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Mark Hone

2nd Manchesters, Hillah, Iraq, 24th July 1920

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Mark Hone
Posted (edited)

While reading a book on Britain's role in the Middle East I came across mention of a military disaster I had previously been unaware of: the ambush of the so-called 'Manchester Column' at Hillah in Iraq on 24th July 1920. I found a very full account of this action at:

http://www.kaiserscross.com/304501/315743.html

2nd Battalion the Manchester Regiment suffered grievously in this affair, losing over 100 killed, many of them apparently dispatched by the Iraqi insurgents after they were captured. A number of medals were awarded for the action, including a posthumous VC to Captain George Stuart Henderson DSO, MC and Bar of the Manchesters. This highly-decorated soldier hailed from Jedburgh in the Scottish borders. Although the account says that many of the British soldiers were recent recruits and that most of the experienced men had already been demobilized, there must have been a fair number of Great War veterans involved, like Captain Henderson. Have any Forum Pals done any research on this or have relatives who were involved? 

Edited by Mark Hone

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clive_hughes
Posted (edited)

I have one Anglesey-related casualty in Pte. Robert Arthur Stewart.  He had previously served overseas as 21545 in the Highland Light Infantry; transferred to the MGC as no.14128; then to the Manchesters as no.89339.  Presumably in August 1920 he was renumbered in the new Army system as 3513855; though this was a technicality, as though he was already dead, he had been initially posted as missing.  

 

His widow according to CWGC (Basra Memorial) was resident in Menai Bridge, Anglesey; but he isn't on the main local War Memorial and as yet I haven't researched it further.

 

Clive

Edited by clive_hughes

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Mark Hone
Posted (edited)

Thanks. I'm trying to find out if any of the fatalties were local to me. 

Edited by Mark Hone

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derekb

I was given a memorial plaque by a lady friend of the family, it was for a member of her family who she didn’t really know anything about.

 

He died during the debacle.

 

He hailed from Liverpool, I did some research on him, if it is of any interest to you I can dig it out.

 

derekb.

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Philip Wilson

There  is a useful account of the action at Hillah in 'George Stuart HENDERSON - The Story of a Scottish Soldier 1893-1920' by R.KING-CLARK first published in 1975. Well worth reading.

 

Philip (OMRS 943)  

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Mark Hone

Thanks. I shall check it out.

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Smith 565

I've been interested in this action for a number of years, principally from a medal point of view.  A database of known participants in the Hillah action along with sightings of their medal(s), and of medals where the presence of the soldier at Hillah cannot be confirmed is here:

 

http://www.britishmedals.us/resources/extant.html

 

I'm at present in the process of updating the work to include other medal entitlements. Most of these will obviously be from the Great War, but there are some earlier and some later entitlements.  Contrary to the green and inexperienced view of the participants, so far I have found that a high percentage had seen previous active service.

 

Regards,

 

Geoff

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Mark Hone

Fascinating stuff, Thank you very much, Geoff. As you say, the evidence contradicts the idea that the majority of the 2nd Manchester men were raw recruits. 

Edited by Mark Hone

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Kimberley John Lindsay

Dear All,

Henderson's medal group was originally mounted as worn (as shown in an OMRS article which mentioned the King-Clark publication).

However, the group is now loose, and the family has decreed that it be displayed in a Manchester museum...

Kindest regards,

Kim.bwhendeg.jpg.2a425467549fc656f438533bcab11929.jpg

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stiletto_33853

Taken from the scrapbook of a 1st RB soldier serving in Iraq 1920

img409.jpg

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