Rifles withdraw from Chunuk Bair, Gallipoli.

Event
Tuesday, 10 August, 1915
6 RIR Chunuk Bair
Battle for Chunuk Bair on the Sari Bair Plateau

The 6th Battalion The Royal Irish Rifles had disembarked at Anzac Cove, Gallipoli during the night 5/6 August 1915. On 7/8 August, General Godley's II Anzac Corps tried to capture the hill Chunuk Bair and when the attack did not succeed, 6 RIR was moved forward to the Sari Bair Plateau with the 10th Hampshires leading.

They left Rest Alley at 0930 hours on 8 August, halted at midday and then continued the march after dusk. Although the march in darkness across the scrub-covered rocky ground was very tiring, they arrived at the assault positions from where the Hampshires attacked the main height of Chunuk Bair at 0800 hours on 9 August 1915. The attack faltered some 300 yards short of the crest as the Hampshires took heavy casualties from Turkish machine-gun fire. As the Hampshires dug in, 6 RIR to the left was ordered to attack a spur of Chunuk Bair known as 'L' Ridge. The Riflemen advanced up the steadily rising slope under the blazing hot sun and through heavy fire. Two hundred and fifty yards short of its objective the attack faltered, and the Rifles too went to ground and dug in.

During the night, the troops dug shallow scrapes into the rocky ground, a defence which proved inadequate when, at 0430 hours on 10 August, a Turkish counterattack was preceded by a preparatory artillery bombardment that inflicted heavy casualties. After one and a half hours of fighting, all but four of the officers became casualties. As the defence was just about to break the four remaining officers rallied the raw and inexperienced Riflemen of 6 RIR, leading them back some 800 yards to a new position which they held as naval gunfire support checked the Turkish attack.

The Battalion suffered heavy casualties with three officers and 42 other ranks killed, 18 officers and 274 other ranks wounded and 38 missing. When 6 RIR was relieved on 11 August the Battalion's strength was less than 300.

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

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