John Nixon (General)

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Sir John Nixon, 1915
Map of the course of the war in Mesopotamia from January to the end of June 1915

Sir John Eccles Nixon , GCMG , KCB (born August 16, 1857 in Brentford , † December 15, 1921 in Saint-Raphaël ) was a British general.


Nixon was born in Brentford on August 16, 1857, the son of a captain in the British Army, and trained at Wellington College and the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst .

In 1875 he joined the 75th Regiment of Foot and took part in the Second Anglo-Afghan War . From the end of 1901 until its end he fought in the Second Boer War . This was followed by service in British India , where he was given command of the Southern Command in 1912 . In 1915 he was given the Northern Command .

On April 9th ​​he took command of all British troops in Mesopotamia . His approach should aim at securing the oil wells and the eastbound pipeline as well as securing the Wilaya Basra and working out a plan for a possible advance on Baghdad .

On June 3, 1915, the subordinate general Charles Vere Ferrers Townshend succeeded in taking Al-Amarah . Townsend pushed on and on September 29, 1915 took Kut, more than 300 kilometers away .

On October 23, Nixon received permission to advance into Baghdad, but only on condition that he could hold it. Two Indian divisions were promised as reinforcements.

Townshend did not wait for them to arrive, but met the Ottoman troops led by Field Marshal Colmar Freiherr von der Goltz and General Nureddin Pascha on November 22nd at the Battle of Ctesiphon . Defeated, he had to retreat to Kut. The Ottomans began the siege of Kut on December 8 and accepted Townshend's surrender on April 29.

In January 1916, Nixon resigned due to alleged ill health and was summoned to a special commission in August to deal with the severe setbacks in Mesopotamia and the Battle of Gallipoli . His actions were condemned as overly optimistic and he was identified as the main culprit for the defeat. However, there were no further consequences.

Nixon died in Saint Raphael on December 15, 1921.



  • Paul Guinn: British Strategy and Politics 1914–1918 . Clarendon Press, Oxford 1965.
  • Holger H. Herwig (ed.): Biographical Dictionary of World War I . Greenwood Press, Westport 1982, ISBN 0-313-21356-9 .
  • Liddell Hart : Real War 1914-1918 . Faber, London 1930.