20 January 1916

Winston S. Churchill to Lord Kitchener 20 January 1915 Admiralty Secret


My Dear Kitchener,

Until the bombardment of the Dardanelles forts has actually begun, we cannot tell how things will go. We must guard against the appearance of a serious rebuff: and we shall therefore at the outset only use the battleships needed for the initial stage, keeping the rest of the fleet spread between Malta, Alexandria, and Alexandretta, whence they can concentrate very quickly. It is also very desirable that the Alexandretta operation should be so timed as to be practically simultaneous with the attack on the Dardanelles, so that if we are checked at the Dardanelles, we can represent that operation as a mere demonstration to cover the seizure of Alexandretta. I believe this aspect is important from an oriental point of view.

Could you therefore arrange this and let me have your Alexandretta dates? We are aiming for the 15th February for opening fire on the Dardanelles.

Yours sincerely


P.S. I am sending a copy of this letter to the Prime Minister to keep him informed.

from Winston S. Churchill by Martin Gilbert, Vol.III, Companion Part I, Documents July 1914-April 1915, published by Heineman, London, 1972]