A Blog by the Editor of The Middle East Journal

Putting Middle Eastern Events in Cultural and Historical Context

Friday, January 8, 2016

January 8-9, 1916: the Last Man at Gallipoli

General Maude
 A century ago tonight Britain's Gallipoli adventure ended. The decision to evacuate was made the previous November.  Beginning in December, Britain had been evacuating its troops, under cover of darkness and keeping up artillery cover to distract the Turks. By the new year 1916 the  beaches at Anzac and Suvla were cleared, and troops remained only at Cape Helles. On the evening of January 8, they too began embarking under cover of darkness. By 1:15 am on January 9, the troops were assembled on the evacuation beaches. Guns and ammunition dumps were prepared to be blown up and other supplies burned.

At 2;30 am the 13th Division troops were mostly embarked from Gully Beach but there were insufficient boats for the Headquarters Staff and a storm was rising, so Division Commander then-Major General Sir Frederick Stanley Maude, with his staff and the beach pickets, had to make their way overland to W Beach instead. Carrying a valise and  stumbling through underbrush, Maude an his party were an hour late reaching the beach where the last lighter was preparing to leave.

Maude, the later conqueror of Baghdad, came to be known as the last man on the beach on Gallipoli, though some of his staff or the naval landing party may have followed him.

As this page notes, one of his staff composed a parody of the verse "Come Into the Garden, Maud" for the occasion:

Come into the lighter, Maude,
For the fuse has long been lit,
Come into the lighter, Maude,
And never mind your kit,
I’ve waited here an hour or more,
The news that your march is  o’er.

The sea runs high, but what care I,
It’s better to be sick than blown sky high,
So jump into the lighter, Maude,
The allotted time is flown,
Come into the lighter, Maude,
I’m off in the launch alone,
I’m off in the lighter a-lone.

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