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The record is made up of 1 volume (223 folios). It was created in 1923. 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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after careful examination ; and men and animals were badly
in need of rest and food. General Barrett, therefore, decided
to bivouac near the Rhora creek south of the town and to
postpone his entry till the next day.
The area known as Basra consisted of several distinct parts ‘
the Custom House, the British, United States, and German
Consulates,* European mercantile firms’ houses and buildings,
the Turkish commodore’s house, the quarantine station, and
a few other buildings, on the river-bank ; the town of Ashar,
lying about a quarter of a mile inland to the north of the
Ashar creek, with the Turkish barracks adjoining it to the
north ; the town of Basra lying about two miles inland to
the south of the Ashar creek ; and the wharf and small dock
at Maqil, about five miles up the main river. Tidal creeks
running into the main river intersected the whole area, which
abounded in date-palms. The whole country was water
logged, but the vegetable and fruit gardens round the town
testified to the productivity of the soil. Though there were
a few rough and narrow tracks, generally along the banks
separating the gardens and plantations, there was only one
road which connected the two towns; and there was no
through communication at all along the river-bank. Basra
and Ashar towns were a maze of tortuous lanes whose centres
were ankle-deep in filth, offal and litter. Many of the houses
were comparatively well built and double-storied ; but the
total absence of any sanitary system or method and the presence
of numerous disease-ridden brothels rendered both towns
unsuitable for the billeting of troops. Trade, decayed under
Turkish rule, had recently shown signs of revival and the
bazaars were well stocked. The population of about thirty
thousand was of many races—Arabs, Indians, Armenians,
Chaldeans, Jews, Syrians, Persians, and others—and although
openly they expressed pleasure at our arrival, their misgivings
lest the Turks should ultimately return imbued their welcome
with caution.
Facilities for disembarkation were very few. The only jetties
were at the German Consulate and Maqil. Ocean-going ships
could not come alongside either, and Maqil was for the time
being out of the question as it was five miles off by river, and
the only practicable land route was a detour through the
desert to avoid the many unbridged creeks. Ships had to be
discharged in midstream into native craft which then drifted
* The head of the German firm of Wonckhaus acted as German consul,
though he had no official status as such.

About this item


The volume is the first volume of an official government publication compiled at the request of the Government of India, and under the direction of the Historical Section of the Committee of Imperial Defence, by Brigadier-General Frederick James Moberly. The volume was printed and published at His Majesty's Stationery Office, London.

The contents provide a narrative of the operations of 1914-1918 in Mesopotamia, based mainly on official documents.

The volume is divided into two parts. The first part, entitled, 'Part I. Before the Outbreak of Hostilities', consists of the following five chapters:

  • General Description of the Country
  • The Turks in Mesopotamia
  • British Pre-War Policy
  • The Army in India and Pre-War Military Policy
  • Inception of the Operations

The second part, entitled, 'Part II. The Campaign in Lower Mesopotamia', consists of the following seven chapters:

  • The Landing in Mesopotamia of Force "D" and the Operations Leading to the Occupation of Basra
  • The Occupation of Basra and the Capture of Qurna
  • Commencement of the Turkish Counter-Offensive
  • Development and Defeat of the Turkish Counter-Offensive
  • Operations in Arabistan and the Capture of Amara
  • Operations on the Euphrates and the Occupation of Nasiriya
  • The battle of Kut and Occupation of Aziziya

The volume also includes nine maps, entitled:

  • The Middle East
  • Lower Mesopotamia
  • Map 1 - To illustrate operations described in Chapter VI
  • Map 2 - To illustrate fighting near Qurna
  • Map 3 - To illustrate fighting round Shaiba
  • Map 4 - To illustrate operations in Persian Arabistan
  • Map 5 - To illustrate operations in the Akaika Channel 27th June to 5th July 1915
  • Map 6 - To illustrate operations near Nasiriya 6th to 24th July 1915
  • Map 7 - To illustrate the Battle of Kut 28th September 1915
Extent and format
1 volume (223 folios)

The volume contains a page of errata (folio 5), a list of contents (folios 6-8), a list of maps and illustrations (folio 9), appendices (folios 185v-192), an index (folios 192v-214v), and eight maps in a pocket attached to the inside back cover (folios 217-224).

Physical characteristics

Foliation: the foliation sequence commences at the inside front cover with 1 and terminates at the inside back cover with 225; 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.

Pagination: the volume also contains an original printed pagination sequence.

Written in
English in Latin script
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'HISTORY OF THE GREAT WAR BASED ON OFFICIAL DOCUMENTS. THE CAMPAIGN IN MESOPOTAMIA 1914-1918. VOLUME I.' [‎75r] (154/454), British Library: India Office Records and Private Papers, IOR/L/MIL/17/15/66/1, in Qatar Digital Library <> [accessed 20 September 2019]

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