Item 01: Ellis Ashmead-Bartlett diary, 1915-1917 - Page 247
mentioned at all with derision. One hates to write of such things but in the interests of the country at the present crisis I feel they ought to be made known to you. The lack of a real Chief at the head of the army destroys its discipline and efficiency all through and gives full rein to the jealousies and recriminations which ever prevail amongst the Divisional Leaders. At the present time the army is incapable of a further offensive. The splendid Colonial Corps has been almost wiped out. Once again the 29th Division has suffered enormous losses and the new formations have lost their bravest and best officers and men. Neither do I think even with enormous reinforcements, that any fresh offensive from our present positions has the smallest chance of success. Our only real justification for throwing away fresh lives and fresh treaure in this unfortunate enterprise is the prospect of the certain cooperation of Bulgaria. With her assaistance we should undoubtly pull through. But as I know nothing of the attitude of Bulgaria or Greece or Italy I am only writing to give you a true picture of the state of the army and the problems with which we are faced in the future if we are left to fight the Turks alone.
Already the weather shows signs of breaking and by the end of this month we cannot rely on any continous spell of calm for the landing of large bodies of troops at some other point on the coast. In fact the season will soon be too late for a fresh offensive if another is contemplated. We have therefore to prepare against the coming of the winter or to withdraw the army altogether. I am assuming it is considered desirable to avoid the latter contingency at all costs for political reasons owing to the confession of final failure it would entail and the moral effect it might have in India and Egypt. I am convinced the troops could be withdrawn under cover of the warships without much loss far less in fact than we suffer in any ordinary attack. I assume also