Chitral Charlie: The Life and Times of a Voctorian Soldier: the Slow Rise and Swift Fall of Major General Sir Charles Townshend KCB DSO - N. S. NashBarnsley: Pen & Sword Military, 2010, Hardback in Dust Wrapper.
Condition: Very Good+ — in Very Good+ Dust Wrapper.
Includes: Plans of battle; Black & white photographs; Maps; Appendix;
From the cover: “Charles Townshend can lay claim to one of the more turbulent military careers of the Victorian era. As this entertaining biography so vividly describes, what started so promisingly deteriorated disastrously due to his fatal character traits.
As a young captain, Townshend achieved public acclaim after commanding the besieged garrison at Chitral (now Pakistan) in 1895, earning the sobriquet ‘Chitral Charlie’. Decorated by a grateful Queen Victoria and lionised by the British public, his promotion to the highest ranks seemed assured. Sure enough, in 1916, he was given command of 6th Indian Division and sent to Mesopotamia. There he won a series of stunning victories at Kurna, Amara and Kut as his ill-supported division swept all before it in a devastating advance up the River Tigris.
Seeking further glory and, encouraged by his incompetent superior, he took the fateful decision, against all the tenets of military common sense, to advance on up the River Tigris from Kut to capture Baghdad. By now over-reached, his depleted and exhausted Division was soon confronted by a superior Turkish force. Townshend withdrew back to Kut, where his besieged garrison was eventually forced into a humiliating surrender. His own extraordinary behaviour coupled with the mistreatment of the British POWs by the Turks contributed to Townshend’s ignominy.
This fascinating and objective biography assesses Townshend’s achievements and character and seeks to determine whether or not his dramatic fall from grace and popularity was just.”