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Indian Army Units


PhilB
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Recently, while googling for information on a British Indian officer, I came across an online book which I think was Riddick`s History of British India. Having gone through several months of 1914 and not finding my man, I left. I can`t find it again now but I was surprised in retrospect to have read so many reports of mutinies in Indian units (in India). Can anyone guide me to the online book or tell me if mutinies were commonplace at that time?

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I was an Indian Army specialist for many years, and I don't recall there being many reports of mutinies. There was a serious mutiny of the 5th Light Infantry at Singapore in 1915.

This article mentions six mutinies (it is also interesting for a discussion of SIWs in the Indian Army): http://docserver.ingentaconnect.com/delive...4EABB5B8F8EE6D1

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Not commonplace but there certainly were some.

The combination of Turkey, then the seat of Islamic authority, coming into the war and the presence of very astute and manipulative German officers in Persia stirred up feelings.

The Mekran Levies mutinied on the Indian-Persian southern border.

130 Baluch, an elite unit, had trouble in Bombay when one of its Mahsuds bayoneted the 2IC (yet Mahsuds were fighting hard in France with 129 Baluch).

130 Baluch were posted to Rangoon where the two Pathan companies mutinied and refused to fight the Turks. A double company of 46 Punjabis was posted into 130 Baluch to make up the numbers, and 130 Baluch then went and fought well in East Africa.

The authorities came down hard. In Rangoon 200 of 130 Baluch were court martialed. One Indian Officer and an NCO were executed and the remainder sentenced to various terms of hard labour. In the Mekran, where nobody in Delhi could see what was happening, once agreement had been obtained from the tribal leaders the mutineers were dead men.

The Germans and Turks even inspired a revolt in Oman and got 3,000 tribesmen to attack Muscat, but the Indian Army garrison (95 Infantry & 102 Grenadiers) defeated the attack.

The 1915 Singapore Mutiny by 6 Light Infantry (the Sepoys were told that they were being posted, but the officers didn't tell the men that the destination was Hong Kong, thus allowing the prophets of doom to say that they were going to fight the Turks) has been mentioned in the Forum. Borneo head-hunters were brought in to put down the last of the fleeing mutineers in the Malay swamps. But then the reconstituted 5 Light Infantry went off to fight well in Cameroons and German East Africa.

It probably sounds worse than it was. If Regimental officers were in touch with their troops, and if the Muslim unit Mullahs were well-briefed, listened to and kept onside, then trouble could be sorted out early on. But in the tribal lands of the lower Gulf and northwards, where peace is only ever a temporary respite, the Germans and Turks could use gold to quickly stir up antagonisms.

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The authorities came down hard. In Rangoon 200 of 130 Baluch were court martialed. One Indian Officer and an NCO were executed and the remainder sentenced to various terms of hard labour. In the Mekran, where nobody in Delhi could see what was happening, once agreement had been obtained from the tribal leaders the mutineers were dead men.

Thanks, gents. Does the last sentence mean that many mutineers were executed? Who was the Indian officer?

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The source for the execution detail is "History of the Baloch Regiment 1820-1939", bottom of page 259, by Major General Rafiuddin Ahmed. The executed VCO is not named.

The source for the Mekran Levies detail is the Pim papers in the Liddle Collection. The writer was sworn to secrecy by his CO, a well-known frontier officer who was respected by the tribes, but the inference is that verbal agreements accepted that mutineers were likely to be shot whilst resisting arrest. As they had a convenient border to nip across I expect that most mutineers quickly got the message and emigrated to Persia.

There are several accounts of what happened in the Singapore Mutiny of 1915, but the one I prefer is Edwin Herbert's in "Small Wars and Skirmishes 1902 - 1918".

Twenty two mutineers were shot by an over-subscribed firing party of 110 volunteers, but in total "800 mutineers were shot, imprisoned or exiled as retribution for the death of 14 British officers and civilians."

When the mutineers were finally attacked in Alexandra Barracks it would be unlikely that many got the opportunity to surrender.

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Were the procedures the same for a capital Court Martial in India as with the BEF in France? The above posts suggest that things may have been on a somewhat less formal basis. Is it known how many Indians were executed in WW1?

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