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Neil Clark

The Forced March back to Turkey after Kut Fell in 1916

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Neil Clark

I wanted to enquire if anyone has ever carried out research into members of the 2nd Battalion, Queen's Own (Royal West Kent Regiment) who died while in Turkish captivity during that god awful forced march back to Turkey after Kut fell 29th April 1916 ?

Depending upon the result of this question I am considering producing a complete list of men who fell. Obviously I don't want to duplicate others work here and waste my time. If there is a straightforward way of producing a report then I'd be happy to hear any sensible and workable suggestions in this respect. I understand the West Kent's only had a company or two in Kut at this time?

I realise that thousands of Indian soldiers died in Turkish hands after Kut and that other British men were also captured - notably (from memory) 2nd Norfolk's, 4th Hampshire's, 7th Lancers, 1/5th Hants RFA Howitzer Bty etc....

The route taken was as follows - Kut, Shumran, Bughaila, Baghdad (where 323 British wounded men were exchanged), Samarra, Tikrit, Mosul, Nisibin, Bozanti, Ras al Ayn and onwards towards Antalya in Turkey. By the time they reached Turkey, many had already died en route.

2,592 men surrendered at Kut - 1,700 (70%) Died whilst in captivity

9,000 Indian's Captured - 2,500 Died in captivity.

I believe that "Our Charlie" (Charles Townshend) was merely sent on a luxury holiday to the Turkish mainland and did almost nothing to help his men who were brutalised by their Turkish and Kurdish captors (not forgetting the hoardes of Arabs who en route killed starving men and robbed off dead bodies) ! Not much changes there then!!!!

The story is a truly apalling one - MUCH WORSE THAN SINGAPORE IN WW2!

Thanking you all in anticipation...

Neil

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Neil Clark

I take it thats a BIG NO then ?

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Jonathan Saunders

Neil - I am sorry as I missed this yesterday.

I have some details relating to 2/RWK POWs and also RWK kias/dow/died etc.

As I recall the Bttn was split and two companies were at Kut.

I will have a dig around as to what I have exactly, that can help.

Regards,

Jonathan S

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Neil Clark

Jonathan,

That would be very helpful. I want to identify all the men who fell during that cruel and barbaric march to Turkey and then make up a report on the website.

Thanks

Neil

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Jonathan Saunders

Im working on a list but have come across this interesting comment under heading PRISONERS RELEASED FROM KUT:

..the undermentioned men of the Regt, sick and wounded, released from Kut-el-Amara, have been transferred to India.

The list contains 5 names and then "the follwoing were also released and have since died":

10644 Pte T. Collins

8678 Pte J. Standen

Not killed on the march but you may want to note their names.

Can you send me your direct email address via members and hopefully I can get a list to you tomorrow or later this week.

Regards,

Jonathan S

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Neil Clark

If you ever want to use kentfallen as a platform for any work then just send me the stuff and I will gladly post it up. Now getting between 400 - 500 visitors every day!

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Jonathan Saunders

Neil - according to the Queen's Own Regimental History, 226 men of 2/RWK marched into captivity following surrender of Kut on 29th April 1916. The History states 69 survived, suggesting 157 died in captivity.

I have a list of 230 that are buried/commemorated in Iraq/Turkey with date of death 29th April 1916 or after. This isnt much use to you. I will see over the weekend if it is possible to use other sources to get this number closer to the 157 suggested by Atkinson.

Regards,

Jonathan S

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westkent78

Only just seen this.

I have a list of 221 2/RWK ORs who were POW at Kut.

It's not ready for release yet as there are mis-identifications in there, and I have yet to cross-check it with Geoff's list. Don't have much time at present with work commitments but should have something by Christmas.

So the question is, were the 5 shortfall from this list and the History the Officers or are there still 5 ORs to find?

Neither Standen or Collins are on my list so they might have been captured at a later time- certainly Collins' regimental number seems a bit high for a Kut captive. (Highest numbers I have are L/10309 and L/10134 with most being in 8*** & 9*** range.)

From what I can deduce so far it looks like 2/RWK had received a draft from 4th RWK prior to the siege, as there are 20+ men with TF numbers in the list who were renumbered in 1917.

Best regards,

Matthew

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Jonathan Saunders

Hi Matthew,

L/10644 was a Sept 1914 enlistment. Possibly a renumber of an old hand - I havent checked his age on CWGC as I am returning a broken link to CWGC at present.

I have around 130, what I consider, definites for died on march into captivity from Kut for 2/RWK. How shall we take this forward?

Regards,

Jonathan S

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Neil Clark

All very useful stuff. It's certainly an area which in the past has been ignored. The men lost their lives in the most apalling circumstances and it's only right that their sacrifices and suffering is properly acknowledged by the people now living in the same places where they were bought up. I wonder how many Kent folk know of the Seige of Kut and it's surrender resulting in hundreds of Kentish Men's deaths? Not many I fear...

I'm certainly interested in any progress you make in this regard.

Best Wishes

Neil

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libster

Neil

I'm not sure if you are including those who died later as a result of the effects of the march, but one who falls into that category is Acting/CSM Bob Darley MM, a top class featherweight professional boxer and former Army and Navy champion in 1908 and 1909. He died in a Baghdad hospital on 27/10/16 and is buried in the North Gate cemetery.

Libster

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Neil Clark

Libster,

Is that casualty a Kent man? If he is then YES I will add his name to the list.

Thanks

(no dis-respect meant to the non-Kent casualties, they ALL died as brothers)

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Jonathan Saunders
Libster,

Is that casualty a Kent man? If he is then YES I will add his name to the list.

Thanks

(no dis-respect meant to the non-Kent casualties, they ALL died as brothers)

Darnley was most definitely a Royal West Kent's man. I have a feeling his campaign and army boxing medals are in the Regimental museum.

Regards,

Jonathan S

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libster
Libster,

Is that casualty a Kent man? If he is then YES I will add his name to the list.

Thanks

(no dis-respect meant to the non-Kent casualties, they ALL died as brothers)

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libster

Neil

According to SDGW he was born in Deptford, but a Kentish boxing historian I know believes he might have been born in Maidstone, where he enlisted and where his son was resident some years ago. So whoever's right he seems to fit your bill. I have a photo if you're interested.

Libster

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westkent78

Neil & Jonathan,

What are we trying to accomplish here? Commemorate all the RWK POWs, note the men who unfortunately died on the march, or remember all those who died in Turkish hands after Kut?

Were there any other events in 1916 which might have lead to 2nd Bn men falling into Turkish hands?

I've managed to get a little bit of time to undertake a cursory look at what I have.

I have the list I mentioned of 221 O/Rs captured at Kut. Of these I have identified 138 as fatalities in Turkish hands, 78 appear to have survived (at least they aren't in Geoff's list- unless I missed them which is definitely possible). I have an additional 5 men who appear on the POW list but I haven't found a MIC for them and they are not in Geoff's list.

They are:

S. Jeffries 9040

W. Adaway 9347

H. Martin 9447

B.C.Lloyd 9832

A.H.Robinson 9966

A/C.S.M. Darley is not on the list I have for POWs at Kut, so we know my list not conclusive. Darley's papers are on Ancestry (a mere 66 pages) and he's listed as being born at Deptford. He attested 29th Jan 1901 and served in the Boer War earning a QSA with Cape Colony, Orange Free State and South Africa 1902. M.I.D. 24/8/1916 for distinguished service during the defence of Kut-al-Amara. he was captured at Kut and interred at Baghdad/Afion Kara Hissar???. It appears he was posted to 1/5th in Sept. 1914 and went to India with them, being posted with a draft to 2nd Bn on 21st Aug 1915. He died of intestinal inflammation on 27/10/16.

Libster, can you post a photo online?

As a correction to my statement above regarding the draft from 4th Bn to 2nd Bn, it now appears that it was actually a batch of 1/5th men who were attached to 2nd Bn (which I should have noticed from their 6 digit 1917 numbers.)

Best regards,

Matthew

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stevebecker

Mate,

I am just reading the Norfolk Regts history and that Bn at Kut was the 2nd Bn Norfolk Regt.

They do list the officers that died in the back of the book and a few of the men get a mention during the outline of the 2nd Bn's service. Around the same number of Norfolk men were captured (250) as the the RWK but what the numbers that died are I am unsure.

Funny the Norfolk history doesn't give the same account of poor treatment as the RWK's in fact when you compare the POW camps in Germany (1st Bn) and 2nd Bn in Turkey there accounts seem to show they had a worst time and the Germans were worst guards. This I found hard to believe but the two verisions are in their history and may only refect the expirences of the writters and not the whole?

Sorry mate I know little of English Regts here.

Cheers

S.B

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Jonathan Saunders

Hi Matt,

Its probably for Neil to clarify what information he is after but my understanding was that Neil was hoping we could identify those men of the 2nd Bttn that marched in to captivity following the fall of Kut and subsequently died.

But it looks as if you have identified practically the entire contingent that were taken POW and so Neil may want to rethink his requirements as even those that survived the incarceration, suffered greatly during the march and during their term as POWs.

Regards,

Jonathan S

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PhilB

Would anyone have information on Pte Henry England L-9631 2nd RWK, died 21/1/16 and buried at Kut further to the CWGC data?

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Jonathan Saunders

QUOTE (Phil_B @ Aug 23 2008, 12:14 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Would anyone have information on Pte Henry England L-9631 2nd RWK, died 21/1/16 and buried at Kut further to the CWGC data?

Hi Phil,

He probably enlisted on the 28th June 1911. If not, then a day or so following.

Regards,

Jonathan S

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libster
Neil & Jonathan,

What are we trying to accomplish here? Commemorate all the RWK POWs, note the men who unfortunately died on the march, or remember all those who died in Turkish hands after Kut?

Were there any other events in 1916 which might have lead to 2nd Bn men falling into Turkish hands?

I've managed to get a little bit of time to undertake a cursory look at what I have.

I have the list I mentioned of 221 O/Rs captured at Kut. Of these I have identified 138 as fatalities in Turkish hands, 78 appear to have survived (at least they aren't in Geoff's list- unless I missed them which is definitely possible). I have an additional 5 men who appear on the POW list but I haven't found a MIC for them and they are not in Geoff's list.

They are:

S. Jeffries 9040

W. Adaway 9347

H. Martin 9447

B.C.Lloyd 9832

A.H.Robinson 9966

A/C.S.M. Darley is not on the list I have for POWs at Kut, so we know my list not conclusive. Darley's papers are on Ancestry (a mere 66 pages) and he's listed as being born at Deptford. He attested 29th Jan 1901 and served in the Boer War earning a QSA with Cape Colony, Orange Free State and South Africa 1902. M.I.D. 24/8/1916 for distinguished service during the defence of Kut-al-Amara. he was captured at Kut and interred at Baghdad/Afion Kara Hissar???. It appears he was posted to 1/5th in Sept. 1914 and went to India with them, being posted with a draft to 2nd Bn on 21st Aug 1915. He died of intestinal inflammation on 27/10/16.

Libster, can you post a photo online?

As a correction to my statement above regarding the draft from 4th Bn to 2nd Bn, it now appears that it was actually a batch of 1/5th men who were attached to 2nd Bn (which I should have noticed from their 6 digit 1917 numbers.)

Best regards,

Matthew

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libster

Matthew

I tried to send you a pm but your mailbox is full. I'll try later today. No problem regarding the photo.

Libster

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PhilB
Hi Phil,

He probably enlisted on the 28th June 1911. If not, then a day or so following.

Regards,

Jonathan S

Thanks. Enlisted Mill Hill, Middlesex - would that be a pre-war recruiting centre for RWKs?

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Jonathan Saunders

QUOTE (Phil_B @ Aug 23 2008, 02:13 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
Thanks. Enlisted Mill Hill, Middlesex - would that be a pre-war recruiting centre for RWKs?

Not to best of my knowledge. The recruiting centres were really West Kent and the south-eastern part of Greater London. Immediately preceeding the Great War the 1st Bttn had been out in Ireland for a couple of years and this had led to an Irish contingent joining the West Kent's.

The 2nd Bttn that England joined had been in India since 1908.

Could this have been a general recruiting office with England having asked for enlistment in the Royal West Kent's and then being sent down to the depot at Maidstone to complete enlistment? I am really not sure how this part of the process worked.

Regards,

Jonathan S

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westkent78

Jon,

I can't take all the credit. "ZimRich" on the forum had a list of POWs from Kut and I've been amending/correcting/adding to it since then.

Libster,

I've freed up some space in the pm box.

Best regards,

Matthew

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