Personal info

  • Name: Oswald Austin REID
  • D.O.B: 22nd February, 1919
  • D.O.A: 10th March, 1917
  • D.O.D: 27th October, 1920
  • Award: Victoria Cross
  • Occupation at time of action: Captain, 1st Battalion The King’s (Liverpool Regiment), attached to 6th Battalion The Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, 38th Brigade, 13th Division

Diyala river, Mesopotamia 8-10 March 1917

8-10 March 1917

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The First World War Mesopotamia 1915-1918 

After the failure of the first attempt to cross the Diyala river, south-east of Baghdad, on the night of 7-8 March 1917 (see above), a second attempt was made the following night. The pontoons again came under very heavy Turkish fire and of nearly 1,000 British troops only 110 got across. The senior surviving officer, Captain O A Reid, attached to 6th Battalion The Loyal North Lancashire Regiment, succeeded in gathering together the three separate pockets of troops on the far side of the river. He and the men with him held out until the third and successful crossing of the Diyala by British troops early in the morning of 10 March. By then Reid’s force had been reduced to about thirty men. Realizing that Baghdad could not now be defended against the Expeditionary Force the Turkish army evacuated the city on the 10th and retired northwards. The British entered the city the following day.

Citation

 For most conspicuous bravery in the face of desperate circumstances. By his dauntless courage and gallant leadership he was able to consolidate a small post with the advanced troops, on the opposite side of a river to the main body, after his line of communications had been cut by the sinking of the pontoons. He maintained this position for thirty hours against constant attacks by bombs, machine gun and shell fire, with the full knowledge that repeated attempts at relief had failed, and that his ammunition was all but exhausted. It was greatly due to his tenacity that the passage of the river was effected on the following night. During the operations he was wounded. 

Second Supplement to The London Gazette of 8 June 1917. 8 June 1917, Numb. 30122, p.5702

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