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Remembered Today:

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June and July 1919 in the Upper Kurram



This blog has been quiet for the last month - because life in the Upper Kurram was quiet over this period 100 years ago. News that the amir had ceased hostilities and of the relief of Thal was received in Parachinar 3 June. However, there were reports that the Afghans were still holding the road to Parachinar north of Thal. 60 Brigade placed Alexander Molony in command of a small column to proceed south from Parachinar to check and open the track to Thal. The column was made up of Number 3 Section of 22 Battery, with Bill Macro, and 70 soldiers from 57th Rifles Frontier Force, who were transported in four motor lorries. It departed from Parachinar at 1130 hours and managed to drive right through to Thal without encountering any enemy. Having reached Thal, the column returned to Parachinar that night.

The Afghans, however, continued to make threatening moves, particularly in the area of Peiwar Kotal, and resumed their attack on 5 June. The Kurram Militia outposts were driven back from the border and the post at Teri Mangal was threatened. Reinforcements, consisting of 100 infantry and 30 mounted infantry from the Kurram Militia, along with Number 1 Section of 22 Battery, were sent from Parachinar. These stabilised the situation, but the fighting continued all through the night and then into and through 6 June as the Afghans then threatened Shalozan. A further reinforcement of the Kurram Militia was made from Parachinar with a company of 57th Rifles, Frontier Force. This enabled the Kurram Militia to attack back onto the Teri Mangal ridge from which they had been driven the previous day. On 7 June, the Afghans withdrew back over the Peiwar Kotal but made no move, however, to withdraw from the frontier as required by the armistice. The rest of the battalion of 57th Rifles now arrived in the Peiwar area and, on 8 June, they relieved the Kurram Militia to allow them to withdraw back to Parachinar for recuperation.

The actions north and west of Parachinar on 6 and 7 June were the last engagements between regular troops of the war, and as Thal had been relieved, the British undertook the reorganisation of troops within the Kurram-Kohat Force. Troops not originally belonging to the force were gradually removed to other stations. As they did so, the pattern of life in the Kurram valley gradually returned to normal and the Kurram Militia resumed their normal manning of posts, whilst maintaining picquets on the border.

Having returned to camp in Parachinar on 7 June, 22 Battery was destined to remain in camp for the rest of June and most of July. (Photo courtesy of the Tank Museum, Bovington)



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