Personal Stories from the 1914-18 War

E. GARDINER

From Mrs Warriner's writings:

"9th and 11th Battalions, Royal Warwickshire Regiment

"I enlisted at Stratford on Avon on November 16th 1914 and left for France on the 31st July 1915, and did service around Ypres and Hebuturne, and was invalided home from France on the 29th January 1916 and remained in hospital till the 7th July 1916. Left England again in October 1916 to join the 9th Battalion Royal Warwicks in Mesopotamia.  Thousands lined the roadside who no doubt were highly pleased at being freed from Turkish rule.  Engaged in the recapture of Kut and the glorious entry of Baghdad on the 11th March 1917. After several more engagements with the Turks on the other side of Baghdad we left for Persia, and what struck me very much about the people there was the starving condition a lot of them were in; they would pick up any tin that was thrown away and scrape it out. From this country we went across the Caspian Sea to a place in S. Russia called Krasnovodsk.  While stationed in this place two things struck me very much. 

"One of these was how very much the President of the place had to be guarded by about six Cossacks who each carried a rifle, revolver, dagger and sword, and his room was always well searched before he went in by his officer or by his British guard, one of whom stood on either side. The other was a strange custom of the people that I saw myself: there was a large procession of people, priests carrying banners in front, also a man with them who had got to be killed as a sacrifice, and later in the day carried round shoulder high in a sort of coffin, and all those following were in black and carried chains in their shoulders; a thing like this, I was told, happens every year.

"From Krasnovodsk we went to Baku, also in S. Russia and on the Caspian, a place that is noted for its oilfields. We tried our best to keep this out of the hands of the Turks, but after sharp fighting in which we were completely hemmed in by the Turks in front of us and the Caspian Sea at the back, we were forced to evacuate at night, on to a boat waiting for us in the harbour.

"We were rushed into Persia where we had a great General, Dunsterville , who commanded the forces back, and were told that we had upheld the finest traditions of the British Army. From here we were sent back to Krasnovodsk where we stayed to try and suppress the Bolshevists, till I left for home in April 1919".