James Owen of Penrhos

and his descendants
See Mesopotamia map for reference

The Battle of Sannaiyat begins

The orders were to advance in quick time, breaking into double when within charging distance of the enemy. The two leading lines of platoons were to capture the first line trench, the third and fourth lines to capture the second and 39th Brigade the third. The Battalion’s War Diary Describes events as follows: The general attack began at 4.20 a.m., the troops advancing at that time. Owing however to the fact that there was a marsh to the left front, also to the fact that the Turks sent up flares on the right flank, which gave the men a false idea as to where their front was, the majority of the troops wheeled round to the right. Battalions got mixed up, although in spite of heavy fire there was a total absence of panic. Such was the confusion that it was impossible to reorganise and when dawn came it was found necessary to dig in. Some of the first line actually reached the Turkish trenches but, being unsupported, had to fall back. The troops remained dug in the whole day and at dusk the task of reorganisation was commenced. The general consensus was that the firing of blue flares by the Turks caused the initial confusion, which was then exacerbated by further blue flares and heavy rifle fire.

Another view of what happened in the Battle for Sannaiyat agrees with much of the report in the diary of the Borderers except in the nature of the wheeling of the troops. The war diary of the 8th Battalion, Cheshire Regiment describes how the forward groups came under rifle fire from their left flank. After a short time the firing became much heavier and Col. Gover changed direction with the whole Battalion; the movement was carried out as if on a parade ground and a systematic and well-conducted advance was commenced in the direction (west) of the rifle fire. At no time could the position of the Turks be distinguished. After advancing about 600 yards the last 300 yards of which was by short section rushes, the fire became so hot that it [became] necessary to halt the line which was not supported; as it was impossible to retire, the men made the best cover possible with their entrenching tools and we remained until 7 p.m. when we returned under cover of darkness.