Iraq formed a navy in 1937?

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Iraq formed a navy in 1937?

Post  Billy Paul on Wed 16 Sep 2009, 6:40 pm

I just found out a couple days ago that Iraq raised a small riverine navy in 1937. Do any photos exist of their personnel from the 1937-'45 time period? I can't find any. The most information I have been able to find is that it consisted of four vessels and was based in Basra. Many thanks to anyone who can shed some light on this. If I had to guess I might think maybe it looked British-influenced because of Iraq's Army's British-influenced uniforms and kit but I could be way off.

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Re: Iraq formed a navy in 1937?

Post  Sean on Thu 17 Sep 2009, 1:45 pm

Very interesting.
I have to agree, British style would be the most likely. At least the 'whites', don't know about 'blues'.
Would be great to see some photos.

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Re: Iraq formed a navy in 1937?

Post  Billy Paul on Thu 17 Sep 2009, 5:43 pm

I just found a photo of what their summer square rig looks like nowadays but I'm not sure how close it would be to the 1937-'45 equivalent. It's the photo in the upper left corner.

http://www.gettyimages.com/Search/Search.aspx?contractUrl=2&language=en-US&family=editorial&assetType=image&p=iraq%20sailor&src=standard#

With the exception of a beret it does look rather British in style but again, I'm not sure if this is because the Royal Navy trained the new Iraqi Navy or if it's because maybe they patterned it after their original square rig (and Britain may well have trained up its original navy in 1937 in which case it would be highly likely they would use the same uniforms.) Or maybe it hasn't changed anyway, as all countries' naval uniforms tend to be the most change-averse of the services. I wouldn't be surprised if they had a British-style cap but with a tally ribbon written in Arabic saying "Iraqi Navy" back in the day but I'm just guessing.

I also found out a little more detail about the composition of their navy in this case in 1941. It seems the four vessels were 100-ton Thornycroft river gunboats each with a 3.7-inch howitzer, a 3-inch mortar and four machine guns. Plus they also had what it says is a "pilot vessel" with a 5-inch gun, the vessel being called 'King Faisal I' as well as a minesweeper named 'Alarm'. Based in the Shatt-al-Arab waterway which makes sense.

http://books.google.com/books?id=3XFOu9NG9pwC&pg=PA13&lpg=PA13&dq=iraqi+river+gunboats&source=bl&ots=_AN9M0acQP&sig=cXMVqNwDkrP46bAJqULtrIUVeHo&hl=en&ei=LZ2wStnoJJivtgfZ8pmSCA&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=7#v=onepage&q=&f=false

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Re: Iraq formed a navy in 1937?

Post  Billy Paul on Sun 20 Sep 2009, 5:19 pm

A more accurate order of battle from Conway's All the World's Fighting Ships 1922-1946 by Robert Gardiner:

"The only true naval vessels possessed by Iraq were four patrol boats (1-4) built by Thornycroft in 1937. They were of 67t displacement, 100ft x 17ft x 3ft (30.48 x 5.18 x 0.91m), propelled by 2-shaft Thornycroft diesels of 280bhp = 12kts and armed with 1 - 3.7in howitzer, 2 - 3in mortars and 2 MG. There was also the tug Alarm (ex-British Admiralty 'Saint' class St. Ewe, 1919, 820t, purchased in 1926) and the royal yacht Faisal I (ex-San Pew, ex-Restless, 1923, 1025t). Faisal I became a lighthouse tender in the 1940s. All the above vessels were discarded c1977-79."

http://books.google.com/books?id=bJBMBvyQ83EC&pg=PP14&lpg=PP14&dq=conway's+fighting+ships+royal+iraqi+navy&source=bl&ots=6WhkSJmNzL&sig=WkJ4Za46kJbIMGij8cGdxhpYZ0w&hl=en&ei=ex-zSqOOE4KwlAeG0_nzDg&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1#v=onepage&q=&f=false

This would explain then why it is said that their navy was formed in 1937 (when they got their four combatants) but years before that Faisal in becoming king assumed the title of admiral of the Iraqi fleet (the two other vessels and a grandiose title.)

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