This Bloody Place - With the Incomparable 29th, Major A.H. Mure

This Bloody Place - With the Incomparable 29th, Major A.H. Mure

This must have been one of the earliest Gallipoli memoirs to be written. It was published in 1919, but the text makes it clear that it was written while the war was still in progress. The author, A.H.Mure, was an officer in the 29th Division who watching the initial landings at Gallipoli from one of the nearby warships, and soon landed with his troops. After an intense 43 days on the Peninsula he suffered from severe shell shock and was invalided out. This memoir covers his entire involvement with the campaign, from the original order to join the 29th in Britain to his time in hospital and return to Britain.

There is a peculiar mix of tone to Mure's writing. On one hand he accurately describes the horrors of the fighting at Gallipoli, and the mental breakdown that saw him invalided out of the battle, but at the same time he still considered the campaign to have been an impressive achievement, and insisted that the Allied withdrawal had been by chosen, and not forced on them by the near total failure of the expedition (not many authors would now call Gallipoli 'one of the most glorious chapters in our military history'). This despite acknowledging earlier in the text that the army was only there to support the Navy's attempts to reach Istanbul, an aim that was never achieved. This is probably due to a mix of pride in his division's efforts on Gallipoli and the ongoing fighting at the time of writing, and it doesn't distract from the overall text. Despite the horrors he describes, Mure was not disillusioned, and

Mure's writing brings a number of features of the fighting to the fore. First is the intensity of the fighting, and the lack of any safe places in the beachhead. Everyone on shore at Gallipoli was close to the front almost all of the time, and there was very little chance to rest (Mure calls it the 'constant crisis'). This is tied to the second – the ever present danger, with wounds or death coming almost at random, even when officially out of the lines.

This is a valuable memoir of the Gallipoli campaign, written soon enough for the events to still be fresh, but with a largely unvarnished examination of the horrors of the campaign.

Chapters
1 - At Sea
2 - A Little Nearer
3 - Mudros Bay
4 - The Start of the Great Adventure
5 - The Landing at V Beach
6 - Carrying On
7 - The C.O.'s Story
8 - Rough-and-Ready Diplomacy
9 - Linking Up with the Battalion
10 - The Burying Party
11 - The Saddest 'Bit' of All
12 - The Battle of Fir-Tree Wood - The First Phase
13 - The Battle of Fir-Tree Wood - Second Phase
14 - The Rest Camp
15 - Back to the Fir-Tree Wood
16 - The Pink Farm
17 - Is It Written?
18 - The Battle of Krithia
19 - All In!
20 - In Hospital
21 - Going Home

Author: Major A.H. Mure
Edition: Hardcover
Pages: 208
Publisher: Pen & Sword Military
Year: 2015


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