In mid-1920 violent fighting erupted in Mesopotamia
between certain tribal groupings of the local inhabitants and the British
forces who were occupying the region.
The reasons for the British presence and for the insurrection have been
previously described HERE
25th June 1920 the Assistant Political Officer at Rumaitha, Lieutenant P.T. Hyatt,
arrested a local sheikh, Sha’alan Abu of the Dhawalim section of the Bani
Hachaim tribe, for non-repayment of an agricultural loan. Sha’alan Abu’s followers took exception to
this and firing at Hyatt they killed his Arab guard and released Sha’alan; the
remainder of Hyatt’s Arab police ran away leaving Hyatt on his own. The Dhawalim tribesmen then displayed their
war flags signifying confrontation with the Government, and the railway line
north and south of Rumaithah was torn up in several places and a bridge
destroyed. Rumaitha lay on the eastern
branch of the River Euphrates, about 240 kilometres south-south-east of Baghdad, and the
Basra-Baghdad railway line passed by the town.
Hyatt urgently requested reinforcements and two platoons
(56 rifles) of the 114th Mahrattas under Lieutenant J.J. Healy, 1st
Sappers & Miners attached to the Mahrattas, arrived on the repaired railway
line on 1st July, followed the next day by three more platoons of
Mahrattas. On 3rd July a
company of the 99th Deccan Infantry arrived under Captain H.V. Bragg
(1/10th Jats attached to 99th Deccan Infantry), and Bragg
took command of the Rumaithah garrison. During the journey Bragg and his men
had fought off an insurgent attack whilst railway repair men had temporarily
replaced a burned wooden bridge. The
insurgents were ruthlessly murdering and mutilating any railway workers that
they came across. There were now four
British officers and 308 sepoys in Rumaitha, along with two other British
railways officers, 153 railway personnel and 60 Indian civilians. The shortage of food in the town became a
serious problem for this garrison as the sepoys had only carried two days’
On the following day Hyatt learned that inhabitants of the
village of Abu Hassan, 2.5 kilometres away, were
coming into Rumaitha and looting the bazaar and terrorising the townsfolk. Hyatt took out two platoons of the 99th
Infantry under Lieutenant J.R. Marriott to punish the village whilst the
Mahrattas provided covering fire from rooftops.
Marriott’s advance was delayed and this gave the Dhawalim time to
concentrate a large force. Hyatt then
rashly urged Marriott not to withdraw until Abu Hassan village had been burned
down. This advice was fatal as over
1,500 tribesmen suddenly attacked and overwhelmed the two platoons, killing 43
sepoys and wounding a further 16 officers and men; the survivors retreated
rapidly to Rumaitha. This British defeat
led to the inhabitants of Rumaithah openly siding with the insurgents and a
further six sepoys were killed by snipers and 14 others were wounded.
Bragg now concentrated the sepoys, railway personnel and
civilians in the Political Serai, a large building next to the river and the
bridge across it. Obtaining water from
the river was a deadly business and so adequate wells were dug three metres
deep in the Serai grounds; food was obtained by fighting patrols that suddenly
broke out into the town to forage.
Bragg could communicate with Samawah by heliograph and he
requested ammunition drops from the Royal Air Force. An initial drop of three boxes was delivered
on 8th July – one box landed in the river, another landed amongst
date palms 100 metres away from the Serai and the third was on target,
unfortunately fatally injuring a corporal and killing an Arab prisoner as it
landed. Mr. E.W.L. Harper of the Railway
Service went out with two sepoys and recovered the box in the river whilst 4716
Sepoy Hardat Singh, 99th Deccan Infantry, recovered the box in the
palm trees. Hardat Singh later received
an Indian Distinguished Service Medal for
his gallantry. The Royal Air Force’s
service was then superb, and until the end of the siege ammunition and some
food such as chuppattis were successfully dropped into the Serai grounds,
whilst surrounding enemy positions were bombed and machine gunned from the air.
In recognition of a food-foraging operation Lieutenant
John Joseph Healy, 1st Sappers & Miners attached to the 114th Mahrattas), was
later awarded a Military Cross:
For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty on the 13th July, 1920,
at Rumaithah. He led two platoons of the besieged garrison in a sortie, and by
his dash and skilful leading drove off the enemy and enabled the garrison to
get food from the town. He displayed the greatest courage and initiative.
Above: The Rumaitha Political Serai is within the white line (Bottom Left)
On this occasion Healy’s team seized 20 sheep, 12 goats,
chickens, grain and other shopkeepers’ goods sufficient for the next ten
days. This sortie was made under the
cover of an air-raid delivered by nine aeroplanes. The planes used were five Bristol Fighters
from No 6 Squadron, reinforced by two old RE8s and two DH9As from No 30
Squadron. One machine dropped two 112 pound bombs in the middle of the town.
The remainder, one after the other, dropped four Cooper 25 pound bombs on the
houses round the Serai, from about 300 ft. This caused a panic in the village,
and the enemy occupants rushed out into the countryside, where they were
attacked with bombs and machine-gun fire whilst the sepoys scoured the town for
The first relief attempt
A small column was formed to march into Rumaitha to
relieve the garrison. It consisted of:
37th Lancers (Baluch Horse) –
one squadron under Lieutenant K.H. Finch. ·
45th Mountain Battery – one
section (two guns). ·
45th Rattray’s Sikhs. ·
99th Deccan Infantry –
Battalion Headquarters and five platoons under Captain O. Masters. ·
Arab Levies – 30 sabres.
The column commander was Lieutenant Colonel D.A.D. McVean
DSO, the Commanding Officer of 45th Rattray’s Sikhs. By the 6th July the column, with
an accompanying train carrying supplies and water, was ten kilometres north of
Rumaitha. McVean advanced tactically and
his Sikh advance guard of ‘B’ Company under Captain J.A. Finlay was heavily
fired on from the left flank. The
Lancers on the right flank were also heavily engaged, losing several horses and
two Hotchkiss machine guns. At dusk a
perimeter was formed; enemy snipers surrounded it but the mountain guns kept
them at a distance. McVean’s casualties
that day, all of them his Sikhs, were one sepoy killed and 13 others and one
mule driver wounded.
Above: A 37th Lancer astride his mount
On 7th July the advance continued with the
Sikhs’ ‘A’ Company under Lieutenant R.V. Fox leading. After progressing for 1,500 metres heavy fire
was received from an embankment to the front, and ‘B’ Company moved to support
‘A’ Company whilst ‘C’ Company under Captain A.L. Butcher advanced on the right
of ‘A’ Company. A direct assault was
mounted but the weight of fire from the embankment combined with the marshy
ground in front of it halted the attackers 200 metres from their enemy. The sepoys took what cover they could on the
ground and returned fire under a very hot sun.
All the men were now suffering from thirst and Regimental Bhisti (water
carrier) Dhunni, from Lohar Village in Ludhiana District, repeatedly carried
his water bag from the train 700 metres to the rear up to the firing line to
supply the troops. Eventually he was
shot dead and although he was recommended for an Indian Order of Merit this was not approved; however he was later Mentioned in Despatches.
Right: Colour Party of 45th (Rattray's) Sikhs.
However the 45th Sikhs did receive four Indian Orders of Merit, 2nd
Class that day for conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty. All these awards are examples of how
specialists and trained soldiers in a good infantry battalion react on the
No 304 Havildar Tara
Singh: During an attack on a column he
was often exposed to heavy enemy fire, but repeatedly established his
signalling stations. On reaching the
most forward position, he twice climbed up a telegraph pole under fire in order
to ‘Tap in’. He displayed great
gallantry and initiative.
No 2255 Sepoy Ram Singh:
During an attack on a position he was one of a Lewis Gun team. By the accuracy of his fire, he materially
assisted the advance of the line. He was
severely wounded, but refused to leave his gun.
His determination and courage were a splendid example to all.
No 733 Sepoy Chanan Singh:
During an attack, when the firing line was unable to advance, he ran
back fifty yards under heavy fire, and brought up a Lewis gun. Though wounded, he managed to get the gun
into action, and his courage and coolness were beyond all praise. This gallant Sepoy succumbed to his wounds.
No 1777 Sepoy Mahna Singh:
For conspicuous gallantry on July 7th 1920, in Mesopotamia, in rescuing wounded, who were lying within
100 yards of the enemy’s position. He
displayed marked courage and initiative under fire in locating snipers, who
were effectively enfilading the stretcher bearers. Two of them he killed and the remainder fled.
The Sikhs were taking many casualties due to the lack of
bullet-proof cover on the swampy ground, and McVean ordered a withdrawal to a
small irrigation ditch; this caused hordes of Arabs to charge forward and two
platoons of the 99th Deccan Infantry moved up to aggressively
support the withdrawal, causing the enemy to run back to the embankment,
suffering casualties on the way. By now it was apparent that up to 5,000 Arabs
had gathered around the column, about one quarter of them being mounted. At around 1300 hours McVean called in his
company commanders and stated that as he had lost over 150 men killed or
wounded, 20% of his strength, he had no option but to withdraw to the train and
back down the line. Taking advantage of
a dust-storm that blew up the Sikhs made a clean break and got all the wounded
and dead onto the train.
Left: Mahratta Infantry
Although it was not mentioned in despatches, No 6 Squadron
Royal Air Force materially assisted in the safe withdrawal of the column. At first the aviators had been unable to
convince McVean of the enemy strength surrounding the column. As soon as the withdrawal began, four planes
flew for three hours in bad desert conditions, machine-gunning Arabs away from
the flanks and rear of the column.
Killed or died of wounds were Captain Terence Cormac
McCarthy MC, 1/6th Jats attached to the 99th Deccan
Infantry; Acting Subadar Major Nidhan Singh, Jemadar Sant Singh and 44 Non
Commissioned Officers and sepoys plus one Follower. The number of wounded
totalled 142 officers and men. The
column and the train withdrew, repairing track ahead of them as they went,
until a watering point was reached for the horses and the 1st and 2nd
Line transport mules, who had all been suffering from lack of water. After an overnight halt a relief train arrived
and took the column back to Imam Hamzah.
Captain John Alexander Finlay, 45th Sikhs, was
later awarded a Military Cross:
For conspicuous gallantry and military ability on July 6th
and 7th 1920, near Rumaithah.
When commanding an advanced guard he overcame by his initiative and
bravery, a determined attack from the Arabs, and ensured the advance of the
column without any opposition. His
courage, determination and leadership, were deserving of the highest praise,
and the success of the operation was due to his disregard of danger, and
coolness in action.
The second relief column
A much larger column was now formed under the command of
Brigadier General F.E. Coningham CMG DSO, commander of the 34th
Infantry Brigade. The constituent major
37th Lancers (Baluch Horse) –
one squadron. ·
97th Battery Royal Field
132nd Howitzer Battery Royal
Field Artillery – less one section. ·
45th Mountain Battery. ·
61st Company, 2nd (Queen Victoria’s Own) Sappers
& Miners. ·
2nd Battalion Royal Irish
45th Rattray’s Sikhs. ·
87th Punjabis. ·
99th Deccan Infantry – less
one company. ·
1/116th Mahrattas. ·
1/10th Gurkha Rifles. ·
17th Machine Gun Battalion,
Machine Gun Corps – two sections.
Left: Indian Infantry in Mesopotamia
These units came from four different brigades and two
divisions and knew little of each other.
The 45th Sikhs were still at Imam Hamzah and so the railway
line from there back to Hillah was protected by double-platoon posts and
block-houses three to six kilometres apart; these detachments used-up the rifle
strength of two battalions and were regularly but unsuccessfully attacked. Again a train accompanied the column but as
many transport carts as possible were also used to carry rations for two days;
the men carried one day’s food and an emergency ration. Because of enemy damage to the line the train
crew and its Indian labourers had to continually lift line from behind
themselves and re-lay it ahead of the train in order to slowly advance.
Air co-operation with the column was this time
well-organised, and the pilots of No 6 Squadron could nearly always land
besides the column in order to verbally report to Coningham on the
reconnaissance missions that had been flown.
An attempt in the town by Hyatt to obtain a political
settlement failed and Coningham’s column reached the ten kilometres from
Rumaithah point on 19th July.
The insurgents, led by former officers in the Turkish Army, had
strengthened their defensive positions around the embankment where the previous
action had been fought by digging well-sited parallel lines of trenches. The embankment was in fact the second line of
defence as a concealed trench had been dug 200 metres to the front.
Right: Indian Army mountain gun
Coningham ordered an immediate attack with the 45th
Sikhs and 116th Mahrattas leading, whilst the 87th
Punjabis secured the river bank to the left and minimised sniping from across
the river. The two field artillery
batteries registered on the embankment and put down a barrage at 1745 hours
when the infantry advanced. Initially
the advance was steady although heavy enemy fire was received, and a re-organisation
halt was made about 400 metres away from the embankment. Then the Sikhs observed the Mahrattas on the
right rapidly retreating; the Mahratta Commanding Officer was the only British
officer still standing and he alone could not prevent the flight of his
sepoys. The enemy immediately took advantage
of the situation and counter-attacked, consequently the Sikhs had to
‘right-form’ two platoons of ‘B’ Company to protect the right flank; this was
successful and the Arabs quickly retreated before this firepower to the cover
of their trenches, having lost many men.
However the British attack had to be called-off and a fighting
withdrawal was made to the Start Line where a perimeter was formed.
The mountain gunners had been in action and Lieutenant
Gerald Tirah Palin, Royal Garrison Artillery attached to 45th Mountain Battery,
was awarded a Military Cross:
For conspicuous gallantry and
devotion to duty on the 19th July 1920, at Fazal Tyah. When his battery was in
action at 900 yards range, and communication with the infantry was cut, he
twice went up under heavy fire across open ground to the firing line, and thus
enabled effective artillery support to be given.
The arrival of the Gurkhas
The 1/10th Gurkhas, commanded by Lieutenant
Colonel H.L. Scott DSO MC, had been marching separately from the rest of the
column and when this well-understrength battalion heard the sound of the guns
it marched swiftly towards them. On
arriving on the intensely hot battlefield the Gurkhas saw that most of the
European troops were too exhausted to be effective, and that the Indian troops
were just hanging on, being de-hydrated and exhausted themselves. A disaster was looming.
Coningham, himself a former 1/10th Gurkhas
officer, ordered Scott to attack towards the river, now defended by Arabs, and
to secure both banks. The Gurkhas’ ‘A’
Company under Captain C.S. Moore advanced on the village of Umm Nijiris
supported by ‘C’ Company under Captain J.I. Ennis MC. A European section each of artillery and
machine guns were firing in support but the artillerymen collapsed over their
guns after firing four rounds, whilst one of the machine gun sub-sections never
got itself into action due to heat exhaustion.
Nevertheless Clement Selby Moore secured the near river bank and made
several attempts to wade through the water before he and Jemadar Panchalal
Limbu were killed. Selby Moore was later
Mentioned in Despatches. Finally the attempt was abandoned and ‘A’
Company fell back onto ‘C’ Company and Ennis was ordered to cross the river at
0500 hours the following morning using both companies.
For his actions that night and the following day Captain
John Ignatius Ennis MC, 1/10th Gurkha Rifles, was awarded a Bar to the Military Cross:
For conspicuous gallantry and skilful leadership on the 20th July
1920, during the relief of Rumaithah, whilst second-in- command of his
battalion. One of the companies of this battalion was checked, in a very
exposed position, by heavy fire from a numerically superior enemy. Captain
Ennis was ordered out with a relief company to assist by covering fire in their
withdrawal, and then himself to break off the action. By his skilful
dispositions and determination the forward company was able to extricate
itself, at the same time bringing back all its dead and wounded, and defeating
two enemy attempts to follow up. Having reorganised his force, he then
successfully attacked and forced a river crossing, inflicting heavy casualties
on the enemy. Throughout, he displayed the utmost bravery and disregard of
personal safety, thereby setting a fine example to his command.
Subadar Shiambahadur Limbu of ‘C’ Company won an Indian Order of Merit for gallantry and
leadership displayed during the crossing (citation not located) that this time
had been effectively supported by the rested European gunners and machine
gunners and by the Lancers’ Hotchkiss guns plus the Gurkhas’ own Lewis
guns. Operating on Ennis’ left was
Subadar Garbhe Limbu IDSM who now commanded ‘A’ Company; he also waded across
successfully with his men and was awarded an Indian Order of Merit for his gallantry during the previous night:
For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty whilst in command of a
company on the 19th July 1920 in Mesopotamia. When the company was nearly overwhelmed, he
made a determined attempt to cross a river but was unable to effect the
crossing owing to the depth of mud and water.
He then reorganized his company and held the enemy in check, inflicting
heavy casualties and repulsing several counterattacks. He inspired all ranks by his coolness and
Above: A pre-war 10th Gurkha Rifles shooting team.
The defenders in the vicinity started running, unwilling
to confront the Gurkha bayonets and kukris; both sides of the river were
quickly cleared and the column’s water supply was assured. After reorganising themselves the Arabs
mounted three counter-attacks but the Gurkhas repulsed them all.
Whilst the Gurkhas were fighting for the river banks No
1046215 Gunner R.S. Pickering, 97th Battery Royal Field Artillery,
was awarded a Distinguished Conduct
For bravery and determination under heavy rifle fire on the 20th
July 1920, near Rumaithah. He succeeded
in getting his water cart to the river edge under heavy fire from the opposite
bank, and was successful in filling the cart. One member of the 2nd Battalion Royal Irish
Rifles, No 2841 Private P. Leitch, also received a Distinguished Conduct Medal forbravery displayed during the previous evening:
For bravery and devotion to duty. During the action of the 19th July, 1920,
south of Abu-Tabikh, the battalion, which was acting as right flank guard of
the column, was badly in need of water, and the river line was then held by the
enemy. Private Leitch, who was the
battalion water cart man, on his own initiative took the water cart to the
river with some bhistis. On nearing the river the party was fired on, but Private
Leitch brought up the cart himself, and with the help of two others filled the
cart while still under fire. Major and Brevet Lieutenant Colonel Henry Lawrence Scott
DSO MC, 1/1st (attached to 1/10th) Gurkha Rifles, was
awarded a Bar to the Distinguished
For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty on the 19th July 1920,
near Rumaitha. On his own initiative he
marched his column to the sound of the guns, and brought reinforcements at a
critical moment. Later, by his capable handling of the battalion against a very
superior enemy, he established a position across the river, and so enabled the
whole force to get water which was urgently required. It was owing to his
gallant example and bold leadership that the operations throughout the day were
Left: Royal Irish Rifles badge
The relief of Rumaithah
Whilst his men had been fighting for their lives Coningham
had signalled Diwaniyeh and organised a second train carrying water, ammunition
and medical dressings to come forward during the night, and this arrived at
0845 hours on 20th July.
At the same time patrols sent out by the Sikhs established
that the Arabs had withdrawn from the embankment area, and an aeroplane pilot
reported that groups of the enemy were concentrated in various locations a few
kilometres from Rumaithah. The Dhawalim
tribesmen were now obviously biding their time until the next major
opportunities would occur during the withdrawal. Once the newly-arrived ammunition had been
distributed and the animals watered Coningham left the Mahrattas to guard the
trains, transport and track repair gangs and sent the Lancers into
Rumaithah. The town was empty of enemy
and motor ambulances quickly evacuated 30 of the more seriously wounded
garrison back to the two trains, which now combined into one.
Lieutenant General Sir Aylmer Haldane, the theatre
commander in Baghdad, considered that he could not deploy a new garrison at
isolated Rumaithah as by now 35,000 Arab insurgents were in the field against
him. Coningham, who had lost three
British officers and 32 Indian sepoys killed during his advance, plus two
British officers and 150 sepoys wounded, was ordered to evacuate
Rumaithah. Harry Vyner Bragg, 1/10th
Jats attached to 1/99th Deccan Infantry, was awarded a Military Cross:
For conspicuous gallantry, initiative and determination throughout the
siege of Rumaithah, from the 3rd to the 20th July 1920. He maintained
his garrison against very heavy odds for seventeen days, though his force was
repeatedly attacked by large numbers of the enemy. He set a splendid example to
all ranks by his coolness and courage.
The Rumaithah garrison under Bragg had suffered a total of
148 casualties, killed, wounded or missing.
Above: The Political Serai at Rumaitha
The withdrawal from Rumaithah to Diwaniyah
After repairs to a train had been effected Coningham
commenced his withdrawal at 0530 hours on 22nd July. The infantry formed squares or diamonds
around the train, each face being about 450 metres long. Machine guns were positioned on top of the
train and carried on pack animals on the flanks. The artillery batteries, although withdrawing,
were prepared to come into action immediately.
Thousands of Arabs circled the British troops at a safe distance,
waiting for an opportunity to break into the British ranks and seize rifles.
That opportunity came a couple of hours later when a
dust-storm blew up, blinding the British troops. Immediately insurgents were in amongst the
rear guard, the 87th Punjabis, which broke and was driven back. Mayhem ensued and many Punjabis were
killed. The Lancers did not help by
galloping blindly through the melee, knocking down friend and foe alike. The artillery came into action but could not
see targets. The 45th
(Rattray’s) Sikhs, although initially disrupted from their marching formations
by the sudden enemy charge, quickly re-formed and stood their ground with the
Once again the 1/10th Gurkha Rifles saved the
day by engaging the enemy, giving the Sikhs time to re-form and the 18-pounders
time to come into action and devastate the ranks of Arab attackers. No 1045878 Corporal (Lance Serjeant) F.T.
Smith, 132nd Battery Royal Field Artillery, received a Distinguished Conduct Medal:
For bravery and devotion to duty near Rumaithah on the 22nd July 1920.
A section of the battery in a rearguard action was in danger of being cut off. Although wounded, this non-commissioned
officer, by his coolness and energy under very trying circumstances, kept the
teams together, thus enabling the guns to be limbered up when required.
The 87th Punjabis suffered 69 casualties dead,
wounded or missing at Rumaithah. Captain
F.C.D. Ricketts was awarded a Military
Cross and Subadar Karam Din was awarded the Indian Distinguished Service Medal.
The Punjabis’ Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Colonel B. M. Carroll, and
the 116th Mahrattas’ Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Colonel Arthur
Holroyd Bridges DSO, were later admitted to be Companions of the Order of the Indian Empire (CIE). After the rear guard action several dead
Arabs were found with two or three Punjabi rifles slung around their necks, but
these men had still attacked again, wanting more loot.
Coningham then deployed three companies of the 2nd
Battalion Royal Irish Rifles, under Lieutenant Colonel A.D.N. Merriman DSO, to
re-form the rear guard whilst the trains and animal transport moved on to the
mid-day halt. After this attack the
Arabs sniped but kept their distance until the column reached Diwaniyeh on 25th
July. Here the column dispersed whilst
news came flooding in of the disaster to the 2nd Battalion
Manchester Regiment at Hillah (see: http://www.kaiserscross.com/304501/315743.html
). There was a lot more grim work still
to be done in Mesopotamia over the next four
September 1921 both Lieutenant Colonel (Temporary Brigadier General) Frank
Evelyn Coningham CMG DSO, 10th Gurkha Rifles, and Lieutenant Colonel
Donald Archibald Dugald McVean, 45th (Rattray’s) Sikhs, were both
appointed to be Companions of the Most
Exalted Order of the Star of India
Awards to 45th (Rattray’s) Sikhs
The Regimental History of this unit is very comprehensive
in allocating awards to actions and it has been used as the platform for the
attributions for other units that follow below.
Apart from the awards already described, recognitions of gallantry to
the Sikhs for their conduct during the withdrawal from Rumaithah, during which
five Sikhs were killed and 15 wounded, were:
A Bar to the Military Cross to Captain
Alfred Cyril Curtis MC, 45th Sikhs:
For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty on the 20th July 1920,
during the relief of Rumaithah and the subsequent withdrawal. During an attack
by a numerically superior force of Arabs, this officer, though severely wounded
early in the operations, commanded the whole force of cavalry and infantry
engaged. The enemy were constantly driven off and checked within thirty or
forty yards. Captain Curtis, by his marked ability, determination and coolness
under fire, was largely instrumental in organising a successful attack, which
ultimately drove the insurgents across a canal with much loss.
Indian Orders of Merit to:
No 254 Havildar Ganga
For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty on July 22nd
1920. When the rear guard was heavily
attacked and driven back, on his own initiative he took up a position, and
brought such an effective fire to bear on the enemy that the latter were unable
to advance. By his bravery and coolness,
he so inspired the men under him, that the line was restored and the enemy
and to No 4766 Havildar Harditt Singh:
For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty on July 22nd
1920. During an attack on a position his
Platoon Commander was wounded. He at
once took command, and by his skilful leading drove back the enemy. Later when the rear guard was driven in, on
his own initiative he took up a position on the flank, and by his accurate fire
materially assisted in stopping the rush. His leadership and courage was an example to
Indian Distinguished Service Medals (including
for the first advance) to:
Awards to the 99th Deccan Infantry
Oswald Masters received a Military Cross.
addition to Sepoy Hardat Singh’s medal the Indian
Distinguished Conduct Medal was awarded at the same time to: 4127 Company Havildar Major Soba Ram; 4732 Havildar Ramdhanni Singh; 5909 Havildar Gopal; 5925 Havildar Ramnagina Singh; 4936 Sepoy Sunehra; 5222 Sepoy Ganga Ram; Subedar Sewa Ram.
It is very probable that these seven
recipients were either part of the besieged Rumaithah garrison or amongst the
Awards to 1/10th Gurkha Rifles
Distinguished Service Medals were awarded to 1/10th Gurkha
Rifles concurrently with similar awards elsewhere in Coningham’s column, and
most if not all of them would have been in recognition of acts of gallantry
during the relief of and withdrawal from Rumaitha. The recipients were:
to 87th Punjabis
Similarly these four recipients of the Indian Distinguished Service Medal from
the 87th Punjabis were listed concurrently with the others in the
relief column, and the probability is that these awards were for Rumaithah:
903 Company Havildar Major Neki Ram; 1832 Havildar Munshi Khan; 1140 Naik Sultan Ali; 2466 Imam Din.
Awards to 116th Mahrattas
Again four recipients received the Indian Distinguished Service Medal concurrently
with others in the Rumaithah relief column.
Awards to 114th Mahrattas
One man, 5228 Naik Harbaras Bhosle,
received the Indian Distinguished
Service Medal along with others at Rumaithah, and it is probable that he
served in the besieged garrison.
Awards to the 45th Mountain
Battery, soon to be re-titled 45th
Distinguished Service Medals were awarded to 435 Naik Noor Muhammed and 25
Naik Noor Khan at the same time as others for the Rumaitha relief column.
Clasp to the General Service Medal
A clasp titled IRAQ
was issued to the General Service Medal (1918 – 1962) to those present on the
strength of an establishment within the Boundaries of
Iraq, between 1st July and 17th November 1920.
Left: Medals of Captain C.M. Spaull, 87th Punjabis.
SOURCES: (the most accessible versions are listed)
Anderson, R.H. Lieutenant Colonel: Regimental History of The 45th Rattray’s Sikhs During The
Great War and After, 1914-1921. (Naval & Military Press).
Betham, Sir Geoffrey Lieutenant Colonel: The Golden Galley. The Story of the Second Punjab Regiment 1761-1947. (Oxford University Press
Chhina, Rana: The
Indian Distinguished Service Medal. (Invicta India 2001).