An unsatisfactory manoeuvre

TCD MS 3414 folio 7 recto

TCD MS 3414 folio 7 recto

[May 1915]

Battle of Shaib

time was the most advanced point of operations, & this I reached on the 26th May, finding my regiment encamped in a fortified camp amongst date palms on very swampy ground. Our Brigade had been the last to arrive in Mesopotamia & were not present at the landing at Fao, the battle of Sahila Nov 15th, & the taking of Kurna on Dec 10-12th 1914, so that up till my arrival the 43rd had not taken part in any action save a reconnaissance in force on Jan 20th towards the Rulta canal; an unsatisfactory <manoeuvre which was> apparently devoid of any definite objective; 12 men were wounded. During March 1915 the operations round Ahwaz were in full swing, the 43rd was were at Kurna having moved up there from Magil, they were also there during the battle of Shaiba, <on> April 13-14-15th. “Shaiba” was a most critical battle for our forces in Mesopotamia, not only was there a force of 22,000 Turks <& Arabs> preparing to attack Basra, but the Arab tribes were raised, <&> these numbered several hundred thousands; the large armed population of Basra was also ready to join in to try & exterminate our force if luck had not been with us. To cope with the situation General <Charles> Melliss V.C. had only two Indian Brigades & <a few> attached troops: he forestalled the enemy by attacking