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Helles Memorial, Gallipoli Helles Memorial, Gallipoli
First Name: Ernest Edward Last Name: HARROWELL
Date of Death: 28/04/1915 Lived/Born In: Paddington
Rank: Private Unit: Border1
Memorial Site: Helles Memorial, Gallipoli

Current Information:

Enlisted-Mill Hill

 

Gallipoli 1915

On 25th April, 1915, British, Australian and New Zealand forces landed on the Gallipoli peninsula. The plan was that these forces would soon defeat a demoralised Turkish army, knock Turkey out of the war, open up the Mediterranean to the Russian navy and threaten Austro-Hungary from the south. None of these things were achieved despite nine months of hard fighting in terrible conditions. It was a heroic failure.

First Battle of Krithia   28th April 1915

During the two days after the successful but costly landings at Helles on 25th April, the soldiers of 29th Division consolidated their foothold and pushed the line forward, in preparation for an assault on the village of Krithia. At 8am on 28th April, naval guns began the bombardment of Turkish positions and the extended line of infantry began to move forward in a long left wheel. But things did not go to plan. Orders arrived late so there was no time to prepare. The terrain, crisscrossed by gullies and ridges hampered progress so some units advanced quicker than others. The men were all dog tired after three days with precious little sleep and many of the senior officers had become casualties, creating a problem with leadership. The Turks were able to put in nine battalions against the advance and rather than a battle the day developed into a series of skirmishes until it was final called off at 6 pm. The British suffered 3000 casualties on this day.

As part of the general advance, 87 Brigade moved forward on the left with the 1st Border battalion moving between the coast and Gulley Ravine that ran parallel to it. 1st Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers advanced on the eastern side of the ravine. At 11am they met heavy rifle fire and progress came to a temporary halt. They got moving again at 1pm but tiredness and thirst was slowing them down. The Turks by now had reinforced this sector and there were considerable casualties among 1st Border. When they approached the gulley that led down to Y Beach they came under heavy rifle fire and when the Turks then attacked with a bayonet charge, one company of 1st Border gave way and began making their way down to the beach. The situation was saved by a single shot from a 15 inch gun aboard HMS Queen Elizabeth which destroyed a whole company of pursuing Turkish soldiers. However no further advances were made and the troops entrenched. Among their casualties on 28th April was Ernest Harrowell.

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