Selected by Lianne Smith, Archives Services Manager

This letter was written by General Sir Ian Hamilton, Commander of the Mediterranean Expeditionary Force (MEF) at Gallipoli, to Lord Kitchener, Secretary of State for War, on 18 March 1915, the day on which the Allied forces made their first major attempt to capture the Dardanelles straits.

The first part of this letter was dictated at 11am, just as the offensive was beginning, and contained Hamilton’s first impressions. He realised that Gallipoli looked ‘a much tougher nut to crack than it did over the map in my office’, and also made clear that the land was far better defended than was assumed in the planning. However, his tone was that of optimism and he appeared to be confident that the Naval attack, commanded by Admiral Sir John De Robeck, could be successful. The postscript, added at 6pm that day, has an entirely different tone. The disastrous events of the day saw five Allied warships being disabled or destroyed.

This letter is the first in a series between Hamilton and Kitchener written between March and November 1915, relating to the Gallipoli Campaign

Ref: Hamilton 7/1/6

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