Jump to content


Remembered Today:

Photo

The siege of Kut-al-Amara 1915-1916


31 replies to this topic

#1 Bob2000

Bob2000

    Second Lieutenant

  • Members3
  • 77 posts

Posted 03 January 2011 - 09:46 AM

According to the LLT:

1/4th Battalion Hampshire Regiment...Battalion HQ and one Company were captured at Kut-el-Amara on 29 April 1916. The remainder formed a Composite Bn with the 1/5th Bn and - attached to 35th Indian Brigade - transferred to 14th Indian Division.

Please can anyone tell me which Company (A, B, C or D) of the battalion was there? What happened to the other Companies which, I assume, joined the "Composite Bn" at this time - were they involved with trying to get supplies to Kut, or sent elsewhere?

(Also, just for my understanding, '1/4th Bn Hampshire Regiment' I think means: First line of the Fourth Battalion of the Hampshire Regiment. What is a 'line', please?)

Thanks for your help.

#2 Steven Broomfield

Steven Broomfield

    General

  • Old Sweats
  • 14,062 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:SO50, SW1 and South West Trains
  • Interests:10th Royal Hussars (PWO), 11th Hussars (PAO), The Royal Hussars (PWO), The King's Royal Hussars

Posted 03 January 2011 - 10:48 AM

Bob, from the snappily-titled History of the Hampshire Territorial Force Association and War Record of Units, 1914-1919, it was "A" Company.

And, yes, the 1/4th were the first-line of the 4th battalion, from Winchester.

#3 Ron

Ron

    Lieutenant

  • Old Sweats
  • 202 posts

Posted 03 January 2011 - 11:08 AM

According to the LLT:

1/4th Battalion Hampshire Regiment...Battalion HQ and one Company were captured at Kut-el-Amara on 29 April 1916. The remainder formed a Composite Bn with the 1/5th Bn and - attached to 35th Indian Brigade - transferred to 14th Indian Division.

Please can anyone tell me which Company (A, B, C or D) of the battalion was there? What happened to the other Companies which, I assume, joined the "Composite Bn" at this time - were they involved with trying to get supplies to Kut, or sent elsewhere?

(Also, just for my understanding, '1/4th Bn Hampshire Regiment' I think means: First line of the Fourth Battalion of the Hampshire Regiment. What is a 'line', please?)

Thanks for your help.


The Official history only states that one company (without distinguishing it), commanded by Major F L Footner, remained in Kut and another escorted wounded from the town. The rest of the regiment joined 9th Brigade and took part in subsequent attempts to relieve Kut at Sheikh Saad, the Wadi and Hanna in which last action they suffered heavy casualties. Some of the survivors joined the advance on the right of the 35th Brigade and a few joined the Black Watch in the captured position from which they finally had to retreat to the starting position in a front line trench. Is there a history of the regiment?
Ron

#4 Bob2000

Bob2000

    Second Lieutenant

  • Members3
  • 77 posts

Posted 03 January 2011 - 11:19 AM

Bob, from the snappily-titled History of the Hampshire Territorial Force Association and War Record of Units, 1914-1919, it was "A" Company.


Thanks, Steve, that's great. I must try and get hold of that publication. Does it say what happened to the other companies (my great uncle was a Corporal in D Company)? I wondered if they were involved in trying to get supplies to the garrison at Kut.

#5 Bob2000

Bob2000

    Second Lieutenant

  • Members3
  • 77 posts

Posted 03 January 2011 - 11:23 AM

Does it say what happened to the other companies (my great uncle was a Corporal in D Company)? I wondered if they were involved in trying to get supplies to the garrison at Kut.


Sorry - wrote that before I saw Ron's reply. Many thanks, Ron.

#6 Steven Broomfield

Steven Broomfield

    General

  • Old Sweats
  • 14,062 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:SO50, SW1 and South West Trains
  • Interests:10th Royal Hussars (PWO), 11th Hussars (PAO), The Royal Hussars (PWO), The King's Royal Hussars

Posted 03 January 2011 - 01:26 PM

According to the book with a long title (!), "A" and "D" were both in Kut, arriving on 29th November 1915. However, on the 30th the Army commander arrived from up river and proceeded down river, and "D" were sent as an escort. They then rejoined "B" and "C" under the command of the CO (Col Bowker) and took part in the Battle of Umm el Hannah (21st January, 1916). "D" Coy (under North) were the third line in the attack, with the CO accompanying them. The attack was over flat ground, and Turkish resistance was strong; the attack failed and the CO died of wounds.

The book is not easy to find - I bought my copy a couple of years ago for 120; it was published in 1921 and I don't think anyone's reprinted it.

If you PM me an e-mail address, I'll scan the 1/4th hants entry for you - it's about 10 pages, but you're welcome.

#7 Bob2000

Bob2000

    Second Lieutenant

  • Members3
  • 77 posts

Posted 03 January 2011 - 03:10 PM

According to the book with a long title (!), "A" and "D" were both in Kut, arriving on 29th November 1915. However, on the 30th the Army commander arrived from up river and proceeded down river, and "D" were sent as an escort. They then rejoined "B" and "C" under the command of the CO (Col Bowker) and took part in the Battle of Umm el Hannah (21st January, 1916). "D" Coy (under North) were the third line in the attack, with the CO accompanying them. The attack was over flat ground, and Turkish resistance was strong; the attack failed and the CO died of wounds.

The book is not easy to find - I bought my copy a couple of years ago for 120; it was published in 1921 and I don't think anyone's reprinted it.

If you PM me an e-mail address, I'll scan the 1/4th hants entry for you - it's about 10 pages, but you're welcome.


Thanks, Steve, that's really very good of you. I will PM you my email address.

I also found this online which you probably know about: Letters from Mesopotamia, April 1915 - Jan 1916 from Robert Palmer, who was killed in the Battle of Umm el Hannah on 21 June 1916. The web address is http://www.gutenberg...4-h/17584-h.htm

Palmer went with a draft from the 6th Hants to reinforce the 4th Hants. He was in "A" company, but an injury playing football stopped him from being at Kut.

I'll compare the reports in his letters with your scans.Thank you for helping me out.

#8 trooper66

trooper66

    Corporal

  • Members2
  • 18 posts

Posted 18 January 2011 - 08:05 AM

There is a superb new history of this "When God Made Hell" by Prof Charles Townsend,Faber & Faber, ISBN 978-0-571-23719-7, I am reading it at the moment and will be reviewing it on ARRSE in the near future

#9 Bob2000

Bob2000

    Second Lieutenant

  • Members3
  • 77 posts

Posted 18 January 2011 - 11:22 PM

There is a superb new history of this "When God Made Hell" by Prof Charles Townsend,Faber & Faber, ISBN 978-0-571-23719-7, I am reading it at the moment and will be reviewing it on ARRSE in the near future



Used your info to find it on Amazon - it says "Charles Townshend" is the author. Surely no relation to the General who surrendered at Kut?

P.S. Any chance that you could copy your review here?

Cheers

#10 AnthonyBrunning

AnthonyBrunning

    Private

  • Members2
  • 2 posts

Posted 15 September 2012 - 01:38 PM

I am researching Eric Granville Sutherland RULE, who was a Company Sergeant Major in the 1/4th Hampshire Regiment. He died on 21 January 1916 and is commemorated on the Basra memorial. I suspect he was one of those killed in action at the Battle of Umm el Hannah but as yet have found no evidence of this. Can any one help with information or references. At present I am working my way through the Letters from Mesopotamia, April 1915 - Jan 1916 from Robert Palmer mentioned by Steven.
Steven would you be able to mail me the scan of the document you made as mentioned above. I'm at anthony dot brunning at clayton hyphen court dot demon dot co dot uk
Thanks for any help you can give me.
Anthony

#11 Ianander

Ianander

    Lieut-Colonel

  • Old Sweats
  • 1,236 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:march,cambridgeshire
  • Interests:carpentry,2n bn black watch & my family regiment the" dandy ninth"
    I also love watching my daughter playing football for her local team

Posted 15 September 2012 - 02:56 PM

Hello Anthony and welcome to the great war forum. Here is his details from SDGW.

Hampshire Regiment
1/4th ( T.F ) Battalion.
Rule
Eric granville sutherland
C.S.M - 200005
Born - Churt, Surrey.
Enlisted - Winchester.
Killed in Action on 21/01/1916
Mesopotamia.

regards
Ian

#12 yeatie

yeatie

    Private

  • Members2
  • 3 posts

Posted 15 September 2012 - 03:11 PM

I am trying to find out where British POWs from the 1st Battalian Oxfordshire & Bucks Regiment seige of Kut-a-Almara where taken. I believe this is how my Uncle George Wilson died on 30th September 1916 age 23. I have read accounts of the terrible treatment POWs received from their captors, but I cannot find out any specific information. My Uncles War Record just states, Arena of Battle Mesopotamia. Date of death, 30/09/1916. How Died-------Died. Can anybody help?.

#13 Ianander

Ianander

    Lieut-Colonel

  • Old Sweats
  • 1,236 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:march,cambridgeshire
  • Interests:carpentry,2n bn black watch & my family regiment the" dandy ninth"
    I also love watching my daughter playing football for her local team

Posted 15 September 2012 - 03:26 PM

I am trying to find out where British POWs from the 1st Battalian Oxfordshire & Bucks Regiment seige of Kut-a-Almara where taken. I believe this is how my Uncle George Wilson died on 30th September 1916 age 23. I have read accounts of the terrible treatment POWs received from their captors, but I cannot find out any specific information. My Uncles War Record just states, Arena of Battle Mesopotamia. Date of death, 30/09/1916. How Died-------Died. Can anybody help?.


Hello and welcome to GWF , I think the British Pow where forced to march to Constantinople where many died.
Have you tried the LLT
http://www.1914-1918.net/
http://www.1914-1918.net/oxbucks.htm

regards
Ian

#14 Marc Thompson

Marc Thompson

    Lieut-Colonel

  • Old Sweat
  • 867 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Hampshire
  • Interests:Researching all aspects of the Hampshire Regiment in the Great War and building a database archive of those that served.

    Also researching the names recorded on war memorials in and around Romsey.

    Trustee of Wessex WFA.

    British Memorial Association, Fromelles

Posted 19 September 2012 - 09:43 PM

I am researching Eric Granville Sutherland RULE, who was a Company Sergeant Major in the 1/4th Hampshire Regiment. He died on 21 January 1916 and is commemorated on the Basra memorial. I suspect he was one of those killed in action at the Battle of Umm el Hannah but as yet have found no evidence of this. Anthony


You are correct in your assumption Anthony. CSM E G S RULE was reported missing following this action. His pre-1917 TF number was '25'.

His wife Mrs E. G. RULE was living at 10, St Paul's Terrace, Winchester at the time.

Marc

#15 Gibbo

Gibbo

    Lieut-Colonel

  • Old Sweats
  • 856 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Edinburgh

Posted 19 September 2012 - 10:32 PM

Used your info to find it on Amazon - it says "Charles Townshend" is the author. Surely no relation to the General who surrendered at Kut?

P.S. Any chance that you could copy your review here?

Cheers

Used your info to find it on Amazon - it says "Charles Townshend" is the author. Surely no relation to the General who surrendered at Kut?

P.S. Any chance that you could copy your review here?

Cheers


The author commented on the coincidence of him having the same name as the general, saying that, as far as he knew, they were not related. Presumably this was in the introduction; I read a library copy, so do not have the book to hand to check.

#16 Lancashire Fusilier

Lancashire Fusilier

    Lieut-General

  • Old Sweats
  • 5,722 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:UK

Posted 20 September 2012 - 07:39 PM

I am trying to find out where British POWs from the 1st Battalian Oxfordshire & Bucks Regiment seige of Kut-a-Almara where taken. I believe this is how my Uncle George Wilson died on 30th September 1916 age 23. I have read accounts of the terrible treatment POWs received from their captors, but I cannot find out any specific information. My Uncles War Record just states, Arena of Battle Mesopotamia. Date of death, 30/09/1916. How Died-------Died. Can anybody help?.


yeatie,
On 29th April, 1916, the day Kut fell to the Turks, the British garrison consisted of some 12,000 men, of which some 9,000 were Indian troops.
British officers and men numbered about 2,600.
Starting on April 30, the captured garrison were forced marched some 1,200 miles from Kut to Smyra where they were placed in P.O.W. prison camps.
The forced march started on April 30 and ended in June 1916, and the 1,200 miles covered was over desert, mountains and by river in searing summer temperatures.
Already weakened by the long siege, the garrison were in no fit state to undertake the 1,200 mile trek, and many died from beri-beri, scurvy, dysentery and malaria during the forced march.
Of the 2,600 British Officers and men captured on April 29, 1916, which would have included your Uncle, only some 700 survived, and returned at the end of the war two and a half years later. With your Uncle having died on September 30, 1916, to his great credit, it showed he survived the 1,200 mile forced march.
General Townshend, Kut's captured Garrison Commander, was sent forward to Constantinople, and lived out the war in comparative comfort on an Island in the Sea of Marmara.
Attached is a map showing the various stages of the P.O.W.s 1,200 miles forced march from Kut to Smyrna. The map is somewhat small, and if anyone has questions about the text on the map, I shall be pleased to provide the details.
Regards,
LF

Attached Files



#17 Lancashire Fusilier

Lancashire Fusilier

    Lieut-General

  • Old Sweats
  • 5,722 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:UK

Posted 20 September 2012 - 08:13 PM

to assist, here is the text from the map :-

Kut - Shumran
40 miles to Shumran. Some went by steamer, the majority marched in temperatures of 90 degrees.
At Shumran 300 men died of dysentery on arrival, and several hundred contracted choleric dysentery after eating Turkish army ration biscuits.

Shumran - Baghdad
100 miles by river steamer and desert march to Baghdad. At Baghdad officers and men were marched through the streets as a public spectacle.

Baghdad - Samarra
80 miles by Baghdad Railway to Samarra. The prisoners were herded into huts while an band of donkeys were collected for the next stage.

Samarra - Takrit
20 miles by donkey across the desert to Takrit. Here the men were crammed into a cattle shed whhich had no ventilation and where temperatures reached 114 degrees. In the evening, they were allowed down to the river for a wash.

Takrit - Mosul - Nisibin - Ras el Ain
360 miles via Mosul and Nisibin to Ras el Ain. The average day temperature was 100 degrees but the night temperature fell sharply to below 40 degrees. Average rations per day per man - 1 handful of rice, 2 chapattis and tea.

Ras el Ain - Islahiye - ( across the Taurus Mountains ) - Smyrna
730 miles across the Amanus and Taurus Mountains via Islahiye - mostly on foot to camps in Anatolia. The officers who had been better fed on the journey were mostly able to survive and a far larger percentage of casualties were troops. Of 1200 British and Indian troops who began the march, 400 died.

LF

#18 Lancashire Fusilier

Lancashire Fusilier

    Lieut-General

  • Old Sweats
  • 5,722 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:UK

Posted 20 September 2012 - 08:20 PM

A Photograph of General Townshend, and the badge/medal given to those who survived the siege.

Attached Files



#19 yeatie

yeatie

    Private

  • Members2
  • 3 posts

Posted 25 September 2012 - 12:24 PM

Hello and welcome to GWF , I think the British Pow where forced to march to Constantinople where many died.
Have you tried the LLT
http://www.1914-1918.net/
http://www.1914-1918.net/oxbucks.htm

regards
Ian

Thank you for the info. I do not know what the LLT is, can you help again? Thank you

#20 kenf48

kenf48

    Brigadier-General

  • Old Sweats
  • 2,939 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Eastbourne

Posted 25 September 2012 - 07:46 PM

Thank you for the info. I do not know what the LLT is, can you help again? Thank you


LLT - The Long Long Trail or the parent site for this forum link at the top of the page or simply click on the links given by Ian at post 13

Ken

#21 Lancashire Fusilier

Lancashire Fusilier

    Lieut-General

  • Old Sweats
  • 5,722 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:UK

Posted 30 September 2012 - 04:37 AM

In an Article on the Capture Kut by Major Donald Clark, he states :-
" The surrender of Kut was an inglorious end to a sad chapter of British military muddle. The Turks, having closed the ring around Kut, were content to fight off the relief attempts while waiting for the town to starve into submission, yet during this time of waiting Townshend made no attempt to break out or join up with the relieving force. Nor did he immediately conduct a thorough assessment of his force's food supply. Certainly Townshend's conduct, his character and personality, are at the centre of the controversy which surrounds the surrender of Kut. "

Attached are two signals, one personal and one official, sent by General Townshend at the time of the Kut surrender. The personal signal was a message to his wife sent c/o Sir Wilfred Peek just two days before the surrender, which seems to be full of self-pity and devoid of self-blame.
The signal to his wife reads :-
" Write Alice tell her the hole I am in here through the fault of others, when I think, tell her how all conduct of operations was put on to me and not one word of praise and no thanks for all I have done throughout this campaign. I have only one desire that to leave the Army as soon as peace comes. I am ill and weak but a little better today. Tell her I have some six or seven hundred pounds in pay at ? which I will instruct them to send her. If I have to go into captivity, it will kill me.
signed - Charles Townshend - April 27th.

The final official signal sent 29/4/16 from Kut to HQ. B.E.F. at 1.20 pm reads :-
" A Turkish regiment approaching fort to take over guards in Kut. I have hoisted the " white flag " over town and fort. Troops commence going into camp near Shumran at 2 oclock. Will shortly destroy the wireless, it is worn out as it is.
1.35 pm - General Townshend
To All Ships and Stations from Kut, Good-Bye and Good Luck to all.

The surrender followed a failed attempt to buy the Garrison's freedom, first with 1 million pounds, and then with 2 million pounds.
On April 29 Townshend destroyed his guns and ammunition and told Khalil he was ready to surrender. At 1300 hours the Garrison wireless tapped out ' Good-Bye ' and was destroyed.
The strength of the Garrison when surrender came was 13,309. The total casualties amounted to 3,776 of which 1,025 had been killed or died of wounds, 2,446 were wounded and 721 had died of disease. The hospital in Kut contained 1,450 sick and wounded on April 29 most of whom were exchanged at once, followed by a further group three months later.

Copies of the 2 signals attached, also a photograph of General Townshend ( seated in the middle ) taken with his Turkish captors immediately after the surrender.

LF

Attached Files



#22 droberts

droberts

    Lieutenant

  • Old Sweats
  • 154 posts

Posted 30 September 2012 - 04:30 PM

According to the LLT:

1/4th Battalion Hampshire Regiment...Battalion HQ and one Company were captured at Kut-el-Amara on 29 April 1916. The remainder formed a Composite Bn with the 1/5th Bn and - attached to 35th Indian Brigade - transferred to 14th Indian Division.

Please can anyone tell me which Company (A, B, C or D) of the battalion was there? What happened to the other Companies which, I assume, joined the "Composite Bn" at this time - were they involved with trying to get supplies to Kut, or sent elsewhere?

(Also, just for my understanding, '1/4th Bn Hampshire Regiment' I think means: First line of the Fourth Battalion of the Hampshire Regiment. What is a 'line', please?)

Thanks for your help.


Out of interest, I have a copy of General Towshends book on the seige. On the 15th March 1916 he shows 1/4th hants at an effective strength of 7 officers and 152 OR's.

#23 beestonboxer

beestonboxer

    Lieutenant

  • Old Sweats
  • 172 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Dereham Norfolk

Posted 22 September 2013 - 04:36 PM

On the same topic is this the route that all men took who were captured and taken POW at Kut , i am wondering if it was the same march as the Royal West Kents took ? and has anyone ever heard of Yarbasshi ? Yarbasshi is supposed to be the location where a member of the RWKs died who was at Kut according to a memorial back here in the UK . I have googled it and the only thing that has come up is the information connected to the memorial in Kent. Maybe a name place has been interpreted wrongly.



#24 Lancashire Fusilier

Lancashire Fusilier

    Lieut-General

  • Old Sweats
  • 5,722 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:UK

Posted 22 September 2013 - 05:24 PM

On the same topic is this the route that all men took who were captured and taken POW at Kut , i am wondering if it was the same march as the Royal West Kents took ? and has anyone ever heard of Yarbasshi ? Yarbasshi is supposed to be the location where a member of the RWKs died who was at Kut according to a memorial back here in the UK . I have googled it and the only thing that has come up is the information connected to the memorial in Kent. Maybe a name place has been interpreted wrongly.

 

There is a Turkish town ' Yarbasan ' which looks to lie close to the forced march route. Perhaps Yarbasan is the Turkish name, and Yarbasshi a British variation of that name?

Regards,

LF



#25 beestonboxer

beestonboxer

    Lieutenant

  • Old Sweats
  • 172 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Dereham Norfolk

Posted 22 September 2013 - 06:06 PM

Thanks for looking this up , i have also been spending a little more time on it and came up with Yarbaschi which is in the Amanus District which i believe is right at the end of the march route in Smyrna , so it looks like the chap i am looking up made it through the march and sadly lost his life shortly after on the 16th sep . Looks like there are several ways Yarbaschi is spelt.

its the first time i have read anything about Kut and the forced march its unbelievable how these men were treated.

Thanks again for your time