Operations of the British forces in North Persia between 1918 & 1921
Account by Chris Woods.
To set the scene it might help to give a very brief history of the previous political situation in Persia. Loosely speaking, Persia was traditionally ruled by a Shah and an often weak central government in Tehran (the Majlis or National Assembly). The country is large and divided into districts, each with its own governor or Khan, who are often the local tribal chiefs and amongst whom there were endless shifting loyalties. Because of the lack of strong policing there was much banditry.
Britain and Russia had both been deeply involved in Persia for trade since the 16th century although Russia also had early expansionist policies, and by the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Russia was seeking expansion into the Trans-Caspia, Trans-Caucasia and Azerbaijan, annexing lands previously controlled by Persia, and looking towards a port on the Persian Gulf, and also towards India via Persia and Afghanistan. The supposed interest of Russia in British India led to the endlessly Machiavellian shenanigans of ‘The Great Game’.
Britain’s interested was still in trade, latterly in exploring for oil, and for having Persia as a buffer for India. There was considerable piracy in the Persian Gulf and Britain was allowed by the countries bordering this sea to use its navy to suppress the pirates and to police the waters. This required some land forces and led to the Persian Government accepting the establishment of some British troops in military bases in southern Persia.
Persia then was effectively split in two with northern Persia under Russian influence and southern Persia under British influence
As the First World War approached, Germany sent many emissaries into Persia with a view to establishing loyalties towards Germany and also hoping to reach into Afghanistan for the same purposes. Turkey wanted to expand its empire into Mesopotamia and Persia where both allies also wanted a port in the Persian Gulf. The Persian Government wanted to remain neutral but the Shah, the Government, and the various Khans were independently swayed to different loyalties throughout the war.
The Persian Government had a Gendarmerie which was re-organised in 1911 by Swedish officers who later developed anti-Russian, and possibly pro-German sentiments while at the time being paid by H.M.G. In 1914 it consisted of about 36 Swedish officers and 6,000 mounted and dismounted Persians organised in 6 regiments, 3 of which had 2 battalions. Their duty was to maintain internal security and to collect the revenue.
1914 to 1920
In 1914 the Persian regular infantry numbered about 13,000, scattered and in many detachments, were generally unpaid, untrained, badly clothed and required to eke out a living by casual labour. The officers usually bought their appointments and were generally inefficient. The cavalry, numbering about 38,000 was organised entirely on tribal basis and apart from small numbers protecting some roads, were only called upon as required, and were unlikely to serve outside their own districts.
The Persian Cossack Brigade was created by Russians and in 1914 numbered about 3,500 with about 30 Russian officers and N.C.O.s. It consisted of:
- 4 Regiments,
- 4 Infantry Companies,
- 1 Horse and 12 Mountain batteries,
- 1 Machine Gun detachment.
All arms were modern, fairly well disciplined and drilled but with little field training and no transport. They were primarily created by the Russians as a political force, used by the Shah as a personal bodyguard and subordinate to him rather than the Government, but disliked by the Persian politicians for its Russian influence. The influence of these Persian Cossacks was more noticeable in northern Persia.
Initially the Turkish advances into Persia were resisted by Russian forces.
By 1915 the approaches being made by these German infiltrators caused H.M. Government to create an East Persia Cordon (force) based between Meshed and Seistan, initially to prevent the enemy entering Afghanistan which was then loyal to Britain and later to support our forces in Trans-caspia.
1916 - the South Persia Rifles were established with British and Indian, and a few Persian officers and N.C.O.s, and with mostly Indian and Persian troops who later showed a marked leaning towards Germany, with the result that the Persian element were little trusted by the British or the Persian Government as being loyal troops.
During combined Russo/British operations, the Russian Lt. Kolominiski was awarded the British Military Cross
1917 - The Russian Revolution had major repercussions in Persia and H.M. Government quickly realised it would have to replace the Russian forces in north Persia as they withdrew into their own country. This did not happen immediately. However, by the end of the year Britain established a need to secure the route from Mesopotamia to Enzeli, which was the major Persian port on the Caspian Sea, in order to stiffen Georgian and Armenian resistance to the Turks. General Dunsterville set off with initially a small force and by February 1918 his ‘Mission’ was based at Hamadan, about 180 miles to the west of Tehran on the route from Baghdad to Enzeli
1918 - Treaty of Brest-Litovsk and Russian participation in the Great War ends. In June, the Armenian-Bolschevik alliance brought together Armenians and loyalist (White) Russians against the Turkish Caucasus army. By July, British forces in Hamadan were building up, and General Marshall in Baghdad extended his sphere of influence to include the whole of the Caspian littoral including Krasnovodsk and naval control of the Caspian and operations at Baku. He was also made responsible for the whole of N.W. Persia, the Bakhtiari, and Arabistan. General Bicharakoff was on his way to Baku with 1,500 troop and 4 British armoured cars.
July: 2,500 Janglis, with Germans & Austrians (ex PoWs released from captivity in Russia by the Bolsheviks), attacked the small Dunsterforce detachment at Rasht, but were severely beaten and this resulted in a peace treaty with their leader.
2nd August: a Commodore David Norris R.N. arrived unexpectedly at Dunsterville’s head quarters along with an initial 2 officers, 22 men, 1x 4” breach loader, 2x 12-pounder quick fire cannons and some naval launches in pieces. More officers and ratings were to follow and, after ‘acquiring’ some field artillery, Norris set about arming some merchant ships and creating a fleet to support Denekin’s White Russian fleet on the Caspian.
During August, after their defeat, the Jangalis switched allegiance from the Germans to the British and Dunsterville offered to support their idea of independence, later….
16th August: Dunsterville left Enzeli with ‘Dunsterforce’ for Baku to support the Bolshevik Russians and Armenians against the advancing Turkish army. For various reasons, this well documented action was, on the face of it, unsuccessful, with Dunsterforce retreating back to Enzeli by 14th September. But, from a wider point of view, their defence of the town caused two much needed divisions of the Turkish army to be diverted from Palestine.
‘Dunsterforce’ was disbanded but some officers and troops transferred into the larger North Persia force or NORPERFORCE, including 3 of Dunsterville’s famous armoured cars.
16th Sept. Maj. Gen. W.M. Thomson appointed commander of Norperforce, with instructions to stop the Bolsheviks reaching the High Plateau. Gen. Dunsterville was recalled to India.
Constitution of NORPERFORCE 16th Sept 1918
- 14th Hussars; 1 section 15th Machine Gun Squadron;
- 21st Mountain Battery;
- 1 section 72nd Field Company, R.E.;
- 36th Infantry Brigade (1/4th. Hampshire, 1/2nd Gurkhas, with 36th Sikhs and 1/6th Gurkhas under orders from Mesopotamia);
- 39th Infantry Brigade (9th Royal Warwickshire, 7th Gloucestershire, 9th Worcestershire and 7th North Staffordshire);
- 6th Light Armoured Motor Battery (less 1 section) and Dunsterforce Armoured Car Brigade.
By 25th September, the whole Turkish army in Palestine & Syria was in disarray; their army in Mesopotamia was ready to evacuate, Arabia was lost to them - with the fall of Medina imminent - and they were preparing to retreat from the Balkans. The Turkish evacuation of Persia was expected daily.
Commodore Norris had instructions to “take immediate control of the Caspian, by drastic measures if necessary”, and he continued to increase his fleet of armed merchant vessels. The Caspian fleet under General Bicharakoff was at that time available for sale but while inactive was of little interest to Norris.
3rd October: a reconnaissance by NORPERFORCE showed that the Turkish force in Mianeh area had decreased
Distribution of the Mesopotamia Expeditionary Force on 19th October 1918 North Persia Force
Headquarters at Kazvin
- 36th Infantry Brigade
- 39th Infantry Brigade
- 13th Brigade, R.F.A. (2nd, 8th, 44th, and C/69th Battery) = 22 guns
- 21st Mountain Battery = 6 guns
- 72nd Field Company, R.E.
- “A”, “B” and “C” Squadrons, Dunsterforce Armoured Car Brigade.
- North Persia Force Signal Company.
- No 20 Combined Field Ambulance.
- No 40 British Field Ambulance.
- Dunsterforce Armoured Car Brigade Medical Unit.
- “L” Company, Supply and Transport
- 1 flight, 30th Squadron, R.A.F.
- 1 ½ flights, 72nd Squadron, R.A.F.
- 1 wagon & 1 pack station, 1st Wireless Signal Squadron.
- 3 packs & 4 lorry stations, 2nd Wireless Signal Squadron.
- 1 station, No 5 Wireless Signal Squadron R.E.
- 6th Light Armoured Motor Battery (less 1 section).
- 15th Light Armoured Motor Battery.
- Detachment, No. 16 Casualty Clearing Station.
- Detachment, No. 33 Motor Ambulance Convoy.
24th October: Constantinople ordered the evacuation of Persia. Norperforce carried out continued reconnaissance and some aeroplane attacks, but did not force the retreat. 30th October: Turkey signs an Armistice with the Allies. However, with the imminent dissolution of its empire, some Turkish forces are instructed to be absorbed into local allied forces with a view to maintaining some semblance of their old empire to the east of Turkey.
By the end of this month, Norperforce and the R.N. have established fitting-out bases for their expanding fleet at Enzeli and Krasnovosdk.
A British force operating initially from Meshed in north east Persia, but with support through Krasnovodsk, was fighting in support of the Trans-Caspian Government against encroachments by the Bolsheviks.
A certain Reza Khan of the Persian Cossacks – then referred to as Brigadier General, was campaigning in the Kashan area against bandits.
1st November 1918: G.O.C. Norperforce: Major General W. M. Thomson. G.O.C. 36th Infantry Brigade Brig-Gen H.F.B Champain
11th November: Germany signs unconditional surrender
17th November: Gen. Thomson re-occupies Baku with Norperforce, supported by Gen. Bicherakov and an armed British flotilla.
November: Royal Navy, with a detachment of 160 Royal marines, set up coastal guns at Petrovsk (Machachkala], 160 miles north of Baku.
December: Royal Navy flotilla prevents the Bolsheviks gaining an ice-free port in the Caspian. The naval flotilla, initially flying the Imperial Russian ensign, consisted of ‘VENTURE’, ‘FOX’, ‘EMILE NOBLE’, ‘ALLA VARDI’, ‘SALVA’ & ‘BIBI-ABAT’, each of which had a R.M.A./R.M.L.I. detachment consisting of 11 marines commanded by sergeants or corporals. Other ships had British gunners: ‘KRUGER’ with R.F.A. guns, and ‘ZORASTER’ & ‘ASIA’ with R.N. seamen gunners. R.N. crews operated the flotilla, which also included the ‘WINDSOR CASTLE’, the improvised seaplane carrier ‘ORLINOCK’, and the ‘SERGEI’ which carried 12 R.N. Coastal Motor Boats.
1918/19 - During this winter, a major influenza pandemic killed 21 million worldwide and severely incapacitated the British and Indian troops, although deaths amongst the Persians was proportionally much higher
By the end of 1918, H.M. Government was spending £30,000,000 per annum in Persia, and there were strong moves to withdraw our troops, not only by our Government, but also by the Government of India which was providing much of the army personnel.
Military operations and policy in Persia were run from Mesopotamia by London where it involved the India Office, the Foreign Office and the War office, and also with major input from the Government of India, all of which led to much disagreement and delay in finalising policies. Proposals for an Anglo-Persian agreement were sought, but it was not until August 1919 that they were agreed and signed.
1919 - January: Southern Persia. The Bushire Force was engaged in clearing up local rebellions and making the Bushire-Shiraz road secure.
Several Bolshevik attacks on the R.M. detachment in Petrovsk were repelled after street fighting.
The Peace Conference opened at Versailles but, as a neutral country, Persia was not invited to attend. Britain agrees to represent their interests.
19th February: The Afghan leader assassinated and replaced by his son who declares a jihad and calls on Indian Muslims to rise against the British, resulting in the 3rd Anglo-Afghan war. But the Afghans had misread the situation in India and were defeated. This resulted in the Treaty of Rawalpindi (8th Aug.) which granted independence to Afghanistan, and the cessation of subsidies from Britain to Afghanistan
March: The Caspian flotilla flies the White Ensign.
31st March: The British ‘Malleson Mission’ to Trans-Caspia withdraws through lack of local support. The Trans-Caspian government collapses
21st May: An engagement between British and Bolshevik ships off Alexandrovsk (Fort Shevchenko), with the support of 40 R.A.F. planes, resulted in 9 enemy ships being sunk and the rest being kept back in Astrakhan on the Volga.
9th August: The Anglo-Persian Agreement was signed by the Persian Cabinet, with the support of the young Shah. Unfortunately, a subsequent collapse of the signatory of the Persian Cabinet resulted in this agreement being put into suspension where it remained until the palace coup in 1921.
19th August: The British flotilla was handed over to the White Russians.
2nd September: Royal Marines evacuated Petrovsk, but British troops continued to support covert operation in southern Russia.
1920 - March: Norperforce occupied Resht and subdues a revolt by the Janglis who had hoped for independence
20th March: Petrovsk falls - General Denekin’s Volunteer Army is defeated by the Bolsheviks. Denekin and his troops sought shelter in Enzeli and handed over his fleet to the British. Denekin, leader of the White Russian forces, handed over command of the south Russian White forces to Gen. Peter Wrantel.
H.M. Government advised that the Persia situation causes ‘much anxiety’ and planned, with Churchill’s agreement, a substantial garrison in Mesopotamia with the ability to support Norperforce if the Bolsheviks march on Persia
28th April: The Bolsheviks captured Baku
18th May: The Bolsheviks land at Enzeli and seize the White Russian fleet. The Persian Cossacks withdrew. Brief skirmishes with Gurkha troops of Norperforce. Then Maj. Gen. H.B.F. Bateman-Champain, having taken over the command of Norperforce, ordered the withdrawal of his local forces with the Persian Cossacks to Kazvin [Qazin]. Gen. Bateman-Champain had asked for but received no guidance in how to deal with this situation, and decided that it was better to withdraw than create a diplomatic incident. Retrospectively, this was considered a major error of judgement.
The Bolsheviks established the ‘Soviet Republic of Gilan’ which remained in power until October 1921.
The Persian National Democrats considered the British their enemy. The Bolsheviks attempted to subvert them but the National Democrats were routed by Norperforce, with the support of the Persian Cossacks.
23rd August: Maj. Gen Sir Edmund Ironside relieved Bateman-Champain of command of Norperforce. Bateman-Champain goes into retirement.
Ironside had orders to prepare for the withdrawal of all British forces from Persia. He had approximately 6,000 British & Indian troops with the main body at Manjil, holding the head of the pass to prevent further advances by the Bolsheviks. There is also a battalion at Zanjin, some troops patrolling the Manjeel-Kazvin road, with the remainder at Kazvin. Ironside found that his communications division was able to tap into the wireless and telephone communications of the Bolsheviks who, unable to trust their own codes, transmitted all messages in the clear, including operational messages.
The Persian Cossacks did battle with the Bolsheviks but were defeated. Ironside helped to re-organise the battalion for future operations and realised the need to remove the Russian officer and N.C.O. element to allow the battalion to be a solely Persian force. October: Persian Cossacks again did battle with the Bolsheviks at Rasht, but were defeated and withdrew. With the agreement of the Shah, the 100 Russian officers and NCOs were tricked by Ironside into being detached from the Persians of the Persian Cossacks during this withdrawal through the Manjeel Pass. Ironside proceeded to re-equip the remaining all-Persian Cossack Brigade, supported payment of their salary, and selected Col. Reza Khan as their commander.
Disposition of Norperforce (Gen Ironside) 26th Sept 1920
- ‘A’ Batt R.H.A. (Chestnut troop)
- The Guides Cavalry
- 2 Battery, Indian Mountain Artillery.
- Armoured Car Company (16 cars)
- 1st Battalion Royal Berkshire Regiment
- 2nd Battalion York & Lancs. Regiment
- 2nd Gurkha
- 122nd Rejput Regiment
- 42nd Deoli Regiment
- Flight of RAF
- (plus a specialist unit under an Artillery Lieutenant who intercepted wireless messages, and carried out taps of Bolshevik telephone calls)
Total of 6,000 British & Indian troops.
The main body was at Manjeel, holding the head of the Pass, preventing advance by Bolshevik forces.
A battalion was stationed at Zanjin. Some troops were patrolling the Manjeel-Qazvin Road, The remainder were at Qazvin.
26th October: Norperforce down to 3,600 men
14th November: The White Russians were finally defeated and the Russian counter-revolution was over: the Bolsheviks are unopposed.
December: Ironside ordered to complete withdrawal of Norperforce within 4 months but was severely hampered by extreme winter weather (40ft. snow drifts)
The Bolsheviks were defeated by the Deoli Regiment when they attacked the ‘iron bridge’ on the Siah road. This was as a result of Ironside having had a week’s notice of their intent through telephone intercepts of the Bolshevik’s plans.
1921 to 1925
30th January: The Bolsheviks were defeated at Menjel by Gurkhas and a troop of Guides cavalry
14th February: Ironside handed over command of Norperforce to Maj. Gen. Sir George Cory
20th - 21st February: There was an almost bloodless palace coup by Reza Khan with his Cossacks (possibly supported ‘unofficially’ by Perfidious Albion!)
25th February: The Soviet-Persian Treaty: All Russian troops were to leave Persia; Lenin granted equal access to the Caspian Sea.
16th March: An Anglo-Persian Trade agreement.
21st April Norperforce was completely withdrawn into Mesopotamia, leaving all small-arms, artillery, ammunition and draft animals to the Persian Cossacks.
There is a little further Persian history after Norperforce left the scene, which may also be of interest:
21st October: The Persian Cossacks suppressed a revolt in Gilan and overthrew the Soviet Republic in Gilan. They also re-established control over southern (Persian) Azerbaijan.
1923 - Reza Khan Pahlevi was appointed Prime Minister
1924 - Reza Khan deposed the young Shah Ahmed Mirza and proclaimed himself Shah
1925 - Shah Reza Khan changed his name to Reza Khan Pahlevi
August: Soviet & British troops entered Persia (Iran)
September: Reza Khan Pahlevi abdicated in favour of his pro-British son Mohammed Reza Pahlevi
16th January: Mohammed Reza Pahlevi appointed his Prime Minister as Regent, and departed Iran for Egypt
1st February: Shiite Muslim leader Ayatollah Khomeini entered Iran as the spiritual leader of the country.
Sources are many and varied, mostly from the internet, however, one book which has been of particular importance is the volume of the British government’s ‘Official History of the War’ directly concerning Persia. This was written by Brig’d. Gen. F. J. Moberly and published in 1929, and is a remarkable report, apparently unbiased, digging deeply into the politics as well as the military aspects of British operations in and from Persia. What is perhaps of great interest is that when it was first published, it was classified ‘Confidential’, many copies were destroyed before they left the printer, and it was not de-classified and made available to the public until 1987 because of the sensitivity of the politics during, after and partly as a result of some of these operations:
Moberly also wrote the 4 volumes of H.M.G.’s ‘Official History of the War’ dealing with Mesopotamia which has a full report on ‘Dunsterforce’ and some references to 'Norperforce’
Mesopotamia Campaign 1914-1918 published over several years up to 1927.
End of the account by Chris Woods.
The author Chris Woods may be contacted by email: email@example.com
The alternative spelling Norderforce is occasionally seen.
The British Salonika Force and the Army of the Black Sea
Immediately after the Armistice with Turkey orders had been issued for British troops to move to the Caucasus, due to the situation there. Troops were sent from the nearest British forces available, from North Persia [Mesopotamia Force], and from the Salonika Force. In January 1919 it was decided all British troops in the Caucasus should be under one command, which at that time was still called the British Salonika Force, subsequently known as the Army of the Black Sea, which was tasked with ensuring that Turkey complied with the terms of the Armistice.
Medals to Indian Army soldiers that are classified as 'Salonika Medals' were mostly awarded for actions by the British Army of the Black Sea against Turkish nationalists, emerging Communist forces or bandits and brigands in Anatolia, the Caucasus and Transcaspia.
An Official History was written about Constantinople titled The Occupation of Constantinople 1918–1923 by Brigadier-General J. E. Edmonds. Originally written in 1944, it was not finally published until 2010 by Imperial War Museum/Naval&Military Press.
- Transcaucasia. Wikipedia. Also known as Trans-Caucasus or Transcaucasus, or Southern Caucasia or the South Caucasus. Baku (Wikipedia) is the largest city of Azerbaijan and in the region.
- Trans-Caspia. Wikipedia. Now known as Turkmenistan. Located east across the Caspian Sea from Transcaucasia.
- Fighting the Tangistanis: Bushire, Persia, July-September 1915 by Harry Fecitt westernfrontassociation.com
- Article "From Baluchastan to Baku: The Significance of the Struggle for Central Asia" by Edwin E. Slosson The Independent, August 31, 1918. jfredmacdonald.com, archive.org link.
- British Military Involvement in Transcaspia (1918-1919) by Michael Sargent April 2004 Conflict Studies Research Centre Link to pdf download, pdf . Includes the Malleson Mission.
- The British Intervention in South Russia 1918-1920 by Lauri Kopisto 2011 Academic Dissertation University of Helsinki.
- Red Sand: The Canadian Experience in Persia and Transcaucasia, 1918 by Thomas Stanley Sutton. A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Arts The University of New Brunswick, April 2012. slideshare.net
- Dunsterforce and Baku: A Case Study In British Imperial/Interventionist Foreign Policy With Respect To Transcaucasia 1917-1918 by Cengiz Inceoglu. A Master’s Thesis, Department of History, İhsan Doğramacı Bilkent University, Ankara May 2012 (html version) - original pdf.
- Empire in the Shadows of the Bolsheviks by Cornor May, 2013 Undergraduate Honors Theses, Paper 549. University of Colorado Boulder. With link to download.
- "British Secret Missions in Turkestan, 1918-19" by L. P. Morris Journal of Contemporary History Vol. 12, No. 2 (April 1977), pp. 363-379. jstor.org. Read online for free, but first you must register, and limits apply, see Miscellaneous tips.
- "Dunsterville's Adventures: A Reappraisal" by Artin H Arslanian, International Journal of Middle East Studies Volume 12, No 2 (September 1980), 199-216 html version, pdf intersci.ss.uci.edu
- "The Illicit Adventures Of Rawlinson: British Intelligence in the Final Phase of the Ottoman Empire" by Bülent Gökay The Turkish Yearbook of International Relations Volume 23 1993 (Research Center for International Political and Economic Relations, Faculty of Political Science, Ankara University) Link to pdf download. Additional/alternative pdf globalfaultlines.
- "The Battle For Baku (May-September 1918): A Peculiar Episode In The History Of The Caucasus" by Bülent Gökay The Turkish Yearbook of International Relations Volume 25 1995 (Research Center for International Political and Economic Relations, Faculty of Political Science, Ankara University) Link to pdf download. Additional/alternative pdf politics.ankara.edu.tr. Also published in Middle Eastern Studies 34 (1998), pages 30-50.
- "Dunsterforce: A Case Study of Coalition Warfare in the Middle East, 1918-1919" by Timothy C. Winegard Canadian Army Journal Vol. 8.3 (Fall 2005), pp. 93-109. html version (lacks photographs) www.conflicts.rem33.com
- "Britain's Azerbaijan Policy (November 1917 - September 1918)" by Prof. Musa Qasimly Visions of Azerbaijan Spring 2006, Volume 1.1, pages 38-43.
- "British Police in Baku" by Tahir Behbudov Visions of Azerbaijan Summer 2006, Volume 1.2, pages 48-55.
- Etherton at Kashgar: Rhetoric and Reality in the History of the “Great Game” by Daniel C. Waugh 2007. faculty.washington.edu. The Kashgar consulate was under the supervision of the Foreign and Political Department of the Government of India.
- "Fighting a Small War during The Great War: British Strategic Planning and Operations in Central Asia, 1917-1919" by Frederick Dotolo. Small Wars Journal, with link to a pdf download of an interim version of the article, February 7, 2008. Direct pdf download which depending on your browser, you may need to locate in your downloads folder.
- 'Dunsterforce' On The Caucasian Front In The Great War by Dr David Payne 10 October 2008 “’The Western Front Association”
- "Dunsterforce - part 1" by Harry Fecitt 29 September 2013 "The Western Front Association". Includes a set of photographs on flickr.com. Further images on flickr.com sourced by WFA
- "Azerbaijan at War" by Alum Bati Visions of Azerbaijan July-August 2015.
- Part 2 "1918 - Azerbaijan at War" by Alum Bati Visions of Azerbaijan September-October 2015. With a slide show of photographs.
- Desert Column: The Australian Light Horse Studies Centre
- The Battle of Baku Azerbaijan, 26 August - 14 September 1918: Contents. Includes Outline, Maps and links to Accounts
- Karawaran, Persia, 6-7 August 1918
- The Desert Column Forum thread "Dunsterforce" is no longer directly accessible, but page 1 is available from archive.today (page 2 is not accessible)
- some links and transcripts which are also available as follows
- "Dunsterforce" by Lisa Smedman Vancouver Courier newspaper. A pdf version with photographs is available here and also a html version (lacks photographs) (www.conflicts.rem33.com). Article about the Canadians in Dunsterforce, including, Lieutenant Colonel John Weightman Warden, whose diary is available below.
- Refers to “Canadians in Dunsterforce,” by Captain W.W. Murray, Canadian Defence Quarterly. The three-part series begins in the January 1931 issue, [Volume VIII, and appears to continue to Volume IX, January 1932]
- The Official History of the New Zealand Rifle Brigade. Appendix V. The Dunsterforce Expedition. Alternative version available online from Victoria University of Wellington Library, see below.
- Stalky’s Forlorn Hope by Captain S.G. Savige, see below.
- "Dunsterforce" by Lisa Smedman Vancouver Courier newspaper. A pdf version with photographs is available here and also a html version (lacks photographs) (www.conflicts.rem33.com). Article about the Canadians in Dunsterforce, including, Lieutenant Colonel John Weightman Warden, whose diary is available below.
- some links and transcripts which are also available as follows
- Photographs from the associated website "Desert Column Forum Pix"
- "Little Known Campaign. British Army In Caucasus" Sunday Times (Sydney, NSW ) Sunday 13 April 1919 p 25. Account of Capt. J. M. Sorrell, M.M., a Sydney officer. trove.nla.gov.au
- "The Dunster Force Expedition To The Caspian Sea. Captain McVilly's Reminiscences" The Mercury (Hobart, Tas.) Thursday 8 July 1926 trove.nla.gov.au
- "With General Dunsterville in Persia and Transcaucasia. Memoirs of Captain Cecil G. Judge", from Russia-Australia Connections, now archived.
- Some photographs taken by Captain Judge Australian War Memorial.
- A 1/4th Hampshire Regiment Signallers Diary November 1916 To September 1919 by Arthur James Foster (1899-1973) (Ex Corporal Of The Hampshire Regiment), Edited by his son Richard Carfax-Foster. The author was in Mesopotamia, and then took part in Dunsterforce.
- "Anatolian Incident: The 24th Punjabis at Ismid, Turkey, 15 June 1920" from Harry’s Sideshows by Harry Fecitt (kaiserscross.com). In January 1919 the 24th Punjabis joined the Allied Army of The Black Sea.
- Grandpa’s Journal, 18 December 1921 refers to the troops which were employed on the Persian Lines of communication… extending through Persia to the Caspian Sea from Grandpa’s Journal. Harry James Goulter Pearman was with the Army Audit Staff in Mesopotamia.
- Download a video With the Dunster Force, Persia and Baku Australian War Memorial. Also on YouTube (appears to be shorter version)
- Video Baku - The Occupation By 'Dunsterforce' 17th August To 14th September 1918 Imperial War Museums
- Group photograph of Officers of the 5th Party of the Dunsterforce. Baghdad. April 1918. Left side: numbered, Right side: numbered Australian War Memorial
- Photograph: Persia. 1918. A convoy of over ten Ford vans formed up ready for departure Australian War Memorial.
- Indians in the Middle East: The forgotten soldiers of the First World War by Vedika Kant. Mentions Indian Soldiers buried in Istanbul’s Haydarpaşa English Cemetery. Although the text says these are POW deaths, a comment by Adil dated August 17, 2015 says “The Haidar Pasha Memorial largely commemorates Indians who died post the Armistice and most casualties are from the Army of the Black Sea”. LSE South Asia Centre, London School of Economics.
- 1975 interview, with transcript 1 and transcript 2, with Colonel J.S. Lord, Indian Army Officer, 124th Baluchistan Infantry. Colonel Lord tells of his experiences of the Army in India and Persia during the First World War, including a anecdote of the infamous influenza. He refers to actions around Bushire which involved Wassmuss, the “German Lawrence” [who was the German Consul at Bushire], see "Where Is Wassmuss ?" paperspast.natlib.govt.nz Auckland Star, 28 June 1919.
- Bibliography of Memoirs and other First Hand accounts page 284 The Russian Revolution and Civil War 1917-1921: An Annotated Bibliography by Jonathan Smele Google Books.
- Haidar Pasha Cemetery a suburb of Istanbul. Includes a Memorial and Addena panel erected to commemorate Commonwealth servicemen of the First World War who died fighting in South Russia, Georgia and Azerbaijan, and in post Armistice operations in Russia and Transcaucasia, whose graves are not known, together with others buried in cemeteries in South Russia and Transcaucasia whose graves can no longer be maintained. cwgc.org. Those commemorated include Lieut.-Colonel Geoffrey Davis Pike, head of the ‘Caucasus Military Agency’, killed, probably executed, by the Bolsheviks in August 1918. 
- Map of parts of Iraq, Persia & Kurdistan to illustrate movements of squadron wireless stations compiled and drawn by Henry J. Russell. Map originally published as endpapers in With Horse and Morse in Mesopotamia : the Story of Anzacs in Asia editor Keast Burke 1927. nla.gov.au
Historical books online
- "Desert and Marsh in Arabistan" by G E H page 356 Blackwood’s Magazine, no 198 July-December 1915. Archive.org. Pursuit of the Turkish Army by British and Indian troops.
- The Raiders of the Sarhad being the account of a Campaign of Arms and Bluff against the Brigands of the Persian-Baluchi border during the Great War by Brigadier General REH Dyer 1921 Archive.org. This campaign took place in 1916.
- Persian Baluchistan (including the Sarhad and Persian Mekran) The Quetta-Nushki extension railway. File created 8 May 1922. British Library: India Office Records IOR/L/PS/18/C208, in Qatar Digital Library . It includes a brief description of these regions and outlines local British activities during the First World War to counter threats to their interests.
- History Of The Great War: The Campaign In Mesopotamia 1914-1918: Volume IV by F J Moberly 1927 Contents, Index Hathi Trust Digital Library.(For Volumes I-III see Mesopotamia Campaign)
- "Despatch from General Sir G.F. Milne Commanding in Chief, the Army of The Black Sea dated 11 August 1920" The London Gazette Supplement Publication date: 7 January 1921 Supplement: 32184 Pages: 159-175. From the date of the signature of the Armistice with Turkey to the date of the signature of the Turkish Peace Treaty (10th August 1020). Indian Army regiments mentioned: 28th Light Cavalry, 19th Punjabis, 1/21st Punjabis, 1/25th Punjabis and 1/54th Sikhs.
- "The Advance to the Caspian" pages 24-44 Loyalties: Mesopotamia; a personal and historical record, Volume II 1917-1920 by Sir Arnold Talbot Wilson 1931. Hathi Trust Digital Library. Also available as a download from Kurdipedia.org 1936 edition. Also published under the title Mesopotamia, 1917-1920; a Clash of Loyalties.
- "The Road from Baghdad to Baku" by G. S. F. Napier The Geographical Journal Vol. 53, No. 1 (Jan., 1919), pp. 1-16. jstor.org. Read online for free, but first you must register, and limits apply, see Miscellaneous tips
- The Adventures of Dunsterforce by L C Dunsterville 1920 Archive.org
- The Diaries of General Lionel Dunsterville 1911-1922 from Primary Sources www.gwpda.org
- Stalky's Reminiscences by L. C. Dunsterville published c 1928. Pdf download, Digital Library of India.
- The Post Office of India in the Great War edited by H.A. Sams 1922 Archive.org.
- "Persia" chapters commence page 207.
- "The Dardanelles, Salonika and Constantinople 1915-1919" page 103.
- Page 89 mentions the Indian Army in Anatolia, after the war.
- “The Caucasus" page 503 Worcestershire Regiment in the Great War, Volume 2 by Capt H. FitzM. Stacke, reprint edition, originally published 1928. Google Books.
- With the Persian Expedition by Martin Henry Donohoe 1919 Archive.org. The author was a Special Service Officer with 'Dunsterforce'
- Stalky’s Forlorn Hope by Captain Stanley George Savige (Australian Army Officer) 1919 is available as a pdf download from the National Library of Australia. It is also available as a transcription from Chapter 1 from the website "Desert Column: The Australian Light Horse Studies Centre". (Also on the archived website First AIF. Includes the Foreword). Lionel Dunsterville was the model for Kipling's character 'Stalky'.
- "Further Adventures of the Armoured Cars: Persia and Baku" pages 285-297 Blackwood's Magazine Volume 205, January-June 1919. Archive.org. The author elsewhere is stated to be A. H. Ruston, who was Temp. Major, Machine Gun Corps (Motor). Allpress (Alpress/Alpres) Harold Ruston was awarded the DSO for actions near Baku on 26 August 1918, London Gazette entry. He had previously been Temp. Lieut-Cdr R.N.V.R, Naval Armoured Car Squadron, during the Russian retreat in Galicia in July and August 1917. Ruston’s Naval commission was terminated 31.1.18 when he transferred to the Army , along with other personnel. The Dunsterforce Armoured Car Brigade (known as the Duncars) was formed at the end of January 1918 from personnel from the Russian Armoured Car Division who were transferred from the Admiralty (or, more precisely, the Royal Marines, under whose control they were from November 1917) to the Machine Gun Corps (Motors). Duncars were equipped with a mixture of Austin armoured cars and Ford Model T vans armed with machine guns.
- "With the Dunsterforce Irregulars" by Captain E W Latchford Reveille, Volume 5, No 11- Volume 6, No 3, August-November 1932. Published by The Returned and Services League of Australia New South Wales Branch
- August, page 25, August, pages 74-76 , August page 80, September page 15, September, page 32, October, page 15 October, page 25 (scroll down), November, page 6 reveille.dlconsulting.com. The Irregulars were Armenians, Assyrians etc, and Captain Latchford was from the Australian Army.
- "Memories of the "Hush Hush" Force" by Captain Tom Kelsey, Connaught Rangers and Dunsterforce. Reveille, Volume 9, Nos 8-11, April-July 1936. Published by The Returned and Services League of Australia New South Wales Branch
- April, page 36, continuing on page 38 (RHS of page), 39 (bottom of page), May, page 18, 19, June, page 18, 19, July, page 18 reveille.dlconsulting.com.
- The Diary of Lieut.-Colonel John Weightman Warden 1918-1919 - France, Dunsterforce, Vladivostok. From 1918 Documents www.gwpda.org. Transcribed from the Public Archives of Canada
- "I call them Dunsterfarce & Napoofarce... Nobody with ability to organize." [October 20th, 1918]
- "Australians In Transcaucasus" being extracts from "Australians in Mesopotamia" Appendix No.5. The Australian Imperial Force In France During the Main German Offensive. Official History of Australia in the War of 1914–1918, Volume V by C W Bean, pages 703-784. Complete version "Australians in Mesopotamia", pages 703-784 awm.gov.au
- "The Dunsterforce Expedition" Appendix V, pages 536-541 The Official History of the New Zealand Rifle Brigade compiled by Lieut.-Col. W. S. Austin 1924. New Zealand Electronic Text Collection, Victoria University of Wellington Library.
- From the Gulf to the Caspian : being the souvenir booklet of the 33rd. Motor Ambulance Convoy which served in Mesopotamia and North Persia, 1916 to 1919 written by various members of the unit who remain anonymous. [1920?] State Library of Victoria. This Unit consisted of Army Service Corps personnel, together with Royal Army Medical Corps personnel.
- "Medical History of Trans-Caucasia in so far as It Affects an Army in the Field" by Lieutenant-Colonel P. H. Henderson Journal of the Royal Army Medical Corps 1921;36:2 pages 101-108.
- "Chapter XLI The Turkish Invasion of Transcaucasia, 1918" pages 457-496 Caucasian Battlefields: A History of Wars on the Turco-Causian Border 1828-1921 by W E D Allen and the late Paul Muratoff [Pavel Pavlovich Muratov] first published 1953. conflicts.rem33.com. Contains some references to the British at Baku.
- Further correspondence respecting the affairs of Persia. Presented to both Houses of Parliament April 1914 1914 Archive.org
- "Persia and the Great War" page 154 Persia by Brigadier General Sir Percy Sykes 1922 Archive.org
- "The British Flag on the Caspian: A Side-Show of the Great War" by Percy Sykes Foreign Affairs Vol. 2, No. 2 (Dec. 15, 1923), pp. 282-294. jstor.org. Read online for free, but first you must register, and limits apply, see Miscellaneous tips.
- The British "Intervention" in Transcaspia 1918 -1919 by C H Ellis 1963. This is the USA title. Archive.org. Original UK title The Transcaspian Episode. 1918-1919 (1963). The author was part of the Malleson Mission, 'Malmiss'
- "The Battle of Dushak" 1918 pages 126-127 Turkmenistan by Paul Brummell 2005 Google Books. The 1/19th Punjabi Infantry and the 28th Light Cavalry took part in this action, part of the Malleson Mission in Transcaspia.
- "The British Military Mission to Turkestan 1918-1920" by Major General Sir Wilfred Malleson Journal of the Central Asian Society Volume 9 1922 No 2 pp 96-110. Journal pdf download, Pahar Mountains Of Central Asia Digital Dataset.
- "Military Operations in Transcaspia 1918-1919" by Lt.Col.D E Knollys Journal of the Central Asian Society Volume 13, 1926 no 2 pp88-110. Journal pdf download, Pahar Mountains Of Central Asia Digital Dataset. The author was in charge of the 19th Punjabi Regiment.
- "Bolshevism as I saw it at Tashkent in 1918" by Sir George MacArtney Journal of the Central Asian Society Volume 7 1920 Nos 2-3 pp 42-58. Includes comments on the missions of Colonel Bailey and Captain Blacker (see following). Journal pdf download, Pahar Mountains Of Central Asia Digital Dataset.
- Mission To Tashkent by [Lt Col] F M Bailey 1946. Pdf download Digital Library of India….”the astonishing adventures of a British intelligence officer working in Cemtral Asia, and his escape from the Bolsheviks”. This Mission is also referred to as the Mission of Lt-Col F.M.Bailey to Kashgar, Jul 1918-Jan 1921 (in a British Library document)
- "In Russian Turkestan under the Bolsheviks" by F.M.Bailey Journal of the Central Asian Society Volume 8, 1921, No 1, pp49-69. Journal pdf download, Pahar Mountains Of Central Asia Digital Dataset.
- "A Visit to Bokhara in 1919" by F. M. Bailey The Geographical Journal Vol. 57, No. 2 (Feb., 1921), pp. 75-87, and "A Visit to Bokhara in 1919: Discussion" pp. 87-95. A sequel to the mission sent to the Soviet Government of Turkistan. jstor.org. Read online for free, but first you must register, and limits apply, see Miscellaneous tips. Also available as a pdf download, Pahar: Mountains Of Central Asia Digital Dataset.
- 1971 Beyond The Frontiers–Biography Of F M Bailey by Swinson. Pdf download, Pahar: Mountains Of Central Asia Digital Dataset. Full Title: Beyond the Frontiers: the Biography of Colonel F. M. Bailey, Explorer and Special Agent by Arthur Swinson 1971.
- On Secret Patrol in High Asia by L V S Blacker, Captain, The Guides 1922 Archive.org. The author spent three years in Turkistan and Khurasan. The Introduction mentions the exploits of the 19th Punjabis and the 28th Light Cavalry.
- This book is also available as a pdf download, Pahar: Mountains Of Central Asia Digital Dataset.
- Sir Arnold Wilson, (page 26 above) states Blacker has given an account “in which fiction blends agreeably with fact” and that Blacker was the assistant of Lt Col Bailey, although this is never mentioned in Blacker's account.
- "Travels in Turkistan 1918-20" by L. V. S. Blacker, Captain , QVO Corps of Guides.The Geographical Journal Vol. 58, No. 3 (Sep., 1921), pp. 178-197 and "Travels in Turkistan 1918-20: Discussion" pp. 197-198. jstor.org. Read online for free, but first you must register, and limits apply, see Miscellaneous tips. Also available as a pdf download, Pahar: Mountains Of Central Asia Digital Dataset.
- "The Forbidden Fortress of Khurasan" by L V S Blacker page 824 Blackwood’s Magazine, no 210 July-December 1921 Archive.org.
- "Wars and Travel in Turkestan 1918-1920" by L V S Blacker Journal of the Central Asian Society Volume 9 1922 pp 4-20. Journal pdf download, Pahar Mountains Of Central Asia Digital Dataset.
- Adventures in the Near East, 1918-1922 by A Rawlinson, New York edition 1924 (Originally published 1923) Hathi Trust Digital Library. Also available a pdf download, 1923, Digital Library of India. The author's Wikipedia page. Also see Western Front for a book about the author's experience there.
- "Antranik" by Liason page 441 Blackwood’s Magazine, no 206 July-December 1919. Archive.org. Includes brief mention of LAMs (probably Machine Gun Corps). Mission to Zangezeur to the Armenian leader Antranik.
- Despatch by Lieut-General Sir W R Marshall on the operations of the Mesopotamian Expeditionary Force from 1st October 1918 to 31st December 1918, dated 1st February 1919. Mesopotamia and NW Persia (page 4743) The London Gazette 8 April 1919 Supplement: 31287 Page: 4739
- Despatch from Major General Sir George F MacMunn, officiating Commander-In Chief, Mesopotamian Expeditionary Force, describing events since 1st January 1919, including North Persia, and Southern and Cental Kurdistan, for various operations between March and September 1919. The London Gazette 5 March 1920 Supplement: 31813 Page: 2877. The actual pages are dated 8 March 1920.
- Four Despatches from the Commander-In Chief, Mesopotamian Expeditionary Force: Despatch No 1, dated 17th January 1920 from MacMunn, covering the period November 1919 to 17th January 1920. Despatches from Lieutenant-General Haldane, covering the periods: 18th January 1920 to 30th June 1920 in Mesopotamia and NW Persia.[Despatch No 2 dated 23rd August 1920. Page 5323]; 1st July 1820 to 19th October 1920 [Despatch No 3 dated 8th November 1920, page 5329] Despatch No 4, dated 8th February 1921 (page 5347) The London Gazette 1 July 1921 Issue: 32379 Page:5321.
- "The Caspian Naval Force" page 271 Britain's Sea Soldiers. A Record of the Royal Marines during the War 1914-1919. Compiled by General Sir H. E. Blumberg, Royal Marines 1927. Hathi Trust Digital Library.
- War in the Air: being the story of the part played in the Great War by the Royal Air Force, Volume VI by H A Jones 1937. Archive.org. Part of the series History of the Great War based on Official Documents. Includes Persia.
- "Grief and Glamour of the Bosphorus" by Lieut- Colonel P R Butler page 203 Blackwood’s Magazine, no 209 January-June 1921. Archive.org
- Vocabularies: English, German, Magyar, Serbian, Bulgarian, Roumanian, Greek, Turkish Compiled by the Geographical Section of the Naval Intelligence Division, Naval Staff, Admiralty. HMSO. 1920 Archive.org
- Map of Lower Mesopotamia fromThe Inland Water Transport in Mesopotamia compiled by Lieut.-Col. L. J. Hall 1921 Archive.org
- Page 503, Worcestershire Regiment in the Great War, Volume 2 by Capt H. FitzM. Stacke, 1928. Reprint edition, Naval & Military Press. Refer Historical books online.
- Page 506, Worcestershire Regiment in the Great War, Volume 2 by Capt H. FitzM. Stacke, 1928. Reprint edition. Naval & Military Press
- bushfighter [Fecitt, Harry]. Salonika/Transcaspia/Army of Black Sea query Great War Forum 12 May 2016. Retrieved 13 May 2016.
- "The Indian Army at Gallipoli 1915", page 2, condensed from a paper presented by Sqn Ldr Rana TS Chhina (Retd) at a conference organised by the Australian War Memorial in August 2010. Archived page, website of the High Commission of India in Australia
- medalmaniac [Les] Col G.D. Pike MC, 9th Gurkhas, KIA Caucasus 15 August 1918 Great War Forum 1 November 2016. Retrieved 12 November 2016.
- TNA ADM/273/5/356 and ADM/337/118
- charlesmessenger. Armoured Cars: Naval, Galicia/ Machine Gun Corps, Baku Great War Forum 7 November 2016. Retrieved 11 November 2016.