Back to SHMB Field Ambulance Foreign Service, 1915-19

Gallipoli and Giza, 1915-1916

British, Australian and New Zealand troops landed on the Gallipoli peninsula in April 1915, with the offensive concentrated on five beaches on the peninsula tip. At Suvla Bay, nearly 8,000 officers were killed or wounded over a two-day period in August 1915.

The Field Ambulance sailed for Gallipoli in 1915. The ship berthed at Lemnos, the site for the base hospital. The military onslaught against the Germans and Turks in the Dardanelles had started on April 25th 1915. After some of the bloodiest battles in recorded history, matters reached a climax with the battle of Suvla Bay, August 6th 1915. The Field Ambulance did not admit patients until September 3rd 1915.

In spite of attempts to force the Straits of Marmara, Dardanelles, the decision to abandon the Dardanelles peninsula was taken on December 14th of the same year. Of 163,000 troops, 21,882 had been killed. A number of the Motor Surgical Cars, the mobile operating theatres, had been employed to the limited extent that the conditions allowed. After the decision was taken to end the abortive storming of the Dardanelles, Gallipoli was evacuated in January 1916. The Field Ambulance left with the remainder of the force and became part of the new Egyptian Expeditionary Force (EEF) in Cairo

The photographs in this album show the Scottish Horse Mounted Brigade Field Ambulance on the beach at Suvla on the Gallipoli Peninsula as surgical support for the Suvla offensive. Depicted are the tented quarters of the Field Ambulance; an operating hut with surgical operating car annexed; Wade’s operating theatre made of shell cases; parts of a Casualty Clearing Station; the battlefields of X and Y beaches; and the Welsh Field Ambulance.

Also shown are members of army nursing staff and Voluntary Aid Detachment (VAD) nurses taken by Wade while he was a patient in Giza after the evacuation of Gallipoli. Wade was suffering from dysentery or malaria, probably contracted on the four-day voyage from Suvla Bay to Egypt, where Wade sailed with the Egyptian Expeditionary Force. The hospital depicted is the Red Cross military hospital at Giza (El Giza) on the outskirts of Cairo. From here he was sent home by hospital ship for a period of sick leave late 1915/early 1916.