§ Sir E. CORNWALL
(by private Notice): I beg to ask the Secretary of State for India whether he is in a position to give any information about the operations in Mesopotamia?
§ Mr. CHAMBERLAIN
On the 6th instant General Aylmer left Ali Gherbi with the troops marching to the relief of Kut-el-Amara.
On the same day, General Townshend at Kut reported that on the previous night the enemy had opened a heavy fire on his north-west front and on the village opposite Kut, but that they made no attempt to attack him.
On the night of the 7th, General Aylmer reported contact with the enemy and heavy fighting on both banks of the Tigris, two or three miles below Sheikh Saad. On the right bank, General Kemball's column had carried the enemy's position, taking two guns and 700 prisoners, and was then entrenching in a position close to Sheikh Saad. Meanwhile the main attack on the left bank had been retarded by outflanking movements of the enemy.
General Aylmer adds that he was apparently opposed by three Turkish divisions.
1288 On the evening of the 8th, General Aylmer reported that, owing to the fatigue of the troops, he was unable to make any progress.
On the 9th, General Aylmer reported: "The enemy are in retreat and I am pursuing, but heavy rain hinders the pursuit." From a later telegram it appears that the enemy had reached Orah in its retirement.
I regret to add that General Nixon has been compelled by ill-health to relinquish his command and return home. Lieut. -General Sir Percy Lake, at present Chief of the General Staff in India, has been appointed to succeed him.