15th Battalion - 9/10 May 1915
Report on sortie made from Monash Gully
by a portion of the 4 Australian Infantry Brigade on the nights 9/10 May
On the 9 May, Major General Sir A J
Godley came to N.Z & A Divisions issued instructions to officers
commanding Sections of Defence to arrange for minor offensive operations
from Hill Sections, with a view to testing the enemy’s strength.
In accordance with the above direct
Colonel J. H. Cannan 15th Batt Australian Infantry issued orders for an
offensive movement from Quinn’s Post in No 3 Section to be made on the
night 9/10 May.
The object in view was the occupation of
certain Turkish trenches situated in front of Quinn’s Post at a distance
of from 25 – 100 yards.
The Troops at direct Colonel ………’s
15 Regt Aust
16 Regt Aust
13 Regt Aust Inf 100
The troops detailed for the actual
assault were directed into these positions:-
Right party 25
men 15 Batt Lieut A. P. Armstrong
men 15 Batt Lieut Gozedin
men 15 Batt Lieut Smith
The three parties detailed for the
assault were ordered to advance ……. At a preconcerted signal. Should
the Turkish trenches be found suitable for our occupation, word was to
be sent back for working parties who were to render the trenches
suitable for our use – the assaulting party in the meantime pressing on
to further positions from which they could cover the working parties.
At 10.45pm the three assaulting parties
issued from the trenches of Quinn’s Post and advanced over the Turkish
trenches without suffering any casualties. The front of the advance was
approximately 300 yds.
(a) The eighth party continued its
advance for some 500 yds with a small valley, the head of which was
between Courtney’s and Quinn’s Posts. If accounted for some 80 Turks
and pushed a dug-out which continued telephone equipment and was
apparently the local headquarters. Corporal Tickner 15 Regt
distinguished himself by moving around this small camp and cutting the
telephone wires on the far side of it. The party then pre-assembled and
…… to the trench which was their objective with the loss of 3 men only.
(b) The counter party bayoneted such
Turks as were found in the trench assaulted it they remained in the
trench and sent back for the working party. When this arrived there was
much congestion in the trench.
(c) The left party met with considerable
opposition from the trenches they were attacking, but eventually drove
off the enemy. It found the trenches suitable for our use, but sent for
the working party to connect them up with Quinn’s Post. The party
itself remained in the captured trench.
By 12 midnight satisfactory reports had
been received from each of the three parties, and all working parties
were out at work. These had been some 12 casualties. Up to 2am. There
was no further incident and communications trenches leading back to
Quinn’s Post were constructed.
About 2am messages were received from
the centre and left parties asking for reinforcements. The centre
trench (as previously stated) was much congested and the working party
had been gradually absorbed into the firing line. On response to these
requests the following were sent:-
60 men of the 15 and 16 Batt to the
100 men of the 15 Batt to the left
These reinforcements were apparently led
directly up to the firing line in the trenches, thus increasing the
congestion. The right party reported all well.
About the same time (2 am) direct …..
Adjutant 15 Batt reported that there was a gap between the centre and
left portion of the firing line. The size of this gap was not at the
time ……., though patrols were sent out for the purpose from both
flanks. It afterwards appeared that this gap was about 25 yards long,
was in possession of the Turks and that into it led a Turkish
communications trench leading from the direction of square 224 D5.
The gap and the communications trench
were strongly held by the enemy who brought a heavy enfilade fire to
bear on the centre and left of our firing line, which was in occupation
of the captured trenches.
It was now beginning to get light and
Colonel Cannan ordered Captain Townsend, 16 Batt to assault the gap and
fill it with 40 men 16 Batt and 30 men 13 Batt. Soon after that assault
…….. from the left of Quinn’s Post two of the officers with it were shot
and the assault was not pushed home. Lieut Marks, 13 Batt, however with
a small party of the force pressed on but were repulsed by rifle fire
and hand grenades.
At about 4am Captain Stoddart R.M.L.I.
reported to Col Cannan with 100 marines. He was ordered to assault and
close the gap. This assault did not take place.
About 4.30am, the left of the line began
to give way and the centre requested permission to fall back as its
position was becoming untenable. Lieut Col Cannan therefore ordered the
retirement of the centre and right, then withdrawing the whole force.
The right reported that is was holding its own, but was withdrawn as it
could not be properly supported.
At daylight the enemy appeared to have
some 1500 troops in front of Quinn’s Post and they attacked it heavily,
assisted by a mountain gun and machine guns on both flanks and in the
centre – the last names guns being brought along the communications
trench to within about 45 yards of Quinn’s Post.
The casualties in this action were:-
Killed 7 officers and 29 other ranks
Wounded and missing 7 officers and 164
The enemy’s casualties are estimated at
800, as many were bayoneted and one of our machine guns got into a mass
of troops forming up for assault.