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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

107th Pioneers (Indian Army)

The Monkey God

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Hi Guys,

Have recently bought a medal to 1549 Sepoy Hazrat Shah 107th Pioneers. I know that researching Sepoys is next to impossible, but was wondering if anyone on the forum has any knowledge of his unit and there involvement in the 3rd Afgan War. I`ve checked for a medal index card for him, and he doesn`t appear to served during the Great War. So I am assuming he was a new recruit.

Many thanks in advance.


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  • 3 weeks later...

You can usually gin up a rough order of battle for any formation by looking at the catalog of the National Archives at Kew. Thus, for example, most of the units that served in the Third Afghan War produced war diaries that are listed in this index.

Just go to this page, and hit the "browse from here" button.

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According to the official account of the Third Afghan War the 107th Pioneers were among a number of troops employed on the lines of communication between Spezand and Meshed (which is really Persia) on the East Persia Line of Communication. Entitlement to the Afghanistan N. W. F. 1919 clasp did actually cover these men, hard as it may be to believe. I am not sure when exactly they were sent to Persia, but were cetainly deployed there in November 1918.

I hope that helps.


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The Official History OPERATIONS IN PERSIA 1914 - 1919 page 404 onwards will give you some idea of the tasks of the 107th Pioneers.

There was skirmishing on the western side of Afghanistan during the Third War which justifies the medal.

The East Persia Line of Communication was necessary to maintain the British troops operating against the Bolsheviks in Trans-Caspia.

If you choose to research further then you will find a very interesting phase of British political and military activity connected with the East Persia Line of Communication - until we threw our hand in and marched back to India!


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  • 3 years later...

Dear GWFs,

Apropos 107th Pioneers: I have a group to Norman Benjamin Burge (1899-1935): BWM (LIEUT.); IGS Afgh NWF 1919 and Waziristan 1921-24 (LIEUT., 106/PRS.); GSM Iraq (LIEUT.); 1935 Jubilee. According to Stiles (IGS Book), 106th Hazara Pioneers did not take part in Third Afghan, but 107th Pioneers did, and I assume Lieut. N. B. Burge was attached to the 107th.

Burge later saw further service with 106th Hazara Pioneers, but the reduction and reorganisation of the Indian Army was no doubt common knowledge (106th was disbanded in 1932) and by circa 1927/28, Capt Burge had not only changed his name to Benjamin Ormsby Burge, but had joined the Foreign and Political Department (despite being slightly over the age limit).

He saw service with the Indian Political Department as Vice-Consul, Kashgar, 1932-33, during a period of great unrest, and served latterly as Under Secretary in Simla and Lahore, showing apparent promise. However, halfway through a long Home leave, he took veronal at Margate on 16 Aug 1935, and died at the age of 35.

He was commissioned into the Indian Army in 1918 from Quetta Cadet College and attached to 106th Hazara Pioneers, serving the regiment for ten years before joining the Political.

Burge then served en poste at Chilas, Peshawar, Kashgar, Delhi/Simla and Lahore...

Does anyone have a group photo including Lieut/Capt Burge?

Kimberley John Lindsay.

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