brissel

May 18, 1916 - Kut Prisoner Column Reaches Baghdad

Pictured - British and Indian prisoners after the fall of Kut.

The Anglo-Indian prisoners taken at the fall of Kut were sent on a horrific march to captivity in Anatolia.  Along the way, the starving and dysentery-ridden men were beaten, robbed, raped, and murdered.  On May 18 they reached Baghdad, where they were kept for three days in a prisoner compound lacking shade or even latrines. 

The American Consul in Baghdad, a Mr. Brissell, tried to help as many prisoners as he could by paying money to Turkish guards and authorities, leaning on them to have 500 of the prisoners sent to hospital.  The men released were then marched to Basra, where they could return to British lines.  Still, 160 of them died along the way.  The survivors who made it to Basra were forbidden to speak of what they had endured at the hands of their Turkish and Arab captors, lest the men still in captivity be killed.