Today, Wednesday 10 March, a War Council meeting was held at which Kitchener announced that he would now send his last Regular Army division, the 29th, comprising about 15,000 men, to the Mediterranean to join the forces being despatched from Egypt (see my posts of 16 and 19 February). The idea seems still to have been that, with its Russian allies, this force would take Constantinople, not fight its way up the Gallipoli Peninsula. Churchill told the War Council that he still believed the East Mediterranean Fleet could get through the Straits (‘take’ the peninsula?) without the army’s help.
Kitchener now decided to appoint General Sir Ian Hamilton as Commander-in-Chief of the Anglo-French military force in the East Mediterranean. Hamilton, who may well have been distantly related to Kittie Calderon, was a hero of the Boer War, a forward-thinking general, and a popular choice. But he was now sixty-two. A Liberal, classicist, fluent writer of prose and poetry, he was considered by the prime minister, Asquith, to have ‘too much feather in his brain’.
Next entry: The Battle of Neuve Chapelle