HC Deb 10 July 1919 vol 117 cc2047-8W
Major GLYN

asked the Secretary for War whether he will consider the advisability of issuing a statement regarding the operations that have recently taken place on the North-West Frontier of India, in order to allay the anxiety of the relatives, who have now only to rely upon Press messages regarding the fighting reported to have taken place on the 19th June and other dates?


No details other than those that have appeared in the Press have been received of such fighting as has taken place since the cessation of the main operations between our forces and those of the Afghans, nor has any fighting been reported as having taken place on 19th June. The following is a summary of the Reports received of events since the 20th June, in so far as they relate to military operations. On the 20th June the Viceroy reported that aerial reconnaissances on the 19th June had disclosed 2,000 to 3,000 transport animals near Wana, in Waziris-tan. and bivouacs scattered along the Shahur valley and at Diba, North and North-east of Sarwekai, respectively. These camps and horse lines were bombed from the air

On the 21st June it was reported that sniping continued on the Dakka Front, and that a Mohmand lashkar estimated at 600, followed up our Cavalry on the evening of the 20th June, and came under close artillery and machine-gun fire. Owing to bad visibilty and the rapidity with which the tribesmen dispersed, their casualties could not then be estimated, but, on the 22nd June, the Viceroy telegraphed that it was estimated that thirty of the tribesmen had been killed and twenty-five wounded. The same telegram reported that a raiding gang had been rounded up on the Khajuri plain, West of Peshawar, on the 21st June. On the 22nd June our picquetting troops on the Dakka Front, on moving into their positions, were heavily fired on, but the enemy was driven off. On the Chaman Front an aeroplane was fired on within our border by a small party 1 mile North of the Bogra Pass, and a patrol encounter also took place within our border, the enemy patrol consisting of about fifty tribesmen with two mounted officers in uniform. On the 27th June the Viceroy reported a further patrol encounter on the Chaman Front.

On the 28th June it was reported that a small force of Afghan Infantry had crossed into British territory West of Kamarudin Karez, 60 miles North-west of Fort Sandeman, between the 20th and the 22nd June, but it was then back in Afghan territory. In the same message it was reported that a Cavalry reconnaissance on the 27th June on the Dakka Front had found a hill South and West of Girdi, and a sangar East of Girdi (which is about 5½ miles West of Dakka), strongly held. On the same day a patrol encounter was reported from the Peiwar Kotal. On the 29r.h June a Cavalry reconnaissance found the Girdi plain clear of the enemy, but fifty were observed on a hill 400 yards West of Girdi. In the same message an enemy party was reported to have advanced to within 300 yards of our entrenchments within our border on the Chaman Front. They were dispersed by Lewis gun fire. On the 30th June an enemy party, estimated at 100, within our border on the Bogra Pass (10 miles North-northeast of Chaman), were dispersed by machine-gun fire from aeroplanes. A raid was attempted against one of our picquets on the Peiwar Kotal on the night of the 28th-29th June, and some sniping took place in the same neighbourhood on the night of the lst-2nd July. On the 4th July our picquetting troops in the Tochi valley, in Waziristan, were attacked by tribesmen. No details have been received of the above occurrences, which all appear to have been quite trifling in character.

The total casualties reported in the whole of the operations up to the 8th July are given below. It should be understood that the greater part of these occurred during the main operations against the Afghans in May.

Killed and died of wounds. Wounded Missing. Total.
British Units—
Officers 3 9 0 12
Other ranks 33 109 0 142
Total 36 118 0 154
Indian Units—
British officers 14 19 1 34
Indian officers 5 5 0 10
Indian other Ranks 42 228 2 272
Total 61 252 3 316
Grand total 97 370 3 470