Learning Curve, The Great War
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Transcript: Source10
Extracts from a meeting of the Dardanelles Committee, 27 August 1915
(Catalogue ref: CAB 42/3/17)

Source 10a

MR. BONAR LAW inquired what the casualties were in the last action (that of the 21st and 22nd August).

LORD KITCHENER replied "6,000."

MR. BONAR LAW asked if that was really the number for one operation alone.

LORD KITCHENER referring to telegram M.F. No. 578, said that the number was approximate, but, as given by Sir Ian Hamilton, referred to the fighting of the 21st and 22nd August. …

Source 10b

SIR E. CARSON asked if there was any information as to the number of Turks facing our troops.

LORD KITCHENER said that we only had Sir Ian Hamilton's figures, but that the country was so rough that it was very difficult to estimate numbers.

SIR E. CARSON said that it was a great factor in the coming slaughter. He understood that the offensive required a superiority of 2 to 1, and we had not got that.

LORD SELBORNE asked if our Secret Service was fairly good.

LORD KITCHENER said that he believed so.

LORD SELBORNE asked if we trusted any neutrals, for he believed that there were both American and Dutch journalists with the Turks.

MR. CHURCHILL pointed out that scores of agents' reports kept pouring in and had to be examined and sifted.

LORD KITCHENER said that, for what it was worth, the trend of all the reports pointed to the fact that we should hang on, for the Turks could not last much longer.

SIR E. CARSON asked if it was to be understood that Sir Ian Hamilton was going on with operations of the same nature.

MR. CHURCHILL said that he would pursue his objective, which was not defence.

Source 10c

SIR E. CARSON asked if the 40,000 casualties already incurred should not be announced to the public.

MR. CHURCHILL protested that this would only serve to raise the moral of the enemy.

SIR E. CARSON said that the public was kept in ignorance, and would be very much surprised when they learnt of the losses, for they thought things were going well.

THE PRIME MINISTER protested that the public had been given all the knowledge that was available.

MR. BONAR LAW pointed out that the newspapers were responsible for drawing the wrong deductions from the facts.

SIR E. CARSON said that it was intended that they should.

MR. CHURCHILL asked if it was suggested that the hoardings should be placarded with "Great Disaster!"

LORD KITCHENER protested that it was as essential not to depress our own people as not to elate the enemy.

SIR E. CARSON said that the slaughter which had gone on was no success, and inquired if it were to be continued.

MR. BONAR LAW asked if Sir Ian Hamilton was supposed to be acting on the defensive, or if he was going to continue his course of sacrificing men without a chance of success.

LORD KITCHENER protested that he (Sir Ian Hamilton) had not done that; that he had attacked to maintain his position.

MR. BONAR LAW asked if Sir Ian Hamilton was to continue attacking when such action was obviously hopeless.

LORD KITCHENER said that he was not, but that it was impossible to dictate to him on the spot from London.

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