Just a scribble to tell you I’m all right after the fighting round Ramadi on Sept 27th, 28th, & 29th, which you may have noticed in the papers, though I don’t suppose they will make reference to it. The 1/5 Queens were in it with us, so you may perhaps hear accounts from some of their relations. The fighting is all over now, as we have killed or captured the entire Turkish force here, some 3000 men, & 2000 of them surrendered to us, the good old 2/39th! Is’nt it splendid. The regiment has done awfully well, though I say it as should’nt, as I commanded it all through!
The G.O.C. the force has been round to thank us & congratulate us & said that we were going to be specially mentioned separately from the others as having done so well. The officers & men were magnificent, mother, & I am frightfully proud to have commanded such a splendid lot of men in action, & I know you will be too. The Queens were splendid too, & fought like veterans.
We did a night march on 27th Sept & dug trenches close to the enemy that night, marched all next day till 3 pm & then attacked & captured a ridge; dug trenches all that night & next morning advanced over 1500 yards of open ground & attacked & captured another ridge, & a very important bridge which prevented the Turkish army escaping. Also we captured 3 field guns, is that magnificent for infantry, & all by our little selves too! These guns were knocking us about rather badly at very close range, so 2 of our men got Lewis guns & shot down the gunners, & then a company of ours charged the guns & captured them, alone & unaided. A very nice thing for infantry to actually knock out guns, & then capture them.
After that practically the whole of the Turkish force (2500 out of a total of 3000 odd) surrendered to us, the 39th, including Ahmed Bey the Turkish commander & all his staff. We had a good many casualties in the 3 days fighting, during which we came under very heavy machine gun & rifle fire at times, & also heavy shell fire. But we fortunately only had 2 officers wounded, & very few men killed.
The main point is the operations have been entirely successful, the general & all are fearfully pleased, & Genl: Maude has sent us some very congratulatory messages. I, of course, am more pleased than I can say; I knew the men would do well, but they have exceeded my wildest expectations. We had heaps of congratulations from other regiments & individuals, & the Garhwalis have more than sustained their reputation.
The 3 days fighting were really hard, no sleep practically, very very hard marching & some good stiff fighting; very very little water, scanty food, but a cheery view of life helped us all along, & now of course you could’nt find a happier crowd anywhere. I’m awfully fit & well, had many narrow escapes, but a miss is always as good as a mile is’nt it.
Too busy to write any more. Best love to all the others. I can’t write any more I’ll try next day. Heaps of love to all
Yr loving son
Sketch and report of Ramadi from In The Clouds Above Baghdad, being the records of an air commander by John Edward Tennant (1920)