Al-Kūt is a city in eastern Iraq, on the left bank of the Tigris River, about 160 kilometres south east of Baghdad. British troops including the Buffs were serving in Iraq as part of the Mesopotamia Expeditonary Force. This fertile area with important trade routes was fought over in biblical times and one hundred years after the siege of Kut this territory is still being bitterly fought over.
In autumn 1915, Turkish troops besieged Major-General Charles Townshend’s forces in Kut-al-Amara before the Allied troops could withdraw further down the Tigris to the port of Basra. The siege of Kut-al-Amara lasted 147 days, before the British and Indian troops inside the garrison town finally surrendered on 29 April 1916. Conditions were appalling. In bitterly cold weather, with inadequate supplies, poor communications and with little medical treatment, many soldiers did not survive the winter. Of the 11,800 men who left Kut-al-Amara on 6 May 1916, 4,250 died either on their way to captivity or in the PoW camps at Aleppo. Continue reading The siege of Kut 1916