Some information on this website may be out-of-date following the death of Queen Elizabeth.

A reading by Prince Harry from a letter written by an unidentified member of the Canterbury Mounted Rifles, 17 August 1915

Published 25 April 2015

Forty per cent of us on that hill were hit that night.

The Duke of Sussex

Extract from a letter written by an unidentified member of the Canterbury Mounted Rifles, 17 August 1915

We have just come through a big battle, in which our Army has gained a good deal of ground, but the price was heavy. We had the honour of opening the attack by rushing a series of Turkish trenches with the bayonet in the dark, on the night of August 6th.

Poor Bob Lusk and Frank Jarman, in my section, were both killed.

Jarman fell in the first burst of fire from the machine-gun on the ridge we were attacking.

Poor Frank, he got a very short run for his money. We found Bob Lusk the next morning, dead, with his wire cutters in his hand right at the muzzle of the gun, which, of course, was taken, and a good few Turks were lying bayoneted here.

It was about here I got separated from Jim Orr. A party of us, under our troop officer, worked our way up to the spur called Bauchop's Hill, meeting several small batches of Turks on the way, who were given very short shift.

It was deadly work in the dark with the bayonet. We didn't fire a shot until we reached the top.

About half-way up the spur we were joined by a small party of the Otago Mounted Rifles, under Colonel Bauchop himself, and we continued to clear out the enemy's trenches until we reached the top ... it was a terrible night we spent on the plateau, fired on from all sides, and listening to the attack waxing and waning behind us and away on our left rear.

Colonel Bauchop was the life and soul of us that night. He was here, there, and everywhere where danger threatened most. He took great risks, and exposed himself continuously, walking about the plateau. He asked for a volunteer to hold a place a little down a spur, and I said I would go. He asked my name and remembered me.

Two of our fellows went with me, but we were shortly recalled without incident.  He shifted me about a good bit that night.

The Turks crept up close all round us, and made several half-hearted attempts to drive us out. About dawn poor Colonel Bauchop was badly hit. Forty per cent of us on that hill were hit that night.

Poor young Way was lying just on my right when he was hit in the stomach, and Reg Atkinson was lying on my left talking to me when he got two bullets in the hand and wrist. I consider I was awfully lucky to get off without a scratch. I remained on that hill for the rest of the following day.

Shortly after daylight on Bauchop Hill I was bandaging up an Otago man, who was hit through the thigh, and when I was doing it the poor beggar got another through the knee of the same leg.

The snipers in this broken, scrubby country are hell.

Yesterday I was sent out to do some sniping at the enemy, who were getting water from a well 200 yards away. I took poor Jim Orr with me, and we went back to our supports and were going to make a detour from there. We went down a little gully for about 150 yards from the bivouacs and decided to leave our heavy gear there. Orr got his off first, and said he would just take a peep over the ridge to see what the country was like. He had only gone a few yards when a shot rang out on our left rear and poor old Jim fell shot through the heart. I ran up to him and carried him into cover.

He never spoke, except to say, "I’m done, old chap," and died quietly in my arms in about three minutes.