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Royal Artillery Baghdad North Gate Cemetery


ianjonesncl

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Many thanks for a  post from Ahmed1984 Baghdad North Gate Cemetery, Iraq - Cemeteries and memorials - Great War Forum.  The legacy of WW1 with the defining Iraq's  borders resonates to this day with recent conflicts making Baghdad a relatively inaccessible for most people. 

 

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A reminder that many lost their lives serving in the Middle East during WW1 and after. A download of casualties commemorated in Iraq from CWGC records 51,113 casualties from the First World War. The huge sacrifice from  India can be seen with 34,502 casualties, those from the UK total 16,547, 68 from the Empire and 6 from Russia. It was not only the dangers of active service, the hardships of POW's in captivity and disease also contributing to the casualty list. Whilst the war ended in Europe, there were still incidents of conflict in the Middle East which saw further loss life.

 

BAGHDAD NORTH GATE CEMETERY

 

Baghdad North Gate Cemetery contains the resting place of 4,487 casualties from World War One, (7,240 in total, including those from World War Two) . Initially holding those who died in the hospitals and casualty clearing stations in Baghdad, it expanded when graves in the theatre were concentrated, including Prisoners of War who died in Turkey. The special memorials in the cemetery list 2,729 casualties with no known grave. 

 

CWGC - Baghdad Northgate Cemetery

 

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First World War Royal Artillery Casualties in Baghdad North Gate Cemetery number 704. 

 

Royal Field Artillery 558
Royal Garrison Artillery 106
Royal Horse Artillery 15
Royal Horse and Field Artillery, Indian Army 8
Royal Garrison Artillery, Indian Army 1
Indian Royal Artillery 2
Indian Defence Force Artillery 9
Indian Mountain Artillery 3
Bombay Volunteer Artillery 1
Madras Artillery Volunteers 1
  704
   

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The most senior Gunner buried in the Cemetery is Lieutenant Colonel Reginald Lynch-Staunton DSO, 5 times mentioned in Despatches.  Reginald Lynch-Staunton was commissioned into the Royal Artillery in May 1899. He served in the Boer War and following promotions commanded an Egyptian Army Battery on operations in Southern Kordofan, Sudan. He commanded U Battery RHA in India and mobilised to France in 1914 as Second in Command of 7 Brigade RFA. He was awarded the DSO in 1915 whilst employed as a Staff Officer. He deployed to Mesopotamia in December 1915, initially serving as a Staff Officer, before commanding 13th Brigade RFA on operations during 1916 and 1917.

He died 7th April 1918 and is recorded as serving with 220 Brigade HQ  and buried in plot X.E.14 

 

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Ronald William Adam was a partner in his family's business when the First World War broke out. He served with the French Ambulance Brigade driving his own vehicle and was wounded. He was commissioned into the Royal Field Artillery in July 1915 and served in India. He deployed to Mesopotamia in June 1916. He was awarded the Military Cross for good service in the field (London Gazette, 25 Aug. 1917). He died of disease on 11th September 1917 and is buried in Baghdad North Gate Cemetery in plot IX. E. 4.

 

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The Honourable Fredrick Ivor Thesiger was the eldest son of Lord Chelmsford, Viceroy of India from 1916 to 1921. On leaving Winchester School he attended the Royal Military Academy in Woolwich and commissioned into the Royal Field Artillery in April 1915. From June to December 1915 he served in France, being wounded twice and twice mentioned in Despatches. He deployed to Mesopotamia and during the British Samarrah Offensive he was mortally wounded whist employed as a Forward Operation Officer dying on 1st May 1917. He is buried in plot XV.L.12.

 

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Major Bill Stuart was one of those who was killed in the unrest after World War One being shot whilst posted to the Civil Authorities. He had  joined the Royal Artillery as a Gunner in 1906, served in the Boer War and deployed to France in October 1914. He was commissioned 14th January 1914 and would go onto Battery Command, serving in the Middle East and awarded the DSO. He deployed to Mesopotamia with 8 Battery RFA  in 1919 and in March 1920 posted to the Civil Authorities in Baghdad. He was shot whilst serving as Commandant of the Gendarmie at Tel-a-Far.  He is buried in plot XIX. K. 16.

Major Bill Stuart DSO

 

Another officer who died post war was Owen Leech Triphook. He commissioned into the Territorial Force on 9th November 1915 with the Wessex Brigade RFA. The Wessex RFA had moved to India in October 1914, and then deployed to Mesopotamia on active service two years later. Owen Leech Triphook would be twice mentioned in despatches before he was given a special appointment (Issue 30236 Page 8457 17-Aug-1917), Treasure Chest Officer.

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He was employed in the Military Accounts Department and by January 1919  was serving as Deputy Controller of Audit and Accounts.

He died 6th April 1919 and is buried in Plot VII. E. 5.

 

Three old soldiers buried in the Cemetery;

RSM Harry Squibb MSM died 22-Nov-1917 serving with 222 Brigade RFA who and had served in the Boer War - Plot IX. E. 9.
BQMS Jack Genese died 4-December-1916 was another Boer War Veteran. He listed as serving with the 6th Ammunition which went into captivity after the Seige of Kut and probably died as a Turkish POW. He would therefore be one of the casualties re-interred from graves in Turkey and he is buried in Plot XXI. Y. 29.

BQMS Arthur Stone died 10-Jan-1917 serving with 1st/5th Hants Howitzer Battery. He had retired from the Army 21 years service and re-joined September 1914 - Plot XXI. N. 18. His unit and date of death would indicate he may have died in captivity as a POW.

 

One of Ahmed's photographs shows a special memorial commemorating the Prisoners Of War lost in the march or the  prison camps of Anatolia following the siege of Kut Al Amara (7/12/15-29/4/16).

 

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See the source image

 

Farndale, History of the Royal Regiment of Artillery The Forgotten Fronts and the Home Base 1914-18, records (page 220) the artillery present at the siege at the Kut Al Amara, a gun group formed around 10 Brigade RFA. The main units were; 63 Battery RFA / 76 Battery RFA / 82 Battery RFA / 1/5th Hampshire Howitzer Battery / 86th Heavy Battery RGA / section 104 Heavy Battery RGA / Volunteer Artillery Battery / 6th Divisional Ammunition Column. 

 

Reviewing the CWGC casualty download I can identify 353 casualties from the 10 Brigade RFA gun group who lost their lives following the Fall of Kut Al Amara. They probably died in as Prisoners of War. The three RFA Batteries suffered high losses, 63 Battery RFA (70), 76 Battery RFA (61),  82 Battery RFA (88),  with 10 Brigade RFA HQ (20.  Royal Garrison Artillery losses 86 Heavy Battery (36), 104 Heavy Battery (20) and 1/5th Hants (50). The 6th Ammunition Column (23) and the Volunteer Battery (3).

 

None of the casualties identified were officers all were ordinary ranks. The losses included 9 Distinguished Conduct Medals. 

 

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Edited by ianjonesncl

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Ian,

I have previously tried to identify all the Gunners taken at Kut, both those who died in captivity and those few who, by great chance and by great force, survived. The Gunners were the largest contingent of British ORs at Kut and I reckoned only 25% survived.

 

If you look at Lives of the First World War site here and pick up on the communities that start 'Kut-el-Amara (..) '  you will see how far I got before that site closed its books. Fortunately the data has been preserved. You will see there is even a 'community' of men whose Battery I could not determine.

 

Sadly the Indian Army troops were more than I could manage and although I did cover the Volunteer Battery that was as far as I got for Gunners.

 

Note I also created a community for the court-martial of William Fratel, one of the Assistant Surgeons IMS , against whom a number of gunners testified. There are several threads on GWF about him.

 

If you look at the individual names, do check MEDIA and STORIES because sometimes I managed to load a photo or a story (as may have other subscribers).

 

Charlie

 

PS We must never forget that more men died trying to relieve Kut than were trapped inside Kut.

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Stone, of 4th hants, is here on Lives

Genese of the 6th DAC is here

 

But regrettably there is nothing under Media or Stories!

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Charlie

Many thanks for the information and the links.

 

Despite having a paternal grandfather who served in Mesopotamia (Royal Engineers), my predilection for Gunners on the Western Front means my knowledge of the campaign is limited. 

 

Ahmed's excellent photos from lraq lead me to look at the Gunner casualties and it was your entry on IWM Lives of First World War of BQMS Jack Genese that highlighted the captivity of the 6th Ammunition Column, and lead to me looking into which other Gunners became POW's.

 

The work you have done on the communities is impressive and a valuable contribution to commemorating those taken in to captivity after Kut Al Ammar.

 

Ian
 

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