During the First World War, the British and Indian forces fought against the Ottoman Turks for control of Mesopotamia (modern day Iraq). Baghdad was taken by the allies in 1917 and after the war, with the Ottoman empire falling apart, the area was placed under British control. British rule was not welcomed by the population of Mesopotamia. An uprising began in May 1920 but was quickly put down. Yet this was only after 100,000 British troops were deployed and thousands of Arab and British soldiers were killed.
The campaign was costly and Britain needed an effective way of controlling the area. It was Winston Churchill who suggested ‘aerial policing’. This was using the newly formed RAF to police the area and carry out necessary bombing campaigns. The ultimate defeat of the Iraqi’s is attributed to these bombers.
Mesopotamia remained under British control until the Second World War despite Iraq declaring independence in 1932.
Bombers in Mesopotamia 1920s.
George attended Oakham School between 1905 and 1912 and was a member of School House.
Oakham School Cricket 1st XI, 1912 - George is sat in the front row, on the right.
Winter 1908 Rugby review: “Barnett at full back was very safe”.
Spring 1912 Rugby Review: “wing three-quarter; not fast, but a strong runner with a very effective hand-off. Was too fond of kicking instead of trying to break through, but had improved in that respect. Tackles and takes his passes well.”
Winter 1912 Cricket Review: “An unorthodox batsman who made plenty of runs for the 2nd XI, but who failed when playing for the 1st XI. A good field in the country.”
George trained at the Royal Veterinary College. During the First World War, he had fought with the Army Service Corps, serving in both France and Belgium.
The Army Service Corps cap badge.
He won an MC for his actions at the Somme. In 1917, he rejoined the Royal Veterinary College after a shortage for volunteers for the Royal Army Veterinary Cause caused an outcry. Once his degree was completed, he did join the RAVC.
The Royal Army Vet Corps badge.
Between 1918 and 1919, he served with the Archangel Expeditionary Force. He was in charge of a White Russian machine gun battalion and he built the Archangel Veterinary Hospital whilst raising money for a veterinary training school at Archangel for the White Russian forces.
He was mentioned in despatches and awarded the Order of St. Stanlislas with crossed swords.
Later in his career, he spent time with the Royal Artillery Brigade and was then posted to India.
The cap badge of the Royal Artillery.
George was posted to India in 1920 which was followed by serving in Mesopotamia where he was a Veterinary Officer with the 8th Hussars. He later became an Officer commanding the veterinary hospital Baghdad. He was mentioned in despatches.
After the campaign, George returned to India where he supervised horse breeding with the Indian Cavalry. He also worked in the veterinary hospital in Shanghai, China (1927), as Assistant Director of Veterinary Services at Simla, and Deputy Director of Army Veterinary Services at Lahor and Meerut. He commanded the Army Veterinary Centre at Ambala between 1942 and 1946.
For his services, George was awarded an OBE and the Order of St. Stanislas.
The Order of St. Stanislas.