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World War 1 at Sea - Naval Battles in outline

 

MESOPOTAMIAN (IRAQ) CAMPAIGN, 1914-1918


Edited by Gordon Smith, Naval-History.Net

 

HMS Ocean, battleship (Photo Ships, click to enlarge)

 

 

 

Contents

 

Naval Campaign in Outline
London Gazette Army and Naval Despatches
Royal Navy Casualties - Killed and Died
Royal Navy Honours and Gallantry awards

 

Royal Navy Battle Honour - MESOPOTAMIA 1914-1917

 

 


 

 

Relevant chapters from "History of the Great War - Naval Operations", Volumes 1 & 2 only

 

Volume 1 by Corbett

 

XXVII. Securing the Command in Egypt and the East – The Persian Gulf Operations and Progress of The Cameroons Expedition

 

Volume 2 by Corbett

 

IV. The Mediterranean during November and December, 1914 — Operations on the Syrian Coast

 

including plans, right

 

Vol 3 Chapters to be added

 

 


 

also log books (years in brackets) of British warships taking part in Campaign:

HMS Mantis, river gunboat, 1916-20

HMS Odin, old sloop, 1914-20

 

 

 

 

Naval Operations, Volume 1 Maps

 

(click to enlarge plans or follow links to maps in text)

 


Operations near Basra, Mesopotamia

 


Operations near Kurnah, Mesopotamia

 


Lower Mesopotamia to the Head of the Persian Gulf

 

 

 

 

Volume 3 Maps from Map Case

 

(Volume 3 text to be added)

 

Lower Mesopotamia, No.1

 

Operations Against Kurnah, No.2

 

 

 

 

 

Plus

 

 

Additional maps from "The Navy in Mesopotamia" by Conrad Cato, 1917

 

 

 

 

NAVAL CAMPAIGN IN OUTLINE

 

1914

 

Friday 23 October 1914

 

Because of increasing Turkish hostility, British/Indian forces were dispatched to protect British oil interests in the Persian Gulf area, and arrived off Bahrein ready to land

 

 

 Friday 6 November 1914

 

British/Indian forces started to land in Mesopotamia from the Persian Gulf supported by old battleship Ocean (Capt Hayes-Sadler), sloops Odin, Espiegle, and including Government yacht Lewis Pelly, launch-tugs Garmsir, Sirdar-I-Naphti, Mashona, Miner, all manned, armed and commissioned by HMS Ocean.

 

HMS Espiegle (Photo Ships)

 

Odin, sloop, Epiegle-class, 1,070t, 6-4in/4-3pdr, Capt Hayes-Sadler in command and crewed by Espiegle, with convoy carrying Anglo-Indian expeditionary force, entered Shatt-el-Arab and came under Turkish fire. Odin in 40-minute duel silenced a 4-gun battery at Fort Fao or Al Faw guarding the Shatt-el-Arab entrance, hit twice and later fired on by riflemen from trenches. Espiegle hit entrenchments further upstream opposite Abadan (Rn/D/gb)

 

 

Monday 23 November

 

British-Indian forces occupied Basra by 23rd; sloops Espiegle, Lawrence (RIM), Odin, and gunboats including Comet, Lewis Pelly took part

 

 

Friday 4 December 1914

 

Attacks mounted up the Shatt-el-Arab to take the strategic town of Kurnah/Al Qurnah 46 miles N of Basra at the confluence of the Euphrates and Tigris, surrendered on the 9th. Amphibious landing and fire support provided by sloops Espiegle, Odin, armed paddle steamer Lawrence (RIM), armed launches Lewis Pelly, Miner, Shaitan and two river steamers mounting 18pdr field guns:

 

Miner, armed launch-tug, 50/1880, in service from 11/14, 1-12pdr/1-3pdr/1mg. Came under heavy fire from the shore off Kurnah, holed, returned downsteam and beached; no lives believed lost (Rn/D/dk)

 

 

 Monday 7 December

 

Shaitan, armed launch, 1-3pdr, taken up 11/14, Lt-Cdr Elkes RNR, continuing operations to take Kurnah. Disabled by heavy fire; commander killed and 1 rating DOW, both on HMS Ocean's books (Rn/D/dk)

 

 

Wednesday 9 December

 

British-Indian forces captured Kurnah/Al Qurnah, surrender taken by Capt Hayes-Sadler. Ships taking part over the four or five days (see 4th) hit by shell and rifle-fire, Royal Navy casualties included the two killed on Shaitan and ten wounded (Rn/gb)

 

 

 1915

 

Monday 12 April 1915

 

Turkish attacks on Kurnah/Al Qurnah to 14th held by British/Indian forces, Turks retreating along River Euphates towards Nasiriya pursued by vessels of the River Flotilla

 

 

Saturday 24 April

  

Turkish attack towards Ahwaz in Persia, to the NE of Basra, held by British/Indian forces

 

 

Thursday 3 June 1915

 

British-Indian forces advancing up the River Tigris from Kurnah/Al Qurnah captured Amara (note: not Kut al Imara/Amara or just Kut), sloops Clio, Espiegle, Lawrence (RIM), Odin, armed tug Comet, armed launches Lewis Pelly, Miner, Shaitan, Sumana, stern wheelers Muzaffari/Mozaffir, Shushan took part

 

HMS Odin (Photo Ships)

 

 

Monday 5 July 1915

  

Sumana, armed launch-tug, 2-3pdr, Lt W Harris, supporting advance along River Euphrates towards Nasiriya. Turkish shell cut main steam pipe during the day, out of action, back next day (Rn/D)

 

 

Saturday 24 July

 

British-Indian forces forces advancing from Kurnah/Al Qurnah along the increasingly shallow River Euphrates drove the Turks out of Nasiriya, occupied next day, old stern-wheelers Shushan, Muzaffri, Messudieh, (all manned and armed respectively by deeper-draught sloops Espiegle, Odin and launch tug Miner) and armed launch Sumana took part

 

 

Monday 27 September 1915

 

Mesopotamian Campaign - First Battle of Kut/Kut al Imara/Amara on the River Tigris by British/Indian forces advancing from Amara, taken on 28th, armed paddle launch-tug Comet, armed launches Shaitan, Sumana took part

 

 

Tuesday 28 September

 

Comet (1), armed paddle launch-tug, 144t. Only a boom which included a dhow and two iron barges at the centre appeared to prevent the final capture of Kut. Comet (Lt-Cdr Cookson, on the books of sloop Clio), Shaitan and Sumana steamed up under heavy rifle and machine gun fire, Comet went ahead to ram the dhow, failed to break through, gunfire also failed, Lt-Cdr Cookson jumped onto the dhow with an axe to try to cut the wire hawsers securing her, was riddled with bullets from close-range and killed, no other lives lost. The gunboats sank the dhow with gunfire and all retired. Early next day, the Turks had gone, the boom was dismantled and Kut occupied. Lt-Cdr Edgar Christopher Cookson DSO was posthumously awarded the Victoria Cross (Rn/D/dk/vc)

 

 

Thursday 30 September

 

Shaitan and Sumana, launches, both armed with 3pdrs, with Comet continued to chase the retreating Turks north from Kut up the increasingly shoaling River Tigris. By the 30th Shaitan was fast aground near Kut and Sumana had broken both rudders by grounding, only Comet remained in action (D/Rn)

 

 

Monday 22 November 1915

 

Battle of Ctesiphon south of Baghdad until 25th/26th, British/Indian forces then forced to retreat down the River Tigris towards Kut. New Yarrow river gunboat Firefly, armed tug Comet, armed launches Shaitan, Sumana, stern-wheelers Messoudieh, Shushan towing horse-boats carrying 4-4.7in naval guns took part

 

 

Sunday 28 November

  

SHAITAN, armed launch, taken over 1/12/14, 1-3pdr, later 1-12pdr, Lt Aubrey Thursfield, with River Flotilla vessels Firefly, Comet, Messoudieh, Shushan, Sumana covering withdrawal from Ctesiphon to Kut. (D/dx - 29th) - Both Comet and Shaitan went aground just above Aziziya, Comet was soon off, but Shaitan remained unmoveable. Comet, Firefly, Shushan spent all day under constant snipper fire trying to get her free but were forced to abandon her with the approach of the Turkish advance guard; no lives lost. After two days rest the retreat continued to Umm-at-Tubal (+Rn/D/He/dk/dx/gb/tf; ADM.137/3089)

 

 

Wednesday 1 December 1915

  

Reaching Umm-at-Tubal on the 30th, British/Indian forces discovered the Turks next morning camped barely a mile away, attacks launched to cover the continued withdrawal from Ctesiphon back to Kut supported by River Flotilla vessels Firefly, Comet, Messoudieh, Shushan, Sumana, all of which were fired on:

 

HMS Firefly (Photo Ships)

 

FIREFLY, river gunboat, Fly-class, 98t, built Yarrow in sections, re-erected at Abadan starting 8/15, entered service 11/15, 9½kts, c1-4in/1-12pdr/1-6pdr, 22 crew, Lt Christopher Eddis. Hit in the boiler by a shell, entirely disabled; 1 rating lost.  Comet managed to take her in tow but both went hard aground, Turks closing in, Sumana took off both crews and both vessels had to be abandoned. Firefly captured by Turks and put back into service as Suleiman Pak, in action and recaptured 26/2/17 by gunboat Tarantula, near where she was lost. Lt Eddis resumed command (J/Rn/C/Cn/D/He/dx/gb/tf; ADM.137/3089)

 

COMET (1), armed paddle launch-tug, 144t, ex-RIM, official yacht of British Resident at Baghdad, hired 5/11/14 (C - 1915), 1-3pdr from Espiegle, later 1-6pdr/3-3pdr/2mg, Lt George Harden. When Comet went aground as she was trying to take Firefly in tow, a tug dropped two barges to try to pull her off but failed, tug managed to get away but lost the barges, one full of wounded. Reportedly Comet was set ablaze and the commander dived overboard "when the Turks were already swarming upon (its) abandoned deck"; 1 Indian rating lost (+Rn/C/D/He/dk/dx/tf; ADM.137/3089)

 

 

Tuesday 7 December

 

British/Indian forces reached Kut on the 3rd, by the 7th they were completely surrounded by the Turks, armed launch Sumana stayed with the garrison when the rest of the River Flotilla withdrew

 

 

1916

 

Tuesday 4 January 1916

 

First attempt to relieve British-Indian forces besieged at Kut/Kut-al-Imara/Amara, battles took place c5th-8th and 13th-21st, river gunboats Butterfly, Cranefly, Dragonfly, Gadfly took part, joined by ex-Turkish motor patrol boat renamed Flycatcher

 

 

Friday 14 January

  

Gadfly, river gunboat, Fly-class, in service late 1915, 98t, 1-4in/1-12pdr/1-6pdr/1-3pdr AA/1-2pdr/4mg, during the first attempt to relieve Kut, the British flotilla reconnoitred Turkish positions, Gadfly carrying the Senior Naval Officer. Hit by 4.8in shell; no lives lost. Sent south to Abadan for repairs (Rn/Cn/D/dk)

 

 

Wednesday 8 March 1916

 

Second attempt to relieve British-Indian forces at Kut failed the same day, new "China" or Insect-class river gunboat Mantis took part with the smaller Fly-class Butterfly, Cranefly, Dragonfly, Mayfly, Sawfly

 

 

Wednesday 5 April 1916

 

Third and final attempt to relieve Kut supported by Fly and Insect-class river gunboats, British/Indian garrison now fast running out of supplies

 

 

Monday 24 April

 

JULNAR, local river steamer, 884/1909, stripped of woodwork, fitted with protective plating, commissioned 17/4/16, carrying 270t of stores in last attempt to resupply Kut, volunteer crew of 15, Lt H Firman i/c, Lt-Cdr C Cowley RNVR 2nd i/c, left Fallahiya at 2000 covered by artillery and machine gun barrage, dark night and overcast, no moon (He – 24 June). Soon came under continuous and heavy rifle fire, reached Es Sinn ten miles short of Kut and artillery opened up, two miles on, Lt Firman killed and Lt-Cdr Cowley wounded but took over. Four miles below Kut, Julnar was stopped around midnight by a steel hawser stretched across the river and drifted on to the river bank, could not get off; Lt-Cdr Cowley surrendered, remainder of crew including five wounded taken prisoner, Cowley soon separated from his men and reported shot trying to escape, but probably executed. He had been master of the local Lynch Bros steamer Mejidieh with great knowledge of the River Tigris and was considered an Ottoman citizen by the Turks. Lt Humphrey Osbaldeston Brooke Firman, posthumously and Lt-Cdr Charles Henry Cowley RNVR, later executed, awarded the Victoria Cross (Rn/D/dk/gb/tf/vc)

 

 

Saturday 29 April

 

British-Indian forces in besieged Kut surrendered to the Turks

  

SUMANA, armed launch, ex-launch tug, 2-3pdr from 22/5/15, remained at Kut 12/15 at start of the siege. c29th - Taken over by Turks, recaptured February 1917 (Rn/D)

 

 

1917

 

Saturday 24 February 1917

 

After months of preparation by British/Indian forces followed by a steady push up the River Tigris, the Second Battle for Kut took place 22nd-23rd and the town found abandoned on the 24th, river gunboats taking part included Insect-class Mantis, Moth, Tarantula and Fly-class Butterfly, Gadfly, Snakefly

 

 

Monday 26 February

 


Insect-class river gunboat, HMS Cockchafer (Photo Ships)

 

Mantis, Moth, Tarantula, Insect-class, 645t, 2-6in/2-12pdr/6mg and Butterfly, Gadfly and one other, Fly-class, 98t, 1-4in/1-12pdr/1-6pdr/1-3pdr AA/1-2pdr/4 or 5mg, all river gunboats. Following the capture of Kut the River Flotilla (Capt Nunn ) was given permission to pursue the retreating Turks. After passing Bughaila the three "Insects" came under heavy, short-range fire from the Turkish rearguard, with Moth hit eight times by artillery. Once through, the gunboats continued to harrass the Turks and recaptured river gunboat Firefly which was put back into service, and it is believed gunboat Sumana. The advance on Baghdad continued. In this action Mantis lost 1 rating killed, 1 DOW, Moth, 2 ratings killed, Tarantula, 1 rating killed, no lives lost in Butterfly and Gadfly (Cn/D/dk/gb/nh)

 

 

Thursday 8 March 1917

 

British-Indian forces captured Baghdad by the 11th, river gunboats Mantis, Moth, Tarantula and Butterfly, Firefly, Gadfly, Snakefly took part

 

 

Thursday 27 September 1917

 

British/Indian forces captured Ramadiya, west of Baghdad on the River Euphrates by 28th    

 

 

1918

 

Tuesday 7 May 1918

 

British forces pushing from Baghdad occupied Kirkuk in the drive for the Mosul oilfields

 

 

Sunday 3 November 1918

 

British occupied Mosul and its oilfields

 

 

(click for source abbreviations)

 
 

 
 

LONDON GAZETTE ARMY AND NAVAL DESPATCHES

With thanks to the London Gazette

 

All Army Despatches are listed, but only the text of those that refer
 to naval operations are included in whole or in part

 

Contents

 
  29536  

Army Despatch, dated 1 January 1916

  29576   Army Despatch, dated 17 January 1916
  29665  

Naval Mentions, Army Despatch dated 13 July 1916

  29782   Army Despatch, dated 12 August 1916
  29789  

Naval Mentions, Army Despatch, dated 24 August 1916

  29823   Army Despatch, dated 27 August 1916
  30176  

Army Despatch, dated 10 April 1917

  30233  

Naval Mentions, Army Despatch, dated 15 August 1917

  30298  

NAVAL DESPATCH, dated 7 May 1917

  30469  

Army Despatch, dated 15 October 1917

  30570   Naval Mentions, Army Despatch, dated 2 November 1917
  30867  

Naval Mentions, Army Despatch, dated 27 August 1918

  30874  

Army Despatch, dated 28 August 1918

  31192  

Army Despatch, dated 1 October 1918

  31195   Naval Mentions, Army Despatch, dated 11 November 1919
  31287   Army Despatch dated 1 February 1919
  31386   Naval Mentions, Army Despatch, dated 7 February 1919
  31728   Naval Mentions, Army List, dated 12 January 1920
  31813   Army Despatch, dated 12 November 1919

 

________

 

Gazette No. 29536 - 4 APRIL 1916

 

MESOPOTAMIAN CAMPAIGN

ARMY DESPATCH dated 1 January 1916

 

War Office, 5th April, 1916.

 

The following Despatch from General Sir John Nixon, K.C.B., relative to the operations in Mesopotamia from the middle of April to the end of September, 1915, has been forwarded by the Government of India for publication: -

 

General Headquarters, I.E.F. "D," 1st January, 1916.

 

From, General Sir John Nixon, K.C.B., A.D.C. General, Commanding Indian Expeditionary Force "D."

To, The Chief of the General Staff, Army Headquarters, India.

 

Sir: 

I have the honour to forward a report on the operations of the Forces under my command for the period from the middle of April, 1915, up to the end of September, 1915.

 

1. The floods of last season, which are said to have been the highest for 30 years, formed an inland sea of water and reeds varying from two to six feet deep, which extended for 40 miles north of Qurnah, down to Basrah, and stretching from Nasiriyah in the west to Hawizeh (50 miles north-east of Qurnah) in the east. Consequently, until the subsidence of the floods at the end of July, operations in this area were of an amphibious nature.

 

2. During the month of April a Brigade at Ahwaz, first under Major-General Davison, and subsequently under Brigadier-General Lean, had been containing a hostile force consisting of  some eight battalions of Turks with eight guns and about 10,000 Arab auxiliaries, which had advanced from Amarah via Bisaitin and Khafajiyah (on the Kharkeh Eiver) into Persian Arabistan.

 

At this time another British Detachment was at Qurnah, where it had been opposed since January by a Turkish force of some six battalions with 10 guns and the usual following of Arab tribesmen, which had descended the Tigris from Amarah.

 

By the defeat of the Turks at Barjisiyah (20 miles south-west of Basrah) on 14th April the hostile forces in the vicinity of Basrah had been dispersed and driven to Nasiriyah, enabling me to take active measures against the enemy detachments on the Karun and on the Tigris.

 

I decided to deal first with the former and placed Major-General Gorringe in command of the operation.

 

3. Directly the Turks had been defeated at Barjisiyah the concentration of the 12th Division up the Karun was commenced. The Turkish force near Ahwaz retreated across the Kharkeh River on hearing of the defeat of their army at Barjisiyah.

 

General Gorringe followed in pursuit. By the 7th May the 12th Division and the Cavalry Brigade had reached Illah on the Kharkeh. This river was 250 yards wide with a rapid and deep stream, which presented a formidable obstacle to the passage of troops.

 

4. General Gorringe overcame the difficulties of passage and skilfully crossed his troops and guns to the other bank. The Turks continued their retreat towards Amarah on discovering that our column had crossed the river.

 

General Gorringe now found himself under the necessity of dealing with a recalcitrant and pugnacious branch of the Beni Taruf Arabs, who had identified themselves very strongly with the Turkish cause.

 

He advanced down the Kharkeh River operating on both banks.

 

Major-General Melliss commanded the column on the right bank and Brigadier-General Lean that on the left bank.

 

The occasion of the successful attack on the Arab stronghold, Kharajiyah, in extremely hot weather, when the temperature in tents was 120 degrees, was a display of dogged gallantry and devotion on the part of the troops engaged.

 

Among other interpid deeds was the exploit of Subadar Major Ajab Khan and 20 men of the 76th Punjabis, who swam the river under heavy fire, and brought back a boat in which troops were ferried across until sufficient were collected to assault a stout mud fort which was strongly held.

 

5. After the defeat and dispersion of the hostile tribesmen who had molested his advance, General Gorringe, in accordance with my instructions, made a series of demonstrations with a portion of his force from Bisaitin against the Turkish force which lay between him and Amarah. This action was in co-operation with the impending advance of our detachment from Qurnah (commanded by Major-General T'ownshend) on Amarah. It had the desired result of preventing reinforcements from joining the Turkish forces on the Tigris in time to oppose General Townshend's advance. It was largely due to these demonstrations that the enemy's retreat up the Tigris, after their defeat on 31st May, was so precipitate, and that General Townshend was enabled to enter Amarah practically unopposed. The Turkish force opposing General Gorringe was so delayed in its march to Amarah that when it eventually reached there it was surprised by General Townshend, who was already in occupation of the town. A part of the advance guard was captured and the remainder had to seek safety in dispersion with the loss of two guns.

 

6. General Gorringe's operations extended over a period of seven weeks. As a result, Persian Arabistan had been cleared of the enemy, and the Arab tribes forced to submit, thus enabling the pipe line to be repaired and normal conditions to be resumed at the Oil Fields, and most effective assistance had been given to General Townshend's advance from Qurnah.

 

7. I consider that General Gorringe showed marked ability and determination in conducting these operations. The successful result is due to his able leadership and to the zeal and energy displayed by all ranks under his command.

 

The troops were compelled to undergo severe exertions, and overcame many obstacles during very hot and trying weather with undiminished resolution and zeal that was admirable.

 

8. While the 12th Division was advancing by the Karun and Kharkeh Rivers, preparations were in progress for an advance up the Tigris by the 6th Division under command of Major-General Townshend. Owing to the limited amount of river transport available at that time the movement and collection of troops was a slow and difficult process, and the flooded country around Qurnah presented many problems which required careful attention before operations could be commenced.

 

9. "Bellums" - long, narrow boats of the country - were collected and armoured with iron plates, to be used for carrying infantry to the assault of the enemy's positions; troops were trained in punting and boat work; various types of guns mounted on rafts, barges, tugs and paddlers; floating hospitals had to be improvised, and many other details of construction and equipment had to be thought out and provided for.

 

By the end of May preparations for the advance were complete.

 

10. The Turkish force was entrenched north of Qurnah on islands formed where high ground stood out from the inundation which covered all lower lying country.

 

These fortified localities were in two groups, the most southerly group forming an advanced position some two miles from the British lines; the main position being some three miles further to the north.

 

The flooded state of the country rendered it a position of some strength, necessitating a carefully organised attack in successive phases by combined naval and military operations.

 

General Townshend's plan was to capture the advanced position by a frontal attack combined with a turning attack against the enemy's left flank, supported by the naval flotilla and the artillery afloat, and that on land within the Qurnah entrenchments.

 

11. In the early morning of 31st May, after a heavy preparatory bombardment, the infantry advanced to the attack in the flotilla of improvised war "bellums," supported by admirably directed gunfire.

 

The 17th Infantry Brigade, commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel Climo, 24th Punjabis, made the frontal attack. The 22nd Punjabis and the Sirmur Sappers and Miners, under Lieutenant-Colonel Blois Johnson, 22nd Punjabis, captured One Tree Hill, on the enemy's left flank, and enfiladed Norfolk Hill, the first objective of the 17th Infantry Brigade, which was carried at the point of the bayonet by the 1st Battalion, Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry, after poling their boats for over a mile through thick reeds and landing waist deep in water.

 

12. The bold action of the mine-sweepers, which preceded the naval sloops and armed tugs, enabled the latter to keep pace with the troops, and their fire, combined with that of the Royal Artillery ashore and afloat, ensured the capture of the whole of the enemy's advanced position by noon.

 

It was entirely due to careful preparation and organisation of artillery fire of all kinds that our casualties were very few.

 

These operations form a good example of the co-operation of the Royal Navy with infantry and artillery.

 

13. An aeroplane reconnaissance on the morning of 1st June discovered that the enemy had evacuated his main position, and was in full retreat up the Tigris.

 

The Naval Flotilla, led by H.M.S. Espiegle" (Captain Nunn, R.N.), pushed in pursuit, followed by the shipping with troops.

 

On the morning of 2nd June, when some 10 miles below Qalat Salih, the deeper-draught vessels could proceed no f urtther owing to shoal water, and the pursuit was continued by the naval armed tugs. Up to this time the “Espiegle" had engaged and sunk the Turkish gunboat "Marmaris," and had captured two steamers and a number of lighters laden with munitions and stores.

 

14. Qalat Salih was reached on the afternoon of the 2nd June, and after some hostile troops outside the town had been dispersed the pursuit was continued.

 

H.M.S. "Comet" (Captain Nunn, R.N.), with General Townshend on board, and three armed tugs, occupied Amarah in the afternoon of 3rd June, capturing there some 700 troops and 40 officers. This is a most excellent instance of courage and pertinacity in pursuit, and very creditable to all who took part in it.

 

The leading infantry (2nd Battalion, Norfolk Regiment) of the 6th Division arrived at Amarah at 6.30 a m. on 4th June, not a moment too soon, as the inhabitants were beginning to realise the size of the force which had cowed them into submission on the previous day.

 

15. The captures resulting from the action at Qurnah, the pursuit and the occupation of Amarah, included 17 guns, 2,718 rifles, 1,773 prisoners, four river steamers (exclusive of the gunboat "Marmaris" and another steamer, which was sunk), a number of lighters and boats, besides quantities of ammunition and stores.

 

The weather throughout these operations was intensely hot - a sweltering sun all day, followed by still and sultry nights; but in spite of this the spirit and energy of all ranks was excellent.

 

16. I consider that General Townshend carried out these operations in a highly creditable manner. His prompt and vigorous pursuit is worthy of high praise, and it was largely due to his dash and enterprise that Amarah was entered unopposed.

 

The part played by General Gorringe's force to help General Townshend's operations has been described in an earlier part of this despatch.

 

17. Immediately after the capture of Amarah, preparations were taken in hand for the capture of Nasiriyah, on the Euphrates, the dominant place on this flank. Its importance lies in the facts that it is the base from which a hostile force threatening Basrah must start; it is the centre from which influence can be exercised among the powerful Arab tribes which lie along the Euphrates; standing at one end of the Shatt Al Hai, it closes communication between the Tigris and Euphrates, and is thus of strategic value; and, lastly, it was the headquarters of the civil administration of a large part of the Basrah Province.

 

18. To General Gorringe and his troops was allotted this objective. The route from Qurnah to Nasiriyah is by water, through the low-lying valley of the Old Euphrates Channel for 30 miles to Chahbaish; across the Hammar Lake for 15 miles to its western side, thence by the Haqiqah - a tortuous channel, some 50 yards wide and 15 miles long - until the main channel of the Euphrates is reached some 25 miles below Nasiriyah. From Qurnah to Chahbaish, deep draught vessels can go up the old Euphrates; beyond this, at the time the operations commenced, on 27th June, the Hammar Lake was passable by all river steamers drawing less than 5 feet, as far as the entrance to the Haqiqah Channel. By the middle of July the channel across the lake held little more than 3 feet of water, and only the smallest steamers could cross. In many cases steamers were aground for days at a time, and the small tugs fitted as gunboats could only be taken across by removing guns, ammunition, armour plating, fuel and water, and using light-draught stern wheelers to tow them. Later, troops and stores could only be transported in "bellums," which for some distances had to be dragged over mud and water by men.

 

The Haqiqah Channel was blocked by a solidly constructed "Bund" half a mile from its entrance to the Lake, which had to be removed before the passage could be used by shipping.

 

19. Above its junction with the Haqiqah the Euphrates has an average width of 200 yards. Along its banks are numerous gardens, patches of cultivation, and several small villages within walled enclosures. On the left bank, belts of date palms, with an occasional fringe of willow trees, are the prevailing features. On the right bank the country is more open. During July, except for a belt of dry ground along the river banks a few hundred yards wide, on either side the country was completely under water. Numerous irrigation channels intersect this belt of dry land at right angles to the river, presenting a series of obstacles to an advance. Such was the nature of the country where the Turks offered their main opposition to our advance on Nasiriyah.

 

20. On 26th June General Gorringe's Force was concentrated at Qurnah, and proceeded on the 27th June across the Hammar Lake, preceded by gunboats under command of Captain Nunn, R.N. Hostile armed launches above the Haqiqah bund were driven back. The bund was occupied, and the work of demolition commenced.

 

During the 28th a channel 150 feet wide and 4 feet deep was made. The rush of water through the opening created a strong rapid, almost a cataract, up which parties of men were successful in hauling up the naval craft on the 29th.

 

It was not until the 4th July that all vessels and troops were passed over the Haqiqah obstruction, and established about two and a half miles from the junction with the Euphrates. Covering this entrance, reconnaisances proved that the enemy had established themselves with guns on the right bank of the Euphrates commanding both banks of the Haqiqah, and the mine field which they had prepared about a mile down it.

 

21. At 4.45 a.m. on 5th July the 30th Infantry Brigade, commanded by Major-General Melliss, advanced to attack the enemy; on the left bank, the 76th Punjabis and the 24th Punjabis, the latter moving in bellums through the inundation accompanied by the 30th Mountain Battery. The 2/7th Gurkhas supported by the 1/4th.Hants moved up the right bank. Considerable opposition was encountered, especially on the left bank, and it was not until 1.20 p.m. that our troops forced the enemy on the right bank of the Euphrates to hoist the white flag.

 

The 24th Punjabis had to carry their bellums across some 60 yards of dry land before they could cross the Euphrates to take possession of the enemy's position and battery. After the right bank had been cleared our Naval craft were able to sweep for mines, an operation rendered easier for us as a captured Turkish Officer assisted to indicate their position.

 

By 9 p.m. the Channel was clear. The ships came up and the troops embarked.

 

22. The detachment of the enemy which had opposed our advance consisted of 1,000 regular Turkish troops, 2.000 Arabs, four guns and two Thorneycroft launches armed with pom poms. Four guns and 130 prisoners fell into our hands at a cost to us of 26 killed and 85 wounded.

 

The second phase of these operations was commenced on the morninor of 6th July by the occupation of Suk-Esh-Sheyukh by Captain Nunn, with two gunboats, and afterwards the whole flotilla moved up the Euphrates.

 

23. The Turks had taken up a series of positions astride the river about five miles below Nasiriyah, with both flanks resting on marshes. In front of their trenches were broad deep channels difficult to turn or assault.

 

The ground on the right bank was devoid of cover; that on the left bank fringed by a narrow belt of palms.

 

24. General Gorringe established his force some two miles below the enemy's advanced positions and occupied entrenchments on both banks. Up to the 13th July continual reconnaissances were made and our entrenchments gradually extended nearer to the enemy.

 

25. On the night of 13th/14th an attack was made by our troops on both banks. On the right bank we secured an entrenched position within 400 yards of the Turkish trenches. A gallant attempt by the 24th Punjabis under Lieutenant-Colonel Climo, supported by four guns of the 30th Mountain Battery under Captain E. J. Nixon, to capture some sandhills behind the enemy's right flank met with unexpectedly strong opposition, and they were attacked in rear by Arab tribesmen and had to withdraw.

 

The Mountain guns covering the withdrawal rendered invaluable support.

 

26. Until the 23rd, General Gorringe was perfecting arrangements for his decisive attack. Gun positions were moved forward, infantry trenches extended and communications improved. The working parties were subjected to a continual fire, but our snipers established ascendancy over those of the enemy. The heat night and day throughout was intense.

 

27. At 5 a.m. on 24th July the attack was launched. By 7.30 a.m. the 12th Infantry Brigade operating on the left bank of the river had occupied the enemy's advanced trenches at Miyadiyah. The 30th Infantry Brigade then pushed its attack up the right bank, covered by well-directed artillery fire, and by 9.30 a.m. had captured the advanced trenches after forcing the passage of the Mejinineh Channel. During this operation the gunboat "Sumana," carrying bridging material, fought her way up to the entrance of the creek under a very heavy fire, and, supported by the fire from the gunboats, the 17th Company Sappers and Miners threw a bridge across.

 

28. The attack was continued by both banks. The main position was captured by noon, in spite of a stubborn resistance. The enemy clung to their trenches where some 500 were killed. After reorganising, the troops pushed forward to the Sadanawiyah position - the enemy's final line of defence, which .was also captured. During the attack at Sadanawiyah Captain Nunn, in the "Shushan," a small sternwheeler, laid his ship alongside hostile trenches on the river bank and engaged them at close range.

 

29. By 6.30 p.m. the enemy was in full retreat across the marshes, and our troops bivouacked on the position they had won.

 

Severe losses had been inflicted on the enemy, while our casualties were not heavy considering the nature of the fighting, the total number of our killed and wounded being under 600.

 

Our captures included over 1,000 prisoners, 17 guns, five machine-guns, 1,586 rifles, and quantities of ammunition and stores.

 

Nasiriyah was occupied on the 25th without further opposition.

 

30. General Gorringe conducted the task assigned to him with skill and determination, and his troops responded to the strenuous calls that were made upon them in a gallant and devoted manner.

 

Seldom, if ever, have our troops been called upon to campaign in more trying heat than they have experienced this summer in the marshy plains of Mesopotamia.

 

But the spirit of the troops never flagged, and in the assault of the entrenchments which the Turks thought impregnable, British and Indian soldiers displayed a gallantry and devotion to duty worthy of the highest traditions of the Service.

 

31. I have to place on record the excellence of the work performed by the officers and men of the Royal Flying Corps, whose valuable reconnaissances materially assisted in clearing up the situation before the battle of the 24th July.

 

32. And I have to express my deep appreciation of the valuable and whole-hearted co-operation of the officers and men of the Royal Navy under the command of Captain Nunn, D.S.O., Senior Naval Officer. It was in a great measure due to the excellent work performed by the Royal Navy that these amphibious operations, like those at Qurnah, at the end of May, were brought to so successful a conclusion.

 

33. The capture of Nasiriyah had established British control on the western side of the Basrah Vilayet, but the district lying north of the line Amara-Nasiriyah still remained outside our control, and strong Turkish forces under Nur-Ed-Din Bey were reported to be concentrating at Kut-al-Amarah, at the junction of the Shatt-al-Hai with the Tigris, the possession of which strategic centre is necessary for the effective control of the jiorthern part of the Basrah Vilayet. Nur-Ed-Din has attempted to cause a diversion by pushing strong detachments to within thirty miles of Amarah, while my principal attention was concentrated on the Euphrates.

 

The defeat of Nur-Ed-Din and the occupation of Kut-al-Amarah became my next objective as soon as Nasiriyah was secured, and I commenced the transfer of troops towards Amarah on the following day.

 

34. After the month of June the Shatt al Hai ceases to be navigable for some six months, and the only line of advance by water on Kut-al-Amarah is by the River Tigris.

 

On the 1st August a detachment from the 6th Division, accompanied by a naval flotilla, occupied Ali al Gharbi. Covered by this detachment, the concentration of the 6th Division under General Townshend for the advance on Kut-al-Amarah was carried out.

 

35. The transfer of troops from the Euphrates to the Tigris was a slow process, owing to the difficulties in crossing the shallow Hammar Lake during the low-water season.

 

By the 12th September the force was concentrated at Ali al Gharbi. Thence the advance was continued by route march along the river bank, accompanied by a naval flotilla and shipping, until Sannaiyat (some eight miles below the enemy's position covering Kut-al-Amrah) was reached on 15th September. Intense heat prevailed during the period of this march, with temperatures ranging from 110 degrees to 116 degrees in the shade. The column remained halted at Sannaiyat until 25th September, receiving reinforcements during this period.

 

36. A few skirmishes had taken place between our cavalry and that of the enemy, and constant naval and air reconnaissances were made. Accurate information was gained regarding the dispositions of the enemy.

 

The work performed by the Royal Flying Corps during this period was invaluable.

 

37. Nur-Ed-Din Bey's Army lay astride the river some seven miles N.E. of Kut and eight miles from General Townshend's Force at Sannaiyat. It occupied a line naturally favourable for defence, which, during three or four months of preparation, had been converted into a formidable position.

 

On the right bank the defences extended for five miles southwards along some mounds which commanded an extensive field of fire. The river was blocked by a boom composed of barges and wire cables commanded at close range by guns and fire trenches. On the left bank the entrenchments extended for seven miles, linking up the gaps between the river and three marshes which stretched away to the north. The defences were well designed and concealed, commanding flat and open approaches. They were elaborately constructed with a thoroughness that missed no detail. In front of the trenches were barbed wire entanglements, military pits, and land mines. Behind were miles of communication trenches connecting the various works and providing covered outlets to the river, where ramps and landing-stages had been made to facilitate the transfer of troops to or from ships, while pumping engines and water channels carried water from the river to the trenches.

 

38. Nur-ed-din's Army held this position: one division being on each bank, with some Army troops in reserve on the left bank, near a bridge above the main position. A force of Arab horsemen was posted on the Turkish left flank; most of the Turkish regular cavalry were absent during the battle on a raid against our communications at S'haikh Saad.

 

39. On the 26th September General Townshend advanced to within 4 miles of the Turkish position. His plan was to make a decisive attack on the left bank by enveloping the Turkish left with his main force, but in order to deceive the enemy as to the direction of the real attack, preliminary dispositions and preparatory attacks were made with the object of inducing the Turks to expect the principal attack on the right bank.

 

40. On the morning of the 27th our troops advanced by both banks. The principal force, on the right bank, made a feint attack on the trenches south of the river, while the left bank detachment entrenched itself within 3,000 yards of the enemy. Meanwhile a bridge had been constructed, and under cover of night the main force crossed from the right bank and deployed opposite the enemy's left flank.

 

41. On the morning of the 28th September a general attack was made against the enemy on the left bank. The 18th Infantry Brigade, under Major-General Fry, with its left on the line of the river, made a pinning attack, while Brigadier-General Delamain, commanding the 16th and 17th Infantry Brigades, advanced in two columns against the enemy's left, one column being directed frontally against the flank entrenchments while the other moved wide round the flank and attacked in rear. General Delamain's right flank was protected by the Cavalry Brigade.

 

42. The first troops to enter the enemy trenches were the 1st Battalion, Dorsetshire Regiment, 117th Mahrattas and 22nd Company Sappers and Miners, who made a brilliant assault, well supported by the Artillery, and soon after 10 a.m. captured a redoubt and trenches on the enemy's extreme left, inflicting heavy losses and taking 135 prisoners.

 

43. A combined attack by the 16th and 17th Infantry Brigades was then made, and, after hard fighting, during which the enemy made several unsuccessful counter-attacks, the whole of the northern part of the enemy's position was in our hands by 2 p.m.

 

44. General Delamain reorganised his troops on the captured position and gave them a much-needed rest, as they were exhausted by the great heat, the long march and hard fighting. After a brief rest General Delamain moved his column southwards to assist the 18th Infantry Brigade by attacking the enemy opposed to it in rear. Before this attack could develop strong hostile reserves appeared from the south-west, in the direction of the bridge. General Delamain immediately changed his objective and attacked the new troops, supported by his guns firing at a range of 1,700 yards.

 

45. The sight of the approaching enemy and the prospect of getting at him in the open with the bayonet put new life into our Infantry, who were suffering from weariness and exhaustion after their long and trying exertions under the tropical sun. For the time thirst and fatigue were forgotten. The attack was made in a most gallant manner with great dash. The enemy were routed with one magnificent rush, which captured four guns and inflicted heavy losses on the Turks. The enemy fought stubbornly, and were saved from complete destruction by the approach of night.

 

46. General Delamain's troops bivouacked for the night on the scene of their victory about two miles from the river, both men and horses suffering severely from want of water, as the brackish water of the marshes is undrinkable. In the morning the column reached the river, and the horses got their first water for forty hours.

 

47. Throughout the battle the Naval Flotilla co-operated with the land attack from positions on the river. Late in the evening of 28th, led by the "Comet" (Lieutenant-Commander E. C. Cookson, R.N., Acting Senior Naval Officer), the flotilla advanced upstream and endeavoured to force a passage through the boom obstruction. The ships came under a terrific fire from both banks at close range. The "Comet " rammed the boom, but it withstood the shock.

 

Lieutenant-Commander Cookson was shot dead while most gallantly attempting to cut a wire cable securing the barges.

 

48. The Turks evacuated their remaining trenches during the night and escaped along the bank of the Tigris. On the morning of the 29th a pursuit was organised, troops moving in ships preceded by cavalry on land.

 

The Cavalry, consisting of four weak squadrons, overtook the enemy on 1st October, but had to wait for the support of the river column, as the Turks' were making an orderly retreat, covered by a strong rearguard with infantry and guns.

 

49. The progress of the river column was so delayed by the difficulties of navigation due to the constantly shifting shallows in the river that it was unable to overtake the retreating enemy.

 

When the ships reached Aziziyah on 5th October, the enemy had reached their prepared defensive position at Ctesiphon, covering the road to Baghdad, where they were reinforced.

 

50. The Turks lost some 4,000 men in casualties, of whom 1,153 were prisoners captured by us. In addition we took 14 guns and a quantity of rifles, ammunition and stores. Considering the severity of the fighting our casualties were comparatively small. They amounted to 1,233, including a large proportion of men only slightly wounded.

 

51. The defeat of Nur-ed-din Bey completed the expulsion of Turkish troops from the Basrah Vilayet. Apart from material gains won at Kut-al-Amarah, our troops once again proved their irresistible gallantry in attack, and added another victory to British arms in Mesopotamia.

 

52. I am glad to place on record my appreciation of the ability and generalship displayed by Major-General C. V. F. Townshend, C.B., D.S.O., throughout these operations. His plan for turning the Turkish left was the manoeuvre whereby the position could best be captured without incurring very heavy losses.

 

53. Brigadier-General Delamain, who commanded the main attack, showed himself to be a resolute and resourceful commander. His leadership during the battle was admirable.

 

54. The troops under the command of Major-General Townshend displayed high soldierly qualities, and upheld the reputation they have earned during, this arduous campaign.

 

55. The conduct of the Infantry in the attack was particularly noteworthy. They were set a task involving prolonged exertion and endurance, and performed it with an alacrity and resolution which must have been most disconcerting to the enemy.

 

56. The Artillery has established a high reputation for good shooting. The Infantry rely on their accuracy and skill; during the attack they welcome the close support of the guns, and press forward with the narrowest margin dividing them from the curtain of bursting shells, in a manner that is a tribute to their comrades in the Artillery.

 

57. The services of the Royal Flying Corps, not only during the battle but also in the frequent reconnaissances which preceded the fighting, also call for notice.

 

The Flying Officers displayed courage and devotion in the performance of their duties, which were often carried out under a heavy fire. The accurate information obtained during air reconnaissances was of the utmost value in planning the defeat of the enemy, and the remarkable skill and powers of observation displayed by Flight Commander Major H. L. Reilly, Royal Flying Corps, contributed in no small degree to the success of the operations.

 

58. The work of the Royal Navy fully maintained the high standard they have established in these rivers. I much regret the loss of Lieutenant-Commander E. C. Cookson, whose gallant act has already been referred to.

 

59. Acknowledgments are due to the excellent work done by the Commanders and personnel of the river steamers for their unremitting work in connection with operations on the rivers of Mesopotamia.

 

60. Accompanying this despatch is a list of officers and men whose names I wish to bring to notice in connection with the operations undertaken during the period under report.

 

I have, etc.,

(Signed) JOHN NIXON, General, Commanding I.E.F. "D."

 

 

OPERATIONS KHAFAJIYAH - 24th April-19th June, 1915

 

(no Royal Navy names)

 

 

OPERATIONS AMARA - 31st May-4th June, 1915

 

(included in Army lists)

 

Royal Navy.

Harden, Lieutenant G. E.

Lilley, Sub-Lieutenant R. H.

Nunn, Captain W., D.S.O.

Palmer, Lieutenant I. M.

Singleton, Lieutenant M., D.S.O.

Royal Indian Marine.

Goldsmith, Commander O.

Marsh, Lieutenant B. C.

Poynte, Lieutenant A. R. C.

 

EUPHRATES OPERATIONS - 26th June-25th July, 1915

 

(included in Army lists)

 

Royal Navy.

Curry, Lieutenant H. F.

Harris, Lieutenant W. V. H.

Heath-Caldwell, Lieutenant C. H.

Nunn, Captain W., D.S.O.

Seymour, Lieutenant-Commander A. G.

Wason, Commander C. R.

Royal Indian Marine.

Campbell, Lieutenant C. R.

Hamilton, Commander A., D.S.O.

Hickman, Commander C. S.

 

OPERATIONS KUT-AL-AMARA - 28th September, 1915

 

(included in Army lists)

 

Royal Navy.

Cookson, Lieutenant - Commander E. C., D.S.O. (killed).

Harris, Lieutenant W. V. H.

Singleton, Lieutenant M.

 Royal Indian Marine.

Goad, Lieutenant-Commander C. R.

Royal Naval Air Service.

Blackburn, Lieutenant V. G.

Gordon, Major R.

________

 

War Office, 5th April, 1916.

 

The Government of India has forwarded for publication in the London Gazette the undermentioned list of officers and men whose names have been mentioned in despatches from the General Officer Commanding for services in connection with the operations in Mesopotamia from 6th November, 1914, up to 14th April, 1915.

 

Royal Navy.

Captain Hayes-Sadler, R.N.

Captain W. Nunn, R.N.

Lieutenant-Commander A. R.N. G. Seymour.

Royal Indian Marine.

Commander A. Hamilton.

Commander O. Goldsmith.

Lieutenant B. C. Marsh.

Hired Transports and River Steamers.

Captain R. W. Coope, s.s. "Elephanta."

Captain G. R. Elton, s.s. "Umaria."

Captain J. S. Kilner, s.s. "Ekma."

Lieutenant S. L. Mills, R.N.R., s.s. "Varela."

Captain J. S. Reddock, s.s. "Erinpura."

Captain C. J. Swanson, s.s. "Torilla."

Captain C. H. Cowley, river s. "Mejidieh."

Captain E. C. P. D'Eye, river s. "Blosse Lynch."

Captain F. W. Lyte, river s. "Shushan."

Captain O. Sczulezewski, river s. "Malamir."

Captain Hasan Bin Ghulami, river s. "Salimi."

Captain Tahir Bin Bangui, river s. "Mozaffari."

Mr. Bryant, Marconi Operator, s.s. "Varela."

(followed by Army lists)

________

 

 

29576 - 10 MAY 1916

 

MESOPOTAMIAN CAMPAIGN

ARMY DESPATCH dated 17 January 1916

         
 

Maps with thanks to "The Navy in Mesopotamia" by Conrad Cato, 1917, covering respectively Mesopotamia, and the Kurnah or Al Qurnah, Hammar Lake, and Kut-al-Amarah areas (click to enlarge)

 

War Office, 10th May, 1916.

 

The following despatch from General Sir John Nixon, K.C.B., on the operations in Mesopotamia in October, November, and December, 1915, has been forwarded by the Government of India for publication: -

 

General Headquarters, I.E.F. "D.," 17th January, 1916.

 

From General Sir John Nixon, K.C.B., A.D.C., General, Commanding Indian Expeditionary Force "D."

To The Chief of the General Staff, Army Headquarters, India.

 

Sir,

I have the honour to forward a report on the operations in Mesopotamia during the months of October, November and December, 1915.

 

2. In my last despatch I described events up to October 5th. On that date the Turkish Army under Nur-Ed-Din, which had been defeated at Kut-Al-Amarah, had reached a previously-prepared position astride the Tigris at Ctesiphon, where it received reinforcements ; and our advanced troops under Major-General Townshend reached Aziziyah (30 miles east of Ctesiphon).

 

3. During the next six weeks reinforcements, supplies, and transport animals were brought up to Kut and Aziziyah preparatory to a further advance up the Tigris. These preliminary movements were inevitably slow on account of the difficulties of navigation during the low water season, which delayed the passage of shipping.

 

4. Throughout this period of preparation frequent skirmishes took place with the enemy, who had pushed out advanced detachments to Zeur and Kutunie, seven and 14 miles respectively above Aziziyah.

 

5. The Cavalry Brigade and one Infantry Brigade advanced from Aziziyah on 11th November, and occupied Kutunie without opposition. On the 18th November General Townshend had concentrated the whole of his force and the shipping at Kutunie..

 

6. On the 19th November the advance was continued, moving by both banks of the river, and Zeur was occupied. The enemy's advanced troops withdrew towards Ctesiphon after offering slight opposition. On 20th November the force on the left bank reached Lajj (nine miles from Ctesiphon); the shipping and the right bank detachment arrived on the 21st, the latter crossing the river and joining the main body on the left bank.

 

7. The Turkish position at Ctesiphon lay astride the Tigris, covering the approach to Baghdad, which is situated some 18 miles to the north-west. The defences had been under construction for some months. They consisted of an extensive system of entrenchments forming two main positions. On the right bank the front position extended from the river for about three miles in a S.W. direction; the second line trenches lying some five miles further upstream. On the left bank a continuous line of entrenchments and redoubts stretched from the river for six miles to the north-east; the left flank terminating in a large redoubt. On this bank the second line was about two miles behind the front position and parallel to it for three miles from the Tigris, thence it turned northwards to the Dialah River. Close to the Tigris, on the left bank and midway between the two defensive lines, was situated the Arch of Ctesiphon - a prominent landmark.

 

A mile in rear of the second line of trenches a bridge of boats connected the two wings of the Turkish Army. Further in rear, the Dialah River, near its junction with the Tigris, was bridged at two points, and entrenchments commanded the crossings.

 

During General Townshend's concentration at Aziziyah accurate information had been obtained by aerial observation regarding the position of the Turkish defences.

 

8. The officers employed on these reconnaissances displayed the same intrepidity and devotion to duty that has been commented on in previous despatches. Unfortunately during the actual period of the battle at Ctesiphon a series of accidents deprived the Royal Flying Corps of several officers and machines. Among those forced to descend within the enemy's lines was Major H. L. Reilly, a Flight Commander of exceptional ability, who has much distinguished service to his credit.

 

9. It was reported that the enemy had over 13,000 regular troops and 38 guns in the Ctesiphon position. There were reports of the early arrival of further reinforcements. Though information on this point was indefinite and lacked confirmation, it was advisable that there should be no delay in attacking and defeating Nur-Ed-Din before the arrival of possible reinforcements.

 

10. General Townshend, after a night march from Lajj, on 21st/22nd November attacked the hostile position on the left bank at the centre and on the north-east flank. A severe fight lasted throughout the day, resulting in the capture of the front position, and more than 1,300 prisoners.

 

Our troops pressed on and penetrated to the second line, capturing eight guns and establishing themselves in the enemy's trenches. Here they were subjected to heavy counterattacks by fresh troops. The captured guns changed hands several times. Finally they had to be abandoned, as shortly before nightfall it was found necessary, owing to diminished numbers, to order the withdrawal of our troops from the forward positions to which they had penetrated back to the first position.

 

11. On the 23rd November our troops were reorganised in the position they had captured, and the work of collecting the numerous casualties was continued.

 

Owing to heavy losses in killed and wounded it was inadvisable to renew the offensive.

 

There is no doubt that the Turkish troops who had fought on the previous day were in no condition to resume the fight. The battlefield was littered with their killed and wounded, and many of the trenches were choked with dead. The 45th Turkish Division which had held the front trenches was practically destroyed. But reinforcements came up, and heavy attacks were made all along General Townshend's line throughout the night 23rd/24th November. These were repulsed, and the enemy must have lost heavily.

 

12. On the 24th November wounded and prisoners were evacuated from Ctesiphon to Lajj, where the shipping flotilla was banked in; and General Townshend consolidated the position he had taken up on the battlefield. His left flank, which had been near the Ctesiphon Arch, in advance of the main position, moved back into the general alignment. Owing to the interruption of a water channel which had supplied the trenches on the northeast flank our troops there suffered from want of water; so the right flank was brought nearer the river. This movement was successfully effected under the cover of an offensive movement pushed out from the centre of the position. The enemy displayed little activity throughout this day, except for shell fire. Most of this came from guns on the right bank, which prevented the steamers advancing upstream from Lajj.

 

13. On the 25th November the remainder of the wounded were sent back to Lajj. Up to this time it appeared from hostile movements to their rear - reported by air reconnaissance -  that the Turks contemplated a retirement from their remaining positions. But apparently they received fresh reinforcements on the 25th. During the afternoon large columns were seen advancing down the left bank and also inland, as if to turn our right flank; while hostile cavalry threatened our rear.

 

14. General Townshend was nine miles from his shipping and source of supplies at Lajj, faced by superior forces of fresh troops. He decided to avoid an engagement, and, under cover of night, withdrew to Lajj. Here he remained during the 26th.

 

15. A position so far from bases of supply, with a vulnerable line of communication along the winding shallow river was unfavourable for defence. It was necessary to withdraw further downstream to a more secure locality until conditions might enable a resumption of the offensive.

 

16. General Townshend withdrew unmolested during the night of 27th/28th to Aziziyah.

 

On the 29th the Cavalry Brigade, under Brigadier-General Roberts, east of Kutunie engaged and drove back the enemy's advanced mounted troops who were attacking a stranded gunboat. The 14th Hussars and the 7th (Hariana) Lancers made a successful charge. Some 140 casualties were inflicted on the enemy.

 

17. On the morning of 30th, continuing the retirement, the main force halted at Uram Al Tubal; a mixed brigade under Major-General Sir C. Melliss pushing on towards Kut to deal with hostile mounted troops which had interrupted the passage of steamers at Chubibat about twenty-five miles below Kut.

 

18. The troops had to remain at Umm Al Tubal as the ships were in difficulties in shoal water in this vicinity and the enemy's whole force came up during the night. They attacked in great strength at daylight on 1st December.

 

A fierce fight ensued, the Turks losing heavily from our artillery fire at a range of 2,500 yards. General T'ownshend took advantage of a successful counter-attack made by the Cavalry Brigade against a column which attempted to envelop his right flank, to break off the fight and retire by echelons of Brigades. This was carried out in perfect order under a heavy shell fire, and by mid-day the enemy had been shaken off. General Townshend reports that it was entirely due to the splendid steadiness of the troops and to the excellency of his Brigadiers that he was able to repulse the enemy's determined attacks and extricate his force from the difficult situation in which it was placed.

 

The mixed Brigade, commanded by General Melliss, consisting of: -  30th Infantry Brigade, 1/5th Hants (Howitzer) Battery R.F.A., and the 16th Cavalry, which had been despatched to Chubibat on the morning of 30th November, was recalled on the night of 30th November/1st December. This Brigade marched 80 miles in three days, including the battle of December 1st. At the end of it their valour and discipline was in no way diminished and their losses did not include a single prisoner.

 

19. After a march of 30 miles, Shadi was reached on the night of 1st/2nd December, and on the morning of 3rd December General Townshend was installed at Kut-Al-Amarah, where, it was decided, his retirement should end.

 

20. The Naval flotilla on the Tigris operated on the left flank of the troops throughout the operations that have been described. From November 22nd to November 25th the gunboats from positions below Bustan (two miles east of Ctesiphon) were engaged against hostile artillery, particularly against concealed guns on the right bank which prevented ships from moving above Bustan.

 

21. During the retreat from Ctesiphon to Kut the gunboats under Captain Nunn, D.S.O., Senior Naval Officer, rendered valuable services in protecting the steamers and barges and in assisting when they grounded. The Naval gunboats were employed at this work day and night, frequently under fire from snipers on both banks.

 

Owing to numerous loops and twists in the course of the river, it was impossible for the flotilla to remain in touch with the troops during the retirement.

 

22. On the-evening of the 28th November, "Shaitan" went aground about eight miles above Aziziyah and could not be refloated. Throughout November 29th, "Firefly" and "Shushan" salved "Shaitan's" guns and stores under heavy sniping from both banks, until the situation was relieved in the afternoon by the action of the Cavalry Brigade which has already been referred to.

 

The hull of "Shaitan" eventually had to be abandoned, as the Turks opened fire with guns on the ships which had remained behind.

 

23. On the occasion of the Turkish attack on the morning of December 1st, at Um Al Tubal, "Firefly" and "Comet" made good practice with lyddite at a large body of Turks at a range of 3,000 yards. The ships came under a heavy and accurate shell fire, and, at 7 a.m., a shell penetrated the boiler of "Firefly," disabling her. H.M.S. "Comet" (Captain Nunn) took "Firefly" in tow, and in endeavouring to turn in the narrow river, both ships took the ground. "Firefly" was got clear and sent drifting downstream; but "Comet" would not move from the bank, against which she had been wedged by " Firefly."

 

24. "Sumana" came up and made several  unsuccessful attempts to drag "Comet" off the bank. The enemy's fire increased in intensity; they brought up several field guns to short range; the ships were surrounded by Turkish troops and fired on at a range of 50 yards. "Comet" and "Firefly" were badly damaged and on fire. They were abandoned after the guns had been rendered useless and the crews were taken on board "Sumana," which succeeded in effecting her escape.

 

Subsequently “Sumana" did most valuable work in salving shipping which had got into difficulties further downstream.

 

25. Throughout these operations Captain Nunn, Lieutenant Eddis, who was wounded, and all officers and men of the Naval Flotilla behaved with great coolness and bravery under most trying circumstances.

 

26. The valour of the troops who fought under General Townshend at the battle of Ctesiphon is beyond praise. The 6th Division exhibited the same dauntless courage and self-sacrifice in the attack that has distinguished it throughout the campaign in Mesopotamia.

 

The dash with which the Indian troops (enlisted from all parts of India} have attacked a stubborn foe in well-entrenched positions, I attribute largely to the confidence with which they have been inspired by the British battalions of the Force.

 

When forced by greatly superior numbers to act on the defensive, and during the retreat to Kut, under the most trying conditions, the troops responded to the calls made on them with admirable discipline and steadiness.

 

They proved themselves to be soldiers of the finest quality.

 

27. These fine troops were most ably commanded by Major-General C. V. F. Townshend, C.B., D.S.O. I have a very high opinion, indeed, of this officer's capabilities as a commander of troops in the field. He was tried very highly, not only at the battle of Ctesiphon, but more especially during the retirement that ensued. Untiring, resourceful, and even more cheerful as the outlook grew darker, he possesses, in my opinion, very special qualifications as a commander.

 

He is imperturbable under the heaviest fire and his judgment is undisturbed.

 

28. With great regret, I have been forced, by reasons of ill-health, to resign the command of the British Forces in Mesopotamia - an appointment I have had the honour of holding during the past nine months.

 

In order to complete the record of events during my period in command, I will now give a brief narrative of the operations on the Tigris from the time that General Townshend's Force reached Kut-Al-Amarah on December 3rd until the date of my departure from Mesopotamia.

 

29. When General Townshend reached Kut on December 3rd, measures were taken to withstand a siege until the arrival of relief from reinforcements which were coming from overseas.

 

Defences were improved. Shipping was despatched to Basrah, evacuating the sick and wounded, and also the Turkish prisoners (1,350 were captured at Ctesiphon and all were safely brought away in the retreat).

 

The armed tug "Sumana" was the only vessel left at Kut.

 

The Cavalry Brigade and a convoy of transport animals were marched down to Ali Al Gharbi, before the enemy could effect an investment.

 

The Cavalry left on December 6th. On that day the enemy closed on the northern front, and by December 7th the investment of Kut was complete.

 

30. The cavalry at Ali Al Gharbi was reinforced with infantry and guns from Basrah. Behind this advanced detachment a force under the command of Major-General F. J. Aylmer, V.C., was collected on the line Amarah-Ali Al Gharbi, for the relief of Kut as soon as its concentration was completed.

 

31. The entrenched camp at Kut is contained in a "U" shaped loop of the Tigris; the town stands at the most southerly end of the peninsula so formed. The northern defences are some 3,200 yards from the town; the peninsula is about a mile in width.

 

A detached post was established at a small village on the right bank of the river opposite Kut. East of the town was a bridge of boats, covered by a bridge head detachment on the right bank.

 

32. On December 8th, the enemy carried out a heavy bombardment from three sides, and Nur-Ed-Din Pasha called upon General Townshend to surrender.

 

33. On December 9th, our detachment on the right bank, covering the bridge, was forced to retire before a heavy attack. The enemy occupied the right bank at the bridge head.

 

During the night, December 9th/10th, the bridge was successfully demolished by a party gallantly led by Lieutenant A. B. Matthews, R.E., .and Lieutenant R. T. Sweet, 2/7th Gurkha Rifles.

 

34. During the following days Kut was subjected to a continuous bombardment and several attacks were beaten off. The enemy's losses were heavy, especially in the abortive attacks on December 12th, when, it is estimated, their casualties amounted to 1,000.

 

35. Operations were then conducted on the lines of regular siege warfare. A redoubt at the north-east corner of the defences became the special objective of Turkish shell fire and sapping operations.

 

36. On the night of December 14/15th a successful sortie was made against trenches facing the detached post on the right bank, and, on the night, December 17th/18th, two sorties, from the redoubt previously referred to, cleared the enemy's nearest trenches. About thirty Turks were bayonetted and ten were captured.

 

37. Heavy fire was concentrated on the redoubt during the night December 23rd/24th and throughout the 24th. The parapet was breached and the Turks effected an entrance, but they were driven out by a counter-attack, leaving 200 dead behind. Attacks were renewed later, and throughout the night of December 24th/25th a fierce struggle took place around the redoubt. The enemy again effected a lodgment, but by morning they had been ejected and the assault was finally defeated.

 

38. No decisive attacks have been attempted by the Turks since their failure at Christmas, which, it is reported, cost them about 2,000 casualties.

 

39. On December 28th a movement of troops, which was continued for several days, took place from the Turkish main camp (six miles above Kut) to Shaikh Saad - which had been occupied by enemy mounted troops for some time.

 

40. On January 4th, General Aylmer's leading troops, under Major-General Younghusband, advanced from Ali Al Gharbi towards Shaikh Saad, moving by both banks.

 

General Younghusband's column got in touch with the enemy on the morning of January 6th. The Turks were entrenched astride the Tigris, three-and-a-half miles east of Shaikh Saad. An attempt to turn Turkish right flank did not succeed owing to presence of hostile cavalry and Arabs in superior force on this flank.

 

41. General Aylmer arrived on morning of January 7th with the remainder of his force and ordered a general attack; Major-General Younghusband commanding on the left bank and Major-General Kemball on the right bank.

 

Very heavy fighting lasted throughout the day. By evening the enemy's trenches on the right bank had been captured and some 600 prisoners and two guns taken.

 

On the left bank our troops were entrenched opposite the enemy, who still held their positions on that bank. Attempts to turn their left flank had been checked by counter enveloping movements from the north.

 

42. The troops were very fatigued next day and little progress was made.

 

On January 9th, the Turks were forced to abandon their remaining positions and retired upstream, followed by General Aylmer's force. But heavy rain now fell, making the alluvial soil of the roads almost impassable, and prevented active operations for the next two days. It is estimated that the enemy's losses during the three days' fighting at Shaikh Saad amounted to 4,500.

 

43. The enemy fell back about ten miles, to the Wadi - a tributary which joins the Tigris on the left bank. They took up a new position behind the Wadi and on the right bank of the Tigris, opposite the mouth of the Wadi.

 

44. General Aylmer concentrated his whole force on the left bank and attacked the Wadi position on the 13th. After hard fighting the Turks were driven out on the 14th and retired five miles further west and entrenched across a defile bounded on the north by a marsh and on the south by the Tigris. They were followed to this position by General Aylmer's force.

 

45. Throughout these operations the weather was very bad. The heavy rain and high wind caused great discomfort to the troops and made movement by land and by river most difficult. Up to January 17th there was no improvement in the weather and active operations were at a standstill.

 

46. As, owing to ill-health, I am about to relinquish command of Indian Expeditionary Force "D" I desire to place on record my warm appreciation of the able and devoted assistance afforded me by the Staff at General Headquarters and Officers of the various Administrative Services and Departments.

 

I wish specially to bring forward the names of the following officers who have rendered very valuable services:-

 

(Army commanders and Corps listed)

 

It must be remembered that as a port Basrah has no facilities for the discharge of stores or the disembarkation of troops and animals. The officers of the Royal Indian Marine consequently have had no easy task in improvising wharves and berths, and dealing with the large number of transports which have recently arrived and have had to be unloaded with the utmost expedition. They have, nevertheless, overcome these many difficulties, and the greatest credit is due to them for what they have accomplished.

 

The officers and crews of the Tigris steamers belonging to Messrs. Lynch Brothers and of the other river craft have always displayed gallantry of a high order in bringing their ships on, often under heavy fire, and it is not too much to say that without this assistance, and the indefatigable manner in which they have worked, that the movements of troops and supplies would not have been possible.

 

(continues)

 

The names of the following officers, all of whom have performed good service, are brought to the notice of His Excellency the Commander- in-Chief in India: -

 

(included in Army list)

 

Goad, Lieutenant-Commander C. R., R.I.M.

Huddleston, Commander (temporary Captain) W. B.

Kinch, Lieutenant A. G., R.I.M.

Marsh, Lieutenant B. C., R.I.M.

 

I have the honour to be, Sir, Your obedient Servant,

JOHN NIXON, General, Commanding Indian Expeditionary Force "D."

________

 

From the Commander-in-Chief, East Indies Station, to the Secretary of the Admiralty.

 

"Proserpine," 10th January, 1916.

 

Sir,

With reference to the operations on the Tigris comprising the attack on Ctesiphon and subsequent withdrawal, be pleased to acquaint the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty that I consider much credit is due to Captain Wilfrid Nunn, C.M.G., D.S.O., for having effected this retreat in the face of a much superior force with so little loss.

 

The abandonment of "Comet" and "Firefly'' was unavoidable, and was accomplished in a highly seamanlike manner under heavy fire.

 

2. In connection with the above I have the honour to bring to Their Lordships' notice the names of the following Officers and men:

Lieutenant George E. Harden, R.N.

Sub-Lieutenant Lionel C. P. Tudway, D.S.C., R.N.

Acting Sub-Lieutenant John G. Wood, R.N.R.

Engineer Driver, 1st Class, Saidu Hoosein, of "Comet."

Petty Officer, 1st Class, James Keay, O.N. 167367, of "Firefly."

Petty Officer, 1st Class, H. John Wheeler, O.N. 179098, of "Sumana."

Seaman Ernest Guy, O.N. 7679 A., R.N.R.

Signalman Frederick J. Hanson, O.N. 313904, of "Espiegle."

 

I have, etc.,

(Signed) R. H. PEIRSE, Vice-Admiral, Commander-in-Chief.

 ________

 

29665 - 1 JULY 1916

 

MESOPOTAMIAN CAMPAIGN - NAVAL MENTIONS

ARMY DESPATCH dated 13 July 1916

 

War Office, 13th July, 1916.

 

With reference to the last paragraph of General Sir John Nixon's despatch dated 17th January, 1916 (London Gazette No. 29576, dated 10th May, 1916), the following is a list of officers and men brought to notice by Major-General C. V. F. Townshend, C.B., D.S.O., in connection with the operations under his command:

 

Royal Navy.

Eddis, Lieut.-Comdr. C. J. F.

Harden, Lieut. G. E.

Tudway, Sub-Lieut. L. C. P., D.S.C.

Wood, Sub.-Lieut. J. G., R.N.R.

Royal Naval Air Service.

 

Blackburn, Flight-Lieut. V. G., D.S.C.

Robertson, Flight-Lieut. A. K.

Nelson, Mr G. D., Warrant Officer, 2nd grade.

(followed by Army lists)

 

(included in other units)

 

Royal Indian Marine.

Goad, Lt.-Comdr. C. R.

Kerr, Engineer, Lt. T.

River Transport Service.

Cowley, Lt.-Comdr. C., R.N.V.R., Comdr. of "Mejidieh".

Moorey, Mr., Comdr. of "T-2."

Hussain, Comdr. of "Salimi."

Basa Meah, Syrang.

Amzat Ali, Subhanni.

________

 

 

29782 - 10 OCTOBER 1916

 

MESOPOTAMIAN CAMPAIGN

ARMY DESPATCH dated 12 August 1916

 

War Office, 11th October, 1916.

 

The following Despatch from Lieutenant-General Sir Percy Lake, K.C.B., relative to the operations in Mesopotamia from 19th January to 30th April, 1916, has been forwarded by the Government of India for publication:

 

General Headquarters, I.E.F. "D.," 11th August, 1916.

 

From Lieut.-General Sir P. H. N. Lake, K.C.B., K.C.M.G., Commanding Indian Expeditionary Force "D"

To the Chief of the General Staff, Army Headquarters, India, Simla.

 

SIR,

I have the honour to submit a Despatch describing the operations of the Force under my command from January 19th, 1916, the date of my assuming command, up to April 30th, 1916.

 

2. Sir John Nixon's last Despatches, dated January 17th, referred to General Aylmer's advance from Ali Gharbi; his capture of the Turkish position at Sheikh Saad after severe fighting on the 6th, 7th and 8th January; the battle of 13th and 14th January on the Wadi River, and the retreat of the enemy to an entrenched position across the Umm-Al-Hannah defile.

 

3. The period now under report includes three phases in the further attempt to relieve Kut:

1st Phase. - 19th to 23rd January.

Unsuccessful attempt to force the Hannah defile. Commander, Lieut.-General Sir F. Aylmer.

 

2nd Phase. - 24th January to 10th March.

A period of rest and reorganisation, followed by the unsuccessful attempt to outflank the enemy's right in the vicinity of the Dujailah Redoubt. Commander, Lieut.-General Sir F. Aylmer.

 

3rd Phase. - 11th March to 30th April. A brief period of preparation, followed by the attack and capture of the Hannah and Falahiyah positions; failure to force the Sannaiyat position, and fall of Kut. Commander, Lieut.-General Sir G. F. Gorringe.

4. The general position of affairs on the Tigris front on January 19th, 1916, was that the bulk of General Aylmer's force, after the heavy fighting referred to in paragraph 2, was encamped on the left bank of the Tigris, above the Wadi River; the advanced troops were in touch with the Turks entrenched in their Umm Al-Hannah position. General Aylmer was actively engaged in reorganising his force for a further advance with the least possible delay. He fully realised that an immediate advance must involve some deficiencies in his organisation and fighting strength, but was influenced by the following factors:

(i.) General Townshend's reports as to the limit of his food supplies, and the influence of food supply questions generally on the operations of the relieving column.

 

(ii.) General Townshend's anxiety about the sufficiency of his ammunition supply and the condition of some of his troops.

 

(iii.) The rapidity with which the Turks might be able to reinforce the troops opposed to General Townshend, and the desirability of forestalling them.

It was, I understand, those three considerations that had mainly influenced my predecessor in ordering General Aylmer to advance as early in January as possible with the force which would then be concentrated at Ali Gharbi.

 

It was not until after the heavy fighting for the Hannah position on January 21st that General Townshend's report of January 25th, 1916, to the effect that as regards food supplies he could hold out for another 84 days, reached General Headquarters.

 

5. The difficulty experienced in pushing up reinforcements, supplies and munitions of war to the front seriously affected the operations.

 

The number of steamers available in January, 1916, for river transport purposes was practically the same as when in June, 1915, the first advance up the Tigris took place. Additional river craft had from time to time been demanded, as augmentations to the force in Mesopotamia were decided upon, but owing to the peculiar conditions which vessels intended for the intricate navigation of the Tigris have to satisfy, the provision of these vessels was a difficult problem, necessarily entailing long delays, and the supply was never able to keep pace with the requirements of the force.

 

In consequence of this it was never possible during the period now under report either to concentrate at the Tigris front the whole of the forces available in the country or to equip such forces as could be concentrated there with sufficient transport to make them mobile and enable them to operate freely at any distance from the river.

 

It was always necessary therefore for General Headquarters to balance most carefully the flow of reinforcements and supplies, so that the former should not outrun the latter.

 

1st Phase. - 19th to 23rd January.

 

6. After the battle of Wadi River General Aylmer's leading troops had followed the retreating Turks to the Umm-Al-Hannah position, and entrenched themselves at the mouth of the defile, so as to shut the enemy in and limit his power of taking the offensive.

 

7. The weather at this period was extraordinarily unfavourable. Heavy rains caused the river to come down in flood and overflow its banks, and converted the ground on either bank into a veritable bog.

 

Our bridge across the Wadi was washed away several times, while the boisterous winds greatly interfered with the construction of a bridge across the Tigris, here some 400 yards in width.

 

8. It was essential to establish Artillery on the right bank of the Tigris so as to support, by enfilading fire, the attack of our Infantry against the Hannah position.

 

9. Guns and troops were ferried across, with difficulty, owing to the high wind and heavy squalls of rain, but by the 19th all troops allotted to the right bank had crossed over and were established in the positions from which they were required to co-operate with the main force on the left bank.

 

10. Meanwhile the leading Infantry Brigades on the left bank had pushed nearer the enemy. January the 20th was devoted to a systematic bombardment of his position, and during the night the Infantry pushed forward their advanced line to within 200 yards of the enemy's trenches.

 

11. On the morning of the 21st, under cover of an intensive Artillery bombardment, our Infantry moved to the attack.

 

On our right the troops got to within 100 yards of the enemy's line, but were unable to advance further. Our left column, consisting of the Black Watch, 6th Jats and 41st Dogras, penetrated the front line with a rush, capturing trenches which they held for about an hour and a half. Supports were sent forward, but losing direction and coming under heavy fire, failed to reach them. Thus, left unsupported, our previously successful troops, when Turkish counter-attacks developed, were overwhelmed by numbers and forced to retire.

 

12. Heavy rain now began to fall and continued throughout the day. Telephone communication broke down, and communication by orderly became slow and uncertain.

 

After further Artillery bombardment the attack was renewed at 1 p.m., but by this time the heavy rain had converted the ground into a sea of mud, rendering rapid movement impossible. The enemy's fire was heavy and effective, inflicting severe losses, and though every effort was made, the assault failed.

 

Our troops maintained their position until dark and then slowly withdrew to the main trenches which had been previously occupied, some 1,300 yards from those of the enemy.

 

13. As far as possible all the wounded were brought in during the withdrawal, but their sufferings and hardships were acute under the existing climatic conditions, when vehicles and stretcher-bearers could scarcely move in the deep mud.

 

14. To renew the attack on the 22nd was not practicable. The losses on the 21st had been heavy, the ground was still a quagmire and the troops exhausted. A six hours' armistice was arranged in order to bury the dead and remove the wounded to shelter.

 

15. I cannot sufficiently express my admiration for the courage and dogged determination of the force engaged. For days they bivouacked in driving rain on soaked and sodden ground. Three times they were called upon to advance over a perfectly flat country, deep in mud, and absolutely devoid of cover, against well-constructed and well-planned trenches, manned by a brave and stubborn enemy approximately their equal in numbers. They showed a spirit of endurance and self-sacrifice of which their country may well be proud.

 

2nd Phase.- 24th January to 10th March.

 

16. The hurried improvisation of temporary Brigades, Divisions, etc., with which the force had been obliged to commence its advance from Ali Gharbi was now showing its inherent weakness. Divisions and Brigades, the units of which knew each other and had served together in France, had perforce been broken up to meet the difficulties of transport on a long sea voyage. There had been no time on arrival in Mesopotamia to await belated units. In many cases, Field Ambulances had arrived after the combatant units. Brigade and Divisional formations had been made up with such units as were first available. This was a severe handicap to the troops, and steps were now taken to reconstitute formations as far as possible in their original condition.

 

17. Throughout the month of February, preparations were made for resuming the offensive. Reinforcements were pushed up from the Base by steamer and route march; reorganisation and training were carried on at the front. On the left bank our trenches were again pushed forward towards the Hannah position. Frequent reconnaissances were made by land and air on both banks. During this period no severe fighting took place, though several minor operations were undertaken to gain information and to harass the enemy. On February 11th the bridge which had been destroyed by floods on January 14th was replaced.

 

18. The situation at the end of February was briefly as follows:

 

On the left bank the enemy, having been reinforced, still held the Hannah position in force; further in rear were other defensive lines, at Falahiyah, Sannaiyat, Nakhailat, and along the northern part of the Es Sinn position. All except the last-named had been constructed since the battle of Hannah on 21st January. They were all protected on both flanks, by the Tigris and the Suwaikieh Marsh respectively. On the right bank, the Es Sinn position constituted the Turkish main line of defence, with an advanced position near Beit Aiessa. The right flank of the Es Sinn position rested on the Dujailah Redoubt, which lay some five miles south of the river and 14 miles south-west of the British lines on the right bank.

 

19. It was decided to attack the Turkish right flank and Dujailah Redoubt, as the first step towards the relief of Kut before the arrival of the flood season, expected about the middle of March. It was feared that, as soon as the Tigris came down in flood, the Turks would cut the bunds and so flood the country as to render further offensive operations impracticable. The whole area was so flat that there was hardly any portion of it which could safely be said to be above flood level.

 

20. General Aylmer made his arrangements accordingly. He decided not to wait for further reinforcements, but to advance with the maximum force for which land transport could be made available with two days' food and water. To conceal his intentions during the period of preparation, our Artillery on both banks engaged the enemy's trenches on the left bank, whilst the force in front of the Hannah position displayed great activity.

 

21. Operations were again interrupted at the beginning of March by adverse weather conditions. This delay was unfortunate, as it gave time to the enemy to construct trenches closing the gap which had hitherto existed between Dujailah Redoubt and the Hai River.

 

22. On the afternoon of March 7th, General Aylmer assembled his subordinate Commanders and gave his final instructions, laying particular stress on the fact that the operation was designed to effect a surprise; and that, to prevent the enemy forestalling us, it was essential that the first phase of the operation-i.e., the captureof the Dujailah Redoubt-should be pushed through with the utmost vigour.

 

23. His dispositions were briefly as follows: The greater part of a Division under General Younghusband, assisted by Naval Gunboats, contained the enemy on the left bank. The remaining troops were formed into two columns, under General Kemball and General Keary, respectively, a reserve of Infantry and the Cavalry Brigade being held at the Corps Commander's own disposal. Kemball's column, covered on the outer flank by the Cavalry Brigade, was to make a turning movement to attack the Dujailah Redoubt from the south, supported by the remainder of the force operating from a position to the east of the Redoubt.

 

24. The night march by this large force, which led across the enemy's front to a position on his right flank, was a difficult operation, entailing movement over unknown ground and requiring most careful arrangements to attain success. Thanks to excellent staff work and good march discipline, the troops reached their allotted positions apparently undiscovered by the enemy, but while Keary's Column was in position at daybreak ready to support Kemball's attack, the latter's command did not reach the point selected for its deployment, in the Dujailah depression, until more than an hour later. This delay was highly prejudicial to the success of the operation.

 

25. In spite of their late arrival the presence of so large a force seems to have been quite unexpected by the Turks, as Dujailah Redoubt was apparently lightly held when our columns reached their allotted positions. Prompt and energetic action would probably have forestalled the enemy's reinforcements. But time was lost by waiting for the guns to register and to carry out reconnaissances, and when, nearly three hours later, Kemball's troops advanced to the attack, they were strongly opposed by the enemy from trenches cleverly concealed in the brushwood, and were unable to make further ground for some time, though assisted by Keary's attack upon the Redoubt from the east.

 

The southern attack was now reinforced, and by 1 p.m. had pushed forward to within 500 yards of the Redoubt, but concealed trenches again stopped further progress, and the Turks made several counter-attacks with reinforcements which had by now arrived from the direction of Magasis.

 

26. It was about this time that the Corps Commander received from his Engineer officers the unwelcome news that the water supply contained in rainwater pools in the Dujailah depression, upon which he had reckoned, was insufficient, and could not be increased by digging. It was clear therefore that unless the Dujailah Redoubt could be carried that day, the scarcity of water would of itself compel our troops to fall back. Preparations were accordingly made for a further assault on the Redoubt, and at 5.15 p.m. attacks were launched from the south and east under cover of a heavy bombardment. The 9th and 28th Infantry Brigades got within 200 yards of the southern face, where they were held up by heavy fire, although reinforced. Meanwhile the 8th Infantry Brigade, supported by the 37th, had assaulted from the East; the two leading battalions of the former, the Manchesters and 59th Rifles, and some of the 37th Infantry Brigade, succeeded in gaining a foothold in the Redoubt. But here they were heavily counter-attacked by large enemy reinforcements, and, being subjected to an extremely rapid and accurate shrapnel fire from concealed guns in the vicinity of Sinn Aftar, they were forced to fall back to the position from which they started.

 

27. The troops, who had been under arms for some 30 hours, including a long night march, were now much exhausted, and General Aylmer considered that a renewal of the assault during the night 8/9th March could not be made with any prospect of success. Next morning the enemy's position was found to be unchanged, and General Aylmer, finding himself faced with the deficiency of water already referred to, decided upon the immediate withdrawal of his force to Wadi, which was reached the same night.

 

28. The evacuation of our wounded had preceded our retirement. The first parties of wounded reached Wadi at 4 p.m. on March 9th, and the last wounded man was attended to in Hospital at that place at 2 a.m., March 10th. The Corps Commander speaks in high terms of the gallantry and devotion displayed by officers and subordinates of the Medical Service and Army Bearer Corps during the fighting. They collected and attended to the wounded under heavy fire in a manner which called forth the admiration of the whole force.

 

3rd Phase.- 11th March to 30th April.

 

29. No further operations of any importance occurred during March, though minor engagements took place on the right bank, in which enemy trenches were taken and prisoners captured. But rain fell, and the Tigris came down in heavy flood on March 15th, causing extensive inundations, which compelled our troops to evacuate their advanced positions on that bank. For the remainder of the month there was a strenuous struggle with the inundations to prevent the whole country being flooded. Every available man was engaged in digging embankments, and operations were temporarily suspended.

 

30. On March 12th Major-General Sir G. F. Gorringe succeeded to the command of the Corps. Fresh troops now began to arrive upriver, and it was decided to renew active operations as soon as this reinforcement was complete. Careful investigations were made meanwhile as to the feasibility of an advance on Kut by the right bank from Shaikh Saad, but as inquiry showed that the country along this route was not flood-proof, and would be liable to inundation by the breaking of the bunds on the right bank of the Tigris, which were under Turkish control, it was decided that conditions were more favourable for an attack on the Hannah position and an advance tip the left bank.

 

Preparations were accordingly made for putting this plan into action.

 

31. The 7th Division had been engaged in sapping up to the enemy's front trenches, continually under heavy fire and hampered by floods. By March 28th their sap-heads were 150 yards from the Turkish front line.

 

On April 1st the 13th Division moved up from Sheikh Saad to relieve them in the front trenches preparatory to the assault. Heavy rain fell, however, on this and the following day, and floods rendered some of the positions of our troops on the right bank untenable. The ground became impassable and operations had to be postponed.

 

32. By the evening of April 4th the ground had dried sufficiently for the assault. At daylight the next morning the 13th Division jumped out of their trenches and rushed the Turkish first and second lines in quick succession. Our Artillery and machine-guns at once opened on the third and other lines in rear, and by 7 a.m. the whole position was in our hands.

 

33. The attack on Hannah had been prepared witn the greatest care, and was brilliantly executed by General Maude and the 13th Division. The enemy's position was a maze of deep trenches occupying a frontage of only 1,300 yards between the Tigris and the Suwaikieh Marsh, and extending for 2,600 yards from front to rear. Although it was lightly held by the Turks with a few companies and some machine-guns it was a position of great strength.

 

34. Meanwhile, on the right bank, the 3rd Division had been gaining ground. In the morning the 8th Infantry Brigade, led by the Manchesters, captured the Turkish position on Abu Roman mounds. An attempt by the enemy to recapture this position in the afternoon was beaten off.

 

During the day the river rose considerably, and it was evident that a fresh flood was coming down. This pointed to the urgency of capturing the Falahiyah and Sannaiyat positions, three and six miles respectively West of the Hannah position, before the rising river should enable the Turks to flood the country between us by opening the bunds.

 

35. After nightfall a heavy bombardment was directed on the Falahiyah position from 7.15 p.m. to 7.30 p.m., after which the 13th Division assaulted and captured a series of deep trenches in several lines. The position was stubbornly held by about three Battalions of Turks, but by 9.30 p.m. it was completely in our hands and consolidated.

 

The 38th Infantry Brigade and the Warwicks and Worcesters of the 39th Infantry Brigade did particularly well in this assault. High praise is due to Major-General Maude, his Brigade commanders, and all under their command for this successful night attack. The Division suffered some 1,300 casualties during the day.

 

36. The 7th Division, which had hitherto been in support, now moved forward, and, passing through the 13th Division, took up a position about two miles east of Sannaiyat, ready to attack the northern portion of these entrenchments at dawn on April 6th. The line of direction was to be maintained by moving with the left flank along a communication trench which joined the Falahiyah and Sannaiyat positions. Previous reconnaissance of the terrain to be traversed had, of course, been impossible during daylight, as it was then still occupied by the Turks.

 

37. The passage, however, of numerous and deep cross-trenches so hampered the advance that, at dawn, when the assault was to have taken place, the troops were still some 2,300 yards from the enemy's position. This delay was fatal to their chance of success, as the ground was perfectly flat and without any vestige of cover. In these circumstances it would have been wiser to have postponed the attack at the last moment. The advance was, however, continued with the greatest gallantry under heavy artillery and machine-gun fire, to within 700 yards of the Turkish trenches. Here the attacking lines were checked, and eventually fell back on to the supporting 3rd line, where they dug themselves in at about 1,000 yards from the enemy.

 

38. During the night of 5/6th April and throughout the 6th the river rose steadily, until at mid-day it reached the highest level of the year. The wind changed to the north, and blew the water, of the Suwaikieh Marsh southwards across the right of the 7th Division; protective bunds along both the Tigris and the edge of the marsh had then to be constructed under the enemy's fire. Our guns were surrounded by floods, and for some time the position was distinctly critical.

 

The marsh continued to encroach so much on the ground occupied by the 7th Division that all efforts had to be devoted to securing from the floods the positions already gained. On the right bank the inundations rendered communication most difficult, and threatened to isolate the 3rd Division altogether. On April 8th, in face of many difficulties, a new bridge over the Tigris was completed at Falahiyah.

 

39. During the night 8/9th April the 13th Division took the place of the 7th Division in the trenches, and at 4.20 a.m. advanced to the assault on Sannaiyat. When within 300 yards of the enemy's front line they were discovered by the Turks, who sent up Very lights and flares and opened a heavy rifle and gun fire. The first line, including detachments of the 6th K.O. Royal Lancaster Regiment, 8th Welsh Fusiliers, 6th L. North Lancashire Regiment, and 5th Wiltshire Regiment, penetrated the centre of the enemy's front line trench. In the glare of the lights the 2nd line lost direction, wavered, and fell back on the 3rd and 4th lines. Support thus failed to reach the front line at the critical moment, in spite of the most gallant and energetic attempts of officers concerned to remedy matters.

 

Our troops who had reached the enemy's trenches were heavily counter-attacked by superior numbers and driven back to from 300 to 500 yards from the enemy's line, where brigades dug themselves in.

 

40. I had been at Wadi in close touch with the Corps Commander since April 6th, and after the failure of this attack we met and discussed the situation together in detail. While it was clearly very desirable to secure the Sannaiyat position with its obvious advantages, yet we had to bear in mind how very short the time at our disposal was if Kut was to be relieved, and the delay which a systematic approach by sapping right up to the position must involve. It was therefore decided that another attempt to force the enemy's right about the Sinn Aftar Redoubt offered prospects of speedier success.

 

41. General Gorringe accordingly proceeded to make the necessary arrangements for this move. As will be understood, it involved securing the control of the river bunds which were covered by the enemy's advanced position at Beit Aiessa, and establishing communications across the intervening flooded areas which must be traversed before we could reach that position. It should be borne in mind that there is no such thing as a road, in the sense in which we use the word, in this part of the country, and that no road material or metalling of any sort exists; yet in order to supply the troops with food and ammunition when they should have succeeded in crossing the inundations, some sort of permanent track above flood level, along which transport could work, was essential.

 

42. The 7th Division now again took over and pushed forward the trench work in front of Sannaiyat as far as constant interruptions by floods would permit. The 13th Division was held back near Falahiyah Bridge in reserve.

 

43. On April 12th, the 3rd Division, advancing across belts of inundation intersected by deep cuts, drove in the enemy's picquets east of Beit Aiessa and occupied their outpost line, consolidating their position during the night.

 

On April 15th and 16th, some of the enemy's advanced trenches were captured and counter-attacks were repulsed. Our new line was consolidated by night, guns were moved forward and preparations were made for the attack of the main Beit Aiessa position on the morning of the 17th.

 

44. Under cover of an intense bombardment, the 7th and 9th Infantry Brigades advanced at 6.45 a.m., and actually reached the Turkish trenches before our Artillery fire lifted. When the bombardment ceased they leapt into the trenches, bayonetted numbers of the enemy, and the Beit Aiessa position was soon in our hands. The enemy left 200 to 300 dead in the trenches and 180 prisoners were captured.

 

These operations, culminating in the capture of Beit Aiessa, reflect great credit on Major-General Keary and the troops under his command. Steady and consistent progress was made day after day in spite of most difficult conditions and often with a shortage of rations which the transport was heavily strained to bring forward.

 

45. Orders were now issued for the 13th Division to move up in relief of the 3rd Division, after dark, the latter to concentrate on the left rear of the 13th, preparatory to further operations next day.

 

46. At 5 p.m. the enemy's artillery commenced to bombard Beit Aiessa and to establish a barrage in rear of the 3rd Division, sweeping the passage through the swamps along which its communications lay. An hour later a very strong counter-attack came from the southwest. In spite of heavy shelling from our guns, the attack was pressed home against the 9th Infantry Brigade, from which a double company had been pushed forward to guard two captured guns which could not be brought in during daylight. In retiring the double company masked our fire; the 9th Infantry Brigade was pressed and gave ground, exposing the left of the 7th Infantry Brigade, which was also forced back. Our troops rallied on the 8th Infantry Brigade, which was holding its ground firmly on the left of the line, and on a portion of the 7th Infantry Brigade.

 

Reinforcements from the 13th Division were already moving forward, but owing to the darkness and boggy ground they were delayed, and some hours elapsed before they arrived.

 

The attack which commenced at 6 p.m. was followed by a series of heavy attacks throughout the night, the 8th Infantry Brigade on the left repelling as many as six such attacks. But our line held firm, and the enemy retreated at dawn, having suffered losses estimated at 4,000 to 5,000 men.

 

47. In this engagement the following units particularly distinguished themselves by their steadiness and gallantry:1st Battalion, Connaught Rangers; 27th Punjabis; 89th Punjabis; 47th Sikhs and 59th Rifles - also the South Lancs., East Lancs, and Wiltshire Regiments. The 66th and 14th Batteries, R.F.A., did good service, also the 23rd Mountain Battery, which expended all its ammunition, and did great execution at close range. Generals Egerton and Campbell, who commanded the Brigades most heavily engaged, set a fine example of coolness and gallantry in the hand-to-hand fighting which took place.

 

Although the enemy had suffered heavy losses and had failed to obtain any success after their initial rush, they had checked our advance and regained that portion of Beit Aiessa nearest the river which included the bunds controlling the inundations. Its recapture was essential.

 

48. During the succeeding days some progress in this direction was made by trench fighting and by consolidating positions pushed out towards Sinn Aftar. The boggy nature of the ground made movement difficult, and many of the troops were worn out with fatigue.

 

Meanwhile on the.left bank, although frequently interrupted by floods, the 7th Division had been steadily pushing forward saps, and as there were some signs of a weakening of the enemy's forces at Sannaiyat, there appeared to be an opportunity to make another attempt to capture that position. The 7th Division was ordered to prepare for an assault on the 20th, supported by troops from the right bank. But on the afternoon of the 19th the wind veered round to the north, water from the marsh flooding their trenches and the ground in front of them; the attack had therefore to be postponed.

 

49. Throughout the 20th and 21st the Sannaiyat position was bombarded. Arrangements were made for the assault to take place next morning, on a front which eventually had to be reduced to that of one Brigade, the extreme width of passable ground being only 300 yards. After preliminary bombardment the 7th Division advanced, the 19th Infantry Brigade leading. Besides our Artillery on both banks, massed machine-guns on the right bank covered our advance. The leading troops carried the enemy's first and second lines in their immediate front, several of the trenches being flooded, but only a few men were able to reach the third line.

 

50. Large Turkish reinforcements now came up. They delivered a strong counter-attack, which was repulsed. A second counter-attack, however, succeeded in forcing our troops back, as many men were unable to use their rifles, which had become choked with mud in crossing the flooded trenches, and so were unable to reply to the enemy's fire. By 8.40 a.m. our men were back in their own trenches.

 

51. By mutual consent parties went out, under the Red Cross and Red Crescent flags, to collect their respective wounded. The Turkish casualties appear to have been heavy as they were evacuating wounded until nightfall. Our casualties amounted to about 1,300.

 

52. Persistent and repeated attempts on both banks had thus failed, and it was known that at the outside not more than six days' supplies remained to the Kut garrison. General Gorringe's troops were nearly worn out. The same troops had advanced time and again to assault positions strong by art and held by a determined enemy. For 18 consecutive days they had done all that men could do to overcome, not only the enemy, but also exceptional climatic and physical obstacles - and this on a scale of rations which was far from being sufficient, in view of the exertions they had undergone, but which the shortage of river transport had made it impossible to augment. The need for rest was imperative.

 

53. There remained but one chance if the relief of Kut were to be accomplished, and that was the introduction by some means of additional supplies into General Townshend's camp, which would enable him to hold out for a still longer period.

 

Faint as the chance was, the "Julnar," one of the fastest steamers on the river, had for some days been under preparation by the Royal Navy for an attempt to run the enemy's blockade.

 

54. At 8 p.m. on April 24th, with a crew from the Royal Navy under Lieutenant Firman, R.N., assisted by Lieutenant-Commander Cowley, R.N.V.R., the "Julnar," carrying 270 tons of supplies, left Falahiyah in an attempt to reach Kut.

 

Her departure was covered by all Artillery and machine-gun fire that could be brought to bear, in the hope of distracting the enemy's attention. She was, however, discovered and shelled on her passage up the river.  At 1 a.m. on the 25th General Townshend reported that she had not arrived, and that at midnight a burst of heavy firing had been heard at Magasis, some 8 ½  miles from Kut by river, which had suddenly ceased. There could be but little doubt that the enterprise had failed, and next day the Air Service reported the "Julnar" in the hands of the Turks at Magasis.

 

55. The leaders of this brave attempt, Lieutenant H. O. B. Firman, R.N., and his assistant - Lieutenant-Commander C. H. Cowley, R.N.V.R. - the latter of whom had throughout the campaign in Mesopotamia performed magnificent service in command of the "Mejidieh" - have been reported by the Turks to have been killed; the remainder of the gallant crew, including five wounded, are prisoners of war.

 

56. In the hope of prolonging the resistance of Kut for even a day or two, the Royal Flying Corps and Royal Naval Air Service had dropped into Kut, between April 16th and April 29th, approximately 8 tons of supplies, besides fishing nets, medicines and specie.

 

Although these supplies could not materially alter the course of the siege, it was a performance which is deserving of high praise, for it involved a great strain on the pilots, and the journeys were subject to attacks by enemy aircraft of superior speed and fighting capacity. One of our machines was shot down while engaged on this supply service, another was damaged, but brought home safely with great skill.

 

57. With the failure of the "Julnar" there was no further hope of extending the food limit of the garrison of Kut. Everything that was possible with the means to hand had been attempted. The troops only desisted from their efforts when, through battle losses, sickness and exhaustion, the limit of human endurance had been reached. On April 29th Kut surrendered.

 

I need not enlarge upon the bitter disappointment felt by all ranks on the Tigris Line at the failure of their attempt to relieve their comrades in Kut. It was mitigated by His Majesty the King's gracious message of May 7th, 1916, in which His Majesty expressed his feeling that his troops had done all that was humanly possible.

 

58. By the courtesy of the Turkish Commander-in-Chief - Major-General Khalil Pasha - I was able to arrange, on April 30th and the following days, that all the more serious cases among the sick and wounded of the garrison of Kut should be handed over to me in exchange for an equivalent number of Turkish prisoners. In this connection I should like to acknowledge my indebtedness to Captain Hon. A. Herbert, M.P., Irish Guards, and Captain T. E. Lawrence, General Staff, Intelligence, Egypt, who greatly assisted me in these negotiations.

 

59. This report would be incomplete without some reference to occurrences in the other parts of Mesopotamia. During practically the whole period under review, neither the Turks on the Euphrates nor the Arab tribes in the vicinity of that river have given us any trouble. When, however, in January the advance against the hostile positions in front of Kut took place, it was thought advisable to make a demonstration northwards to a short distance from our advanced post at Nasiriyah with a view to deterring as many of the hostile tribes on the Hai River as possible from joining forces with the enemy.

 

60. The major portion of the force at Nasiriyah accordingly moved out at the beginning of January and encamped in the neighbourhood of Butaniyah Lake. Early in February, when the object in view had been attained, the troops returned to Nasiriyah. On the return journey some of the villages, with whom friendly relations had hitherto obtained, apparently mistaking our movement for a retreat, treacherously attacked our rearguard. The attack was beaten off, a party of the Royal West Kents and the 30th Mountain Battery behaving very gallantly. A small force marched out the following morning from Nasiriyah, surprised and destroyed the offending villages in retaliation for their treachery.

 

Nothing of importance occurred on the Karun Line, that country and the neighbourhood of the Oilfields, as well as the country to the West and South of Basrah, remaining quiet and undisturbed throughout the period under review.

 

61. When my predecessor, General Sir John Nixon, submitted his Despatch of January 17th, 1916, he had had no opportunity of bringing to notice the names of those officers and men who had distinguished themselves during the actions at Shaikh Saad from 6th to 8th January and at the Wadi River on 13th January 1916. I have therefore included them in this report.

 

62. I desire to place on record my appreciation of the services rendered by Lieut.-General Sir F. Aylmer. Faced by great climatic and other difficulties, and unable, for reasons already referred to, to allow himself the time for reorganisation and preparation which under other circumstances he would have deemed essential, he applied himself to a difficult task with an energy, ability and determination which enabled him twice to defeat a brave enemy at least equal to himself in numbers, and which would in all probability have carried him to success at the Umm-Al-Hannah position but for weather conditions which proved an almost insurmountable obstacle.

 

Major-General (temporary Lieut.-General) Sir G. F. Gorringe has rendered valuable service to the State. As Chief of the Staff to the Tigris Column from January 28th, and in command of the Column from March 12th onwards, he has shown untiring energy, ability and devotion in dealing with the many difficult situations which he had to face. He is a Commander of proved ability in the field.

 

Major-General C. V. F. Townshend has already shown himself a fine Commander of troops in action and a tactician of no mean ability. It was mainly his personal example of cheerfulness, courage and resource which inspired the garrison of Kut to sustain a siege of nearly five months, under every sort of trial, until sheer starvation compelled surrender.

 

Major-General H. d'U. Keary, after commanding his Division in France with distinction, has led it with resource and success throughout the operations under review. He could always be depended upon to handle his Division with skill in any operation with which he was entrusted.

 

Colonel (temporary Major-General) H. T. Brooking has displayed much ability in his administration of the Euphrates area and in the various minor operations which he has conducted.

 

63. This campaign in Mesopotamia has been one in which the difficulties experienced by the troops in actual contact with the enemy have been all but equalled by those which have had to be faced by the Headquarters and Lines of Communication Staffs and the Departments of the Army, upon whose exertions it depended that their comrades in the fighting-line should be fed and supplied with the material they required to enable them to carry out their arduous task.

 

Major-General M. Cowper, as head of my Administrative Staff, has rendered most valuable service. His energy and ability, when things threatened to go wrong and an awkward emergency had to be faced, have more than once saved the situation.

 

Major-General A. W. Money, as my principal Staff Officer, has shown himself an exceptionally able Chief of the General Staff. With wide experience and sound judgment, his advice has always been of the highest value to me on all occasions.

 

Brevet Lieut.-Colonel W. H. Beach, R.E., has continued to give me the valuable assistance which he rendered to my predecessor. As head of my Intelligence Section he has displayed a cool, well-balanced judgment of no mean order.

 

64. To Rear-Admiral Sir Rosslyn Wemyss, K.C.B., K.C.M.G., D.S.O., Naval Commander- in-Chief, East Indies, I am indebted for much useful advice and cordial co-operation. Captain Nunn, C.M.G., D.S.O., Commander Wason, and the other officers of the Royal Navy have afforded us the able assistance which we have become accustomed to receive from them.

 

I have referred elsewhere to the daring attempt made by the S.S. "Julnar" to run the gauntlet of the Turkish defences. Knowing well the chances against them, all the gallant officers and men who manned that vessel for the occasion were volunteers, among them Engineer Sub-Lieut. Lewis Reed, the regular Chief Engineer of the vessel. I trust that the services in this connection of Lieut. H. O. B. Firman, R.N., and Lieut.-Commander C. H. Cowley, R.N.V.R., his assistant, both of whom were unfortunately killed, may be recognised by the posthumous grant of some suitable honour.

 

65. The Air Service, which includes both the Royal Naval Air Service and the Royal Flying Corps, has distinguished itself throughout by hard work and devotion to duty, and the assistance which it has afforded to the other arms has been invaluable. Never fully manned, it found itself, towards the end of the last advance, very short-handed and faced by one or more enemy machines of considerably greater speed and fighting capacity, but its efficient work was nevertheless maintained.

 

66. The manner in which the Signal Service, only recently organised, and augmented from time to time with but partially trained men, has succeeded in carrying out its duties reflects credit upon both officers and men.

 

67. None know better than the officers of the Royal Indian Marine how inadequate to meet the ever-increasing requirements of this force have been their resources in personnel, in materiel, and especially in river craft. Their endeavours to satisfy those requirements have been unceasing, and the measure of success obtained has been highly creditable to all concerned. In addition to the permanent officers I would especially mention the temporary officers in command of the river steamers plying between the Tigris front and the Base, who, working always at high pressure and often under dangerous conditions, have displayed a patriotic devotion to duty worthy of high praise.

 

68. The energy and devotion to duty shown by the personnel of the Medical Services deserve commendation. Overworked and undermanned as they were during the advance in January - for the greater portion of the medical organisations then in the country had been shut up in Kut, and the medical units of the 3rd and 7th Divisions had only begun to arrive - they did their utmost with the means at their disposal to alleviate the sufferings of the sick and wounded. With the arrival in February of the first river hospital ship "Sikkim," and a steady increase in personnel, their power of dealing with the situation was considerably improved, as the action on March 8th showed.

 

69. No report on the Medical Services would be complete without reference to the splendid services rendered by Mr. T. A. Chalmers, of Assam, who brought out, and himself drove, his specially designed motor-boat "Ariel." He spent his whole time, frequently under fire, in conveying sick and wounded between collecting stations, field ambulances and river hospital craft in a manner which no other boat in our possession could have imitated.

 

70. The Ordnance Services, under Colonel A. P. Douglas, with many serious difficulties to combat, have throughout worked quietly and efficiently to keep the force at the front supplied with the munitions they required.

 

71. The Supply and Transport Corps have had their establishment seriously reduced from sickness and other causes, and have always worked at high pressure. They have been constantly confronted with the difficulty that sufficient river transport tonnage could not be allotted to them to admit of the full scale of rations being delivered at the front.

 

72. The Military Works Services, though having to compete with an enormous and ever-increasing volume of demands with a staff whose increase was by no means commensurate, has carried through creditably an amount of work the sum total of which can only be realised by those who have seen it actually in progress.

 

73. The Remount and Veterinary Services, the Telegraph and Postal Departments, have all worked very satisfactorily.

 

74. The Survey Department has performed valuable, if unostentatious work, often under very adverse conditions.

 

75. The Army Chaplains of all denominations have worked devotedly and given unstinted service to the Force. In their ministrations to the wounded they have freely exposed themselves in the front line.

 

76. I wish to record my appreciation of the valuable work performed by the Officers of General Headquarters and my personal Staff, to whom I am much indebted for their loyal assistance on all occasions.

 

77. I would express my deep obligation to Lieut.-Colonel Sir Percy Cox, Mr. Dobbs, I.C.S., and the officers of the Political Department for their valuable advice and assistance freely rendered on every occasion. The remarkably small amount of tribal interruption along our extensive Lines of Communication and the satisfactory condition of internal affairs throughout the occupied territory and adjoining districts are a high testimony to Lieut.-Colonel Sir Percy Cox's ability, tact and experience.

 

78. Accompanying this Despatch is a list of officers and men whose names I would bring to notice in connection with services rendered during the operations herein reported upon.

 

I have the honour to be, Sir, Your most obedient servant,

P. LAKE, Lieutenant-General, Commanding Indian Expeditionary Force "D."

 

NOTE.-The list of mentions referred to in paragraph 78 will be gazetted in a few days.

 ________

   

 

 

29789 - 17 OCTOBER 1916

 

MESOPOTAMIAN  CAMPAIGN - NAVAL MENTIONS

ARMY DESPATCH dated 24 August 1916

 

War Office, 19th October, 1916.

 

The following Despatch from Lieutenant-General Sir Percy Lake, K.C.B., has been forwarded by the Government of India for publication:

 

General Head Quarters, Indian Expeditionary Force "D," Basrah, 24th August, 1916.

 

From the General Officer Commanding, Indian Expeditionary Force "D."

To the Chief of the General Staff, Army Headquarters, India.

 

Sir: With reference to my despatch dated 12th August, 1916, paragraph 78, I have the honour to submit a detailed list of Officers, Warrant Officers, Non-Commissioned Officers and Men whom I desire to bring to special notice.

 

I have the honour to be, Sir, Your most obedient servant,

P. LAKE, Lieutenant-General, Commanding, Indian Expeditionary Force "D."

 

Royal Navy.

Bickford, Lt.-Commander J. E. P.

Cameron, Staff Surgeon E., M.B.

Chapman, Mr. H. P.

Eddis, Lt.-Commander C. J. F.

Firman, Lt. H. O. B. (killed).

Hitch, Surgeon F. G., M.B.

Nunn, Capt. W., C.M.G., D.S.O.

Robertson, Lt. G. W. T.

Rutherfoord, Commander E. Mc.

Wake, Commodore D. St. A.

Wason, Commander C. R.

Webster, Lt. R. P. D.

Wemyss, Rear-Admiral (Acting Vice-Admiral) Sir R. E., K.C.B., C.M.G., M.V.O..

Wright, Paymaster S. J.

 

Ham, Gunner J. B.

Robertson, Petty Officer J.

Spanner, Gunner J. P.

Wakeling, O.N. 190329 Petty Officer W. H.

(followed by Army lists)

 

(included in Army Units and Corps)

 

River Transport Service.

Alexander, Capt. (temp. Maj.) R. D. T., London Scottish.

Beckingsale, Temp. Sub-Lt. F. H., R.I.M.

Blackmore, Temp. Engineer J. C., R.I.M.

Boultbee, Lt. H. T., R.I.M.

Boykett, Lt. C. H., R.I.M.

Brown, Sub-Lt. J. H., R.N.V.R.

Bugg, Temp. Lt. H. J., R.I.M.

Chalmers, Esq., T. A.

Collins, Temp. Lt. F. J., R.I.M.

Cowley, Lt.-Commander C. H., R.N.V.R. (killed).

Cowley, Sub-Lt. R., R.N.V.R.

D'Eye, Sub-Lt. E. C. R., R.N.V.R.

Duncan, Temp. Lt. I. J., R.I.M.

Follett, Sub-Lt. E., R.N.V.R.

Gosling, Sub-Lt. W. G., R.N.V.R.

Harvey, Temp. Capt. B.

Harold, Commander A. E., R.I.M.

Hearn, Temp. Capt. E. S., I.A.R.O.

Hindman, Engineer G. H., R.I.M.

Howes, Temp. Lt. G. A., R.I.M.

Huddleston, Commander W. B., R.I.M.

Hughes-Hallett, Lt. H. P., R.I.M.

Hull, Engineer G., R.I.M.

Innes, Temp. Engineer R. M., R.I.M.

Kinch, Lt. A. G., R.I.M.

King, Lt. W. K., R.N.V.R.

Llewellyn, Temp. Sub-Lt. A. P., R.I.M.

MacCallum, Temp. Lt. H., R.I.M.

Marsh, Lt. B. C., R.I.M.

Milne, Temp. Lt. W. A., R.I.M.

Morgan, Temp. Lt. P. R., R.I.M.

Nicoll, Lt. C. J., R.I.M.

Newton, Engineer T. B., R.I.M.

Poyntz, Lt. A. R. C., R.I.M.

Readman, Temp. Lt. W. G., R.I.M.

Reed, Sub-Lt. W. L., R.N.V.R.

Salmond, Commander H. M., R.I.M.

Scott, Lt. C. A., R.I.M.

Skliros, Esq., Chief Engineer, Motor Workshop.

Symonds, Temp. Engineer W., R.I.M.

Szulezewski, Lt. O., R.N.V.R.

Vincent, Engineer R., R.I.M.

Ward, Lt. J. C., R.I.M.

Wilkin, Esq., P.

Buchanan, No. 15 Pte. G. W., East Ind. Railway Vols.

Geary, No. 28 Pte. R., East Ind. Railway Vols.

Roy, Temp. Jemadar G. C., Marine Workshop.

Shaikh Abdul Rahman, Master T.3.

Shaikh Mohamed Baba, Master "Bahrein."

Abdul Karim Saleh, Master "Shurur."

Hassan Ghulam, Master "Salimi."

Haji Ibrahim Saig, No. 1 Pilot.

Abdullah Sangur, Master "Shihab."

________

 

War Office, 19th October, 1916.

 

The Government of India has received from Lieutenant-General Sir Percy Lake the following list of names of officers and others recommended by Major-General Townshend for distinguished service during the defence of Kut-al-Amarah:

 

Royal Navy.

Tudway, Lt. L. C. P., D.S.C., R.N.

(followed by Army lists)

 

(included in Army Units and Corps)

 

River Transport.

Merriman, Lt. R. D., R.I.M.

Tait, Corpl. J. R., Calcutta Volunteer Rifles.

Shaikh Abdul, Lascar, Motor Boat 32.

Basamia, Serang.

 ________

  

 

  

29823 - 14 NOVEMBER 1916

 

MESOPOTAMIAN CAMPAIGN

ARMY DESPATCH dated 27 August 1916

 

War Office, November, 1916.

 

The following Despatch from Lieutenant-General Sir Percy Lake, K.C.B., relative to the operations in Mesopotamia subsequent to 30th April, 1916, has been received from the Government of India for publication.

 

In forwarding this Despatch to the Government of India the Commander-in-Chief expressed his appreciation of the zeal and perseverance with which Sir Percy Lake faced and energetically improved the difficult conditions encountered by him during the tenure of his command:

 

General Headquarters, I.E.F. "D.," 27th August, 1916.

 

From Lieutenant-General Sir P. H. N. Lake, K.C.B., K.C.M.G., Commanding Indian Expeditionary Force "D."

To the Chief of the General Staff, Army Headquarters, India, Simla.

 

SIR:  On relinquishing command of Indian Expeditionary Force "D" I have the honour to submit a short Despatch, dealing with the operations of this Force since the fall of Kut on April 30th, and also describing in general terms the work carried out at the Base and on the Line of Communications up to the present date.

 

OPERATIONS.

 

1. No operations on a large scale have been undertaken since the fall of Kut. On the Tigris Line the troops immediately facing the enemy were, with the exception of those actually on duty in the trenches, resting, recuperating and consolidating their position. Fatigues were very heavy, the heat of summer came on rapidly, and a good deal of sickness prevailed.

 

Nevertheless pressure on the enemy was never relaxed, and every opportunity was taken to test his morale by bombardments and minor engagements whenever opportunity offered.

 

2. During May the pressure of the Russian advance from Persia towards Baghdad must have begun to make itself felt by the enemy, for on the 19th May General Gorringe reported his apparent withdrawal from his advanced positions at and in front of Es Sinn on the right bank, though the Sannaiyat position was still strongly held. This withdrawal was followed up, and by the evening of May 20th General Gorringe was able to report that, except for small rearguards covering the bridges over the Hai river, the right bank of the Tigris as far as the Hai was clear of the enemy.

 

3. As the enemy's retention of the Sannaiyat position prevented the passage of our supply ships up the river, our troops operating on the other bank towards the Hai had to depend for food, forage, and in some cases even water, upon land transport.

 

Consequently, General Gorringe's occupation of the positions evacuated in the enemy's retirement could only be gradual, and was largely dependent upon the construction of new roads and a reorganisation of his supply system.

 

These conditions have continued practically unchanged up to the present date. The abatement of the floods and the intense heat have dried up the ground, caused the marshes to recede and made movement easier. On the other hand, water difficulties have increased, and drinkable water away from the river is difficult to find, the soil being usually impregnated with various salts.

 

The Turks still hold the Sannaiyat position, and have constructed other lines behind it on the left bank, which they appear to hold in force.

 

On the right bank their outposts reach the Hai river, which is now fordable. We hold positions from which we dominate the Hai and can deny its passage, while we could, if we pleased, bombard Kut itself.

 

4. One incident requires mention. On May 20th a strong Russian Cavalry patrol of three officers and 110 other ranks arrived unexpectedly at Ali Gharbi. The patrol had started from the neighbourhood of Karind and had safely executed an adventurous march of some 200 miles, much of it through the Pusht-i-Kuh hills. The officers came to report themselves to me in person at Basrah, where, by command of His Majesty the King, I decorated them with the Military Cross, in recognition of their exploit, and of this, the first meeting of British and Russian troops as Allies in the field for 100 years.

 

The patrol left Ali Gharbi on their return journey on June 4th, and after skilfully surmounting various difficulties succeeded in reaching their main body in safety.

 

5. On July 11th General Gorringe was succeeded in the command of the Tigris column by General Maude, who has held it up to date.

 

6. As regards aviation, the superiority of certain of the hostile aeroplanes over any of our machines in the matter of speed, combined with a large reduction in the number of our pilots (due to sickness partly attributable to overwork), enabled the enemy in May and June to establish what was very nearly a mastery of the air.

 

With the arrival of more pilots from home, matters improved, until in August three of our machines, working together, forced the best enemy machine, a Fokker, to descend, seriously damaged, in its own lines.

 

7. Operations on the Euphrates have been confined to raiding expeditions, carried out in order to punish attacks on our vessels, damage to the telegraph line, or attacks on tribes who are our allies. All these expeditions have been well organised by Major-General Brooking.

 

8. On the Karun Line the only incidents worthy of note have been attempts by pro-German Persian tribesmen, who had been cooperating with the Turks against the Russians, to escape to their own mountains, where they were likely to make mischief. These attempts were frustrated by the 23rd Cavalry operating on the Kharkeh and Ab-i-Diz rivers. Lieutenant-Colonel Younghusband's arrangements were well conceived, and resulted in the complete discomfiture of the tribesmen and the capture of their leaders.

 

9. During the hot season, now drawing to a close, the business of administration and the work of preparation for more active measures during the coming cold weather assumed relatively great importance. I make no excuse, therefore, for alluding at some length to the work performed.

 

10. The valuable co-operation of the Royal Navy, under Captain W. Nunn, has, as usual, been conspicuous during the period under review. The gunboats stationed on the Euphrates took a leading part in the successful minor operations referred to in paragraph 7 on that river and in the Hammar Lake.

 

I would also bring to notice the able assistance given by Mr. W. Grant, Admiralty Overseer at Abadan, in preparing river craft for service.

 

11. In my previous despatch I alluded to the difficulties against which the Medical Services have had to contend.

 

Much thought and hard work have been devoted to overcoming these difficulties and meeting the medical needs of the force. The advance made in this direction is clearly shown by the fact that the total accommodation for sick and wounded in Mesopotamia, which on January 21st (exclusive of Kut) was 4,700 beds, and by May 13th had risen to 9,425, amounted on July 1st to 15,745, with 2,700 more in process of organisation.

 

The advent of the hot weather early in May, with a sudden rise in the temperature, increased the number of sick rapidly. The intense heat was aggravated at the front by the total absence of shade and by the failure of the "shamal" or north wind, which, usually due about the middle of June, did not commence to blow till July 19th. The admissions to hospital then at once lessened, and are still decreasing. The majority of the cases are not serious.

 

An outbreak of cholera occurred at the Tigris front at the end of April, but was got under control in the course of a short time, since when only a small number of isolated cases are reported from time to time from various parts of the country.

 

I am much indebted to Surgeon-General F. H. Treherne for the valuable assistance he has consistently rendered since his arrival in the country; also to Colonel W. H. Willcox, Consulting Physician, whose high professional knowledge has always been at the service of the force. Much credit is due to the Nursing Sisters, who have carried out their duties with great devotion, and have shown untiring zeal and energy in alleviating the sufferings of those who have passed through their hands. By the untimely death of Colonel Sir V. Horsley, both the force and the medical profession sustained a severe loss.

 

12. In the Supply and Transport Corps much sickness, followed by invaliding, occurred, especially among the senior officers. As a result the duties of the Corps fell heavily on those who remained, while the service of supply was much hampered by a shortage of river transport on a rapidly falling river. That the supply of food, clothing, etc., has nevertheless been maintained without serious deficiencies reflects credit upon the work of the Corps.

 

13. During the flood season, from April to June, nine-tenths of the country round Basrah is under water, and in normal years a continuous belt of flood, from 6 to 9 miles wide and from 1 to 4 feet deep, separates the Basrah tract from the higher lying desert country to the south-west.

 

This flood water in 1915 forced its way into  and inundated the Makina Masus Camp area. This year, in order to meet the needs of the constant stream of troops and stores pouring into Basrah, it was imperative to safeguard from floods the ground space required for camps, hutting, store depots and additional hospital accommodation. This was done by constructing, first, a main protective embankment or "bund" from the Tigris at Magil to the higher ground at Shaiba. This "bund" was 11 to 12 miles long, and completely shut off the belt of flood water above referred to.

 

It was supplemented by a second bund, which branched off from it about 2 miles from the river, and was carried to the neighbourhood of the Zubair Gate of Basrah, some 3 miles. A series of smaller subsidiary bunds was constructed along the river front and the intermediate creeks. The whole system, covering a total length of some 20 miles, safeguards an area of some 48 square miles in all, and of 1 1/2 square miles at Magil and Makina Masus, which has been adopted as the main camp for troops in and near Basrah. Wharves have been constructed, and ocean-going steamers are now able to come alongside and unload.

 

A large amount of hutting for hospitals and troops has been erected, providing accommodation for 8,700 sick and 15,000 troops; water supplies for the troops have been installed at Basrah and Amarah, and many important miscellaneous works have been carried out.

 

The amount of valuable work brought to completion reflects credit on Major-General J. C. Rimington, Chief Engineer; Colonel E. K. B. Stokes-Roberts, Director of Works, and those serving under them.

 

14. Two railways are now in course of construction. Lieutenant-Colonel J. H. White and his assistants are pushing on both lines with much zeal and energy, in spite of considerable difficulties in the transport of materials.

 

15. A new powerful wireless station has .been installed. Work was commenced on the 10th February, 1916, and completed on the 25th August, 1916. The rapid  erection of this station is due to the energetic co-operation of the Director-General, Posts and Telegraphs, India; to Mr. E. L. Bagshawe, Director of Telegraphs, Force "D," and especially to the ability and energy of Mr. J. G. P. Cameron, Assistant Superintendent of Telegraphs, the engineer in charge of the construction work.

 

16. The Veterinary Services, under Lieutenant-Colonel W. S. Anthony, have done much to maintain the animals of the force in good condition, in spite of hard work and unavoidable short commons in certain cases.

 

17. The administration of the Remount Services, the care and training of the horses reflects credit upon Captain J. F. H. Anderson, Army Remount Department.

 

18. I am anxious to place on record my deep sense of the good effect produced throughout this force by the Army Chaplains of all denominations, whose devotion to duty and contempt of danger while performing it deserve the highest commendation.

 

19. Like other departments, the Royal Indian Marine has suffered severely from sickness and invaliding, especially among its superior officers. The rapid growth of its duties may be gathered from the fact that whereas in January, 1916, there were nineteen permanent and twenty-one temporary officers and 525 other ranks employed, by July the number had risen to forty permanent and 163 temporary officers and 3,981 other ranks, besides native labourers. The necessity for assimilating this large influx of newly-appointed officers and men threw a heavy strain on the permanent cadres, who were also faced with many unforeseen demands. That under these conditions its duties have been carried out with a considerable measure of success is distinctly creditable to the Service.

 

20. The thanks of the whole force in Mesopotamia are especially due to the Order of St. John of Jerusalem, the British Red Cross Society, including its Indian branch, and the Young Men's Christian Association.

 

The two former, through their representative, Lieutenant-Colonel J. Gould, have devoted their resources to supplementing the medical appliances and comforts provided by the State for the care of the sick and wounded. All officers and men who have passed through the hospitals at any time would desire to express their gratitude to these Societies.

 

The Young Men's Christian Association, on the other hand, through its able officials, among whom I would specially mention Mr. L. A. Dickson, Revd. B. H. McLain, Revd. T. S. Riddle, and Mrs. Webley, has contributed most materially to the well-being, physical and moral, of the troops in general outside the hospitals in a manner deserving of the highest admiration.

 

21. The appointment of Sir G. C. Buchanan to the Force as Director-General of Port Administration and River Conservancy has been of undoubted value. Owing to the difficulty experienced in obtaining certain stores and equipment from India and Burma, and to sickness among the supervising staff, the work of developing the Port of Basrah, and of dredging and improving water communications generally, was at first delayed. It is now, however, well in hand, and the results already achieved are sufficient to show that the projected measures will have far-reaching effect on the business of the Port and our all-important river communications. Sir G. Buchanan especially desires to mention the assistance he has received from Lieutenant J. G. Grant, R.E.

 

22. My thanks are due to Captain the Honourable Malik Sir Umar Hayat Khan for many valuable services rendered in connection with the Army of Occupation; also to 2nd Lieutenant E. Ezra, I.A.R.O., attached General Headquarters, who held his fast motor-launch at all times at my disposal.

 

23. The able services of Lieutenant-Colonel Sir P. Z. Cox and the officers of the Political Department, to which I referred in my previous Despatch, have continued to be of high value to the State during the period under review.

 

24. The administration of the Lines of Communication has throughout been extremely arduous and difficult; to Major-General G. F. MacMunn, Inspector-General of Communications, and his Staff I am greatly indebted for the manner in which they have handled the many intricate problems of supply and demand with which they have been constantly confronted. The administration of the Base Depots, under Lieutenant-Colonel d'A. C. Brownlow, Base Commandant, has been carried out in a highly satisfactory manner.

 

25. In conclusion, I desire to bring again to your notice the able and devoted assistance that I have at all times received from the General and Administrative Staffs at General Headquarters and from my personal Staff, to all of whom I am deeply indebted. In this connection I would especially mention Major-General M. Cowper and Major-General A. W. Money, heads respectively of the Administrative and General Staffs; Brigadier-General O. B. S. F. Shore, Sub-Chief (now officiating as Chief) of the General Staff; Lieutenant-Colonels W. H. Beach and H. K. Hopwood, of the General Staff; and Captain L. G. Williams, Assistant Military Secretary. The work of all these officers has been of high value to the State.

 

The clerical establishment have one and all shown untiring zeal and energy in the performance of their arduous and responsible duties. .

 

26. I have in my previous Despatch submitted a list of officers and men whose services were deserving of reward. That Despatch covered a period of active operations, and the bulk of the names were those of officers and men who had distinguished themselves actively at the front.

 

I now submit a list composed chiefly of those officers and others who deserve commendation and reward for services, less interesting, but equally essential to the well-being of this force, rendered in connection with its administration.

 

I have the honour to be, Sir, Your obedient servant,

PERCY LAKE, Lieutenant-General, Commanding Indian Expeditionary Force "D."

________

 

List of Officers brought to notice.

 

(including)

Bingham, Commander A. G., R.I.M.

Campbell, Lt. C. R., R.I.M.

Jones, Commander B. H., R.I.M.

Robertson, Chief Engineer H., R.I.M.

Thyne, Commander W. K., R.I.M.

Ward, Lt. J. C., R.I.M.

 

P. Lake,

Lieut.-General, Commanding Indian Expeditionary Force "D."

________

 

 

30176 - 10 JULY 1917

 

MESOPOTAMIAN CAMPAIGN

ARMY DESPATCH dated 10 April 1917

(excerpts)

 

War Office, 10th July, 1917.

 

The Secretary of State for War has received the following despatch addressed to the Chief of the General Staff, India, by Lieut.-General Sir Stanley Maude, K.C.B., Commander-in-Chief, Mesopotamian Expeditionary Force:

 

General Headquarters, Mesopotamian Expeditionary Force.

10th April, 1917.

 

SIR: 

1. I have the honour to submit herewith a report on the operations carried out by the Mesopotamian Expeditionary Force for the period extending from August 28th, 1916, the date upon which I assumed command of the Army, until March 31st, 1917, three weeks after the fall of Baghdad.

 

….

 

26. ….  During this day's fighting at Shumran heavy losses had been inflicted on the enemy, and our captures had been increased in all to 4 field guns, 8 machine guns, some 1,650 prisoners, and a large quantity of rifles, ammunition, equipment and war stores. The gunboats were now ordered up-stream from Falahiyeh, and reached Kut the same evening

 

27. While these events were happening at Shumran, Lieut.-General Cobbe cleared the enemy's sixth line at Sannaiyat, the Nakhailat and Suwada positions, and the left bank as far as Kut without much opposition. The capture of the Sannaiyat position, which the Turks believed to be impregnable, had only been accomplished after a fierce struggle, in which our infantry, closely supported by our artillery, displayed great gallantry and endurance against a brave and determined enemy. The latter had again suffered severely. Many trenches were choked with corpses, and the open ground where counter-attacks had taken place was strewn with them.

 

The Advance on Baghdad: from February 25th to March 11th.

 

28. Early in the morning on the 25th, the cavalry and Lieut.-General Marshall's force moved north-west in pursuit of the enemy, whose rearguards had retired in the night. The gunboats also proceeded up-stream. Our troops came in contact with the enemy about eight miles from Shumran, and drove him back, in spite of stubborn resistance, to his main position two miles further west, where the Turks, strong in artillery, were disposed in trenches and nalas. Our guns, handled with dash, gave valuable support, but were handicapped in this flat country by being in the open, whilst the Turkish guns were concealed in gun pits. After a severe fight, our infantry gained a footing in the enemy's position and took about 400 prisoners. The cavalry on ihe northern flank had been checked by entrenched infantry, and were unable to envelope the Turkish rearguard. The Royal Navy on our left flank cooperated with excellent effect in the bombardment of the enemy's position during the day.

 

On the 26th, one column, following the bend of the river, advanced to force any position which the enemy might be holding on the left bank of the Tigris, whilst another column of all arms marched direct to the Sumar Bend in order to intercept him. His retreat proved, however, to be too rapid. Stripping themselves of guns and other encumbrances, the Turks just evaded our troops, who had made a forced march across some eighteen miles of arid plain. Our cavalry came up with the enemy's rear parties and shelled his rearguard, entrenched near Nahr Kellak. 

 

29. The gunboat flotilla, proceeding upstream full speed ahead, came under very heavy fire at the closest range from guns, machine guns and rifles, to which it replied vigorously. In spite of casualties and damage to the vessels the flotilla held on its course past the rearguard position, and did considerable execution among the enemy's retreating columns. Further up-stream many of the enemy's craft were struggling to get away, and the Royal Navy pressed forward in pursuit. The hostile vessels were soon within easy range, and several surrendered, including the armed tug "Sumana," which had been captured at Kut when that place fell. The Turkish steamer "Basra," full of troops and wounded, surrendered when brought to by a shell which killed and wounded some German machine gunners. H.M.S. "Firefly," captured from us during the retreat from Ctesiphon, in 1915. kept up a running fight, but after being hit several times she fell into our hands, the enemy making an unsuccessful attempt to set fire to her magazine. The "Pioneer," badly hit by our fire, was also taken, as well as some barges laden with munitions. Our gunboats were in touch with and shelled the retreating enemy during most of the 27th, and his retirement was harassed by the cavalry until after dark, when his troops were streaming through Aziziyeh in great confusion.  

 

30. The pursuit was broken off at Aziziyeh (50 miles from Kut and half-way to Baghdad), where the gunboats, cavalry and Lieut.-General Marshall's infantry were concentrated during the pause necessary to reorganise our extended line of communication preparatory to a further advance. Lieut.-General Cobbe's force closed to the front, clearing the battlefields and protecting the line of march. Immense quantities of equipment, ammunition, rifles, vehicles and stores of all kinds lay scattered throughout the 80 miles over which the enemy had retreated under pressure, and marauders on looting intent did not hesitate to attack small parties who stood in their way.

 

Since crossing the Tigris we had captured some 4,000 prisoners, of whom 188 were officers, 39 guns, 22 trench mortars, 11 machine guns, H.M.S. "Firefly," "Sumana" (recaptured), "Pioneer," "Basra," and several smaller vessels, besides ten barges, pontoons, and other bridging material, quantities of rifles, bayonets, equipment, ammunition and explosives, vehicles and miscellaneous stores of all kinds. In addition, the enemy threw into the river or otherwise destroyed several guns and much war material.

 

31. On the 5th, the supply situation having been rapidly re-adjusted, Lieut.-General Marshall marched to Zeur (eighteen miles), preceded by the cavalry, which moved seven miles further to Lajj. Here the Turkish rearguard was found in an entrenched position, very difficult to locate by reason of a dense dust storm that was blowing and of a network of nalas, with which the country is intersected. The cavalry was hotly engaged with the enemy in this locality throughout the day, and took some prisoners. A noticeable feature of the day's work was a brilliant charge made, mounted, by the Hussars straight into the Turkish trenches. The enemy retreated during the night. The dust storm continued on the 6th, when the cavalry, carrying out some useful reconnaissances, got within three miles of the Dialah river, and picked up some prisoners. The Ctesiphon position, strongly entrenched, was found unoccupied. There was evidence that the enemy had intended to hold it, but the rapidity of our advance had evidently prevented him from doing so. Lieut.-General Marshall followed the cavalry to Bustan (seventeen miles), and the head of Lieut.-General Cobbe's column reached Zeur.

 

On the 7th our advanced guard came in contact with the enemy on the line of the Dialah river, which joins the Tigris on its left bank, about eight miles below Baghdad. As the ground was absolutely flat and devoid of cover it was decided to make no further advance till after sunset. Our gunboats and artillery, however, came into action against the hostile guns.

 

….

 

34. On the left bank of the Tigris Lieut.-General Marshall had, during the 9th, elaborated preparations for forcing the passage of the Dialah. At 4 a.m., on the 10th, the crossing began at two points a mile apart and met with considerable opposition, but by 7 a.m. the East Lancashires and Wiltshires were across and had linked up with the detachment of Loyal North Lancashires which had so heroically held its ground there. Motor lighters carrying infantry to attack the enemy's right flank above the mouth of the Dialah grounded lower down the river, and took no part in the operation. The bridge across the Dialah was completed by noon, and our troops pushing steadily on drove the enemy from the riverside villages of Saidah, Dibaiyi and Qararah - the latter strongly defended with machine guns - and finally faced the enemy's last position covering Baghdad along the Tel Muhammad Ridge. These operations had resulted in the capture of 300 prisoners and a large quantity of arms, ammunition and equipment, whilst severe loss had been inflicted on the enemy in killed and wounded, over 300 of his dead being found by our troops.,

 

During the night of the 10th/11th close touch with the enemy was maintained by patrols, and at 1.30 a.m. on the 11th it was reported that the Turks were retiring. The Tel Muhammad position was at once occupied, and patrols pushed beyond it, but contact with the enemy was lost in the dust storm. Early on the 11th Lieut.-General Marshall advanced rapidly on Baghdad and entered the city amid manifestations of satisfaction on the part of the inhabitants. A state of anarchy had existed for some hours, Kurds and Arabs looting the bazaars and setting fire indiscriminately at various points. Infantry guards provided for in advance were, however, soon on the spot, order was restored without difficulty, and the British flag hoisted over the city. In the afternoon the gunboat flotilla proceeding upstream in line ahead formation anchored off the British Residency, and the two forces under Lieut.-Generals Marshall and Cobbe provided for the security of the approaches to the city, being disposed one on either bank of the river. For over a fortnight before we entered Baghdad the enemy had been removing stores and articles of military value, and destroying property which he could not remove, but an immense quantity of booty, part damaged, part undamaged, remained. This included guns, machine guns, rifles, ammunition, machinery, railway workshops, railway material, rolling stock, ice and soda water plant, pipes, pumps, cranes, winches, signal and telegraph equipment, and hospital accessories. In the Arsenal were found among some cannon of considerable antiquity all the gains (rendered useless by General Townshend) which fell into the enemy's hands at the capitulation of Kut in April, 1916.

 

The Operations, Subsequent to the Fall of Baghdad: From March 12th to 31st.

 

35. With the near approach of the flood season it was now necessary to obtain control of the river bunds upstream of the city, and Yahudie and Kasirin on the left bank of the Tigris, 20 and 28 miles respectively above Baghdad, were consequently occupied on the 13th and 14th. On the right bank of the Tigris the retreating enemy had entrenched a strong position south of Mushaidie Railway Station some 20 miles north of Baghdad. Lieut.-General Cobbe was entrusted with the mission of securing the bunds on this bank, and on the night of the 13th/14th a column marched from Baghdad and reached Tadjiye Station by daybreak on the 14th. The Turkish position was some seven miles in extent, extending from the river in a north-easterly direction towards the railway which runs due north and south. The western flank rested on successive lines of sandhills, which lie on both sides of the railway line, whilst east of the railway the defensive system centred in two dominant heights, linked to each other and to the river by a series of trenches, nalas and irrigation cuts. In front lay a bare flat plain, whilst undulating ground behind gave the enemy concealment for manoeuvre and cover for reserves. It was decided to attack the Turkish right flank with the whole force, as such a movement aimed directly at the enemy's railhead and general reserve would turn the main position east of the railway.

 

Our troops advanced on both sides of the railway supported by artillery barrage, whilst the Cavalry operating on the western flank took the enemy's position in enfilade and in reverse with rifle and machine gun fire. Communication was maintained with our gunboats, which co-operated by shelling points in the Turkish line. Ridge after ridge was captured in spite of infantry and artillery fire, which was sometimes intense, until the Black Watch and Gurkhas by a brilliant charge carried the main position, inflicting severe casualties on the enemy. Fighting continued after nightfall, and at Mushaidie Station the enemy made his last stand, but the Black Watch and Gurkhas rushed the station at midnight and pursued the enemy for half a mile beyond.

 

The enemy's flight was now so rapid that touch was not obtained again, and on the 16th our aeroplanes reported stragglers over a depth of 20 miles, the nearest being 25 miles north of Mushaidie. These operations had involved continuous marching and stiff fighting, almost without a break, for two nights and a day, in which our troops displayed fine endurance and. determination.

 

Summary.

 

43. ….To the Royal Navy the thanks of the Army are due for the thorough way in which they carried out somewhat restricted but none the less important duties during the earlier part of this period. The fact that the enemy barred the way at Sannaiyat necessitated their work being at first limited to assisting in the protection of our water communications, cooperating with our detachment on the Euphrates front and occasionally shelling the enemy's position at Sannaiyat, where the Naval Kite Balloon Section rendered good service in observation work. Their opportunity came later, when after the passage of the Tigris they pressed forward in pursuit and rendered the brilliant and substantial services described above.  ….

 

50. A list giving the names of those Officers, Warrant and Non-commissioned Officers and Men whose services are deemed deserving of special mention will follow.

 

I have the honour to be, Sir, Your obedient Servant,

F. S. MAUDE, Lieutenant-General: Commanding-in-Chief, Mesopotamian Expeditionary Force.

________

 

 

30233 - 14 AUGUST 1917

 

MESOPOTAMIAN CAMPAIGN - NAVAL MENTIONS

ARMY DESPATCH dated 15 August 1917

 

War Office, 15th August, 1917.

 

The Secretary of State for War has received the following list of names of officers, warrant and non-commissioned officers and men, ladies and civilians, whose services have been brought to notice by Lieut.-General Sir Stanley Maude, K.C.B., Commander-in-Chief, Mesopotamian Expeditionary Force, as deserving of special mention:

 

Royal Navy.

Arbuthnot, Cdr. (Ret.) E. K.

Buxton, Cdr. B.

Cartwright, Cdr. C. H. A.

Chalmer, Lieut.-Cdr. A. R.

Elwell, Surg. R. G.

Hill, Surg. F. G. E., M.B.

Kelly, Surg. J. C., M.D.

Nunn, Capt. W., C.M.G., D.S.O.

Sherbrooke, Cdr. H. G.

Shorten, Surg. J. P.

Thursfield, Lieut. A. C.

Webster, Lieut. R. P. D.

Ayres, O.N. 171045 (Ch.) C.P.O. W. R.

Boulter, O.N.J. 15349 (Ch.) Ldg. Teleg. S. W.

Brown, O.N. 271864 (P.O.) E.R.A., 2nd Class, L. E.

Crossman, O.N. 287047 (Ch.) Stoker P.O. E.S.

Elliot, O.N. J. 29215 (Dev.) Ldg. Teleg. M. L.

Grieg, O.N.M. 17441 (Ch.) Ch. E.R.A., 2nd C1.,A.

Haslar, O.N.K. 1366 (Ch.) Sto. P.O. G. T.

Holliss, O.N.M. 12130 (Ch.) Act. E.R.A., 4th Cl., W. J.

Lovell, O.N. 268831 (Ch.) Ch. E.R.A. H.

Lucas, O.N.J. 15975 (Ch.) A.B. A. E.

Mallinson, O.N. 303741 (Dev.) Sto. P.O. J. W.

Prior, O.N.J. 32080 (Ch.) Teleg. H. W.

Revell, O.N. 208740 (Ch.) P.O. J.

Robinson, O.N. 198809 (P.O.) P.O., 1st Class, R. G.

Saunders, O.N.J. 5200 (Ch.) P.O. W. H.

Stephenson, O.N. 234863 (Ch.) A.B. W.

Thompson, O.N. 236295 (Ch.) Ldg. Sea. H. M. J.

Dean, O.N. 209195 R.F.R. (Ch.) B. 3950 A.B. P. W.

Royal Naval Air Service.

Cassy, Flt. Lieut. A. W.

Lyon, Flt. Sub-Lieut. M.

Verey, Lieut. D. R., R.N.V.R.

Wrottesley, Cdr. F. R., R.N.

Brennan, F. 7736 Air Mech., 1st Gr., T.

Cowton, Ply. 13554 C.P.O., 2nd Gr., A. E.

Cracknell, F. 8912 Ldg. Mech. C. L.

Freeman, F. 4667 Ldg. Mech. R. C.

Veale, F. 9262 P.O. Mech. A. H.

Ward, F. 9274 Ldg. Mech. P. H.

Young, F. 9291 Air Mech., 1st Gr., E. W.

Royal Naval Reserve.

Bradley, Sub-Lieut, (act. Lieut.) J. P.

Lincoln, Lieut. H. Farrell, O.N.S. 8533 Sto. J.

Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve.

Feilmann, Sub-Lieut. G. A.

Harding, Lieut. R. J. A.

Vane-Tempest, Sub-Lieut. E. C. W.

Wood, Lieut. J. A. H., M.C.

Poulter, O.N. London Z. 3247 Sig. C.

 

(followed by Army lists)

 

Sea Transport.

 

(including)

Salmond, Commander H. M., R.I.M.

Turbett, Lt. L. W. R. T., R.I.M.

Masters of Transports.

Addenbrooke, Mr. J. H.

Alton, Mr. F.

Benson, Mr. J. H.

Coope, Mr. R. H.

Gun-Cunningham, Mr. P.

Longdale, Mr. G. R.

Maclellan, Mr. C.

Reddock, Mr. J. S.

Rouse, Mr. H. J.

Shone, Mr. R. E.

Thompson, Mr. H. T.

Willis, Mr. C.

Inland Water Transport.

 

(including)

Annett, Engineer G. L., R.I.M.

Baker, Engineer A. H., R.I.M.

Bayfield, Lt. E. M., R.I.M.

Brown, Sub-Lt. J. H., D.S.O., R.N.V.R.

De Woolfson, Engineer A. H. F., R.I.M.

Farrell, Lt. T. J., R.I.M.

Follett, Sub-Lt. E., R.N.V.R.

Frankland, Temp. Lt. E. R., R.I.M.

Harvey, Engineer T. G. J., R.I.M.

Hewlett, Temp. Lt. C. S., R.I.M.

King, Lt. W., D.S.O., R.N.V.R.

Metcalfe, Lt. J. N., R.I.M.

Milne, Temp. Lt. W. A., R.I.M.

Milne-Henderson, Lt. T. M. S., R.I.M.

Robertson, Temp. Lt.-Col. H., R.E. (Engr. Comdr., R.I.M.).

Szulczewski, Lt. O., D.S.O., R.N.V.R.

Thomas, Lt. H. W., R.I.M.

Webber, Hon. Sub-Lt. S., R.N.V.R.

Andrews, No. 4064 Clerk P. M., R.I.M.

Apgar, Foreman S., R.I.M.

Gooley, No. 22 Foreman J. H., R.I.M.

Metcalfe, Temp. Gunner R., R.I.M.

Abdulla Kuan, No. 9909 Mistri, R.I.M.

Abdul Majid, Surang, R.I.M.

Bhagwan Fakinchaud, No. 1143 Blacksmith, R.I.M.

Cheung Cheng, No. 593 Fitter, R.I.M.

Dhunja Mistri Hormusji, No. 9456 Paymaster, R.I.M.

Esmail Buddhu, No. 1214 Lascar, R.I.M.

Hassan Mea Abdul Hamid, No. C/1088 Lascar, R.I.M.

Hasam Khan, No. 1028 Boilermaker, R.I.M.

Jan Ram, No. 1101 Turner, R.I.M.

Kodia Jaffer, No. 258 Carpenter, R.I.M.

Lok Pik, No. 576 Fitter, R.I.M.

Mansoor, No. 16 Moulder, R.I.M.

Makan Walla, No. 9925 Surang, R.I.M.

Mirza Ali, No. C/775 Surang, R.I.M.

Mohomed Ismail, No. 1025 Boilermaker, R.I.M.

Mohamed Hussein, No. 10000 Fitter, R.I.M.

Moto Ram, No. 1156 Blacksmith, R.I.M.

Santa Singh, No. 9905 Mistri, R.I.M.

Satoyayski, No. 2879 Foreman Carpenter, R.I.M.

Sew Balak, No. 26 Driver, R.I.M.

Sherbat Ali, No. 1686 Lascar, R.I.M.

Shaik Abbas, No. 1938 Surang, R.I.M.

Shaikh Mohammed Baba, No. 1929 Surang, R.I.M.

Shaikh Moghball Alii, No. C/379 Lascar, R.I.M.

Shaikh Bawa Baba, No. 4170 A. Master Surang, R.I.M.

Shaikh Kancho Bala, No. 382 Gunner, R.I.M.

Misquitta, Clerk, T.V.C., R.I.M.

Port Administration And Conservancy. (including)

Sanderson, Lt. L., R.I.M.

 ________

 

30298 - 21 SEPTEMBER 1917

 

MESOPOTAMIAN CAMPAIGN

NAVAL DESPATCH dated 7 May 1917

         
 

Maps with thanks to "The Navy in Mesopotamia" by Conrad Cato, 1917, covering respectively Mesopotamia, and the Kurnah or Al Qurnah, Hammar Lake, and Kut-al-Amarah areas (click  to enlarge)

 

Admiralty, 21st September, 1917.

 

The following despatch has been received from Vice-Admiral Sir Rosslyn E. Wemyss, K.C.B., C.M.G., M.V.O., late Commander-in- Chief, East Indies Station, covering a report by Captain Wilfrid Nunn, C.M.G., D.S.O., R.N., on the operations of H.M. Gunboats in Mesopotamia from December, 1916, to March, 1917:

 

7th May, 1917.

 

SIR: 

Be pleased to submit to the Lords Commissioners of the Admiralty the enclosed report on the recent operations in Mesopotamia rendered to me by Captain Wilfrid Nunn. C.M.G., D.S.O., R.N.

 

2. I take this opportunity of specially bringing to Their Lordships' notice the excellent conduct of Captain Nunn during the whole period that he has commanded the Flotilla on the Tigris. Through force of circumstances this command devolved upon an officer of less standing than might have been otherwise expected, and he has shown himself under all circumstances not only to have been worthy of his responsible position, but to have carried out his duties with a zeal and dash worthy of the best traditions and to have shown a very remarkable capacity for command.

 

I am, Sir, Your obedient.Servant,

R. E. Wemyss, Vice-Admiral, Commander-in-Chief,

 

H.M.S. "Mantis," 21st March, 1917.

 

SIR: I have the honour to submit the following report on the operations on the Tigris during the months of December, 1916, and January, February, and March, 1917, which led to the capture and occupation of Baghdad by our forces on 11th March, 1917.

 

2. Our advance on the right bank of the Tigris began on 13th December, 1916, when our troops established themselves on the Shatt al Hai.

 

The general situation early in January was as follows:

 

On the left bank our forces were held up by the Turks in the extremely strong Sannaiyat position, while on the right bank we had advanced much further up the river. The Turks opposed to us were commanded by Khalil Pasha. They were well dug In in strong positions.

 

Very large improvements have been effected in the Transport department, railways have been constructed, and a large number of river craft arrived.

 

A number of these, and also barges, were put together at Abadan and Basra, and the facilities for repairs much increased, and wharves constructed.

 

3. The gunboats at the Tigris front have cooperated with the Army in many intermittent bombardments of the enemy positions, and some very good results have been obtained, besides frequently engaging enemy aircraft.

 

We have at all times received great help from the Army, the Artillery officers and Staff being indefatigable in rendering the Navy every assistance.

 

The 14th Kite Balloon Section, R.N.A.S., commanded by Commander Francis R. Wrottesley, R.N., marked for us on many occasions, besides the useful work it has done keeping look-out for the Army.

 

Aeroplanes have also been frequently put at the disposal of the Royal Navy for spotting.

 

While keeping some gunboats at the Tigris front, I have also always, at the request of the military authorities, stationed others at various points on the line of communication, and two have been stationed in the Euphrates, in touch with the troops at Nasiriyah.

 

The following of H.M. Ships have been engaged in the operations at various times:

H.M.S. "Tarantula," Commander Henry G. Sherbrooke.

H.M.S. "Mantis," Commander Bernard Buxton.

H.M.S. "Moth," Lieutenant-Commander C. H. A. Cartwright.

H.M.S. "Gnat," Lieutenant-Commander E. H. B. L. Scrivener.

H.M.S. "Butterfly," Lieutenant-Commander G. A. Wilson.

H.M.S. "Sawfly," Commander G. F. A. Mulock, D.S.O.

H.M.S. "Snakefly," Lieutenant R. P. D. Webster.

H.M.S. "Greenfly," Lieutenant-Commander A. G. Seymour, D.S.O.

H.M.S. "Gadfly," Commander E. K. Arbuthnot.

H.M.S. "Grayfly," Lieutenant C. H. Heath-Caldwell, D.S.C.

H.M.S. "Stonefly," Lieutenant M. Singleton, D.S.O.

H.M.S. "Mayfly," Lieutenant R. H. Lilley, D.S.C.

H.M.S. "Waterfly," Act. Commander Charles T. Gervers.

H.M.S. "Firefly," Lieutenant-Commander C. J. F. Eddis.

H.M.S. "Flycatcher," Lieutenant Hugh Lincoln, R.N.R.

H.M.S. "Scotstoun," Lieutenant S. E. Nicolle.

4. Operations proceeded in a most satisfactory manner, and early in February our forces were in possession of the right bank as far as to the westward of Kut el Amara, with bridges over the Hai, large numbers of prisoners having been taken, guns captured, and heavy loss inflicted on the enemy.

 

After intense bombardment, in which the gunboats co-operated, a successful assault of the Sannaiyat position was made on 22nd February, and a footing obtained in the Sannaiyat position. During the night of the 22nd-23rd dummy attempts were made to cross the river in various places above Sannaiyat, and just before daybreak of the 23rd covering parties were rowed across the Tigris near Shumran in pontoons, a surprise landing effected, and a bridge thrown across.

 

By evening the infantry of one division had crossed, and another followed, the enemy trying ineffectually to stem the British advance on the Shumran peninsula.

 

Meanwhile our troops were pushing forward boldly through the Sannaiyat position.

 

The whole Turkish position was manifestly becoming untenable, and they commenced a general retreat, which developed later into a rout.

 

5. I was present at the operations on board H.M.S. "Tarantula," and later on on board H.M.S. "Mantis," other of H.M. Ships present being "Moth," "Butterfly," "Greenfly," "Gadfly," "Snakefly," "Waterfly", "Flycatcher," and "Scotstoun" were also present at the front from time to time, and H.M.S. "Gnat" rejoined me on 4th March.

 

6. On the forenoon of 24th February I moved up river with "Tarantula," "Moth," "Mantis," "Butterfly," "Gadfly," and arrived at Kut el Amara at 9.30 p.m., where I landed and hoisted the Union Jack.

 

The town was deserted and in ruins. Early on the morning of the 25th I moved on up river and communicated with our troops near Shumran.

 

Floating mines had been seen in the river, but were easily avoided.

 

7. During the morning I received a message from the Army Commander asking me to cooperate in pursuing the retreating Turkish Army, and I pressed on up river. We were abreast of our leading Infantry at about 9.30 a.m. and in sight of the Turkish rearguard, on which we at once opened with rapid fire, inflicting heavy casualties. This the enemy soon returned, opening an accurate fire on us with field batteries, and several 5.9 howitzers from a prepared position among the sand hills in the neighbourhood of Imam Mahdi. Our troops were advancing, and some of our field artillery considerably relieved the situation by the rapidity with which they came into action.

 

The battle continued, during the day - all ships being hit by splinters of shell, but luckily no serious damage was done.

 

Lieutenant John H. Murdock, R.N.R., of H.M.S. "Mantis," was somewhat severely wounded in the afternoon.

 

8. The enemy evacuated their position during the night, and we pushed on with the Army in pursuit on the morning of 26th February.

 

It soon became evident that the Turkish Army was much demoralised, and I received a message by W/T from General Sir F. S. Maude during the forenoon to push on and inflict as much damage as possible.

 

We proceeded at full speed in "Tarantula," leading "Mantis" and "Moth," H.M. ships "Gadfly" and "Butterfly" following at their utmost speed.

 

My flotilla passed the small town of Bghailah at 2 p.m. White flags were flying over the town, and later on Commander Ernest K. Arbuthnot, of  "Gadfly" hoisted the Union Jack over the town, bringing in also about 200 prisoners and some trench mortars.

 

9. Just above Bghailah we now began to come up to numbers of Turkish stragglers on the left bank of the Tigris, and some guns partially submerged in the river, where they had been abandoned. We opened fire on all who did not surrender.

 

The smoke of steamers had been seen ahead, and we were soon able to distinguish several steamers, including H.M.S. " Firefly," which we had to abandon on 1st December, 1915, when her boiler was disabled by a shell during the retreat from Ctesiphon and we were surrounded by the Turkish Army.

 

We shortly afterwards got into gun range of the small shipping and opened a heavy fire, particuiarly on "Firefly" and the armed enemy ship "Pioneer," who both replied. The "Firefly " made some good shooting at us with her 4-inch gun.

 

10. The Turks retreating on the left bank were becoming more numerous; they now had our cavalry division in pursuit of them on their right flank and the gunboats on their left.

 

The enemy were firing at us from three directions, and on approaching Nahr Kellak bend I observed a large body of enemy on the left bank at the head of the loop in the river, and gave orders for all guns to be fired on them.

 

They proved to be a strong rearguard, and opened on us with field and machine guns and heavy rifle fire. At this close range there were casualties in all ships, who were all hit many times, but our guns must have caused immense damage to the enemy, as we were at one time firing six-inch guns into them at about 400 to 500 yards.

 

Besides the Turkish Artillery there were a large number of enemy with rifles and machine guns behind the bend at a range of about 100 yards from the ships.

 

In the act of turning round the bend shot came from all directions, and casualties of "Moth," which came last in the line, were particularly severe.

 

There were casualties in all three ships, "Moth," which was magnificently handled by Lieutenant Commander Charles H. A. Cartwright, who was himself wounded, had three officers wounded - all severely - out of four, and two men killed and eighteen wounded, which is about 50 per cent, of her complement.

 

She was hit eight times by shell - one from ahead hit the fore side of stokehold casing, burst, and pierced the port boiler, both front and back, but luckily missed the boiler tubes. The after compartment was holed below the water line, and the upper deck and funnels of all ships riddled with bullets.

 

The quartermaster and pilot in the conning tower of H.M.S. "Mantis" were killed, but the prompt action of her Captain saved her from running ashore. I consider that the excellent spirit of the men and skilful handling of the ships by their Captains in a difficult and unknown shallow river were most praiseworthy.

 

11. We thus passed the enemy rearguard, and large numbers of the retreating Turkish Army were on our starboard beam. I opened rapid fire from all guns that would hear (this included heavy and light guns, pom-poms, maxims, and rifles), and at this short range we did enormous execution, the enemy being too demoralised to reply, except in a very few cases.

 

We were also able to shoot down some of their gun teams, which they deserted, and several guns thus fell into the hands of our forces when going over this ground.

 

12. The vessels ahead were now in easy range, and several small craft stopped and surrendered, including the armed tug "Sumana," which we had left at Kut during the siege, and had been captured at the fall of that place.

 

About 5.20 p.m. the large Turkish steamer "Basra" stopped and surrendered when brought to by a shell from H.M.S. "Tarantula,'' which had, I was afterwards informed, killed and wounded some German machine gunners. The "Firefly " kept up a heavy fire from her 4-inch gun, but our reply began to tell on her, and having been hit several times she ran into the bank and fell into our hands about 6.15 p.m. in the north-west part of the Zaljah reach, to westward of Umm al Tubul.

 

The "Pioneer" having been badly hit by "Mantis," was in flames near her, and some barges laden with munitions in the vicinity.

 

The Turks had endeavoured to set fire to the "Firefly's" magazine, but we were able to put it out and took possession of her at once, and I put a prize crew on board and hoisted the White Ensign.

 

Darkness now came on, and I considered it inadvisable to go on further, as we were far ahead of our troops.

 

I placed Lieutenant John P. Bradley, R.N.R. (of H.M.S. "Proserpine") in temporary command of H.M.S. "Firefly," with a small crew, and we moved out of the way of the burning "Pioneer," anchored for the night, and buried our men who had been killed.

 

13. We remained in the vicinity the following day, and I sent the "Moth" back to Basra for repairs, and the prizes down river The advance of our Army continued, and we reached Aziziyah on 1st March. Here the Turks had abandoned more guns and again retreated. I was joined here by H.M.S. "Waterfly."

 

The pursuit was continued on 5th March, and our cavalry again engaged the enemy rearguard near Lajj, but we were unable to distinguish anything owing to a dense sandstorm.

 

14. We arrived at Ctesiphon on the 6th, finding the strong position there deserted, and next day arrived in gun-range of the enemy position on the north bank of the Dialah River, which joins the Tigris on the left bank about eight miles below Baghdad.

 

In attacking this position we again came under heavy fire from the Turkish guns, to which we briskly replied. During the night of the 10th-11th the enemy evacuated the position, as some of our troops had crossed the Dialah, and others were carrying out a wide flanking movement on the right bank to the south-west and west of Baghdad.

 

An attempt had also been made to send two motor lighters full of troops to land them on the left bank above the Dialah on the night of 10th March. One of them, however, grounded in the shallow river in gun range of the enemy. I sent H.M. Ships "Tarantula" and "Snakefly" to assist, and "Tarantula" rendered valuable assistance by extricating the motor lighter from her dangerous position before daylight.

 

15. The Baghdad railway was seized early on the 11th March.

 

I proceeded up river with the gunboat flotilla, which included H.M.S. "Firefly," Lieutenant-Commander C. J. F. Eddis in command, during the day, with minesweepers ahead, and arrived at the Citadel at Baghdad in H.M.S. "Mantis" at 3.40 p.m., on Sunday, 11th March. Paddle Steamer No. 53, having on board Sir F. S. Maude and Staff, being in company with the Flotilla.

 

The pursuit of the enemy was continued up river, and two iron barges captured.

 

16. I have much pleasure in bringing to your notice the excellent behaviour and spirit of the Captains, Officers, and men under my command during these operations, which were, in my opinion, worthy of the great traditions of His Majesty's Service.

 

In conclusion, I desire to express how greatly the Naval Forces serving in Mesopotamia have always been indebted to the Military and Political services for never-failing help and assistance on all occasions.

 

I have the honour to be, Sir, Your obedient Servant,

Wilfrid Nunn, Captain and S.N.O., Mesopotamia.

________

 

I have the honour to submit the following for special mention, promotion, honours or awards:

 

Officers.

 

H.M.S. "Tarantula."

Commander Henry G. Sherbrooke, R.N. For skilful handling of his ship, and especially on 26th February, when he contributed largely to the success of the operations.

 

Lieutenant J. P. Bradley, R.N.R. For coolness under fire on all occasions. Lieutenant Bradley did very good work by personally taking the captured Turkish steamer "Basra " down the river laden with enemy wounded.

 

Sub-Lieutenant G. A. Feilman, R.N.V.R. For coolness and resource under very heavy fire, in firing with machine guns on the Turkish infantry and machine guns, when all other men were employed in working the main armament of 6-in., 12-pdr. and pompoms.

 

Surgeon J. C. Kelly, R.N. Attended to wounded whilst fire was at its hottest in an exposed position.

H.M.S. "Mantis."

Commander Bernard Buxton, R.N. For good work done on all occasions. His prompt action under heavy fire on 26th March saved H.M.S. "Mantis" from running aground in a critical position.

 

Surgeon James P. Shorten, R.N. Continued to dress and attend to the wounded in the open while under very heavy fire.

 

Sub-Lieutenant E. C. W. Vane Tempest, R.N.V.R. Was in charge of the gunnery of the ship, and while under hot fire he did his duty with coolness. At one time he personally worked a maxim though wounded.

H.M.S. "Moth."

Lieutenant-Commander Charles H. A. Cartwright, R.N. For excellent handling of his ship and gallant conduct on all occasions under fire, and particularly on 26th February, 1917. I submit that this officer is fully worthy of special promotion.

 

Surgeon Frederick G. E. Hill, R.N. Who, finding a man wounded on the battery deck, gallantly, under heavy fire, carried him into the sick bay to dress his wounds. Whilst doing this, the man received another wound through his throat, and Surgeon Hill himself received a nasty wound in his forearm. Nevertheless, although in considerable pain, and until his arm became too stiff to use it, he proceeded to dress and attend to all the wounded on board.

 

Lieutenant John H. A. Wood, M.C., R.N.V.R. Who was severely wounded while firing a machine gun in a totally exposed position.

H.M.S. " Snakefly."

Lieutenant R. P. D. Webster, R.N. Has shown judgment and resource on many occasions under fire.

H.M.S. "Flycatcher."

Lieutenant Hugh Lincoln, R.N.R. For good work while in command of H.M. ships "Comet" and "Flycatcher," and he has carried out the duty of forward observing Officer under fire in a very satisfactory manner.

H.M.S. "Gadfly."

Commander Ernest K. Arbuthnot, R.N. During the recent advance to Baghdad I have found this officer's knowledge and experience of great benefit, and he has shown great coolness under fire on all occasions.

 

Temporary Surgeon Robert G. Elwell, R.N. Has rendered valuable service under fire on many occasions.

H.M.S. "Proserpine."

Lieutenant Cecil G. Hallett, R.I.M. Has given me most valuable help throughout the campaign, and has carried out the gunnery duties for the Squadron. His experience, particularly of spotting the enemy gun positions, is of great value, and he has frequently done this under fire.

 

Men.

 

H.M.S. "Tarantula."

Chief Petty Officer W. B. Ayre, O.N. 171045 (Ch.).

Chief Engine Room Artificer H. Lovell, O.N. 268831 (Ch.).

Leading Seaman H. M. J. Thompson, O.N. 236295 (Ch.).

Able Seaman W. Stephenson, O.N. 234863 (Ch.).

H.M.S. "Mantis."

Chief Engine Boom Artificer, 2nd Class, Alexander Greig, O.N. M. 17441 (Ch.).

Petty Officer James Revell, O.N. 208740 (Ch.).

Petty Officer William H. Saunders, O.N. J5200 (Ch.).

Stoker Petty Officer Edward S. Crossman, O.N. 287047 (Ch.).

Leading Telegraphist Sydney W. Boulter, J15349 (Ch.).

H.M.S. "Moth."

Acting Chief Engine Room Artificer, 4th Class, William J. Hollies, O.N. M. 12130 (Ch.).

Stoker Petty Officer George T. Hasler, O.N. K1366 (Ch.).

Signalman Charles Poulter, B.N.V.B., O.N. London Z/3247 (Ch.).

Telegraphist Herbert W. Prior, O.N. J.32080 (Ch.).

Able Seaman Alfred E. Lucas, O.N. J.15975 (Ch.).

Able Seaman Percy W. Dean, R.F.R., Chatham B.3950 O.N. 209195 (Ch.).

Stoker John Farrell, R.N.R., O.N. S.8533.

H.M.S. "Snakefly."

Stoker Petty Officer John W. Mallinson, O.N. 303741 (Dev.).

Leading Telegraphist Martin L. Elliott, O.N. J.29215 (Dev.).

H.M.S. " Gadfly.''

Petty Officer, 1st Class, Ronald Godfrey Robinson, O.N. 198809 (Po.).

Engineroom Artificer, 2nd Class, Leonard Ernest Brown, O.N. 271864 (Po.).

The following are recommended for good services at the base, which contributed largely to the successful operations:

Captain Cathcart B. Wason, C.M.O., R.N.

Staff Surgeon Thomas W. Jeffery, R.N., H.M.S. "Proserpine."

Staff Surgeon George G. Vickery, R.N., H.M.S. "Dalhousie."

Engineer Lieutenant-Commander Stanley W. Cooke, lately of H.M.S. "Proserpine."

Paymaster Herbert G. Cavanagh, R.N, H.M.S. "Dalhousie."

Lieutenant A. H. B. Gray, R.I.M., H.M.S. "Dalhousie."

Chief Gunner Patrick J. O'Connor, R.N., H.M.S. "Dalhousie."

Carpenter William Brown, R.N., H.M.S. " Proserpine."

 

(Sgd.) W. NUNN,

Captain and S.N.O., Mesopotamia.

________

 

 

30469 - 8 JANUARY 1918

 

MESOPOTAMIAN CAMPAIGN

ARMY DESPATCH dated 15 October 1917

(excerpts)

 

War Office, 10th January, 1918.

 

The Secretary of State for War has received the following Despatch addressed to the Chief of the General Staff, India, by Lieutenant-General Sir Stanley Maude, K.C.B., late Commanding-in-Chief, Mesopotamian Expeditionary Force:

 

General Headquarters, Mesopotamian Expeditionary Force, October 15th, 1917.

 

SIR,

1. I have the honour to submit herewith a report on the operations carried out by the Mesopotamian Expeditionary Force during the period extending from April 1st to September 30th. ….

 

14. Our communications by water and by land have been thoroughly overhauled to meet the new situation, additional ships and barges have been placed on the river, and our railway system has been developed as rapidly as existing conditions have permitted. The ever-increasing needs of this Army have rendered expansion as regards port facilities at Basrah necessary, and this has been successfully met by the opening of a subsidiary port in its vicinity, which is being still further developed as the result of the recommendations of a Committee assembled to report upon the matter.

 

An abnormally low river during the flood season gave rise to some anxiety that this might be followed by a correspondingly low river during the summer months, and, though the river did not fall below its lowest record, it reached as low a gauge as it has touched within reasonable recollection. The work of the Inland Water Transport was therefore from June onwards one of considerable difficulty, and it was due to the skill and energy of the personnel of the I.W.T., and to the admirable buoying of the channels, that the number of serious groundings was almost negligible, and that the service of maintenance in front of the Base was carried on unimpaired. ….

 

15. The cordial co-operation of the Royal Navy, which yielded such valuable results during the advance on Baghdad, has since then been maintained uninterruptedly. The gunboat flotilla participated in the fighting during April, rendering substantial assistance to the land forces, and during the summer months when active operations were temporarily suspended much useful patrol work on the Lines of Communication has been performed by it in spite of the low water conditions then existing. I was fortunate in receiving visits in turn from Vice-Admiral E A. Gaunt, C.B., C.M.G., Naval Commander-in-Chief, East Indies, and Rear-Admiral D. St. A. Wake, C.B., C.I.E., Rear-Admiral in the Persian Gulf and Mesopotamia, and these visits provided an opportunity for the discussion of topics of interest to both services. ….

 

22. A list giving the names of those Officers, Ladies, Warrant and Non-Commissioned Officers and Men whose services are deemed deserving of reward and special mention accompanies this despatch.

 

I have the honour to be, Sir, Your obedient servant,

F. S. MAUDE, Lieutenant-General. Commanding-in-Chief, Mesopotamian Expeditionary Force.

 ________

 

 

 

30570 - 8 MARCH 1918

 

MESPOTAMIAN CAMPAIGN - NAVAL MENTIONS

ARMY DESPATCH dated 2 November 1917

 

War Office, 12th March, 1918.

 

The Secretary of State for War has received the following despatch addressed to the Chief of the General Staff, India, by Lieut.-General Sir Stanley Maude, K.C.B., Commanding in Chief, Mesopotamian Expeditionary Force:

 

General Headquarters, Mesopotamian Expeditionary Force, 2nd November, 1917.

 

Sir, - With reference to the concluding paragraph of my Despatch dated 15th October, 1917, I have the honour to submit herewith a list of names of those Officers, ladies, non-commissioned Officers and men serving, or who have served, under my command, whose distinguished and gallant services and devotion to duty I consider deserving of special mention.

 

I have the honour to be, Sir, Your obedient Servant,

F. S. Maude, Lieut.-General, Commanding in Chief, Mesopotamian Expeditionary Force.

 

Royal Navy.

Gaunt, Rear-Admiral E. F. A., C.B., C.M.G.

Wake, Rear-Admiral D. St. A., C.B., C.I.E.

Buxton, Cdr. B., D.S.O.

Dugmore, Capt. E. V. F. R.

Gervers, Lt.-Cdr. (act. Cdr.) C. T.

Knox, Cdr. (actg. Capt.) G. V. C.

Sherbrooke, Cdr. H. G., D.S.O.

Staff and Headquarters

 

(including)

Hughes, Temp. Lt.-Col. (temp. Brig.-Gen.) R. H. W., C.M.G., D.S.O., R.E. (Comdr. R.N.R.).

 

INDIAN ARMY

(including)

 

Sea Transport

Livesay, Lt. H. W. B., R.I.M.

Manfield, Lt. Comdr. D. J., R.I.M.

Turbett, Lt. (temp. Comdr.) L. W. R. T., R.I.M.

Bryson, Gunner J., R.I.M.

Masters of Transports

Caire, Mr. E. G.

Courtenay, Mr. E.

Davidson, Mr. J. A.

Elliot, Mr. G.

Hearne, Mr. J. J.

Hughes, Mr. J. H.

Langlands, Mr. D. H.

Minnett, Mr. H. F.

Nicholls, Mr. T. R.

Puzey, Mr. C. W.

Robins, Mr. L.

Sharpe, Mr. H. A.

Clough, Mr. J. W. (Chief Officer).

Inland Water Transport

Baker, Temp. Maj. A. H., R.E. (Engr. Lt.-Comdr., R.I.M.)

Burton, Temp. Capt. F., R.E. (Engr., R.I.M.)

De Woolfson, Temp. Capt. A. H. E., R.E. (Engr., R.I.M.)

Fairweather, Temp. Maj. H., R.E. (Lt.-Comdr., R.N.R.)

Graham, Temp. Sub-Lt. D. C., R.I.M.

Greenlees, Temp. Capt. F., R.E. (Engr., R.I.M.).

Milne, Temp. Lt. W. A., R.I.M.

Moilliet, Lt.-Comdr. H. M. K., R.I.M.

Morley, Temp., Capt. R. C., R.E. (Engr. R.I.M.).

Moulton, Temp. Lt. E. W., R.I.M.

Ward, Temp. Lt.-Col. J. C., D.S.O., R.E. (Lt. Comdr., R.N.R.).

Barnsley, Temp. Gnr. J. G., R.I.M.

Elliott, Temp. Gnr. G., R.I.M.

Garraway, Temp. Gnr. L., R.I.M.

Johnston, Temp. Gnr. F., R.I.M.

Metcalfe, Temp. Gnr. R., R.I.M.

Pereira, Temp. Gnr. V. M. F., R.I M.

Pointing, Temp. Gur. A., R.I.M.

Thompson, Temp. Gnr. J., R.I.M.

Wilkinson, Temp. Gnr. E., R.I.M.

Abdul Gunny, No. 8086, R.I.M.

Arben Alii, No. 8827 Actg. Serang, R.I.M.

Arben Ally, No. 8895 Actg. Serang, R.I.M.

Fernandez, No. D'yd. 886 Fitter Mistri A. M., R.I.M.

Hoosein Miya Sheikh Esoof, No. D'yd. 1024 Pater Mistri, R.I.M.

Kumar Alluman, No. 2966 Serang, R.I.M.

Mahomed Ismail, No. D'yd. 1025 Plater Mistri, R.I.M.

Mohamed Ismail, No. 8079 Actg. Serang, R.I.M.

Sahibdin Mahomed Ally, No. D'yd. 1021 Plater, R.I.M.

Sheikh Kanchu Bala, No. 382 Serang (temp. Gnr.), R.I.M.

Sheikh Mohamed Baba, No. 1929 Actg. Serang, R.I.M.

Shubid Ally, No. 9015 Actg. Serang, R.I.M.

Wazier Rahmad, No. C.1278 Serang, R.I.M

Aziz Taunton, No. 9499 Interpreter Clerk, R.I.M.

Chotoo Khan, No. 7683 Storekeeper, R.I.M.

Rutton Devecha, Temp. Clerk, R.I.M.

Port Administration And Conservancy.

Bingham, Comdr. A. B., R.I.M.

Rawson, Lt. G., R.I.M.

________

 

30867 - 23 AUGUST 1918

 

MESOPOTAMIAN CAMPAIGN - NAVAL MENTIONS

ARMY DESPATCH dated 27 August 1918

 

War Office, 27th August, 1918.

 

The Secretary of State for War has received the following despatch addressed to the Chief of the General' Staff, India, by Lieut.-General W. R. Marshall, K.C.B., K.C.S.I., Commanding- in-Chief, Mesopotamian Expeditionary Force:

 

General Headquarters, Mesopotamian Expeditionary Force, 15th April, 1918.

 

SIR:

With reference to the concluding paragraph of my Despatch dated the 15th April, 1918, I have the honour to submit herewith a list of names of those officers, ladies, non-commissioned officers and men serving, or who have served, under my command, whose distinguished and gallant services and devotion to duty I consider deserving of special mention.

 

I have the honour to be, Sir, Your Obedient Servant,

W. R. MARSHALL, Lieut.-General, Commanding-in-Chief, Mesopotamian Expeditionary Force.

 

Royal Navy.

Wake, Rear-Admiral D. St. A., C.B., C.I.E.

Buxton, Comdr. B., D.S.O,

Sherbrooke, Comdr. (A./Capt.) H. G., D.S.O.

(followed by RAF and Army lists)

 

Sea Transport

 

(including)

Poyntz, Lt. A. R. C., D.S.O., R.I.M.

Turbett, Lt. Comdr. (T./Comdr.) L. W. R. T., R.I.M.

Burrows, Gnr. A., R.I.M. 

Masters Of Transports.

Beale, Mr. E. W.

Carre, Mr. E. G.

Elton, Mr. G. R.

Galgey, Mr. J. H.

Kelner, Mr. J. G.

Langlands, Mr. D. H.

Macdonald, Mr. C.

Morris, Mr. W. J. (Chief Offr.).

Oake-Shott, Mr. C. A.

Salmon, Mr. R. H. N.

Saunders, Mr. J. W. T.

Simpson-Jones, Mr. G.

Walker, Mr H. 

Inland Water Transport.

 

(including)

Baker, T./Maj. A. H., R.E. (R.I.M.).

Bayfield, T./Capt. E. M., R.E. (R.I.M.).

Cairns, T./Capt. W., Spec. List (R.I.M.).

Campbell, T./Maj. (A./Lt.-Col.) C. R., R.E. (R.I.M.).

Dickinson, T./Capt. A. W., Spec. List (R.I.M.).

Flint, T./Capt. J. H., Spec. List (R.I.M.).

Garstein, T./Maj. R. H., R.E. (R.I.M.).

Ingram, T./Lt. (A./Capt.) V. O., Spec. List (R.I.M.).

Innes, T./Capt. R. McG., Spec. List (R.I.M.).

James, T./Capt. W. J., Spec. List (R.I.M.).

Kidby, T./Capt. E. W. B., Spec. List (R.I.M.).

Kinch, T./Maj. A. G., D.S.O., R.E. (R.I.M.).

Knowles, T./Capt. E. O.} Spec. List (R.I.M.).

Lee, T./Lt. (A./Capt.) O. C., Spec. List (R.I.M.).

MacCullum, T./Maj. H., M.C., Spec. List (R.I.M.).

Metcalfe, T./Maj. J. N., D.S.C., R.E. (R.I.M.).

Morgan, T./Lt. P. R. (R.I.M.).

Pigg, T./Lt. A. H., Spec. List (R.I.M.).

Robertson, T./Lt.-Col. H., C.M.G., R.E. (R.I.M.).

Ross, T./Lt. D. E., Spec. List (R.I.M.).

Smithson, T./Lt. (A./Capt.) E., Spec. List (R.I.M.).

Thompson, T./Capt. T., Spec. List (R.I.M.).

Ward, T./Maj. (A./Col.) J. C., D.S.O., R.E. (R.I.M.).

Green, T./Gnr. A. V. (R.I.M.).

Lovett, T./Gnr. A. H., R.I.M.

McNeil, T./Gnr. A., R.I.M.

Parker, T./Engr. and Artfr. D., R.I.M.

Thompson, T./Engr. and Artfr. J., R.I.M.

Gania Meah, 8448 2nd Cl. Master, R.I.M.

Haji Matook Bin Jassim, 9822 Head Caulker, R.I.M.

Hassim Bin Ibrahim, 9853 Head Sailmaker, R.I.M.

Kasim Ibram, 6060 Lascar, R.I.M.

Lall Meah, Abdul Karim, 8, 2nd Cl. Master, R.I.M.

Mangal Singh, 9906 Wireman Mistri., R.I.M.

Mohamed Hoosin Nazib, 5019 Serang R.I.M.

Nazoo Meah, 2029, 2nd Cl. Master, R.I.M.

Sando Ali, 999 Seacunny, R.I.M.

Shaikh Booran, 6160 Sailmaker, R.I.M.

Umir Din, 9901 Workshop Foreman, R.I.M.

Port Administration and Conservancy.

 

(including)

Bingham, Comdr. A. G., R.I.M.

Nicoll, Lt. C. J., D.S.O., R.I.M.

Rawson, Lt. G., R.I.M.

 ________

 

 

30874 - 26 AUGUST 1918

 

MESOPOTAMIAN CAMPAIGN

ARMY DESPATCH dated 28 August 1918

(excerpts)

 

War Office, August, 1918.

 

The Secretary of State for War has received the following Despatch, addressed to the Chief of the General Staff, India, by Lieutenant- General W. R. Marshall, K.C.B., K.C.S.I., Commanding-in-Chief Mesopotamian Expeditionary Force:

 

General Headquarters, Mesopotamian Expeditionary Force, 15th April, 1918.

 

SIR,

I assumed the command of this force on the 18th November last on the death of the late lamented Lieut.-Gen. Sir Stanley Maude, and now have the honour to submit a report on the operations in Mesopotamia from October 1st, 1917, till 31st March of this year.

 

2. The last despatch of General Maude covered the period April 1st to September 30th, 1917, and concluded with the operations which resulted in the capture and occupation of Ramadi on the Euphrates. At the commencement of the period covered by the present despatch this force was opposed on the north-east by Turks, who were holding the hills known as Jebel Hamrin, while up the Tigris they were entrenched in front of Daur, and the left wing was secure at Ramadi.

 

3. At the beginning of October it was decided to clear the Turks from the left bank of the Diala, and occupy the Jebel Hamrin, astride of that river, in order that the control of the canals might be in our hands. ….

 

20. The Royal Navy has ever been anxious to give me every assistance when called upon, and I am grateful to Rear-Admiral D. St. A. Wake, C.B., C.I.E., and the officers and ratings under his command for their ready co-operation…… 

 

I have the honour to be, Sir, Your obedient servant,

W. R. Marshall, Lieut.-General, Commanding-in-Chief, Mesopotamian Expeditionary Force

________

 

 

31192 - 18 FEBRUARY 1919

 

MESOPOTAMIAN CAMPAIGN

ARMY DESPATCH dated 1 October 1918

(8 pages - not included)

________

 

31195 - 18 FEBRUARY 1919

 

MESOPOTAMIAN CAMPAIGN - NAVAL MENTIONS

ARMY DESPATCH dated 11 November 1919

 

War Office, 2lst February, 1919.

 

The Secretary of State for War has received the following despatch addressed to the Chief of the General Staff, India, by Lieut.-General W. R. Marshall, K.C.B., K.C.S.I., Commanding- in-Chief Mesopotamian Expeditionary Force:

 

General Headquarters, Mesopotamian Expeditionary Force, 11th November, 1918.

 

SIR, With reference to paragraph 29 of my despatch dated the 1st October, 1918, I have the honour to submit herewith a list of names of those officers, ladies, non-commissioned officers and men serving, or who have served under my command, whose distinguished and gallant services and devotion to duty I consider deserving of special mention.

 

I have the honour to be, Sir, Your obedient Servant,

W. R. MARSHALL, Lieut.-General, Commander-in-Chief, Mesopotamian Expeditionary Force.

 

Royal Navy.

Norris, Capt. (A./Commodore, 2nd Cl.) D. T.

(followed, mainly by Army lists)

 

Sea Transport.

 

(including)

Philby, Lt.-Comdr. R. M., R.LM.

Downey, Gnr. J. H., R.I.M.

Hayes, Gnr. E., R.I.M.

Masters of Transports.

 

Boyd, Mr. J.

Carre, Mr. E. G.

Coope, Mr. R. H.

Hatchard, Mr. F.

James, Mr. D. T. (Chief Offr.).

Jones, Mr. G. S.

Langlands, Mr. D. H.

Leitch, Mr. N. H.

Paddle, Mr. W. H.

Reddock, Mr. J. S.

Rodgers, Mr. D.

Stewart, Mr. A. H.

Inland Water Transport.

 

(including)

Baker, T./Maj. A. H., O.B.E. (Lt.-Comdr., R.I.M.)

Bayfield, T./Capt. (A./Maj.) E. M., R.E. (R.I.M.).

de Woolfson, T./Capt. (A./Maj.) A. H. F., R.E. (R.I.M.).

Kinch, T./Maj. (A./Lt.-Cbl.) A. G., D.S.O., R.E. (R.I.M.).

Metcalfe, T./Lt.-Col. J. N., D.S.C., R.E. (R.I.M.).

Moilliet, T./Maj. H. M. K., R.E. (R.I.M.).

Morgan, T./Lt. P. R., R.I.M.

Morley, T./Capt. R. C., R.E. (R.I.M.).

Ward, T./Col. J. C., D.S.O., M.B.E., R.E. (Lt.-Comdr., R.I.M.).

Haboo Mohamed Salim, 5634 Serang, R.I.M.

Nejim Iban Haji Abeyed, 9826 Head Caulker, R.I.M.

Uderam, 9483 Clk., R.I.M.

Wali Ahmed, 6666 1st Cl. Dvr., R.I.M.

Port Traffic.

(including)

Nicoll, Lt. C. J., D.S.C., R.I.M.

Rawson, Lt. G., R.I.M.

 ________

 

 

31287 - 8 APRIL 1919

 

MESPOTAMIAN CAMPAIGN

ARMY DESPATCH dated 1 February 1919

(excerpts)

 

War Office, 11th April, 1919.

 

The Secretary of State has received the following despatch, addressed to the Chief of the General Staff, India, by Lieut.-General Sir W. B. Marshall, K.C.B., K.C.S.I., Commanding- in-Chief, Mesopotamian Expeditionary Force:

 

General Head-Quarters, Mesopotamian Expeditionary Force, 1st February, 1919.

 

Sir,

1. I have the honour to submit the following report on the operations of the Mesopotamian Expeditionary Force from 1st October, 1918, the date of my last despatch, to 31st December, 1918:

 

2. The overwhelming victories achieved by General Allenby in Palestine and Syria had naturally re-acted, greatly to our advantage, on the situation in N.W. Persia. ….

 

 

26. Immediately after the conclusion of the armistice with Turkey on October 31st, I received instructions to re-occupy Baku (in cooperation with our Allies), and all available troops of the 39th (British) Infantry Brigade were ordered to concentrate for this purpose at Enzeli. They were joined there on November 9th by Russian and Armenian troops under General Bicharakhov, who had been driven by the Turks out of Petrovsk, where the Turkish Commander, despite representations by both British and French Staff Officers, refused to recognise the armistice. At this time Nuri was commanding the Turkish forces in the Caucasus. An envoy had been despatched to him on November 4th asking for a definite date to be fixed by the Turks for the evacuation of Baku, but a procrastinating reply was received, and in consequence the envoy was sent back again to him accompanied by a staff officer to inform him that Baku would be occupied by a British and Russian force on November 17th, by which date Turkish troops, with the exception of a small detachment to preserve order, were to be clear of the town.

 

At dawn on November 16th a fleet of 17 transports left Enzeli escorted by three vessels of the Caspian Fleet, which, had been armed by the Royal Navy under the supervision of Commodore D. T. Norris and Captain B. G. Washington, R.N.

 

During the morning of November 17th they were joined off Nargin Island by General Bicharakhov's Russian force, escorted by the Russian Caspian Fleet. The expedition was accompanied by French and American representatives, and the vessel conveying Major- General W. M. Thomson, C.B., M.C., commanding the British troops, entered Baku at the head of the combined fleets flying the flags of Great Britain, France, Russia and America. Our troops landed without opposition, and Baku was taken over from the Turks, who completed their evacuation of the town during the afternoon.

 

Many and varied were the questions which had to be dealt with in Baku, amongst which I may instance shipping control, feeding the inhabitants numbering a quarter of a million, finance, including the reopening of the Russian State bank, settlement of labour disputes on the oilfields, strikes in the town, payment of overdue wages, reopening the Trans-Caucasus system of railways, getting into working order the oil pipe-line from Baku to Batoum, etc., etc. All these questions were most ably and firmly dealt with by General Thomson, who was quite evidently the right man in the right place.  

 

Our efforts had to contend with the mutual jealousy and intolerance of various factions, and it is not too much to say that all arrangements for reorganisation were hampered by entirely unnecessary delays in withdrawal on the part of the Turks. After retiring from Petrovsk they made further delays at Elizabetopol and other towns, much of which being due to the excessive amount of baggage (mostly loot) which they attempted to remove, together with a reserve of one month's supplies requisitioned by them from the country. A mission had also to be sent to Tiflis to put an end to the hostilities which had commenced between the Georgians and Armenians.

 

28. Besides the troops in Baku, a small force was also despatched to Krasnovodsk in order to secure that place as a naval base for the shipping working under our orders, and to deny it to the Bolsheviks, who were holding Astrakhan in strength. Portions of this Krasnovodsk detachment were taken to assist in the fighting near Askabad and Merv.

 

Despite armed Bolshevik ships based on Astrakhan, our armed vessels have permitted of the reopening of the Caspian trade and fisheries except in the far north. ….

 

33. On the Tigris line of communication the daily consignment from Basra up river averages 2,600 tons, of which 600 tons are fuel; in addition moves are carried out of considerable numbers of troops. The maintenance of the fleet of some 2,000 steamers, launches, and barges of the Inland Water Transport R.E. has necessitated the erection of large dockyards and repair yards. Moreover, special construction yards have been opened to put together the steamers and barges which arrived in parts from England.

 

The port of Basra, from very small beginnings, can now be ranked as thoroughly up-to-date. 6,000 tons a day can be unloaded, and 12 ocean-going vessels can be berthed at permanent berths, 8 of which are fitted with electric cranes. The port has been planned so as to be capable of further extensions on the most modern commercial lines, and should prove a considerable asset to the future trade of the country. ….

 

I have the honour to be, Sir, Your obedient servant,

W. B. MARSHALL, Lieut.-General, Commanding-in-Chief, Mesopotamian Expeditionary Force.

________

 

 

31386 - 3 JUNE 1919

 

MESOPOTAMIAN CAMPAIGN - NAVAL MENTIONS

ARMY DESPATCH dated 7 February 1919

 

War Office, 5th June, 1919.

 

The Secretary of State for War has received the following despatch addressed to the Chief of the General Staff, India, by Lieutenant-General Sir W. B. Marshall, K.C.B., K.C.S.I., Commanding-in-Chief, Mesopotamian Expeditionary Force:

 

General Headquarters, Mesopotamian Expeditionary Force, 7th February, 1919.

 

Sir,

With reference to paragraph 39 of my despatch dated 1st February, 1919, I have the honour to submit herewith a list of names of those officers, ladies, warrant and non-commissioned officers and men serving, or who have served, under my command, whose distinguished and gallant services and devotion to duty I consider deserving of special mention.

 

I have the honour to be, Sir, Your obedient servant,

W. B. MARSHALL, Lieut-General Commanding-in-Chief, Mesopotamian Expeditionary Force

 

(mainly Army lists)

 

INDIAN ARMY.

(including)

 

Sea Transport.

Lennox, T./Lt. H., R.I.M.

Maxwell, T./Lt.-Comdr., R. D., R.I.M.

Stewart, T./Lt. W. M., R.I.M.

Turbett, Lt.-Comdr. (T./Comdr.) L. T. R. W., R.I.M.

Masters of Transports.

Cooke, Master Mariner G. T.

Davidson, Master Mariner J.

Inland Water Transport.

 

(including)

de Woolfson, T./Maj. A. H. F., R.E. (R.I.M.).

Hall, T./Maj. L. J., R.E. (Lt.-Comdr., R.N.R.).

Milne-Henderson, T./Maj. T. M. S., R.E. (Lt., R.I.M.).

Chalk, 1395 Fitt. S. H., R.I.M.

Abdul Ghani, C/899 1st Cl. Engine-Dvr., R.I.M.

Abdul Jaffer, 8793 2nd Cl. Master, R.I.M.

Asaad Ali, 1191 1st Cl. Engine-Dvr., R.I.M.

Bassa Meah, 8908 1st Cl. Engine-Dvr., R.I.M.

Ghani Meah, 8448 2nd Cl. Master, R.I.M.

Gustadji Elavia, 9491 Clk., R.I.M.

Lal Meah, 8 2nd Cl. Master, R.I.M.

Namthali, C/88 Sailmaker, R.I.M.

Ram Gulam, 60748 Tindal.

Shaikh Ibrahim Ameen, 9720 T./Gnr., R.I.M. 

Port Traffic.

 

(including) 

Rawson, Lt. G., R.I.M.

________

 

 

31728 - 9 JANUARY 1920

 

MESOPOTAMIA - NAVAL MENTIONS

ARMY LIST dated 12 January 1920

 

War Office, 12th January, 1920.

  

The names of the undermentioned Officers, Lady, Non-commissioned Officers and Men are to be added to those brought to notice for distinguished and gallant services and devotion to duty by Lieutenant-General W. .R. Marshall, K.C.B., K.C.S.I., Commanding-in-Chief, Mesopotamian Expeditionary Force, in his Despatch of the 15th April, 1918. (Published in the Supplement of the London Gazette, dated the 27th August, 1918. (No. 30867)):

 

Sea Transport.

Philby, Lt.-Comdr. R. M., R.I.M.

 ________

 

 

31813 - 5 MARCH 1920

 

MESOPOTAMIAN EXPEDITIONARY FORCE

ARMY DESPATCH dated 12 November 1919

(6 pages - not included here)

 

 

 
 

ROYAL NAVY CASUALTIES - Killed and Died

With thanks to Don Kindell

 

Not all casualties directly linked to the Mesopotamian Campaign have been identified. However, other naval casualties listed as taking place in and around Mesopotamia such as the RNAS, have been included to give some idea of the Royal Navy's broader role.

 

 

 

 1914

 

Monday, 7 December 1914

  

Shaitan, armed launch, damaged by shore fire, one rating died of wounds on 9th

 ELKES, Frederick J G M, Lieutenant Commander, RNR, on books of Ocean, pre-Dreadnought battleship 

 

  

Wednesday, 9 December 1914

  

Shaitan, armed launch, damaged on 7th

 GIBSON, Edward. Ordinary Seaman, (RFR B 768) J 3180. on books of Ocean, DOW

 

 

1915

Monday, 1 February 1915

Comet, armed paddle launch-tug

 SMITH, Samuel C A, Gunner, killed by local at Ahwaz, Mesopotomia

  

 

Wednesday, 16 June 1915

 

HMS Espiegle (Photo Ships)

 

Espiegle, sloop

 LONG, William H, Stoker 1c, K 14899, illness in Mesopotamia

 

 

Thursday, 17 June 1915

 

Comet, armed paddle launch-tug

 PARSONS, John B, Able Seaman, 235204, illness in Mesopotamia

  

 

Monday, 21 June 1915

  

Espiegle, sloop

 SIMON, William J, Petty Officer 1c, 180303, died in Mesopotamia

 

 

Tuesday, 28 September 1915

 

Comet, armed paddle launch-tug, hit by Turkish gunfire during attempt to reach Kut on River Tigris, on books of Clio, sloop

 COOKSON, Edgar C, Lieutenant Commander (Clio), killed   - awarded posthumous Victoria Cross

 

Sunday, 31 October 1915

 

 

HMS Alert's sister-ship HMS Torch (Photo Ships)

 

Alert, depot ship, Persian Gulf, ex-sloop

 BEAVER, Albert, Stoker 1c, K 10174, illness in Mesopotamia

 

 

Wednesday, 1 December 1915

 

Comet, armed paddle launch-tug, went aground, abandoned and set on fire

 HUSR, Abdul K S, Stoker (Indian), (no service number listed)

 

Firefly, river gunboat, damaged by Turkish fire, went aground, abandoned and captured, later recaptured

 KEMP, Charles, Stoker 1c, K 15865 (Ch)

 

 

Tuesday, 14 December 1915

 

Alert, depot ship, ex-sloop

 BURTON, Thomas A, Seaman, RNR, 7088 A, DOW, buried at Kut

   

 

1916

 

Thursday, 24 February 1916

 

Espiegle, sloop

 CARELESS, Frank, Air Mechanic 2c, F 988, illness 

 

 

Saturday, 18 March 1916

  

Sumana, armed launch, Persian Gulf, captured by Turks at Kut on 29 April

 BURROWS, Allan, Able Seaman, 219730 (Ch), DOI

 

 

Saturday, 25 March 1916

 

Alert, depot ship, Persian Gulf, ex-sloop

 FAULKNER, Ernest, Able Seaman (RFR B 1938), 187226 (Ch), drowned

 

  

Monday, 24 April 1916

 

Julnar, auxiliary, local river steamer, last attempt to supply Kut-el-Amara on River Tigris

 COWLEY, Charles H, Ty/Lieutenant Commander, RNVR, prisoner of war, killed

 FIRMAN, Humphry O B, Lieutenant, killed - both awarded posthumous Victoria Cross

  

 

Monday, 15 May 1916

 

Dalhousie (RIM), troopship

 FENWICK, Septimus, Seaman, RNR, ST 955, illness

 

 

Saturday, 20 May 1916

 

Alert, depot ship, Persian Gulf, ex-sloop

 BRAY, Frederick W, Petty Officer 1c, 136300, illness

 

  

Wednesday, 31 May 1916

  

Royal Naval Air Service, Mesopotamia

 HODGES, Leonard W, Flight Sub Lieutenant, illness 

 

 

Wednesday, 14 June 1916

 

HMS Dalhousie (Photo Ships)

 

Dalhousie (RIM), troopship

 MAPP, William, Leading Trimmer, RNR, ST 1116

 

Royal Indian Marine

 ABDUL, Jalil, Lascar, RIM, C 482, illness  

 

 

Thursday, 15 June 1916

 

Dalhousie (RIM), troopship

 GERLACH, Josiah A (real name, but served as Josiah Pollen), Chief Stoker (RFR A 597), 149819, illness

 

 

Saturday, 17 June 1916

 

Dalhousie (RIM), troopship

 CHRISTIE, James P, Trimmer, RNR, TS 4876, illness

  

 

Friday, 23 June 1916

  

Dalhousie (RIM), troopship

 HONNOR, Frank W, Air Mechanic 2c, F 8810, illness

 

 

Sunday, 25 June 1916

  

Sumana, armed launch, Persian Gulf, captured by Turks at Kut on 29 April  WEAIRE, Arthur D, Leading Seaman, J 10544, illness

 

 

Monday, 26 June 1916

 

Alert, depot ship, Persian Gulf, ex-sloop

 JOHNSTON, Edward H, Trimmer, RNR, ST 1172, illness

 

 

Wednesday, 28 June 1916

  

Dalhousie (RIM), troopship

 HOLFORD, Henry, Chief Stoker, 131950, illness

 

Saturday, 1 July 1916

Dalhousie (RIM), troopship

 MORRISON, Murdo, Seaman, RNR, B 3431, died

 ROSS, Andrew, Seaman, RNR, C 1735, died

 

Royal Indian Marine

 ABDUS, Salam, Fireman, RIM, 176, illness

 

 

Tuesday, 4 July 1916

 

Alert, depot ship, Persian Gulf, ex-sloop

 SLATER, Cyril, Ship's Steward's Assistant, M 16250, Turkish prisoner of war, illness

 

Royal Indian Marine

 ABDUR, Rahman, Stoker, RIM, 67, illness

 

 

Thursday, 13 July 1916

 

Dalhousie (RIM), troopship

 BOAR, Albert J, Leading Trimmer, RNR, ST 46, illness

 TURNBULL, William, Stoker, RNR, S 7328, died

 

Royal Indian Marine

 ABDUL, Haq, Seacunny, RIM, 1574, illness

 

 

Saturday, 15 July 1916

 

Alert, depot ship, Persian Gulf, ex-sloop, both Turkish prisoners of war

 LINDSAY, John, Leading Trimmer, RNR, ST 397, illness

 WOOLFORD, Henry R T, Able Seaman, 207406, illness

 

 

Monday, 17 July 1916

 

Alert, depot ship, Persian Gulf, ex-sloop

 MORGAN, Thomas, Stoker Petty Officer, 278998, Turkish prisoner of war, illness

 

Dalhousie (RIM), troopship

 BAXTER, Arthur F M, Deck Hand, RNR, DA 532, illness

 

 

Tuesday, 18 July 1916

 

HMS Juno (Photo Ships)

 

Juno, old light cruiser

 MANSER, Charles, Stoker 1c, 297651, illness

 

 

Friday, 21 July 1916

 

Alert, depot ship, Persian Gulf, ex-sloop

 SILVIE, Alexander, Leading Seaman, 152124, Turkish prisoner of war, illness

 

 

Monday, 24 July 1916

 

Tarantula, river gunboat

 BAILEY, Cecil E, Ordinary Seaman, J 46334

  

 

Saturday, 29 July 1916

 

Dalhousie (RIM), troopship

 FERGUSON, Joseph, Stoker, RNR, ST 1542, drowned

 

 

Sunday, 30 July 1916

 

Alert, depot ship, Persian Gulf, ex-sloop

 PEAD, James D, Stoker, RNR, V 575, Turkish prisoner of war, illness

 

 

Monday, 31 July 1916

 

Alert, depot ship, Persian Gulf, ex-sloop, all Turkish prisoners of war, illness

 COURTNEY, Joseph, Able Seaman (RFR B 5358), 198974

 DIBBENS, Frank E, Able Seaman, 179100

 MACLEMAN, Donald, Seaman, RNR, A 5481

 

Espiegle, sloop

 HANSON, Frederick J, Signalman, J 13904, Turkish prisoner of war, illness

 

 

Monday, 7 August 1916

 

Dalhousie (RIM), troopship

 INGMIRE, Gilbert M, Assistant Paymaster, RNR, illness

 

Juno, old light cruiser

 HANSELL, Frederick J, Painter 1c, 165781 (Ch), illness

 

 

Tuesday, 8 August 1916

 

Juno, old light cruiser

 BROPHY, Edward, Stoker 1c, K 22418 (Ch), drowned

 

 

Sunday, 13 August 1916

 

Alert, depot ship, Persian Gulf, ex-sloop

 NYE, Walter, Able Seaman, 193170, Turkish prisoner of war, illness

 

 

Tuesday, 15 August 1916

 

Alert, depot ship, Persian Gulf, ex-sloop

 HALL, Alfred, Leading Seaman, 159327, Turkish prisoner of war, illness

 

Royal Indian Marine

 ABDUR, Rahim, Engine Driver, RIM, 2070, illness

 

 

Wednesday, 16 August 1916

 

Alert, depot ship, Persian Gulf, ex-sloop

 BENTON, Harry, Able Seaman, 208598, Turkish prisoner of war, illness

 

 

Thursday, 17 August 1916

 

Juno, old light cruiser

 TULLETT, Arthur, 2nd Writer, M 2763 (Ch), illness

   

 

Tuesday, 22 August 1916

 

Alert, depot ship, Persian Gulf, ex-sloop

 VEALE, Alfred L, Able Seaman, 215734, Turkish prisoner of war, illness

 

 

Sunday, 27 August 1916

 

Pembroke, RN Barracks/Base, Chatham

 BAKER, Walter A B, Able Seaman, 189328, prisoner of war in Mesopotamia, illness

 

Thursday, 31 August 1916

Alert, depot ship, Persian Gulf, ex-sloop

 STEEL, John W, Able Seaman, 205907, Turkish prisoner of war, illness

 

 

Tuesday, 5 September 1916

  

Sumana, armed launch, Persian Gulf, captured by Turks at Kut on 29 April

 WARREN, Alexander, Leading Stoker (RFR B 5661), 299848 (Ch), still on books

 

 

Wednesday, 6 September 1916

 

Alert, depot ship, Persian Gulf, ex-sloop

 UNDERWOOD, Albert E, Leading Seaman, J 3523 (Po), Turkish prisoner of war, illness

  

 

Friday, 15 September 1916

 

Dalhousie (RIM), troopship

 DUNNINGTON, George, Stoker 1c, 302957, Turkish prisoner of war, illness

 

Royal Indian Marine

 ABDUR, Rahman, Lascar, RIM, 286, illness

 

 

Monday, 18 September 1916

 

Dalhousie (RIM), troopship

 LEAVER, Edmond J, Stoker 1c, K 9437, illness

 

 

Sunday, 24 September 1916

 

Alert, depot ship, Persian Gulf, ex-sloop

 LEIGH, Thomas A, Petty Officer, 217552, Turkish prisoner of war, illness

 

 

Tuesday, 26 September 1916

 

Alert, depot ship, Persian Gulf, ex-sloop

 GUY, Ernest, Seaman, RNR, A 7679, Turkish prisoner of war, illness

 

 

Saturday, 30 September 1916

 

Alert, depot ship, Persian Gulf, ex-sloop, Turkish prisoners of war, all died from illness

 MACKENZIE, Peter, Seaman, RNR, B 2586

 MACKENZIE, William, Seaman, RNR, A 5355

 WHITFIELD, George, Leading Seaman, 182706

 

 

Saturday, 14 October 1916

 

Dalhousie (RIM), troopship

 GOODWIN, William, Trimmer, RNR, ST 57, illness

 

 

Sunday, 15 October 1916

 

HMS Odin (Photo Ships)

 

Odin, sloop

 MORRISON, William A, Able Seaman, J 24717 (Po)

  

 

Saturday, 21 October 1916

 

Tarantula, river gunboat

 DRUMMOND, Harold L, Able Seaman, J 25647, illness

 

 

Sunday, 29 October 1916

 

Espiegle, sloop

 MACKAY, John, Gunner, prisoner of war, died

 

 

Wednesday, 8 November 1916

 

Comet, armed paddle launch-tug

 WOOTEN, Arthur E, Stoker 2c, K 2583 (Ch), illness 

 

 

Thursday, 23 November 1916

  

Juno, old light cruiser

 MCILVEEN, Robert, Stoker, RNR, U 2092, illness

 

 

Thursday, 30 November 1916

 

Alert, depot ship, Persian Gulf, ex-sloop

 HULME, Lewis, Stoker 1c, SS 109258, Turkish prisoner of war, illness

 

 

Sunday, 3 December 1916

 

Alert, depot ship, Persian Gulf, ex-sloop

 REID, James, Seaman, RNR, A 5483, Turkish prisoner of war, illness

 

 

Thursday, 21 December 1916

 

Alert, depot ship, Persian Gulf, ex-sloop

 AUSTIN, Henry A, Able Seaman, 140709, Turkish prisoner of war, illness

 

 

1917

 

Tuesday, 6 February 1917

 

RNAS, Armoured Car Squadron

 MITCHELL, Forest H, Ty/Lieutenant, RNVR, illness

 

Monday, 26 February 1917

All hit by Turkish shore fire on River Tigris

 

HMS Ladybird, Insect-class and sister to all three following (Photo Ships)

 

Mantis, river gunboat

 SAUNDERS, William H, Petty Officer, J 5200 (Ch)

 

Moth, river gunboat

 DEAN, Percy W, Able Seaman (RFR B 3959), 209195 (Ch)

 FINNIGAN, John H, Stoker Petty Officer, 306978 (Ch)

 

Tarantula, river gunboat

 MCDOWELL, Edward A, Able Seaman (RFR B 7607), SS 1393 (Ch)

 

 

Tuesday, 27 February 1917

 

Mantis, shore gunfire

 WILLS, Herbert W, Armourer's Crew, M 10813 (Ch), DOW

 

 

Tuesday, 19 June 1917

 

Moth, river gunboat

 JONES, Phillip, Stoker 1c, K 25397 (Po), drowned in Basra

 

 

Monday, 25 June 1917

 

RNAS, Armoured Car Squadron

 HIGGINS, Philip O, Petty Officer Mechanic, F 3803, prisoner of war

 

 

Tuesday, 31 July 1917

  

Alert, depot ship, Persian Gulf, ex-sloop

 VINCENT, Victor J, Seaman, RNR, A 5101, Turkish prisoner of war, illness

 

 

Wednesday, 1 August 1917

 

Royal Naval Air Service, F Squadron, No.2 Wing, flying in Sopwith 1 1/2 Strutter, flying accident

 BARRY, James R, Ty/Midshipman, RNR,  observer, killed, buried at Baghdad North Gate

 RICHARDSON, William H, Ty/Flight Lieutenant (Act/Lieutenant, RNR), pilot, killed

 

 

Monday, 10 September 1917

 

Hoverfly, river gunboat

 GREGORY, Henry W, Lieutenant Commander, illness

 

 

Friday, 12 October 1917

 

Waterfly, river gunboat

BATTSON, Reginald A, Ty/Lieutenant, RNVR, illness

 

 

1918

 

 

Thursday, 7 March 1918

 

Sedgefly, river gunboat

 BABBINGTON, Charles W, Engine Room Artificer 3c, 272347, died

 

 

Thursday, 31 October 1918

 

 Venus, old light cruiser

 BILLINGHAM, Frederick R, Private, RMLI, 1883 (Ch), illness

 

 
 

ROYAL NAVY HONOURS and GALLANTRY AWARDS

With thanks to the London Gazette

 
 
         
 

Maps with thanks to "The Navy in Mesopotamia" by Conrad Cato, 1917, covering respectively Mesopotamia, and the Kurnah or Al Qurnah, Hammar Lake, and Kut-al-Amarah areas (click  to enlarge)

 
 

Many of the honours and gallantry awards listed in the London Gazette, do not identify ships or battles/campaigns. Therefore the following listings are probably incomplete

 

 

 

Gazette No. 29123 - 9 APRIL 1915

 

To be Companions of the Distinguished Service Order

 

For services during the operations in the Shatt-el Arab, 3rd to 9th December, 1914, resulting in the capture of Qurnah:

Commander (now Captain) Wilfrid Nunn, Royal Navy. Commander Nunn displayed great coolness and skill in handling his ship under fire in difficult conditions of unsurveyed waters.

____

 

To receive the Conspicuous Gallantry Medal

  

For services in the Shatt el Arab, 3rd to 9th December, 1914:

Arthur Jones, Stoker Petty Officer, O N 227970. Petty Officer Jones, after being severely wounded, kept the engines of the launch “Miner'' going when water was pouring into the engine room, and undoubtedly by his action saved the "Miner" from disaster.

____

 

To receive the Distinguished Service Medal

 

For services in the Shatt-el-Arab, 3rd to 9th December, 1914

Walter Vale, Petty Officer, 1st Class, O.N. 202226

Douglas Lacey, Stoker, R.N.R. 2903 T.

 

 

29211 - 29 JUNE 1915

  

To receive the Distinguished Service Medal.

  

For obtaining valuable information under dangerous conditions in the Shatt el Arab, December, 1914: 

Mahomet Salim, Senior Naval Officer's Interpreter.

 

 

29292 - 10 SEPTEMBER 1915

 

The KING (is) pleased to give orders for the appointment of the following Officers to the Distinguished Service Order in recognition of the services mentioned:

 

Lieutenant-Commander Edgar Christopher Cookson, R.N. For services during the operations in the Shatt-el-Arab. Lieutenant-Commander Cookson was conducting a reconnaissance up a creek of the Euphrates west of Qurnah in the armed launch "Shushan" on the 9th May, 1915, when he was heavily attacked by Arabs concealed in the reeds. Although severely wounded early in the action he resumed command after his wound had been temporarily dressed, and succeeded in most ably extricating the vessel from a perilous position under heavy rifle fire.

 

Lieutenant Mark Singleton, R.N. For his services during the advance from Qurnah and capture of Amara at the beginning of June, 1915. Lieutenant Singleton was in command of the armed launch "Shaitan," and displayed great skill and energy in pursuit of the enemy gunboat "Marmariss" and other craft. He went ahead of the main force through Amara in a gallant manner and performed the remarkable feat in his small armed tug of bringing to surrender a body of about 11 officers and 250 men of the Turkish troops whom he had intercepted, and causing a large number to retire, thus largely contributing to the surrender of the town.

____

 

The KING has further been graciously pleased to give orders for the award of the Distinguished Service Cross to the following Officers:

 

Lieutenant Irving Montgomery Palmer, R.N. For his services in command of H.M.S. “Comet'' during the advance on Amara, where he was landed with a very small force to preserve order, and at the barracks, though accompanied by only two men, he received the surrender of a battalion of Turkish officers and men.

 

Sub-Lieutenant Reginald Horace Lilley, R.N. For his services in charge of a 4.7" gun in a horseboat, and for the excellent manner in which he performed the difficult and dangerous task of securing a small steam tug, which had been left at Amara by the enemy with steam up, with a large lighter alongside her, and shipping in the lighter about 80 officers and 800 men who had been taken prisoners. Many of these had to be disarmed, and Sub-Lieutenant Lilley had only two men to assist him in the task.

 

Lieutenant Francis William Lyte, R.N.R. For his services as pilot of the armed launch "Shushan," on the 9th May, 1915, when he handled the vessel with the utmost coolness under fire. Lieutenant Lyte has done good work in the Shatt-el-Arab operations on many other occasions.

____

 

The following promotion has been made: 

Commander Colin Mackenzie, D.S.O., R.N., to be Captain in His Majesty's Fleet, for his services during the operations on the Tigris river for the attack on the Turkish positions north of Qurnah, and the advance on and occupation of Amara.

 

 

29374 - 19 NOVEMBER 1915

 

The KING (is) pleased to give orders for the appointment of the undermentioned Officers to be Companions of the Distinguished Service Order:

 

Commander Patrick James Boyle, Viscount Kelburn, R.N. For his services during landing operations in the Persian Gulf in August, 1915.

 

Lieutenant-Commander Andrew Wilmot-Smith, R.N.

Lieutenant-Commander Arthur George Seymour, R.N.

For excellent work throughout operations in Mesopotamia. During the attack on Nasiriyah on July 24th, 1915, Lieutenant-Commander Seymour, who was in command of the armed launch "Shushan," fired the gun himself under very difficult conditions, and sank an armed Turkish patrol boat.

____

 

The KING has further been graciously pleased to give orders for the award of the Distinguished Service Cross to the undermentioned Officers:

 

Lieutenant Charles Edward Hamond, R.N.

Lieutenant Cuthbert Helsham Heath-Caldwell, R.N.

For services during the operations in Mesopotamia. Lieutenant Heath-Caldwell has been in command of the armed launch "Miner," and has handled his ship with skill when under fire on many occasions.

 

Lieutenant Hugh Fortescue Curry, R.N. For his services in command of the stern wheel steamer "Muzaffri" on the 24th July, 1915, when he landed a supply of ammunition for the troops on the right bank of the Euphrates under heavy fire from the Turkish guns.

 

Lieutenant William Vesey Hamilton Harris, R.N. For his services in command of the armed launch "Sumana" on the 24th July, 1915, when he behaved with great gallantry under very heavy gun and rifle fire while placing a barge across the Mejenineh creek to bridge it for the troops.

 

Captain George Carpenter, R.M.L.I.

Lieutenant Edward Albert Singeisen, R.N.R.

For services during landing operations in the Persian Gulf in August, 1915.

 

 

29446 - 21 JANUARY 1916

 

The KING (is) pleased to approve of the grant of the Victoria Cross to Lieutenant-Commander Edgar Christopher Cookson, D.S.O., R.N., in recognition of the following act of most conspicuous gallantry during the advance on Kut-el-Amara

 

On the 28th September, 1915, the river gunboat "Comet" had been ordered with other gunboats to examine and, if possible, destroy an obstruction placed across the river by the Turks. When the gunboats were approaching the obstruction a very heavy rifle and machine gun fire was opened on them from both banks. An attempt to sink the centre dhow of the obstruction by gunfire having failed, Lieutenant-Commander Cookson ordered the "Comet" to be placed alongside, and himself jumped on to the dhow with an axe and tried to cut the wire hawsers connecting it with the two other craft forming the obstruction. He was immediately shot in several places and died within a very few minutes.

____

 

The KING (is) pleased to give orders for the award of the Distinguished Service Cross to the undermentioned Officers in recognition of their services during the advance on Kut-el-Amara on the 27th and 28th September, 1915: 

 

Flight-Lieutenant Vivian Gaskell Blackburn, R.N. Flight-Lieutenant Blackburn did excellent air reconnaissance work, and came under heavy fire on the afternoon of the 28th September whilst carrying despatches between the General Officer Commanding and the "Comet."

 

Surgeon Dermot Loughlin, M.B., R.N. Surgeon Loughlin attended the wounded on board the "Comet" under a heavy fire at close quarters on the night of the 28th September.

 

Engineer Thomas Kerr, R.I.M.  Engineer Kerr not only kept the Lascar engine-room complement of the ''Comet'' in excellent order during action, but assisted in carrying down the wounded under fire.

 

Sub-Lieutenant Lionel Charles Paul Tudway, R.N. Sub-Lieutenant Tudway was in command of the armed launch "Sumana," and showed remarkable ability and coolness in manoeuvring his vessel under heavy fire on the night of the 28th September, and on several other occasions under fire.

____

 

To receive the Distinguished Service Medal (presumably Mesopotamia, but also possibly some for Serbian Campaign)

Leading Seaman Ernest Sparks, O.N. J. 2627.

Leading Signalman Gilbert Thomas George Wallis, O.N. 221461.

Leading Seaman William Norman Slade, O.N. 204053 (R.F.R. Dev/B.1717).

Petty Officer John Oliver Traill, O.N. 213051.

Able Seaman Allan Burrows, O.N. 219730.

Leading Seaman Thomas Henry Thompson, O.N. 183642.

Leading Seaman Phillip Leonard Gunn, O.N.J. 10901.

Leading Seaman George Whitfield, O.N. 182706.

Private Arthur George May, R.M.L.I., No. Chat./13289.

Petty Officer Sidney Herbert Silvester, O.N. 180563.

Sergeant Charles Arthur Pearce, R.M. A., No. 9294.

Corporal Albion Henry Turner, R.M.A., No. 11046.

Petty Officer Ernest Albert Grinstead, O.N. 236735.

Petty Officer 201726. Frederick Harrison, O.N.

Ship's Corporal, 1st Class, William Cecil Hatherly, O.N. 196082.

Petty Officer William Bright, O.N.207510.

 

The following Officers are Mentioned for their services during the advance on Kut-el-Amara

Lieutenant Mark Singleton, D.S.O., R.N.

Lieutenant William Vesey Hamilton Harris, D.S.C., R.N.

Sub-Lieutenant James Hardy Brown, R.N.V.R.

Gunner John Mackay, R.N.

 

 

29578 - 12 MAY 1916

 

The KING (is) pleased to make the following appointment to the Most Exalted Order of the Star of India in recognition of the meritorious service of the undermentioned Officer in connection with the war (presumably Mesopotamian Campaign):

 

To be an Additional Companion of the said Most Exalted Order:

Rear-Admiral Arthur Hayes-Sadler.

 

 

29799 - 24 OCTOBER 1916

  

The KING (is) pleased to give directions for the following appointment to the Most Distinguished Order of Saint Michael and Saint George, in recognition of the services of the undermentioned Officer during operations in Mesopotamia:

To be an Additional Member of the Third Class, or Companions, of the said Most Distinguished Order.

 Captain Cathcart Romer Wason, R.N.

_____

 

The KING (is) pleased to give orders for the appointment of the undermentioned Officers to be Companions of the Distinguished Service Order:

  

Lieutenant George Elliott Harden, R.N.  Lieutenant Harden was temporarily in command of the river gunboat "Comet" during the attack on Ctesiphon and the subsequent withdrawal to Kut-el-Amara, and behaved with great coolness during the whole period. On the 1st December, 1915, when H.M.S. "Firefly" had grounded and been abandoned, he took a boat over from the armed launch "Sumana" under very heavy fire, and brought off the "Firefly's" crew.

____

 

The KING has also been graciously pleased to approve of the award of the Distinguished Service Cross to the undermentioned Officers:

 

Sub-Lieutenant (now Act. Lieut.) John Gwyndd Wood, R.N.R. Sub-Lieutenant Wood was sent down the river Tigris from Umm-al-Tubal Camp in a motor-boat about 2.0 a.m., on the 1st December, 1915, with an important message. He displayed great bravery under heavy fire, and was wounded.

 

 

29886 - 29 DECEMBER 1916

 

The KING (is) pleased to make the following appointments to the Most Eminent Order of the Indian Empire in recognition of the meritorious services of the undermentioned gentlemen in connection with the War:

 

Lieutenant Edgar Clements Withers, Royal Indian Marine (temporary Major in the Army), Intelligence Officer, Persian Gulf.

Captain Drury St. Aubyn Wake, C.B., R.N. (Commodore, 2nd Class).

 

 

29928 – 2 FEBRUARY 1917

 

The KING (is) pleased to approve of the posthumous grant of the Victoria Cross to the undermentioned officers in recognition of their conspicuous gallantry in an attempt to re-provision the force besieged in Kut-el-Amara.:

 

Lieutenant Humphry Osbaldeeton Brooke Firman, R.N.

Lieutenant-Commander Charles Henry Cowley, R.N.V.R.

 

The General Officer Commanding, Indian Expeditionary Force "D," reported on this attempt in the following words:

 

"At 8 p.m. on April 24th, 1916, with a crew from the Royal Navy under Lieutenant Firman, R.N., assisted by Lieutenant-Commander Cowley, R.N.V.R., the 'Julnar,' carrying 270 tons of supplies, left Falahiyah in an attempt to reach Kut.

 

Her departure was covered by all Artillery and machine gun fire that could be brought to bear, in the hope of distracting the enemy's attention. She was, however, discovered and shelled on her passage up the river. At 1 a.m. on the 25th General Townshend reported that she had not arrived, and that at midnight a burst of heavy firing had been heard at Magasis, some 8 1/2 miles from Kut by river, which had suddenly ceased. There could be but little doubt that the enterprise had failed, and the next day the Air Service reported the ' Julnar ' in the hands of the Turks at Magasis.

 

“The leaders of this brave attempt, Lieutenant H. O. B. Firman, R.N., and his assistant - Lieutenant-Commander C. H. Cowley, R.N.V.R. - the latter of whom throughout the campaign in Mesopotamia performed magnificent service in command of the 'Mejidieh' - have been reported by the Turks to have been killed; the remainder of the gallant crew, including five wounded, are prisoners of war.

 

"Knowing well the chances against them, all the gallant officers and men who manned the ' Julnar' for the occasion were volunteers. I trust that.the services in this connection of Lieutenant H. O. B. Firman, R.N., and Lieutenant- Commander C. H. Cowley, R.N.V.R., his assistant, both of whom were unfortunately killed, may be recognised by the posthumous grant of some suitable honour."

 

 

30227 - 10 AUGUST 1917

 

To be Companions of the Distinguished Service Order.

  

Lieut. William King, R.N.V.R.

Lieut. Oswald Szulezewski, R.N.V.R.

For gallant and devoted services with Inland Water Transport throughout the operations in Mesopotamia. They have navigated their ships at high speed, night and day, in all weathers with marked zeal and determination, and have often been under fire.

____

 

To receive the Distinguished Service Cross.

 

Lieut. Edwin Follett. R.N.V.R.

Lieut,. Edward Corfrae Ruft D'Eye. R.N.V R.

Sub-Lieut, (now Lieut.) Robert Cowley R.N.V.R.

Sub-Lieut. Stanley Webber. R.N.V.R.

Engr. (now Eng. Lieut.-Cdr.) George Harold Hindman, R.I.M.

Lieut. Henry Philip Hughes-Hallett, R.I.M

Lieut. Albane Rabere Castleton Poyntz. R.I.M.

Lieut. Cecil Gwydyr Hallett, R.I.M.

Lieut. Harold Townshend Boulthee. R I.M.

Lieut. Charles Jacomb Nicoll, R.I.M.

Lieut. Isaac John Duncart, R.I.M.

Lieut. Thomas Joseph Farrell, R.I.M (now Capt., R.E.).

Lieut. Joseph Noel Metcalfe, R.I.M. (now Capt., R.E.).

Sub-Lieut. Arcel Price Llewellyn, R I.M.

In recognition of zeal, devotion to duty and gallantry whilst serving in River Steamers for long periods during the operations in Mesopotamia.

 

 

30252 - 24 AUGUST 1917

 

The KING (is) pleased to give directions for the following appointments to the Most Distinguished Order of Saint Michael and Saint George, for services rendered in connection with Military Operations in the Field in Mesopotamia, to be dated 4th June) 1917:

 

To be Additional Members of the Third Class, or Companions, of the said Most Distinguished Order:

T./Lt.-Col. (temp. Brig.-Gen.) Robert Herbert Wilfrid Hughes, D.S.O., R.E. (Comdr. R.N.R.).

T./Lt.-Col. Hugh Robertson, R.E. (Eng. Cmdr., R. Ind. Mar.). 

 

 

30298 - 21 SEPTEMBER 1917

 

MESOPOTAMIAN CAMPAIGN

NAVAL DESPATCH dated 7 May 1917

 

The KING (is) pleased to give orders for the following appointment to the Most Honourable Order of the Bath in recognition of the services mentioned in the foregoing despatch (see left hand column):

 

To be Additional Member of the Military Division of the Third Class, or Companions, of the said Most Honourable Order:

Captain Wilfrid Nunn, C.M.G., D.S.O., Royal Navy.

____

  

To be Companions of the Distinguished Service Order.

Commander Bernard Buxton, R.N.

Commander Henry G. Sherbrooke, R.N.

Commander Ernest K. Arbuthnot, R.N.

Surgeon Frederick G. E. Hill, R.N.

 

To receive the Distinguished Service Cross.

Lieut. Robert P. D. Webster, R.N.

Act. Lieut. John P. Bradley, R.N.R.

Lieut. Hugh Lincoln, R.N.R.

Lieut. John H. A. Wood, M.C., R.N.V.R.

Sub. Lieut, (act. Lieut.) Ernest C. W. Vane-Tempest, R.N.V.R.

Sub-Lieut. Gerald A. Feilmann, R.N.V.R.

Surgeon James C. Kelly, R.N.

Surgeon James P. Shorten, R.N.

Surgeon Robert G. Elwell, B.N.

 

To receive the Distinguished Service Medal.

Chief Petty Officer W. B. Ayre, O.N. 171045 (Ch.).

Petty Officer, 1st Class, Ronald G. Robinson, O.N. 198809 (Po.).

Petty Officer James Revell, O.N. 208740 (Ch.).

Leading Seaman H. M. J. Thompson, O.N. 236295 (Ch.).

Able Seaman Alfred E. Lucas, O.N. J.15975 (Ch.).

Able Seaman W. Stephenson, O.N. 234863 (Ch.).

Signalman Charles Poulter, R.N.V.R., O.N. London 3/3247 (Ch.).

Leading Telegraphist Sydney Boulter, O.N J.15349 (Ch.).

Leading Telegraphist Martin L. Elliott, O.N. J.29215 (Dev.).

Telegraphist Herbert W. Prior, O.N. J.32080 (Ch.).

Chief E.R.A. H. Lovell, O.N. 268831 (Ch.).

Chief E.R.A., 2nd Class, Alexander Greig, O.N. M.17441 (Ch.).

Act. Chief E.R.A., 4th Class, William J. Holliss, O.N. M.12130 (Ch.).

E.R.A., 2nd Class, L. E. Brown, O.N. 271864 (Po.).

Stoker P.O. Edward S. Crossman, O.N. 287047 (Ch.).

Stoker P.O. George T. Hasler, O.N. K.1366 (Ch.).

Stoker P. O. John W. Mallinson, O.N. 303741 (Dev.).

Stoker John Farrell, R.N.R., O.N. S.8533.

 

The following Officers are mentioned in despatches for service on the Euphrates:

Lieut.-Commander Alexander B. Chalmer, R.N.

Lieut. Aubrey C. Thursfield, R.N.

Lieut. Richard J. A. Harding, R.N.V.R.

 

 

30514 - 5 FEBRUARY 1918

 

His Majesty the KING (is) pleased to approve of the undermentioned rewards for distinguished services rendered in connection with Military Operations in Mesopotamia. Dated 1st January, 1918:

 

Awarded the Distinguished Service Order.

T /Maj. (Lt.-Comdr., R.N.R.) Herbert Fairweather, R.E.

 

 

30687 - 14 MAY 1918

 

The KING (is) pleased to approve of the award of the following decorations and medals to Officers and Men of the Royal Naval Air Service:

 

(i.) For services in Mesopotamia:

 

To receive the Distinguished Service Cross:

 

Lieut. Gilbert Dirk Nelson, R.N.V.R. For the great courage and devotion to duty displayed by him as engineer officer of his detachment. He was untiring in his work, in spite of attacks of malaria and dysentery, and the successful running of the engines was due to him.

 

Flt. Sub-Lieut. John Douglas Hume, R.N.A.S. (since killed). For continuous good patrol work, artillery spotting, feeding Kut-el-Amara, etc., sometimes making three trips a day under all weather conditions. He invariably displayed great coolness and resource in the face of the enemy, regardless of personal danger.

____

 

To receive a Bar to the Distinguished Service Cross:

 

Flt Lieut. Vivian Gaskell Blackburn, D.S.C., R.N.A.S. - For services in the advance and retreat from Ctesiphon, when he performed most excellent work.

 

Flt. Sub-Lieut. Wilfred Henry Dunn, D.S.C., R.N.A.S. For conspicuous courage and skill in carrying out an extraordinary amount of flying, both in sea and land planes. He is invariably cheerful and ready when called on for work.

____

 

To receive the Distinguished Service Medal:

C.P.O. Mech. 1st Gr., Joseph Francis Armitt, O.N. 343587 (Ch.).

C.P.O. Mech. 2nd Gr., James Rodger, O.N. M. 2435 (Ch.).

 

The following Officers have been mentioned in despatches:

Wing Cdr. Frederick William Bowhill, R.N.A.S.

Flt. Lieut. Cecil Bell Gasson, R.N.A.S.

Obs. Lieut. Ernest Frederick Turner, R.N.A.S.

 

 

30723 - 31 MAY 1918

 

Tlhe KING has been graciously pleased, on the occasion of His Majesty's Birthday, to make the following promotion in, and appointments to, the Most Eminent Order of the Indian Empire, in recognition of the meritorious services of the undermentioned in connection with the War:

 

To be Additional Knights Commanders of the said Most Eminent Order:

Rear-Admiral Drury St. Aubyn Wake, C.B., C.I.E., late Senior Naval Officer, Persian Gulf.

 

 

30833 - 6 AUGUST 1918

 

Honours for Services in Mesopotamia and the Persian Gulf.

 

To be a Companion of the Distinguished Service Order.

 

Lieut.-Cdr. (Act. Cdr.) Roy Neville Suter, R.N. In recognition of the zeal and ability displayed by him as Flag Commander to the Rear-Admiral, Persian Gulf and Mesopotamia, from June, 1917, to May, 1918. Lieut.-Cdr. Suter has served in the trying climate of this station for five years, and took part in many actions whilst in command of H.M.S. "Lawrence."

 ____

 

To receive the Distinguished Service Medal.

C.P.O. George Baker, O.N. 174322 (Ch.).

Act. C.P.O. Robert Hugh Davies, O.N. 163281 (Dev.).

P.O. John Garner, O.N. 189651 (Ch.).

S.B.S., 2nd Cl., Laurence Frederick Gibbons, O.N. M1868 (Po.).

Offrs. Std., 1st Cl., Donald Large, O.N. L876 (Po.).

P.O. Richard Seth Lawrence, O.N. 165596 (Ch.).

P.O. Albert May, O.N. J3428 (Ch.).

Yeo. Sigs. Hamlet Augustus Millward, O.N. 227730 (Ch.).

C.P.O. John Moore, O.N. 183630 (Dev.).

Act. C.P.O. Arthur Reece, O.N. 126927 (Po.).

A.B. Charles Rumbolds, O.N. 211924 (Ch.).

S.B.S., 2nd Cl., Ernest George Seagars, O.N. M4760 (Ch.).

C.P.O. Henry Thomas Wakeford, O.N. 167246 (Po.).

 

The following Officers and Men have been mentioned in despatches:

Eng.-Cdr. Francis Blake O'Dogherty, R.N.

Lieut.-Cdr. Albert Siegmund Elwell-Sutton, R.N.

Maj. St. George Frederick Gordon Caulfield, R.M.A.

Eng.-Lieut. Carl Rousey Leopold Bergner, R.N. (Eng.-Lieut., R.I.M.).

Surg. James Percy Shorten, D.S.C., R.N.

Payr. Harold Gray King, R.N.

Sub-Lieut. Edward Douglas Lyon-Brown, R.N. (Lieut., R.I.M.).

Warrt. Shipwt. William Brown, R.N.

Sto. P.O. Harry Frank Ayling, O.N. 295749 (Po.).

P.O. Charles Edward Bailey. O.N. 209450 (Ch.).

S.B.A. Jack Bamberg, O.N. M38 (Ch.).

C.E.R.A., 2nd Cl. (now Act. Art. Eng.), James Kennedy Bowden, O.N. M12524 (Ch.).

A.B. Herbert George Bowditch, O.N. 229122 (Po.).

Act. E.R.A., 4th Cl., William John Chapman, O.N. M14185 (Ch.).

C.P.O. William Thomas Cook, O.N. 168159 (Ch.).

Ship's Std. Thomas Richard Finch Evans, O.N. 346181 (Dev.).

S.B.A. Percy Hardwick, O.N. M7841 (Po.).

Ch. Sto Edward Jesse Harris, O.N. 282793 (Ch.).

Sto. P.O. Edward Hemsley, O.N. 288752 (Ch.).

P.O. Harry Hutchins, O.N. 229877 (Po.).

Arm.'s Mate. Herman Willie Holden, O.N. M7362 (Dev.).

Sto. P.O. Frederick Martin, O.N. 295672 (Ch.).

Ldg. Carp. Crew Farquhar Martin, O.N. M15613 (Ch.).

A.B. Charles Tyler Orbell, O.N. J13766 (Po.).

Plumber Ernest Gravatt Phillips, O.N. 343789 (Po.).

Sto. P.O. Ernest George Pile, O.N. K384 (Ch.).

P.O. Herbert Ralph, O.N. 221909 (Po.).

Shipwt., 2nd Cl., Andrew Reid, M18049 (Ch.).

C.E.R.A. Thomas Roe, O.N. 270742 (Dev.).

Shipwt., 2nd Cl., Richard Reginald Sainsbury, O.N. 347148 (Ch.).

C.E.R.A. Abram Skyrme, R.N.R., O.N. 1526 E.A.

Ldg. Carp. Crew John Alfred Stevens, O.N. M15496 (Ch.).

Shipwt., 2nd Cl., Charles William Tavener, O.N. M18048 (Ch.).

Ch. Writer Abraham Ernest Taylor, O.N. 345813 (Ch.).

Ldg. Sig. Samuel Thomas, O.N. J21395 (Dev.).

Shipwt., 2nd Cl., Thomas Joseph Thornton, O.N. M18045 (Ch.).

A.B. William Henry Trevor, O.N. S.S.43 (Ch.).

A.B. Harry Western, O.N. 184497 (Dev.).

 

 

30859 - 20 AUGUST 1918

 

The KING (is) pleased to approve of the award of the Distinguished Service Cross to Lieutenant Reginald Dundas Merriman, R.I.M., for valuable services in connection with the defence of Kut el Amara.

 

 

31017 - 15 NOVEMBER 1918

 

The KING (is) pleased to give orders for the following appointments to the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, for distinguished service in connection with military operations in Mesopotamia. To be dated 3rd June 1918:

 

To be Officers of the said Most Excellent Order:

Lieut.-Commander (T./Commander) Waterworth Bligh Livesay, Royal Indian Marine. 

 

To be Members of the said Most Excellent Order:

T./Lieutenant Percival Robert Morgan, Royal Indian Marine.

 

 

31398 - 10 JUNE 1919

 

The KING (is) pleased to give orders for the following appointments to the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire in recognition of the services of the undermentioned Officers during the War:

 

To be Officers of the Military Division of the said Most Excellent Order:

 

Engineer Commander Percy Stocker, R.N. For valuable services in connection with the rapid construction of river gunboats for service in Mesopotamia, and with transport of submarines to Russia.

 

 

31413 - 20 JUNE 1919

The KING (is) pleased to give orders for the following appointments to the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire in recognition of the services of the undermentioned officers during the war:

To be Members of the Military Division of the said Most Excellent Order:

  

Actg. Warrant Writer Frank Sinclair Gordon, R.N. For valuable services at Queenstown, in Mesopotamia and in H.M.S. "Duke of Edinburgh" whilst employed on Ocean Escort Duties.

 

 

31452 - 11 JULY 1919

 

The KING (is) pleased to give orders for the following appointments to the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire in recognition of the services of the undermentioned Officers during the War:

 

To be Members of the Military Division of the said Most Excellent Order:

 

Commissioned Shipwright Charles Felton, R.N. For valuable services at Suez in preparing Nile River Steamers for their passage to Mesopotamia.

 

 

31461 - 15 JULY 1919

 

The KING (is) pleased to give orders for the following appointments to the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, in recognition of the services of the undermentioned Officers during the War:

 

To be Officers of the Military Division of the said Most Excellent Order:

  

Flight Lieutenant Alexander William Cassy, R.N.A.S. (now Captain, R.A.F.). For valuable services with No. 14 Kite Balloon Section in Mesopotamia from, August 1916 to February 1917.

____

 

To be a Companion of the Distinguished Service Order.

 

Cdr. Francis Robert Wrottesley, R.N. For distinguished services in command of No. 14 Kite Balloon Section in Mesopotamia from August, 1916 to February, 1917.

____

 

To receive the Distinguished Service Cross.

  

Lieut. Douglas Roy Verey, R.N.V.R. (now Capt., R.A.F.). For distinguished services with No. 14 Kite Balloon Section in Mesopotamia, from August, 1916, to February, 1917.

 

Flt. Sub-Lieut. Maurice Lyon, R.N.A.S. (now Capt., R.A.F.). For distinguished services with No. 14 Kite Balloon Section in Mesopotamia from August, 1916, to February, 1917.

 

 

31547 - 9 SEPTEMBER 1919

  

The KING (is) pleased to make the following appointment to the Most Exalted Order of the Star of India, for meritorious services in connection with the War in Mesopotamia. The appointment to date from 3rd June, 1919:

 

To be an Additional Companion of the said Most Exalted Order:

Captain Wilfrid Nunn, C.B., C.M.G., D.S.O., R.N.

____

  

The KING (is) pleased to make the following appointments to the Most  Eminent Order of the Indian Empire for meritorious services in connection with the War in Mesopotamia. The appointments to date from 3rd June, 1919:

 

To be Additional Companions of the said Most Eminent Order:

Captain Cathcart Romer Wason, C.M.G., R.N.

Captain Colin Mackenzie, D.S.O., R.N.

 

 

31638 - 11 NOVEMBER 1919

 

To be a Companion of the Distinguished Service Order.

 

Eng. Sub-Lieut. William. Louis Reed, R.N.R. For gallant and distinguished services as a volunteer in H.M.S. "Julnar" on the 24th April, 1916, when that vessel attempted to reach Kut-El-Amarah with stores for the besieged garrison.

 ____

 

To receive the Conspicuous Gallantry Medal.

 

E.R.A., 2nd Cl., Alexander Murphy, R.N.V.R., O.N. (Mersey) Z3/182. For most conspicuous gallantry as a volunteer in H.M.S. "Julnar" on the 24th April, 1916, when that vessel attempted to reach Kut-El-Amarah with stores for the besieged garrison.

 

P.O., 1st Cl., William Rowbottom, O.N. J2953 (Ch.). For most. conspicuous gallantry as a volunteer in H.M.S. "Julnar" on the 24th April, 1916, when that vessel attempted to reach Kut-El-Amarah with stores for the besieged garrison.

 ____

 

To receive the Distinguished Service Medal. (possibly H.M.S. Julnar in attempt to reach Kut-El-Amarah)

A.B. Herbert Blanchard, O.N. J13427 (Po.).

A.B. William Bond, O.N. J8490 (Dev.).

Ldg. Sto. Herbert Cooke, O.N. K6470 (Ch.).

Sea. John Featherbe, R.N.R., O.N. 6973A.

Sto., Ist.Cl., George William Forshaw, O.N. K18513 (Dev.).

Sto., 1st Cl., Samuel Fox, O.N. S.S.110714 (Po.).

A.B. Harry Ledger, O.N. J9539 (Dev.).

Sto., 1st Cl., Charles Thirkill, O.N. S.S. 115464 (Dev.).

A.B. Alfred Loveridge Veale, O.N. 215734 (R.F.R. Dev./B5936).

A.B. Montagu Williams, O.N. J44546 (Ch.).

 

 

32137 - 23 NOVEMBER 1920

 

The KING (is) pleased to give orders for the following appointments to the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire for valuable services rendered in connection with military operations in Mesopotamia

 

To be dated 3rd June, 1919, unless otherwise stated.

To be Members of the Military Division of the said Most Excellent Order.

T./Warrant Officer John G. Barnsley, Royal Indian Marine.

T./Warrant Officer John Bryson, Royal Indian Marine.

T./Warrant Officer Alexander Burrows, Royal Indian Marine.

T./Warrant Officer S. Chandler, Royal Indian Marine.

T./Warrant Officer George P. Elliott, Royal Indian Marine.

T./Warrant Officer Leonard Garraway, Royal Indian Marine (to be dated 28th December, 1918).

T. /Warrant Officer Albert Victor Green, Royal Indian Marine.

T./Warrant Officer Francis Johnston, Royal Indian Marine (to be dated 15th February, 1918).

T./Warrant Officer Arthur Harrison Lovett, Royal Indian Marine.

T./Warrant Officer A. McNeil, Royal Indian Marine.

T./Warrant Officer Robert Metcalfe, Royal Indian Marine.

T./Warrant Officer Vincent Manoel Francis Pereira, Royal Indian Marine.

T./Warrant Officer Albert E. Pointing, Royal Indian Marine.

T./Warrant Officer J. Thompson, Royal Indian Marine.

T./Warrant Officer Ernest Wilkinson, Royal Indian Marine.

 

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