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Devon County

Devonshire Rgt.

Directory Listings





Parish Records




War Memorials

Continued from the previous page


19 February 1916

The aeroplane was seen to leave the Turkish lines very early in the morning. It paid us seven visits during the course of a few hours and dropped several bombs, mostly on the batteries and mule lines.


20 February 1916

Most of the horses having now been slaughtered, the drivers were given the duties of the town and shortly afterwards had to do duty in the trenches as infantry. They rendered valuable help to the very few men who had to hold the fort on the river bank.


21 - 26 February 1916

The 5-inch guns had some very narrow escapes, the enemy dropping shells all around them, demolishing several of the houses facing the river and blowing to pieces some of the Arab boats in the river. A lot of sniping was carried  on by both sides, and we lost a lot of men by stray bullets. Barricades had to be put up where houses had been blown down, in order to protect people who were moving about in the streets. Stray shells would drop all over the place. One came  into the hospital but besides knocking down part of a wall - no damage was done by it.

It was generally quiet along the front line trenches, the water preventing the enemy attacking our line for a long way. The different regiments had been taking turns with each other in occupying the firing line, but now each regiment was kept there for longer periods than usual, owing to the fact that they would sometimes be cut off by water that filled the communication trenches. A large bund (or embankment) had to be built along the river bank the whole way, horizontal to the trenches, but the water would occasionally burst through, causing a lot of delay and extra work. The parties doing this work were under fire most  of the time.


Sketch of the Tigris in flood
Floods on the Tigris at Kut

A sketch made by an off-duty Officer   - exact date unknown


27 February 1916

Occasional outbursts of shell-fire were indulged in by the enemy's guns, to which our batteries replied very sparingly. Parts of the front line were damaged and several shells dropped into the dug-outs occupied by troops taking a spell of rest out of the line.


28 - 29 February 1916

More activity on the part of Turkish guns and aeroplanes, the latter trying their utmost to destroy our 5-inch guns, but did not succeed. However, several of the sailors were wounded by shells that dropped close by their guns, and Arab snipers from across the river caused them a lot of trouble.


1 March 1916

Several reports were issued concerning the work that was being done by General Aylmer's forces down the river. A communiqué was posted to the effect that a big attack was going to be made shortly, and everyone was looking forward to our being relieved.


The Relief Force engaged with the Turks

Headed "British charge through the Tigris swamps" this up-beat sketch was published in a magazine in the UK. The scene depicts the British Relief Force with the Turks on the run.

The incident is referred to by William Lee in his entries for early March 1916. General Aylmer had decided to attack the Turkish position at Dujailah (some 14 miles from Kut). A good idea maybe, but in the event,  it was miserably executed and became a total disaster.

After a couple of days, withdrawal became inevitable when the British ran completely out of water after suffering very heavy losses.

The Turks were not gloriously routed as the picture suggests and General Aylmer was recalled to London on the 12th of March 1916 when General Gorringe was appointed to succeed him.


2 March 1916

Large bodies of enemy troops were observed going by, out of range of our guns; also convoys of camels and horse transport. Other convoys of wounded were known to have been brought back, in order to send them away up to Baghdad. The enemy could not use the river for a considerable distance both above and  below the town as we held command of it, consequently their supplies had to be taken overland, which undoubtedly caused them a lot of inconvenience.

3 - 7 March 1916

The Turks now got very quiet and attacks took place very seldom. Evidently they were sending all available men down to prepare for the main position in opposition to the forces attempting to relieve us. The aeroplanes could be seen making flights down-river every day and sometimes one of our own planes would pay us a visit.  It was impossible for the pilot to descend owing to the enemy's guns being so close, but messages were dropped with weights attached.

8 March 1916

At daybreak, a noise of guns was heard in the distance. It could be plainly heard in the open and, as the day wore  on, everyone got very enthusiastic, calculating on when our relief would take place. It was also marked by a short bombardment from the Turkish "whiz-bangs" to which our guns replied.

9 March 1916

We could still hear the sounds of heavy guns in the early morning, but as the day wore on, it got very quiet. Everyone was anxiously waiting to know what was the outcome of the British attack. At 6.0pm a communiqué was issued informing us that General Aylmer had been forced to retire owing to the lack of water for  his troops. A promise was given us, however, that another attempt would be made at an early date.



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



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