Kut War Cemetery in Iraq - more than 400 new headstones have been installed as part of a complete renovation by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (Photo © CWGC)

CWGC marks Siege of Kut Centenary

Posted on centenarynews.com on 30 April 2016
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The Commonwealth War Graves Commission has published an article and audio clips on its website, remembering the fall of Kut during the First World War Mesopotamia campaign.

It features readings of extracts from the diaries of two veterans of the 147-day siege south of Baghdad. 

Surrounded by the Ottoman Army in early December 1915, a British-Indian force held out at Kut on the River Tigris until April 29th 1916.

Two months into the siege, garrison chaplain the Rev Harold Spooner wrote: "We expected great news of our relief. But no, not yet."

Major Charles Barber acknowledges that "we're now done for" after the riverboat, Julnar, was seized while trying to break through the Turkish blockade with supplies on the night of April 24/25th.  

CWGC also discusses the challenges of caring for the memorials to the Commonwealth dead of both world wars in present-day Iraq.

Kut War Cemetery was completely restored in 2014/15 but elsewhere, CWGC says 'the security situation makes it impossible to achieve lasting reconstruction and care for the cemeteries'.

For the time being, a two volume Roll of Honour listing all casualties buried and commemorated in Iraq is available for the public to view at CWGC's head office in the UK town of Maidenhead.

CWGC's article and audio clips remembering the Siege of Kut can be found here.

Information & images courtesy of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission © CWGC

Posted by: CN Editorial Team