First at Gallipoli and more recently at Kut-el-Amara
on the Iraqi Tigris where 13,000 British and Indian troops advancing on Baghdad under the ambitious General Sir Charles Townsend were besieged for five months and starved into humiliating surrender.
On September 28, Tranmere-born Cookson was in command of the British gunboat HMS Comet, taking part in the advance on Kut-el-Amara
, 100 miles south of Baghdad on the River Tigris.
Blackwatch units and other regular units were recalled from the Western Front and shipped out to Iraq to break the siege of Kut-El-Amara
, which was contrived by the now disgraced eccentric Major General Sir Charles Vere Townshend.
Commenting on the British nickname, she manages to slip in a little recent history: "When everything in Mesopotamia was confusion and defeat," she writes, "during the awful period when General Townshend was besieged at Kut-el-Amara, Mesopot was thought to be a curiously appropriate contraction.
Just as no one doubts that the stripping of the British graves at Kut-el-Amara of the simple crosses that marked them was a German-inspired outrage" (249).
HeadLine Hero who protected memory of the dead; Iraq Sub-Heading Publication The Times Date 24/04/2003 Byline Daniel McGrory in Basra Source Data Exchange Page nos 16 Edition 5L Section OVERSEAS NEWS Supplement Picture Story no Picture Caption Forget them not: the memorial wall that was rescued with Saddam Hussein's approval; below, soldiers wounded in the Kut-el-Amara
Principal battles: Abu Klea (near Metemna), Gubat (Gebiet) (1885); Chitral (1895); the Atbara River, Omdurman (1898); Shaiba (Shu'aiba, near Al Basrah) (1915); siege of Kut-el-Amara
(Al Kut) (1915-1916).
They fought, variously, at Kut-el-Amara
, at the capture of Baghdad in March 1917, and at Dahuba and Jabal Hamrin.