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Gareth Davies

Kut Surrender

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Lancashire Fusilier

Here is a link to a previous GWF Thread on the surrender of Kut which includes copies of Townshend's 2 final signals sent from Kut, one to his wife and the other sent on 29/4/1916 at 1.20 pm, announcing he had hoisted the white flag as the Turks approached, plus maps of the garrison's forced march and other related information :-

 

 
LF

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bob lembke

Not an expert here; one British officer insisted on remaining with his men rather than experience a better experience with the other officers. I have posted before about how the German officers in Istanbul complained to the Turks after seeing Townshend feted about town in the best restaurants. My father's company of volunteer Pioniere was marching from Gallipoli back to Istanbul for medical rehabilitation when they encountered wounded prisoners on the roadside in dreadful condition, they stopped, applied medical care, and gave them all of their food, to the astonishment of the Turks. 

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charlie962

Bob, A fascinating account. I have read your previous thread. I think the Europeans were generally horrified by the Turkish attitude of complete disregard (at best) for their own soldiers' well-being let alone enemy O.R. prisoners. In the various accounts there are often mentions of sympathetic treatment when Germans came across the British prisoners. But there are also adverse accounts, I believe,on the railway construction camps, where the construction companies were German enterprises? But nothing compares to the savagery of the Arab and Kurdish guards and their Turkish masters on the long marches.

 

Michaeldr,  There is a summary of prisoners taken, split British/Indian. I am trying to find a sub-split by British unit but have not come across anything yet. An analysis I have done of published casualty lists gets me quite close but I am sure there must be some back-up papers to the Parliamentary figures. Do you know of anything?

 

Charlie

Edited by charlie962

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seaJane
On 18/03/2017 at 13:47, bob lembke said:

Not an expert here; one British officer insisted on remaining with his men rather than experience a better experience with the other officers

I think that may have been General Mellish but I'm not 100% sure. I've certainly read of the officer in question.

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seaJane
On 05/11/2016 at 19:56, michaeldr said:

 

No, it was Aubrey Herbert

I still cannot find my ref

 

Could it be in Margaret Fitzherbert's The Man Who Was Greenmantle?

 

sJ

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bob lembke
2 hours ago, seaJane said:

I think that may have been General Mellish but I'm not 100% sure. I've certainly read of the officer in question.

 

I would have been astonished to see a general mentioned. I think a captain or thereabout. A 50 or 60 year old man

would not have half a chance. 

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charlie962

Mellish certainly tried to (with mixed success) intervene early on but his own health deteriorated to such an extent that he was unable to continue. The senior Turks refused to believe there could be any problems. Indifference was the rule.

 

Even the regimental medical officers were not allowed to remain with their units in the beginning. It may be one or some of them who nevertheless managed to make contact?

Edited by charlie962

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seaJane

The name I was looking for was Charles Melliss, VC, 52 at the time.

"Melliss was allowed a traveling party and better than average supplies. Along the way, they encountered dead and dying enlisted men who had fallen behind one of the columns of British and Indian prisoners. Melliss took any survivors he found with him; at each stop he insisted that the men he had rescued from the desert be put into hospital."

 

That said, I now think he wasn't the officer in question - I'll keep looking.

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charlie962

and for the obvious reason the Turks changed the route by which the officers travelled!

 

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michaeldr
On 3/19/2017 at 14:46, charlie962 said:

Michaeldr,  There is a summary of prisoners taken, split British/Indian. I am trying to find a sub-split by British unit but have not come across anything yet. An analysis I have done of published casualty lists gets me quite close but I am sure there must be some back-up papers to the Parliamentary figures. Do you know of anything?

 

Very sorry Charlie,

can't help you there

 

regards

Michael

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seaJane

Possibly Parliamentary Paper, Cmd 9208, Nov. 1918 - if you can get to a local university, they may have access to Parliamentary Papers Online; otherwise the House of Commons Library may be able to advise.

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charlie962

Thank you both for the replies. I suspect the answer may lie in the FO files that have previously been listed on one of these threads. That will have to wait for a visit to UK (if they allow me back in post-Brexit) let alone a local University!

Charlie

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Dust Jacket Collector
On 05/08/2016 at 15:43, Dust Jacket Collector said:

One of the most graphic accounts of the Garrisons sufferings is given in a little book of mine I've mentioned previously in the 'Rarest Book' thread.

"The Sufferings of the Kut Garrison on their march into Turkey as Prisoners of War" by Q.Mast. F. A. Harvey of the 2nd Dorsets. Privately printed in Ludgershall in 1923. Sadly the only other copy I can find is a photocopy in the IWM.

Anyone wishing to have a copy of this rare book might be interested to know one has just gone on sale on ABE for £45, sadly lacking it's title page.

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charlie962

I have just lashed out on a reasonably priced copy of "Remembering Kut". A lot of material quoted from surviving NCOs and men rather than officers. Particularly long quotes from the man I was originally researching in another thread. So for me it was worth it.

 

The author is clearly a great admirer of General Melliss (quite rightly) and quotes many examples of his efforts to help the men. She also had a certain amount of direct correspondence with him. It was partly chance that he first stumbled upon the truth of the prisoners' treatment but thereafter he didn't let go and despite being very ill himself, and not forgetting that he too was a prisoner, he made it his business to do as much as possible to help them. He used the respect that the Turks showed to a General to advantage to get things done. Apparently the Turks were so rattled by his remonstrations they even signalled ahead that Melliss was coming and so tried to hide the worst cases. However Melliss often found them. But in the end he was not unaware that the moment he moved on the maltreatment and neglect would return. He must have saved quite a few lives though, and eased suffering. And to be fair to the other senior officers, they were sent by a route that did not cross the soldiers' route just to avoid a repeat of Melliss.

 

I remain doubtful about Townshend.

 

Charlie

 

 

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charlie962
Posted (edited)
On 17/06/2016 at 18:08, SJ CLARK said:

I was given a handwritten account of the surrender and the treatment the soldiers received. The soldier who wrote this account was a radio operator at the time of the surrender.

 

SJC

 

SJC

8379 Pte Arthur Goode is shown as Leicestershire Regt attached Wireless Signal Squadron. If you are not already aware, he too is quoted several times in "Remembering Kut". Incidentally his MIC says IUL or IVL. What is this?

I would be very interested to see a copy of this account if ever that is possible?

Charlie

Edited by charlie962

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seaJane
3 hours ago, charlie962 said:

I have just lashed out on a reasonably priced copy of "Remembering Kut"

Funny, I managed to get hold of one the other day as well, after months of seeing ridiculously pricy copies for sale!

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kenf48
Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, charlie962 said:

 

 Incidentally his MIC says IUL or IVL. What is this?

 

 

Indian Unattached List

See https://wiki.fibis.org/w/Unattached_List for full explanation. I guess it reflects his attachment to the Wireless Signal Squadron.

 

It seems the 14-15 Star was returned and or duplicated to show this as the asterisk refers to the note on the card.

 

Ken

 

Edited by kenf48

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bob lembke

Different cultures have different attitudes to the captured, at least on paper. The Turks and Japanese despised surrendered soldiers. The French officers allowed their African troops to execute captured German soldiers with flame-throwers; the German soldiers, knowing that they were going to be burned to death, put on their gas-masks in preparation. This is from a French source, a world-famous writer. 

 

After WW II the Allies gave the Japanese a "pass" on their horrible experiments on humans, as long as the Japanese transferred the medical data to the allies. The Japanese, instead of providing rations to their troops, allowed them to eat Australian prisoners, in the jungle, one arm, them another arm the next day, leaving them alive left the meat fresh in the jungle without refrigeration. Not cricket. 

 

Is is the white, Western European cultural take supreme? I think so. But I am not omniscient. 

 

I have raised the topic of a similar, much larger atrocity on the part of the Allies during the Great War twice, there was zero interest in going there on the GWF. In the words of the Master of Murder, Stalin: "The murder of one is a tragedy, the murder of a million is a statistic."

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charlie962

Ken, thanks for the link on IUL; Makes sense. Charlie

 

Bob, I have the clear impression that the Turks did not despise surrendered soldiers. They were just totally indifferent to their fate as they were the fate of their own soldiers. There were many instances of compassion shown by individuals. Remembering Kut contains many examples.  Lady Neave tries to distinguish between the attitudes of the  'old' Turk and the 'young' Turk but I am not sure how true this is? Charlie

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bob lembke

Charlie;

 

You may be right. They were often rather indifferent to their own soldiers. 

 

I I recently sold a building (four apartments and a store) to a young Turkish immigrant to the US. I knew him slightly. At the end of the closing, he suddenly threw in some conditions that had the effect of putting $30,000 in my pocket. His estate agent was amazed, and said: "What's that for?" The young Turkish fellow said: "I am doing this because this gentleman knows more Turkish history than I do." But I am sure that he did it because he knew that my father in 1915 had volunteered to go to Gallipoli to fight for Turkey, and that in 1922 he was running guns to Turkey from Berlin when the Greeks were invading Anatolia and carrying out ethnic cleansing, and no one in Europe had any intention of helping the Turks. 

 

I would guess that many Turks both despised surrendered enemy, and were indifferent, as many were to their own soldiers as well. 

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David Filsell
Posted (edited)

I have read a great deal about the appalling Japanese treatment of POWs and indeed many others. But I must say the one arm at a time is new to me. I. Would very much welcome a trustworthy source quoted before accepting it as anything other than a very tall tall story.

Edited by David Filsell

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charlie962

...and one must not forget that the Turks in 1916 were well advanced their massacre of over a million Armenians, often killed in extremely brutal fashion. So why bother about a few surrendered 'other ranks'. Despite their own suffering it was often Armenians who nevertheless showed kindness to the British men.

 

War lifts a lot of stones and what crawls out is not a credit to any country. I don't intend to get into a comparative brutality argument. I am quite sure all 'civilised' countries are capable of regressing given the right environment.  But I do want to try and understand the background and ensure that the suffering (I dont think anyone is denying this?) individuals are not forgotten.

 

Charlie

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Nigel1898

Black Bread and Barbed Wire by Michael Moynihan is a collection of POW experiences. One of the chapters is an edited account of RQMS Frank Harveys'time on the Knut death march. The story is quite horrific.Its certainly equal to the mistreatment of allied POWs in Japanese captivity in the Second a World War.

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