An elite force, a secret mission, a fleet of Model-T Fords, a far flung corner of WWI
By Barry Stone
Published by Allen & Unwin www.allenandunwin.com
RRP $29.99 in paperback
This is the story of the ‘Dunsterforce’, a secret force of elite solders hand-picked from across the Allied forces and sent to the ethnic powder keg of the Caucasus in 1918 to defend British interests from the Ottomans, Cossacks and Germans.
Little known today, this is an improbable but fascinating story.
‘Dunsterforce’, named for their leader Major General Lionel Dunsterville, matched wits with German spies and assassins. They fought the Turks. They dined with sheiks, outraged local mullahs, forged unlikely alliances with Russian Cossacks, helped Armenians flee genocide, and saved the lives of thousands of starving Persians – their efforts supported by a fleet of 41 Model T Fords.
Author Barry Stone really brings the narrative to life with the stories of individual participants and unlikely heroes.
He gives the reader an insight into what life was like, a century ago, in the Middle East, which was caught up in a battle among the major colonial powers of the day.
It is of course the need to protect British economic interests that lay at the heart of the ‘Secret Army’s’ mission. By then oil was well established as an important economic driver and the control of its supply was vital to western interests.
A hundred years on, nothing has changed.