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Gocol was a flying column created by the British Army shortly after the Anglo–Iraqi War had ended.

Creation and composition

Gocol was a truck-borne flying column created in early June 1941 specifically to pursue and capture Dr. Fritz Grobba, the German Ambassador to the Kingdom of Iraq. Grobba was on the run after the collapse of the pro-German Rashid Ali government and was attempting to flee Iraq and get to Nazi occupied Europe.[1] In addition to Gocol, two other columns were created in early July. Mercol, commanded by Major E. J. H. Merry, with the task of rounding up irregular troops under Fawzi al-Qawuqji[2] and Harcol, under Major R. J. Hardy, with the task of securing Kirkuk.[3]

Gocol was named for its commander, Major R. E. S. Gooch. The column comprised B Squadron of the Household Cavalry Regiment, six Royal Air Force armoured cars, two 3.7 inch howitzers, and Royal Army Service Corps (RASC) transport.[4]


On 3 June 1941, traveling from Habbaniya by road, Gocol reached Mosul but Dr. Grobba was no longer there. On the same day, two companies of the 2nd Battalion of the 4th Prince of Wales's Own Gurkha Rifles arrived by air from Habbaniya. A detachment of the RAF arrived with the Gurkhas. The remainder of the 2nd Battalion reached Mosul by air next day. In addition to Gocol and the air lifted forces, the 1st Battalion of the King's Own Royal Regiment (Lancaster) left Baghdad on 2 June and arrived in Mosul by road on 3 June.[5]

Gocol then drove west from Mosul and illegally entered Vichy French territory just prior to the commencement of the Syria–Lebanon Campaign. That campaign was not to start until the early hours of 8 June. During the week following 7 June, Gocol made every effort to capture Grobba. The column entered Al-Qamishli in Syria fully expecting to capture Grobba there. But they were disappointed to find that Grobba had already been there and had already gone.[6] In the end, Gocol failed in its mission and Grobba successfully escaped.

See also


  1. Lyman, p. 86
  2. Lyman, p. 87
  3. Lyman, p. 88
  4. Lyman, p. 86
  5. Supplement to the London Gazette, August 13, 1946, p. 4095
  6. Lyman, p. 87


External links

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