Item 02: Ellis Ashmead-Bartlett articles on the Gallipoli campaign, 1915 - Page 222

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[Page 222]

[Text incorporates handwritten corrections by E.A.B.]
commenced the great task of sweeping the outer Channel for mines. This had to be carried out under a heavy fire from concelaed batteries of all calibres and many of the boats were struck and suffered casualties. Our Trawlers assisted but the brunt of the work fell on the Destroyers. When it was decided to make the great attempt to force the Dardanelles with the Fleet alone the work of preparing the way fell on the Destroyers.

Day after day they entered the Straits sweeping the lower minefield under a heavy fire covered by certain battleships told off for this purpose. But in vain they struggled to clear the mine field below the Narrows. Inspite of the most heroic efforts on the part of the Destroyers and and the Trawlers the current was so strong that the task seemed almost insurmountable. It is characteristic of our navy that a desperate expedient was then hit upon to overcome this difficulty. It was decided to let the Destroyers tow up the minesweepers above the mine field during the night and then let them drift down with the current thus sweeping with the tide.

The difficulties and dangers of this enterprise are at once apparent for the channel is under a mile wide and the work would have to be carried out under a heavy fire from batteries on either shore and under the rays of powerful searchlights. On the nights of the 11th I2th and I3th of March efforts were thus made to clear a passage. Many of the destroyers and Trawlers were struck and many officers and mennwere killed. There is absolutely no cover on a destroyer. Any shell will perforate her thin shell and the only protection for those on the decks from shrapnel and machine gun fire were feeble barracides of rope hung round the

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