Don't worry lad, your country won't forget you

Royal Naval Division War Diary Jan. to May 1916

(Transcribed from original documents held at the PRO, Ref: ADM/3084)

JANUARY 1916

Gallipoli 8th ...movement, & was particularly quiet. The last parties to leave the trenches did so at 23.45. Only one casualty was sustained, a slight one. On the Beach there was the usual sporadic shelling, but nearly all fell into the water. The timetable was well kept throughout, & the last troops embarked in HMS Grasshopper shortly after 03.00 on 9th Jan. In the days immediately preceding the final evacuation some 3.400 all ranks of the Div. were evacuated.

Mudros 9th The greater part of the Division arrived at Mudros during the day, & went into camp at Mudros West.

10th Details who had been sent to Imbros arrived during the day. Orders received RND no longer formed part of 8th Corps. 2/2nd & 2/4th London Regiments ordered to join 29th Div. when transports available.

11th - 12th Units refitting.

13th Staff officers sent to Imbros to make arrangements for its occupation. ANSON Bn. beat HLI of 52nd Div. in final of Dardanelles Cup presented by Lieut. General Sir Francis DAVIES KCB.

14th Violent Storm & very cold. Conditions in Camp very uncomfortable.

15th Storm continued, roads very bad. 40 officers proceeded on leave in HMT OLYMPIC.

16th Very Stormy & cold. Staff officers proceeded to IMBROS to make arrangements for relief. Orders received to hold a Brigade in readiness for operations at STAVROS.

17th Presentation of French Honours by General BReuLARD.

18th Staff officers proceeded to TENEDOS to make arrangements for relief.

19th Weather very cold. Staff officers proceeded to STAVROS to make arrangements in case the Brigade held in readiness should be required.

20th 200 details Hawke Bn., Engineers & medical proceeded to Imbros to take over huts - Hood BN. (less 2 companies) & medical & supply proceeded to Tenedos to relieve 1/2 BN Essex Garrison Regiment.

21st Fine & warmer.

22nd Rain during night. Stormy & very cold.

23rd - 25th Refitting & Routine work.

26th 700 draft arrived from Alexandria. Remainder Hawke Bn. proceeded to IMBROS. Brigadier General TROTMAN C.B. rejoined & resumed Command of 2nd Bde.

27th Nil

28th Brigadier General Staff 2nd Bde. & Commanding officers proceeded to STAVROS on reconnaissance of position.

29th Lt. Col. Mullins, 4 officers & 100 other ranks proceeded to Malta to establish leave camp.

FEBRUARY 1916

1st Presentation of some 30 medals to NCO's , PO's & others by GOC. One Company ANSON Bn. moved to EAST MUDROS to take over guard duties & c.

2nd 99 all ranks - reinforcements for HAWKE Bn. arrived from ALEXANDRIA.

3rd & 4th Work continued as usual - nothing to report.

5th A very wet day & night. This was most unfortunate as several moves had been arranged. HQ 1/Bde. Remainder of HAWKE Bn., 1 Coy. DRAKE Bn. & details proceeded to IMBROS. Detachment 85 strong ANSON Bn. marched to KASTRO to relieve NELSON Bn. picquet. 5 officers & 100 other ranks proceeded in WAHINE to the leave camp at MALTA. NELSON Bn. moved into No.3 Canadian Hospital which had previously been vacated.

6th D.H.Q. moved into No. 3 Canadian Hospital.

7th 1/R.M. HOWE & HOOD Battalions commenced battalion training.

8th to 11th Training continued. - Nothing to report.

12th First leave party returned from MALTA & expressed themselves very pleased with their holiday. The Picquet at KASTRO has made several successful captures of liquor which Greeks were trying to smuggle into town.

13th 220 all ranks of the Divisional Train which had been sent to SALONICA arrived here. 4 officers & 270 other ranks left in SS ARAGON for the leave camp at MALTA. HOOD Bn. less 2 companies moved into No. 27 General Hospital. A German & his wife were arrested by the KASTRO Picquet outside the 3 mile limit & were turned over to HMS EUROPA.

14th 300 all ranks DRAKE Bn. left for IMBROS. ANSON & HOWE Battalions moved into No. 27 General Hospital. There was a disturbance in the Greek Labour Corps this morning. A Guard from the Cyclist Company was sent for & order was restored. One of the HOOD Bn. Sentries at TENEDOS was fired on - The Sniper escaped.

15th Remainder of the DRAKE & HAWKE Battalions left for IMBROS. Orders received for 2nd Brigade to proceed to STAVROS on or about 21st inst. The KASTRO Picquet captured 20 gallons of mastie which was being smuggled through.

16th GOC left in HMS ARNO to visit STAVROS & SALONICA.

17th HOOD Battalion relieved ANSON picquets at KASTRO & EAST MUDROS.

18th Dismantling of No. 27 General Hospital commenced.

19th The Transport of 2nd Brigade left for STAVROS.

20th GOC returned in HMS KENNET. ANSON Bn. & No.3 Field Coy Divn Engineers left for STAVROS.

21st HOWE Battalion left for STAVROS. TENEDOS completely evacuated by the French.

22nd Remainder of 2nd Bde. & 1st Field Ambulance left for STAVROS.

23rd 360 Details arrived from ALEXANDRIA.

24th SS OLYMPIC arrived bringing 33 officers returned from leave & 73 officers & 2214 other ranks reinforcements also some stores. The ship had been attacked by a submarine near MALTA. The troops landed in the afternoon & were accommodated in huts.

25th GOC inspected the draft. Two Turkish prisoners who had escaped from the French Camp were captured by the KASTRO Picquet.

26th Leave Party of 44 officers & 509 other ranks embarked in SS OLYMPIC.

27th Details of 2nd Bde. left for STAVROS.

28th RND Training depot formed.

29th Feb & 1st MARCH Nothing to report.

2nd GOC proceeded to IMBROS in HMS STAUNCH.

3rd Four Turkish prisoners who had escaped from French Concentration Camp were captured by the R.N.D. picquet at KASTRO.

4th Nothing to report.

5th GOC returned to MUDROS from IMBROS.

6th 5 officers & 192 other ranks arrived from ALEXANDRIA.

7th GOC inspected KASTRO picquet.

8th T. Lieut. WALDRON RMA & 60 other ranks RM left for TUZLA Fort - SALONICA.

9th 1 officer & 74 other ranks left for STAVROS.

10th Nothing to report.

11th 3 officers & 68 other ranks left for STAVROS. 3 officers & 102 other ranks returned from leave camp MALTA. 5pm YMCA hut opened. Hood Bn. moved into No.1 Canadian Hospital.

12th Guns crews told off for 2 6pr Anti-aircraft & one 2pr Anti-aircraft gun - also for 2 12pr 8cwt guns.

13th to 15th Nothing to report.

16th Guard placed on Airship Shed.

17th Nothing to report.

18th 7 officers & 105 other ranks left for leave camp at MALTA. 3 officers & 100 other ranks returned from leave camp at MALTA.

19th Rifle Range opened & Cyclist Company commenced musketry. (Attached copy of Range Standing Orders) Appendix 1.

20th Nothing to report.

MUDROS

21st HOOD Bn. marched out for operations on completion of Battalion training & bivouacked for 3 nights.

22nd NELSON Bn. marched out attacked HOOD Bn. & bivouacked - unfortunately a heavy rain storm during the night seriously interfered with operations. Right Reverend Bishop Grice arrived to hold Confirmation Services & to consecrate Cemeteries. Definite orders received by cable to reduce the Divn. to 6 Bns. & c.

23rd Orders received to hold in readiness a detachment of 3 officers & 120 other ranks for the aerodrome at Mitylene.

24th Nothing to report.

25th 5 officers & 87 other ranks returned from leave camp at Malta. 5 officers & 87 other ranks left for leave camp at MALTA.

26th Detachment ordered for MITYLENE cancelled for the time being. HOOD Bn. commenced musketry.

27th 150 men with previous sea experience embarked in HMS ALBION for passage home.

28th Base details left ALEXANDRIA. GOC inspected Cyclist Company.

29th 1 officer & 150 other ranks with former sea experience embarked in HMS CANOPUS for passage home.

30th GOC inspected NELSON Bn.

31st Howe Battalion arrived from STAVROS.

APRIL 1916

1st Base details 16 officers including Lt. Col. R.D. BEITH RMLI & 422 other ranks arrived & disembarked. Lt. Col. R.D. BEITH & attendant embarked in HMS WAHINE for home. 1 officer 150 other ranks arrived from MALTA Rest Camp. 58 other ranks ASC who were attached to Train left for EGYPT via SALONICA. 1 officer 60 other ranks embarked in HMS WAHINE for MALTA Rest Camp. 1 case of supposed Scarlet Fever arrived in "WAHINE" All necessary precautions taken.

2nd GOC inspected "HOOD" Battn. "ANSON" Battn. arrived at MUDROS from STAVROS.

3rd GOC proceeded to IMBROS in HMS RENARD & inspected "DRAKE" Bn. , HAWKE Bn. & other details there. Brig. Gen. CN TROTMAN CB arrived at MUDROS from STAVROS.

4th GOC returned to MUDROS in HMS SAVAGE.

5th GOC inspected Divisional Engineers at MUDROS.

6th GOC inspected HOWE Bn., ANSON Bn. & Field Ambulance.

7th Vice Admiral Sir JM De ROBECK KCB inspected the Division (less 4 Battalions at STAVROS & IMBROS) & detachments & expressed himself well satisfied with general appearance of the Troops.

8th Brig. Gen. CN TROTMAN CB assumed command of the Division. Major Gen. Sir A. PARIS KCB left in HMS WAHINE for MALTA. (General) The Cyclist Coy. disbanded & a 12 pdr. Battery formed during the past week under Major AH FRENCH DSO RMLI.

9th GOC went off with Staff officers to see Vice Admiral de ROBECK in HMS LORD NELSON. Leave party from 1st & 2nd RM Battalions arrived from STAVROS.

10th GOC with two Staff Officers visited "LORD NELSON" to confer with the Chief of Staff of Vice Admiral EASTERN MEDITERRANEAN SQUADRON.

11th Nothing to report.

12th Lieut. Col. E.J. STROUD lectured on Military Law. Two 12 pdr guns embarked in HMS LOWESTOFT for naval operations at LONG ISLAND, GULF of SMYRNA.

13th Bde. Major 2nd Bde. proceeded to IMBROS to give instruction in Military Law to troops at IMBROS & TENEDOS. Lt. Col. STROUD lectured at DEPOT, MUDROS on Military Law.

14th 2 Coys, Machine Guns of 1st R.M. & some 2nd Bde. horses arrived from STAVROS. English leave party paraded. Lectures on Military Law at TENEDOS.

15th Lectures on Military Law at IMBROS.

16th RN Division placed under the Army Act. Lecture on Military Law at IMBROS. Telegram received from Vice Admiral EASTERN MEDITERRANEAN SQUADRON, saying RN Division would be transferred to Army. All arrangements for English leave cancelled & parties returned to Battalions. Remainder of 1st RM, Signal Coy & portion of Divisional Train Coy. arrived from STAVROS.

17th & 18th Nothing to report.

19th All troops withdrawn from STAVROS & report to this effect sent to Vice Admiral.

20th DHQ, 1st & 2nd Bde. Hd. Qrs. reconstituted with the following Staff: Brigadier Gen. CN TROTMAN CB in temporary command of Division Vice Maj. Gen. Sir A. PARIS KCB on leave. Staff DAA & QMG Major CF JERRAM RMLI assisted by Capt. EJB TAGG RMLI ; 1st Brigade. Lieut. Col. LESLIE WILSON D.S.O. in command temporarily with a Battalion officer to assist him as Staff Officer ; 2nd Brigade. Lieut. Col. EJ STROUD in command temporarily. Staff - Brigade Major Maj. F.J. Saunders DSO.

21st Instructions received to reconstitute the units which existed on the GALLIPOLI PENINSULA. Letter written to Vice Admiral making suggestions for relieving various troops. Vice Admiral wired asking views of GOC as to minimum garrison required for the three islands. Wire received from "Roynadiv" asking for total ration strength of Division by units. Answer cabled.

22nd Nothing to report.

23rd Reply to GOC's letter of the 21st April received by cable from Vice Admiral :- (1) To disband 12 pdr Battery reconstitute & continue training of Cyclist Coy. (2) To withdraw 1 Battalion from IMBROS. Both suggestions approved. The details at KASSANDRA to remain for the present.

24th Large supplies of mobilization stores received from EGYPT & issued to Battalions. Further supplies stopped in accordance with orders from ENGLAND. Helmet & Khaki Drill have been received but not issued pending further instructions. Supplies of the Khaki Serge finished & as it is urgently needed instructions are required as to whether more should not be demanded.

25th All Long Service Recruits not passed Gunnery & RNVR Volunteers for Sea Service ordered to be sent home (memo RND 21). These were withdrawn from their Battalions & arrangements made to send them. It was pointed out that the 569 RMLI & 1429 RNVR shewn in excess of establishment were from Ration Strength & gave little indication of fighting numbers.

26th Cyclist Coy was reformed & the 12 Pounder Guns handed back to the Navy.

27th (no entries).

28th The order to send Long Service Recruits RMLI home cancelled by RND/23 & an order given to form a new Battalion & a Machine Gun Coy. out of the RNVR's at the Depot. This wire was replied to at some length as it appeared that the Home Authorities were not fully conversant with the disposal of troops out here. It was pointed out that the total troops available to form the new Battalion & Machine Gun Coy was 148 all ranks. At the present time the number is 50 all ranks. It was pointed out that there were no officers competent to train a MG Coy as all the best MG officers have been retained at home & further that there were no officers available for the new Battalion when formed.

29th A reply to the above was received to the effect that written instructions were being sent & until they arrive little can be done. The following steps have been taken to bring existing units up to their former efficiency. All Battalions have been brought up to strength except as to officers & NCO's on leave in ENGLAND. Additional machine gunners are being trained with a view to both Battalion MG Sections & MG Coys. Grenade instruction has recommenced & a Grenade School will shortly be opened. The Battalion Grenade Sections are being reformed on the 8th Corps Establishment as laid down in the GALLIPOLI PENINSULA. The 2nd Brigade is concentrated at MUDROS & 3 Battalions of 1st Brigade temporarily under the command of the OC 2nd Brigade leaving 1st Brigade Headquarters, "Hawke" Bn. & a few Divisional Troops as a garrison for IMBROS & TENEDOS. Instructions from Vice Admiral have been received that when the Division moves the officer & NCO's being sent out from ENGLAND, to instruct Anti Aircraft Guns Crews, are to remain behind.

30th (no entries).

MAY 1916

1st Instructions received that the new battalion to be formed is to be known as 2nd Hood Bn. & will be commanded by Lt. Commander ASQUITH.

2nd Wire received RND/26 asking for statement of animals & equipment. Information sent as requested.

3rd Nothing to report.

4th At 6pm enemy aeroplane appeared over the ISLAND of LEMNOS & was fired on by H.M. ships but it did not come within range of our Anti Aircraft guns. Cables with reference to new units led to discovery of a mistake in coding as regards RNVR's available, this was corrected. Two cables received from Vice Admiral one a copy from GOC EGYPT asking numbers animals wagons etc. now in the island. The other a copy of a cable from Admiralty to Vice Admiral giving preliminary arrangements with WAR OFFICE for relief of RN Division in these Islands. First cable replied to direct.

5th Nothing to report.

6th Two cables from Vice Admiral. One a copy of cable from Chief of Imperial General Staff to GOC EGYPT ordering the relief of the Division. The other a cable from GOC EGYPT to Vice Admiral informing him of arrangements made, the relief to commence in a few days.

7th Greek Elections. All officers & men confined within a restricted area. Was informed about 2.30pm by Vice Admiral that SS BRITON was to be used for moving RND to MARSEILLES forthwith. 2nd RM Bn. & 3 Coys Howe Bn. were embarked by 6.40pm. One ordnance officer & one Divisional Train officer were also sent. Vice Admiral expressed his satisfaction with the speediness of the embarkation.

8th to 12th (no entries).

13th Relieving Troops consisting of Bde. Staff (less Brig. Gen. GRAY CMG DSO) 8th Garrison Bn. KINGS (LIVERPOOL) Regt. 1 Field Coy. WEST LANCS (Territorial) RE 2 officers 30 OR ASC 1 officer 3 OR AVC. 1 officer 24 OR AOD arrived in HMT "MINNEWASKA" & disembarked in the afternoon. Signal Detachment arrived from SALONICA to take over communications.

14th 2nd Bde. Head Qrs. 1st RM Bn. 2 Coys "Anson" Bn. 1 Coy "Howe" Bn. 1 officer & 2 OR Pay Dept. & 2 Chaplains embarked in HMT ARAGON.

15th "Drake" Bn. 2 Coys "Anson" Bn. certain Hood Bn. details 2nd Field Coy. No.3 Coy. Div. Train 1st Field Ambulance 1 Veterinary officer & 11 OR All horses (244) 31 GS Wagons 14 Ĺ Limbered wagons 23 Water Carts 3 Ambulances & 126 details grooms etc. embarked in HMT "MINNEWASKA". 8th Garrison Bn. Kings Regt. Lt. Col. MELVILLE in command & a proportion of RE. ASC & Signallers embarked in SS "ERMINE" to relieve troops at IMBROS & TENEDOS.

16th "Hood" Bn. "Nelson" Bn. 1st Field Coy. Div. Eng., part of No.2 & No.4 Coy. Div. Train 2 GSW 2 Ĺ Limbered Wagons 2 Ambulances embarked in HMT "IONIAN". Brig. Gen. GRAY CMG DSO arrived in SS SANCIA to take over.

Neighbourhood of ABBEVILLE

17th HOWE Bn.& 2nd RM Bn. detrained at PONT REMY & marched to billets at HUPPY & LONGPRE respectively. These Battalions left MUDROS on 8th May & disembarked at MARSEILLES on 12th May.

18th Div. Hd. Qrs. established at HALLENCOURT with Maj. Gen. Sir A. PARIS KCB Maj. EF POWYS SKETCHLEY DSO GSO 2, & Major RDH LOUGH DAA & QMG. Rearming & reequipping of units commenced.

19th Lt. Col. LIDDLE ASC & Capt. MULHOLLAND ASC arrived at ABBEVILLE to take up appointments of OC & Adjutant Div. Train.

20th Detachments visited 4th Army Instruction School at FLIXECOURT & Trench Mortar School at VALHEREUX.

21st 3rd Bde. HQ (Lt. Col. STROUD) 1st RM BN, ANSON BN (less 2 Cos) , 1 Co. HOWE BN detrained at PONT REMY & marched to billets at VIEULAINE, LONGPRE, AIRAINES & HUPPY respectively. These units left MUDROS on 14th May & disembarked at MARSEILLES on 19th inst. Lt. Col. LIDDLE assumed command of Div. Train.

(Entries in italics from here on denote duplicate War Diary entries).

HALLENCOURT 1st R. Marine Bn. 4 Cos ANSON Bn. detrained PONT REMY (railhead) from MARSEILLES. Marched to billets 1st RM at LONGPRE, 4 cos ANSON at AIRAINES.

22nd Capt. VHS ALSTON Rifle Brigade arrived & took over duties of GSO3. 2 coys ANSON Bn. DRAKE Bn. (less 1 coy) Details Hood Bn. No.2 Field Coy detrained at PONT REMY & marched to their billets at AIRAINES, MERELESSART, CITERNE & HOCQUINCOURT respectively. The units left MUDROS on 14th May & disembarked at MARSEILLE on 19th May.

HALLENCOURT 1st DRAKE Bn. (less 1 Coy) , & cos ANSON Bn, 1st Field Co. Div. Eng. detrained PONT REMY, billeted at MERELESSART, AIRAINES & HOCQUINCOURT respectively.

23rd 1st Field Amb. 232 Horses & 12lb guns 1 off. & 10 OR AVC arrived & marched to billet in LIERCOURT. No.3 Co. Div. Train arrived at ABBEVILLE.

HALLENCOURT H.Q. Div. Train detrained ABBEVILLE.

24th No.3 Co. Div. Train went into billets at POULTIERES having drawn all vehicles & animals from advanced horse transport depot ABBEVILLE. NELSON Bn. HOOD Bn. Details Div. Train & No.1 Field Coy. Div. Eng. detrained at PONT REMY & marched to billets HUPPY, CITERNE, ABBEVILLE & HOCQUINCOURT respectively. These units left MUDROS on 16th & disembarked at MARSEILLES 22nd inst. Brig. Gen. C. TROTMAN & Staff arrived & resumed command of 3rd Bde.

HALLENCOURT NELSON Bn., 1st Hood Bn., 2nd Field Co. Div. Eng. detrained PONT REMY billeted at HUPPY, CITERNE & HOCQUINCOURT respectively. 2nd & 4th Cos. Div. Train detrained ABBEVILLE 1st line transport of all units arrived drawn from Advanced Horse Transport Depot ABBEVILLE. Rifles exchanged, MK VII Amn drawn for units.

25th Major WILLIAMS & Capt. C. WALMSLEY arrived & took over duties of ADVS. & APM respectively. The following who left MUDROS on 19th May & disembarked at MARSEILLE on 23rd May, detrained at PONT REMY & marched to billets. No. 2 Field Amb. to HUPPY. 2nd Bde. HQ to HUPPY HAWKE BN to DOUDELAMVILLE. C yclist Coy to ETALMINIL Head Qrs & No.1 Sec. Signal Coy to HALLENCOURT No.2 Sec Signal Coy to YANVILLE. D etails DHQ to HALLENCOURT HQ ENGINEERS to HALLENCOURT No.3 Field Co. to HOCQUINCOURT. Ordnance Details to HALLENCOURT No.3 Field Amb. to WANEL. Lieut. Col. CA KER DSO RA arrived & took over duties of GSO1.

HALLENCOURT Div. H.Q., Signal Coy, Cyclist Coy, 2nd Bde. HQ, 1st Hawke Bn., Ordnance Coy, 1st & 3rd Field Ambulances, HQ Div. Eng., 3rd Field Coy detrained PONT REMY. Marched to billets as follows :- D.H.Q. , Signal Coy, H.Q. Div. Engineers, Ordnance Coy to HALLENCOURT. 2 nd Bde HQ to HUPPY Cyclist Coy to FRUCOURT 3rd Field Coy to HOCQUINCOURT. 1st Field Ambulance to LIERCOURT 3rd Field Ambulance to WANEL. 2nd & 3rd Coys Div. Train marched from ABBEVILLE to WIRY au MONT & POULTIERES respectively for billets.

26th Capt. WO TIMES 1st HERTFORDSHIRE REGIMENT took over duties as STAFF Captain 1st Bde. Brig. Gen. PHILLIPPS assumed command of 2nd Bde.

HALLENCOURT No.4 Coy Div. Train marched from ABBEVILLE to BETTENCOURT & billeted.

27th GOC visited 4th Corps to make arrangements for arrival of Div. in that area. Major & Bt. Lt. Col. ROMBULOW PEASE RMLI with 232 RM details arrived at CALAIS from MARSEILLE to form Base Depot. Lieut. Col. FOSTER AA & QMG & Lt. Col. HARRISON OC Div. Eng. arrived & took over their duties. Major AH French assumed temporary command of HOWE Bn. Units owing to no ground being available for manoeuvre are carrying out Route marches, testing new rifles on 30X range, & training grenadiers

28th 2nd RM & HOWE BNS left by train to join 4th Corps. Brig. Gen. MCNAB arrived & assumed command of 1st Bde. 2nd Bde. MG Company formed, OC Lieut. FUNNEL RNVR - Personnel from HOWE, HAWKE & NELSON Bns., with 2 officers of DRAKE Bn.& 3 officers ANSON Bn. from 1st BDE.

HALLENCOURT HQ & HQ Coy Div. Train marched from ABBEVILLE to HALLENCOURT & billeted. HOWE Bn. & 2nd R. MARINE Bn. entrained PONT REMY detrained BARLIN for IV Corps area destination unknown. All units rearming, reequipping.

29th All units refitting.

30th Captain LAMBERT Chemical advisor I. G.C. delivered lectures on Precautions against Gas attacks to all units at LONGPRE,

HOCQUINCOURT, CITERNE & DOUDELAMVILLE.

31st GOC & AA & QMG visited Base Records at ROUEN. Two GS officers visited IGC's staff at ABBEVILLE to discuss situation with a view to expediting the training of officers & ORís in various special phases of Trench Warfare. Captain CASEMENT DA & MS reported at 10am for duty.