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Iraq Levies 1915-24: a clearer picture of Brig J. Gilbert Browne, required, please.


Kimberley John Lindsay
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Dear All,

British Officer-led Native Levies began in Mesopotamia, 1915, but became very much an aftermath of the Great War, as the Iraq Levies. Brigadier J. Gilbert Browne, CMG, CBE, DSO, an erstwhile commander, authored "The Iraq Levies 1915-1932, which was published in 1932 by RUSI in London. I have a rough scan of Browne's Image (attached), and require a clearer portrait, please.

I am en passant more concerned with 1919-24, this having been the tenure of IARO Temporary Major S. B. Hauser, who was QM, Arab & Kurdish Levies, at Baghdad.  Perhaps a GWF member knows more - or knows of other nominal lists of British Army Levies Officers?

The Apr 1922 Indian Army List helpfully shows 20 IA and IARO including Capt Hauser, but there were British Army Officers, Warrant Officers, and NCOs employed with the Iraq Levies, too. Later IA Lists also show British Army Officers intermingled with IA and IARO, just to add to the confusion!

Brigadier Browne happily included a list, year-by-year, of the Awards to IA and IARO. The gallant and capable Sidney Hauser does not appear, however, he had distinguished himself twice in Mesopotamia during the Great War. One stalwart who appears in all of the lists, was Capt R. Merry, who received an OBE. The 1921 wedding photo of Hauser - Trestain, shows the cap badge of the Iraq Levies to good advantage. Why Capt Hauser (who seems to have only two Pips up), IARO (Inf.) is wearing Cavy chains is not clear. GWFs may have 882668290_BrigBrowne.jpg.e326fda54e383f5183c29a92281414a2.jpg592173160_IraqLeviesAwardsIAandIARO.jpg.cf95346941f5a5ac3b50b289987ae293.jpg2100229892_IraqLeviesAwardscont..jpg.d47ab5842d7134bfa23796a3ccc7c676.jpg1490622051_HauserApril1922IndianArmyListsmaller.JPG.5ad084c85228ee4c543d3ae6f60005ea.JPG1282726154_Apr1923IAListMajorHauser_Iraq.JPG.5f512fe651b15809d09991dd73078c97.JPG323405890_HauserGSMmedalroll.jpg.1e6617db6a5bbe3f7d01a87d8cb59b58.jpg499543218_Burnhampaper.Hausercommn.jpg.a595880eabccc6488e5e4f501f948113.jpg1419421153_Hausermedalcard.jpg.f980c8fd344aa4c0bcb2a8ca1c77d7f6.jpg1224270073_MajorHauserIARO.jpg.158b2721e629265564bc0944ca6da192.jpg1427985021_SBHauserandIreneDoraneeTremain.jpg.aa708da4c79efd7c24a733f0a51b2477.jpg424889434_SomertonHerals25Jun1921Hause-TrestainweddingWeston-super-Mare.png.042f07498fb315073953637545c8b681.pngideas?

Kindest regards,

Kim.

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I am not sure if this is him or not, 2lt J G Browne, R.F.A. attached to the Guards Division in 1915.

image.png.77e376e8759ba2fc0450210f3f46584f.png

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31 minutes ago, museumtom said:

I am not sure if this is him or not, 2lt J G Browne, R.F.A. attached to the Guards Division in 1915.

image.png.77e376e8759ba2fc0450210f3f46584f.png

I understand Brigadier Browne was a Boer War veteran, so probably not a 2LT in 1914. Still a nice picture.
Zidane.

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8 hours ago, Kimberley John Lindsay said:

Dear All,

British Officer-led Native Levies began in Mesopotamia, 1915, but became very much an aftermath of the Great War, as the Iraq Levies. Brigadier J. Gilbert Browne, CMG, CBE, DSO, an erstwhile commander, authored "The Iraq Levies 1915-1932, which was published in 1932 by RUSI in London. I have a rough scan of Browne's Image (attached), and require a clearer portrait, please.

I am en passant more concerned with 1919-24, this having been the tenure of IARO Temporary Major S. B. Hauser, who was QM, Arab & Kurdish Levies, at Baghdad.  Perhaps a GWF member knows more - or knows of other nominal lists of British Army Levies Officers?

The Apr 1922 Indian Army List helpfully shows 20 IA and IARO including Capt Hauser, but there were British Army Officers, Warrant Officers, and NCOs employed with the Iraq Levies, too. Later IA Lists also show British Army Officers intermingled with IA and IARO, just to add to the confusion!

Brigadier Browne happily included a list, year-by-year, of the Awards to IA and IARO. The gallant and capable Sidney Hauser does not appear, however, he had distinguished himself twice in Mesopotamia during the Great War. One stalwart who appears in all of the lists, was Capt R. Merry, who received an OBE. The 1921 wedding photo of Hauser - Trestain, shows the cap badge of the Iraq Levies to good advantage. Why Capt Hauser (who seems to have only two Pips up), IARO (Inf.) is wearing Cavy chains is not clear. GWFs may have 882668290_BrigBrowne.jpg.e326fda54e383f5183c29a92281414a2.jpg592173160_IraqLeviesAwardsIAandIARO.jpg.cf95346941f5a5ac3b50b289987ae293.jpg2100229892_IraqLeviesAwardscont..jpg.d47ab5842d7134bfa23796a3ccc7c676.jpg1490622051_HauserApril1922IndianArmyListsmaller.JPG.5ad084c85228ee4c543d3ae6f60005ea.JPG1282726154_Apr1923IAListMajorHauser_Iraq.JPG.5f512fe651b15809d09991dd73078c97.JPG323405890_HauserGSMmedalroll.jpg.1e6617db6a5bbe3f7d01a87d8cb59b58.jpg499543218_Burnhampaper.Hausercommn.jpg.a595880eabccc6488e5e4f501f948113.jpg1419421153_Hausermedalcard.jpg.f980c8fd344aa4c0bcb2a8ca1c77d7f6.jpg1224270073_MajorHauserIARO.jpg.158b2721e629265564bc0944ca6da192.jpg1427985021_SBHauserandIreneDoraneeTremain.jpg.aa708da4c79efd7c24a733f0a51b2477.jpg424889434_SomertonHerals25Jun1921Hause-TrestainweddingWeston-super-Mare.png.042f07498fb315073953637545c8b681.pngideas?

Kindest regards,

Kim.

Kim,

“[The] Iraq Levies were originally the Arab Scouts organized in 1915 by Major J. I. Eadie, of the British Indian Army who served as a Special Service Officer in the Muntafiq Division in Mesopotamia. He recruited forty mounted Arabs from the tribes round Nasiriyeh, for duty under the Intelligence Department as bodyguard for political officers in southern and central Iraq. By 1918 the Arab Scouts increased to 5,467 Arabs, Kurds, Turkoman, Marsh Arab and Assyrian militia.”

“In 1919 the force changed names twice, first to the Militia and then in July to the Iraq Levies when Iraq became a British Mandate. On 12 August 1919, the force became known as the "Arab and Kurdish Levies."  Also in 1919 the Iraq Levies were split into a strike force of 3,075 men, based in Baquba, and district Police force of 1,786 men.”

“At the 1921 Cairo Conference the mission of the Levies was defined "...to relieve the British and Indian Troops in Iraq, take over outposts in Mosul Vilayat(province) and in Kurdistan, previously held by the Imperial Garrison, and generally to fill the gap until such time as the Iraq National Army is trained to undertake these duties."

“A 1922 treaty between Great Britain and Iraq allowed for the continued existence of the Levies as "local forces of the Imperial garrison" and specified that its members were "members of the British Forces who are inhabitants of Iraq".

 I suspect that the strike force would almost certainly still have been mounted and so hence your subject would have worn shoulder chains as an officer of that unit.

It’s especially notable that the Assyrian members of the unit were deemed superior as soldiers, with strong loyalty to their officers and firm discipline and it was decided to gradually convert the entire unit to men of that race and religious persuasion.  A second reason was to channel all the Muslim recruits into the nascent Iraqi army then being constructed under British guidance.  Apparently it took until 1928 to complete the conversion process.  The RAF then took on the full running of the Iraq Levies, who they employed specially to defend their airfields and the surrounding areas, in what was effectively a precursor to the role of the RAF Regiment when it was formed in WW2.

Edited by FROGSMILE
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Dear All, and Zidane, Frogsmile, and museumtom,

Many thanks for going to the trouble of kindly reacting to my Iraq Levies enquiry.

Largely unsung, many British Officers lost their lives in that difficult area of Operations. I am pleased to have the Major Hauser group in my Collection.

Interestingly, the circa 1925 portrait of the highly-decorated (then Lt-Colonel) John Gilbert Browne, shows that he also had the Order of the Nile, 3rd class...

On 12 August 1919, the force became known as the "Arab and Kurdish Levies." I did not know that, many thanks!

Kindest regards,

Kim.

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