HERBERT WHALLEY 

Rank: Private
Service Number: 1531.
Regiment: 1/7th Bn. Cheshire Regiment Killed In Action Friday 13th August 1915 Age 19County Memorial Congleton
Commemorated\Buried HELLES MEMORIAL
Grave\Panel Ref: Panel 75 to 77.
Turkey (including Gallipoli)

Son of Mr. Joseph Emmanuel Whalley and Mrs Alice Whalley of 20, Gibralter Rocks, and 43, Wallworth Bank, Congleton, Cheshire. He had four sisters, Minnie, Olive, Jane and Alice, along with five brothers, George, James, Joseph, Reginald and Harry. His sister Minnie was married to Frank Stubbs who was killed in action on the 23rd July 1918.

Prior to enlistment, he was employed as a Fustian Cutter. Pre-War he served in the Territorials with the 1/7th Cheshire Regiment.

On the 2nd of July 1915, orders arrived to re-equip for service in the Mediterranean and on the 14th they sailed from Devonport to Alexandria and made a landing at Suvla Bay, Gallipoli on the 9th of August 1915. The Regimental History states, " After landing the troops did not know where they were until a case of maps were found and disclosed they were at Suvla Bay, the military situation at this juncture beggar’s description, two Divisions had landed earlier and had been severely mauled by the enemy and poorly directed. Commanders, Staff Officers and men, all showed signs of having reached the limits of endurance, they realised the conditions in which they had to go into battle. They had no ammunition, except what they carried, no transport, no artillery. It seemed incredible. Captain Arthur Crookenden of the regiment went up the hill to see the state of affairs. He saw the Salt Lake covered with wounded men coming back to the beach. He told the G.O.C., that the Brigade could capture the distant objective if an hour’s lull was granted for a talk with his officers with map and compass on the top of Lala Baba. But no! Hurry was the order of the day. He objected and was threatened with arrest and was given a verbal order to send two Battalions "to report to General---- in the bush, he refused the order, and the G.S.O. himself took it to General Cowans. However, the 7th Battalion at length received orders to advance against a distant point when the only obvious fact was that it was strongly held and had already held up the rest of the troops in that neighbourhood. Night fell with three Battalions of the Brigade "lost". The order by which the Brigade was placed under the 11th Division on this day must be recorded". The 53rd Division is placed under 11th Division and can be used in such way that is possible to re assemble them in the evening" Comment is needless. The Brigade Major spent the night trying to find his missing Battalions and only succeeding in finding part of the 7th Battalion. On reaching Brigade H.Q. about 03:00 hours on the 10th of August, he found an order had arrived for an attack at 06:00 hours, which involved leap frogging by a Brigade which had last been seen in Bedford. It was pitch dark, they had no transport of any sort, no arrangements for ammunition supply, no medical arrangements except the doctor's haversacks, no tools, no food, no water, nothing but what they stood up in and a few boxes of ammunition carried by the men. There was no artillery. At 06 00 hours portions of the 7th Battalion, followed by the 4th Welsh, advanced a few hundred yards, until they reached a trench full of various Brigades and Corps. Here all halted, and nothing would make them face the steady stream of bullets which swept over their heads. A machine gun in Sulajik Farm fired uselessly in the general direction of the Turks, but otherwise the troops seemed dazed and at the end of their tether, as indeed most were. During the afternoon an order from the beach directed a general advance at 17:00 hours. It was obeyed by a few brave men of the 159th Brigade led by their Commander, General Cowans. But these were soon killed, or wounded and left to perish in the bush, which was by now burning fiercely. The survivors reached a bank some 200 yards ahead, from which they were driven by a counter attack, while the men in the packed trenches looked on. Water was short but available. There were wells in many places, but all were under fire and needed earthworks to protect the users. But the 53rd Division had no tools and it is likely that the other Divisions had none neither. The whole action was a nightmare of indecision starting at the top and spreading its evil effects through all ranks. The opposition was not negligible, but even without artillery support it was within the capacity of a combined effort by well led troops to overcome. The 7th Battalion lost 9 Officers wounded, 2 missing, 18 men killed, 145 wounded and 286 missing. Amongst those killed on the 13th of August were Private Herbert Whalley and Sergeant George Arthur Gallimore, Private Joseph Taylor, Private Thomas Ridgway who died of wounds on the 10th of August and Private Arthur Hassall and Private John Etchells were killed on the 9th of August 1915.

Extract from the Congleton Chronicle 1915.

He met his death at the hands of the Turks at the Dardanelles in the course of the operation following the new landings at Suvla Bay. He was one of the 1/7TH Cheshire's who stood the terrifying ordeal like hardened campaigners. In his last letter to his parents, written on board the troopship, Private Herbert Whalley, of the 1/7th Battalion, the Cheshire Regiment, whose death was recorded in our last impression, speaks of the fine voyage they were having, the sea for the most part being calm and placid. He describes incidents of the voyage and the places they called at "to coal". The size of the transport particularly seemed to impress him. The only thing that seemed to trouble him was the excessive heat, adding that It is just like being in an oven you seem to get in a different climate every day that passes. There are 4000 troops on the ship, so you can guess it is no small one. We are exempt from drill and we have prayer every morning. I am sitting on the deck as I write these few lines looking out for submarines, but we never see any. He concludes his letter by assuring those at home that he is "All Right " and that they must not upset themselves on his account. In all his letters home he reiterates the assurance that he is "All right " his one thought being of home. It was on Wakes Monday the 16th of August that Major Reade, away on the Gallipoli Peninsula penned the lines that told Mr. and Mrs. Whalley that their son had joined the Great Majority. The message ran,

I take advantage of a very few minutes to sympathise with you on the loss of your son, Private H. Whalley. His conduct had been exemplary, and his death was that of a good soldier.

Yours Sincerely, Major William P. Reade.


Cheshire County Memorial Project would like to thank John and Christopher Pullen for this research on Herbert.