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Helles Memorial, Gallipoli Helles Memorial, Gallipoli
First Name: William Last Name: HUSSEY
Date of Death: 22/08/1915 Lived/Born In: Plumstead
Rank: Private Unit: Royal Munster Fusiliers 1
Memorial Site: 1. Plumstead, St Nicholas 2. Helles Memorial, Gallipoli

Current Information:

Age-21

54, Barth Road, Plumstead

 

Gallipoli 1915

On 25 April, 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.

By July, 1915, and after much fierce fighting, stalemate had set in at Gallipoli both at Cape Helles where the British and French had landed and at Anzac Cove where the Australian and New Zealand Corps were unable to break out of their beach head. Fresh troops were needed which were on their way in the shape of four divisions from Britain and things were put on hold until they arrived. The plan for August was for a landing at Suvla Bay to the north of Anzac Cove whilst at the same time, the ANZAC Corps, reinforced by some of the new British troops would effect a breakout from Anzac Cove and establish a line across the peninsula. Whilst this was going on the troops in the south at Helles would stage a number of diversionary attacks. But it all went horribly wrong and much of the reason for this can be explained by inadequate planning and leadership. Nobody seemed to know what they were supposed to be doing and Lieutenant-General Stopford, in charge of the Suvla landings was particularly out of his depth. The landings at Suvla failed to link up with the forces at Anzac and the breakout from there did not happen despite valiant efforts by all concerned. The loss of life on all fronts was again enormous. L.A. Carlyon’s excellent book “Gallipoli” gives a superb yet chilling account of the events.

A final effort to break through at Suvla was made on 21st August by 29th Division, which had been brought round from Helles, 11th Division and the recently arrived 2nd Mounted Division when, that afternoon, they attacked the W Hills and Scimitar Hill on the Anfarta Spur, due east of Suvla Bay. At the same time units of the ANZAC Corps attacked Hill 60 just to the south of the Suvla front. The operation failed on all three fronts with heavy casualties inflicted on the divisions taking part.

The attack on Hill 112 was made by 86 Brigade of 29th Division. Hill 112 which was at the end of the Anafarta Spur and about 1500 yards to the east of the British line, was strongly entrenched with the Turkish front line about 500 yards in front of it. The 1st Royal Munster Fusiliers, supported by the 1st Lancashire Fusiliers, attacked the hill shortly after 3pm on 21st August. The leading company of the Munsters were assisted by the smoke of burning scrub which had been set alight by artillery fire and they were able to establish themselves along a thin line half way between the opposing trenches. When the next three companies advanced they were hit hard by fierce machine-gun fire from the flank as a result of which very few made it across and the attack could go no further. The battalion suffered over 300 casualties in this failed operation, many of the wounded being burnt to death by the scrub fires from which they could not escape. William Hussey died from wounds on 22nd August and was among those who did not survive this attack.

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