PAIFORCE.

Baghdad to Beirut 1944.

[Baghdad?]: Printing and Stationery Services, Paiforce, 1944 Stock Code: 143711
£375.00
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Appealing pocket-booklet of leave instructions issued to members of Persia and Iraq Force, an inevitably uncommon survival, with only the Imperial War Museum copy traced in institutions. The second section comprises a history of Damascus and the Syrian desert by Seton Lloyd (1902-1996), who had been appointed archaeology adviser to the Directorate of Antiquities, Baghdad, in 1939, and during the war "was able to conduct some notable research, principally the excavation of the painted temple at Uqair and later of Tell Hassuna, where he identified a new culture - and the earliest known - in Iraq" (obituary, Independent, 13 January 1996); the other sections describe the route taken by the leave convoy via Fallujah, Habbaniyah, Ar-Rutbah, Mafraq, Daraa and Damascus to Beirut, and the construction of the Baghdad to Haifa road. Quinan's Iraq Command (originally Iraq Force) was renamed Persia and Iraq Force (Paiforce) shortly after the successful Anglo-Soviet invasion of Persia in August 1941. The main responsibilities of Paiforce were to protect the Iraqi and South Persian oil fields and to maintain the lines of communication from British-controlled ports on the Persian Gulf to the Soviet ports on the Caspian. A dedicated Persia and Iraq Command was established under Sir Maitland Wilson in August 1942, though victory in the Western Desert Campaign combined with series of Soviet victories in southern Russia meant that Paiforce activities began to be wound down from mid-1943; the folding map to the rear of this booklet provides a detailed overview of the vital infrastructure roads, oil pipelines which they were tasked with defending.

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Description

Single unsigned gathering, wire-stitched in original mimeographed light card wrappers.

Illustrations

2 half-tone photographs to text, folding map coloured in outline to rear, opening to approx. 475 x 575 mm.

Condition

Wrappers lightly soiled and creased, map slightly foxed, and with a small hole at intersection of folds, scattered annotations to the text and map, including a reference to rock-carvings at Kermanshah, showing a familiarity with the region. A very good copy.

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