The 14th Hussars embarked at Karachi and disembarked in Basra 5 days later, under orders to meet General Townshend at Azizeyah.
The 14th Hussars disembarked at Basra at a strength of 18 officers and 443 rank and file, with 490 horses. The day before, General Towshend had defeated the Turks at Ctesiphon, but had lost a third of his force in doing so. The Turks brought up reinforcements and Townshend was forced to withdraw.
The regiment were ordered north to meet up with General Townshend in Azizeyah; they were transported up the Tigris in 4 steamers with a barge roped either side carrying about 90 horses each. On 28 November the 14th met up with General Townshend in Azizeyah (50 miles (80 kms) south east of Baghdad and a 3-day march in deep mud north west up-river from Kut al Amara). As part of the 6th Cavalry Brigade commanded by Brigadier General HL Roberts, the 14th successfully engaged with the enemy at El Kutunie in the regiment’s first action in the First World War.
The withdrawal continued, with the 14th Hussars protecting the flanks of the division. On 1st December a large force of Turks tried to surround the force. The 14th dismounted and put down effective fire against the enemy with their rifles and Lieutenant ‘Darky’ Pope’s Machine Gun Section. This stopped the Turks and General Townshend continued the withdrawal. The 14th then remounted and trotted back to rejoin the division, remaining steady under heavy artillery fire.
At Umm-al Tabal, the 14th dealt with a large enemy force who were trying to turn the division’s right flank. They drew sabres and charged; the Turks were routed and in the charge and pursuit lost some 1,500 casualties as against the 14th Hussars’ five men killed. The withdrawal ended on 3rd December, when General Towshend reached Kut al Amara and decided to hold the town. The withdrawal had cost 4,567 men.
The 6th Cavalry Brigade were fortunately not required in the defence of Kut and moved south, downriver to to Ali-al-Gharbi, arriving on 8th December. General Townshend’s force was surrounded by four Turkish divisions, beginning the costly siege of Kut.