Tuesday, 1 April 2003

Iraq is littered with graves of Britons killed in another colonial war

By Robert Fisk in Baghdad

click here to visit his website At dusk yesterday the ground around the Baghdad North Gate War Cemetery shook with the vibration of the bombs. The oil-grey sky was peppered with anti-aircraft fire.

And below the clouds of smoke and the tiny star-like explosion of the shells, Sergeant Frederick William Price of the Royal Garrison Artillery, Corporal A D Adsetts of the York and Lancaster Regiment and Aircraftman First Class P Magee of the Royal Air Force slept on. An eerie place to visit, perhaps, as the first of the night raids closed in on the capital of Iraq.

Not so. For the Iraqi Foreign Minister, Naji Sabri, had spoken earlier of these graves and awoke the ghosts of colonisers past. For No 1401979 Sergeant Price and No 4736364 Corporal Adsetts and No 210493 Aircraftman Magee all died in Britain's first colonial war in Iraq, in 1921.

And what was it that Mr Sabri, dressed in his Baath Party uniform said? "British soldiers already have their graveyards in Iraq, from the 1920s and from 1941 ...

"Now they will have other graveyards where they will be joined by their friends, the Americans."

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