Today in Postal History
May 10, 1919
This cover has all the marks of a favor cancellation for someone in the unit.
The Indian Expeditionary Force (I.E.F.) was sent to the Middle East early in World War I.
The I.E.F. D took Basra, Mesopotamia, in November, 1914.*
At the time this letter was sent, a
portion of the force was
still in what
was then known as Mesopotamia.
This particular cover was postmarked at F.P.O. (Field Post Office) No. 329 with five CDS.
Can someone confirm that the location of that F.P.O. in May, 1919, was Basra?
The sender used an official oversize O. H. M. S. envelope.
The cover was addressed to the Embarkation
Margil is the port and a modern residential area of Basra.
Note that there is a receiver on the back for F.P.O. NO. 329 3RD OFFICE on May 10.
|"On 5 November 1914, three months
outbreak of the First World War in Europe, Britain officially declared
war on Germany’s Eastern ally, Turkey. On 22 November a British Indian
army, known as Indian Expeditionary Force "D" (IEFD), occupied Basra,
where a local British administration was immediately set up under the
leadership of Sir Percy Cox as Chief Political Officer. While the
British Indian military forces advanced slowly up river towards Baghdad
and then remained bogged down in the famous five-month siege at Kut,
Cox and a small team of officials set about creating a civilian
government which would ultimately be extended to all the former
territories of Ottoman Turkish Arabia. Among those recruited for the
work were Arnold Wilson and Reader Bullard, as well as the more
well-known travellers and ‘Orientalists’ of the period, including
T.E.Lawrence, Gertrude Bell and Harry St.John Philby. While political
officers such as Bullard and Wilson were sent out to run regional
administrations, Bell and her colleagues worked under the auspices of
the Arab Bureau’s Eastern Branch at Basra, preparing detailed
intelligence reports on local personalities, tribes and political
affiliations. When Baghdad was finally captured in March 1917 Cox, now
promoted to the post of Civil Commissioner in Mesopotamia, appointed
Gertrude Bell as his ‘Oriental Secretary’, the key intelligence post in
"During the years of gradually expanding British occupation from 1914-1921 the former Ottoman territories, known before the war as Turkish Arabia, referred to during the war as Mesopotamia, and subsequently renamed as the modern state of Iraq, were the subject of enormous interest to officials in London. Information gathering was an essential tool in imperial rule and in Mesopotamia the need for intelligence was intensified by the requirements of war and the military campaign. By 1918 British government files were full of wide-ranging factual material on the area and after the end of the war this was supplemented by lengthy discussions on the future government of the new state. In August 1921 Faysal bin Husayn was enthroned in Baghdad. The style and details of his administration, however, had already been laid down in the seven years preceding his accession."
Today in Postal History
January February March April May June
July August September October November December
Pastnotes Index - The First 300 and the Next 208
provides more tidbits about stamps and collectors.
Send me an e-mail
Please include a reference to this item.