Two Brothers At Gallipoli

In 1915 the war on the Western Front was going badly. Dreams of a war of rapid movement, "over by Christmas" had bogged down into the stalemate and attrition of the trenches. A bold, decisive move was needed to break the stalemate and bring the war to a rapid end. Winston Churchill, then First Lord of the Admiralty, had a plan for just such a move. First the Royal Navy would force its way past the Turkish defences protecting the Dardanelles. Then the army would provide supportive troop landings at Gallipoli. The Turks would crumble opening a back door into Europe, exposing the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Their collapse would expose the Germans who would have no choice but to sue for peace.


Good plan but no plan survives first contact with the enemy! Three capital ships struck mines and sank with heavy casualties. The Turkish guns remained an effective threat and the Royal Navy withdrew after unexpected losses. The plan called for the army to land at Gallipoli and it was too late to change it, so land they did. "Johnny Turk" had been alerted by the Royal Navy's attempt to force their way into the Black Sea and was on the alert. The landings came as no surprise and the British and Empire troops struggled to get ashore and stay there. Losses were enormous but no-one likes a quitter (especially the Australians and New Zealanders who made up much of the force) so they hung on and hoped for the best. Three months later and the Australians alone had 8,587 soldiers killed and 19,367 wounded.
A new plan called for further landings some miles up the coast at Sulva Bay to outflank the Turkish forces. Enter, on 6th August 1915, among others, the Royal Irish Fusiliers and the Royal Irish Regiment.
The Irish Times of August 1915 takes up the story.


The Roll of Honour


DUGGAN, GEORGE GRANT, Capt., 5th (Service) Batt~. Royal Irish Fusiliers, 3rd s. of George Duggan, of 5, College Steet, Dublin & Ferney, Greystones, co. Wicklow, Manager, Provincial Bank of Ireland, Ltd., Dublin, by his wife, Emilie Asenath, dau. of Col. Charles Coote Grant, late Bedfordshire Regt. (died 23 Aug. 1914) b. Birr, Kings Co., 12 April, 1886 educ. High School, and Trinity College, Dublin, where he graduated BA. in 1908; and on leaving there entered the service of the Irish Lights Commissioners. He was one of the original members of the Dublin University O.T.C. and was one of the first N.C.O. to be appointed, being promoted Corpl. 1910, and the following year was one of small body of N.C.O. and Cadets. specially selected for exceptional efficiency and smartness, to attend the coronation. He subsequently (27 Jan. 1912) received a commission on the unattached list (TF.) for service with the D.U.O.T.C., and was promoted Lieut. 8 Feb. 1913. He qualified at the School of Musketry, Hythe, in March, 1914, and was appointed to the command of a platoon in the School of Instruction for officers of the new Armies established in Trinity College in Sept. of the same year.

On the temporary closing of this school, about the middle of the following month, he joined the 5th Battn. Royal Irish Fusiliers as Lieut., and was at once promoted to the command of a company, with the rank of temporary Capt., 28 Oct. 1914. He left with his regt. for the Dardanelles, early in July, 1915; took part in the landing at Sulva Bay, 6 Aug. 1915, and in the severe fighting there during the following ten days was severely wounded on the 16th on the Ridge over the Bay, and died the same day on board H.M. hospital ship Gloucester Castle. Buried that night in the Egean Sea. His yst. brother fell in action there the same day (see following notice). Capt. Duggan, of a bright and genial disposition, was one of the finest long-distance runners that Trinity College has ever possessed, and it would be no light task to compile a list of his many triumphs in the College Park, with the D.U. Harriers, in inter- University and in International contests. For several years he organised the College Races, and managed the affairs of the Dublin University Athletic Union with conspicuous success. But his greatest work was, undoubtedly, the inauguration of Trinity Week, an enterprise to which he devoted himself heart and soul, and of the original Committee of which he was the foremost member. He was also a former Scoutmaster of the 6th South County Dublin (Lesson Park) troop; a member of the Executive of the County Dublin Association and an active member of the Sea Scout Committee, in whose interests he worked until the outbreak of war. He m. at Christ Church, Leeson Park, Dublin, 24 Aug. 1910, Dorothy Isabella Tuthill (12, St. Reven's Park, Rathgar. Dublin), only child of the late Henry Johnson, of Oaklands, Upper Assam, and had two sons: George Villiers Grant, b. 31 5 May, 1911 ; and Dermot Harry Tuthill, b. 5 July. 1912..

DUGGAN, JOHN ROWSELL, Lieut., 5th Battn. (Pioneers) The Royal Irish Regt.. 5th and yst, s. of George Duggan, of 5, College Street. Dublin and Fernay Greystones, Co. Wicklow. Manager Provincial Bank of Ireland, Ltd., Dublin, by his wife, Emilie Asenath, dau. of Col. Charles Coote Grant, late Bedfordshire Regt.; b. Dublin, 31 Oct. 1894; educ. The High School, Dublin, where he won a 1st Class Scholarship, and passed into Trinity College, Dublin, in 1912. There he joined the Medical School and became, like his brother, a prominent Member of the O.T.C. On the out-break of war he relinquished his medical studies and was gazetted 2nd Lieut., 5th Royal Irish Regt., 15 Aug. 1914, and promoted Lieut., 28 Jan. 1915. He left with his regt. for the Dardanelles early in July 1915, as part of the 10th Division, and was killed in action on the Karakol Dagh Spur. above Sulva Bay, 16 Aug. 1915; unm. He was at first reported wounded and missing and no officer saw him fall, but the Medical Officer of the Dressing Station at Sulva Bay, to whom Lieut. Duggan went when shot through his left wrist and with shrapnel injury to face and side, told him he should go to the Hospital Ship. He said his men were without an officer so he rejoined them in the firing line, and the subsequent story is briefly told by his Sergt. P J Nolan (on whose testimony his death was officially reported). "He left the firing line, had his wounds dressed and returned shortly afterwards, where he was hit in the face with an explosive bullet and killed." To his father, Sergt. Nolan wrote: "Your son could have saved his own life, but he was always good to his men and he died encouraging them to fight till the last"; and his Col., ~ Earl of Granard, wrote "I am sorry to tell you that your son has been missing since 10 Aug. He went with his company into action our that date, and we have not seen him since. I have enquired from several of the men of his company and they all tell me that he was wounded whilst gallantly leading his men. I sincerely hope that he is a prisoner, and it is always a consolation to know that the Turks treat their prisoners with the greatest consideration. I have now soldiered for a great many years and can honestly say that I never came across a better subaltern; and as regards his social qualifications, he was beloved by all ranks of the regt." Lieut. Duggan was a noted rifle shot and won many medals and prizes, including Daily Express and Lord Roberts Medals ; Adjutants cup of Trinity College, O.T.C., and he was presented with a rifle for the highest aggregate score in Leinster Schools, 1912.

It was finally obvious to everyone that there was no point persevering and it was time to pull the troops out. The withdrawal at Sulva Bay began on 7th December. The last of the men left Helles on 9th January, 1916.

About 480,000 Allied troops took part in the Gallipoli campaign. The British had 205,000 casualties (43,000 killed). There were more than 33,600 ANZAC losses (over one-third killed) and 47,000 French casualties (5,000 killed). Turkish casualties are estimated at 250,000 (65,000 killed).


What a waste!

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