General Sir Ian Hamilton was a brave (twice recommended for the VC); cultured (he wrote and published his own poetry) and civilised soldier – with a breadth of interests and intellect rare indeed in the often hidebound ranks of the British army at the acme of Empire. Unfortunately, Hamilton was given an impossible job when he was appointed Commander of the expedition to take and hold the Gallipoli peninsular in 1915. Aged 62, and not universally admired in the Army, he lacked the ruthlessness of truly great commanders. After the element of surprise was lost when warhips trying to rush the Dardanelles struck Turkish mines; there were delays as Hamilton prepared for the landings. Lacking landing craft, the landings were fiercely opposed; the terrain was harsh and the Turkish opposition so fierce that little headway was made, despite landings elsewhere on the peninsular. These despatches, published while the fighting was still underway, pay ribute to the bravery of his troops, but cannot disguise the fact that the grand operation had become a disaster.
SIR IAN HAMILTON’S DESPATCHES FROM THE DARDANLLES, Etc.
These are the official despatches sent to his miitary superiors from Gallipoli by General Sir Ian Hamilton, the gallant but unlucky commander of the expedition. Civilised, elegant and upbeat – they cannot disguise the tragic failure of the operation.