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War Memorials

Continued from the previous page

 

23 January 1916

The enemy's artillery opened fire at dawn and kept up a heavy fire for two or three hours, during which one of our guns was put out of action and several houses were demolished. Our food was again reduced. It now consisted of 12 oz of bread and 1lb of horseflesh, with various necessaries.

 

24 - 31 January 1916

Our detachment across the river held back a furious attack by the enemy on the 25th; but the 40-pounders continued to trouble us every afternoon or evening. On the 26th they began by dropping over 50 shells into the river and mud on the banks. These did no damage whatsoever, but during the night we had about 30 casualties from their shell fire. They had found out our battery of 5-inch guns on the river bank and were trying to destroy them.

 

1 February 1916

A Turkish aeroplane had now begun to fly over our lines and consequently the guns had to be moved and more carefully concealed. The boat on which a couple of 4.7-inch guns were placed had a narrow escape from the enemy's artillery, who had been given the locality and range by the aeroplane.

 

2 - 8 February 1916

An enemy aeroplane began to drop bombs on our gun emplacements and one evening a gun was put out of action and several men injured of which three died afterwards. Machine guns were placed on roofs of houses in different parts of the town, and one howitzer was used as an anti-aircraft gun; but no damage was ever done to the enemy aeroplane and thousands of rounds were thus wasted.

 

The rations had to be again cut down, the allowance of bread  being 10oz and 1lb of mule and horse flesh mixed. Other things such as jam, butter and cheese were almost exhausted and were only issued occasionally. Nothing could be procured from the Arabs, who had been selling the food which was allowed them. The Military Authorities issued an order to the effect that anyone found buying or selling food of any kind would be severely punished. Tobacco had run out, and the Arab raw tobacco was the only sort procurable, but it was very rank stuff.

 

9 February 1916

The attentions of the enemy were not as often and lacked the sting which they had formerly. Large bodies of troops were seen going down beyond our lines every day, making up a big force to keep back our relief force. The aeroplane dropped more bombs on the town and near the 5-inch guns on the river  bank.

 

11 - 18 February 1916

A shell was dropped right into the boat on which were the naval 4.7s, doing some damage, destroying  one gun and almost sinking the boat. The country around had got so much under water that the enemy had to remove their guns further back, away from our position, but their 40-pounders continued to give us a lot of trouble, several shells doing damage to the Serai * (the Norfolk Regiment's headquarters), one having dropped into a dug-out, wounding 13 men (five British and eight Indians). A bombardment on the evening of the 17th did a little damage, but it was not much considering the number of shells fired on our position.

 

Map of Kut during the siege
This map was published by General Sir Charles Townshend in his book "My Campaign", written after the Great War was over. William Lee refers to the headquarters of the Norfolk Regiment in the above entry - not very clear to see, but it is marked on the top left-hand corner of the hatched area labelled KUT.

 

*A little sarcasm here - "Serai" is theTurkish word for a  beautiful and luxurious palace.

 

The text on this page is the copyright property of Mark Bale

 

 

 
 
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