A British officer with the Armenians, Baku, August 1918
Photograph, World War One, Caucasus (1914-1918), 1918.
The Baku oil installations were deemed vital to the Allied war effort so after the Russian armies in the Caucasus collapsed following the October Revolution (1917), the British attempted to bolster the Allied position there by despatching a military mission called Dunsterforce.
It arrived in July 1918 and set about training and arming the locals to resist the Turks. But on 1 September 1918 large Turkish regular forces and Muslim tribesmen launched co-ordinated offensives and Baku fell two weeks later. Dunsterforce was evacuated by sea.
The resources available to Dunsterforce, both in terms of men and equipment, were insufficient to accomplish the mission's main goals of holding oil-rich Baku. The British also struggled to mobilise the residents of Baku who were too preoccupied with infighting to mount a united defence.
From an album of 334 photographs compiled by Major W Leith-Ross, Army Staff and 13th Frontier Force Rifles, 1918-1920.
NAM Accession Number
National Army Museum, Out of Copyright
National Army Museum, Study collection
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