chapter  19
32 Pages

The Sack of Basra and the Farhud in Baghdad

Somerset de Chair's book, The Golden Carpet, which describes its author's adventures as intelligence officer of 'Habforce' which marched from Palestine on Habbaniyya and Baghdad in May 1941, appeared in a general, trade, edition in 1944. But it had been published the previous year in a limited, private press, edition. This earlier edition has a passage in the preface which the trade edition omits. In this passage, de Chair recounts a story which he had heard from a British officer serving in the Indian army, Colonel W. G. Elphinston, concerning Colonel T. E. Lawrence and the capture of Damascus. Elphinston, wrote de Chair,

threw a new light on [Lawrence's] abrupt departure which appears to have been wrung from a reluctant Allenby at the close of the Seven Pillars of Wisdom.