[The Dunsterforce].

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Tono kōrero mai

Memories of a little-known unit of Allied soldiers which was formed in Northern Persia towards the end of World War One to rally the Russian units into a fighting force.

Charles Bathgate of Hawera recalls how the force was formed to undertake some clandestine activity. He was one of 12 New Zealand officers chosen from men serving in France, plus 24 sergeants. They were briefed and trained in London without knowing exactly where they were going.

They left London in January 1918 on board a train named the 'Baghdad Special", which is when they realised their destination. They waited in Baghdad for six weeks for the snow to melt, then travelled by rail and road to the Iran-Persia border. From there they walked about 500 miles on foot, with pack ponies.

There was famine in the country at the time, around the city of Hamadan. Their main work was to try and mould the Russian Army in the area into into a force which could hold the Turks back. This failed however, because the Russian Revolution meant the Russians were not interested in co-operating.

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Year 1970

Reference number 249879

Media type AUDIO

Collection Sound Collection

Genre Interviews (Sound recordings)
Sound recordings

Credits RNZ Collection
Radio New Zealand. National Programme (estab. 1964, closed 1986), Broadcaster
Bathgate, Charles, Interviewee

Duration 00:08:30

Date 1970

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