Herbert Edmund Crocker (1877-1962) was born on 10 September 1877, the son of H.J. Crocker and Blanche Greenhill. He attended Shrewsbury School, 1892-1894, and studied French in Paris for two years. He obtained a commission as Lieutenant in the Essex Regiment in 1900, and served in the South African War. In 1901 he was seconded to the North Nigerian Regiment. During the First World War Crocker commanded the 13th Signal Company at Gallipoli, where he was wounded. He was appointed second-in-command of the 8th Battalion, Cheshire Regiment, which arrived in Mesopotamia in late February 1916. He became battalion commander during the capture of Hai Salient on 15 February 1917, and retained this position until the end of the war. Crocker retired in 1929, and died on 13 May 1962.
The diary begins with Crocker's battalion camped on the River Diyala, defending the perimeter of Windiyeh, to the northwest of Baghdad. There is a sketch map indicating this position on page 1a. The entries record Crocker's daily activities as commanding officer, inspecting company positions, overseeing the preparation of new defensive lines and training his men. There are brief references to contact with local sheikhs and an account of Crocker's trip to Baghdad on leave in early October to recover from a fever. Crocker makes reference to the trying climatic conditions and the continual difficulties in securing supplies, and describes the battalion's work digging trenches and building earthworks against possible Turkish attacks. The diary moves on to describe the action against the Turkish forces in front of the high ground at the Jebel Hemrin, which began in mid October 1917. There is a detailed sketch map to accompany these entries on p. 48. Thereafter, the battalion was encamped on Beacon Nullah, halfway between Seraijiq on the Khalis canal and Qalat al Mufti on the Diyala River, where it practised field exercises in the winter in preparation for the coming campaign in northern Iraq.
The provenance of the collection is unknown.