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Lot# 476 - Auction 284 - 290

  • Lot# : 476 Iraq

    1915 (Feb 2): Cover and full contents from Basra to Purley, Surrey endorsed "On Field Service, No Stamps Required" and counter-signed at base "Lt. Genl. A. Barrett, Comm. I.E.F.D.", with reverse showing "Base Office" cds (Feb 3) and readdressed on arrival with "Purley Oaks Sorting Office / Croydon" cds (March 9) to London. Edge wear to envelope of no significance. Extremely rare - from Lt. General Sir Arthur Arnold Barrett, Commander in Chief, Indian Expedionary Force 'D', the long contents are an astonishingly frank letter with no self Censorship: "we have certainly been fortunate so far, and have managed to get the best of the Turks whenever we have met them. But I fancy we have the toughest part of our job before us yet. The Turks have a large Army and after allowing for the lot who are fighting the Russians in the Caucasus, and for those whoi are said to be on their way to attack Egypt, they might still bring a goodly number against us - and there are crowds of hostile Arabs, very well armed, in the country as well....The only things we really want and can't get are one or two aeroplanes for reconnoitering work. This is a country without roads, and a good part of the desert consists of swamps...the river is the only way of getting about. We hold as far as a place called Karna [Qurna], 40 miles above this, just at the junction of the Tigris and Euphrates, where we have a strong post. A few miles above that the Turks are entrenched and have blocked the channel of the river with sunken barges with guns in position.....I have orders from Gov't not to advance...we also have to guard the oil wells and pipeline of the Anglo-Persian oil company, which lie up to the north east....In a day< or two we have the Viceroy [of India] coming to stay...I suppose we shall have to saty here until the War is over, unless there is a revolution in Turkey...they seem to be under the thumb of the Germans. As for when the big war will end goodness only knows - we shall have to push the Germans very hard before they give in, and there are no signs of that at present...".rnrnNote: The British landed on 3 Nov 1914 at Shatt al Arab in the Persian Gulf and after some resistance took Fao. The objective was to secure the oil refinery at Abadan and if Turkey declared war, to occupy Basra. Lt. Col. Barrett (later General) went on the offensive at Saihan, Mohammerah and Qurna to secure Basra. On 9 April 1915 Barrett was evacuated due to illness and repalced b General Sir John Nixon - who two days later faced a Turksih and Arab offensive.
    Starting bid : 350 CHF
    Hammer price : 420 CHF