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The New Zealanders at Gallipoli

The Evacuation of Helles

The Evacuation of Helles

It was thought that we might hold Helles as we hold Gibraltar, but Mudros was considered an easier base for a naval power. The poor souls of the 29th Division, after being withdrawn from Suvla, hardly had time to rest a day at Mudros before they were ordered to return and hold the line at Helles. They were bitterly disappointed, but were they not tried and trusted Regulars? The Territorials they relieved went back to Egypt for a New Year's dinner in peace; the brigades of the 29th went back to the firing line. This perhaps was the greatest test of the 29th, for the men were sure that the bluff of Anzac and Suvla could not be repeated. They made ready for a heavy rearguard action to cover their retirement. During the days of waiting, it rained and blew until they were perhaps the most miserable men on earth. At least they should have been—but they were British regular soldiers, and there was nothing to do but stick it. So the troops who bore the brunt of the bloodiest landing were to bear the brunt of the evacuation. But a miracle again happened! The Turk could not make up his mind when we were going, and he could not make up his mind to attack. On the night of January 9, the coup came off. There was much heavy shelling of piers and landing places, but the casualties were infinitesimal, though much equipment was lost. The enemy was again baulked of his prey!