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David Nicolle's Osprey book 'Lawrence and the Arab Revolts' (republished as Lawrence of Arabia) has brief details on this war on pages 23-35.
He acknowledges it as 'one of the most obscure episodes of the Great War'.
Ottoman forces consisted of the 7th Yemen Army Corps under 'Ali Sa'id Pasha (a Circassian officer) commanding 14,000 men. After the Arab Revolt in the Hejaz this contingent was effectively cut off. Despite this 'Ali Said went on the offensive and kept the British forces cooped up in Aden, as well as extending Ottoman influence east into the Hadraumat .
Initially Aden was defended by a British garrison supported by an Aden Troop of Indian soldiers and local guides. Once the danger to Aden was realised a classic British Imperial solution was cobbled together, the Aden Field Force was created from available Imperial forces and by 1916 consisted of:
6 Battalions Infantry
2 Squadrons Cavalry
1 company of sappers
some obsolete artillery
Gathering tribal force 'Ali Said attacked in July 1916 and reached Sheikh Othman from where his guns could shell Aden Harbour. The Turks were driven from here and a new front was established around Aden which remained unchanged for most of the war.
'Ali Said finally surredered in January 1919 and received a hero's welcome from the locals in Aden.
Somewhat ironically given this stalemate and reluctance to take action matters escalated when the Armistice was declared. The Turkish commanders in the Yemen were reluctant to surrender and disarm, and the British suspected that the Imam of Yemen was colluding in these manoeuvres fearful that the Turks would evacuate before settling their debts.70 Lacking troops due to Spanish Influenza, the British were incapable of forcing Turkish compliance and so maintained negotiations until early December. A final demand was issued and a detachment of Turkish troops surrendered formally on 6 December. British patience was running down and so troops of the 2 101/Grenadiers were despatched from Egypt. Arriving off the coast of Hodeida on 13 December they demanded the surrender of the garrison, which was ignored. The Grenadiers landed on the following morning and advanced from the north. A combined force of Turks and Arabs opened fire as the Grenadiers fought from house to house during the course of which the Indians suffered one killed and one wounded. Stalemate reigned and continued even after the arrival of the 7/Rajputs as the British proved reluctant to force the still recalcitrant Turks any further. A march on Lahej was combined with the landings at Hodeida, which resulted in the disarming of 2,500 Turks. But, even this did not result in a neat resolution for elsewhere, including Hodeida, the Turks surrendered only in batches. The task of evacuating the Turkish garrisons was not completed until March 1919 by which time a further 4,100 men had surrendered. Only at this point could the demobilisation of the Aden Field Force commence.
“In all six officers, divided into three parties left for Yaman by three separate roads. Two of
these officers arrived at Lahej on May 20, 1917 with money. Four other officers arrived in Saná
about April 8, 1917 with £T 30,000 in bank notes and £T 30,000 in gold. The party travelled
disguised as pilgrims and came via Najd. It may be observed that there was no evidence of
further assistance to Yaman from Constantinople after the event of Arab uprising in Hijāz."
“During World War I Eşref Sencer Kuşçubası was allegedly the director of operations in Arabia, the Sinai, and
North Africa. He was captured at Yemen in early 1917 by the British military and was a POW in Malta until 1920.“
Was the Teskilât-ı Mahsusa involved in these secret missions to Yemen, and was that the
reason, that Eşref Sencer Kuşçubası was captured at the same time, in spring 1917 in Yemen?
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