The MegaMilitary Project | Online Edition #343
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Aden during World War I

Aden during World War I

Serving the Suez Canal and as a trading depot

From its annexation in 1839, Aden (now part of Yemen) had been part of British India, under the authority of the governor of Bombay; its position was of considerable significance, as a station serving the Suez Canal and as a trading depot for the interior of Arabia and the Somali coast.

Its garrison comprised the Aden Brigade of the Indian Army (23rd Sikh Pioneers, 109th Infantry, the Aden Troop of cavalry and one British battalion, which from December 1914 was the I/1st Brecknockshire Battalion).

The first offensive against Aden by Turkish forces in the Yemen (commanded by a most active Circassian, 'Ali Sa'id Pasha) was driven off in November 1914 by 29 Indian Brigade, then at Aden en route to India. A more serious operation was made in July 1915, when the Turks and Arab allies moved into the sultanate of Lahej, friendly to Britain, some 40 kilometers (25 miles) from Aden. The Aden Brigade marched out to meet them, but stricken by the climate and after accidentally killing the Sultan of Lahej, they were forced to retire to another outpost, Sheikh Othman, which also had to be abandoned. In response, 28th (Frontier Force) Brigade was dispatched from India, under the command of Major-general Sir George Younghusband, ex-commander of the Corps of Guides and an officer of immense experience.

sir george younghusband
Major General Sir George John Younghusband (9 July 1859 - 30 September 1944) was a cavalry officer and major-general in the British Indian Army. Younghusband was commissioned into the 17th Foot in 1878. He later transferred to the British Indian Army's Guides Cavalry and served in several conflicts, including the Second Afghan War, the Mahdist War, the Third Burmese War, the Second Boer War and finally in the First World War. Because of wounds received on the battlefield, he was forced to retire from the army in 1917.

He drove the Turks from Sheikh Othman on 20 July, and fighting continued throughout the year. In January 1916, troops from Aden supported local Arabs against the Turks and fought a successful small action at Subar, near Lahej. The defensive perimeter around Aden was extended to a radius of 18 kilometers (eleven miles), and although clashes occurred until the end of the war, there was no further major action. To support the garrison, small units of Arabs were taken into British service, including an Arab Legion (1st Yemen Infantry), but their service was limited to patrolling.

Period/s:
WWI (1914-1918)
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