15 APRIL 1916, Page 1


THE most important military event of the week has been the failure of the British force engaged in the attempt to relieve Nut to carry the trenches at Sanna-i-Yat, fifteen miles from General Townshend's beleaguered force. No detailed account of what happened has been published by the War Office, but it is to be feared that our losses were heavy, though not of course as heavy as the Turkish " wireless " would lead one to suppose. All Turkish statements of this kind must be read with very great reserve. The Turkish War Office official who writes the wireless messages, thsugh not so cold-blooded a liar as his German colleague, is a first-class romancer. But even after making all necessary deductions, it is impossible not to regard the situation with the deepest anxiety. General Townshend has now been closely invested for a hundred and thirty-two days, and his food supplies must be running very low. Further, wounds and sickness have greatly depleted his force, which was never large. The tragedy of his position makes it necessary to strain every nerve to relieve him and his gallant men, and deep will be the disappointment if, owing to the enormous strength of the Turkish positions and the extreme difficulty caused by the flooded state of the river, our efforts should be unsuccessful.