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"Kent's survivors pull out of Gallipolli"
A Blast From the Past 1915

December 24th: Surviving soldiers from the Royal West Kent Regiment and the Kent Fortress Engineers have successfully taken part in the evacuation of the Gallipolli Peninsula, right under the noses of powerful Turkish forces. It was an epic escape. 90,000 men with 4,500 horses, 1,700 vehicles and 200 guns were lifted off the bea, 'hes and, although 30,000 beds had been prepared for expected casualties in Mediterranean hospitals, not a single life was lost. The men are part of the ill fated Gallipolli campaign which was abandoned after months of indecision and what

David Lloyd George describes as the "mocking spectre of too late". He told the House of Commons: "Unless we quicken our movments damnation will fall upon the sacred cause for o much gallant blood has flowed." It has certainly flowed on the Gallipolli Peninsula and Kent is counting the cost in terms of sacrifice. A few weeks ago 127 soldiers of the 1/3 Kent Field Company Royal Engineers were drowned when their ship collided at night with another vessel in Mudros Bay. For security reasons both ships were sailing without lights.

Among those lost is Captain D.R.Salomons, only son of the great scientist, David Salomons of Broomhill. He stayed aboard his sinking vessel helping as many men as possible to escape. Other Kent men have been fighting alongside Australian and New Zealand troops with outstanding heroism and hundreds have been frozen to death, waist deep in their trenches in what the survivors describe as their worst experience of the war so far.

The most tragic week began on November 27th when torrential rain swept men and animals along the gullies and trenches, drowning at least 100. There followed two days of ferocious blizzards with driving snow when another hundred men died of exposure. The evacuation order came on December 20th when men from Tonbridge were among the Royal Engineer Territorials who rigged up an unmanned "firing line" and arranged realistic explosions to convince the Turks that the British trenches were still manned.

The Australians who suffered so heavily exploded a giant mine by remote control a few hours before leaving, killing hundreds of the enemy. Winston Churchill, as First Lord, played a crucial part in the Gallipolli campaign when he agreed that the Royal Navy should try to get munitions to Russia's Black Sea ports by forcing the passage of the Dardanelles. The land troops were sent ahead as a back-up force. Dardanelles casualties are 25,000 dead, 76,000 wounded and 13,000 missing. Many are blaming Churchill for the disaster.

January 1st: The strength of the British army stands at 720,000 men.
January 19th: A Zeppelin airship has bombed Great Yarmouth and King's Lynn. Bombs fall near the King's home at Sandringham. 20 are killed.
January 25th: A telephone call betweeen New York and San Francisco is made by Alexander Graham Bell.
February 2nd: In a gamble designed to destroy the British economy, Germany have started a submarine blockade of the British Isles.
February 4th: The youth who killed Archduke Ferdinand and his wife in Bosnia escapes execution because he is too young. The other conspirators are shot.
March 21st: HMS Kent was present at the sinking of the German cruiser Dresden off Juan Femandez Island.
March 26th: Sylvia Pankhurst is told by Lloyd George that women on war work will receive the same pay as men.
April 22nd: A War Office communique says British forces have been successful after a desperate battle for a small hill around the town of Ypres. The position is known as Hill 60 and there have been casualties on either side.
April 22nd: The Germans have introduced a terrible new weapon chlorine gas. Victims have fled from the trenches coughing, half blind and panic stricken.
April 26th: Allied troops have positioned themselves along the Gallipoli peninsula after heavy fighting with Turkish forces Churchill hopes to knock the Turks out of the war.
August 17th-18th: An airship crossed the coast at Herne Bay and came low over the pier. It was fired on by members of the 42nd Provisional Battalion but flew over Canterbury, Ashford, Faversham and Whitstable, spending two hours overland. The airships dropped 18 high explosive and 40 incendiary bombs , all in open countryside.
October 29th: 10,000 attend me morial service for Nurse Edith Cavell at St Paul's Cathedral.December 15th: Sir Douglas Haig' First Army Commander in Flanders, has replaced Sir John French as commander of the Brit ish forces on the Western Front. The front runs from Ostend across Flanders and then assumes a deep salient above Paris before swing ing east to the fortress town of Verdun. It has hardly changed position in more than a year
November 11th: Winston Church ill has resigned from the Govern ment and intends to rejoin his regiment in France. He was sacked from the Admiralty six months ago.
December 8th: New flags have been presented to HMS Kent by the County Society to replace those damaged in the Battle of the Falklands. The County Society has also opened a fund for pris oners of war in Germany.
. December 19th: A major land slip on Folkestone Warren has closed the South Eastern and Chatham railway line between Folkestone and Dover. It may be closed for many years and there is a suggestion that explosives should be stored in the tunnels.