N.S. Nash

Chitral Charlie

Charles Townshend achieved international fame, as a captain, when he commanded the besieged garrison at Chitral (now Pakistan) in 1895. As a result, he became known as Chitral Charlie.Decorated by Queen Victoria and lionized by the British public, his passage up through the Army was assured and, in 1916, he was given command on 6th Indian Division and sent to Mesopotamia. Here he won a series of stunning victories as his ill-supported division swept all before it in a devastating advance up the River Tigris. He triumphed brilliantly at Kurna, Amara and Kut but then, against all the tenets of military common sense, he advanced up the River Tigris to take Baghdad. By now overreached, he was confronted by a determined Turkish foe. His Division was depleted and exhausted. Townshend withdrew to Kut, where he was besieged and forced into a humiliating surrender. The mistreatment of the British POWs by the Turks only added to Townshends shame.This fascinating and objective biography examines Townshends controversial conduct during and after the siege and assesses whether his dramatic fall from grace and popularity was fair.
548 printed pages
Original publication



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