Dickie other Grandfather -Austin Reginald Beynon

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Post  Dickie on Sat Aug 06, 2011 10:14 pm


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Join date : 2010-04-10
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Dickie other Grandfather -Austin Reginald Beynon Empty Re: Dickie other Grandfather -Austin Reginald Beynon

Post  Kenny on Mon Aug 08, 2011 9:26 am

Always nice to see family history mate and pictures make it that bit more personal i always think. Keep us updated as you go along,



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Dickie other Grandfather -Austin Reginald Beynon Empty Gallipoli 1915

Post  Dickie on Fri Aug 12, 2011 12:15 am

Chapter 1:‘Gallipoli and the Dardanelles, 1915

Left Gower _ ? January 1915

[Page 2]

Friday February 12th, Still at sea. Escort left us to own resources last night, and am now proceeding alone. Fine weather.
Rumours have it that we are bound for St.Nazaire, from the Bristol Channel, the ship is making a half circle, passing Ireland, and then going in a southerly direction, and finally east again to port.
This is the reason for so a long a trip, which no doubt is to obviate any trouble with submarines.

Saturday 13th 1am, Arrived St. Nazaire (Roads). Bad weather and impossible to dock. Several transports went aground during the day, but were ultimately towed off.

Sunday 14th 4pm, Docking, Thousands of people lined up on dock sides to witness our arrival.
People were buying and throwing oranges on board for troops, which were welcomed by them very much.

Monday 15th 8.30am Leaving empty from St Nazaire our destination at present not known.

Tuesday 16th Passed a French cruiser at 9.00 am, signalling passed between us, and then we resumed our trip.
Fair weather. Arrived Sandown at 9 pm when we anchored for the night. No papers or letters.

Wednesday 17th After leaving Sandown Bay, we arrived at anchorage off Cowes at 9pm, received orders for Southampton at 3pm, and eventually anchored off Netley Hospital for the night.

Saturday 18th Docked at Southampton. Preparations are immediately made for a long voyage in which we are to accommodate 12,00 soldiers, 30 Officers, and 200 odd horses, which are for transportation to Egypt. (as was then believed. We were fitted, but took no troops)

Feb 19th – Feb 24th Ship under great transformation whereby to accommodate these troops, hammocks are slung for sleeping purposes, Surgery hospitals, Armoury, rifle rooms, magazines, prisons, guard rooms, these are all under construction. Ship also coaling and taking in additional previsions.

Wednesday Feb 24th At 2pm set sail for Portsmouth where we arrived @ 4pm. Saw the old ‘Victory’ which saluted us by dipping its Ensign. Came to anchorage – close to Admiralty ship yard where we received orders to pull my aerial down. The Captain most angry at this but has to obey. Preparing to receive “Lighters” on board, which are used for conveying horses ‘cross stream’.

Feb 26th All morning busy getting horse boats on deck by means of special derricks fitted for purpose.
10 pm Leaving Portsmouth which it is believed for Avon mouth. Fine weather.

Feb 26th Proceeding south, and is now known for Alexandria, Very rough weather. No troops on board. Clock put back 20 mins.

Feb 27th Weather fine, passed two ships homeward bound.

Feb 28th Passed Cape Finistere at 5 am. Weather gloriously fine and warm but foggy. Noon, just escaped collision with another ship, had we been a single screw vessel, collision could not have been prevented. We passed Cape Finistere at 5 am this morning, and expect to be in the Straits of Gibraltar tomorrow evening.

March 1st Most exquisite weather. Blue sky and sea and nice and warm. Had fog all morning which cleared at noon. Not a ripple on the sea and everything so peaceful. Gibraltar not reached, expect arrive latter place early morning.

March 2nd 3.00 am GMT Passing through the Straits of Gibraltar, beautiful moonlight night. The scenery on both sides looks fine, and is only quite a short distance from one side to the other. 4.00 am (GMT) Passing the Rock of “Gibraltar”, had a good view of it as we passed very close and as I said before, was a light moon light night.
Searchlights were playing on us all the time as if to keep an eye on our movement. However, a torpedo boat was sent out to us, which required us to stop. The Captain slow as usual, did not stop as soon as he should have done, with the result a shot was fired across our bows. The Skipper of the torpedo boat was in a proper tare about it, and threatened to report our Skipper, the latter humbling himself by apologising for his mistake. Gibraltar was brilliantly lighted.
I should have mentioned that the Skipper of the torpedo boat questioned us as to whether we were British, What cargo, where bound from, and where bound.

March 3rd Passing along coast of Algiers, very high and mountainous with snow capped peaks, but very desolate, not a living thing or any signs of habitation could been seen. Glorious weather with warm moonlight night.

March 4th Still hugging the coast, which still same as before, high snow clad mountains. Passed several rocks which seem to rise from the sea, and apparently very dangerous to shipping in foggy weather. 11.30 pm (GMT) Stopped by a shot from a French torpedo boat, there were two such ships at the time, but one went in chase of another steamer. We were asked the usual questions, and then allowed to proceed on our way. Moonlight night.

March 5th Nothing of importance to record. Glorious weather. Passed Malta Island at 4 pm (GMT), moonlight evening and warm.

March 6th Nothing to record

March 7th -do-

Monday March 8th 10 am (GMT) Passed USA Warship “North Carolina”, cruising in the American Interest. 4 pm Arrived Alexandria (Egypt). Ship anchored off the land, as there are no waivers. In order to get ashore sixpence has to be paid for single journey and shilling return; at night double prices. The weather beastly hot, hotter than I have ever experienced. The air has no moisture and seems to scorch your skin, the pitch on the decks bubbles, and everyone wearing cotton clothing.
No sooner than the vessel tethered Arabs with all manner of things come on board trying of course to do business.

March 9th Get ashore at 3 pm and take a walk. Immediately you set foot on shore you are pestered with Arab Guides, about 50 of them, all on to you at once, all jabbering and fighting to take charge of you. After following nearly a half mile they leave me. Talk about flies and mosquitoes, especially the smell which pervades the place, it is something sickening. My mates face was swollen terribly with bites from mosquitoes.
I learnt also that the place is alive with bugs and fleas, and judging by the appearance of the people and most of the streets, one doesn’t need conformation of the statement. The men I noticed appeared to be more like women, that is by the appearance of dress and costume.
I might say that before being allowed to enter the town, I was searched, being informed that revolvers and knifes were not permitted to be carried.
The shops are all open, no windows; all their wares are displayed on benches, on the pathway or roadside. The butchers shops were beastly, all blood and flies, and stunk fearfully.
The reason of our being here, as it is believed, is to transport troops to the Dardanelles, weather this is true or not remains to be seen.
Alexandria is a garrison town, British and Native soldiers and has been here since the bombardment by our Navy in 1882. There are many shattered and ruined houses here through the bombardment.
The Europeans here do not wear the native dress, simply the fez. French is spoken being the principle language amongst the Europeans.
Performance of actors and jugglers at the theatres is also all worded and spoken in French.
The Khedive’s Palace here is a magnificent building, occupying considerable area, at present the Khedive is at Cairo (250 miles from Alex) and the Palace is undergoing repairs, he is expected back in a months time.

March 10th Stayed aboard in morning. 2 pm left ship for shore, took a walk along the promenade which surrounds the bay in which the battle of the “Nile” was fought, saw the forts which were destroyed by the British.
I then tried to find a place to have a swim, but the baths were closed, and being warned not to bathe in open water (on account of shakes) had to give it up.
The sun during the afternoon was very hot. 5 pm Bathing from side of ship, water quite warm.

March 11th Stayed on board all day.

March 12th Mohammedans Sunday (Friday) Stayed on board, the reason for doing so is because I do not care for the smells which greet you when ashore.

March 13th Went ashore in morning for a walk, returned dinner time, stayed aboard for the rest of the day.
I should have mentioned previously that there are eighty German steamers here in the harbour, which were captured by the British. They are all laying idle, with the exception of a couple which have been commissioned for government use.
There are also about 200 Turkish and German sailing vessels here, but they are of small size.
The weather has turned much cooler, and people are going back to whites.

Sunday March 14th Stayed on board all morning. In afternoon took a walk along part of estuary of the Nile. 4.30 pm had a swim from side of ship.

Monday March 15th Stayed on board except for a visit to a friend on another ship.

March 15th to 19th Nothing worth mentioning.

March 20th Stayed on board during morning and went for country drive in afternoon.
Country beautiful in part especially round the Nile delta where parts are thick with palms, date trees, and other strange trees. Weather very hot and plenty of mosquitoes, also a few locusts knocking about

March 21st Stayed on board, partook of my usual swim.

March 22nd Nil.

March 23rd Harbour filling up gradually with British transports, we, loading firewood for camps, bran, and horse fodder.
The German steamers in harbour are being used chiefly as cargo boats, and are being manned by scratch crews, comprising of every nation / ability under the sun. The Captain in most cases being the only Britisher on board.
I should have mentioned previously, that a few days ago, an Australian convoy arrived here with troops from Australia. Another convoy is expected tonight or tomorrow with French and British Tommies.
The number of transports here number about forty. 10 am Went for a swim.
Hired a boat manned by an Arab boy, who kept on singing in fearful strains, the two operators with me, and my minion threatened to throw him overboard if he didn’t stop his row, however, it was not until one of my friends addressed him in the Indian tongue that we made him understand. We bathed from a creek, which was surrounded by a reef, the water was beautifully blue, and fish were very easily seen. There were also jellyfishes (about size of my head) perfectly blue, they looked so pretty.
Saw two or three small octopuses which no doubt could suck pretty hard if they got hold of your leg.
For the greater part of the morning we were trying to catch sand lizards, which were pretty abundant near the beach, the Arabs laughed at us, and suppose thought we were fools in attempting to catch them. As all our efforts were useless, being very swift and sharp. They varied in size, but generally averaged about five or six inches.
2 pm Out for sail with Chief Officer, we visited one of the schooners in the harbour and had a bit of fun with the monkey which was very tame. No mail received yet.

March 24th & 25th Went for swim as usual in gigs, water nice and warm

March 26th Visited our bathing place with three other friends, and enjoyed a good swim. Place teaming with lizards. I got pally with some English Tommies, and they showed us several places of interest; the old forts, which were destroyed by the British, where guns of old pattern were lying about. Then we saw the hospital, after which we visited the concentration camp, where about 250 aliens were interned, comprising of Turks and Germans.
We walked close up to the barbed wire entanglements and had a good look at them. Some were playing tennis, and others were singing & playing the piano, a strong guard was kept.
The ‘Royal George’ arrived here yesterday.

March 27th Bathing as per usual, had a ramble round the shore with my friends and watched the Arabs catching octopus, most awful creatures which twined round their arms, being held on by their suckers, and when pulled away or distangled from the arm, make a nasty cracking noise.
The weather getting warmer (82º in the shade (harbour) and a great deal hotter ashore.

March 28th 9.30am Ashore for our usual swim. Visited the old fort again and found the guns which still remain, to have been built by Armstrong in 1870, Muzzle loaders.
Caught a few lizards for the excitement of it, which now are quite tame.
2 pm Off ashore again, our intension to visit the Sudanese barracks. When we arrived there we found a big guard of about a dozen men at the entrance, nobody cared to ask admission, so it fell to me to do it, however, I approached them on the matter, but none of them could understand, so I consulted with my friends as to what we should do, meanwhile, an officer of rank came up and saluted me, asking me what he could do for us. Telling him our desire we were informed that a parade would shortly occur, and that all that there was to be seen, could be seen then. I may say we were in our uniforms, and I suppose thought we were of high official standing, as we were saluted over and over again. The parade was very amusing, especially the band.
One thing which was rather astounding was the way in which the soldiers had their faces punched if they didn’t do the correct thing. Their uniforms comprises of light shoes, baggy trousers (white), khaki jacket, and small white cap.

Monday 29th March Nothing doing.

March 30th Swim. The harbour getting chock full of transports (British and French) British and French soldiers arriving for the past four days. Anticipating a move shortly. Our ship getting in camping provisions, also preparing disembarking facilities by boat, for landing parties.
The weather very hot. The temperature today is 90º. I myself getting like a brown berry. No mail yet.

March 31st Nothing doing (swim)

April 1st Nothing unusual to report, weather very hot.

April 2nd - do –

April 3rd Ship moves alongside, taking on provisions for troops.

April 4th (Easter Sunday) Australian troops numbering about 1400 arrive on board, previously coming from Cairo where they were encamped. Horses and ammunition also are embarked. Sailing time & our ultimate destination yet unknown. I might have mentioned that last night I went to the sailor’s institute, and saw the name of A.E. Beynon mentioned very frequently in the “Chart & Compass” referring to your work in connection with Barry DK Institute.

April 4th 2am Leaving Alexandria, destination yet unknown. We have on board a small goat, being the mascot of the 4th Division of Australians.
2pm Learn that we are to disembark troops at Lemnos Island, which is said to be within hearing of guns in the ‘Dardanelles’. It is also said by the military officers on board that disembarkation may take place under heavy fire. The soldiers are landing in ships boats, which number twenty or twenty-two.

April 5th In the Archipelago, Passing numerous small islands, weather here much cooler.

April 6th 6 am Arrived island of Lemnos (Greek), anchoring off Mudros. The surroundings here are simply beautiful, the ship is surrounded by high hills & mountains looking down upon a huge natural harbour of blue water.
Situated at intervals on these mountains are the French & British camps which made a fine picture. Thousands of tents & thousands of soldiers, all preparing for this great attack upon the Dardanelles, which is only 50 or 60 miles away. Several warships, minesweepers & oiltanks are here, also a gradual increasing number of troopers. Perhaps it would be well to state the finest warship afloat lies at anchor a little distance away from us, namely the “Queen Elizabeth”, then again the “Inflexible” & several other of which I do not know their names. There are also a couple of French battleships, and one Russian, all looking very magnificent against our modern ship the Queen Elizabeth. I might say all these ships are bedaubed with white paint, which renders them more difficult to sight. All the jacktars are ashore today picnicking and having Donkey Races up the mountains. The survivors of the Ocean & that other French battleship which were sunk in the Dardanelles, are here, no doubt having a spell before joining another ship. All the boats (lifeboats) numbering 20 or 22 on board our ship were launched this morning, and our troops practiced landing and storming parties, it was very interesting, no noise was allowed to be made whilst in the boats and oars were used as quietly as possible, no talking. From what I hear, we are going into the Dardanelles some night, probably under fire, and send ashore storming parties, it will be very exciting & no small achievement. I believe there are one hundred & twenty thousand soldiers taking part in it. At night we had a concert on deck, the Australians are very patriotic, at least judging by their songs which they sung.

April 7th Nothing to report

April 8th Still at anchor. “City of Buenos Aires” alongside, being tied alongside, making it possible for me to go over & visit my two pals which I have on board. Harbour filling up gradually with troopers. Ship short of water, so that water is only procurable at certain hours of the day.
One thing we are pestered with on board is crickets, our ship is full of these on Deck and below, creating a perpetual chirping row. Mosquitoes are not so frequent as at Alexandria, but get a substitute in locusts & horseflies.
We nearly had an accident today, the men had rifle practice this morning, after which the rifles were put down until wanted again at next parade, however, this afternoon there were a group of men examining their rifles, when suddenly a report was heard: we all rushed to see what had happened, & it appears that the gun was loaded without the bearer knowing it, & whilst handling it, went off. The shot passed through the seat of a soldiers trousers, and then hit the iron railings, where it was squashed to pieces, making a hole of half an inch. Luckily it hit the rail at dead centre, otherwise it may have bounced off & killed two or three below. I should have mentioned previously that we had machine gun practice (two machine guns), it was wonderful the rapidity at which the gun was discharged, shooting very accurately, each shot dropping in a line with equal distance between them, one can very well imagine how an army gets wiped out after 1000 rounds, the water which surrounds the gun boils.

April 9th Had a swim. Harbour filling up with transports, English, French, & Australian. There are some English Tommies here (South Wales Borderers), but principally Australian, and a few French. Seven or eight warships lying at anchor.

April 10th Weather cooler than that of Alexandria, had a swim & was nearly perished. The Tommies have a swim every day, and it is great fun to watch them. All ships lifeboats are in use, getting fearfully battered about by poor handling of troops, which are practicing handling parties.

April 11th Sunday. Went to church parade and service which I enjoyed immensely.

April 12th Troops go ashore in boats & carry out manoeuvres. My two pals go ashore from next ship and bring back several tortoises which they caught on shore. There are lots of Turks on Lemnos island, and military authorities having taken precautions not to allow troops to buy fruit from boats which come alongside, in case it may be poisoned.
The Commander of military forces on board here returns from a trip on board the Queen Elizabeth which conveyed him up the Dardanelles. We get a very descriptive account from him.
11.00 am. British aeroplane overhead causes great excitement amongst the troops.

April 12th Receive my first mail, three letters, one from my company, and two from friends of mine, but none from home, which is very disappointing.

April 13th Nothing doing, except boat practice for troops.

April 14th Had the pleasure of going ashore for the first time since leaving Alexandria; found the inhabitants to be very primitive in their methods, such as old windmills for grinding and making flour, oxen tethered to carts with square axels & solid wooden wheels. No sanitary convenience such as water & drainage. Some of the houses have no mortar in the walls at all, simply stone upon stone. The mortar where used is compiled of mud and straw.
For the best part of the island it is open country with very few inhabitants, and flowers of all descriptions grow in great abundance. I noticed also the place was full of frogs which created a very particular noise, also lizards & tortoises were not rare, hedgehogs were plentiful. Every woman we came across was spinning from the raw wool & making material for clothing. The children were very pretty but pestered you for money, following you & shouting for “Backshish”.

April 15th Nothing doing, except that we could hear the guns from the Dardanelles, the wind being in the right direction.

April 16th Went ashore in afternoon with Military Chaplain, Officers, & about ten men. We had a great time, we broke up into small parties, I went with a lieutenant, but eventually found another party who knew the place, better than we did. The first thing we did was to visit the children’s school, boy & girls combined. There were ten of us and we all walked straight into the one and only classroom, of course it naturally stopped proceedings & the children were made by their teachers to stand to the attention with a salute, it was most amusing.
Next we visited the graveyard. There were only three or four tombstones, which were erected to the memory of sailors who had died on HMS Trafalgar in 1893, & two others who died on another battleship. We wandered round examining everything until we came to [a] decent sized shed, this was very weird, upon entering it we saw several hundred human skills, all piled in a confused heap, being in perfect condition including lower and top jaw with teeth. It appears, when they bury their dead, after being in the ground so long, they take them up again & dump these into this shed. We afterwards got a priest to open the church for us, and apparently it was of Roman Catholic religion, as upon entering the church the priest pointed to the altar & made us cross ourselves, then informed us that it was customary to light a candle & place it on the altar, paying a little for the upkeep of the church, which we did.
It looked very amusing to see these Tommies carrying their candles up to the altar & then crossing themselves, all carrying it out most seriously. Then returning to the lifeboats, I returned on board, joining the Chaplain again.

April 17th to 23rd Nothing of importance to note, - bathing as usual, also a little boating visited the shore a few times, waking to the town of Kyros.

April 24th (Saturday) 9 am Rumours going about that we are going to make a move for the Dardanelles.
11.00 am Parade. The Colonel addresses the troops, conveying a message from the King and also one from the “Commander of Forces”, operating against the Dardanelles. The troops are advised in many ways namely, their ammunition (250 rounds, increased allowance to each man) must be husbanded, as owing to difficulties of transporting, supplies may not be obtained when convenient. Again to make their rations & water (1. flask) last them at least two days (for same reason given previously). The Colonel expressed his opinion that they, very probably will land under fire, and commanded them to keep cool. The men cheered, & seemed very anxious to make a start. Then lastly, he ordered that no smoking on deck after dusk, & no talking, also all lights would be extinguished.
We are to anchor about 5pm tonight somewhere on the NW coast of Lemnos Isle, remaining there till midnight, whence we proceed to [the] Dardanelles and land troops just before light. – Left our long anchorage at 11.50 am, & proceeded as instructed to anchorage on NW coast. Troops sleeping with lifebelts near to hand, in case of emergency.

Sunday April 25th More like a slaughter day than a day of rest. We arrived here in the West Coast of Gallipoli under shrapnel fire at 3 o’clock this morning when dark, what past I am unable to say at present, anyhow, we were surrounded by high mountains, from which heavy shrapnel & lydite Fire was being kept up, how we remained (1000 yards offshore) in this position without being touched was a miracle, shrapnel was bursting very closely, and [a] few shells came rather too close, which reminded us that we were not altogether safe. As you’ll probably expect, the warships drew the fire from shore, thus shielding [us] to a certain extent, the few transports in the vicinity. The New Zealand’s and the Indians, I think, were first to land, they left the ships in cutters, and had a taste of shrapnel when en route for the shore. When they landed they had a hotter time, as they were exposed to fire from the entrenched Turks, however we had the good luck on our side, the enemies first line of trenches were captured, driving the Trucks to the top of the mountains. The paved the way for the Australians & British, who launched without further difficulty, except for very poorly directed fire from a distant fort, which was being very quickly destroyed by the British warships. The result from time of landing up to 8.0 am, first line of enemies trenches and one fort captured, 200 casualties. It is now 9.30 am, & for last 1½ hr. a heavy rifle fire has been kept up, growing more intense at intervals that a change is being made, you could hear the machine guns very distinctly. The Queen Elizabeth is bombarding the forts, the warships get right in close, & very seldom get hit, which I put down to the bad marksmanship of the Turks. She does not take long to silence a battery or fort, and the reply to her guns from the enemy is very feeble, & bad shooting.
10.0 am, All received a surprise, the Turks brought into action a large gun which is mobile, their object being the transports, five shells were fired, everyone passing between our second & third mast, a most miraculous escape from being hit, it was estimated that the last shell passed us fifteen feet above our deck. I was on deck, heard the report, & then heard the shell coming, the screaming noise getting louder, & then weaker, then we knew it had passed. They fell about 300 or 400 feet the other side of us, just missing a transport & destroyer on each occasion, falling so close to them that the water it threw fell on their decks. Our warships soon shut it up.
British aeroplane very close to us, it was fired upon with shrapnel but not touched.
Four landings, I learn are being made today. One, where we landed our troops from this ship, which is called Gabe Tepe, another lower down the straits. The other two our on the Asiatic side. It is now 10.0 pm & have taken cover under a small island.
I learn from Marines which have just arrived on board, that the progress is very satisfactory; Two forts captured & Turks fleeing in all directions having a terrible number of casualties behind them. We [are] capturing few prisoners, also some of which were German. Our casualties as far as is known, was up to 8pm 1,000 killed, wounded & missing. Some of the transports are being used as improvised hospital ships, wounded already arriving on board them. One of our Majors which I know quite well, has been killed in action. Our fleet still bombarding Turkish positions after dark, it was very interesting to see the shrapnel & shells bursting over the mountains.

Monday April 26th 11pm Still under cover of island, although very close to Turkish Fire. All last night and throughout today, our fleet has bombarded & shelled overland, at forts in Dardanelles. The effect of the Queen Elizabeth’s guns at night, is most astonishing, the flame which issues from the gun when fired illuminates the sky in such a way, that one not knowing would think it was lighting. I hear today that the British have turned the Turkish left wing which is in retreat. Fighting of the most desperate character taking place.
The military transport (horses, munitions etc) are still on board, & I believe we are to land them tomorrow.

April 27th Still at anchorage (Imbros Island), heavy cannonade in progress.

April 28th Noon. Leaving Imbros Island for Lemnos, where we arrived at five pm. we have as I mentioned before got the transportation board which numbers about 150 men, they seem very downhearted because they expected to be with their companions in the trenches.

April 29th & 30th Still at anchorage. Men on board very discontented and many fights occur. We hear that most of the division which we landed are cut up, which does not improve the spirit of the men on board with the result that fights are more frequent.

May 1st Noon. Leaving Lemnos Island for Anzac where we shall probably land the transport, men in very high spirits at the thoughts of going ashore to fight.
6 pm arrive destination, warships firing at land in different places, with the result that a village is set on fire, creating terrific big clouds of smoke, and huge flames. Just above there is a balloon which is directing the fire upon the Dardanelles.
She has just informed warships that she has sighted two steamers in Dardanelles, also two military airships, and troops near village. We have come to anchorage in the place where we received the hot reception last time. Our soldiers are strongly entrenched upon the hill which they captured when they landed, but from the noise of machine guns & shrapnel, they are not having a slow time. I hear the casualties are very heavy. The land, where they landed at the commencement of operations was beautifully green, and with trees, now it looks just like a big sand hill.

May 2nd (Sunday) Nothing much happened last night, except a heavy artillery duel, British land batteries and warships versus Turks. The latter’s fire being extremely bad, their shots intended for our trenches always overshoot the mark, dropping in the water behind them, occasionally, very close to us.
10 am. Church Parade, where the soldiers in the trenches were prayed for, a very pathetic ceremony. Twenty of our soldiers on board are to leave today for the trenches as reinforcements. They are in high spirits at the idea of joining their comrades.
5 pm (half dark and half light) At a given signal from the H.M.S Queen, a rapid cannonade (broadsides) commences, eight battleships taking part. What a noise! I could never imagine such a thing happening, there they were, blazing away at these mountains, pouring shells, lydite, shrapnel, as fast as they could load the guns, until the hostile hill was one mass of bursting shells, and thick smoke. Our field guns and large howitzers ashore, also could be spitting forth their venom, what a sight!
I cannot explain sufficiently to give you any conception of it, one would think after such an “Inferno”, that no Turk could live under it. At 6-30 pm [the] cannonade ceased, when our troops made a bayonet charge to capture the hill, we are waiting to hear results, if out troops are successful in this operation, it will mean a distinct advantage for us, as it commands a tremendous amount of country beyond. The charge by our troops is being made during the confusion wrought by our guns.

May 3rd The result of last nights operations, resulted in us gaining some ground, but hardly enough, considering the amount of ammunition expended.
8-am. Getting rather a hot time with twelve inch shells. The enemy are trying to destroy an ammunition ship, about two hundred yards from us. The former employing indirect fire. The shells came a bit too close to feel comfortable, and indeed, dropping near this ship with only a few yards to spare.
11am. Enemy opening five on us again, five shells falling around the ammunition [ship] again without touching, but, the last one as we thought, had finished her, although as soon as the dust & smoke cleared, we found she was not damaged as much as was anticipated. The after part of her deck house was smashed, and also a tremendous amount of coal shot out of her. Later on the Red Cross cutter went alongside & brought off the injured men, we escaped as we generally do, after five shells dropped creating a fearful “hullabaloo” the old man thought it was time she shifted, which was done in haste nearly colliding with another transport. The Engineer said that we were hit by peaces of bursting shell, whether this is true I cannot say as I did not see it occur.
3pm. German aeroplane over ship, H.M.S. London firing shrapnel at her which explodes abound, but seemingly does no damage. She eventually leaves us doing no harm whatever.

May 4th. Had the usual visiting card from the Turks this morning, but they did not come so close as previously. Our Tommies on the hill seem to be having a rest, indeed they deserve it, as they have been in the trenches for over a week without rest or relief.
2 pm. Lively rifle fire from warships which are sweeping the Turkish trenches lower down Gallipoli.

May 5th Usual visiting cards received at 4am. They seem to have lost our range, although we have to heave anchor and give them wide berth. Then later on the Turks started firing at us with rifles, but to no use. Some of our transports (5) are going ashore this morning just to have a look round, but from what I hear, they intend to stop.
10pm A large town or village on fire, we could not see the actual fire, but the glare which it caused on the sky.

May 6th. In morning comparatively quiet, except for our artillery on the hillside which was rather active.

May 7th Artillery lively this morning, also that of the enemy, who poured shrapnel into the reinforcements which at the time were disembarking
7-pm Am out on deck, and notice an aeroplane high overhead, of course, I, did not think for a moment that the latter was a German taube, although now I shall have good reasons to remember one next they make an appearance, however this plane was tremendously high up, and just as she was immediately overhead she let go two bombs, luckily they went wide and did no harm. The warships opened fire upon her, and soon was out of sight.

Some terribly big guns going off from our ships lower down the peninsular, they are shelling the enemies trenches, and must create terrible havoc with them, at least one would thick so by the height of the explosions of the shell on land.

May 8th. Nothing of any excitement occurred today, the Turks sent us a few shells this morning, and a small consignment this afternoon, all kept at a respectable distance, except one, which came over our bows and landed the other side. Aeroplanes up this afternoon directing our fire upon the straits. I heard one reporting a battleship in the Bosphosus. Am getting very dissatisfied with the way in which we are treated, no mails, and no news and to make matters worse, the ship stinks abominably, the smell arises from bad vegetables and dirty bilges, its bad enough to put me off my food.

Sunday May 9th. Church in morning, the chaplain is still aboard, and expects to go ashore sometime this week. Had our visiting cards from the Turks. They don’t worry us a great deal now, I seem to have got used to them, although the old man, he goes into a frenzy, and gives unintelligible answers. The fighting ashore was more strenuous, also the artillery, and at night it was carried on to a great pitch. To look at it tonight one would imagine that the scene was a firework display.

May 10th. Some more shells, but before they could get our range, our warships shut them up. A pal of mine (2nd Lieut) came on board this morning; he was wounded in the forehead by a bullet, the latter going clean through his cap striking his skull and bouncing off. He gave me many interesting accounts and says that the Turks are driven by force to fight, just in the same manner as in the German army. This afternoon I heard a warship inform everybody of German aeroplane, ours happened to be at same time directing (by wireless) the fire upon the forts in Dardanelles. I expected to see an aerial fight but was disappointed, after a few shrapnel shots at her, she disappeared.

May 11. Nothing of any importance to relate, the wounded officer left for the trenches this afternoon taking with him a few comforts for the tommies, such as cakes etc. The weather today is simply miserable, windy and wet, which does not add to our comfort in the slightest way. We feel very upset at not receiving our mail; goodness knows how things are going on at home.
Rumours: Antwerp and Ostend taken by British.

May 12th. Some more shell, the chief steward takes [a] fit every time one explodes near us, it is most amusing. I got lots of press today, which did not convey a great deal. At dinner time we got orders to leave for Lemnos island, where it is believed we are going to land our horses to give them exercise, they have been on board five weeks. Well, we made a bad start, taking us three hours to pull the anchor up. We passed quite close to the mouth of the Dardanelles, and what a sight and noise, I shall never forget it. Our battleships were bombarding the Turkish lines with shrapnel, the fire was incessant, and the shells fell in the same line all the time, one would think it impossible to stand such a fusillade of metal. We are due Lemnos at 11.00 pm tonight, where I anticipate to get some mail.

May 13th Nothing doing for greater part of the day, received one letter from friend, but none come to hand from home.

May 14th Leaving Lemnos for Alexandria, on look out for submarines which are supposed to frequent these waters. Alex is three days sail from Lemnos Isle.

May 17th Arrive Alexandria without incident.

May 18th 9 am. Leave ship for ride out country on my own, and by jingo how I enjoyed it, the suburbs were beautiful, the house all entwined with creepers with high coloured flowers and tropical plants. then the country was a bit of a novelty to me, all along the roadsides are palms of various species, olives, date palms, and other, very fine indeed. Part of the country was cultivated, and the system of irrigation was very crude, an endless chain of buckets submerged in a well, motive power being a mule or donkey, from the bucket the water passed through little channels which interlaced the cultivated ground. After passing this, I went through villages where the aristocrats live, and fine house they were, built on the French fashion by all appearance with extrusive gardens. Later, I passed through a quarter, which was nothing but Red Cross hospitals, a couple of which I visited. There was a hospital for every nationally comprising the allies, and wounded were coming in trainfulls. The latter were chiefly Indians from the European theatre of war (France) and as I learn most of them were suffering from frostbites and consumption in particular. I met many, and recognised soldiers who had been in hospital, going to the front again.
I eventually returned to the ship about three in the afternoon, and with not time to time to stare, as the transport and horses had been landed, and that we were to be on our way at 4pm for Port Said, for coal & stores for 60 days.
Left Alexandria at 5pm for Port Said.

May 19th Arrive here at Port Said at 8am and as soon as we come to an anchorage off town, are pestered with bum boats of all descriptions, selling anything mentionable, these fellows are a positive pest, in selling anything to you they ask a price two thirds greater than its value, and if your not silly & soft you can beat this price down to a third. What is very inconvenient about these southern ports is the docks, one very seldom is alongside the quay and have perpetual trouble with the Arab boatmen. In this case, we are lying practically in the entrance to the Suez Canal.
Port Said is much better than Alexandria, it is an attractive looking place, with a nice sandy beach, another good point about it is that there are European and Native quarters, whilst in Alex they are combined. I met many wounded soldiers, in fact the town and suburbs are full of wounded.
I met some sailors which were wounded in the sinking of H.M.S. Gladiator, which as you’ll remember sunk in the Dardanelles.

May 19th to 20th Knocking around Port Said, weather very hot indeed. Received three letters from home

May 25th 2pm Leaving for Alexandria.

May 26th 8am Arrived. Very hot so enjoyed a swim, the temperature of water is 75º so there is no possibility of shivering.
This afternoon it became very much hotter 97º in the shade, the heat was accompanied with a hot strong breeze, which created a sandstorm, and jolly nice it is, sand in your eyes and mouth in fact everywhere. The hot breeze was very sickly and distasteful.
I am writing this when I should be in bed, but cannot sleep due to perspiration. The breeze has gone down and the temperature in my room stands at 90º. I hear there are hotter times coming, I don’t know what I shall do, I can’t get enough clothes off me now.
Our mails left here yesterday for Port Said, and will arrive back here tomorrow.

May 27th Had a swim & for remainder of day did nothing as it became too hot to move, especially in the afternoon when it reached 103º.

May 28th Swim. Nothing doing otherwise. I should have mentioned previously that ever since we arrived here we sleep on deck. Even so exposed, with only light pants on & lying on top of the bed, one expires fearfully.

May 29th I took it into my head to visit the camp at Mex, where the transport which we landed are camping, a distance of five miles from here. I left the ship at 9 am, caught a car which took me half way, the remainder of the way is over a part of the desert, and a hot one at that, however it was most amusing, I found that the only conveyance was Donkey, which I hired one for two Piastres (5d), the old Donkey I think had seen better days, it simply crawled, all the while the Arab runner rained blows on its back with a heavy stick, needless to say I made the latter refrain from such cruelty, he then resorted to pushing it from behind. You should have seen me when I got there, my white suit was in a terrible state, especially where my legs were rubbing against the beasts sides.
I found my friends, and everyone gave me such a welcome. The different sections of transports were named after the ship which they came from, such as the transport which came from our ship, was named Lake Michigan and so on through the whole camp.
Soon after I arrived my friends told me they were going to give their horse a swim, and likewise themselves, asking me “would I like to come?” they gave me an Infantry horse & I felt very pleased with myself. There were about a hundred of us going down to the beach for a swim, and we started in good style, galloped as fast as the horses could travel, my friends knew that this occasion was my second time on horse back, & they told me afterwards they were surprised by the way I rode, expecting me to get left behind, instead I was always near to the front. I knew these horses were very timid and frightened when they saw a camel, and I was expecting every minute to see one, and sure enough, we ran right into some coming the opposite way. My horse left the track, and started rearing up on its hind legs amongst a lot of stones, the rest likewise. I got out of that with my heart in my mouth.
Then we had a great time, the horses came into the water with us and at times would be swimming with us on their backs, and sometimes the horse would swim on its own.
After finishing the bathe, I remained in the sun basking as you call it, however I shall never do it again, since my back has been terribly raw and the skin in coming off in pieces . I stayed to dinner, and afterwards went down to the salt fields.
A tremendous portion of the sea had been dammed off, and then left to evaporate. When I saw it, there was hardly any water left, and in appearance, it was identical to an ice field, the ground is covered with salt, also rocks, and many thousands of sticks, which are driven into the ground to collect the salt (one I have with me). I stayed the night at the camp, going for a similar swim in the morning May 30th returning to the ship in time for mid day lunch. My whites being absolutely black.

May 30th to June 8th Still @ Alexandria, practically same routine occurs every day. Plenty of swimming and idling. Also have very hot weather, my back is devoid of skin through exposure to the sun.

June 9th 1pm Leaving Alexandria for Gibraltar for orders.

June 14th Still proceeding for Gibraltar, and still only abeam of Malta. The reason is to the poor quality of coal we received at Port Said, only making 5 to 8 knots per hour. Another complaint among us, is the water which also was received from the last named place. Everything where water is used has a disagreeable taste.
The weather is somewhat cooler and fine calm seas.

The ship is alive with vermin, every where in rooms you’ll find them, my room (one of the newer) is full of “bugs,” and at night time give us quite a lively time.
Have saturated everything with vermin killer, and have quite a perfumery under my nose all day!

June 19th Arrived Gibraltar at two o’clock this morning, where we got orders to go to Cardiff, my word, what a delight the news brought me..........

This is where the dairy finishes, the other loose pages being lost over time.
What can be said is that TSS Lake Michigan arrived back in Cardiff six days later on the 25th of June 1915

She went back to sea on the 1st of July until the 2nd of Oct 1915 “Trooping, presumably with ARB onboard, we pick up the story in the ship next voyage:

Posts : 655
Join date : 2010-04-10
Age : 41
Location : Horsham, West Sussex

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Dickie other Grandfather -Austin Reginald Beynon Empty Re: Dickie other Grandfather -Austin Reginald Beynon

Post  Padre Matt on Wed Aug 31, 2011 2:26 am

If you're able to get on the Great War forum and look in the Naval section there is a couple of chaps who specialise in U Boar warfare. It is likely they will be able to help you with copies of the Kriegstagbuch, the daily log of the U Boat concerned in your grandfathers sinking. It may well mention him, since prisoners were taken.

Sorry I've been off the radar a bit, a death in my wifes family, the death of an old friend and sorting out a complicated estate with multiple executors has and is proving a headache. [where do I store 750 cactus plants for example lol] - I was hoping for plenty of time with the family in the school holidays but it all seems to have gone rather awry.
Padre Matt
Padre Matt

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Join date : 2010-07-18
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Location : Yorkshire, England

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