Mesopotamia: The Norfolk Regiment Casualties of War – 1st November, 1915 until 30th April, 1916
Our Mesopotamian researcher is back with a post to commemorate the fallen of the Norfolk Regiment during the final 6 months in Kut and the surrounding areas.
If readers have pictures or recollections of soldiers of 2/Norfolk who served in the Mesopotamian campaign which they would be happy to share on this site please contact the NorfolkinWW1 team via comments here or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. All contributions will be treated with respect and much valued.
Further details of grave numbers and panel commemorations for individual soldiers can be found at the Commonwealth War Graves Commission web site: www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead.aspx
November 1915-April 1916
Many men died during the battle of Ctesiphon, 22nd – 25th November, 1915, or shortly afterwards, of wounds received during the battle. The retreat to Kut al Amara was also hazardous for the 2nd Norfolks as they frequently formed the rearguard.
Kut War Cemetery
Kut War Cemetery was completely renovated in 2014. Work carried out by the Commission in 2014 involved the general clearance of vegetation, the installation of a concrete retaining wall, raising of the cemetery levels, construction of a new shelter building, the formation of new headstone beams and the installation of 410 headstones. (www.cwgc.org/find-a-cemetery/cemetery/69700/KUT%20WAR%20CEMETERY)
Lieutenant Arthur Richard Russel, 2nd Battalion Norfolk Regiment, who died on Christmas Day, 1915, and who is buried at Kut War Cemetery.
Privates Herbert William Hammond, Leonard Thomas Pratt, and E.Tite also died on Christmas Day, but sadly we do not (currently) have their likenesses.
February 1916 – April 1916
Private Charles William Greenacre was born at Westwick, but his mother was a Bergh Apton girl and the family returned there to live. Charles died on 22nd April 1916, aged 23. However, it is not known whether he was in the besieged garrison of Kut or with the relieving force which was desperately trying to lift the siege. His sacrifice is commemorated on the Basra Memorial in modern-day Iraq, and on the war memorial in the churchyard of St. Peter and St. Paul, Bergh Apton. Charles’ brother, Henry, of the 1st Battalion, Coldstream Guards, who died on the Western Front, is also commemorated on the Bergh Apton memorial. The brothers died just 26 days apart.
War Memorial at Bergh Apton, Norfolk
The diary of Major F.C. Lodge, commanding the 2nd Battalion includes a photograph of the the cemetery at Kut which was erected for those who died during the siege and were buried before the surrender. It is not known whether this photograph was taken in 1916 or later, after the British recapture of Kut in 1917. The diary titles it Our Cemetery Kut-el-Amara.
‘Our Cemetery at Kut-el-Amara’, from the Diary of F.C. Lodge (Regimental Museum)
Some men of 2/Norfolk who were injured during the campaign were repatriated to India where they convalesced, and where some of them died. They too should be remembered.
November 1914 – April 1916
The Kirkee 1914-1918 Memorial stands amidst the graves, manicured lawns and tropical plants of the Kirkee War Cemetery where are buried the dead of the Second World War.
Kirkee War Memorial
Commonwealth War Graves Commission
Again as we said at the beginning – if you have any information about any of the men mentioned in this memorial post (or any of the others we’ve posted over the past year or so) please do get in touch so that we can share their stories too.