1. Memorial:Basra Memorial Basra
2. Book:The (1921) Masonic Roll of Honour 1914-1918Pg.119
3. Memorial:The (1940) Scroll - WW1 Roll of Honour9B GQS

Awards & Titles:


Family :

Son of Sir John and Lady Courtis, of Fairwater Croft, Llandaff, Glam.

Education & Career :

He went to the Cathedral School, Llandaff

Service Life:


Unit / Ship / Est.: 1st Battalion Oxford and Bucks Light Infantry 

1st Battalion August 1914 : in Ahmednagar, India. Attached to 17th Indian Brigade of 6th (Poona) Division, Indian Army. 27 November 1914 : moved to Mesopotamia. 29 April 1916 : Bn captured after surrender of garrison at Kut-el-Amara. A Provisional Bn was formed from the reinforcements and details who were not captured, which was attached to 28th Indian Brigade, 6th Poona Division. This Provisional Bn was renamed 1st Bn on 6 July 1916. 19 October 1917 : transferred to 50th Indian Brigade in 15th Indian Division. Remained in Mesopotamia throughout the war.

Action : Mesopotamia 

At the outbreak of war the British, together with Indian troops, resolved to protect oil supply in the region by occupying the area around Basra at Abadan. This evolved into a series of campaigns towards Baghdad against the Turkish forces as Mesopotamia (modern Iraq) was part of the Ottoman Empire. Meetings in late 1914 and into 1915 led the Viceroy and Indian government at Simla to reconsider the limited involvement of troops and they decided to order further advances with a view to securing the Shatt-al-Hai, a canal connecting the Tigris and Euphrates river and potentially capturing Baghdad. The British government disagreed and wished to conserve forces for the Western front. The Viceroy was given permission to act as it wished, but told in no uncertain terms that no reinforcements should be expected.

The initial success experienced by the British and Indian forces quickly disintegrated in the face of Ottoman opposition. The Siege of Kut-Al-Amara began on 7th December with the besieging of an 8,000 strong British-Indian garrison in the town of Kut, 100 miles south of Baghdad, by the Ottoman Army. These campaigns produced few tactical benefits, indeed the catastrophic defeat at Kut in 1916 was a major setback. Badhdad was eventually taken in March 1917.

The conditions in Mesopotamia were dreadful. The climate, sickness and disease produced large losses in addition to battle casualties. About as many men died of disease as were killed in action. The Mesopotamia front was part of a strategy hoping for success at lower cost than the Western Front but no decisive victory was achieved.

Detail :

Probate record: COURTIS, John Harold of Fairwater Croft, Llandaff. Captain, Oxford & Buckinghamshire Light Infantry, died 22nd November 1915 in Mesopotamia. Killed in action. Administration London 6th May, to Sir John Wesley Courtis, Knight. Effects £397 16s 9d.

Masonic :

TypeLodge Name and No.Province/District :
Mother : Kerala No. 2188 E.C.Madras
Joined : Lodge Orion in the West No. 415 E.C. India
Joined : Royal Connaught No. 2377 E.C. Bombay

5th May 1912
6th June 1912
15th July 1912

Initiated into Kerala Lodge No. 2188, in Calicut (Madras) in May 1912, and passed in the same Lodge. His third was taken in United Service Lodge No. 2735 in Bangalore on 15th July 1912 and despite having references back to this Lodge, does not appear to have become a member of it. He joined Lodge Orion in the West No. 415, Poona on 19th June 1913. He further joined Royal Connaught Lodge No. 2377 in Ahmednagar, Bombay (Mumbai) on 3rd December 1913.

Source :

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Additional Source:

Last Updated: 2020-12-16 12:12:09