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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

CWGC Memorial Basra


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I'm trying to help a friend and wondering if anyone has access to WW1 War Diaries. He has a relative who was killed 31st August 1916 and is commemorated on the CWGC Memorial in Basra. Name: John Packham - Number L/8353, 2nd Battalion Queen's Own (Royal West Kent Regiment). Trying to find what action they were in and if he is mentioned as an individual in the Diary. Many thanks in advance for any help offered or provided.

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Not so simple. he was a prisoner of war when he died. That information you will find in the Soldiers Effects Register on Ancestry. No cause of death is recorded.


His medal Index card just records   DIED  as does the Soldiers Died record, suggesting a cause of death other than wounds. Many soldiers died of natural causes and disease.

It is almost certain that he was taken prisoner at the fall of  Kut in April 1916,  at which 2 companies of the battalion were  taken prisoner.. POW's suffered many hardships after that event.



There are a few books on the campaign, which would give you a description leading up to that surrender, but as its not an area of particular interest to me I'm sure someone else can  give suggestions.  I think a general description of the campaign is likely to be more helpful than a war diary.  It would be most unusual for a war diary to mention a private soldier taken prisoner by name. In most cases officers only are named.


The war diary is available for download from the National Archives for a small charge. This looks to be the one that is relevant, but I doubt that it will be of as much help as a history of the campaign in Mespot.  This is the reference if you want it.https://discovery.nationalarchives.gov.uk/details/r/c323b2a40dfe4bde958502f43fd87bb0










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https://www.amazon.co.uk/Kut-1916-Forgotten-British-Disaster/dp/0750966068/ is I think the most up-to-date book, but Russell Braddon's 'The Siege' is powerful reading. My main interest is the Tigris flotilla, but there are several memoirs that give a good picture of the appalling conditions. 







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