Learning Curve, The Great War
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Useful notes: Source11
Extracts from a letter by General Sir Henry de Beauvoir de Lisle to General Sir Henry Wilson, August 1915
(Catalogue ref: WO 106/707)
  • This source was written by General Sir Henry de Beauvoir de Lisle on 29 August 1915. At this time, the campaign had clearly reached a stalemate. British and Allied troops fought off a series of attacks by the Turks at different parts of the peninsula, with heavy losses on both sides. The British and Allied forces were completely unable to make any progress against the Turkish forces.
  • Although Sir Henry did not know it, there was worse to come. His commanding officer, Sir Ian Hamilton, would be replaced in mid-October. The first winter snowstorm would kill or injure about 10% of the entire Allied force in November. In December the campaign would be abandoned and the troops pulled out.
  • De Lisle was a competent commanding officer who had seen service in India and went on to command troops on the western front in the Battle of the Somme in 1916. He was tough and not particularly popular. He was rough on his own troops, but he was equally brutal towards other officers if he thought they were not up to the job.
  • Like his commander, Sir William Birdwood, he was one of the few commanders who emerged from Gallipoli with his reputation intact.
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