Item 01: Ellis Ashmead-Bartlett diary, 1915-1917 - Page 42

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[Page 42]

disgraceful, for instead of being ready to meet any emergency that might occur, in many of them there was not a soul even on watch, and it took us ages to get someone in a responsible authority to take our message. It was obvious to me that if an effort was really made to take the Australians off that it could only lead to an appalling disaster and that it would be much better to risk the destruction of leaving the force ashore. It took us at least two hours to go around to all the transports, and then we returned once more to the beach. There was still a good deal of firing going on, but it had lost a great deal of its intensity, and it seemed to me the conditions had materially improved, especially as the Turkish shell fire had ceased for the time being.

On stepping ashore we went at once to the staff, and informed them what we had done, and I was again immediately arrested as a spy by the very same Colonel, whose nerves seemed to have completed deserted him. However on this occasion I had no difficulty in obtaining my release. I had now to return to the "London" as the steam pinnace would stay no longer, and I felt pretty confident that the troops would be able to hold their own during the night. Just as I was leaving I ran across the P.M.O of the "London" McMillan, who had been working incessantly amongst the wounded all through the afternoon, and night. I offered to take him off to the ship but he declined to leave, saying there was plenty more work for him to do. I got back to the "London" about 3 o'clock in the morning. It was not until later that I heard what had happened about General Birdwood's letter from the lips

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