Item 02: Ellis Ashmead-Bartlett articles on the Gallipoli campaign, 1915 - Page 42

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[Page 42]

[ac]tual realisation came as a great shook. However having mapped out my programme in advance I proceedd to carry it through. I stooped down to pick up my lifebelt and then to my intense disgust I discovered it was not blown.out. When the Principal Medical Officer presented it to me on the previous evening I had intended to do so but must have forgotten all about it. Thus the first part of my plans namely not to take to the water unless encircled by a good belt was at once knocked on the head. I decided not to loose any time over it now but to get off the ship at once as she was listing more over and seemed likely to turn turtle at any moment. I was swept down the ladder to the main deck by the crowd rushing by me and from there made my way to the Quarterdeck.

The Quarterdeck was crowded with men nearly all dressed and many wearing lifebelts who were climbing over the side and jumping into the sea all determined to get clear before she went down. Just after the explosion a cloud of black smoke came up and got down my throat and in my eyes so that all this time I seemed to be in semi darkness. I looked over the side saw that I was clear of the torpedo nets and then climbed over intending to slide down a stanchion into the water and then swim clear. But again my programme was upset by unforeen events for just as I had both legs over the rail there came a rush from behind and I was pushd over the side falling with considerable force onto the netshelf which is where the nets are stowed when not out. I made no long stay on the netshelf but at once rebounded into the sea and went under. I came up at once still holding my useless belt and having got some of the water out of my eyes took a look round. The sea was crowded with men swimming about and calling for assistance.

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