nd May 1915. A new 600 km Front line opened up with the Italian declaration of war. The border between Italy and Austria is mostly mountainous. Although Italy was able to mobilise 1.2 million men they were only able to equip 732,000 men, because they were not a fully industrialised power.

After declaring war, the Italians advanced into the South Tyrol  region and onto the Isonzo River. Austria-Hungary resisted the Italian advance with their defensive tactics learnt from nearly twelve months of fighting against Russia. Treacherous and snow clad mountains made the region unsuited for offensive operations. Despite several quick Italian successes, the whole operation settled into a stalemate, similar to that on the Western Front.

 

On the 25th May 1915, Liberal Prime Minister Herbert Henry Asquith formed a coalition government with the Conservative opposition party. A political crisis was developing in the British Government. The major reasons for the coalition were the “shell scandal” together with the lack of success in the Dardanelles and Gallipoli peninsular. Kitchener had been tasked to raise and equip a new army of one million men to bolster the “Old Contemptables” of the professional BEF, as well as being Minister for the supply of artillery shells.

Field Marshall Sir John French – Commander of the BEF complained bitterly at the lack of artillery shells, which impeded his forces on the Western Front. The lack of progress at Gallipoli helped the government to become impatient with Kitchener. Liberal David Lloyd George was appointed Minister of Munitions under the new coalition government. This appointment resulted in Kitchener having his ministerial powers reduced. As the new Minister of Munitions, Lloyd George was successful in persuading the unions to drop their restrictive practises for the duration of the war. Lloyd George also gave the militant Suffragettes the right to work. Many Suffragettes were brought into the shell factories and many more were enlisted to perform tasks that were previously male dominated employment.

 

Also on the 25th May 1915, Japan loyally entered the war as Great Britain’s ally, annexing Shantung. She was able to profit by turning the whole of China into a colony of her own.  This colony was the beginning of the creation of the Japanese Empire that ultimately encouraged Japan to attack America in Hawaii during the Second World War.

 

German Kaiser Wilhelm II, on the 12th February 1915, expressed a wish that war in the air should be carried out against England.The 31st May 1915 saw the first German airship raid on London. The German High Command responded by authorising raids on England but they were to be confined only to military bases and barracks. The London docks and fuel, ammunition, and military stores were also to be a target for the raids. Royal residences and residential areas were not to be included in the list of military targets.

The German fleet of airships was available owing to the vulnerability of the airships over the Western Front from anti-aircraft fire.

The initial raid on London saw residential areas being bombed instead of military or dockland areas. This was the result of a navigational error coupled with the airship flying too high. Twenty-eight people lost their lives and many were injured during the raid.