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‘WAR DIARY. ARMY HEADQUARTERS, INDIA. […] I.E.F. “D”. Volume 37. PART I. (From 1st to 15th August 1917.)’ [‎193r] (390/488)

The record is made up of 1 volume (242 folios). It was created in 2 Jun 1917-15 Aug 1917. 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 Documents collected in a private capacity. .


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No. 58.
Dated July 21st, 1917.
1. Climate and Floods.
3. Mishap to German Aviators in Mesopotamia.
122 0 is
Climate. {Week ending July 14th IS 1 ?.)
temperature at Baghdad during the week occnrred on 10th Jaly 1917
temperature at Basrah „ „ „ 1} „ 10th July 1917 .121'6°
temperature at Baghdad during the week occurred on 13th July 1917 75'4°
temperature at Basrah „ „ „ ,, „ 9th July 1917 79 - 4 i 0
the highest temperature recorded at Baghdad for the last twenty
Maximum reading Baghdad gauge during the week occurred on
(Overflow 118).
Maximum reading .Amarah gauge during the week occurred on
(Overflow 96 - 8).
8th July 1917 96 70
8th July 1917 93 09
The gauge readings still show a slight fall.
On the morning of July 7th, 1917, two German aeroplanes started from
Tekrit, about 100 miles upstream of Baghdad to reconno tre the British
position on the Mesopotamian Front. Each machine carried a crew of two
Germans and it appears that both machines first proceeded in a south-easterly
direction towards the Diyalah river, their ultimate intention being to reach
the Turkish post at Ramadie situated about 60 miles west of Baghdad on the
Euphrates. Whilst over the Diyalah valley one of the machines experienced
engine trouble; it was obliged to cut short its reconnaissance and to head
straight for Ramadie by passing north of Baghdad. The other machine con
tinued its journey, crossed the Tigris south of the city of the Caliphs and joined
its companion at Ramadie after a flight of three hours total duration.
The intention of the aviators was to undertake the return flight from
Ramadie to Tekrit on July 9th and both machines started off about 6*30 a.m.
on that day heading north-east to cross to the north hank of the Tigris at a
point about midway between Samarra and the pronounced merbend at
Sindia. W r hen about half way across the' 50 odd miles of desert they had to
pass over to reach the Tigris, one of the machines was compelled to land owing
to a serious breakdown of its engine. The other returned to render help but
repairs were out of the question and destruction of the damaged aeroplane by
burning remained the only alternative.
All four aviators then tried to get away in the sound machine, two sitting
in the body whilst the other two sat on each wing where they held on as best,
they could. Besides the four men the plane carried its own two machine guns,
plus one salved off the burned plane; all the personal kit belonging to the
men, 4 carbines, 800 to 900 rounds of rifle ammunition and a small Persian
dog which habitually accompanied all important reconnaissances as a mascot.
- "With this extraordinary load the machine flew for 25 minutes and manag
ed to maintain an average altitude of 400 feet, hat, as this height was insuffi
cient to keep the engine cool, a descent became necessary. The aviators
thereupon decided to wait till the evening. Throughout the scorching heat
of the day they lay out in the open desert and were so tortured by thirst that
they at last had to drink the water out of the radiator. The fierce rays of the
sun had beaten down for hours and, according to the aviators themselves, the
water was so hot as to he almost boiling. Their statement may well b e
believed and can be borne out by anyone who has ever attempted to provid 0

About this item


The volume contains a chronological list of brief summaries of papers relating to the activities of the Indian Expeditionary Force D (also known as the Mesopotamia Expeditionary Force) between 1 and 15 August 1917. This is accompanied by appendices containing copies and extracts of these papers, which include: telegrams, memoranda, letters, and tables.

An index to the contents of this volume can be found at folios 3-15 and a summary of the contents can be found at folio 16. The volume concerns:

  • The supply of food, animals, construction materials, weapons, and other items to Force D
  • River and railway traffic in Mesopotamia
  • Railway construction in Mesopotamia
  • Arrivals to and departures from the port of Basra
  • Problems with the unloading of ships at Basra
  • Proposal for the transfer of men from the Disciplinary Labour Corps into a free Labour Corps
  • Discussion of British strategy in Mesopotamia, including current policy of securing control of the Baghdad Vilayet, and inability to take offensive action without Russian support
  • Recruitment of Arab prisoners of war in India ‘to serve the Sheriff [Sharīf] of Mecca’
  • Intelligence concerning movements of Turkish [Ottoman], German, and Austrian units
  • Intelligence concerning German construction of a railway ‘towards Mosul’
  • Discussion of the creation of a French Consulate at Baghdad
  • Financial administration of Force D and the territory occupied by the British in Mesopotamia
  • Proposal for forming a new division of Force D
  • Intelligence concerning Russian movements in the Caucasus and mutiny within the Russian army
  • Intelligence concerning Kurdish movements and attacks on Russian troops
  • Shortage of medical officers.

The volume also contains:

  • Distribution and composition of Force D including details of lines of communication, commanding officers, and units captured at Kut-al-Amarah [Al-Kut] (ff 3-36)
  • Distribution of Force D including details of lines of communication, 15 July 1917 (ff 123-127), 22 July 1917 (ff 216-220)
  • Distribution of the Turkish Army, 7 August 1917 (ff 147-148), 14 August 1917 (ff 226-227)
  • Detailed statement of ration strength of Force D on 30 June 1917 (ff 39-42), 7 July 1917 (ff 175-178)
  • Ammunition held and used by Force D, 29 July 1917 (ff 42-43), 4 August 1917 (ff 123-124)
  • Strength return of Force D dated 2 June 1917 (ff 45-61)
  • Ration strength of Force D on 14 July 1917 (ff 67-69), 21 July 1917 (ff 152-154), 28 July 1917 (ff 234-236)
  • Report of number of pilots and aircraft available for service in Mesopotamia, 2 August 1917 (ff 81-82), 9 August 1917 (f 179)
  • Two diaries of information from 7 July 1917 (ff 90-107) and 21 July 1917 (ff 193-194) covering: climate and floods; local produce; Inland Water Transport; medical affairs; military government; the Directorate of Works; the YMCA in Baghdad; and the crash of a German plane
  • Weekly return of sick and wounded for the week ending 14 July 1917 (f 114) and 21 July 1917 (ff 187-188).
Extent and format
1 volume (242 folios)

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

Physical characteristics

Foliation: the foliation sequence commences at the front cover with 1 and terminates at the inside back cover with 242; 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 also present in parallel between ff 3-240; these numbers are printed and are located in the bottom centre of the recto The front of a sheet of paper or leaf, often abbreviated to 'r'. side of each folio.

Dimensions: 21 x 33cm

Written in
English in Latin script
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‘WAR DIARY. ARMY HEADQUARTERS, INDIA. […] I.E.F. “D”. Volume 37. PART I. (From 1st to 15th August 1917.)’ [‎193r] (390/488), British Library: India Office Records and Private Papers, IOR/L/MIL/17/5/3282, in Qatar Digital Library <> [accessed 3 December 2023]

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