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Alexandria (Chatby) Military and War Memorial Cemetery, Egypt Alexandria (Chatby) Military and War Memorial Cemetery, Egypt
First Name: Sydney George Last Name: JURGENS
Date of Death: 17/08/1915 Lived/Born In: South Hampstead
Rank: Lieutenant Unit: Royal Lancaster6
Memorial Site:

Current Information:

Age-28

40, Canfield Gardens, South Hampstead

Alexandria (Chatby) Military and War Memorial Cemetery, Egypt

 

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 an 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 and they 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.

The 6th Royal Lancaster battalion arrived in Gallipoli in July, 1915, as part of 38 Brigade, 13th Division. In early August, 13th Division moved to Anzac Cove where they reinforced the ANZAC Corps for its attack on Sari Bair. They were part of the force that made its way northwards along the beach before turning inland to tackle the Sari Bair range. Due to a number of problems such as the tiredness of the troops, the difficulty of the terrain and the lack of maps, the advance here was very slow and disjointed and this allowed the enemy to take up strong defensive positions. 6th Royal Lancaster was in a column along with the 4th Australian Brigade that had the commanding heights of Hill 971 as its objective. However in the maze of gullies and ridges they had to cross, this column lost its bearings and turned right prematurely and began making their way up Damakjelik Spur, which led to Hill 60, rather than up the Abdul Rahman Spur to Hill 971. It was here on 9th August that there was a concentrated enemy attack by four battalions in line and two in support. This was repulsed and that afternoon 6th Royal Lancaster were relieved from this position and moved back to Brigade HQ at Aghyl Dere. However any hope of a rest was short lived as two companies were almost immediately sent back to Damakjelik Bair in support of the Australians and on the following day the other two companies moved forward to The Farm where there was renewed fighting as the enemy once again counter-attacked. Here any movement came to a halt. Hill 971 was not going to be captured and the August plan had failed. 6th Royal Lancaster sustained around 200 casualties during the fighting on 9th-10th August, one of whom was Sydney Jurgens who died from wounds on 17th August after having been taken back to a base hospital in Egypt.

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