ONE hundred years ago, on August 6, 1915, the Worcestershire Regiment lost one of the largest numbers of men in a single day it suffered throughout the entire First World War.

Even by the brutal standards of the Gallipoli Campaign, the Battle of Krithia Vineyard was a slaughterhouse. Ironically it had only been intended as a minor diversionary tactic at Helles to draw attention away from a planned landing at Suvla, but it developed into a series of futile and bloody attacks which in the end gained only a small patch of ground known as The Vineyard.

In the thick of the action was the Worcestershire Regiment's 4th Battalion, which launched an attack on the Turkish trenches just after 3.30 in the afternoon. More than 300 yards of No Man's Land separated the two front lines and crossing it the battalion took terrible casualties. The leading waves were cut down by machine gun fire from front and both flanks and very few unwounded men of the Worcestershire reached the enemy's trenches. Those that did were attacked by large numbers of Turks. At the end of an hour's fighting the only British still holding out in this part of the line were 30 men led by a sergeant. Just 12 survivors withdrew to their original line after midnight.

The regimental war diaries record: "At 3.40pm the first line went over the parapet, followed almost immediately by the second. The fourth line entered the trench to assist the third line over the parapet. The first line had now covered about 200 yards, but was already thinned considerably on the left by machine gun fire notwithstanding the haze of dust which partially obscured them. Many men now forced to stop for breath and when they again advanced came under a heavy enfilade fire.

"The second line suffered terribly from machine gun fire when about half way across and only isolated groups reached the slope to the Turkish trenches. The third and fourth lines encountered a murderous machine gun and shell fire immediately they left the trench and though none turned back, only a small section in dead ground on the right succeeded in getting more than 50 yards from our trench. On the extreme right our men were enfiladed by a terrible machine gun fire, which increased in intensity when the attack on our left failed, and the only survivors from this flank were those who were hit on leaving the trench and fell or scrambled back.

"Detached parties of the first and second line had entered the enemy’s trench and thrown the tin disc over the back parapet to show the sections occupied. On the right a continuous stretch of 30 or 40 yards was occupied by about 30 men and one sergeant. The attack on both flanks had failed and the only approach was across the open. It was owing to the failure of these attacks that our men were subjected to a terrible enfilade machine gun fire, which was continuing even after the last line had nearly all been shot down, being brought to bear together with shrapnel on the groups of wounded until scarcely a man was left alive.

"At dark an officer’s patrol went out to try and locate the sections of trench ‘H13’ occupied by our men but after one hour's thorough reconnaissance were convinced that the whole trench was now in the hands of the Turkish. Many wounded men brought in during the night and at dawn the battalion returned to Gully Beach for reorganisation, having lost in the attack 16 officers and 752 other ranks.”

It had started the day with 24 officers and 800 other ranks.