21/7/1915 Aden: Britain chases off the Turks

Things have got a bit sticky for the British in their southern Arabian port of Yemen. Earlier in the month they tried to aid an Arab client in nearby Lahej when he was under attack by the Turks. This turned into a fiasco when the friendly chieftain was accidentally killed by the British troops sent to protect him.

Since then the Turks and their Arab allies have advanced to the gates of Aden itself. They have occupied the town of Sheikh Othman, just outside the port. Turkish control of Sheikh Othman makes the British position in Aden untenable in the long run as it is the source of Aden’s drinking water. The Turks are also now able to shell the British port.
But the British refuse to accept the loss of Aden. The port is a vital link in the chain of maritime stations between Britain and India and in enemy hands it could severely disrupt the British Empire’s trade. Its loss would also be a terrible blow to British standing in the Arab world.

So reinforcements are despatched to Aden from Egypt. In a bold move, the British launch a surprise attack on the Turks in Sheikh Othman. The Turks are chased off to Lahej; Aden is safe once more. But the British do not push their luck. They make no moves to advance north into the desert from the safety of their port.

image source (Wikipedia)

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