Over, 7,500 Hull men died in the First World War. Over 1,200 of these were sailors working with the fishing fleet, or serving with the Merchantile Marine, the Royal Navy and the Royal Navy Reserve. They carried out vital war work, bringing in supplies, transporting troops and minesweeping the seas
There were nearly another 1,500 men who were born in Hull, but who lived elsewhere. They died fighting for Australia, Canada, New Zealand and America. There are many others, who enlisted in Hull or who were associated with the City, but are not usually remembered on Hull war memorials. As Hull had four large hospitals and was the port of entry for repatriated prisoner of wars, servicemen from all over the world are buried in Hull. The Kingston Upon Hull Memorial aims to remember all those with a Hull connection who died in the First World War.
There are over a hundred families on the Hull Memorial that lost two or more of their family. Sometimes fathers, sons and brothers were lost on the same day. Some families lost three sons, other Hull families lost four sons, including all their children in the First World War. At least one in six Hull families lost a direct relative. Many others would lose close friends, work colleagues or others known to them. Each death was irreplaceable and an individual tragedy for someone.
Unfortunately, not all deaths were recorded in official casualty figures, particularly if soldiers died of sickness, accidents or were discharged home with wounds, of illness. By 1924 the Ministry of Pensions reported that there were 20,000 war wounded living in Hull. Although they survived the war, they are rarely recorded on war memorials. What follows here are snippets of some of those people who died, whose deaths were reported in the local newspapers.
Troops of the 10th (Service) Battalion (1st Hull), East Yorkshire Regiment marching to the trenches near Doullens, 28June 1916.
The following images are of the 13th East Yorkshire Bn (Hull Sportsmen), from the diaries of Private, George Williams, and his friend Lance Corporal, Charles Verity, MM, 13th EYR. (https://transcribathon.com/en/documents/id-17242/item-190593/)
10th East Yorkshire HQ Signal Section (above)
Soldiers from the East Yorkshire Regiment during WW1. The array of tools and utensils in the foreground or being held in hand indicates their former trades in civilian life.
Soldiers of the 10th East Yorkshire Regiment above
The 12th Battalion, East Yorkshire Regiment (92nd Brigade, 31st Division), in the line in the Arleux sector, near Roclincourt, 9 January 1918.
Pictures courtesy of the Imperial War Museum Collection
Recently discovered German photographs courtesy of the Daily Mail 8/3/2014 - http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2576335/How-Germany-crucified-Hidden-100-years-astonishing-images-German-soldiers-haunted-spectre-defeat-paying-ultimate-price-captured-camera-one-brothers-arms.html
Hull Pals and Stories
PRIVATE WILLIAM HERBERT HARPER 14/84. Born in 1886 William was the second of four children and eldest son of William and Hannah Harper. A Tram Driver by trade, he married Edith Priscilla Morrill on 28th September 1913 and the couple lived at 4 Beech Grove, Westburn Street, Hull with their daughter Edith Jnr. When war came William answered the call of King & Country enlisting at City Hall in October 1914 joining the 14th Battalion East Yorkshire Regiment before transferring to the 12th on his arrival in France in June 1916. He was killed in action at Beaumont Hamel on the Somme on 13th November 1916 and is buried in Euston Road Cemetery; he was 30 years old.
PRIVATE GEORGE THOMAS BURNETT 12/1128. (Photo left). Born in 1897, George was the youngest of two sons to John and Emilie Burnett of 19 Eaton Terrace, Providence Row, Hull. A Keelman before the war, he enlisted at City Hall on 19th November 1914 joining the 12th Battalion East Yorkshire Regiment, 'The Sportsmen', 3rd Hull Pals. It seems that during his training George had a certain issue over returning on time from a pass, something he was disciplined over twice and which cost him a fair few days wages. He was killed in action at Serre on November 13th 1916 in the last desperate act of the disastrous Somme campaign and his body was never recovered. George is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial; he was 19 years old. It seems too great a coincidence that three men such as George, Harold Crawford (Day 1295) and James Andrews (Day 1294) who all stood within 13 men of each other in the same queue on the same day to enlist, could all die on the same day without their having fought side by side. At least they were in good company.
Hull Pals above, from the Portland Place/Colonial Street area of Hull
Hull Pals Memorial Post. SGT, WILFRED WAKELIN NEAL 12/311. Born 1893, Wilfred was the third of four children and youngest son to Oswald and Alice Neal of 28 Redbourne Street, Hull. A Printer by trade he enlisted at City Hall in September 1914 joining the 12th Battalion East Yorkshire Regiment, 3rd Hull Pals. Wilfred was killed in action on 13th November 1916 during the attack on German positions at Serre which marked the last desperate action of the disastrous Somme campaign which had ground on since July 1st killing or wounding more than a million men. Impossible to imagine a million men. More poignant to look into the eyes of this proud young man and multiply his loss by the population of Birmingham. That should do it. Wilfred is buried in Euston Road Cemetery; he was 23 years old.
Frederick Wyer who served as an air raid warden and fire guard in WWII (his main occupation was road sweeping for Hull Corporation). He served in the Royal Army Medical Corps and was badly gassed in WWI. He died at his home in Rodney House, 52 Street, Hull, 1954.
With regard to the "great trouble among the men" mentioned above - there was a rumour circulating at the time that the real reason for the patrols made by the battalion that week were made with the aim of recovering the body of the son of someone with influence ; merely rumour but I would like to know more.
Jack enlisted with the Pals in 1915, and was promoted to 2nd Lieutenant 5th August 1916, when his active service began in France.
"For most conspicuous bravery and self-sacrifice in an attack. Owing to darkness and to smoke from the enemy barrage, and from our own, and to the fact that our objective was in a dark wood, it was impossible to see when our barrage had lifted off the enemy front line. Nevertheless, 2nd Lt. Harrison led his company against the enemy trench under heavy rifle and machine-gun fire, but was repulsed. Reorganising his command as best he could in No Man's Land, he again attacked in darkness under terrific fire, but with no success. Then, turning round, this gallant officer single-handed made a dash at the machine-gun, hoping to knock out the gun and so save the lives of many of his company. His self-sacrifice and absolute disregard of danger was an inspiring example to all. (he is reported missing, believed killed)"
In addition, Hull recruited 3 Heavy Batteries of Artillery. These were
- The East Riding Royal Garrison Artillery, was formed by Lt Col, Robert Hall to defend the City and Humber Estuary. It was based at Spurn Point.
- The East Riding Fortress Engineers, was formed and commanded by Lt Col E M Newell.
- The 2nd Northumbrian Brigade, Royal Field Artillery, was led by Lt Col, J B Moss, DSO. It was formed in Hull in April 1916. In August 1917 it was converted into 8th Battalion of Royal Defence Corps.
Hull also formed its own 32nd Divisional Ammunition Column, from members of the City Police Force and Tramways. This was commanded by Lt Col, James Walker. The original artillery of the 32nd Division moved to France to join the 31st Division on 8 December 1915.
The photo shows the (11th (Hull) Heavy Battery in East Africa. They were formed from the 1st Hull Heavy Battery in 1916. They had trained with 11th (Northern) Division, but left the Division in June 1915 to join 30th Division. In February 1916 they transferred to 38th Brigade RGA and were deployed in the East African Campaign, arriving at Kilindini on the 16th of March 1916. In a largely forgotten campaign in a forgotten theatre, the 11th Hull Heavy Battery arrived at Kondoa Irangi in German East Africa to support General J. L. Van DeVenter's South African 2nd Division who had become beleaguered there. The 11th Hull Heavy Battery were led by Captain Orde Brown to relieve Van Deventer's forces at Kondoa.
Today we remember the lads from Hull in their epic traverse of the Massai Steppe from Himo Bridge Camp, ridden with disease and weakened by hardship taking 17 days to trek the 200 miles from Himo to Kondoa. They took up position on Battery Hill at Kondoa on the night of 3rd June 1916. Their timely arrival opposed the German East African forces led by General Von Lettow Vorbeck.
This old field gun stood for many years, outside an Antiques shop, on Beverley Road, (opposite the Dorchester Hotel.)
First part of six sections of a recording of a long interview with L.J. Ounsworth, Royal Artillery (interviewer unknown). Length 30 mins approx, includes: training at Hedon Race Course, Hull after joining up as a signaller. They completed two years of peace time cavalry training within six months. Continues directly into the second part.
THE CITY OF HULL GREAT WAR TRUST
As well as remembering its dead, Hull established its own charity called the Hull Great War Trust to offer practical assistance to disabled Hull servicemen and their families. The Hull Dail Mail had long reported many cases of financial hardship, where discharged soldiers and their families, were receiving little or no support. (see HDM 21/7/17 for example)
The Hull Great War Trust was initiated by Hull shipping brothers, Frank Orlando Hellyer and Owen Stooks Hellyer. They wrote to the Lord Mayor of Hull in February 1918, with a donation of £30,000, seeking to help those who returned from the war.
The Great War Trust was established immediately after the Armistice in 1918. Based at the Guildhall, it was registered under the 1916 War Charities Act and appealed for £500,000 from voluntary subscriptions. By December,1918, it had raised £90,000, from all sections of the community, with most of the donations coming from well known fishing families at St Andrews Dock.
In June 1919, a full time General Secretary was appointed amidst much controversy. To start with, the post was incorrectly advertised, and within 3 days of the advert, Mr. Arthur Proctor, from the Town Clerks Department, had been appointed on an annual salary of £400. The appointment and salary was criticised, as Mr Proctor had not seen active War service, and it was said that the job could be done better by a disabled serviceman.
It also emerged that five candidates, including three ex servicemen, had been interviewed for the post, and that one particular candidate, Sgt, Major, Wilson, who had considerable experience, had actually tied with Mr Proctor for the position. The casting vote was made by the charity's acting chief, Major, Gleadow, who chose Mr Proctor, on his own initiative, without consulting the General Committee.
This led to the allegation that Mr. Proctor 'had been elected, before he was selected', and while Mr Proctor was a very capable person, it was seen as insensitive not to award the post to someone who had seen war service. (Mr Proctor, who was 37 years old, had tried to enlist during the War, but was rejected on health grounds.)
Some like Cllr. A Sheppard, Chairman of the 'Federation of Discharged and Demobilised Soldiers and Sailors', were particularly criticial, claiming that the job should have gone to a disabled, ex-serviceman. Others believed the Secretary's annual salary should have been reduced to £250, or the work done voluntary.
On the 12th May 1919, Cllr. Sheppard organised a noisy demonstration outside the Guildhall. Thousands of ex servicemen and members of the public protested loudly outside the Guild Hall, accompanied by three musical bands. Extra Police were summoned to maintain order and divert traffic.
To pacify the situation, the Lord Mayor, Cllr. Peter Gaskell met a delegation from the crowd in his parlor. This included Cllr. Sheppard and two war widows, Mrs Lush from 135 Welbeck Street and Mrs Blyth from 153 Lime Street. They submitted a petition signed by 13,000 citizens against Mr Proctor's appointment. Cllr. Gaskell who had lost his only son in the war, sympathized with the widows and agreed that General Committee for the Trust would review the appointment. This was sufficient to disperce the protestors.
The issue was considered by the General Committee on the 7th June 1919 and the motion to remove Mr Proctor was defeated by 18 votes to 4. It was considered that Mr Proctor, an experienced organizer, should remain in the Permanent Secretary position.
The controversy had an adverse affect on donations. It was claimed that an anonymous Gentleman, had offered to provide 200 houses, rent free, for 50 years, to disabled servicemen, if the Permanent Secretary Post was re-advertised. It was also said that some £8,000 in public contributions were withheld because of the decision to retain Mr Proctor.
In time, the appointment of Mr Proctor was shown to be a wise decision. Mr Proctor, who "had done the work of three or four men during the war", showed himself to be an astute administrator. He was able to organize, interview applicants and tabulate claims. Interest on Investments covered the cost of his salary and he loyally managed the Trust for 40 years.
After the Armistice, public opinion was divided over what the Hull Great War Trust should do. There were demands for a new £150,000 Technical College, new Homes, a replacement school for Craven Street, additional wings for Hull Grammar School and permanent war memorials.
There were disputes over who was eligible for grants and allowances. For example, The Eastern Morning News (12th August 1919) reported 'What constitutes a Hull Man?'. It highlighted the case of a Londoner, who had enlisted in Hull at the outbreak of war, and then married a woman from Hull. He had then been invalided home, and now had four children, and was granted a disability allowance. Another case involved a Hull woman, who had married a man from Manchester, while he was convalescing in Hull. She had had his child before he died of his injuries, and was similarly awarded a grant.
From time to time the Charity was criticised for not giving money to Institutions. For example, the Trust refused an application from the Spring Bank Orphanage, to repair the building, even though it held 43 children from servicemen killed in the war (Hull Daily Mail 11/1/1920). Similarly, an appeal to help 3,000 unemployed Ex-Servicemen in Hull was refused (Hull Daily Mail 11/1/1921), as was a £500 application grant from Ex Service Associations.
Some disabled servicemen also complained that Trust's grants were insufficient, that preference was given to those starting up businesses, or there were delays in being assessed.
Overall, The Trust stuck to its task of helping disabled men and their families and judicious investments led to large increases in the Fund's capital. Much of its good work had to remain confidential due to the personal and intimate nature of the Trust's work. However, there is evidence that the Trust reviewed all cases on merit, showing flexibility and compassion. Certainly those who received help were very grateful and the Great War Trust was admired outside Hull.
For example, The London Daily Mail (18/10/1920), reporting on the £3 million being spent on War memorials in England and Wales alone, praised Hull's Great War Trust for raising £145,000 for disabled men and relatives. This was seen as far more practical to help those who survived.
The Great War Trust helped Hull servicemen and their families in many ways.
By June 1919, the Great War Trust had collected £130,000 and on the 15th July 1919 the Trust began to speed up its work. It considered applications from men with at least 50% disability, and awarded grants up to 10 shillings a week, and allowances, not exceeding £25.
Records show that it provided family grants of £30 to purchase furniture, £4 for cutlery, £20 for fruit stock and two £25 Business grants (Hull Daily Mail 14/9/1920). These one off grants switched to regular allowances, which gently increased over time to reflect a man's increasing earnings.
The 1921 'Report on Year's Work', shows it dealt with 563 new claimants, six carried forward and 269 Reconsiderations, during the year. Awards were given to 118 men and 36 women; lumps sums to 55 men and 61 women; periodic payments to 54 men and 30 women; 42 men and 67 women received allowances (15 of these (4 men & 11 women) having continued from the following year. During 1920, income from investments was £7,249 and the Trust paid out £9,541. It had received £10,043 in donations up to 31/12/1920 and the Trust held £136,883 for ongoing awards. (Mr Proctor's salary was increased to £500 per year on 11/1/1921. However, it was maintained that he could have earned considerably more if he remained working with the Town Clerks and the salary was covered by income from investments).
The Eastern Morning News (9/8/1921) reported that 53 men were receiving out patient treatment from the Trust for neurasthenia; eleven men were being treated in Institutions, with two more on a waiting list for treatment. The Trust paid for a Specialist Doctor to work full time with 'shell shock' cases.
Orphan children were given 'day trips' to Bridlington and a party at New Year's.
The Trust supported disabled soldiers with small farm Holdings. Eighteen new Cottages with an acre of land, were built in Dunswell, at a cost of £830. Rents were kept low at only £26. per year, (although annual rates were between £8 & £12). Many of these Tenants had been severely disabled during the war - 4 were blinded, 1 had one arm, another had lost both legs, and one suffered from severe shell shock. The farms helped promote independent living and provide these men with a modest income.
On the 12th September 1922, the Great War Trust presented a magnificent Rugby Challenge Shield and initiated a new rugby League competition, to raise money through gate receipts. As well as promoting sport, the competition provided great entertainment. The final game in 1928, saw Hull FC beat Huddersfield at the Boulevard, 25 -14, and raised £74.00.
There is ample evidence to suggest recipients were very grateful for the Trust's practical and useful assistance. There were good reports of disabled men starting up businesses and doing well; disabled ex servicemen being found employment, disabled adaptations being made to horse carts and homes, so that disabled men could continue to work. The Eastern Morning News (11/7/1922) reported that the Trust had provided a child of a disabled serviceman, with a University education and he had obtained a BA (Hons) Degree. Another beneficiary was a disabled child of a soldier killed in the war, who was given special help to allow him to walk and the child's mother wrote a letter of thanks to the Trust
At the unveiling of the Kingston upon Hull memorial at Oppy Wood on the 10th March 1927, Major, P Robson, Sheriff of Hull, described the Hull Great War Trust as "the most wonderful organisation of its kind in any City within the Empire"
By 1923, the City of Hull Great War Trust had become a huge business, dealing with increasing numbers of ex servicemen becoming disabled with age. It became necessary to establish it as a Trust, regulated by Deed. Managed by a Committee, consisting of a President, Vice President and six Trustees. The Great War Trust administered funds of £140,000. (About £4 million today). The need for the Great War Trust grew as Hull ex servicemen grew older and their wounds worsened. By 9th January 1923, the Trust was dealing with 1,077 cases and distributing £10,907 in awards. By 1924 this had increased to 1,294 cases and the Trust was distributing £43,890 a year (£1.2 million). The local office of the Ministries of Pensions recorded that there were 20,000 disabled servicemen in Hull by 1924.
The City of Hull Great War Trust set out its aims in a Charter to assist those injured, and the dependents of those killed or disabled between the dates 4th August 1914 to 30th September 1921.
The Trust had powers to assist, disabled ex servicemen from Hull, their widows and other dependents, their children; provide temporary accommodation for orphans, and homes of rest for the incapacitated.
The Trust set aside some donations specifically for memorials at the request of subscribers. It helped fund the 'Great East Window', in Holy Trinity Church, which cost £1,500. This was a Memorial to fallen Officers. Beneath the window was placed a tablet and 'Golden Book' recording as best it could, all those that died in the war. The tablet was to cost £750 (of which £200 was donated by Mrs Shaw, the widow of Colonel G H Shaw, killed with 1/4th East Yorkshire Regiment)
The City of Hull Great War Trust continued to help veterans and their dependents until 1983. On a number of occasions, in its history the Trust faced extinction due to a lack of donations. In 1936 its life expectancy was put at 12 more years. Then there was talk of starting another Trust after the Second World War. There was another closure scare in 1960 and it was nearly 'Last Post' in 1977, when two descendents from the First World War, died aged 92 and 86 years old. There was by then, just £810.40 (£2,800) left in the Fund to help 14 Beneficiaries. These included 9 Widows, 2 Spinsters, 2 widowers and 1 bachelor, receiving £46 per month.
While the payment of grants and allowances may seem meager by today's standard, it should be remembered that the Trust was established before Britain had a National Health Service and a Welfare State. Hull's Great War Trust was a pioneering charity, wholly funded by voluntary donations. It was dealing with complex disability claims, which increased in number and changed, over time. It became a delicate operation to make the Trust's scare funds last over the years. Trustees had to spend and invest wisely to predict income streams. It had to estimate how long claimants would require funding, or how many people would make new claims.
The Trust finally closed at 11am, on the 11th November 1983. in the Lord Mayor's Parlor, where it had begun. A two minutes silence was held at the end of the meeting. The remaining funds were distributed equally between the last 7 beneficiaries, all of which were female relatives, aged between 60 and 90 years old.
The City of Hull Great War Trust had lasted 65 years. In all it paid out £289,000 to over 4,000 beneficiaries. As the Trust only recorded the main Beneficiaries and not their families, the Trust helped and supported considerably more Hull citizens.
The City of Hull Great War Trust is a remarkable story. It is a tribute to Hull which pioneered this unique Charity to help its own disabled servicemen and their dependents. It's a tribute to the People of Hull which donated so generously, and a Tribute to the Trustees that framed the Charter and managed the Great War Trust for so long. The last man to apply for help was Mr A Chester, who returned his £8 monthly pension in 1977. He asked to be taken off the Trust's books and even returned £50 which he managed to save in payments, for those in more need. This nobly reflects how much the Trust was appreciated by those it helped.
Set up at the Guildhall immediately after the Armistice in 1918. An appeal was made for £500,000. By December 1918, £90,000 had been raised, 75% of contributions came from fishing families.
In June 1919, a full time General Secretary is appointed amidst great controversy. At this stage £130,000 was raised.
By November 1922 - £141,733 had been raised. £29,00 had been paid out. 54 families were being totally supported by the Trust, another 100 are in receipt of weekly allowances supplementing Government aid. Business and Educational grants also awarded.
On 8/3/1923, the magnificent Great War Rugby Shield is presented. Broughton 8 points (1 goal, 2 tries) beat Hull 3 points (1 try) at the Boulevard, watched by 5,000 spectators.
By 1926 - £59,000 paid out in allowances, £14,000 in Grants
By 1958 – Payments total £267,000 (£36 million today)
By 1960 – 68 Beneficiaries left
By 1973 – Payments total £280,000 (20 Beneficiaries left)
By 1977 – Nearly 'Last Post' for the Trust (14 Beneficiaries left)
By 1981 – Payments total £285,000 (7 Beneficiaries)
In 1983 – Trust Closes on 11th November at 11am in Lord Mayors Parlor.
There were 4,005 Beneficiaries which received grants and allowances and total pension payments made were £289,060.44.
The East Yorkshire Regiment
The East Yorkshire Regiment was the local army regiment, which many Hull men joined and died.
The origins of the East Yorkshire Regiment (The Duke of York's Own), can be traced back to 1685. During the Great War 1914-1918, the East Yorkshires raised 21 Battalions.
In August 1914, the East Yorkshire Regiment, consisted of two Regular battalions, (the 1st and 2nd EYR), a Special Reserve (3rd East Yorkshire Battalion) and two Territorial battalions, (the 4th and 5th East Yorkshire Cyclists Battalions). After the outbreak of war, eight Service (Kitchener) battalions were raised (the 6th to 13th East Yorkshire regiments) as well as two Reserve regiments (14th and 15th) and two Garrison battalions (1st and 2nd). The 4th Battalion Territorial Force, formed a second and third line battalion, 2/4th and 3/4th. Ten of the nineteen active battalions went on active service.
Each Battalion consisted of around 1,000 men, divided into 4 Companies of 250 men each. Each Company was again divided into 4 Platoons of around 60 men, and each Platoon was divided into 4 'Sections' of about 15 men. It was amongst these small sections, that most men experienced the war, with their East Yorkshire Regiment.
At the outbreak of war, the 1st East Yorkshire Battalion was posted to France in September 1914 and saw action at the Battle of the Aisne, where it lost 73 men and 8 Officers killed and wounded. The 2nd East Yorkshire Battalion, which was in India at the start of the war, transferred to France in January 1915. In October 1915 the 2nd EYR was then posted to Salonika, where it remained for the rest of the war fighting Bulgarians. The 3rd 'Special Reserve' East Yorkshire Battalion was mobilised in Beverley and was used as a training unit, training over 15,600 men during the war. The 3rd Battalion also defended the Holderness coast against potential invasion, with the 5th East Yorkshire Cyclist Battalion. The 4th Territorial Battalion saw service overseas.
When war was declared, the East Yorskhires, raised an additional Eight Service (Kitchener) battalions (numbered the 6th to 13th EYR), as well as two Reserve units (the 14th and 15th battalions), and the 1st and 2nd Garrison battalions. The 6th, 7th & 8th Battailons were formed in Beverley. The 10th, 11th, 12th, 13th & 14th Battalions, were raised in Hull and became known as the 'Hull Pals'.
During the First World War, the East Yorkshire regiment fought on the Western Front, at Gallipolli, in Macedonia and Egypt. It was awarded with 21 Battle Honours and 4 VC's and lost 7,483 men. As the war ended, Service Battalions were disbanded and the East Yorkshire Regiment, reurned to its two original regular battalions. After the war, the 1st East Yorkshire Regiment, was sent to Ireland, where it remained until 1922. The 2nd East Yorkshire Batallion returned to India, and later served in Basra and Iraq.
Yorkshire as a County raised an army of 400,00 men during the Great War, as many as the whole continent of Australia. Hull supplied 70,000 of these men. The 28 Yorkshire battalions that existed before the war grew into 83 and included 333,000 Yorkshiremen. The Yorkshire battalions suffered 230,000 casualties and earned 35 Victoria Crosses during the First World War. They served in about 27 different Divisions and all theatres of war except Mesopotamia. These figures were given by Field Marshall, William Robertson, DSO, at the unveiling of the Hull Cenotaph on the 20th September 1924.
East Yorkshire Battalions during the Great War 1914-1918.
- Regular Battalions
- 1st Battalion. August 1914: stationed in York. Part of the 18th Brigade, 6th Division. Moved on 8 August to Edinburgh, then six days later to Cambridge. Landed at St Nazaire on 10 September 1914. 26 November 1915: transferred to 64th Brigade, 21st Division.
- 2nd Battalion. August 1914: stationed in Kamptee. India. Returned to England and landed in December 1914. Moved to Hursley Park near Winchester. December 1914 : attached to 83rd Brigade, 28th Division. 16 January 1915 : landed at Le Havre. 26 October 1915 : sailed from Marseilles to Egypt and on to Salonika.
- 3rd Battalion (York East Riding Regiment of Militia). Formed August 1914: stationed in Beverley. A training unit, it remained in UK throughout the war. Moved within a few days of declaration of war to Hedon, for duty as the Humber Garrison. Made the short journey in April 1916 to Withernsea.
- Territorial Battalions
- 1/4th Battalion. Formed August 1914 : in Londesborough Barracks, Hull. Part of the York and Durham Brigade, Northumbrian Division. 17 April 1915 : landed at Boulogne. 12 May 1915 : formation became 150th Brigade, 50th (Northumbrian) Division. 15 July 1918 : reduced to cadre and transferred to Lines of Communication. 16 August 1918 :transferred to 116th Brigade, 39th Division. 7 November 1918 : demobilised in France.
- 2/4th Battalion.. Formed at Darlington in September 1914 as a second line battalion. Moved to Hull in November 1914.February 1915 : moved back to Darlington and came under orders of 189th Brigade, 63rd (2nd Northumbrian) Division. In July 1915, moved to Cramlington and in November 1915 to Retford. Division was broken up in July 1916 and Brigade moved to Catterick. Moved in November 1916 to Bermuda, remaining there throughout the rest of the war.
- 3/4th Battalion. Formed at Hull on 19 June 1915, but soon moved to South Dalton. 8 April 1916 : became 4th Reserve Battalion. By September 1916 was at Catterick. In 1917 was at Hornsea and by November 1918 was at South Dalton, part of Humber Garrison.
- 5th (Cyclist) Battalion. August 1914 : Based in Park Street, Hull. Remained in UK throughout the war. Soon moved to Louth and then in May 1915 to Withernsea. Moved on from there to Newbiggin and became part of Tyne Garrison. (Photo below is of the 5th Cyclist EY Bn. based in Park Street Hull)
- New Armies
- 6th (Service) Battalion (Pioneers). Formed at Beverley on 27 August 1914. Came under orders of 32nd Brigade, 11th (Northern) Division. December 1914 : became the Pioneer Battalion to the Division. 1 July 1915: sailed from Avonmouth for Gallipoli via Mudros and landed at Suvla Bay 7 August 1915. 10 July 1916 : landed at Marseilles.
- 7th (Service) Battalion. Formed at Beverley on 16 September 1914. Came under orders of 50th Brigade, 17th (Northern) Division. 14 July 1915 : landed at Boulogne.
- 8th (Service) Battalion. Formed at Beverley on 22 September 1914. Came under orders of 62nd Brigade, 21st Division. 9 September 1915 : landed at Boulogne. 16 November 1915 : transferred to 8th Brigade, 3rd Division. 17 February 1918 : disbanded in France. Troops formed 10th Entrenching Bn with men from the 12th West Yorks.
- 9th (Reserve) Battalion. Formed in York on 9 November 1914. Formed in York on 9 November 1914 as a Service battalion, coming under orders of 90th Brigade, original 30th Division. 10 April 1915: became a Reserve Battalion. Moved in May 1915 to Harrogate and in September of that year to Rugeley Camp, Cannock Chase. On 1 September 1916 : converted into 7th Training Reserve Battalion in 2nd Reserve Brigade
- 10th (1st Hull Pals) Battalion (Hull Commercials). Formed in Hull on 29 August 1914 by Lord Nunburnholme and the East Riding TF Association. Commonly known as the Hull Commercials Battalion. June 1915 : came under orders of 92nd Brigade, 31st Division. 15 December 1915 : moved to Egypt. Went on to France in March 1916.
- 11th (2nd Hull Pals) Battalion (Hull Tradesmen). Formed in Hull on 2 September 1914 by Lord Nunburnholme. In June 1915 : came under orders of 92nd Brigade, 31st Division. 15 December 1915 : moved to Egypt. Went on to France in March 1916.
- 12th (3rd Hull Pals) Battalion (Hull Sportsmen). Formed in Hull on 11 August 1914 by Lord Nunburnholme and the East Riding TF Association. Commonly known as the Hull Sportsmen’s Battalion. In June 1915 : came under orders of 92nd Brigade, 31st Division. 15 December 1915 : moved to Egypt. Went on to France in March 1916. On 8 February 1918 : disbanded in France.
- 13th (4th Hull Pals) Battalion (Hull T'Others). Formed in Hull on 11 August 1914 by Lord Nunburnholme and the East Riding TF Association. Commonly known as the T’Others! June 1915 : came under orders of 92nd Brigade, 31st Division. 15 December 1915 : moved to Egypt. Went on to France in March 1916. On 8 February 1918 : disbanded in France
- 14th (Reserve) Battalion. Formed in Lichfield in August 1915 as a Reserve battalion and moved to Clipstone Camp. By April 1916 was at Seaton Delaval. 1 September 1916 : became 90th Training Reserve Battalion of 21st Reserve Brigade and moved to Blyth.
- 15th (Reserve) Battalion. Formed at Seaton Delaval in February 1916 by the 14th Bn. as local Reserve.
1 September 1916 : absorbed by 15th Bn York & Lancs, and became 91st Training Reserve Battalion of 21st Reserve Brigade.
- 17th (Transport Workers) Northumberland Fusiliers Battalion, Formed in Hull Docks. Known as the 'Railway Pals'.
- 1st Garrison Battalion. Formed in Sheffield in October 1915. Moved to Lichfield in November 1915 and in February 1916 went to India. Joined Allahabad Brigade in 8th (Lucknow) Division. Moved to Lucknow Brigade in same Division in March 1918.
- 2nd (Home Service) Garrison Battalion. Formed in Hull in April 1916. In August 1917 was converted into 8th Battalion of Royal Defence Corps.
12th EYR in Snow Suits - Arleux sector, 9 January 1918. 10th EYR - Doullens 28.6.16 8th EYR - Going to the Line - Ypres 5.10.17
The links below provide more information of these Battalions and some stories of the men who served with the East Yorkshire Regiment
The East Yorkshire Regiment Battalions http://www.1914-1918.net/eastyorks.htm
What was an Infantary Battalion? - http://www.1914-1918.net/whatbatt.htm
THE GALLIPOLI CAMPAIGN - The East Yorkshire's fight at Tekke Teppe.
The Gallipoli Peninsula runs in a south-westerly direction into the Aegean Sea between the Hellesport (now known as the Dardanelles) and the bay of Melas, which today is known as Saros Bay. At the time of the First World War, this narrow sea strait was a direct route to the Russian Empire, but was controlled by the Turkish Ottoman Empire, allied to Germany. In an attempt to break the deadlock on the Western Front, the Allies launched an ambitious attack on Gallipoli Peninsular on the 25th April 1915. They hoped that capturing the Dardanelles Straits would help supply Russia, defeat Turkey and encourage Greece and Bulgaria to join the allies in the war.
The allies invaded the Gallipoli Peninsular at several beaches. They were met by stiff Turkish resistance, which confined them to narrow beachheads. The Campaign fighting was fierce, attritional and largely static. The first two weeks alone at Gallipoli, saw a higher rate of allied casualties than the Battle of the Somme, when measured as a percentage of those committed. Forced to dig in around the shorelines, the Allies spent the next eight months trying to capture the high ground and break free from the Peninsular. Eventually, the Allies were forced to withdraw from Gallipoli on the 9th January 1916. The eight month Gallipoli Campaign was a famous Turkish victory, costly to both sides. The Allied campaign was plagued by ill-defined goals, poor planning, insufficient artillery, inexperienced troops, inaccurate maps and intelligence, overconfidence, inadequate equipment and logistics, and tactical deficiencies at all levels. Geography also proved a significant factor with the Turks holding the higher ground. Over 131,000 men were killed during the 8 month Gallipoli Campaign. The Allies lost some 250,000 men, including 140,000 men through disease. Turkish casualties were estimated to be at least 280,000, with 86,000 killled.
Gallipoli is best remembered for forging the National identity of Australia and New Zealand who suffered severely there, and for the remarkable evacuation of the Peninsular, which was achieved with the loss of only one life.
Links The Gallipoli Campaign http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gallipoli_Campaign
The Gallipoli campaign has been keenly debated over the last century. Some believe it was a poorly planned exercise that failed in Whitehall, long before any serviceman set foot on the peninsular. Others argue that the campaign could have been successful, but may have made little difference to the main struggle on the Western Front. We can only speculate. However, history has largely overlooked how close ‘D’ company and HQ Battalion, of the 6th East Yorkshire Regiment, came to winning the campaign on the 8th and 9th Aug 1915. They failed (despite claims otherwise). The following is an interesting and little known episode in the Gallipoli story.
8th - 9th August 1915 – The 6th East Yorkshire Assault on Tekke Tepe Hill
Tekke Tepe, is a hill about 800ft in height, in the centre of a series of ridges disposed, roughly in the shape of a horseshoe and enclosing Suvla Bay. General Sir Ian Hamilton, Commander of the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force, maintained that capturing this hill was crucial to succeed at Gallipoli. The 6th East Yorkshire Battalion landed at Gallipoli in the early hours of the 7th August 1915, with 22 Officers and 750 other ranks. (Three Officers and 153 men had been left in reserve at Imbros). Their attack on Tekke Tepe, is vividly recorded in the 6th (Pioneer) Battalion East Yorkshire War Diary, which is with the 11th Divisional Diaries. (This diary is easy to miss as it is not part of the line Battalion War Diary bundles. It is included in the Division papers, as the Pioneers were technically Divisional troops, although it seems they were attached to the 32nd Brigade for this operation). Capt. V Kidd, Adjutant of the 8th Battalion Duke of Wellington's Regt (West Ridings), also recorded the event in his personal account, which is an appendix to the 8th Battalion War Diary notes. Also the 6th Battalion York & Lancs. Regiment War Diary, records the Turks' attack over Tekke Tepe.
8th Aug 1915. Orders were received to join the 32nd Brigade with the WEST YORKS on our left, to attack and hold a position running from CHOCOLATE HILL to SULAJIK 105 C 6. The records of these orders have been lost. The Battalion advanced B [Coy] on the left under Major, BRAY, D [Coy] on the right under Capt GRANT, C [Coy] in second line and A [Coy] in reserve. Lt Col, MOORE advanced with the 1st line. At first no opposition was met with, but occupying the ridge which joins up with CHOCOLATE HILL and was about W by S from ANAFARTA SAGIR heavy firing was encountered. (Margin: Ref to ANAFARTA SAGIR sheet 1:20,000 Gallipoli Map 105 C 6) Capt ROGERS was killed and shortly afterwards Major, ESTRIDGE was wounded in the arm. The Turks employed numerous snipers and shot particularly at our men as they went for water at a well. Parties were sent out, but were unable to find them. The position was entrenched on the reverse slope during the day and further forward during the night. Two officer's patrols were sent out during the evening: At about11:30 pm orders were received for the Battalion to retire to the points held by the WEST RIDING Regt and to occupy and improve a Turkish trench there. 11:30 pm. The orders have been lost. The men were tired and exhausted and short of water moving often in the dark led to equipment being mislaid.
9th Aug 1915. We found the West Riding Regiment in a vacant Turkish Trench at about 1:30 am. After some confusion getting the men into the trench in the dark, orders (lost) were received at 3:30 a.m. (late in reaching us) to deliver an attack (orders lost) on TEKKE TEPE (Sheet 119 O2) the West Riding Regt was to attack KAVALA TEPE (Sheet 119 C7) on our left. The men were at this stage in a state of extreme exhaustion and hunger. The Battalion moved northwards out of the trench in the following order D, C, B, A after passing SULAJIK we took a NE route crossing the dry beds of the streams.
Verbal orders had been given by Lt Col Moore that in the attack D and B Companies should form the first line (D on the left, B on the right) A Coy (Capt WILLATS) the second line and C Coy (now under Capt PRINGLE) the reserve. LtCol, MOORE was with D Coy. The other three companies due to the extreme exhaustion of the men and absence of explicit orders failed to keep in touch with D Coy who proceeded to advance up the lower slopes of the hill without waiting for B Coy to come into position on their right or for the other two companies to get into place. D Coy with LtColMOORE and 2 Lt STILL (Acting Adjutant) and HQ party seemed to have encountered no opposition at first.
It was only when they were up the first shoulder (Sheet 119 L4) that the strength of the enemy was disclosed. Fire was poured in from concealed Turkish trenches and our men were unable to hold their ground. There was considerable confusion due to the rapid advance of D Coy and the fact that the other Companies had lost touch. D Coy suffered heavily. Capt GRANT had been wounded in the hand early in the engagement – Lt Col MOORE, 2 Lt STILL, Capt ELLIOTT, Lt RAWSTORNE, 2 Lt WILSON were all missing when what remained of the Coy fell back. A general retirement took place during which there was much mixing of units due to the Battalion failing to keep its formation. After two other stands had been made in conjunction with the West Riding Regt a line was eventually taken up along a line running N from (Sheet 118 V6). Reinforcements came up here and about 13:00 the Battalion was relieved and ordered to concentrate at the cut on A Beach (Sheet 104 B1). All orders and dispatches relating to these are lost as the orderly who carried them is missing……[A long list of Officer casualties follows] Other Ranks: Killed 20, Wounded 104, Wounded and Missing 28, Missing 183.This night the battalion bivouacked on 'A' Beach near the cut."
The withdrawal of the East Yorkshires of the night of 8th August was difficult. There was no moon and it was pitch dark. It was almost impossible to find equipment and assemble the battalion quickly to move off to Sulajik. All the time, the Turks continued their fire on theEast Yorkshire, while they moved back and reached the position in the early hours. The East Yorkshire soldiers on arrival at 1.30am, dropped with exhaustion. Between 3 and 3.30am, all Company Commanders were suddenly ordered to report to the Colonel. They were told that the 6th East Yorkshire Regiment had received orders to seize the very high hill above Anafarta (Tekke Tepe).
The West Ridings would attack another hill on the left (Kavak Tepe). As the orders had arrived late, the battalion had to move off immediately. The men in a state of exhaustion, thirsty and hungry had to be pulled out of their trenches. Colonel HGA Moore started off with HQ and D companies. When the three remaining companies assembled they found Colonel Moore, their Commanding Officer had gone ahead. In crossing the open space between the trenches at Sulajik and the foot of the hill, little or no opposition was encountered. Two officers of the 67th Field Company Royal Engineers, Major F.W. Brunner and Lt. V.Z. Ferranti accompanied Lt Col. Moore. Lt Ferranti was ordered to wait and follow up with the next company of East Yorkshires that came along. The group split into three parties Col Moore., Maj. Brunner and 2 Lt Still, with one party, Capt. Steel with another and Capt. Elliott with the third. As they reached the lower slopes of the hill north of Baka Baba, the rifle fire from the snipers became more insistent. They carried on up Tekke Tepe, the casualties becoming more serious. Major Brunner was killed and many others shot down. The survivors, Col. Moore and 2nd Lt. Still leading, reached the summit along with Capt., Elliot, Lt., Rawstone and between 12 and 30 men. They were cut off by the advancing Turks and the survivors, five in number, including Mr. Still, were captured.
This little party of East Yorkshire men and Engineers achieved the brilliant feat of reaching a position, farther east on the heights above Suvla Bay than any other troops in the entire campaign. Of the 750 men in the 6th (Pioneer) East Yorkshire Battalion, 347, or roughly 46% had become casualties in just 3 days. Officer casualties were 15, or 75% of those who landed on 7th August. They included two Officers killed in action; five wounded; six 'Missing in Action' and 2 'Wounded and Missing'. Most of those 'Missing in Action' at Gallipoli were actually killed. Searching this website shows that 47 men, killed with the 6th Yorkshires came from Hull, and ten others died on the 9th August 1915 at Suvla Bay, fighting for New Zealand, the West Ridings and other regiments.
After the War, all captured British Officers were required to make a written statement to the War Office, about the events surrounding their capture. Capt R D Elliott, 6th Battalion East Yorkshire Regiment captured at Tekke Tepe recounted how they reached the top of hill. Another account by Lieutenant, John Still wrote. “About thirty of us reached the top of hill, perhaps a few more. And when there were about twenty left we turned and went down again. We had reached the highest point and furthest point that British forces from SuvlaBay were destined to reach. But we naturally knew nothing of that.
General Sir Ian Hamilton, Commander of the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force, wrote in his War Diary, that Tekke Tepe was the key hill, overlooking Suvla Bay. He believed British troops had actually reached the summit of the hill on August 9, and that, had they been given proper support, victory was in sight. However, until 1923 he had no definite evidence to confirm his belief. In October 1923, he received a letter printed in The Times, (on 30th October 1923), from Mr. John Still, a tea planter in Ceylon, who had been adjutant of the 6thBattalion East Yorkshire Regiment, a unit of the 32 Brigade, during the Suvla operations. He gave details of his own experiences on Tekke Tepe as follows:-.
“I was the only officer on that hill who had spent years in jungle and on hills and was in consequence able to appreciate things accurately. We had been ordered to take up that position on the map and we took it up. I fixed our exact position by prismatic compass. We fought all day there and had a good few casualties including two officers (or three), and then we were taken off again at night "because the regiments to right and left of you have not been able to get up". That was the night of August 8. On our right were a Sergeant and two men only of another regiment, lost and re-found by us. I forget their unit, but I can still see the identifying mark on their backs in my mind's eye: it was a sort of castle in yellow. Beyond them there was a gap right away to Chocolate Hill. On our left was not as you state another regiment, but only a weak half company of the West Yorkshires with two officers of whom one was killed, and the other – Davenport– severely wounded. And this left us in the air. Your orders given to General Stopford at 6pm never reached us on Scimitar Hill. Why? They knew where we were, for I was in touch by day with Brigade H.Q. signalers on Hill 10 or close to it. By night I lost contact for both my lamps failed me. As you justly say, anyone with half an eye could see Tekke Tepe was the key to the whole position. Even I, a middle-aged amateur who had done a bit of big game shooting and knocking about saw it at once. We reconnoitered it, sent an officer and my signaler corporal to climb it, and got through to Brigade H.Q. the message giving our results. I sent it myself. The hill was then empty. Next morning you saw or heard that troops had actually reached the top of Tekke Tepe. Yes they had. A worn and weak company, D Company, of my regiment, together with my Colonel (Moore). Major Brunner, of the Royal Engineers., and myself started up that hill. About thirty got to the top: of them five got down again to the bottom, and of those three lived to the end of the war. I was one of them. You wonder why we did not 'dig in' (pages 78 and 79 of your Volume II) as we had lots of time. There, Sir is where that war was lost. You sent a Brigade at that empty hill on the afternoon of the 8th. Actually, owing to staff work being so bad, only a battalion received orders to attack, and they did not receive those orders until dawn on the 9th. I received them myself as adjutant. The order ran to this effect: "The C.-in-C. considers this operation essential to the success of the whole campaign". The order was sent out on the late afternoon of the 8th, when we were on Scimitar Hill. It reached us at dawn on the 9th in a Turkish trench at Sulejik. In the meanwhile, for those hours more precious to the world than we even yet can judge, the Brigade Major was lost! Good God why didn't they send a man who knew the country? He was lost, lost, lost and it drives one almost mad to think of it. Excuse Me. Next morning (from the order) at dawn on the 9th you saw some of our fellows climbing cattle tracks. You don't place them exactly where I think you really saw them, but as I know, there were none just precisely where you say you saw them, I am pretty certain it was us you saw from the ship, only we were half a mile north of where you describe.Then we climbed Tekke Tepe.Simultaneously the Turks attacked through the gap from Anafarta. Their attack cut in behind D Company and held back the rest of the battalion who fought in the trench, with the Duke of Wellington's on their left. We went on, and, as I said, not one of us got back again. A few were taken prisoner. I was slightly wounded, and stayed three years and three months as a prisoner. Later that morning we who survived were again taken up Tekke Tepe by its northern ravine on the west side. Turkish troops were simply pouring down it and the other ravines. On the top of Tekke Tepe were four field guns camouflaged with boughs of scrub oak, and a Brigade H.Q. was just behind the ridge. I had a few minutes conversation there with the Turkish Brigadier in French. But I am coming home on leave in March or April next. May I have the honour of meeting you and going over it on the map?I think much might be cleared up that was still obscure when you wrote your book. There are one or two things one prefers not to write.Please let me know your wishes in this matter. I loved your book and I want to do any small thing possible to complete your picture. Yours truly (Signed) JOHN STILL, Victoria Commemoration Buildings, Nos: 40 and 41 Ward Street, Kandy, Ceylon Sept 19.
Second Lieutenant, James Theodore Underhill, was a 22 year old, adjutant serving with the 6th East Yorkshire Battalion at Galipolli and was the Signaler at Tekke Tepe. His letter to the Times, published 14thFebruary 1925, recounts the following”....Being a qualified land surveyor, and experienced in the use and construction of maps and the knowledge of the country, I was well able to keep notes of our positions and was the officer mentioned in your letter who took the patrol up Tekke Tepe. In fact I still have your signal corporal’s field glasses which I took from him while on the hill, my own being smashed by a rifle bullet whilst using them on this patrol. My report disagrees with your letter in a few minor details – for instance while on Scimitar Hill, the 9th West Yorkshires were on our left, as I was actually speaking with their officers on their own right flank, but they were withdrawn before us, God knows why. Again, while you say Tekke Tepe was not occupied, it was held very lightly by patrols. We ran into two of them before reaching the top; out of one we bagged two Turks, the other escaped us. There were also three short lengths of partially dug trenches unoccupied while we were there, but showing signs of most recent occupation. Further, you say that the Turks came in behind D Company and the rest of the battalion fought in the trench. This is not quite right. We had advance fully 1500 yards (and I was with the rear company “B”) before we encountered the Turks. When we did, it was a ‘free for all’ bayonet affair, with the Turks outnumbering us about three to one. I saw nothing of the West Yorkshires as you mention, but the West Ridings who were to have supported the Brigade!!! attack were present. However, my report and your letter agree in the great fundamental point, this, that Tekke Tepe should have been taken on the evening of August 8. That this could and would have been done had there not been a lamentable failure of the Staff, I think goes unquestioned by those of us who had an accurate knowledge of the conditions; it was the loss of the Gallipoli campaign. I am even of the opinion that, that had the Staff work not been so rotten, and that had the attack in the early morning of August 9 been by three battalions instead of us alone, it might have been successful. If you remember, the attack was to have been a brigade affair, three battalions in attack with one in support. The supports (the West Ridings) were there, but where the other two battalions were, God alone knows. I think all of Kitchener’sArmy who took part in this landing and the following few days felt it intensely that they were blamed by the Staff for the failure on the grounds of being green troops. Compared with later experiencesin France, the 11thand 10thDivision fought as well as any troops ever did, be they Regulars or otherwise, and I am sure that those of us who had the honour to belong to either the 11thor 10thDivisions feel grateful to you for coming out plainly and placing the blame where it so justly belongs." *
Some argue that the 6th East Yorkshire attack on Tekke Tepe (actually in effect only D Coy and Battalion HQ) never reached the summit on the 9th August. Also the Officers were mistaken when they said that they reached the summit or had made it up after the war to compensate for being taken Prisoner. Also as most of the East Yorkshires were killed or captured, all the official reports were compiled after the events, by persons who had not been present. The War diaries show very clearly that patrols sent by the 6th East Yorkshires on the 8th August (the day before) met with little opposition, but a later advance on the 9th August to exploit this opportunity by the 6th East Yorkshires, supported by the 8th Battalion Duke of Wellington's Regiment (West Riding) and 67 Coy Royal Engineers was too late. It was repulsed by Turkish reinforcements, with heavy loss to D Coy of the 6th East Yorkshires, who advanced without waiting for the remainder of the Battalion. However, the primary sources of Lieutenants John Still and James Underhill, who both were there at the time, claim that they did occupy Tekke Tepe. John Still was a 35 year old, tea planter, use to the hills of Ceylon and Underhill was a newly qualified land surveyor, aged 22. Both would have known if they had reached the top of Tekke Tepe. There was no collusion between these two men to make up their story. Lt., Stlll was captured and spent the rest of the war in Turkey. He believed he had been the only surviving Officer in the attack. Underhill although wounded in the chest, survived the war and then emigrated to Vancouver. If they did occupy Tekke Teppe, it would have been the furthest allied advance on the Peninsula, and if they had held this stategic position, the Gallipoli Campaign would have succeeded. After 100 years we can only speculate. It is perhaps best to concentrate on the bravery of the 6th (Pioneer) East Yorkshire Regiment, who stormed the hill with limited support in difficult conditions. These Pioneers were used in (arguably) the most important assault of the campaign. They were ably led, by Col Moore, (who had risen from the ranks) and were decimated within sight of their ultimate objective. Their attack was undermined by appalling planning and procrastination. There was no time for orders or battle preparation. It was a fragmented, uncoordinated attack, characterised by perhaps over-zealous leadership, tactical naivety, exhaustion and fatigue. (The men had to be kicked into action, from a state of near exhaustion). This superhuman effort resulted in failure, then denial and blame. The 6th East Yprkshire who had landed at Gallipoli in the early hours of the 7th August 1915, with 22 Officers and 750 Other ranks, had within 3 days, lost 15 Officers and 347 other ranks. Over 50 men from Hull died in Gallipoli on the 9th August 1915. The story of the 6th East Yorkshire at Tekke Tepe, is not a particularly well researched, or well understood part of the campaign, outside a few specialists, but it encapsulates everything in one small action that was wrong about Gallipoli.
The following recounts the progress of the 6Th East Yorkshires, after the Tekke Tepe attack.
21st August 1915 – the attack on Scimitar Hill
Wyrall's "East Yorkshire Regiment in the Great War" shows that the 6th East Yorkshire Regiment had been in reserve from 10th to the 20th August at Nibrunesi Point where they had dug themselves in at the base of a cliff. On 20th August the 6thEast Yorkshires relieved the Northumberland Fusiliers in trenches South East of Chocolate Hill. They came under the orders of 34th Brigade who would attack "Hill W" the next morning.
The 6th Battalion were to dig in and support the Lancashire Fusiliers and the Dorset’s, who would attack the next morning. There was a delay due to lost orders and confusion, and the attack did not commence until 3pm on the 21st. When the Dorset’s and Lancashire’s left their trenches the 6th East Yorkshiresmoved forward to occupy these trenches. The Dorset’s and the Lancashire’s ran into stubborn resistance and so most of the 6th East Yorkshires were sent forward to support them. The 6th East Yorkshire's captured a Turkish trench in front of them and awaited relief. The 6th East York (Pioneers) had occupied Hill 70 (Scimitar Hill), next to W Hill the most vital of all the semicircle of heights overlooking Suvla Bay and were there only waiting for the brigade's further advance upon W Hill or Anafarta Sagir, to both of which it is the key. They held this trench overnight, but it became impossible to hold the next morning (22nd August) as the number of Turks increased and they had no bombs.
Around 7.30 am the 6th East Yorkshires retreated to their original trenches and later that night they were relieved and moved back to their original reserve trenches at Nibrunesi point the following morning. The 6th East Yorkshire casualties by 22nd August 1915, included 26 Officers and 628 men. Officer casualties were 80% and other ranks 68%.
20th October 1915
The War Diary for the 6th (Service) Battalion East Yorkshire Regiment (Pioneers) on 20th Oct 1915 is edited below. It was written in very feint pencil and just legible. The Battalion was scattered over a place known to the troops as ‘Piccadilly Circus’ or 'Shrapnel Valley' due to heavy Turkish shelling. There are no records of battle casualties, but the War Diary contains long lists of men admitted to hospital and lists of men who arrived in drafts. Notably most posted to D Coy - a stark reminder that D Coy was virtually wiped out on the lower slopes of Tekke Tepe on 9th August.
"Working Parties A Coy Piccadilly Circus, Div Head Quarters ^ well [illegible - above?] XI Signal Depot, Field Ambulance dugouts. B Coy 9th A.C [Army Corps] New Head Quarters, Park Lane, Holborn, Jephson's Post Road (Oxford St). D Coy 9th A.C Head Quarters, 67th Coy RE - SW Mounted Brigade dugouts, Cannon Street. Two general road repairing parties under 2/Lieuts SIEBER and SCOTCHER. 2/Lieut HICKEY was wounded in the arm by shrapnel bullet whilst working near Piccadilly Circus & admitted into 35th Field Ambulance."
Gallipoli 100 Years on - http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-32456487
* (I am grateful to Edward Underhill who supplied the following information on his grandfather - 2nd Lt., James Theodore Underhill was born in Moseley, Staffordshire, 1892. His family emigrated to Canada in 1894 and he obtained his Land Surveyor's qualification at McGill University (West) which was later to become the University of British Columbia. Upon the outbreak of the war, he gained his qualification as an Infantry Officer in January of 1915 at the Provisional School of Infantry in Vancouver, BC and subsequently travelled to England, having missed the opportunity to join the first contingent of the Canadian Expeditionary Force (CEF). He was commissioned in March of 1915, joining the 6th (Service ) Battalion, East Yorkshire Regiment, as 2nd Lieutenant by the time of the actions around Teke Tepe. He was shot in the chest during the Gallipoli attack and wounded again in the right knee on 1/7/16 at Serre, serving with the 12th King's Own Yorkshire Light Infantry. He later served with the Canandian 245th Siege Battery RGA. He lost two brothers in the war and returned to Vancouver, Canada after the war)
The first from Hull to die
The first Hull man killed in the War, was Private, Frederick George Mileham, 18th Queen Mary’s Own Hussars. He died on the 24th August 1914. He was a regular soldier, who before the war had served in Egypt and India. He was 35 years old and the fourth son of George and Mary Ann Mileham who lived at 7 Middleburg Street.