The military coup in Baghdad on 14 July 1958 was as sudden as it was unexpected. The revolt was led by the officers of a brigade of the Iraqi Third Division passing through the city to the Jordanian frontier at the request of King Hussein. The putsch instantaneously triggered a mass uprising that subjected Baghdad to a day of widespread violence and destruction in the city before the army restored order. The young King Feisal and Abdul Illah were shot out of hand, after which a ferocious and jubilant crowd paraded through the streets with parts of the crown prince’s body impaled on spikes while the army looked on. Nuri al-Said was also killed on the following day attempting to escape. In addition to the slaughter of the Iraqi elite, two Jordanian ministers, Ibrahim Hashim and Suleiman Tuqan, were summarily murdered, while Brigadier Sadiq Shera only just escaped after he had suffered a beating. 1 The British Embassy was attacked while its staff tried desperately to burn official documents. Aside from a member of the military attaché’s staff who was killed by a stray bullet, the British diplomats and their families were unharmed. It was nevertheless a traumatic shock to witness the sudden collapse of the regime and the sacking of the embassy. Michael Wright and his staff were corralled by Iraqi troops in the embassy grounds, and could only watch as looters loaded the heavier furniture from the smouldering ambassador’s residence onto boats moored on the River Tigris. 2