The War in Mesopotamia (Iraq) 1914-18

Mesopotamia Campaign 1914-1919 Iraq

This site is made up of 300 pictures taken by Captain Charles (Chas) Henry Weaver during his service in The Great War. This was the time of the creation of Iraq out of "Southern Turkey".

Captain Weaver worked with The Red Cross, but was under military command. He was mentioned in dispatches and was awarded the MBE for his wartime service.

Main Site Enter here

The pictures and artefacts were kept by Mr Weaver's daughter Joyce Edna Huntly (1926-2002) to whom this site is dedicated.

Mesopotamia was the first foreign affray for the (British) Indian Military. By 1918 there were 304,000 Indian troops and 107,000 British troops stationed in Mesopotamia. The British Indian Command was different and the two armies did not always work well together. The Indian side was poorly invested in modern equipment, and medical facilities were pitiful. The war was called "MesPot" with good reason. Some order was established by 1920, from which the modern state of Iraq was established.

The pictures show a different Iraq.  The Marshes and their peoples as photographed were lost.   Many of the sites Captain Weaver photographed here can still be recognised when shown on television news to this day.

These pictures were taken on the British side, no doubt in during the times when things were slack.

Captain Weaver was a contemporary of Dr Maurice Nicholl who was an RAMC doctor. Dr Nicholl gave a copy his book "In Mesopotamia" to Captain Weaver. The book was written under the pen name Martin Swayne. Dr Nicholl became a leading psychiatrist after the war, and was one of the first New Age thinkers, developing "The Fourth Way". Martin Swaine describes the heat in evocative detail, only hinted at in these pictures. "Through the double canvas of the tent the sun beats down like a giant with a leaden club" is just one line he uses. In one period from 7th-28th July 1917 temperatures did not fall below 116 Deg F in the shade and 423 British and 59 Indian troops died of heat stroke. 

Captain Weaver was also in Basra at the time of Gertrude Bell, the Daughter of the Desert,  She was the map-maker, linguist, soldier and spy, and a creator of Iraq.

Captain Weaver was born in 1888 and died in 1956, not long after the Suez Crisis which marked the end of British involvement in the middle East. Britain's military interest in Mesopotamia, then Iraq, ceased in 1958 until 2003....

For details of the 1914-1919 campaign you can buy a new book which has been published by Pen and Sword "Battles on Tigris" by Ron Wilcox. See the link below. Gertrude Bell's astonishing work and details of the politics after the war has been written up by Georgina Howell in her book Daughter of The Desert, published in August 2006, see the links below.

Once again Iraq is topical. These pictures show what life was like for the water people around the famous rivers of the Tigris and Euphrates 1915-1919. This site's last update 16th December 2013

Contact me, Dr Gerard Bulger here

Web sites of interest are
Military Lessons on Iraqi Ground Warfare

BBC Archive Article

Army Museum
Contact the author of this site Gerard Bulger
British Army in Mesopotamia 1914-18
2013. Written by army officer who has been there in in more recent times

Book on Mesopotamia Campaign
Ron Wilcox

Click to order
Gertrude Bell and The Creation of Iraq
Daughter of The Desert
Georgina Howell

Daugter of The Desert