Up the Tigris

Private Baggott of the 14th Hussars made sketches of various actions and scenes during the Mesopotamia campaign. This one was made by him as he sat at the stern of one of the 4 steamers that took the regiment up the Tigris in November 1915. The paddle steamer coming up behind has a lighter tied to the port side which contained the horses. Ninety horses were carried on each lighter with their heads facing outwards, secured by a single rope running around the side of the vessel. A wooden partition ran down the middle of the boat but the lively Walers kicked them to pieces making conditions very unpleasant for their minders who had to fill nose-bags and water buckets in rear of the horses and then take them round the front. The steamers were constantly having to heave-to while horses which had fallen overboard were recovered. The vessel on the starboard side of the steamer is a Mahalla which carried stores. The building on the right of the picture is Ezra'a tomb. The boats were attached to the sides of the steamer because the bends in the river were too sharp to allow for towing.

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by Stephen Luscombe