Jump to content
The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Corps of Guides, Egypt 1916


rmcguirk
 Share

Recommended Posts

I have recently seen a photo, taken in Egypt, of half a dozen turbaned camel-mounted soldiers for which the caption is “Guides Corps 1916”. A similar photo in the same set is captioned “Western Frontier Force Guides”. The soldiers don’t look like Egyptian Desert Arabs. They might be Sudanese, but if I were betting I’d say Indian.

I also have a quote from a War Diary (WO 95/4427 HQ 4th Dismounted Bde) referring to a British soldier arriving in Baharia (Western Desert) 11 Sept 1916 with “27 native guides” and 31 camels; and then, a month later departing for Farafra with 25 men from No. 8 Imperial Camel Corps and “14 Guides”.

My question is, can anyone confirm that an Indian formation called the Corps of Guides was in Egypt as early as 1916?

(I’ve seen the earlier thread referring to 1st Guides Infantry, 21st Inf. Bde, which arrived Egypt in early 1918.)

Russell

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Russell

Salaam Aleykum

Fifteen sepoys of Queen Victoria's Own Corps of Guides (Frontier Force) (Lumsden's) Infantry were awarded the Indian Distinguished Service Medal for acts of gallantry in Egypt during the Great War.

This was the premier infantry regiment in the Indian Army.

Harry

Link to comment
Share on other sites

According to Chris Kempton's indispensable "Duty & Fidelity, The Indian Army August 1914 - 1922" (every home should have one), The Guides Infantry arrived at Basra in March 1917. A 2nd Battalion arrived in Egypt in 1918 and a 3rd Battalion stayed in India.

The Guides Cavalry stayed in India.

"Guides" is a difficult word - it could be men from the Corps of Guides, or it could be girlas in blue dresses ...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

According to Chris Kempton's indispensable "Duty & Fidelity, The Indian Army August 1914 - 1922" (every home should have one), The Guides Infantry arrived at Basra in March 1917. A 2nd Battalion arrived in Egypt in 1918 and a 3rd Battalion stayed in India.

The Guides Cavalry stayed in India.

Thank you for the reference--sounds like a good place to start. Re the Guides Cavalry remaining in India, I've noted elsewhere that it was sometimes their Infantry that was mounted on camels. A point which may be helpful in my current W Desert research.

Russell

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Russell

Salaam Aleykum

Fifteen sepoys of Queen Victoria's Own Corps of Guides (Frontier Force) (Lumsden's) Infantry were awarded the Indian Distinguished Service Medal for acts of gallantry in Egypt during the Great War.

This was the premier infantry regiment in the Indian Army.

Harry

Aleykum as-Salaam, Harry, and thank you for this information. Do you happen to know if the unit was in Egypt in 1916? If so, presumably on the Suez Canal...??? My English officer who shows up in Baharia with the Guides had been attached to the Imperial Service Cavalry on the Canal. I'm assuming that when he was moved to the Western Frontier Force he asked if he could take a detachment of Guides on camels. All speculation so far.

Russell

PS added later. For those who might know the name, the officer was Wilfred Jennings Bramly, who for years had been one of the British Army's most reliable desert experts. Although only a captain at the time, he did have the clout at HG to suggest how best to go about moving against a Sanusi occupied oasis and so might have asked for the Guides.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Russell

I do not believe that the unit was there but the Indian Guides provided many reinforcements for theatres.

Therefore individuals were there, but tracking them down will be a long task.

Harry

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Harry,

I think Bramly came across the "Guides" when he was in the Imperial Service Cavalry on the Canal. I'll try to identify them by researching Canal Defences 1916 at the NA. I'll let you know what I find...

Russell

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...