Great Britain Officially Occupies Basra
General Barrett immediately began to make preparations to continue the offensive against the Turks at Baljaniya, when on the 20th on November, he received news from the Sheik of Mohammerah that as a result of their defeat at Sahil, the Turks had not only abandoned Baljaniya, but also Basra, and had retreated to Amara well up the Tigris river. This news was soon confirmed, and it was also learnt that widespread looting had broken out in Basra. Accordingly, on the 21st of November, the HMS Espiegle and HMS Odin carefully navigated past a nearly complete obstruction made up of a number of ships sunk by the Turks in the Shatt, and arrived at Basra. They found the Basra customs house engulfed in flames, and rampant looting throughout the city, which was at once put to an end by a naval landing party. The next morning, looting began again, and it was again brought to an end by another naval landing party. By noon, General Barrett's main force had reached Basra after a long and tiring night march. Basra was officially occupied on November 23rd with a ceremonial parade and the raising of the Union Jack over the city. Sir Percy Cox, the chief political agent with Expeditionary Force 'D' publicly read in Arabic an official statement of British intentions…
Defeated in action the Turks hurriedly attempted to initiate a prepared plan to close the Shatt-el-Arab by tying a string of ships across it and sinking them. However a cable snapped leaving a gap sufficient to enable one British vessel at a time to pass through.
The following morning Barrett received news from a local Arab Sheikh that the Turks had withdrawn leaving Basra empty. Thus two battalions embarked and sailed to Basra entering the city on the evening of 21 November; Barrett officially took possession two days later.
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