In July 1941, the 14th/20th Hussars were deployed to Basra, Iraq, to protect the oilfields from the increasingly pro-German Iraqi government.
The 14th/20th Hussars remained in India until 1941, when trouble in pro-German Iraq caused the deployment of troops from India. The Regiment landed in Basra on 3rd July in temperatures of 50˚C in the shade. There was very little tentage and men had to work and sleep in the open. Although the trouble in Iraq had been dealt with by the time the 14th/20th arrived, neighbouring Persia (now Iran) had allowed infiltration by so many Germans that they began to affect Iran’s neutrality. This threatened the safety of the oilfields of Abadan and Khanikin near the Persian border.
The 14th/20th, as part of the 2nd Indian Armoured Brigade, left Basra in trucks for Baghdad while the tanks went by train. In Ur, on the way to Baghdad, both the Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Colonel Leslie Groves, and his Adjutant, Captain RJW McAllen, collapsed with heatstroke, from which Captain McAllen died. The regiment moved north in its tanks from Baghdad some 120 miles (190 kms) to Kirkuk and from there turned south east for Khanikin in order to enter Iran and protect the oilfields.