After Kut al Amara was relieved in February 1917, the British forces began pushing the Turks north, taking Baghdad and Khazimain, enlarging their influence to Ramadi on the Euphrates, and Tikrit on the Tigris.
General Sir Stanley Maude replaced General Lake and brought an immediate improvement to the morale and fighting efficiency of the Tigris Corps. Having received fresh reinforcements, and largely to assist the Russian advance on Mosul to the north, Maude opened his offensive against the Turks in December 1916.
In mid-February 1917 Kut was retaken, followed by the capture of Sannaiyat and Azizeyah. On 6th March the 6th Cavalry Brigade reported seeing the mosques and minarets of Baghdad and after further heavy fighting General Maude entered the city on 11th March after ordering the Cavalry Division to march on Khazimain 8 miles to the north. Leading the 6th Cavalry Brigade, the 14th Hussars halted outside Khazimain at 3.30pm whilst their Commanding Officer, Lieutenant Colonel Hewitt, rode into the town with a party from his regiment to receive its surrender.
It was too hot to mount operations during the summer months, but by September it had cooled sufficiently for General Maude to order an attack on Ramadi, on the River Euphrates west of Baghdad and heavily defended by the Turks. The 6th Cavalry Brigade was given the task of blocking the Turks’ escape route westwards towards Aleppo, and in particular to block the Aleppo road – a task given to the 14th Hussars.
In the early hours of 29th September, the 14th Hussars -170 all ranks – were warned by one of its patrols that the enemy were moving towards them. They were soon visible and fire was opened with rifles and machine guns at close range. The Turks suffered around 600 killed and wounded within half an hour, and the remainder of the garrison was forced to surrender the following day. Of the 120 men of the 14th Hussars actually in the firing line in the Battle of Ramadi, 27 were killed or wounded including the commanding officer, Lieutenant Colonel RW Hewitt DSO, who later died of his wounds.
The Turks had established an advanced supply depot at Tikrit some 100 miles (160 kms) to the north which was well defended with an elaborate trench system 7 miles (11 kms) in circumference. Recognising the importance of taking this position to prevent its use for another attack on Baghdad, General Maude ordered the attack. Following fierce fighting it was successfully taken on 5th November, the 14th Hussars fighting dismounted.