Item 01: Ellis Ashmead-Bartlett diary, 1915-1917 - Page 24
bay, but also a great number of French, ships as well. The transports belonged to every line that has ever flown the British Flag in any quarter of the world. I do not see how the Expedition would ever have been handled but for the fortunate existence of this immense sheet of landlocked water, within 40 miles of our eventual destination. Fortunately also neither a German or Austrian submarines had as yet put in an appearance, and had they been in the Eastern Mediterranean at the start, I do not see how the Expedition would ever have been landed. As it has turned out, it would have been better for us had the loss of a few transports, and warships in the early days caused us to abandon the entire enterprise.
But Fate ordained that these things were not to be. The preparations went on vigorously for the next three weeks, but the plans of the Commander in Chief, and the numbers of men at his disposition were kept a profound secret. We spent a lot of our time at guess work, and in fact it was fairly easy to decide on some of the landing points, on account of the peculiar formation of the coast, which would only allow troops to be disembarked at certain points. Commodore Keyes gave me a definite promise that the "London" would be at one of the most interesting and vital spots, and that if by any chance, the plans should be changed, he would shift me to another point. With this I was satisfied, and simply remained quiet to await events. It had been definitely and quite rightly decided that I should send out no cables until after the landing had been made, as it was essential to keep our preparations absolutely quiet, and the wires were fully occupied with Government work. I had therefore little to do, except