The 6th (Poona) Division served in the Mesopotamian campaign. Led by Major General Barrett then Major General Townshend, the division were the first British Indian troops to land in Mesopotamia in November 1914 at the Fao Landing. After a string of early successes, the 6th Division was delivered a setback at the Battle of Ctesiphon in November 1915. Following this engagement, the division withdrew back to Kut, where Townshend made the decision to hold the city. After a lengthy siege by the Ottomans, Townshend surrendered in April 1916. 10,061 troops and 3,248 followers were taken captive. Following the surrender, the garrisoned force conducted a forced march back to Anatolia. The suffering of the enlisted soldiers was particularly egregious, and over 4,000 died in captivity.
After the surrender, the Poona Division ceased to exist until another 6th Division was raised in 1920 for the Iraq Rebellion.