Naval Intelligence Division

Information sent to Rear-Admiral John de Robeck (formerly Naval Commander at the Dardanelles) by the Naval Intelligence Division, 1917.

Reference: De Robeck Papers, DRBK 4/19. Crown copyright.

” I start off with information I recently got from a Frenchman, called Girand . . . it was evident by his credentials that he was thoroughly cognisant of Turkish policy. I took notes and this was the gist of them for what they are worth.

The Dardanelles operations hit the Turks very hard. They never expected we could land. Had there been no previous warning by bombardments, but a joint operation with 50,000 men we would have taken Gallipoli easily. The Turks had the greatest opinion of the rank and file especially after Suvla. That if the evacuation had not taken place when it did, the heavy guns that were being placed would have rendered ships’ positions untenable, and the holding on to the fringe of the Peninsula impossible. Also a Bulgarian army was getting ready to assist the Turks if required. The evacuation was a complete surprise and caused their highest admiration. The Turks regarded the Dardanelles as a good clean fight, and naval gun fire as deadly.”