1918
The Mesopotamia Campaign

 

In 1918, the British and Indian force advanced up the Euphrates, occupying a series of positions between 9 February and 10 March 1918. The Action of Khan Baghdadi was fought on 26 March, which led to the capture of a large number of Ottoman troops, along with artillery, machine guns and equipment. The remnants were pursued for 73 miles in the direction of Aleppo, and the Ottoman Euphrates force was effectively destroyed. Between 24 April and 11 May, Ottoman troops were driven out of southern Kurdistan.

A Lance Naik kneeling in a trench during the Battle of Sharqat (©IWM Q 24746)

A Lance Naik kneeling in a trench during the Battle of Sharqat (©IWM Q 24746)

On 30 October 1918, at Sharqat, Ottoman commanders surrendered their entire force of over 8,000 troops. Shortly afterwards, the Armistice with Turkey was signed, bringing the protracted campaign in Mesopotamia to an end.

In the four years that it served in Mesopotamia, IEF ‘D’ had grown to over 400,000 men. In the intense fighting against a determined enemy it had suffered over 100,000 casualties of which over 30,000 were fatal.

Austin Chamberlain, the Secretary of State for India declared, after the capture of Baghdad, that “Indian blood had won Mesopotamia for Britain.”


Commemorated on the Basra Memorial

5,966 Indian army casualties recorded on the Basra Memorial for 1918