Casualties of the war in Mesopotamia

In Remembrance of;
- Private Walter Mawman
- Private Richard Humfrays
- Private Joseph Hurd
- Private James Edwin Darling
- Private Harold Mawman
- Pioneer Albert Buckton Whittaker
- Lieutenant John Lacy Warwick
- Sapper John Massheder
- Private William Henry Massheder
- Private Robert Knaggs
- Corporal Allan Percy
- Lance Corporal Ernest Robert Reid

One of the most irritating aspects of the ‘Great War’, particularly to those who had found themselves in the fighting, had been the expression ‘sideshow’. The implication of the word is that victories or defeats in certain areas could not make any difference to the final outcome of hostilities. In consequence, the soldiers who had fought in the Middle East, Italy, or Africa had been left with the impression that nobody had cared much about the conditions in which they were fighting, or even the result. The had believed, rightly, that a ‘sideshow’ was considered by the public, to be easier, or less dangerous and less uncomfortable than the ‘Western Front’, in fact it had been rare for this to be so. Many of the ‘sideshows’ had been as tough, and in some cases tougher, than the fighting in France and Belgium. Perhaps the toughest if not, the most uncomfortable of the ‘sideshows’ had been the Mesopotamian campaign.

Mesopotamia, [modern day Iraq] at the time of the First World War had been part of the Turkish Otterman Empire through which runs the great rivers Tigris and Euphrates which meet at the southern end of the country to form a complex river delta at Qurna, [forty miles north of Basra] which becomes the Shatt-al-Arab which flows into the Persian Gulf. For the most part the land is desert, and very flat. When the winter snow in the northern mountains thaws the rivers flood the plains to a great extent. There had been virtually no fresh water to be had in the land, except that from the rivers, there had been no roads, so all transport had to be by boat along the rivers a factor which had blighted the campaign from beginning to end.

. A campaign with humble beginnings, the British Army had first set foot in Mesopotamia on the 6TH of November 1914.The original task of the landing force, [consisting mostly of Indian troops of Indian Expeditionary Force ‘D’] had been the ‘protection’ of the Anglo-Persian oil pipeline, refineries, and tanks which had supplied most of the Royal Navy’s fuel. The initial objective had been achieved without too much bloodshed and the British Government had subsequently ordered the British Army Commander in Mesopotamia, [General Sir John Nixon] to seize the nearby city of Basra. The city had been taken on the 21ST of November with the loss of a hundred British lives [the Turks had lost nearer a thousand].

Not content with the capture of the oilfields and Basra and with no definite military advantage to be made, the British had eventually had eventually embarked on an advance northwards with the intention of capturing the whole of Mesopotamia, including the city of Baghdad, which lay almost five hundred and seventy blistering miles to the north of the Persian Gulf. Without realising the difficulties that lay in store for an army stretching its supply lines to the limit as it had moved further upstream from the Gulf. [There had never been enough shallow draught boats, nor enough mules or camels to adequately supply the fighting forces that would eventually be up to five hundred miles from their base depots at Basra].

Initially the fighting qualities of the Turkish Army [assisted by German ‘advisors’] had been much maligned by the British all that had changed during 1915 when the British High Command had to come to terms with the fact that the Turks were going to be stubborn and difficult opponents. By the 22ND of November 1915 the 6TH Indian Division had reached the town of Ctesiphon some sixteen miles from Baghdad, where they had been met by a force of over 20,000 Turks in prepared positions. The ensuing battle had been fought with the greatest determination and ferocity by both sides, The British had lost. Fierce Turkish counter attacks had been beaten off the following day, but the British commander [Townsend] had been in a dire situation. Having lost 4,500 men or forty per cent of his infantry and half his white officers, if he had remained where he were annihilation would have been inevitable. Therefore on the 24TH of November he had ordered his exhausted force to retreat to a fly blown town named Kut-al-Amara. The force consisting of nearly twelve thousand British and Indian troops had subsequently been besieged in the town for four agonising months.

The campaign to retake Kut had inevitably drawn more and more troops and resources to the theatre of operations, amongst them had been the 13TH [Western] Division. The only British Division to serve in Mesopotamia, the Thirteenth had consisted of twelve battalions of infantry recruited from the counties of Lancashire, Warwickshire, Gloucestershire, Worcestershire, Staffordshire, and Wiltshire. [A thirteenth battalion, the 8TH Welch Regiment had been the Division’s Pioneer Battalion] which had been formed into three Brigades, the 38TH, 39th, and 40TH. In addition the Division had consisted of three Brigades of Royal Field Artillery, three Field companies of Royal Engineers, three Field Ambulances of the Royal Army Medical corps, and one Mobile Vetinary Section. All the men serving with the division had initially been volunteers into Kitchener’s ‘New Armies’.

The Division had begun to assemble during late August 1914 and by the end of February 1915 had been concentrated at Blackdown near Farnborough, where on the seventh of June the formation had been informed that it was to make ready for service in the Mediterranean, the first units leaving England on the 13TH of June. By the fourth of July Divisional Headquarters had been established at Mudros on the Greek island of Lemnos. Between the sixth and sixteenth of July the infantry had moved to Gallipoli, where they had relieved the battle worn British 29TH Division, which had been at Helles. The three brigades had returned to Mudros at the end of July, however, on the third of August they had again landed on the Peninsular, on that occasion at ANZAC Cove. Whilst in this area the Division, between the 6TH and 10TH of August had taken part in the bitter fighting at Sari Bair and at Russell’s Top. Before August had ended units of the division had also played an important role during and assault on a Turkish position known as Hill 60. The thirteen divisions had remained at Gallipoli until the general evacuation in early January 1916, the division quitting the Peninsular during the night of 8/9 January.

The Division had eventually been posted to Egypt, and by the end of January had been concentrated at Port Said. After a period of duty in the Suez Canal Defence Force the formation had been moved to Mesopotamia, joining the Tigris Force at Shaikh Saad.

The Thirteenth had subsequently gone into action for the first time during the third attempt to relieve the garrison at Kut. On the fifth of April 1916 after many days of preliminary artillery bombardment the division had attacked a series of Turkish positions near to the small town of Fallahiyeh. The attack had gone badly. Advancing over open ground the lead 40TH Brigade had come under heavy fire and had had to fight off a vicious counter attack. After dark British artillery had opened fire on the Turkish lines and the division’s 38TH and 39TH Brigades had renewed the attack at 7-30pm, they had fared little better. 2,000 officers and men had been cut down by machine gun fire, and hand-to-hand fighting. During this action Captain Angus Buchanan of the 4TH South Wales Borderers had won the Division’s first Victoria Cross [he had already been awarded the Military Cross at Gallipoli] for bringing two wounded men to cover while under heavy machine gun fire.

The following day the Indian 7TH [Meerut] Division had relieved the survivors of the 13TH. They had been led to believe that capturing the Fallahiyeh would be easy, because the Turks were preparing a stronger defence six miles on, [at the Es Sinn Position]. Nothing could be further from the truth. Without maps and without prior knowledge of the ground the Meerut had groped their way forward before dawn into a hornets nest. 1,200 men had fallen in twenty minutes.

The Thirteen Division had renewed the assault at dawn on the eighth of April. On that occasion some men had penetrated the first Turkish line only to be bombed out in vicious close quarter fighting. Many men did not get that far. During this action the division had lost another 1,600 men. During this day Private James Finn also of the South Wales Borderers, and 2ND Lieutenant Edgar Myles of the Welch Regiment had gained two more Victoria Crosses for the Division.

Despite the heavy losses in the attack on Fallahiyeh there had been little option but to continue the efforts to relieve the desperate garrison of Kut. During the night of the 8TH/9TH April the Thirteenth division had relieved the 7th [Meerut] Division in the trenches and at 4-20am had advanced to the assault of the Sannaiyat position. When within three hundred yards of the enemy fire trench they had been discovered, and a shower of Turkish flares had exposed them to heavy machine gun and small arms fire. Nevertheless, detachments of the 6TH Loyal North Lancs., 6TH King’s Own, 8TH Royal Welch Fusiliers, and 5TH Wiltshire Regiments had managed to penetrate into the enemy’s lines. Unfortunately the supporting second wave of infantry had lost direction in the glare of the flares leaving the initially successful units terribly exposed to a Turkish counterattack, which had driven all the British troops out of their trenches, and back some five hundred yards.

Desperate fighting accompanied by fearful casualties had continued throughout the remainder of April. Between the seventeenth and the twenty second the British had lost over a thousand men in attacks on the enemy’s lines at Bait Aisa and Sannaiyat. Despite extreme gallantry on the part of the Indians and British infantrymen little had been gained. By this time the Tigris Force had been almost worn out by their efforts to relieve the garrison at Kut. One last effort to resupply the town had been made on the 24TH of April when the fast steamer ‘Julnar’ had set sail from Fallahiyeh carrying 270 tons of stores Despite being covered by artillery and machine gun fire, aimed to distract and keep under cover the enemy, ‘Julnar’ had been seen, shelled and eventually captured some eight and a half miles from her goal, with her loss the operations to relieve Kut had in effect ended.

The town had eventually been surrendered unconditionally on Saturday the 29TH of April, on May the sixth the defeated garrison of nearly twelve thousand British and Indian troops had embarked on a death march to a distant Anatolia, along the way the men had suffered appallingly at the hands of their Turkish and Arab captors. Of the 2,500British soldiers who had been captured at Kut 1,750 had died during the march northwards, or in the appalling conditions of the prisoner-of –war camps in Anatolia. Of the 9,300 Indian soldiers captured, 2,500 had died.

By this time the four British Division’s [3RD, 7TH, 13TH, and 14TH] serving in Mesopotamia had been in a sorry and weakened state. Sickness had been rife nearly every soldier had suffered at some time from dysentery, poor rations had also brought a bout of scurvy amongst the troops, and at the beginning of May there had been an outbreak of cholera. Temperatures in the shade of over a hundred and fifteen degrees Fahrenheit were common the scorching wind, blowing like a blast furnace had burned and rasped skin unaccustomed to a tropical climate.

Reinforcements, fresh from England, had suffered the most and cases of severe sunburn [then and now regarded by the Military as a self inflicted wound], and worse still, heatstroke, were added to the ailments of the troops. To add to ‘Tommies’ miseries had been the flies, which had fed off the dead of ‘No Man’s Land’. Apart from the diseases, which they had undoubtedly carried and spread, the discomfort of their presence had almost been unbearable. The air had been filled with their buzzing and every man had carried his own swarm for they had settled on every portion of his anatomy where a hand could not reach to brush them off. In addition every cooking pot, dish, and every scrap of food had been black with them. The helpless sick and wounded had suffered the most, without mosquito nets and very few tents one can only imagine the plight they had been in.

With the arrival of summer British [and Turkish] operations in Mesopotamia had virtually closed down. During this time the Commanding Officer of the Thirteenth Division, Lieutenant General Sir Frederick Stanley Maude, had assumed command of the Tigris Corps and the operations intended to recapture Kut.

By the end of December the Thirteenth Division had been entrenched to the immediate south of Kut near the river Hai. At this time the British had begun to make preparations to assault formidable Turkish positions at Khadairi Bend, which had defended the town. The approach to the enemy’s positions had been completely devoid of cover, therefore, in order to cut down the amount of open ground that the assault force would have to cover the British had adopted tactics used by Wellington during the Peninsular War, which had entailed the digging of a series of ‘saps’, or trenches, towards the Turkish positions, a mammoth task. Nonetheless, the operation had begun during the night of the 22ND of December when the First Manchester’s and Highland Light Infantry of First Indian Army Corps had delivered the first blow by closing to within 200 yards of the Turkish front line on what had been considered their weakest flank [near a position known as the ‘East Mounds’] where they had dug in. During the course of the next few days the line that they had established had gradually been pushed forward by a process of digging trenches which had radiated from the front line like the spokes of a wheel, every few yards the trenches had been joined together at their forward ends thus forming a fresh front line nearer the enemy. This procedure had gone on until less than two hundred yards had separated the opposing sides. By the morning of the seventh of January an advance of more than two thousand yards had been made. To achieve this over twenty five thousand yards of trench had been dug, much of it being carried out in torrential rain. During this period the casualties incurred by the Tigris Corps are estimated to have been around three hundred killed and wounded. Amongst them had been; 25970 Private Walter Mawman.

Born in Scarborough’s St Mary’s Parish during 1887 Walter Mawman had been the third of ten children of Mary Ann and ‘Dairyman’ George Mawman [George Mawman and Mary Ann Boggit had been married in Scarborough at St Mary’s Parish Church on the 15TH of May 1880], who had lived for a number of years in the town at No 13 Livingstone Road and No 7 Rothbury Street. A pupil of the town’s Central Board School, in Trafalgar Street West, Walter had left the school at the age of twelve to become a ‘Telegraph Messenger’ with the General Post office, which at the time had been situated in Huntriss Row. He had eventually left the Post Office to become an apprentice bricklayer with local building contractor George Johnson, whose ‘yard’ had been in Gladstone Street. A married man by the outbreak of war, Walter had lived for some time at No 6 Britannia Street before moving to the City of Leeds, where he had enlisted into the Army during 1915. [1]

A veteran of the Gallipoli campaign, Mawman had been wounded in the head by a sniper during the night of Sunday the fourteenth of January whilst assisting with the digging of one of the ‘saps’ mentioned above. The entry in the ‘War Diary’ of the Fifth Wiltshire’s for this day records;

‘At night two saps pushed forward 130 yards with ‘T’-heads from Emperor trench by ‘C’ and ‘D’ Coys. One in continuation of Hai Street and one 120 yards east of Hai Street and parallel to it named Swindon Street. 2/Lt G.H.A. Wood wounded during digging operations. Casualties Other Ranks Killed one. Wounded four’…

The wounded had subsequently endured an arduous journey by boat down the Tigris to one of the many British and Indian Hospitals which had been stationed at Amara, [a town on the left bank of the Tigris, some 520 Kilometres from the Persian Gulf], where Mawman had unfortunately succumbed to his wounds at the age of thirty during Sunday the 21ST of January 1917.

The widowed George Mawman [Mary Mawman had died at Leeds on August 6TH 1916] living in Leeds by 1917 at No14 Primrose Lane, Burton Road, had received a telegram from the War Office informing him of his son’s demise early in February 1917. The news had consequently been reported in the ‘Scarboro’s Casualties’ section which had been included in the ‘Scarborough Mercury’ of Friday the ninth of February;

‘News has been received by Mr. George Mawman now residing in Leeds, late of 7 Rothbury Street, that his son, Private Walter Mawman, Wilts Regiment, has been killed in Mesopotamia. Private Mawman used to live at 6, Britannia Street. He died on Sunday January 21ST, from gunshot wounds in the head. He was a member of the National Reserve Band, and by trade a bricklayer in the employ of Mr G. Johnson, Ramshill Road. Mr Mawman had five sons, and four are now in the Army. His brother Mr W. Mawman, 7, Spring Bank, has four sons and one son-in-law serving’…

The son’s of George Mawman who had been mentioned in the above article had been his thirty seven years old [in 1917] eldest son James William, an Air Mechanic with the Royal Flying Corps, twenty four years old Percy, a Private in the Northumberland Fusiliers, and his youngest son [21 years old] Arthur who had served with the West Yorkshire Regiment. The fourth son had been the twenty two years old Harold Mawman who in 1917 had also been serving in Mesopotamia with the Thirteenth Division;

Shortly after his death the body of Walter Mawman had been interred in a Military Cemetery near to the town of Amara [now known as Amara War Cemetery] in Plot 26, Section D, Grave 4.

Also amongst the four wounded ‘other ranks’ had been; 9227 Corporal Allan Percy. Born in Scarborough during 1880 Allan had been the third of seven children of Jessie and Edmund Percy, a plumber by trade. A pupil of the Central Board School in Scarborough’s Trafalgar Street West, Percy had been a resident of No 72 Murchison Street for most of his life, however, immediately prior to the out break of war the unmarried Percy had been living in the Wiltshire town of Trowbridge [where he had enlisted into the Army during September 1914] where he had been employed in the fish, game, and poultry trade. Percy had also been a veteran of the Gallipoli campaign where he had been wounded during August 1915 in the fighting at ‘Russell’s Top’. Following hospitalisation at Malta Percy had rejoined his battalion during October 1915 and had continued to serve in the theatre until the unit had been evacuated during December 1915. [2]

Unlike Mawman, Percy had not survived the journey to Amara having died en route on Tuesday the 16TH of January 1917, at the age of 37 years. His remains had also been buried in Amara War Cemetery in Section 18, Row D, Grave 5.

Allan Percy’s younger brother Robert [Born in Scarborough in 1890] had served during the war in the Royal Navy, James Percy [born in 1884] had served in the Royal Army Medical Corps and had been awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal. Both had survived to return to Scarborough.

A Memorial commemorating Allan’s Norfolk born [Sherringham] mother is located in Manor Road Cemetery [Section P. Row 8, Grave 0]. She had died on the 30TH of June 1891 at the age of forty-one years. The memorial also bears the name of Allan’s younger sister Jessie, who had died on the 4TH of June 1890, at the age of 9 years. The memorial also commemorates William, John, Robert, and Jessie Percy, who had all died in infancy.

The Baptism records of Scarborough’s St Mary’s Parish Church record Allan, Caroline, Ellen R. James B., John, Jessie, and Harriet Percy as all being baptised on the same day, the 14TH of April 1889, at the time the family had been living at No.54 Aberdeen Walk.
Following a heavy artillery bombardment the battle of Khadairi Bend [also known as the battle of Mohammed Abdul Hassan] had begun in earnest during the morning of the 9TH of January. The Turks had inevitably met the British bayonets and bombs with their usual determination and had counter attacked each assault with a violence that had resulted in many days of bitter, sometimes hand to hand, fighting. However, by the morning of the 29TH of January the whole of Khadairi Bend had been in British hands. Maude had next turned his attention on the conquest of the Hai Salient. The tactics that had been so successful at Khadairi Bend had again been used.

The battle had begun in pouring rain on the 25TH of January. Again the Turks had met the British with determination and courage; it had been far from a walk over. Only in the last few days before they were finally eliminated entirely on the right bank of the Tigris was the morale of the Turks broken. By this time the campaign in Mesopotamia had become a slogging match, and if there had ever been any glamour in the theatre most of it had faded away. The British troops had been burnt out by the constant repetition of attacking a series of ditches in a wasteland of caked clay; no-one was ‘burning to be up and at the Turks’ as those who had read the newspapers in Britain had been led to believe.

When the battle for the Hai Salient had started, the Turkish garrison had been estimated at about 3,700 souls. The first attack on the 25TH of January had been directed at both banks of the Hai by the 39TH Brigade on the left and 40TH Brigade [both from 13TH Division] on the right. All had gone well at first and 1,800 yards of the Turkish front line had been captured. However, the Turks had eventually counter attacked with their customary zeal accompanied by heavy shell fire, and had driven the 39TH brigade back the way they had gone having suffered over a thousand casualties.

The following day the assault had been renewed by the Indian 14TH Division, on that occasion after twelve hours of bitter fighting the 82ND and 26TH Punjabis had succeeded in retaking the line, which had been lost, the previous day, the price had nonetheless been expensive. Of the 82ND Punjabi’s, 240 of the 500 men who had begun the assault were either killed or wounded. On the east bank the story had been much the same, nonetheless, by the end of January the whole Turkish front line system to a depth of 1,000 yards had been in British hands.

By the fifth of February the Turks had completely abandoned the Hai Salient to take up a new line at the Dahra Bend to the west of Kut. On the morning of the ninth in fine weather the 38TH Brigade of 13TH Division had launched an attack against the centre of the Turkish positions which had been sited near to an abandoned liquorice factory, after some vicious fighting and beating off several counter attacks the Brigade had breached the Turkish defences. During the following day the ’liquorice factory’ had been captured and during the ensuing four days the Turks had been hemmed in and steadily pressed back farther and farther to their last line across the curve of the Tigris. Six days later the Turkish resistance had totally collapsed, and although the bend was not captured without a struggle, for the first time since the early days of the campaign they had surrendered en masse, by the end of the fifteenth day of February over two thousand Turks had surrendered. During these operations two more of Scarborough’s fighting men had made the ultimate sacrifice; 49090 Private Richard Humfrays.

Born in the Parish of St Mary’s in Scarborough during 1887, Richard had been the eldest son of Mary Jane and Richard Humfrays, a joiner by trade. The family had lived at No79 Commercial Street during Richard Humfrays formative years and had been a pupil of the nearby Gladstone Road Board School between the ages of four and twelve, when he had left the institution to become an agricultural worker at Staxton Wold. During 1907 Humfrays had enlisted into the Regular Army, and had served with the First Battalion of the Yorkshire Regiment at Aldershot until September 1908, when the Battalion had embarked for service in Egypt. The unit had eventually been posted to India, where it had been stationed at Sialkot. By August 1914, however, the unit had been at Barian. During October 1914 the First Yorks had been transferred to Victoria Barracks at Rawlpindi and had subsequently seen extensive service on the India/Afghanistan frontier.

Humfrays had been transferred to the 8TH Royal Welch Fusiliers [which had been formed at Wrexham during August 1914] during September 1916, joining the battalion in Egypt, where it had been recuperating following service in the Gallipoli campaign. The unmarried Richard Humfrays had been killed in action at the age of thirty
During Thursday the 25TH of January 1917, his body was never recovered from the Hai battlefield.

At the end of the war Richard Humfrey’s name had been included on the Gladstone Road School ‘Roll of Honour’, the memorial commemorating over seventy former pupils who had lost their lives between 1914 and 1918 takes the form of a brass plate and is located in the Hall of the Junior School. Private Humfrays’s two younger brothers, Herbert and Jim, had served with the army during the war. Herbert with The King’s Own [Royal Lancaster Regiment], although badly wounded in the left thigh during October 1917, he had survived. 59000 Private Joseph Hurd.

Joe Hurd had been born in the St James Parish of Scarborough during 1891, and had been the son of Maria and Joseph Hurd, a Tailor by trade. Hurd had enlisted into the Regular Army during 1910, and like Private Humfrays had served with the First Battalion of the Yorkshire Regiment [Regimental Number 9621] in Egypt and India. He had been amongst twenty-five men from the unit who had been transferred to the Cheshire Regiment during September 1916.

Killed in action on Thursday the 1ST of February 1917 at the age of twenty-six years, the body of Joseph Hurd had also never been recovered from the Hai Salient. Both of the soldiers had eventually been commemorated on a Memorial to the Missing which had originally been erected within the War Cemetery at Basra, however, during 1997 the Memorial had been relocated by the Iraqis thirty two kilometres along the road to Nasiriyah [which had been the middle of a major battleground during the first Gulf War]. The soldier’s names can be found on Panels 15, and 14&62 respectively. According to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, the memorial consists of a roofed colonnade of white Indian stone, 80metres long, with an obelisk sixteen metres high as the central feature. The names of over forty thousand British, Indian, and West African servicemen who had lost their lives and never afforded a ‘known grave’ during the operations in Mesopotamia are engraved on slate panels fixed to the wall behind the columns.

A former member of the congregation of St James’s Church in Scarborough’s Seamer Road, the name of Joseph Hurd had been included on the Church War Memorial, which takes the form of an oak pulpit and alter rail, as well as a carved ‘Rood Screen’ which separates the nave from the choir. The memorial had been dedicated by the Lord Bishop of Hull on the 12TH of April 1921 and carries the names of fifty-four men, women, and children of the Church who had lost their lives during the Great War.

Panel 41 of the Basra Memorial bears the name of another Scarborough soldier;
103743 Private James Edwin Darling. Born in Scarborough on the 23RD of August 1890 at No.12 Brinkburn Road, ‘Edwin’ Darling had been the second son [elder brother Sydney had been born during 1887] of Eliza [formerly Geaves] and John Darling, who had been a ‘Rullyman’ for the North Eastern Railway at the time of his son’s birth. A pupil of Gladstone Road Board School between 1894 and 1908, Edwin had left the institution to become an apprentice tailor with his uncle John William Darling, a ‘Tailor and Costumier’, whose premises had been situated at No.119 Falsgrave Road.

By the time of the outbreak of war during August 1914 Darling had been a time served tailor and had still been working with his uncle in his Falsgrave shop, however, during 1916 the twenty five years old had exchanged his tailoring shears for the ‘King’s Shilling’ by enlisting at Scarborough’s Recruiting Office [which had been situated in St Nicholas Street] into the Yorkshire Regiment [Regimental Number 22777]. Darling had eventually served with the regiment’s 3RD [Reserve] Battalion, which had been based in the North Yorkshire town of Richmond.

James had subsequently specialised as a machine gunner and had eventually transferred to the recently created [October 1915] Machine Gun Corps. Following training at The M.G. Corps Depot at Grantham in Lincolnshire Darling had been included in a draft of men destined for service with the 273RD machine Gun Company in the Middle East and had eventually joined the newly formed 18TH [Indian] Division during May 1917.

During August 1918 Private Darling had suffered a ruptured Appendix; his condition had deteriorated further when he had developed peritonitis, a bacterial infection that had caused an inflammation of his peritoneum [a double layered membrane that lines the inner wall of the abdomen]. Without adequate medical assistance and antibiotics the soldier had died during Saturday the 17TH of August at the age of twenty-eight years. The body of James Edwin Darling had been buried in the desert near to where he had died; the gravesite had never been located at the end of the campaign.
News of their son’s death had reached the Darling’s at their Candler Street home during Monday the twenty sixth of August 1918; the news of the soldier’s death [albeit using an incorrect name] had been transmitted in the pages of the ‘Scarborough Mercury’ of Friday the thirtieth;
‘Died in Mesopotamia - Mr. And Mrs. John Darling, 93, Candler Street, Scarborough, on Monday evening received official intimation that their son, Private Edwin James Darling, aged 28, of the Yorkshire Regiment, died from peritonitis in Mesopotamia on August 17TH. A sad fact is that the same post that brought the official news also brought a letter from Pte Darling to his mother, in which he wrote he hoped to be home soon. Pte. Darling, who was unmarried, had been abroad about a year, and prior to enlisting he was employed by his uncle, Mr. Darling, tailor, Falsgrave. Another son [Sidney] of Mr. And Mrs. Darling is a prisoner of war in Germany’…

At the end of the war Darling’s name had also been included on the Gladstone Road School ‘Roll of Honour’. In addition, ‘Edwin’s name can be found on a small grave marker in Scarborough’s Manor Road Cemetery [Section N, Row 17, Grave 35] which indicates the last resting place of his Scarborough born parents, John Darling, who had passed away on the third [buried on the 8TH] of February 1922 at the age of 69 years, and Eliza Darling who had died on the ninth of December 1930 [buried on the 14TH] at the age of seventy years

Kut-el-Amara had subsequently fallen into British hands on Saturday the 24TH of February 1917; early in March Maude had continued his advance northwards towards the jewel in the crown, Baghdad. By the morning of the sixth Maude’s force had reached the huge ancient archway at Ctesiphon about ten miles to the south of Baghdad and had been faced with crossing the Diyala a tributary of the Tigris. In full flood the river had been the last hurdle before the city. Here the Turks had again met the British with fierce resistance, dug in well prepared positions and making skilful use of their artillery the Turks had caused havoc as units of Thirteenth Division had tried to get across the river.

It had eventually taken three gallant attempts by the formation to ford the Diyala, an action in which the 6th Battalion of The Loyal North Lancashire Regiment had particularly distinguished themselves. [A bridge subsequently named the Lancashire Bridge had been built over the river to commemorate the many Lancastrians who had lost their lives fording the river]. Before dawn on the eleventh of March British patrols probing the Turkish positions in front of the city had found them empty and by 6am that day a patrol of the Black Watch had entered the railway station in Baghdad.

On the left bank of the Diyala units of 13TH Division had been clearing the Turks from their last redoubt in the palm groves round a place named Tel Mohammed at the point of the bayonet, whilst the 40TH Brigade had been making a wide turning sweep to bring them right round the flank of the redoubt. With the Turkish rearguard falling back all the time they had made rapid progress. Soon after dawn the road had to Baghdad had been clear of Turks and two squadrons of British cavalry had before long trotted towards the southern gate of the city where they had been met by jubilant crowds. Half an hour later the Union Jack had had been hoisted in the citadel.

The capture of Baghdad had unfortunately not been the end of the campaign in Mesopotamia. Two days after the fall of the city the British had resumed their campaign by pushing northwards with the intention of capturing the town of Mosul, some 240 miles distant. In the ensuing four weeks they had fought a number of fierce actions, which had culminated with the Battle of Bandi-I-Adhaim [The Boot], which had taken place on the thirtieth of April. ‘The Boot’ had been the last battle of 1917 until the offensive had been renewed in the autumn of 1917.

Having fought themselves to a virtual standstill, the arrival of the hot season [which runs from May to September in Iraq] had spelt the end of the fighting for both sides. The enemies from then onwards for Briton, Indian, and Turk alike had been the ever-present sun, dust, and flies. The Mesopotamian summer of 1917 had turned out to be the hottest in living memory. As the weeks passed the temperature had steadily risen, by July thermometers in Baghdad had recorded incredible123 degrees in the shade. For the soldiers sweltering in tents and dugouts and still clad in the heavy serge uniforms of winter conditions had been insufferable.

By summer the Mesopotamian Expeditionary Force’s battle casualties had been around the eighteen thousand mark out of a fighting strength of roughly forty five thousand men, to these had to be added the casualties of the climate. Over 37,000 men had been admitted to hospital with varying degrees of heat exhaustion, madness, and dehydration between the middle of March and mid April alone, by August the temperature had risen to over a hundred and sixty degrees in the shade. Amongst the thousands who had been disabled by the sun during this period had been the Mawman’s younger son; 28443 Private Harold Mawman.

Born in Scarborough during 1895, Harry had been the seventh son of Mary and George Mawman. Like brother Walter, Harold had also attended the Central Board School, which until the 1970’s had stood at the corner of Scarborough’s Trafalgar Street West and Melrose Street [in 2003 the site is a collection of flats known locally as ‘Genevieve Court’]. After leaving school during 1909 Mawman had worked with local building contractor John Jaram as an apprentice bricklayer until 1913 when he had moved to the city of Leeds with the remainder of his family.

Harry Mawman had enlisted into the burgeoning Kitchener’s ‘New Army’ at Leeds during January 1915 and had initially served in the 10TH [Service] Battalion of the West Yorkshire Regiment [Regimental Number 23975] which had been formed at York during September 1914, before being transferred to the Prince of Wales’s Volunteers during 1915 with whom he had served during the campaign on the Gallipoli Peninsular.

During July/August 1917 the Thirteenth Division had been congregated to the north of Baghdad at Sadiya, where Mawman had contracted sunstroke, he had subsequently died in a nearby Casualty Clearing Station at the age of twenty two years on Thursday the 9TH of August 1917.The soldiers death had eventually been reported in ‘The Scarborough Mercury’ of Friday the seventeenth;

‘Second son dead - Mr G. Mawman, late 7, Rothbury Street, has learnt that his son Private Harold Mawman, Lancashire Regiment, has died from heat stroke in Mesopotamia. Previous to leaving Scarborough he was a member of Holy Trinity Church choir. This is Mr. Mawman’s second loss, having had another son die in Mesopotamia from wounds in January of this year. Another son has been wounded and two more are with the forces’…

The body of Harry Mawman had been buried in a cemetery in the desert, which had been attached to the C.C.S. where he had died. At the end of the war the remains had bee re-interred in the North Gate War Cemetery on the outskirts of Baghdad, his grave is situated in Section 19, Row B, [Grave 13].

In addition to the War Memorial, the Mawman brothers had been commemorated in Scarborough’s Manor Road Cemetery on a monument which takes the form of an open book which can be found in Section M, Row 15, which stands in front of a larger gravestone bearing the names of four children of Mary and George Mawman who had died in infancy. George who had died on the 7TH of April 1885 at the age of thirteen months, fifteen weeks old Ernest who had died on the 15TH of December 1885, Alice who had passed away on the 19TH of May 1889 at the age of fourteen months, and Edward who had died on the 18TH of November 1889 at the age of five months. The monument also has inscribed upon it the name of their York born mother who had passed away on the sixth of August 1916.

During the 1920’s Duggleby born George Mawman had returned to Scarborough to live the remainder of his days in the town. He had died at the age of eighty-two years during November 1939 and had subsequently been buried in the family grave in Manor Road Cemetery in the afternoon of the fourteenth; he is not commemorated on the gravestone.

Although the article in the Scarborough Mercury had stated that Harold Mawman had once been a chorister at Holy Trinity Church his name had not been included on the church ‘Roll of Honour’ which had been erected on the south interior wall of the church after the war.

Another of the Mawman’s sons, Percy, [born in Scarborough in 1893] had also served during the war. Wounded on the 28TH of April 1917, Percy had been a private in the Northumberland Fusiliers at the time. A married man he had lived with his wife in Scarborough at No63 Caledonia Street. Unlike Walter and Harry he had survived to tell the tale.

The North Gate Cemetery contains the graves of over three thousand servicemen who had lost their lives during the campaign in Mesopotamia, included amongst them are a number of men who had been born in Scarborough, or who had been familiar with the town. 210766 Pioneer Albert Buckton Whittaker.

Albert had been born in the West Yorkshire village of Oulston during 1889 and had been the second son of Louisa and wine and spirit merchant George Edward Whittaker. The Whittaker family had arrived in Scarborough shortly before the turn of the century when George had become an agent for Bentley’s Yorkshire Breweries in a shop that had been at No 23 Ramshill Road, which had been a short distance from St Martins Grammar School where Albert Whittaker had been a pupil from1896 until he had left the school in 1904 to begin an apprenticeship with Tea dealer, family grocer and provision dealer grocer and tea dealer Messrs John Rowntree & Sons whose extensive premises had been at 19,20, and 21 Westborough. Albert had subsequently left Scarborough to work in the grocery trade in the then North Yorkshire city of Middlesborough, however, by the outbreak of the war he had returned to the town to work in his father’s grocery, wine, and spirit shop, which had been at No117 Falsgrave Road.

Whittaker had initially attempted to enlist into the Army during 1915 and had been rejected as medically unfit, nonetheless he had tried again during October 1916 and on that occasion he had been accepted. A former member of the local volunteers scouting and signal section he had inevitably been posted to the Royal Engineers signalling section, which had been based at Chatham Barracks in Kent. After a period of training during January 1917 Albert had been included in a draft destined for the Mesopotamian theatre and had sailed in a troopship from Plymouth on March the tenth to embark on a journey which had taken him around the Cape of Good Hope to India arriving at the port of Bombay on May 6TH 1917.

Shortly after his arrival in India Whittaker had been included in a draft of reinforcements destined for service in Mesopotamia with the Fourteenth [Indian] Division, and had eventually served with the 1ST/2ND Gurkha Rifles of Brigadier General O.W. Carey’s 37TH Brigade until October. At this time the formation had been congregated some twenty-six miles to the north east of Baqubah near the town of Shahraban, where they had been making preparations to take part in a forthcoming operation to occupy Mendali, a town on the Persian Frontier lying to the south west of Shahraban. Whittaker had never taken part in the operation. Just before the 14TH Division had begun to assemble for the assault Albert had become dangerously ill with Jaundice, he had eventually fallen into a coma on the twenty third of October from which he had never regained consciousness. He had died from the effects of the failure of his liver on Wednesday the 24TH of October 1917 at the age of twenty-eight years.

‘The ‘Scarborough Mercury’ of Friday the second of November 1917 had said very little regarding Albert’s demise;

‘Died in Mesopotamia - Mr. And Mrs. G.E. Whittaker, 117 Falsgrave Road, have received news of the death in Mesopotamia of their second son, Albert Buckton Whittaker, who was with the Royal Engineers Signalling Section’…

The body of Albert Whittaker had initially been buried at Shahraban, at the end of the war his remains had been re-interred in North Gate Cemetery; his grave is located in Plot 4, Row K, [Grave 3].

In addition to Scarborough’s War Memorial, Albert Buckton Whittaker’s name is commemorated in the town on a ‘Roll of Honour’ located on the north interior wall of St Martins Church, which lists the names of former pupils of the Grammar School who had given their lives during the war. In addition his name is also to be found in a stained glass window memorial in ‘The Constitutional Club’ in Huntriss Row, and on a gravestone in the town’s Manor Road Cemetery [Plot V, Row7, Grave10] which also bears the names of his mother, who had passed away on Saturday the 15TH of February 1936 ‘after a long illness’ at her home at No.19 Murchison Street at the age of 77years, and his father who had died on the 27TH of November 1943 aged 85 years. Also included on the monument is the name of Albert’s eldest sister, Ethel Whittaker, born 1888- died 1958.

On Friday the 14TH of June 1918 an RE 8 [universally nicknamed ‘Harry Tate’ after a popular music hall comedian], a notoriously unstable twin seater Army co-operation aircraft of the recently created Royal Air Force [April 1918] had spiralled out of control near to it’s base at Samara, seventy miles to the north of Baghdad. Upon impact with the hard baked desert the aircraft had shattered into a hundred pieces of wood and fabric. To add to the total destruction of the RE8 the plane’s fuel tank had erupted in a fireball, which had incinerated the aircraft’s pilot Lieutenant John Lacy Warwick, and observer, Captain T. J. Keating.

Born in Kingston upon Thames on the 5TH of December 1895, John had been the twin son of Emily and Walter James Warwick and at the outbreak of war had been in Canada, where he had been studying at Montreal University as a ‘Dental Student’. Aged nineteen years by 1915, Warwick had enlisted at Montreal on the 22ND of January into the Canadian Expeditionary Force and had served for a short time in Canada as a Private [Regimental Number 522637] in the 5TH Reserve Battalion of Canadian Infantry. However, during 1916 he had applied for, and eventually received a commission in the British army, and had shortly arrived in England to been placed in a reserve of British officers known as ‘the General List’. [4]

Eventually electing to transfer to the Royal Flying Corps, Warwick had begun pilot training with No1 Reserve Squadron at Gosport during April 1917and after nine weeks of intensive training the budding flyer had received his pilot’s wings and had shortly been assigned to 63RD Squadron, a brand new unit that had been formed at Stirling during August 1916. This squadron had originally been intended to serve on the Western Front as a day bomber squadron armed with DH4 aircraft. However, just before the unit had embarked for France it had been re assigned to the Mesopotamian theatre and re-equipped with RE8’s.

The squadron had arrived at Basra during August 1917 and had shortly afterwards flown up country to their new base at Samarra, from where the squadron had intended to fly routine reconnaissance and air-photography flights from which maps could be prepared for the army’s next advance Un-acclimatised to the intense heat the airmen had immediately fallen foul of the Mesopotamian summer. The weather had also played havoc with their aircraft, constructed primarily from wood and fabric the frail airframes of their RE 8’s had literally shrunk causing many fatal in-flight accidents, and it had not been until the onset of the Mesopotamian winter months later, that the unit had become totally effective.

A Court of Enquiry at 63RD Squadron’s Headquarters at Samara had eventually been assembled to find the cause of the accident and had arrived at the conclusion that; ‘The cause of the accident was due to an error of judgement on the part of the pilot, resulting in a spinning nose dive’. The remains of the two airmen had initially been buried at Samara, however, after the armistice they had been re-interred in Baghdad North Gate War Cemetery. John Lacy Warwick’s grave is located in Plot 3, Section H [Grave 4]. The grave of the 24 years old Captain Keating [formerly of the Royal Field Artillery], the son of Patrick and Mary Keating of Ballinamult, County Waterford, can be found in Plot 3, Section E, [Grave 5].

Being a former member of the Canadian armed forces John Lacy Warwick is also commemorated in Canada, on Page 595 of the First World War Book of Remembrance that is located in the Memorial Chamber within the Peace Tower situated on Parliament Hill in Ottawa.

John Lacy Warwick’s name does not appear to have been included in any of the casualty lists that had appeared in ‘The Scarborough Mercury’ of 1918. Nevertheless, although not a native of Scarborough, at the end of the war Warwick’s name had been commemorated on a ‘Roll of Honour’ which had been located inside Holy Trinity Church, in the town’s Trinity Road, the church has now [2007] been converted into private housing, the whereabouts of the buildings once fine war memorial that had commemorated twenty eight former members of the church congregation that had lost their lives during ‘the Great War’ is unknown.

The lost flier’s name can also be found in Scarborough’s Manor Road Cemetery, on a memorial in Section M, Row 10 Grave 39, which incorrectly states that he had been ‘killed in action in Mesopotamia’. Also commemorated on the monument is the name of John’s twin brother, Richard Leedham Warwick who had died in Scarborough on the 9TH of December 1909 at the age of fifteen years. Richard’s remains had been interred in the cemetery during the 13TH of December 1909.

On the base of the monument, which takes the form of a three feet high cross, Mrs Warwick had had the word ‘Mizpah’ inscribed as a token of remembrance for her beloved sons. The word is ancient Hebrew and is included in Verse 49 of the Book of Genesis, denoting the cairn of stones that had been made in token of the covenant between Jacob and Laban, which was called ‘Mizpah’ -‘For he said, the Lord watch between me and thee, when we are absent from one another’…

Born in Hull during 1862, Emily Lacy had been the daughter of ‘Master Ironmonger’ John, and Ann Lacy. During the1920’s she had been residing at ‘Sheriff Hall’ in the village of Hedon, in the East Riding of Yorkshire, her last recorded address, where she had received from the Royal Air force the medals [a Victory Medal and British War Medal] that had been awarded to her son.

Attached to the 300TH Electrical and Mechanical Company of the Royal Engineers, 108915 Sapper John Massheder had been born in the city of York during 1890, and had been the son of Sarah Jane and John Massheder. John had enlisted into the army at Ripon during 1915, and had eventually died due to the effects of sunstroke on Sunday the fifth of August 1917; he was aged twenty-seven years. His remains had initially been buried in the desert, however, after the armistice his grave had been located, and the contents had been re-interred in North Gate Cemetery, in Section 16, Plot C, Grave11. According to the records of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, John’s widowed mother had remarried [Crisp]; her last known address had been ‘Twydale Cottage’, at Stainton Dale, a hamlet a few miles to the north of Scarborough. Before the war a resident of the village of Harwood Dale [nine miles to the north of Scarborough], John Massheder’s name can be found included on the village’s ‘Roll of Honour’ at St Margaret’s Church. The memorial, consisting of two stone tablets bearing the names of twenty four men of the district who had lost their lives during the Great War forms the entrance to the picturesque church also carries the name of John’s younger brother;

241555 Private William Henry Massheder; Born at Pickering during 1893 William had enlisted at Middlesborough during 1915 into the Yorkshire Regiment, and had been killed in action whilst serving with the 5TH Battalion during the Somme Offensive on Wednesday the 13TH of September 1916. His remains had been buried in Caterpillar Valley Cemetery near the Somme village of Longueval, in Plot 8, Section E, Grave 25.

The British offensive in Mesopotamia had continued during the autumn of 1917. By the end of September Ramadi had been captured, a month later they had marched into the dusty town of Tikrit [the birthplace of Saddam Hussein]. In the middle of what had seemed a run of British triumph, disaster had befallen the Army with the death from Cholera of its fifty three years old Commander in Chief, Brigadier General Frederick Stanley Maude on the 18TH of November. The saviour of the British effort in Mesopotamia, Maude had become what Kitchener had been to the British armies in Europe and his loss had been a bitter blow.

By this time the Mesopotamian campaign had ‘grown too big for its boots’. The limitations of British manpower and the dreadful losses of the recently ended Third Battle of Ypres [Passchendaele] had begun to worry the politicians and military chiefs in England and Robertson [the British Chief of Staff] was being compelled to cut the unfruitful ‘sideshows’ to the bone, and Mesopotamia, where a huge army was being tied down by a relatively small enemy had been an obvious area in which to seek economies.

Operating along short lines of communication, the geographical and strategic advantages all lay with the Turks, whilst the British, scattered over a large area, had been at the end of long vulnerable supply lines. In addition the Turks were becoming harder to bring to battle, for whenever the British had advanced their enemy had melted away like a mirage leaving yet another stretch of empty sand and dust.

Consequently during December 1917 many of the veteran units, including the magnificent 3RD [Lahore] and Fifth Indian Divisions, which had served in the campaign throughout, had been shipped to Palestine and Egypt. By the summer of 1918 the army in Mesopotamia had been a much diluted force, in addition to the two divisions already mentioned an Indian battalion had been taken from each of the brigades in the theatre for service in Salonica [Greece], and a company had also been taken from each of the Indian battalions to form the nucleus of new units which were being raised in India. In addition the Cavalry Division had been broken up into its component brigade, and the ineffective 13pounder guns of the Royal Horse Artillery had been relegated to base defence and replaced with the larger and more powerful 18pounder field gun.

Despite the drastic changes the campaign had continued. On the 29TH of April 1918 the Battle of Tuz Kurmati had taken place unknown to those who had taken part it was to be the last major action of the war. The next operation had been the capture of Mosul. Most of the troops taking part in the proposed assault had been inexperienced replacements. Between the 18TH and 19TH of October the British assault force had steadily advanced towards their objective supported by aircraft from 50 and 53 Squadron Royal Air Force. By the omrning of the 29TH the Turks had been pushed back to a position just to the north of the town of Sharquat The assault force had duly attacked the Turkish positions during the afternoon of the same day, the Turks had responded with a fierce counterattack which had eventually been beaten off.

The plan had been to renew the attack the following day. At daybreak the British had been astonished to find white flags flying all along the Turkish positions and shortly afterwards a delegation from the garrison had arrived at the British front line where they had unconditionally surrendered all Turkish forces on the Tigris, over 12,000men and fifty artillery pieces.

The war in Mesopotamia had ended almost four years to the day after it had begun. The cost of victory for the British had been nearly a hundred thousand casualties [the cost to the Turkish Army is not recorded], of whom nearly one third had been killed or had died of wounds [actual casualties had been, Officers 4,335, killed or died of wounds 1,340, Other Ranks, 93,244, killed or died of wounds 29,769]. During these operations Scarborough had also lost;

25630 Private Robert Knaggs. Born in Scarborough during 1893, Robert had been the son of Robinson and Ada Knaggs of Little Oxcombe, Louth, Lincolnshire, and the husband of Lucy Freeston [formerly Knaggs] of Tetford, Horncastle Lincolnshire. Serving with the 7TH [Service] Battalion of the North Staffordshire Regiment, Bob Knaggs had died from the effects of wounds received in action on the 30TH of January 1917, and his remains are interred in Section 21, Row J, Grave 2, in Amara War Cemetery in war torn Iraq.

9227 Corporal Allan Percy. One of three brothers that had served during the war [Scarborough’s first Distinguished Conduct Medal holder James, Royal Army Medical Corps, and Robert Percy, who had served in the R.N.]; Allan had been born in Scarborough during 1880 and had been the son of ‘plumber’ Edmund and Jessie [formally Bishop]. One of seven children of the Percy’s that had been baptised at Scarborough’s St. Mary’s Parish Church on the 14TH of April 1889, Allan had been working in the ‘game, fish, and poultry trade’ at Devises in Wiltshire at the outbreak of war [where he had enlisted], and at the time of his death had been a veteran of over three years of service with the 5TH Battalion of The Duke of Edinburgh’s [Wiltshire Regiment]. Wounded at Gallipoli, Percy had been wounded a second time whilst serving in France before being killed in action in Mesopotamia on the 16TH of January 1917; Allan Percy’s remains are also interred in Amara War Cemetery [Section 18, Row D, Grave 5].

6576 Lance Corporal Ernest Robert Reid. The son of ‘commercial clerk’ Robert Lawrie, and Florence Reid, Ernest had been born in Scarborough during 1879 and had also served in the South African War of 1899-1902. Living at Boscombe in Hampshire at the outbreak of war Ernest had enlisted at Bournemouth during 1914 and had eventually been killed in action on the 28TH of January 1917 whilst serving with the 1ST/4TH Battalion of the Hampshire Regiment. Ernest Reid’s remains are also interred in Amara War Cemetery, in Section 28, Row H, Grave 16.

Almost ninety years after the end of the ‘sideshow’ in ‘Mespot’, during October 2007 British troops are still facing enemy fire in war torn Iraq. Up to now British forces have suffered over one hundred and seventy ‘killed in action’ casualties. Amongst them is twenty four years old local lad Marine Christopher Maddison, who had died of wounds received from ‘friendly fire’, whilst on operations with 539 Assault Squadron of the Royal Marines near Basra, in the Khawr Az Zubayr River, during Sunday the 30TH of March 2003. Although born in Guisborough, Chris had known Scarborough, his funeral taking place at the town’s St Mary’s Parish Church during April 2003.

[1] At the time of the 1901 Scarborough Census the Mawman family had been living at No. 13 Livingstone Road and had consisted of George born at Duggleby, Yorkshire, aged 45 years, Mary Ann born York aged 44 years, James M. a carpenters apprentice aged 21 years, Walter a telegraph messenger aged 14 years, daughter Lily aged 9years, Percy aged 8 years, Harold aged 6 years, and Arthur aged 5 years, all the children had been born in Scarborough.

[2] During the 1891 Census of Scarborough’s population the Percy family had been residing in the Parish of St Mary’s and had consisted of Scarborough born Edmond, aged 42 years, Jessie born at Sherringham, Norfolk, aged 41years, William E. aged 14 years, Harriet aged 13 years, Allan aged 11 years, John aged 8years, James B. aged 7 years, and Robert aged 1 year, all of whom had been born in Scarborough.

[3] At the time of the 1901 Census the Whittaker family had been living in Scarborough at No23 Ramshill Road, and had consisted of George Edward, aged 42 years, employed as a ‘provision agent for a wine and spirit merchant’, Louisa, 42 years, both born at Leeds, daughter Ethel, 15 years, Ernest C., 14 years, Albert Buckton, 11 years, Reginald, 4 years, all born at Oulton, and Lucy aged three years, who had been born at Scarborough.

[4] Walter James Warwick and Emily Lacy had been married in Hull during 1886. At the time of the 1901 Census the family had been residing at a house named ‘Richmond’ in Woodside Road, Kingston upon Thames, Surrey, and had consisted of Walter, 41 years of age, employed as a ‘manager of Life Insurance Company’, Emily 39 years, Ethel, 13 years, Muriel, 11 years [all born at Hull], and twins John and Richard, aged six years, born at ‘Surrey’ At the time of his enlistment into the Canadian Army John Warwick had stated his date of birth as the 5TH of December 1895, whilst his [and Richard’s] birth had been recorded in England during the March Quarter of that year.

There is a multitude of literature covering the ‘’Great War’ on the Western Front, to the best of my knowledge there is only one detailed account, apart from the official record, of the campaign in Mesopotamia. Published by Faber and Faber during 1967 ‘The Neglected War’ by Mr A.J. Barker has been the backbone of my research into the campaign, without it’s assistance the war would have remained just a ‘sideshow’ to me.

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