By an Officer of the 4th Hants.
“The fighting on the 21st was a pure slaughter. It was too awful....
“The troops from France say that in all their experience there they never suffered so much from weather conditions.
“We were wet to the skin and there was a bitter wind coming off the snow hills. Many poor fellows died from exposure that night, I am afraid; and many of the wounded were lying out for more than twenty-four hours until the armistice was arranged the following day.”
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Another written down from a Private’s account.
“The three Companies of Hampshires were in support, with two native Regiments, and a Battalion of Connaught Rangers. The Black Watch and Seaforths were in the firing line. The Hants men were next the river. The two native Regiments refused to leave their trenches when they saw the fierce fire from the machine guns. The Connaughts were fighting further off. So the Hampshire men were obliged to go on alone. ’We never made a rush, and just walked slowly through the rain. A slow march to our deaths, I call it.’”
He then said they had got mixed up with the Black Watch and got into the first Turkish trench, but had been driven out of it again. He saw Capt. Palmer fall about 200 yards from the trench but did not see whether he got up again, or where he was wounded.
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10th August, 1916.
DEAR LADY SELBORNE,
I have just received a letter from 2nd Lt. C.H. Vernon, 1/4 Hants (really 2/7 Hants attached) recording his search for my son’s body on the 7th April, 1916, its discovery (as he believes) and its burial. He also adds that “at the same time he looked for Capt. Palmer’s, but could not find him. It was afterwards that he heard of his death in the Turkish Camp,” and he adds, “Some stories have come through from survivors as to how he lost his life. As far as we can gather, he was the only Hants officer actually to penetrate the Turkish trenches with a few men. That was on the extreme left close to the river. Our men, however, had not been supplied by the Indian Government with bombs. Consequently the Turks, being so provided, bombed them out, and only one or two men escaped capture or death. It was here that Capt. Palmer was mortally wounded while trying to rally his men to hold the captured sector.”
I think you may like to have this extract about your gallant son.
(Signed) J.T. BUCKNILL.
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42, PALL MALL,
8th March, 1916.