On 17 April 1915, the British ship “Manitou”, carrying 147th Brigade of the Royal Field Artillery and the transport section of the 2nd Battalion of the South Wales Borderers, was approached by the Ottoman Turkish boat “Dhair Hissar”. It was positioned between Skyros and Chios, some ten miles off Skyros, and was on its way from Alexandria to Lemnos, the forward island base for forthcoming operations at Gallipoli.
Contemporary reports suggest that “Dhair Hissar” gave the “Manitou” eight minutes to abandon ship before it fired torpedoes to sink it. It is said that three were eventually fired but all missed. On abandoning ship, two of the “Manitou”s life boats were lost with heavy loss of life. One is reported to have capsized and the other to have fallen into the sea when its davit crane collapsed. HMS “Dartmouth” and HMS “Minerva” reportedly chased the “Dhair Hissar” off, and survivors were picked up by HMS “Doris”.
147th Brigade RFA had been billeted at Milverton in Leamington Spa before proceeding to the Mediterranean. It was one of four brigades under command of 29th Division, which would famously make the initial landing at Cape Helles, Gallipoli, on 25 April 1915. The 2nd South Wales Borderers was part of the same division. It was an ominous start to the division’s campaign.
Sadly, the war diary of 147th Brigade was not started until October 1915 but this is due to the fact that its batteries were landed and fought as separate units in the first weeks of the Gallipoli campaign. The brigade was comprised of numbers 10, 97, 368 and 460 (Howitzer) Batteries and the Brigade Ammunition Column.
The “Leamington Spa Courier” reported the casualty list as follows:
All of the dead are commemorated at the Helles Memorial at Gallipoli.
The table below presents the data held by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission and is based on accessing their database on 2 February 2018.
|Battery Quartermaster Serjeant||'10637'||COOPER||EDWARD WILLIAM||30||10 Battery||Son of Thomas and Teresa Cooper, of Cork; husband of Florence E. Herbert (formerly Cooper), of 16, Chester St., Reading.|
|Driver||'34471'||PIDDINGTON||WILLIAM FREDERICK THOMAS||34||10 Battery||Son of the late William and Mary Ann Piddington; husband of Edith Mary Piddington, of West St., Dunster, Taunton.|
|Serjeant||'17060'||LIMMEX||CHARLES HENRY||33||368 Battery||Son of the late John and Sarah Ann Limmex.|
|Acting Bombardier||'48407'||MARTIN||WILLIAM HENRY||368 Battery|
|Gunner||'55348'||MULHERNS||PAUL||25||368 Battery||Son of the late William and Norah Mulherns.|
|Gunner||'49793'||PATRICK||ARTHUR ROLAND||24||368 Battery||Son of Louis and Annie Patrick, of 47, Great King St., Hockley, Birmingham.|
|Gunner||'58260'||WOODTHORPE||ARTHUR||368 Battery||Son of Richard Woodthorpe, of 52, Castle Avenue, Canklow Rd., Rotherham.|
|Driver||'23252'||BANCROFT||REGINALD||32||97 Battery||Son of Thomas and Mary Bancroft, of 3, Frome Rd., Bradford-on-Avon; husband of Marjory Bancroft.|
|Gunner||'25160'||BAYNE||JAMES DUNCAN||38||97 Battery||Son of the late Alexander and Margaret Bayne; husband of Ethel Kate Bayne, of Brimmer's Cottage, Princes Risboro', Bucks.|
|Driver||'80821'||CLARK||JAMES||22||Ammunition Column||Son of James and Annie Clark, of 42, Upper Bridge St., Stirling.|
|Shoeing Smith||'11643'||PITTMAN||WALTER WILLIAM||30||Ammunition Column||Husband of Edith Amelia Pittman, of 14, Lower Quay St., Gloucester.|
|Driver||'84322'||RANDALL||WILLIAM HENRY||Ammunition Column|
|Driver||'43755'||SHEPHERD||JOHN HALL||34||Ammunition Column||Husband of Alice Maude H. Shepherd, of 20, Sun St., Stanningley, Leeds.|
|Shoeing Smith Corporal||'58913'||TETLOW||JOHN||25||Ammunition Column||Son of Mrs. Tetlow, of 46, Llanover Rd., Plumstead, London.|
|Gunner||'56064'||BARNES||JACK||23||Son of Thomas Clark Barnes; husband of Gladys Minnie Shone (formerly Barnes), of 460. Elphinston Rd., Kirkee, Poona, Bombay, India.|
|Gunner||'6752'||BRYAN||WILLIAM||21||Son of Mrs. Mary Bryan, of 60, Geil's Avenue, Dumbarton.|
|Driver||'86232'||CREER||ALFRED||37||Husband of Annie Creer, of 43, Byron St., Preston.|
|Driver||'30967'||DEAN||FREDERICK WILLIAM||22||Son of Thomas and Lucy Dean, of 66, Elsa St., Limehouse, London.|
|Gunner||'50263'||DORAN||HENRY||25||Son of Henry and Ann G. Doran, of 18, St. Mary Place, Dundee.|
|Driver||'56007'||EVANS||ROLAND||19||Son of Mrs. H. A. Evans, of 60, Union Rd., Hurst, Ashton-under-Lyne.|
|Driver||'60300'||LAW||EDMUND||19||Son of Mr. and Mrs. Law, of 92, Stewart St., Cubitt Town London.|
|Driver||'30757'||LOCKE||WILLIAM||31||Son of William and Rebecca Locke; husband of Ellen Locke, of 84, Fitzalan St., Kennington Rd., London.|
|Driver||'35956'||MUSGRAVE||JOSEPH WILLIAM||44||Son of the late Thomas and Helen Musgrave; husband of Annie Musgrave, of 20, Harold Place, Burley, Leeds. Born at York. Served eight years in India.|
|Driver||'78135'||PETTIT||HERBERT||20||Son of John and Eliza Pettit, of Hadham Cross, Much Hadham, Herts.|
|Gunner||'60904'||WALLACE||PATRICK JOSEPH||25||Son of Edward and Sarah Wallace, of 3, West Watergate, Limerick, Ireland.|
Private 9983 Henry Hogg of the 2nd South Wales Borderers also lost his life. His comrade Lance Corporal 9576 Ernest Frost, listing as missing, survived. It was discovered that he had been picked up by a tug and had been taken to hospital in Malta.