Helles - Twelve Tree Copse Cemetery

The Gallipoli Houses





Geoghegan's Bluff plot in Twelve Tree Copse

The cemetery was named after a group of pines which were somewhat south of the present cemetery and the area was named by the 86th and 87th Brigades who reached it on 28th April.  The original trees were destroyed by shellfire, their stumps used to reinforce trenches, but twelve pine trees have been planted in the cemetery to represent them.
 "Gallipoli Battlefield Guide", (Barnsley 2000), Tonie & Valmai Holt, p. 73




the Gallipoli houses



memorials and cemeteries in gallipoliLooking from Twelve Tree Copse Cemetery towards the vineyard

While helping Moonie to dig his dug-out Gunner Richardson was unfortunately to stop a bullet in the side,  he died within half an hour, just as the doctor arrived ... We have got used to this now and apart from being sorry that another of our mates has had  to leave us, these scenes affect us but little. His wound is bound, his disc taken off, his uniform placed over him after all papers etc. have been taken out, he is then wrapped up in his blanket and

Twelve Tree Copse Cemetery


Twelve Tree Copse Cemetery in Helles


back to if stones could speak


 pinned in. He lies just a little way off the main track along the cliff for all to see.  The Minister arrives, we were fortunate in being able to get one on this occasion, we desert the guns for a few minutes and crawl along to the shallow grave dug earlier in the day by volunteers, to pay our respects to the dead.  We have to lie or sit under cover so that the enemy may not “spot” us and let fly.  We gather round the grave, his own puttees are used to lower him into his last resting place.  The Chaplain speaks, all’s over.

Gunner R.J. Wait (3rd NZA) quoted in
"Gallipoli, The New Zealand Story", (Auckland 1998),  Christopher Pugsley, p. 203-204

Gunner Basil Herbert Richardson




Scott-Moncrieff was 57 years old.  He had been commissioned in 1878 and saw his first active service in the Zulu war of 1978.  After transferring to the Cameronians he served in South Africa and was seriously lamed by a wound incurred at Spionkop in 1899. 









"Geoghegan's Bluff and cemetery in October 1915", picture reproduced from "Gully Ravine-Gallipoli", (Barnsley 2003), Steven Chambers, p. 179


Lieutenant-Colonel John Boyd Wilson

Brigadier-General William Scott-Moncrieff

For most conspicuous bravery. He (*) was in the act of throwing a grenade when it slipped from his hand and fell to the bottom of the trench, close to several of our officers and men. He immediately shouted out a warning, and himself jumped clear and into safety, but seeing that the officers and men were unable to get into cover, and knowing well that the grenade was due to






Second-Lieutenant Victor Alfred Smith

Twelve Tree Copse Cemetery

 In this unfortunate case, both medical and legal considerations are shown to be inadequate and illegal, particularly when the desperate soldier sought medical help, only to have the doctor turn prosecution witness. Then the Judge-Advocate General's department failed to quash the irregular proceedings. Sentence of death was promulgated on Sergeant Robins on New Year's day 1916, and at 8 am the following morning the execution took place on the beach at Cape Helles. (*)

"Shot at Dawn", (
Barnsley 1996), J. Putkowski & J. Sykes, p. 61-62

(*) Sergeant Robins was executed, not at Cape Helles but 400 yards north of the Gully Ravine mouth

The victim, Sergeant John Robins, was a regular soldier who landed at Gallipoli as a corporal at the end of June 1915. In the early hours of 10 August his battalion - 5 Wiltshires - suffered a disaster when, without warning, they were overrun by the Turks while the men were sleeping in their bivouacs. In the ensuing panic, those men who managed to flee left without their equipment, a situation that


For the rest of his days he had to use a stick, but this did not deter him from an active life and he was proud to command the brigade in which two territorial battalions of his own regiment, the Scottish Riffles, were serving.  He now knew where his duty lay. Summoning up the reserve battalion, he and its commanding officer, Lieutenant-Colonel John Boyd Wilson, led it in two successive waves unflinchingly over the parapet just after 1 pm, top certain death.  Neither of these two officers had advanced more than a few yards before they were killed, and the battalion, still facing the enemy lines, disintegrated around their bodies.

Gallipoli", (London 2000), Michael Hickey, p. 221



act of self-sacrifice undoubtedly saved many lives.

e "London Gazette," 3rd March 1916.

Alfred Victor Smith

Sergeant John Robins


 explode, he retur-ned without any hesitation and flung himself down on it. He was instantly killed by the explo-sion. His magnificent



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compounded  heir predicament when they found themselves trapped in a gully with no means of defense. Nearly four months later, and after his promotion to sergeant, Robins found himself on trial for his life.
The fatal incident had occurred when the NCO had been ordered to accompany an officer on a patrol. Robins maintained that he was unwell and had
refused to go. In consequence the sergeant had been ordered to report to the medical officer. After examining the soldier, the doctor prescribed some medicine and returned him to duty. However Sergeant Robins maintained that he was still unwell, and he refused to accompany the officer on the patrol. On 8 December Sergeant Robins was tried on a charge of 'Willfully disobeyingan order given by a superior officer in the execution of his duty'. The NCO still maintained however that he had been unfit for duty, and he
related to the court that since serving in India he had suffered from fits which were aggravated by wet weather. Whatever the cause of the sergeant's debility, his battalion's diary showed that during the month of December, 25% of the battalion's strength. was on the sick list adding weight to the likelihood that Robins was also unwell. At the court martial hearing the doctor who had examined Robins did not give evidence, instead he submitted a written statement. The outcome of this fiasco was, that notwithstanding that the witness could not be cross-examined, this written deposition was improperly admitted as evidence.



Last updated : 04/03/08

Extracts from the Kings' Own Scottish Borderers in the great war indicates the gallant spirit and bravery of some of those who took part :

Lieutenant Cheatle stood with bleeding head cheering on the men untill he was killed.

Captain Antrobus shook hands with his comrades,

and led them in the final recapture of the line, to fall when he reached it.

Captain Marrow, Adjudant -shot in the head whilst speaking to Major MCAlester, the Commanding Officer.  His head was shattered and he fell dead over the commanding officer.

"Helles Landing-Gallipoli", (Barnsley-2003), Huw & Jill Rodge, p.142.