Mesopotamia Campaign

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Mesopotamia Campaign
6 November 1914-14 November 1918
Chronological list of Wars and Campaigns
Mesopotamia - Troops entrenching.jpg
Location: Mesopotamia
United Kingdom Ottoman Empire

Armistice of Mudros
Partitioning of the Ottoman Empire

The 1914-15 Star
The British War Medal 1914-18
Category: Mesopotamia Campaign
Battlemappic.gif See our interactive map of
Mesopotamia Campaign
locations and routes on Google Maps
Mesopotamia 1917 Assistant Surgeon G E Ferguson, IMD

This event is part of the First World War


The Mesopotamia Campaign was fought from November 1914 to November 1918 between the Allies represented by the British Empire, mostly troops from the Indian Empire, and the Central Powers, mostly of the Ottoman Empire.

However the country actually remained a theatre of warfare until a peace treaty was ratified in 1924. Large numbers of troops from India were sent to deal with a revolt in 1920[1]

Related articles

For further details of events during this period see the following articles


Details of some of the protagonists in the campaign

Also see

British Library holdings

  • British Library Catalogue Link: Explore Archives and Manuscripts and British Library Main Catalogue
  • An account of the operations of the 18th (Indian) Division in Mesopotamia, December 1917 to December 1918, with the names of all the units which served with the division and a nominal roll of all the officers by Walter Edward Wilson-Johnston 1919. UIN: BLL01012503831
  • Iraq Administration Reports 1914–1932 in ten volumes (5, 500 pages): Contents: 1. 1914-1918 -- 2. 1918 -- 3-4. 1919 -- 5-6. 1920 -- 7. 1920-1924 -- 8. 1925-1927 -- 9. 1928-1930 -- 10. 1931-1932, with contents outline.[2] UIN: BLL01006696261

Regimental and Corps Histories

  • History of the Royal Regiment of Artillery : the Forgotten Fronts and the Home Base 1914-18 by Sir Martin Farndale 1988. Available at the British Library UIN: BLL01008145796
  • History of the Corps of Royal Engineers Volume VII: Campaigns in Mesopotamia and East Africa, and the inter-war period, 1918-38 edited by H.L. Pritchard 1952. Available at the British Library UIN: BLL01008913272. Also available from the Institution of Royal Engineers (InstRE), as a book or part of a CD-ROM.[3]

Volunteer Regiments

FIBIS resources

  • "Trumpeter Inwood, an Anglo-Indian hero of the Kut Garrison" by Rosemary Reardon FIBIS Journal Number 32 (Autumn 2014) pages 18-29. For details of how to access this article, see FIBIS Journals.

Wounded and sick soldiers

Wounded and other ill soldiers from Mesopotamia were sent to India for treatment and convalescence. Some of these sadly became part of the group of soldiers who died in India.[4]

Persia and Transcaucasia

Troops under the control of the Army in Mesopotamia took part in actions in Persia, and later Transcaucasia. See Norperforce.

External links

"Learning The Hard Way: The Indian Army In Mesopotamia, 1914-1918" by Dr Kristian Coates Ulrichsen, BCMH Summer Conference 2012 – Indian Armies (The British Commission for Military History, now an archived webpage.)
  • Forgotten Airwar: Airpower in the Mesopotamian Campaign by Peter J Lambert, 2003 Master of Military Art and Science Thesis, Command and General Staff College (CGSC) Fort Leavenworth, KS. Combined Arms Research Library [CARL] Digital Library. version, Defense Technical Information Center (DTIC) collection.
  • Cavalry of the Clouds: Aspects of the Air War in the Eastern Theatre,1914-1918 by C H. Whitley 1997. A thesis submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the Degree of Master of Arts in History in the University of Canterbury, New Zealand. A pdf download, which depending on your browser, you may need to locate in your downloads folder.
  • "The AFC In Hotter Climes: The Air War Over The Mesopotamian Desert" by Air Commodore Mark Lax. Part of the conference By The Seat Of Their Pants The Proceedings of the Conference held 12 November 2012 at the RAAF Museum, Point Cook by Military History And Heritage Victoria.
  • Royal Air Force Historical Society Journal 48 2010. html version, pdf version, now archived. Includes "Only A Sideshow? The RFC And RAF In Mesopotamia 1914-1918" by Guy Warner pages 9-19 and "The RAF Armoured Car Companies In Iraq (Mostly) 1921-1947" by Dr Christopher Morris pages 20-38.
  • "Developing Iraq: Britain, India and the Redemption of Empire and Technology in the First World War" by Priya Satia Past & Present (2007) Volume 197, Issue 1, pages 211-255
  • En-Dor Unveiled : The Story behind The Road to En-dor by Tony Craven Walker February 2014. html version, pdf, link to other downloads Retrieved 26 October 2014. Contains correspondence from E H Jones, refer "Historical books online" below. He was a member of the Volunteer Artillery Battery (Rangoon Contingent). Very likely this was , or was connected with, the Rangoon Port Defence Volunteer Corps, which had an Artillery section.
  • Articles by Amitav Ghosh: "Shared Sorrows: Indians and Armenians in the prison camps of Ras al-‘Ain, 1916-18". It is based on an account written by an Indian member of the Bengal Ambulance Corps (BAC), who became a prisoner after the fall of Kut. and ended up in the prison camps of Ras al-'Ain, in northern Syria, in 1916. “The reason the story has survived is that one of the Indian prisoners happened to write about about his war experiences forty years later. His name was Sisir Sarbadhikari and his book Abhi Le Baghdad (or On To Baghdad) appeared in 1958” It is in 18 parts, in reverse order, consisting of two pages. Scroll to the bottom of this page for part 1. Scroll to the bottom of this page to continue. ( links 1 and 2) The earlier part of the memoir, from joining up in Calcutta to the fall of Kut is described in "On to Baghdad". Scroll to the bottom of the page for part 1, or "On to Baghdad", alternative format.
  • Accounts by Captain Kalyan Kumar Mukherji , a member of the Indian Medical Service, originally written in Bengali. After the fall of Kut he was sent to a prisoner-of-war camp at Ras al-‘Ain, Syria where he died in 1917. He was posthumously awarded the Military Cross. His accounts, in Bengali, are available online, refer below. Some excerpts have been translated into English by Amitav Ghosh. Scroll down to the entry The ‘Home and the World’ in Iraq 1915-17: Part 1 to commence. For the final posts, scroll down to the bottom three posts. Written July- August 2012 (retrieved 10 May 2014).
  • “Yet another Indian First World War memoir found!” Article about the War Memoirs of Captain Limaye, Indian Medical Service, written in Marathi. He was with the 87th Punjabis 1918-1921. He saw action in Mesopotamia and was involved in operations against the Kurdistanis in 1919 and in quelling the Arab Rebellion in 1920. This book may be viewed online on the Digital Library of India website, refer Historical books online below.
  • "Indian Soldiers and POWs in the Middle East during World War I" by Vedica Kant, Robert Upton, and Chris Gratien, Ottoman History Podcast, No. 86 (December 21, 2012) “ In this podcast, Vedica Kant talks about the experience of Indian POWs in the Ottoman Empire as well as that of Ottoman soldiers captured by the British army and brought to India and Burma, with additional commentary by Robert Upton regarding military recruitment in British India...” Webpage contains images.
  • The history hidden in Haydarpaşa Cemetery by Vedika Kant 01 August 2013., now an archived webpage. Holds the graves of some 400 soldiers from what are now the Commonwealth realms who died in Turkey, mostly as POWs, in World War I.
  • Inland Water Transport and Docks The article mentions that this section of the Royal Engineers was founded in 1914 and was later responsible for alternate transportation during World War One in various theatres of war - including Mesopotamia where personnel from India and China were deployed.
  • Grandpa’s Journal Harry James Goulter Pearman was with the Army Audit Staff in Mesopotamia. Most of the entries are for 1921. It is difficult for some/all browsers to navigate navigate this site.[5] The following entries contain items relating to issues of fraud by members of the IWT (Inland Water Transport), including the court martial of an officer. 18 April 1921, 26 April 1921, 16 May 1921, 27 May 1921, 27 June 1921, 4 July 1921, 9 July 1921.
  • World War 1 at Sea - Naval Battles in outline: Mesopotamian (Iraq) Campaign, 1914-1918
  • RN's Tigris + Euphrates River Gunboats with a link to The Tigris Flotilla.
  • Royal Navy Insect Class River Gunboats
  • Troopships, including Hospital Ships 1902-1922, now archived.
  • The History of the Iraq Levies, 1915-1932 by Robert Vernon Joseph Young, PhD Thesis, School of Oriental and African Studies (University of London) 1997. British Library- EthOS
  • "Mesopotamia". An article about Kipling’s poem Mesopotamia from
  • "Kut War Graves - Iraq" "Basra" Free photographs of Basra Memorial may be requested from British War Graves: War Grave Photographs. Includes category "Memorials to the Missing" which includes Basra Memorial. The Basra Memorial, now an archived webpage.
  • Mesopotamia Campaign 1914-1918 Bilbliography by Joint Services Command and Staff College Library, U K. (Now archived). A pdf download - depending on your browser, you may need to locate it in your downloads folder.
  • Videos: World War One Through Arab Eyes by Tunisian writer and broadcaster Malek Triki.[6] ‪Al Jazeera English. YouTube videos. ‪ Episode One: The Arabs‬ . They fought as conscripts for the European colonial powers occupying Egypt, Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia – and for the Ottomans on the side of Germany and the Central Powers. Episode two: The Ottomans. Includes the history of the Ottoman-Germany relationship. Episode three: The New Middle East. Includes the way Britain and France divided the former Ottoman Empire between them.


Historical books online

  • History Of The Great War: The Campaign In Mesopotamia 1914-1918 Volumes I-IV by F J Moberly. 1923-1927.
The titles are Volume I: To October 1915 : Outbreak of Hostilities, Campaign in Lower Mesopotamia, published 1923; Volume II: To April 1916: The Attempt on Baghdad, the Battle of Ctesiphon, the Siege and the Fall of Kut-al-Amara, published 1924; Volume III: To April 1917: The Capture and Consolidation of Baghdad, published 1926; Volume IV: The Campaign in Upper Mesopotamia to the Armistice, published 1927.
Hathi Trust Digital Library editions. Note: Missing all/most Maps. Maps are available in the versions.
Volume I




Volume II




Volume III




Volume IV




Chronological Summary of the Campaign in Mesopotamia 1914-1918

Titles of Indian Cavalry, Infantry and Pioneer Units who served in Mesopotamia 1914-1918

Volume II is also available on Volume II, Contents, Index. Map: Middle East and Maps 8-9, 11, 13-17, 19-20. List of Maps versions, mirrors from the Digital Library of India: Vol I, List of Maps, Maps at back of book displayed out of order; Vol III, List of Maps, Maps at back of book displayed in reverse order; Vol IV, List of Maps, Maps at back of book displayed out of order.
Note, this report also contains the Vincent Bingley report into the medical situation as Appendix I. In addition, separately Appendices To The Report Of The Commission For Medical Arrangements In Mesopotamia Vol-II (July 1916). Volume 1 of these Appendices does not appear to be available online, (National Archives reference CAB19/27).
Part II- Maps. IOR/L/MIL/17/15/72/2. Refer Maps above.
"Casualties in the Mesopotamian Expeditionary Force, November 1914 to December 1918" page 218 History of the Great War Based on Official Documents: Medical Services: Casualties and Medical Statistics of the Great War by Major T. J. Mitchell and Miss G. M. Smith. 1931 Hathi Trust Digital Library
"The Control of Flies and Vermin in Mesopotamia" page 23 The Review of Applied Entomology Volume V 1917
"Heat-Stroke" Chapter IV page 51 In Mesopotamia by Martin Swayne (real name Maurice Nicoll) 3rd edition 1918 Heatstroke was also known as sunstroke, and occasionally as insolation or siriasis.
  • With the M. T. in Mesopotamia by Brevet Lt.-Col F W Leland RASC 1920 Hathi Trust Digital Library. (M.T.= Mechanical Transport, part of the Royal Army Service Corps)
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.
The Royal Army Service Corps: A History of Transport and Supply in the British Army, Volume II by Colonel R H Beadon 1931. version, mirror from Digital Library of India. Includes the First World War period, with a chapter on Mesopotamia.
  • A History of the Army Ordnance Services, Volume III: The Great War by Major General Arthur Forbes 2nd edition 1932, first published 1929. version, mirror from Digital Library of India. Includes a chapter on Mesopotamia.
  • The Inland Water Transport in Mesopotamia compiled by Lieut.-Col. L. J. Hall 1921
"Inland Waterways and Docks, Royal Engineers in War Time, with special reference to the mystery port of Richborough (Lecture & Discussion)" by Captain A E Battle, RE Proceedings of the Victorian Institute of Engineers 1923-1924, pages 104-116. Includes Inland Water Transport in Mesopotamia, and brief mention of other theatres of war. Melbourne University Digital Collection.
Townshend of Chitral and Kut: Based on the diaries and private papers of Sir Charles Vere Townshend by Erroll Sherson 1928. version, mirror from Digital Library of India.
Loyalties: Mesopotamia; a personal and historical record, Volume II 1917-1920 by Sir Arnold Talbot Wilson 1931. HathiTrust Digital Library. Possibly not accessible in USA etc. Also available as a download from 1936 edition. Also published under the title Mesopotamia, 1917-1920; a Clash of Loyalties.
Other regimental histories, see The Guides, (Cavalry and Infantry); 104th Wellesley’s Rifles; 105th Mahratta Light Infantry; 2nd King Edward's Own Goorkha Rifles (The Sirmoor Rifles); 2nd Bombay Pioneers;
  • Page 99 T. E. Lawrence: In Arabia and After by Liddell Hart 1934 T E Lawrence accompanied Aubrey Herbert, to negotiate regarding the besieged Kut garrison. Extracts from Lawrence’s description of these proceedings, in a letter dated 18 May [1916] from the website A Century Back: Writing the Great War, Day by Day. April 29, 2016. Scroll down. The letter was written to his family,[9] see more details.
Tales of Turkey by Major E W C Sandes 1924. version, mirror from Digital Library of India..
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 Letters of Gertrude Bell published 1927., Digital Library of India Collection.Volume I, Volume II. Mainly letters sent to her family. Volume II is in respect of her time in Baghdad 1917-1926.
  • Two Years in Kurdistan : Experiences of a Political Officer, 1918-1920 by W R Hay, Captain, attached 24th Punjabis, Political Dept, Government of India. 1921
  • The Insurrection in Mesopotamia 1920 by Lieutenant General Sir Aylmer L. Haldane 1922. Missing title page noted, and see "Reviews" underneath the book file for other missing pages. Another version on (links to a series of pdfs, most of which contain the text ”on its side”, so may be difficult to read on a fixed computer screen.) HathiTrust Digital Library, accessible in North America and limited other areas only.
  • Mesopotamia: the "Daily Mail" inquiry at Baghdad by Sir Percival Phillips 1922
  • The Truth About Mesopotamia Palestine and Syria by John de Vere Loder 1923. version, mirror from Digital Library of India.
  • Iraq Levies 1915-1932 by Brigadier J Gilbert Browne CMG. CBE. DSO. 1932 . A transcription. “Assyrian RAF Levies”. Also available in a reprint edition,[13] which in turn is available online on the Ancestry owned pay website fold3 as The Iraq Levies (located in World War II/Military Books/Iraq).
  • The Ins and Outs of Mesopotamia by Thomas Lyell 1923. version, mirror from Digital Library of India.
  • Iraq: A Study in Political Development by Philp Willard Ireland 1937. version, mirror from Digital Library of India. Additional file Includes chapters on the war period, in addition to the post war years.
  • Page 219 The Memoirs Of Sir Ronald Storrs 1937 The author, working for the Foreign Office in Egypt, was appointed Political Officer in Mesopotamia in 1917 to represent the Egyptian Expeditionary Force in Mesopotamia.
  • Field Notes Mesopotamia by General Staff India 1915 (Poor quality print) version, mirror from Digital Library of India.
  • When’s When In Mesopotamia by General Staff, Mes. Ex. Force Printed at the Government Press Baghdad 1919. version, mirror from Digital Library of India. Conversion tables showing the European style dates from August 1914 to December 1919 and the equivalent dates under various other systems: Arabic - Old Style - Turkish Official - Jewish - Persian Zodiacal. Also details of Arabic time, where the day commences at sunset.
  • The Spoken Arabic of Mesopotamia by John Van Ess, first published 1917., mirror from Digital Library of India.
  • Kalyan Pradeep: Captain Kalyan Kumar Mukhopadhadhaya, I.M.S.-er Jiboni, by Mokkhoda ['Mokshada'] Debi (1928) [Kalyan Pradeep: The Life of Captain Kalyan Kumar Mukherji, I.M.S.] in Bengali may be read online on the Digital Library of India website. The catalogue entry is Kalyan-Pradip by Mokshada Debi There are two book files, version 1, mirror from Digital Library of India; version 2, mirror from Digital Library of India.
  • Sainyaan'tiila Aat'havand-ii by Limaye Go Gan' published 1939. version, mirror from Digital Library of India. Sainyatil Athavani, or War Memoirs of Captain Gopal Gangadhar Limaye. Marathi language with an English Introduction. The author was in the Indian Medical Service IMS, 1918-1921. As part of the 87th Punjabis, he saw action in Mesopotamia and was involved in operations against the Kurdistanis in 1919 and in quelling the Arab Rebellion in 1920.
  • Also see Norperforce, for books relating to actions in Persia and Transcaucasia, under control of the Army in Mesopotamia.
  • Fiction


  1. Mesopotamia 1920-21 from Harry’s Sideshows by Harry Fecitt
  2. Iraq Administration Reports 1914–1932
  3. Corps History and Corps History CD-ROM The Institution of Royal Engineers (InstRE)
  4. Khyber Pass 1/5th Royal West Surrey, Murree, Aug 1916 Great War Forum 28 August 2015. Retrieved 24 April 2019.
  5. The dates of the entries are in the top LH corner of the Home webpage. The entries from the journal are in the format , where, for a particular entry, ab is the year, cd is the month, ef is the first mentioned day in the month (all two digits). For diary entries, scroll down to URLs containing the word journal, and then use that URL in the Wayback Machine.
  6. PassTHE knowledge by Akhi Soufyan
  7. An Account of the Operations of the 18th (Indian) Division in Mesopotamia December 1917 to December 1918 by Lieut. Col WE Wilson-Johnston. Naval & Military Press reprint edition.
  8. The “D” Force (Mesopotamia) in the Great War by J Fitzgerald Lee. Naval & Military Press reprint edition.
  9. 29 April 2016: On this day in history T E Lawrence Society on Facebook. Retrieved 4 August 2016.
  10. Elias Henry Jones homefrontmuseum (accessed 22 July 2014)
  11. 11.0 11.1 June 2019 catalogue
  12. Tigris Gunboats: A Narrative Of The Royal Navy’s Co-Operation With The Military Forces In Mesopotamia From The Beginning Of The War To The Capture Of Baghdad (1914-1917) by Vice-Admiral Wilfrid Nunn, first published 1932. Naval & Military Press.
  13. Iraq Levies 1915-1932 Naval & Military Press.
  14. Maureene. Fiction/faction/fact? The Legion of Marching Madmen/ W J Blackledge: Online Great War Forum 15 March 2019. Retrieved 17 March 2019.