Volume 2: Letters written on active service, M-W, 1914-1919 - Page 49
14/4/15. Fine sunny morning – other boats in sight and also Island of Lemnos where we anchored at 7.30 a.m. in a nice little Bay where numerous other transports and men-of-war and gunboats are anchored – Lemnos, a rocky Island with hills and peaks – few trees or shrubs but several small villages and many cultivation patches in view, also numerous old-fashioned round wind-mills for grinding grain – nice green cultivation patches here and there – some troops are ashore here – had practice climbing down rope ladders into boats and back with all our full marching gear and rifles.
15/4/15. Beautiful day – nothing much doing – some more transports arrived and war-ships are going – a little drill aboard ship – we are now part of the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force".
17/4/15. Message from General Birdwood re conserving water and food during the first three days of our attack on Gallipoli read out. We are warned we may get no more water than we can carry in our water bottles during that time.
18/4/15. Sunday – Usual Sunday service. The rest of the 13th are on the S.S. "Ascot" here. We hear that a Turkish Torpedo boat chased a British transport which was making for here and fired three torpedoes at her which missed but caused a bit of panic on board, which resulted in some going overboard and being drowned – also that subsequently two British Cruisers chased the Turkish Torpedo boat and ran her ashore and blew her to pieces – the transport subsequently arrived here O.K.
19/4/15. Went ashore with full pack climbing up and down ship on rope ladder – had a much needed swim on the beach – many of the local (Greek) villagers came round selling edibles, cigarettes etc. Saw some English troops ashore who appear to be much smaller men on average than our chaps. (Recd. letters Mother's and Mary's).
20/4/15. By order each man cut a small faggot of wood from the waste Seal cases aboard to take ashore as it is said firewood is very scarce where we are to land.
[General William Riddell Birdwood, later Baron Birdwood of Anzac and Totnes, born in India in 1865, was appointed commander of the Australian and New Zealand forces by Kitchener in November 1914 and led their Gallipoli campaign. He later served in France and was highly respected by the troops. He died in 1951.]