Major fiasco inspired father’s tribute

The casualties listed this week from the project are all men killed on the Gallipoli peninsular and almost all are remembered on the Helles Memorial.
The casualties listed this week from the project are all men killed on the Gallipoli peninsular and almost all are remembered on the Helles Memorial.

THE casualties list for this week, from the Tynemouth World War One Commemoration Project, includes details of 2nd Lieutenant William Ewart Robinson, of Alma Place, North Shields.

He was killed in the ill-fated Dardanelles campaign.

He was the son of Captain James Robinson, the former secretary of Smiths Dock Company, who took on the enormous task of editing and collating the magazine founded in June 1919.

It was for the benefit and enlightenment of the employees of the company at its shipyards in North and South Shields, and South Bank on the Tees.

The establishment of the magazine was part of the company’s remembrance of the sacrifice of its employees in the war.

More than 1,000 from the three docks served in the armed forces, some 130 of whom were killed or died as a result.

The campaign in the Dardanelles, intended to seize control of the narrow isthmus of land and Asian mainland opposite (both in Turkey), was proposed by Winston Churchill and others early in 1915.

After a failed naval attack on March 18, 1915, it was decided to mount a large-scale landing by troops onto the isthmus and the mainland at the mouth of the Dardanelles.

A joint Anglo-French campaign was launched late in April with a significant contribution of troops from the newly formed Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (ANZAC).

The landings in April and May 1915, at the tip of the peninsular and later at ANZAC Cove and Suvla Bay, failed to dislodge the Turks, who, although viewed as the poorly trained army of the ‘sick man of Europe’, fought with a tenacity and courage matched by their adversaries from Britain, Australia, New Zealand and France.

By August 1915 the British command was effectively playing the last throw of the dice before the first considerations of withdrawal were raised in September and October.

The casualties listed this week from the project are all men killed on the Gallipoli peninsular and almost all are remembered on the Helles Memorial, pictured.

Many are men of the 8th Battalion of the Northumberland Fusiliers, a territorial battalion sent out to fight early in the war with little training or experience of the conditions and temperatures in which they would have to live and survive on the inhospitable and arid peninsular.

The ultimate failure of the campaign will feature in future items from the project but two little known incidents are relevant to this week’s report.

The one concerns the Australian news reporter whose report to his prime minister (ignoring an undertaking to submit it for censoring by the military authorities) concerning the poor morale and appalling conditions of the Australian forces and allied troops on the peninsular led to the recall of the commander in chief Sir Ian Hamilton.

That reporter – Keith Murdoch – went on to found a chain of Australian press titles and had a more famous and recently controversial son – Rupert Murdoch.

The other event, a little-known postscript to the campaign, which ended in an ignominious but successful withdrawal in January 1916, relates to the pre-eminent Turkish commander on the peninsular, Mustafa Kemal, who went on to become the first president of the new Turkish republic.

In a gesture of reconciliation he addressed a statement to a visiting delegation of British, Australian and New Zealand officials visiting the cemeteries and memorials on the Gallipoli peninsular in 1934 and which is perhaps one of the most poignant expressions of the sentiments of a soldier and statesman.

Anyone interested in joining the Tynemouth project are welcome at the group’s workroom in the Linskill Community Centre any day from 10am to 4pm (Mondays to Fridays) where volunteers will give information on working with the project and registration for the induction sessions.

THIS week’s list gives details of the men who were killed or died in the Dardanelles campaign in the month of August, 1915.

Byder, Charles Lewis, Private, 8th NF, 10th, KIA, 30 Camden Lane.

Clark, Alder Austen, Private, 8th Battalion NF, DOW, 15th, 16 ½ Camden Street.

Clark, William Lloyd, age 28, Private, 8th, Battalion NF, KIA 20th, husband of Mary Jane Haswell (formerly Clark), of 29 Howdon Road.

Coats, William, age 24, Private, 8th Battalion Duke of Wellington’s (West Yorks) Regiment, KIA 9th, 33 Washington Terrace, son of Cuthbert H Coats.

Daniel, William, Corporal, 8th Battalion NF, KIA, 22nd, 76 Chirton West View, (previously with 6th Battalion Territorial forces).

Goodwin, William Frederick, Private, 8th Battalion NF, KIA, 19th, 33 Norfolk Street.

Kimber, John Robert, age 43, Sergeant, 8th Battalion NF, KIA, 19th, 62 Chatton Street, East Howdon, husband of Mary Anne.

King, James Hayes, age 21, Private, 8th Battalion NF, KIA, 19th, 4 Albion Terrace, son of Anne Stoker King and the late Robert.

Patterson, Francis, L/Sgt, 6th Battalion East Yorks Regiment, KIA, 22nd, 41 Church Street.

Richardson, Stanley Ernest, age 27, Private, 8th Battalion NF, KIA 5th, 1a Eleanor Street, son of William Tom and Ann.

Robinson, William Ewart, age 26, 2nd Lieutenant, 8th Battalion NF, KIA 5th, 10 Alma Place, son of Captain James and Mary Williamson Robinson.

Scott, David B, Private, 1st Battalion Australian Imperial Forces, KIA, 30th, formerly of 34, Addison Street, Lone Pine Memorial – Dardanelles.

Scott, Joseph, Private, 8th Battalion NF, KIA, 10th, 25 Tyne Street.

Skelly, George Dunlop, Sergeant, 8th Battalion NF, KIA, 10th, 13 Sibthorpe Street.

Taylor, Andrew, Private, 8th Battalion NF, KIA, 13th, 30 Front Street.

Weeks, Frederick Jesse, Private, 8th Battalion NF, KIA 19th, 14 Low Lights, Fish Quay.


KIA – killed in action

DOW – died of wounds

LAS – lost at sea

NF – Northumberland Fusiliers

DLI – Durham Light Infantry

RND – Royal Naval Division

RNR – Royal Naval Reserve

RFA – Royal Field Artillery

n Anyone with information on this week’s list or who wants to find out more about the project, should visit, e-mail or write to Tynemouth World War 1 Commemoration Project, c/o Essell, 29 Howard Street, North Shields, NE30 1AR.