10th (Irish) Division, Chocolate Hill, Gallipoli.

Saturday, 7 August, 1915
5 Faughs C Beach Suvla Bay Gallipoli
5th Battalion The Royal Irish Fusiliers, aboard 'Belfast', heading for C Beach, Suvla Bay

In April 1915, the Allies had tried to force the Dardanelles by attempting to capture the Gallipoli Peninsula of Turkey. However, as the situation had stalled with the Allies hemmed in at Anzac Cove and Cape Helles, the 10th (Irish) and the 11th Division were sent to land at Suvla Bay and break the stalemate. The plan was that a diversionary attack would be launched from Cape Helles followed by an offensive from Anzac Cove while the two reinforcement divisions would land later that night at Suvla Bay.

SUVLAThe Battle Honour SUVLA is emblazoned on the Queen's Colours of The Royal Irish Regiment and was awarded to our antecedent regiments for their actions in the amphibious landings at Suvla Bay and the subsequent consolidation of positions ashore.

With the 10th (Irish) Division were the 5th and the 6th Battalion The Royal Inniskilling Fusiliers and the 5th and the 6th Battalion The Royal Irish Fusiliers; these four battalions were in 31 Brigade while the 6th Battalion The Royal Irish Rifles was in 29 Brigade. However, the Rifles landed with the detached 29 Brigade at Watson's Pier Anzac Cove on the night of 5/6 August where it came under operational command of II Anzac Corps. The plan had been to land the remainder of the 10th (Irish) Division to the left/west of the 11th Division on Beach 'A' in Suvla Bay, but that was thwarted by the shallow waters off Beach 'A', so the landing was on 'C' Beach just south of Suvla Bay on 6/7 August.

IWM Q70564)The first advance and attack made by 31 Brigade included the 6th Inniskillings, the 5th and the 6th Faughs and two companies of the 7th Dublin Fusiliers. The advance took place during early afternoon, the hottest part of the day; the troops struggled through soft mud around the edge of Salt Lake and then across the scrub-covered ground. They were shelled by the Turks as soon as they appeared on the beach and were harassed all the way to their objective - Green Hill and Chocolate Hill, which the enemy were using as artillery observation posts.

Left, Suvla Bay Landings Map (IWM (Q 70564))

By 1700 hours they arrived some 300 yards short of the objective where they rested and made final preparations while supporting artillery shelled the Turkish positions. At 1900 hours, when it was almost dark, the men of 31 Brigade, despite their thirst and fatigue, rose and charged up the slopes with bayonets fixed and were on the crest of Chocolate Hill by 2000 hours.

IWM Q13444Throughout the night, the troops worked at the defences of the hill in preparation for the Turkish counterattacks, while others brought forward food and water.

Right: Men of the 5th Battalion The Royal Irish Fusiliers, including Corporal James McKeever from Belfast, in trenches on Chocolate Hill. (IWM (Q 13444))

Click on The Gallipoli Campaign for links to more stories about our former regiments at Gallipoli.