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File 3516/1914 Pt 11 'Persia: protection of Anglo-Persian Oil Co's fields etc' [‎256r] (516/550)

The record is made up of 1 volume (271 folios). It was created in 27 Jun 1915-8 May 1919. It was written in English. The original is part of the British Library: India Office The department of the British Government to which the Government of India reported between 1858 and 1947. The successor to the Court of Directors. Records and Private Papers.


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Enclosure No. 3.
Dated June 1915.
Memorandum by Brigade-General R. WAPSHARE.
Reference attached Maps A. and B.
In accordance with General Staff Order No. 164.C.G. of 28th May iok
1 submit herewith a report on my reconnaissance from Ahwaz to the Oil Fields’
A more detailed report on the route is attached, together with Maps A and B
* Tracing Attached. Map A is the property of the Oil Com-
... A , , P an y which I have promised to return to
their representative at Muhammareh within i month.
1. The country may be conveniently considered in 2 sections: —
(a) the plain country lying between the Karun river and the hills between
Ahwaz and Darra Khazineh which is inhabited by Bavi Arabs
Gunduzlu tribe. The Gunduzlu are Persians not Arabs.
(b) the mountain country including the hills bordering the Karun valley
and the mountains lying between them and the Oil Fields, and the
mountains round the Oil Fields. These are inhabited by Bakhtiari
a. With regard to the Bavi and Gunduzlu country, it is generally speaking
hard level plain suitable for motors except the portion from Khazineh (o*r
Haddam) North, which is intersected by deep ravines, affording cover for hostile
Arabs to collect. This is unsuitable for motors.
I anticipate no particular difficulty in protecting the pipe line in the plains
except against minor damage—by minor damage 1 mean the firing of a rifle into
the pipe and setting fire to the oil. I understand this would require about two
days to remedy.
I can offer no suggestion which would guarantee absolute protection against
such damage. I do not think that large number of posts and constant patrolling
would attain the desired result, and want of water precludes this course being
adopted. I suggest that villages in the vicinity be held responsible that in case
of damage to the line they are liable to severe punishment involving the prohibi
tion of cultivation within 5 miles of the pipe line.
The patrolling at irregular intervals of the line by armoured motor cars
would have, I consider, great effect. I suggest also the establishment of posts
as follows:—
At Moola Thaneh—one double company and one squadron.
At Abgunji—one double company,
At Darra Khazineh—one double company and one squadron which would
require to be strengthened to one or two battalions in event of the
Bakhtiaris joining in.
These posts, together with a movable column at Ahwaz, would I conside
have great moral effect and would provide the necessary escorts, etc., to repair*
ing parties and patrols. I would point out that in event of the ^ Bakhtiaris
being hostile the above measures for the protection of the pipe line in the plain
country would be all the more necessary.
3. As regards the Bakhtiari country, the main cart route from the Karun
to the oil fields from a point where it enters the hills about 4J miles from Darra
Khazineh to the oil fields is practically a defile, commanded at short range by
hills. The last 20 miles from the Tembi river, near Batwand, to the oil fields
are especially difficult. Every inch of the road is commanded by steep hills and
transverse spurs from 5 GO to 1,000 feet above the road.
The stream is forded 32 times and is said to be impassable after rain. The
water is salt and for 27J miles the only potable water is at Abgah in small quan
tity ; at Batwand U good spring; at Tembi power house condensed water in small

About this item


The volume concerns the situation in Persia during the First World War. The main focus is the protection of Anglo-Persian Oil Company's (APOC) oilfields and pipelines in south-western Persia.

The volume covers:

  • Defence of APOC property.
  • Notes on oilfields in Arabistan [Khuzestan].
  • Water supply of the oilfields.
  • Creation of Inter-departmental Committee on the Defence of the Persian Oil Fields and its report (ff 230-235).
  • Despatch of a small force to defend the oilfields in 1917.
  • Acquiring British control over the oilfields.
  • King's Regulation impeding to leave APOC without the consent of the Consul General for Fars, for the period of the war (f 110).
  • Providing a guard for APOC's oilfields at Maidan-i-Neptun.
  • Military training for European APOC employees.

The volume’s principal correspondents are: John Nixon, General Officer Commanding, India Expeditionary Force 'D', Basrah; Charles Hardinge, Viceroy of India; Thomas William Holderness and Arthur Hirtzel, India Office The department of the British Government to which the Government of India reported between 1858 and 1947. The successor to the Court of Directors. ; William Graham Greene, Oswyn Murray and Edmond John Warre Slade, Admiralty; Eyre Alexander Barby Wichart Crowe and Maurice de Bunsen, Foreign Office; Austen Chamberlain, Secretary of State for India; Anglo-Persian Oil Company; Charles Marling, British Minister at Tehran; Percy Cox, Political Resident A senior ranking political representative (equivalent to a Consul General) from the diplomatic corps of the Government of India or one of its subordinate provincial governments, in charge of a Political Residency. in Persian Gulf Historically used by the British to refer to the sea area between the Arabian Peninsula and Iran. Often referred to as The Gulf or the Arabian Gulf. .

There are three maps within the file, 'Map A' (2 copies) on folios 264 and 271, and 'Part of River Karun' on folio 265.

Extent and format
1 volume (271 folios)

The papers are arranged in approximate chronological order from the rear to the front of the volume.

Physical characteristics

Foliation: the main foliation sequence (used for referencing) commences at the inside front cover with 1, and terminates at the inside back cover with 273; these numbers are written in pencil, are circled, and are located in the top right corner of the recto The front of a sheet of paper or leaf, often abbreviated to 'r'. side of each folio. An additional foliation sequence is present in parallel between ff 3-272; these numbers are also written in pencil, but are not circled.

Written in
English in Latin script
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File 3516/1914 Pt 11 'Persia: protection of Anglo-Persian Oil Co's fields etc' [‎256r] (516/550), British Library: India Office Records and Private Papers, IOR/L/PS/10/487, in Qatar Digital Library <> [accessed 9 December 2019]

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