Who's Who - Sir Frederick Stopford

Sir Frederick William Stopford (1854-1929) served on the Gallipoli Front in 1915 and was tasked with command of the failed attack launched from Suvla Bay in August 1915.

Stopford's military career was already drawing to its close when the First World War began in August 1914.  He acted out the first few months of the war as Lieutenant of the Tower of London, a ceremonial posting well-suited to the somewhat elderly Stopford.

His next appointment however was stark in contrast.  He was despatched by war minister Lord Kitchener to the Gallipoli peninsula, there to serve under Commander-in-Chief Sir Ian Hamilton.  Given Stopford's background in predominantly staff positions the decision to hand him active command of IX Corps in June 1915 at Suvla Bay was startling.

It was Stopford who was charged with breaking the deadlock at Gallipoli by leading an attack from Suvla Bay upon the heights around the peninsula.  Lacking energy and suffering from ill-health Stopford's long-distance command (from an off-shore battleship) was found entirely wanting in direction and focus.

Thus the attack which began on 6 August 1915 quickly became bogged down, in spite of initial success.  Had a more able and active commander held command it is at least possible (if not probable) that a breakthrough may have been achieved.  In the event Stopford's obvious failure resulted in his being sent home to England in mid-August.

He died in 1929.

'White Star' was a German mixture of chlorine and phosgene gas, so-named on account of the identification marking painted on the delivery shell casing.

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