RAF Burials at Hinaidi RAF Peace Cemetery
Hundreds of British and Commonwealth Air Force personnel died whilst serving in Mesopotamia (present day Iraq), from the 30th July 1915 when two men from the Australian Flying Corps were killed by Arabs after their aircraft was forced to land near Nasiriya due to engine failure, to the closing down of the last base at RAF Habbaniya on the 31st May 1959 when the British forces were finally withdrawn from Iraq. Due to the policy of the British Government during the nineteen-twenties and thirties, no bodies were repatriated but instead were buried at various cemeteries in Iraq, with 299 burials recorded at the Hinaidi RAF Peace Cemetery, re-named Ma'asker Al Raschid RAF Cemetery when RAF Hinaidi was handed over to the Iraqi government and became an Iraqi air base. Details of the British burials at Hinaidi have yet to be published by the CWGC, but, with the kind assistance of Peter Burlton, head researcher at the RAF Habbaniya Association who gave me access to his research notes as well as 'on the ground' details provided by the British Embassy in Baghdad, coupled with hundreds of hours of my own research using (amongst the many sources of information) RAF casualty cards, Aircraft history, London Gazette and Flight magazine, I have been able to compile a service profile for most of the 196 RAF burials as well as basic details for the other 103 burials.
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