0n the 10th of April the 29th Brigade was
ordered to prepare to move overseas and ten days later was concentrated
in Port Said. The 14th Sikhs embarked in the transport Dunluce Castle
on the 27th of April and the whole Brigade sailed in convoy the
next day for Gallipoli. It was an inspiring sight approaching Cape
Helles, where they arrived on the 30th of April. A large fleet of
warships, transports and trawlers lay off the Gallipoli Peninsula,
and the guns of the warships were continuously in action bombarding
various Turkish forts on both sides of the straits or supporting
the Allied troops on shore.
The Dunluce Castle anchored about half a mile
from the beach and the 14th Sikhs disembarked on the 1 st of May.
The Battalion was taken ashore in trawlers and landed at "V"
Beach, near Cape Helles: The 29th Indian Brigade went into bivouac
in reserve on the high ground near the beach and immediately found
working parties to unload artillery and stores and construct roads
at "V" and "W" Beaches.
At this time the Anglo-French forces were holding
a line across the peninsula three miles from Cape Helles. The French
were on the right and the British 29th Division on the left, with
three battalions of the Royal Naval Division in reserve. These troops
had suffered heavy casualties and were very exhausted.
The first night on the peninsula was a nerve-racking
experience for the 14th Sikhs, for the Turks first broke through
a part of the French line and then through a sector held by the
29th Division. On occasions the situation was critical and the 14th
Sikhs were ordered to "stand to" and be prepared to move
at a moment's notice. However, the situation was restored by local
reserves and the services of the 29th Indian Brigade were not required.
The Allies made efforts to advance on the 2nd
of May and the Indian Brigade was ordered to be ready to exploit
success. However, they failed to achieve any success and the Indian
Brigade did not go into action. The following night the Turks again
attacked the French in force and seized several forward positions.
The 14th Sikhs were ordered to "stand to," but once again
the situation was restored by local reserves and the Sikhs did not
go into action. General Sir Ian Hamilton considered it essential
to gain ground before the enemy had time to strengthen his defences
and bring up reinforcements. He therefore ordered a general advance
on the 6th of May.
At the beginning of the "Second Battle
of Krithia" the Indian Brigade was in reserve and was not seriously
engaged. The Allies made great efforts to advance on the 6th, 7th
and 8th May, but they met with little success and the battle ended
with the Allied line advanced nowhere more than six hundred yards.
On the 9th of May the Indian Brigade moved up
to relieve the 87th Brigade on the British left and held the front
line for four days. Trench warfare had now begun and all efforts
were directed to consolidating and strengthening the front and to
raiding small sections of the enemy's line. Constant fighting on
a small scale continued, since the Turks were allso by no means
On the night of the 12th of May the 11th / 6th
Gurkhas by a skilful and dashing attack gained possession of Gurkha
Bluff, near the sea on the extreme left of the British line. By
this feat the Gurkhas advanced their left by about six hundred yards.
The next morning Nos. 1 and 2 Double Companies
of the 14th Sikhs' moved up to support the 6th Gurkhas and arrived
about 11 a.m. in a ravine behind the Gurkha position. At about 4.30
p.m. orders were received for the 14th Sikhs to take over from the
89th Punjabis and the right half of the 6th Gurkhas in the front
line. Nos. 3 and 4 Double Companies immediately moved out to relieve
the Punjabis, and Nos. 1 and 2 the Gurkhas.
During the day the 89th Punjabis had gained
ground on the right of Gully Ravine. This forward position was then
taken over and occupied by No. 4 Double Company and was entrenched
as rapidly as possible directly it became dark. A weak Turkish counter-attack
was easily repulsed, but unfortunately during most of the night
the Sikhs suffered from the intermittent fire of a battalion in
rear which was apparently unaware of their advanced position. Captain
Channer was severely wounded in this action. Nos. 1 and 2 Double
Companies had difficulty in taking over the right half of the Gurkha
front. It was a lengthy operation occupying the shallow trenches
and irregular line held by the Gurkhas and Major Swinley was mortally
wounded. However, the Sikhs' machine guns and a company of the Royal
Fusiliers arrived in support and the two double companies successfully
consolidated the position.
Colonel Palin was a real autocrat and this is
well illustrated by an incident at this time. Some British officers
started to grow beards in order to disguise themselves a little
in action. When Colonel Palin was visiting No. 4 Double Company,
just before they moved forward to take part in a minor attack, he
found Second-Lieutenant Savory with a beard. Although the attack
was due to take place in less than an hour, the Colonel wanted to
know why he had not shaved and ordered him on no account to go into
action unshaved. Savory therefore had to go back to his dugout and
shave with a very shaky hand.
All through the next day the Battalion dug hard
to improve its defences. It was continually harassed by enemy artillery
and snipers, and in the evening Lieutenant Spankie was killed by
a Turkish sniper. A fortnight had now passed since the 14th Sikhs
landed at Cape Helles. The Battalion had not yet been seriously
engaged; indeed, it had been in the front line for only two days;
nevertheless, it had suffered seventy-eight casualties in the Indian
ranks and had lost three valuable British officers, two of whom
were double-company commanders.
On the 15th of May the 1st Lancashire Fusiliers
and the 1st Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers were posted temporarily
to the Indian Brigade in place of the 69th and 89th Punjabis, who
left Gallipoli for France.
For the next few days the Sikhs worked steadily
on the improvement of their trenches and the communications in rear.
Major-General Hunter-Weston visited this part of the line on the
17th of May and congratulated Colonel Palin on the way in which
his trenches were kept and on the general appearance of the 14th
Now began a period during which the front was
advanced by digging a forward line by night, abandoning it by day,
and eventually occupying it on the second or third night. At first
the Turks did not realize what was happening. But on the night of
the 22nd of May, when Captain Engledue, who was attached from the
89th Punjabis, moved out with "B" Company to occupy trenches
constructed the previous night, he found that a section of trench
on his, right which had been dug by the 2nd Royal Fusiliers was
occupied by Turks. Captain Engledue attacked at once with the bayonet
and drove the enemy out. It was then found that a gap existed between
"B" Company's right and the left of the Fusiliers. Before
this could be adjusted the Turks launched a vigorous attack against
the Royal Fusiliers and pressed them hard. "A" Company
was immediately ordered forward to fill the gap and take the enemy
in flank. The operation was carried out with great dash and was
entirely successful. For this prompt action the 14th Sikhs received
the thanks of the commander of the Royal Fusiliers. A pleasant sequel
followed six years later, when-both battalions being stationed in
the Khyber Pass-the officers of the 2nd Royal Fusiliers presented
the officers of the 14th Sikhs with a silver grenade inscribed:
"In Memory of Gallipoli, 1915,
and the Khyber Pass, 192 L"
Up to the end of May the process of advancing
by night and digging in was continued, until the British front line
lay at an average distance of under two hundred yards from that
of the Turks. Digging parties were disturbed only by intermittent
and desultory fire. Lieutenant Meade, with the Battalion scouts,
patrolled nightly up to the enemy's wire, but he never encountered
a Turkish patrol. On the 29th of May Captain Strong, who was attached
from the 89th Punjabis, was wounded, and unfortunately he eventually
became completely blind.
By this date the Allied force at Helles was
organized in two corps-the French Corps and the British VIII Corps
under General Hunter-Weston. The British Corps consisted of the
Royal Naval Division, 42nd Division and 29th Division. The Allied
line had been reorganized in depth in four sectors, the French Corps
holding the extreme right and the three British divisions the other
three sectors. The 29th Division was on the left.
The Indian Brigade occupied a frontage
of about eight hundred yards on the extreme left of the British
line. The 14th Sikhs' trench line lay astride Gully Ravine, the
right of the Battalion being in touch with the left of the 4th Worcestershires,
of the 88th Brigade. The 1st Lancashire Fusiliers, in the centre
of the Indian Brigade, held a line across Gully Spur, while the
6th Gurkhas were on the left holding the cliffs bordering the Aegean
Sea. The 1st Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers formed the Brigade reserve.
THIRD BATTLE OF KRITHIA, 4TH JUNE, 1915
Sir Ian Hamilton had decided to carry out a general attack on the
4th of June with the object of gaining ground along the whole length
of the Allied front at Helles.
On the front of the Indian Brigade the open
ground on Gully Spur sloped up north-eastwards towards two lines
of Turkish trenches, known as J 10 and J 11. Gully Ravine was about
seventy-five yards wide and forty to fifty feet deep, the lower
portion being covered with low scrub. Gully Spur fell steeply into
the ravine and was higher than the right edge, from which the ground
sloped gradually upward and eastward to a crest 1iine about two
hundred yards away. The enemy was known to have several small trenches
in Gully Ravine, and there was also the possibility of machine guns
being hidden in positions on the sides commanding the approaches
up the gully. Further, fire from the trenches J10 and J 11 on Gully
Spur could sweep not only the bottom of the ravine but also the
flat eastern slope and the ground beyond as far as the crest line.
The Indian Brigade was to attack in two waves.
The first wave was to capture the Turkish trench line J 11 and consolidate
there, while the second wave, starting fifteen minutes later, was
to capture J 13. The first wave consisted of half the 6th Gurkhas,
the whole battalion of Lancashire Fusiliers and half the 14th Sikhs,
while half each of the 6th Gurkhas, Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers
and 14th Sikhs were in the second wave. Half the Inniskillings were
to form Brigade reserve.
It was arranged that on the 4th of June an artillery
bombardment would be carried out from 8 a.m. to 11.20 a.m. all along
the Allied front. The guns would then cease firing for ten minutes,
during which the forward troops would cheer and show fixed bayonets
above their trenches to induce the enemy to man his parapets. From
11.30 to 12 noon the guns would bombard the enemy's front line heavily.
At 12 o'clock the batteries would increase their range and the first
infantry wave would rush out of their trenches to the assault, followed
at 12.15 by the second wave.
Colonel Palin detailed Nos. 2 and 4 Double Companies
for the first wave. No. 2, on the left, working up Gully Ravine,
was first to assist the Lancashire Fusiliers by taking the trench
J10 in flank and then go on with the Fusiliers to the assault of
J 11. No. 4 Double Company, on the right, was to conform to the
advance of the 88th Brigade and ensure that no gaps occurred between
the brigades. Nos. 1 and 3 Double Companies were allotted to the
second wave, No. I on the right and No. 3 in Gully Ravine. The Sikhs'
two machine guns were not to move forward until the trench J I 1
was captured; their first task was to bring oblique fire to bear
on the trenches J 10 and J 11 so as to assist the Lancashire Fusiliers.
Colonel Palin's written orders were :issued
in the evening of the 3rd of June, but thorough preparations had
by then been completed and everything was ready for the next day's
battle. There was a general feeling of optimism and the morale of
the Battalion was very high.
The Third Battle of Krithia was a complete failure.
Although some initial success was won in the centre, particularly
by the Manchester Brigade, there was a gain of only a few hundred
yards at the end of the battle at the cost of very heavy casualties.
The 4th of June was a beautiful summer day.
The artillery bombardment took place according to plan, but unfortunately
produced little effect on the enemy in his strong trenches. The
British were badly equipped with artillery and the Turkish forces
entrenched on Gully Spur were quite unshaken at zero hour.
At 12 o'clock the first wave of the Indian Brigade
dashed forward to the attack. The Lancashire Fusiliers were mown
down by fire as they left their trenches; and throughout the day
they were unable to make any progress. The 6th Gurkhas on the left
gained some ground, but were forced eventually to withdraw to their
On the right the 14th Sikhs captured some enemy
trenches against very strong opposition, but owing to their enormous
casualties they had to withdraw on the following day.
In Gully Ravine Lieutenant-Colonel Jacques led
No. 2 Double Company forward with great gallantry in face of very
heavy fire. They encountered numerous machine guns in hidden positions
on both sides of the ravine and both officers were killed almost
immediately. The double company pushed on but suffered very heavy
casualties while trying to cut its way through the enemy wire. Nevertheless,
the Sikhs, displaying great resolution, eventually forced their
way across the wire and pushed on. At one place where they were
held up along the wire Havildar Maghar Singh suddenly leapt over
the obstacle, as if it was a hurdle, and, followed by his section,
captured an enemy trench.
On the right of Gully Ravine No. 4 Double Company
advanced on the left of the Worcestershire Regiment of the 88th
Brigade. Although No. 4 Double Company did not encounter serious
opposition, they sustained very severe casualties from machine guns
located on Gully Spur. Lieutenant Fowle was killed and Second-Lieutenant
Savory wounded in the first few minutes. The remnants continued
on and eventually captured and held the enemy's front trench alongside
At 12.15 p.m. the second wave of the attack
dashed forward according to plan. No. 3 Double Company, accompanied
by Colonel Palin and Battalion Headquarters, advanced up Gully Ravine
and joined the remnants of No. 2 Double Company. Colonel Palin,
seeing that further progress up Gully Ravine was impossible until
the enemy trenches J10 and J 11 were captured, immediately seized
a small spur just south of J 10. Here the Sikhs suffered further
losses and Captain McRae, Lieutenant Cremen, the Adjutant, and Lieutenant
Meade, the Quartermaster, were all killed. Nevertheless, the Sikhs
held on and entrenched the position, while later in the afternoon
the Battalion's two machine guns, as well as two machine guns from
a Royal Navy unit, joined Colonel Palin and helped to strengthen
Meanwhile, over on the right Captain Engledue
led No. 1 Double Company forward behind No. 4 Double Company and
captured the second and third lines of enemy trenches. This double
company also sustained heavy casualties in its determined advance
on the enemy, and by the afternoon it consisted only of Captain
Engledue, Jemadar Narain Singh and some thirty men. This small party
held on to the captured trench in spite of continuous efforts by
the enemy to bomb their way back from Gully Ravine.
During the afternoon efforts were made to continue
the attack along the whole Brigade front by sending up reinforcements
from the reserves, but all attempts failed.
Although the Turks made no counter-attack on
No. 1 Double Company on the right during the night, Colonel Palin
and his men were attacked time and time again from Gully Spur and
subjected to almost continuous fire. This party suffered further
casualties during these attacks and the two naval machine guns and
one of the Sikhs' guns were knocked out by enemy bombs, but it held
on stubbornly to its trenches. At daybreak on the 5th of June 'there
were only Lieutenant Cursetjee and forty-seven men unwounded remaining
with Colonel Palin, and since the Turks were working round to the
rear of the position it was decided to withdraw.
In the meantime the Turks renewed their attacks
on Captain Engledue, whose party by this time was reduced to twelve
men. He was therefore ordered to withdraw.
By midday on the 5th of June the remnants of
the 14th Sikhs collected in their original trenches and were then
sent back into reserve to rest and reorganize. When Lieutenant Mathew,
the Battalion Machine Gun Officer, who had been kept back when his
guns went forward, heard that one gun had been left undamaged on
the position, he insisted on leading out a party to recover it.
Lieutenant Mathew and his men succeeded in reaching the gun, but
they could not bring it in. As each man carrying the gun was hit,
another took his place until finally Mathew alone was left unhurt
and he too tried to bring the gun back, but he was almost immediately
hit in seven places. He was eventually brought in, but he died of
his wounds in hospital.
During one of these attacks on Colonel Palin's
party on the evening of the 4th of June a man firing in the trench
next to Lieutenant Cursetjee suddenly fell back and said he was
hit in the head. There was no mark on his turban and no sign of
any bleeding, so Lieutenant Cursetjee told him to go on firing and
the man continued to do so. The next afternoon, when the Sikhs were
all washing in the stream that flowed through the gully, the man
ran up to Lieutenant Cursetjee, who was shaving near by, and said:
"Look; you said I was not hit last evening," and he held
up his "kangi" with a bullet embedded in it.
In this battle the 14th Sikhs lost three hundred
and seventy-one officers and men killed or wounded. Out of fifteen
British officers only Colonel Palin, Captain Engledue and Lieutenant
Cursetjee were left unwounded. Never has any battalion displayed
such courage and devotion to duty as were displayed by the 14th
Sikhs in the Third Battle of Krithia.
Writing to the Commander-in-Chief in India a
few weeks after the event, General Sir Ian Hamilton paid noble tribute
to the heroism of all ranks. The following are some of the passages
from his letter
"In the highest sense of the word
extreme gallantry has been shown by this fine Battalion. . . . In
spite of these tremendous losses there was not a sign of wavering
all day. Not an inch of ground gained was given up and not a single
straggler came back. The ends of the enemy's trenches leading into
the ravine were found to be blocked with the bodies of Sikhs and
of the nemy who died fighting at close: quarters, and the glacis
slope is thickly dotted with the bodies of these fine soldiers all
lying on their faces as they fell in their steady advance on the:
enemy. The history of the Sikhs affords many instances of their
value as soldiers, but it may be safely asserted that nothing finer
than the grim valour and steady discipline displayed by them on
the 4th June has ever been done by soldiers of the Khalsa. Their
devotion to duty and their splendid loyalty to their orders and
to their leaders make a record their nation should look back upon
with pride for many generations."
The gallantry of the Regiment was also referred
to by the Secretary of State for India (Mr. Austen Chamberlain)
in a moving speech in the House of Commons, and Mr. Chamberlain
personally attended a memorial service held in a London church for
the fallen officers of the 14th Sikhs.
For a short time after the 5th of June the remnants
of the 14th Sikhs remained in reserve. Colonel Palin was transferred
temporarily to command the 126th Brigade, and Captain Engledue took:
over command of the Battalion. The 1st / 5th and 2nd / 10th Gurkhas,
who had recently arrived in Gallipoli, now replaced the two British
battalions in the Indian Brigade, which thus once more comprised
solely Indian troops.
On the 14th of June the 14th Sikhs moved into
the front-line trenches on the right of the Brigade line. This was
a comparatively quiet period and only eight casualties were incurred.
On the 23rd the Battalion, reinforced by a welcome draft of one
hundred men from India, went back into reserve. The next day Colonel
Palin rejoined. It was now very hot at Helles. There was very little
shade, the water supply was limited and there were nearly always
clouds of dust blowing across the peninsula. There were a plague
of flies and an epidemic of diarrhoea.
Since the attack on the 4th of June no general offensive took place
and all attempts to gain ground were confined to attacks on narrow
fronts supported by all available artillery.
Towards the end of the month it was decided to carry out an attack
on a narrow front on Gully Spur. The 29th Division and a brigade
of the 52nd Division advanced on the 28th of June and captured five
lines of enemy trenches. The 14th Sikhs, who were still very weak,
were in reserve and did not take part in the attack. However, the
Battalion suffered casualties from enemy artillery fire when constructing
communication trenches to the newly won forward line and Captain
Engledue, Lieutenant Cursetjee and Second-Lieutenant Savory, the
last-named for the second time, were wounded.
The Sikhs remained in reserve behind the left of the line, near
the sea coast, for the next few days. Colonel Palin was again taken
away from the Battalion temporarily to command a brigade, and Second-Lieutenant
Savory, who had not been wounded badly and was the only officer
left in the Battalion, took over command. Although the Sikhs were
not actively engaged, they suffered many casualties from enemy artillery
During the fighting around Gurkha Bluff in the middle of the month,
Second-Lieutenant Savory was sitting at Battalion Headquarters when
he received a letter in his father's handwriting, with thick black
around the edge of the envelope, addressed to the Officer Commanding
He opened it and found that his father had heard that he had been
killed in action and was asking for details as to how he had met
his untimely death, and also requesting the Officer Commanding to
send him his sword and field-glasses. This was too good a chance
to miss, so he went back to Brigade Headquarters and had an official
letter typed to his father saying that he had been reliably informed
that his son, Second-Lieutenant Savory, was still alive and was,
in fact, in command of his regiment. He then signed the letter
"I have the honour to be, Sir, Your obedient servant, R. A.
Savory, 2nd Lt., O.C. 14th K.G.O. Sikhs."
In the recent advance the 29th Division had made a salient in the
Turkish defences by capturing Fusilier Bluff. The Turks, however,
were still holding the eastern end of J 13 and The Nullah, so the
British front line ran, back along J11a.
At 4 o'clock in the evening the enemy commenced shelling this sector
of the front and after two hours' bombardment launched a determined
attack from the dead ground in The Nullah. The main weight of the
attack was :launched against the front held by the 14th Sikhs and
the 6th Gurkhas. The Turks charged forward with great determination,
but they were repulsed with heavy losses all along the front. Shortly
after 9 p.m. the enemy again launched an attack on the Sikhs and
Gurkhas after an artillery concentration of fifteen minutes. As
soon as the artillery fire ceased the supports of the Sikhs and
Gurkhas dashed forward from a depression fifty yards behind the
front line and the Turks were thrown back with further losses.
On the 3rd of July orders were received to capture
the whole of trench J13 and at 7 p.m. a party of the 14th Sikhs
with three bombers from the 5th and 6th Gurkhas assembled behind
the British barricade under Major Wilmer, who had rejoined the Battalion
from Brigade Headquarters. Five gallant attempts were made to rush
the Turkish barricade across J13, but the resistance was too strong
and the party was forced back with a number of casualties.
The 14th Sikhs spent a quiet day on the 4th
of July, but at dawn on the next day the Turks launched a strong
attack against the trenches held by the Gurkhas and Sikhs. The greatest
pressure was against the right flank' of the Sikhs and wave after
wave of Turks surged forward from the dead ground in The Nullah.
The Turks were thrown back by rifle and machine-gun fire and in
spite of many gallant attempts to get forward they could make no
progress and suffered very heavy casualties. Major Wilmer was unfortunately
killed in this action.
Later in the day the Indian Brigade was relieved
in the front-line trenches and went into bivouac on the coast. All
battalions in the Brigade had been suffering casualties and the
battalions were all very weak. The 14th Sikhs during the recent
fighting-officially known as the Action of Gully Ravine-had lost
fifteen men killed and seventy-seven wounded. Second-Lieutenant
Savory was again the only officer and he had with him only Subadar-Major
Sham Singh and a hundred and seventeen men. However, the Turks had
been heavily defeated in this sector and had suffered enormous losses.
It was most unfortunate that there were no British reserves available
to exploit the situation.
The Indian Brigade remained in bivouac on the coast until the 10th
of July and then embarked for the island of Imbros, where they arrived
after a few days' voyage.
At Imbros the Brigade camped in a field about half a mile from the
seashore. The men benefited both mentally and physically from the
rest and change to peaceful and uncramped conditions. It was the first
time for ten weeks that they had lived safely above ground and walked
about in the open. There was excellent bathing close by and' this
was greatly enjoyed by both officers and men.
A certain amount of field training was carried out, but the Sikhs
chiefly concentrated on "smartening-up" parades. The officers
enjoyed Imbros and were able to go into the interior of the island
and visit Panaghyr, the pretty little capital. On the 12th of July
the 14th Sikhs were reinforced by a double company of the Patiala
Imperial Service Infantry, which was attached to the Regiment. On
the 18th of July Colonel Palin returned to the island and was given
a great reception.
Sir Ian Hamilton's great offensive on the Gallipoli Peninsula was
now about to take place. The main attack was to be delivered at
Anzac while attacks were also to be launched at Helles and Suvla
simultaneously. The 14th Sikhs, although they did not know it at
the ttime, were to take part in the main attack.
During the latter part of July training and parades were increased
and the Indian Brigade was busy carrying out battalion and brigade
night exercises and practising embarkation and disembarkation.
During the month reinforcements had been received and many wounded
and sick rejoined from hospital, so the Sikhs were once again nearly
up to strength and after three weeks' rest were again ready for
ANZAC-THE BATTLE OF SARI BAIR
The 14th Sikhs embarked in trawlers on the 5th of August and arrived
off Anzac at about 9 o'clock in the evening. The Regiment commenced
to disembark at daybreak, but when about half of it was ashore the
enemy shelled the beaches heavily and disembarkation of the remainder
was delayed until after dark.
General Birdwood was commanding at Anzac and he planned to capture
Sari Bair Ridge in order to outflank the Turks opposing the bridgehead.
The Indian Brigade was placed under General Godley, commanding the
New Zealand and Australian Division, for the attack. The plan was
to hold the enemy in front of the beaches and for two columns to
move round his flanks-one round the left flank and capture Koja
Chemen Tepe and Hill Q from the north, and the other round the right
flank and capture Chunuk Bair from the south.
The 14th Sikhs were allotted to the northern column, which consisted
of the 4th Australian Brigade and 29th Indian Brigade. The advance
was to take place during the night of the 6th of August, and it
was estimated that Sari Bair would be reached by 3 a.m. The column
had to advance only three miles, but the country was very rugged
and covered with thick scrub.
The 4th Australian Brigade, with a double company of the 14th Sikhs,
escorting their mountain guns, set out at 9.45 p.m. on the 6th of
August. They were able to make only exceptionally slow progress
and there were numerous delays owing to the difficult country, the
pitch-black night and enemy snipers, who harassed the column from
both flanks. The Australians had only reached Damakjelik Bair by
4.30 a.m. In addition, they were utterly exhausted and could not
go any farther. They were ordered to dig in where they were, and
the Gurkha battalions of the Indian Brigade set off over very difficult
country towards Hill Q. They found it very difficult to maintain
direction in the mass of scrub-covered hills and got very scattered.
The 6th Gurkhas reached a hill just west of Hill Q, which was then
unoccupied by the enemy. The Battalion, however, was somewhat isolated
and was therefore ordered to dig in and delay the attack until the
next day. The 14th Sikhs were in reserve and were in rear of the
1 st / 5th Gurkhas on the left of the Indian Brigade. The 1 st /
5th Gurkhas were in touch with the enemy and had suffered a number
of casualties, and Captain Daniell, with a party of Sikhs, was sent
to reinforce one of their double companies which was isolated on
the extreme left.
At 10.30 a.m. the 14th Sikhs were ordered to advance and capture
Koja Chemen Tepe with the 39th Brigade, which was due to arrive
shortly. However, the orders were cancelled and no further advance
was made that day. The party under Captain Daniell suffered casualties
throughout the day and was reinforced by the remainder of his double
company in the afternoon. At 7 p.m. the Patiala double company was
also sent forward and Captain McClean took over command of the left
On the southern flank the right column advancing on Sari Bair had
also failed to reach their objective, so all surprise had been lost.
However, hope of ultimate success was not abandoned and orders were
issued to continue the general assault at dawn on the 8th of August.
In this attack the 14th Sikhs and the 1st/5th Gurkhas were ordered
to capture Hill Q. Although the attack was fixed to start at 4.15
a.m. orders did not reach Captain McClean on the left flank until
3.30 a.m. The 1st/5th Gurkhas were to advance straight to their
front while Captain McClean's two double companies were to attempt
to outflank the Turks from the north. The remainder of the 14th
Sikhs was in reserve.
The Sikhs and Gurkhas set off according to plan at 4.15 a.m., but
they were immediately opposed in strength and the Gurkhas were unable
to gain any ground. On the left the Sikhs succeeded in getting forward
some three hundred yards to the edge of a ravine where they were
held up by machine guns in some precipitous country. Before long
the Australians on the right had moved up on the left of the Sikhs,
but were driven back in confusion by a strong Turkish counter-attack.
Shortly afterwards the Sikhs were also forced back and sustained
heavy casualties. Captain McClean, Second-Lieutenant Whitfield and
fourteen other ranks were killed, and Captains Daniell and Saunders,
Major Hardam Singh, of the Patialas, and one hundred and thirty-four
men were wounded. Second-Lieutenant Savory was awarded the Military
Cross for carrying ammunition up to the forward troops under heavy
fire when all others were killed in the attempt, and the Commanding
Officer's orderly, Lance-Naik Hazara Singh, was awarded the Indian
Order of Merit for carrying messages under heavy fire with no regard
for his own safety.
Operations on the 8th of August were therefore unsuccessful, but
it was decided to have one more attempt to gain Sari Bair Ridge
on the 9th of August. This attempt was also in vain, but the 14th
Sikhs did not take part in the attack and were withdrawn into reserve.
However, the next morning the Battalion was sent forward again to
reinforce the 5th Gurkhas and it took up a position on their right.
Although there was very heavy fighting farther south, the 14th Sikhs
were not seriously engaged.
After the 10th of August the Indian Brigade held the northern part
of the Anzac position and dug a strong defence line on the Damakjelik
Here there was another episode which was an example of Colonel Palin's
autocracy. The 14th Sikhs were worried by a block made of sandbags
which had been put across a sunken road and occupied by enemy snipers.
Colonel Palin ordered Second-Lieutenant Maer to take out a party
of men and demolish the block. Second-Lieutenant Maer, who had just
joined the Regiment from the Australian Imperial Forces, promptly
took out two men in broad daylight down to the road block, pulled
it down, emptied the sandbags and brought them back and then reported
that he had done this to Colonel Palin, who was sitting in the mess
dugout. It was one of the coolest pieces of cold-blooded gallantry
known and it just happened that the Turks were not there at the
time. Colonel Palin, however, regarded it as a gross breach of discipline,
as he had imagined that he had ordered Maer to go out and do this
at night as a tactical operation. All the thanks that Maer got was:
"You bloody fool! I told you to go out and do this at night.
What the devil do you mean by doing it by day?" Poor Maer was
so flabbergasted that all he did was to salute, say "Sorry,
sir," and walk out.
After the desperate attacks on Hill 60 at the end of August, in
which the Indian Brigade did not take part, operations settled down
to the regular routine of trench warfare and there were no further
attacks on a large scale. After this battle the Indian Brigade moved
forward and held a front on the extreme left of the Anzac defences,
extending north from Hill 60 and joining up with the XI Corps at
Throughout the fighting Sub-Assistant Surgeon
Bhagwan Singh did excellent work looking after the wounded. After
Lieutenant Cursetjee had been wounded he carried on single-handed
and was awarded the Indian Order of Merit for distinguished services
during this campaign.
As a result of the Sari Bair battles the 14th
Sikhs were reduced to six British officers, one Viceroy's commissioned
officer and two hundred and twenty-three other ranks. However, during
the next few weeks several large drafts arrivedone under Major Earle,
one from the 87th Punjabis, one from the Burma Military Police,
and a second double company of Patiala Imperial Service Infantry.
Colonel Palin was evacuated sick on the 29th of August and Major
Earle took over command of the Regiment. On his return from sick
leave the following month Colonel Palin took over command of the
On the 19th of September the transport Ramzan,
carrying Indian drafts, was torpedoed by a submarine and sunk in
the Mediterranean. Second-Lieutenant Unger and eighty men of the
14th Sikhs were drowned, but Second-Lieutenant Reeves and thirty-four
men were rescued and taken by ship to Malta.
Throughout October and November the 14th Sikhs
carried out routine defence duties at Anzac and the weather was
delightful until the end of November, when a heavy blizzard burst
over the Gallipoli Peninsula. On the 26th of November a bitter gale
blew all day, and in the afternoon there were thunder and a violent
rain-storm and in a few minutes the trenches were all flooded. At
dusk the rain changed to sleet and the mud froze and many men were
frostbitten. The gale increased during the night and at dawn it
started to snow. The bitterly cold wind blew for three days and
water did not fall until the 29th of November, when the weather
once again became fine and warm. The men had to stand waist-deep
in water and it was impossible to light fires or cook for four days
and all rations were ruined. In the front-line trenches the frost
caused many casualties and many men were drowned or frozen to death.
Fortunately the 14th Sikhs were in the reserve trenches and did
not suffer as badly as most units, but even so the men endured considerable
The orders for the evacuation of the Peninsula
reached the 14th Sikhs on the 12th of December and two days later
they were relieved in the front line by the 4th Gurkhas. The same
evening the Regiment marched to the beaches and the men were taken
out to two small steamers in lighters. The 14th Sikhs sailed for
Mudros at midnight and arrived in the early morning. The Regiment
was transhipped on to a transport and sailed for Alexandria four
The Regiment left Gallipoli with a great reputation
and their gallantry and devotion to duty had added further laurels
to its good name. Thirty-five men were awarded the Indian Distinguished
Service Medal for gallantry in operations in Gallipoli. These awards
were all approved by His Majesty The King in the Gazette of India
dated the 28th of July, 1916. The award of thirty-five decorations
in one gazette is understood to be a unique record.
GALLIPOLI WAR MEMORIAL 1937
Brigadier H. M. Burrows, Commanding the Ferozepore Brigade Area,
who was Staff Captain to Brigadier-General H. V. Cox in the 29th
Indian Brigade in Gallipoli, organized a scheme for a Gallipoli
War Memorial in Ferozepore. This had been General Cox's wish, but
up to this time Brigadier Burrows had not had an opportunity to
arrange a War Memorial for Gallipoli. He collected funds from the
Maharajah of Patiala, other Sikh leaders and those connected with
the Regiment. The Rajah of Faridkot gave a plot of land adjacent
to the Ferozepore Cantonment Hospital and an extension to this hospital
was built as a memorial to the Indian officers and Indian other
ranks of the 14th Sikhs and Patiala State Infantry who were killed
or died of wounds in Gallipoli in 1915.
The extension of the hospital was for wives of Indian soldiers
and consisted of wards, an operating theatre and other offices,
so that the Regiment had a useful and lasting memorial of which
it can be justly proud.
The opening ceremony took place on the afternoon of the 26th of
February, 1937, and was attended by the District Commander, Major-General
Moberly, Brigadier Burrows, officers of the various units in Ferozepore
and their wives, civil officials, and an assembly of some three
hundred pensioned Indian officers and men, besides many others.
The guard of honour was found by Sikhs from the 10th Battalion 14th
Punjab Regiment, with the Regimental Colour and commanded by a Sikh
subadar. The Gallipoli survivors of the 14th Sikhs who were still
serving were drawn up in review order on either side of the tablet,
and the one follower who was present sat down just below the tablet.
The group consisted of Subadar-Major Jaswant Singh, Sardar Bahadur,
O.B.I. Subadar Kartar Singh. Subadar Thakur Singh, Subadar Prem
Singh. Havildar Dharm Singh. Sweeper Channi.
Savory with all those who fought at Gallipoli at the
The proceedings were opened by Brigadier Burrows, who gave a summary
of the events leading up to the erection of the memorial and thanked
all those who had helped. He was followed by a member of the Cantonment
Board, Captain Narain Singh and Captain Hira Singh. The latter brought
with him a poet who recited a poem extolling the bravery of the
14th Sikhs in particular and the Sikhs in general. The officers
and Colour of the guard of honour then took post, and the guard
sloped arms. Lieutenant-Colonel Savory then made a short speech,
after which the guard presented arms and the massed buglers sounded
the "Last Post." Lieutenant-Colonel Savory then unveiled
the memorial tablet and the bugles sounded "Reveille."
The formal proceedings then terminated, and the spectators, led
by General Moberly, inspected the hospital buildings. After this
was over the whole assembly were entertained to tea in the club
by Syed Wazir Ali, a leading merchant of the cantonment. The pensioned
Indian officers did full justice to the fare and seemed to enjoy
themselves immensely. The place was crammed, and after one or two
other speeches, including a song by the assembled pensioners, the
meeting broke up.