1. Memorial:Helles MemorialPanel 84 to 92 or 220 to 222.
2. Book:The (1921) Masonic Roll of Honour 1914-1918Pg.127
3. Memorial:The (1940) Scroll - WW1 Roll of Honour32B GQS

Awards & Titles:


Family :

Son of the late Stephen L. and Mrs. Koe; husband of Fanny Gwendoline Stephenson (formerly Koe), of East Woodhay House, Newbury, Berks.

Military :


Unit :1/King's Own Scottish Borderers 
Attached : 
Action :Gallipoli 

Served on the North West Frontier of India, and Tirah Chitral Campaigns.

Detail :

ARCHIBALD STEPHEN KOE LIEUTENANT COLONEL, 1/KINGS OWN SCOTTISH BORDERERS Lieutenant Colonel Archibald Stephen Koe, 1st KOSB, died of wounds 26th April 1915 on his fiftieth birthday. He has no known grave, and is commemorated on the Helles Memorial at Gallipoli. Archibald Stephen Koe was the son of the late Stephen and Mrs. Koe and husband of Fanny Gwendoline, of East Woodhay House, Newbury, Berks. Koe had entered the army in 1886, and served in numerous small campaigns during the late Victorian period. He had served on the North West Frontier of India, and the Tirah Chitral Campaigns. He was commanding the battalion by 1913. Wounded during the defence of Y Beach, Koe died on board ship and was buried at sea. On the outbreak of the war the 1st battalion KOSB was on duty at Lucknow in India and sailed from Bombay on 2nd November 1914. They arrived in Plymouth just after Christmas, under the command of Lieutenant Colonel A S Koe. They joined the 29th Division, and sailed for Egypt arriving on 30th March. By 25th April they were ashore at Gallipoli and engaged in some of the heaviest fighting in that theatre. Before the week was out, 296 of the 1st battalion had been killed including Lt Colonel Koe. What distinguishes the landings at Y Beach Gallipoli is the number of wasted opportunities. 2,000 men were safely disembarked without a hitch and without a shot being fired; they were equal in number to all the Turkish forces south of Achi Baba, and for some eleven hours they were left unmolested by the enemy. Yet these advantages and initial successes remained unexploited. The purpose of the landing on Y Beach was to assist the main operations at Helles by putting a small force ashore at an unexpected spot where it could threaten Turkish communications with the toe of the Peninsula and guard the left flank of the British line as it advanced north. The spot chosen for the landing may initially appear an unusual one due to the 150-foot high cliffs, but two breaks in the cliff face offered a comparatively easy access to the summit, while the lack of rocks near the shore allowed vessels to approach to within a few yards of the narrow beach. An additional benefit was that the Turks were not expecting a landing at this location and had therefore failed to provide any defensive measures. The nearest Turkish troops were two platoons of infantry more than a mile away to the south, near the mouth of Gully Ravine. The 2,000 troops from the 29th Division chosen for the landing consisted of the 1st Battalion King's Own Scottish Borderers (commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Archibald Koe), 'A' Company of the 2nd Battalion South Wales Borderers and the Plymouth Battalion, Royal Marine Light Infantry (under Lieutenant Colonel Godfrey Matthews). Uncertainty surrounded the identity of the overall commander of the force. A divisional conference on 21 April had granted command to Colonel Matthews, but Colonel Koe's absence at the conference and the failure to record the decision in writing meant that for some time after the landing, Koe considered himself in command of the Y Beach troops, as did GHQ. Confusion similarly arose over the lack of clear written orders, which were instead given verbally by Major General Hunter-Weston to Colonel Matthews. Once landed, Matthews' orders were to advance some little distance inland and capture a Turkish gun believed to be in the vicinity, while intercepting any Turkish reserves and thereby interfere with the reinforcement of Cape Helles and Sedd el Bahr. The Y Beach troops were also to make contact with those landing at X Beach, although nobody was sure whether this contact was to be a physical link or just visual. When the main British force landing at Helles had advanced level with their position, the Y Beach troops were to join the main push to the Achi Baba ridge. At 04.15 on the 25 April, 'A' and 'B' Companies of the KOSB with the machine gun battalions were embarked in boats and, as soon as the naval bombardment opened down the coast at Helles, the troops were thrown onto the beach. The landing achieved complete surprise. Not a shot was fired by the enemy and by 05.45 the rest of the troops were ashore. Scouts quickly scaled the cliff and, with the exception of four Turks (two of whom were killed and the others captured), no opposition of any kind was encountered. For the next eleven hours the Y Beach force was left undisturbed by the enemy. As HMS Queen Elizabeth carrying Sir Ian Hamilton passed the beach at 08.30, crowds of troops could be observed sitting along the edge of the cliff, while working parties were seen carrying water up the steep path from the beach. Throughout the morning the bulk of the Y Beach detachment remained in this position above the landing place, awaiting the main advance from Helles. The situation was so quiet that Colonel Matthews and his adjutant crossed Gully Ravine and walked unaccompanied to within 500 yards of Krithia without seeing any sign of the enemy. Indeed, it is worth noting that no other British soldiers were to get so close to Krithia until 1919. Two companies of marines had penetrated to about a mile southeast of the landing, but failed to locate the Turkish gun which was believed (incorrectly) to be situated there. The successful landing was therefore followed by a complete failure to follow up the advantage. The main landing of the 29th Division at Cape Helles was being held up due to the harsh fighting at V and W Beaches, and was in serious danger of failing altogether, while a march south would have allowed the Y Beach force to encircle the enemy position and completely destroy the entire Turkish garrison. Considerable firing was heard from the direction of X Beach, but throughout the day Colonel Matthews failed to receive any news of the course of events at the main landing places, and no fresh orders arrived from divisional headquarters. In these circumstances, the decision was made to withdraw from the edge of the ravine and to entrench on top of the cliff above the landing place. This plan was not reported to the covering ships and, as the edge of the cliff was higher than the surrounding countryside, the Navy could not see the position of the troops on the shore. This meant that the ships would be reliant on messages from the troops rather than their own observations. We now know that Colonel Matthews decision to entrench had been arrived at several hours too late, for by this time, Turkish reinforcements consisting of a reserve battalion, one field battery and a machine gun section were well on their way south. Occasional sniping began by the Turks at about 13.00 while shortly after 16.00 a Turkish field gun was brought into action between Krithia and Gully Ravine. At 17.40 there began the first of a series of concerted attacks by the Turks and as soon as the British ships had ceased fire for the night, these attacks strengthened. The cloudy night and occasional showers of rain worsened the situation, while the British trenches were badly constructed due to the poor condition of the ground and lack of proper entrenching tools. At around 23.00, two further companies of Turkish infantry arrived to strengthen the enemy attack. Captain R W Whigham, commanding 'D' Company of the 1st KOSB, recalled the fighting: By this time one could see far better what was going on as the moon, which was nearly full, lit up the whole of our front and one could see line upon line of Turks advancing against our position. They fought with extraordinary bravery and as each line was swept away by our fire another one advanced against us. The attack worked up and down our whole front as if they were looking for some weak spot to break through our line. I saw one man, during one of these advances, continue to run towards us after all his companions had stopped. He ran at full speed towards us, dodging about all over the place. He got up to within about fifty yards of the trench and then I saw him drop. Four times during the night they got right up to my trench before they were shot and one Turk engaged one of my men over the parapet with his bayonet and was then shot. Half a minute after this a German officer suddenly appeared at the end of our trench with a hand grenade in his fist. 'You must all surrender' he said. The man next to him had just been digging and had a shovel but no rifle in his hand but as quick as lightning he hit the German over the head with the shovel and the German went out. The British line remained intact throughout the night and Turkish casualties were estimated at around half of the total number engaged. Casualties on the British side were similarly heavy, just over a third of the total Y Beach detachment were killed, including Colonel Koe. Sources: 1 Brigadier General C F Aspinall-Oglander, Official History of the Great War: Military Operations - Gallipoli, Volume I (London: William Heinemann, 1929) 2 The Joint Imperial War Museum / Australian War Memorial Battlefield Study Tour to Gallipoli, September 2000

The Gallipoli Campaign was fought on the Gallipoli peninsula 25th April 1915 to 9th January 1916. in a failed attempt to defeat Turkey by seizing the Dardanelles and capturing Istanbul. Ill-conceived and planned, the initial effort by the Royal Navy failed to force passage through the Dardanelles by sea power alone. It was then realised that a land force was needed to support the project by suppressing the Turkish mobile artillery batteries. By the time all was ready the Turks were well aware and well prepared. Despite amazing heroics on the day of the landings only minor beachheads were achieved and over the succeeding 8 months little progress was made. Eventually the beachheads were evacuated in a series of successful ruses.

Despite Gallipoli rightly becoming a national source of pride to Australians and New Zealanders, far more British casualties were sustained, and these days the substantial French contribution is almost forgotten.

Masonic :

TypeLodge Name and No.Province/District :
Mother : Stewart No. 1960 E.C.Punjab
Joined : Northern Star No. 1463 E.C. Punjab

24th November 1898
1st May 1901
5th June 1901

Lodge No. 1960

Joined Northern Light Lodge No. 1463 1st May, 1901, when listed as a 36 year old Captain of the Kings Own Scottish Borderers, based at Ferozepore.

Source :

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Additional Source:

Last Updated: 2020-07-19 09:44:17