April 30th 1941

Yesterday evening all British women and children were evacuated from Baghdad, and it is said that the Iraqis were about to resist a landing of further troops of the force already here. This morning the alarm goes at about 4am and we go down to the flights and prepare planes for war. An Iraqi officer comes in by car to the AOC and out again, presumably with some sort of ultimatum. Then troops and armoured cars appear on the plateau and at 8am I go off with James Fairweather to reconnoitre them. I keep her at 1000′ and we see 3 guns, 9 or so AFVs and about one battalion of troops all lined up ready to fire at the camp. I then land her on the polo pitch and we report to AHQ. A shave and wash and some breakfast, and now what!?

Just done a two hour recce of the Plateau, Falluja and Falluja Plain in an Audax with Sgt Douglas, 13.30 to 15.30. What a time! Saw 18 horse drawn 18 pounders the other side of Falluja Plain, and Bofors guns, howitzers and M/Gs on the Plateau. Simply grand at 500 feet and AOC very pleased with my report, and asks me to do a dawn patrol. I tell Ling and he says “Yes! Yes!” and details Haig for it according to his roster. Very tired and with one of those chronic thirsts for iced water which I sometimes get.


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3 responses to “April 30th 1941”

  1. Habbaniyah: 4.30 am General Alarm sounded, Iraqi forces spotted massing on the plateau. Perimeter already fully manned by Levies. RAF reserves to sectors. Under previous defence plans Levies mounted observation post at bluf canal turn to prevent surprise attack. Skeleton manned by day and fully manned by night with necessary MT. KORR, 1 Armoured Company and Levies form Hab land forces undercommand of OC LandDefences/Levies. The only AA defences are single Lewis guns on AA mounting protected by sandbags. Kept most bombing attacks to 8,000 feet. AVM Smart orders trenches dug and MG posts established

    Golf course & polo field prepared as Auxiliary Landing Ground. Aircraft disbursed behind hangars/trees. By 8.00 am 3 Vickers Valentias standing by bombed up in accordance with Habbaniya Defence Scheme. Recce (Audax) of plateau shows brigade strength forces. Audax “provocation” flight.

    Shaibah: 70sqn 9 x Wellingtons arrive from Egypt.

    1. James Dunford Wood Avatar
      James Dunford Wood

      Hi there – thanks for your fascinating commentary. Please keep it up! You will notice that my father’s diary entries are generally a day behind the action.

  2. […] 12. Nerves in the siege of Habbaniya – going back to bed after the dawn stand-to. […]

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