Mr Midshipman VC by Quentin Falk

Mr Midshipman VC by Quentin Falk

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3.5
'They were not rated too young to teach,
nor reckoned unfit to guide
When they formed their class on Helles' beach
at the bows of the "River Clyde"'

Kipling, 'The Scholars'

'You may be in charge of this army, Sir, but I am in charge of this boat' Midshipman at Gallipoli (apocryphal)

This is the personal story of Lt George Drewry VC RNR (1894-1918), recovered by the author from a variety of sources. As a midshipman, Drewry was awarded the VC for his exceptional devotion to duty during the landings at Suvla Bay on April 25 1915 and the main part of the story, well told, covers this and his further adventures during a later additional landing that August. Drewry died in August 1918 from an equipment accident shortly after being given command of a minesweeping trawler stationed in Scapa Flow.

In the process we meet the Drewry family and there is a chapter on his brother's experience as an engineer officer at Jutland. The author situates Drewry in the relevant strategic and tactical background, and backs up the unavoidably sketchy direct narrative with quotations from contemporary letters and accounts.

The focus on the detail of the chaos and wanton slaughter at Suvla is a contrast to most accounts that concentrate on the higher direction of this shambles and highlights the heroism and sacrifice of this doomed expedition.

The IWM diorama of all this is apparently removed to storage and the Drewrys' parish church. with its the memorial windows, apparently faces 'redevelopment'. Lest we forget!

An odd omission from the bibliography is Michael Mortlock's 'The Landings at Suvla Bay' (2007)

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