The Mesopotamia Campaign


After early successes, the British were eager to advance further into Mesopotamia. The small force that had arrived in 1914 was strengthened with infantry and cavalry sent from India and France. Major-General Charles Townshend arrived at Basra on 22 April 1915 and took command of the Poona Division. By the end of the year IEF ‘D’ had a strength of over 50,000 combatants.

Amara was taken by 2 June 1915, followed by Nasiriya on 25 July. In order to secure Amara, Major-General Townshend was ordered to move up the Tigris and capture the ancient city of Ctesiphon. It was captured on 22 November, but two days of heavy fighting left nearly half of his troops either killed or wounded. Townshend had little choice but to withdraw to Kut. By 7 December the town was under siege by Ottoman forces.

Commemorated on the Basra Memorial

2673 Indian army casualties recorded on the Basra Memorial for 1915