On the 20 July 1916, the Prime Minister H H Asquith bowed to the outrage sweeping Parliament and country and agreed to appoint a Commission of Inquiry into the debacle that was the Mesopotamia Campaign. The Inquiry established by Act of Parliament was to inquire into:
‘The origin, inception and conduct of operations of war in Mesopotamia, including the supply of drafts, reinforcements, ammunition and equipment to the troops and fleet. The provision for the sick and wounded and the responsibility of those departments of Government whose duty it has been to minister to the wants of the forces employed in that theatre of war’.
Uniquely the inquiry took place while the campaign it was inquiring into was still raging.
The talk will look at the events in Mesopotamia which prompted the inquiry, the political backdrop in Britain and India together with the reasons why the Secretary of State for India, Austen Chamberlain resigned, despite in the words of Lord Curzon, being “the only high official who comes well out of the transaction.”
Tony Bolton is currently the Chair of the WFA.