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The Dardanelles Commission - Background Info.

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Mal Murray View Drop Down
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    Posted: 15 Nov 2011 at 19:59

Dardanelles Commission

 
 
The Dardanelles Commission was an investigation into the disastrous 1915 Dardanelles Campaign. It was set up under the Special Commissions (Dardanelles and Mesopotamia) Act 1916.

Winston Churchill had been largely blamed for the failures of the British forces during the campaign since as First Lord of the Admiralty he had been responsible for instigating the plan and obtaining Cabinet approval to carry it out. Churchill had been forced to resign as First Lord when the First Sea Lord (most senior admiral)Lord Fisher himself resigned because of escalating disagreements between himself and Churchill in May 1915. Churchill continued as part of the Dardanelles Committee (the war cabinet) which administered the campaign in the capacity of Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, but was obliged to resign from this post also in November 1915. For a time he took up a position as a battalion commander on the Western Front (while remaining a member of parliament). He returned to parliament in 1916, where he attempted to rehabilitate his reputation, when the battalion was amalgamated with another.

Churchill sought to obtain the release of government papers which he felt would vindicate his own actions. In May Bonar Law had indicated on behalf of the prime minister that this might be possible, but by June the prime minister Asquith had decided it could not be done. Matters were complicated by the death of general Kitchener, who had been Secretary of State for War, on 6 June 1916. Instead, Asquith agreed to the setting up of a Commission of Enquiry into the affair, which was announced 18 July 1916. The Earl of Cromer, who was known to Churchill, was to be the chairman. Churchill anticipated that he would be able to attend meetings of the commission, but in the event these were held in secret. Instead he had to be content with giving evidence himself in September, and arranging for other witnesses he felt important to be heard by the commission. [1]

Kitchener was portrayed as a national hero following his drowning in the north sea on a trip to Russia. This meant that it became part of the good conduct of the war for those involved not to tarnish his reputation. This restricted the information both Churchill and Sir Ian Hamilton (the general in command in the Dardanelles) felt they could give to the tribunal. [2][3]

Witnesses of those involved in the expedition were interviewed, with its final report issued in 1919. It concluded that the expedition was poorly planned and executed and that difficulties had been underestimated, problems which were exacerbated by supply shortages and by personality clashes and procrastination at high levels.

The report is not seen as having had any measurable further impact on people's careers.[4][5][6]

Appointees

The following were appointed[7]

References

  1. ^ Jenkins p.313-315
  2. ^ Jenkins p. 314
  3. ^ Carlyon p. 541
  4. ^ First Word War.com
  5. ^ First Word War.com "Battles: The Gallipoli Front - An Overview". Firstworldwar.com. 18 August 2002. http://www.firstworldwar.com/battles/overview_gf.htm First Word War.com. Retrieved 30 August 2007. 
  6. ^ Fisher, Mackensie; Cawley; Clyde; Gwynn; May; Nicholson, Lord; Pickford; Roch (February 1917). "First report (of the Dardanelles Commission) (Abstract)". British Official Publications Collaborative Reader Information Service. Archived from the original on 27 September 2007. http://replay.web.archive.org/20070927004655/http://www.bopcris.ac.uk/bopall/ref7720.html. Retrieved 12 May 2011. 
  7. ^ From: 'Appendix 1', Office-Holders in Modern Britain: Volume 10: Officials of Royal Commissions of Inquiry 1870-1939 (1995), pp. 85-8. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.asp?compid=16611. Date accessed: 12 August 2007.
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MichaelBully View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote MichaelBully Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 19 Aug 2012 at 17:00
Interesting - looking at the line
 
" Kitchener was portrayed as a national hero following his drowning in the north sea on a trip to Russia. This meant that it became part of the good conduct of the war for those involved not to tarnish his reputation. "
For an alternative view, it's worth consulting 'Kitchener's War- British Strategy from 1914 To 1916' by George H.Cassar., Chapter 7 'Drawn into the Dardanelles Vortex'. This writer claims that Winston Churchill was trying to shift the blame of the failure of the Campaign on to Lord Kitchener-
"There is no better scapegoat than a dead one "
Regards , Michael Bully
The Ancient Sages said, 'Do not despise the snake for having no horns, for who is to say it will not become a dragon'.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote MichaelBully Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21 Aug 2012 at 20:47
...From reading  'Winston S. Churchill' Volume III 1914-1916 by Martin Gilbert
It seems that following Lord Kitchener's death, a quarel broke out between Winston Churchill and Sir George Arthur , Kitchener's private secretary, in respect of the Dardanelles Commission.
Arthur had made a statement to the Dardanelles Commission in which he maintained that Churchill , as First Lord of the Admirality, had invited Lord Kitchener to a conference concerning the Dardanelles. Kitchener allegedly
"Protested vigorously against such an undertaking by the Navy without very strong and very careful support from & co-operation with the Army "  (page 817)
Winston Churchill cast doubt that such a confence had taken place, or that Lord Kitchener had expressed such a view.
The Ancient Sages said, 'Do not despise the snake for having no horns, for who is to say it will not become a dragon'.
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