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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

March into Turkish captivity

Corporal Chris

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I see that a number of members are researching various regiments and men who died on the march into and whilst in captivity after the fall of Kut. I have today been shown an Army Form B which shows that 60754 Gunner AUGUSTUS WILLIAM ROGERS 82nd. Batt. RFA died whilst a POW at Afion Kara Hissar. The date is shown as between 29/4/16 and 18/12/16 although the CWGC state it as 29/4/16. Would they have quoted 29/4/16 as that was the day Kut fell and they could not guarantee a later date whilst the casualty was in captivity? Secondly should I be surprised that, given that he died off the battlefield, he has no known grave and is commemorated on the Basra Memorial?

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If you search the forum using the key words "Kut" I'm sure you will be able to come up with quite a lot of information about the fall of Kut including at least one thread started by myself.

Many say that Kut was a far more disasterous defeat than the fall of Singapore in WW2! Many still blame Townshend for the whole mess. The fact is that after the fall of Kut, Thousands of British and Indian soldiers were captured by the Turks and force marched through Iraq back to Turkey. Thousands died en route through starvation and brutal neglect. I have read about this march in some detail and It's hard to imagine that British (and Indian) soldiers could ever have been treated in this brutal way. We forget to remember that Turkey in the early 1900's was a third world country. I have an interest in Kut myself because many Royal West Kent Regiment soldiers died in the most apalling circumstances during this terrible forced march.

Men who dropped out from the march were just left to die, if the arabs didn't kill them and thieve their personal effects the sun would get em in the end! I have heard stories of Arabs filling men's mouths with sand and leaving them to die the most appalling painful and lingering death (not much changes there then)... Thats the reason why so many men have no known grave and their names appear on memorials to the missing (which incidently are nearly all at risk in the current climate). I have heard that many British war graves have been damaged and desecrated since 2001. If I had my way we would recover all the soldiers remains to the UK...

If you ask Joe Public these days about Iraq they will instantly think of the current problems. Not many people realise that the British Army was fighting in Southern Iraq (then known as Mesopotamia) during the Great War. I find it insulting that our kids aren't told about our GLORIOUS imperial past anymore...

There are 2 books I know of which you should try and read. I can lend you them but you MUST return em afterwards -

1. Battles on the Tigris by Ron Wilcox (ISBN 1-84415-430-0) £19.99

2. The Turkish Front by Field Marshal Lord Carver (ISBN 0-330-49108-3)

I wish you well with your research.


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