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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

Balluchistan Infantry


shutt

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One of my Gt Uncles somehow ended up in the Indian army, always puzzles me as when he joined up in 1916 he was a Pte in the RAMC !. Anyway, he did serve in the IA and received a field commission to 2nd Lieut, in late 1918. I have very little information on his service, but have a silver "trophy" that all the returning soldiers from his home town of Pateley Bridge were given. On it is inscribed his rank, name, along with Balluchistan Infantry. Does anyone know anything about that unit, where it was based or operated ?.

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Unless someone else gets there first, I'll check this evening, but there were several regiments of Baluchistan infantry (such as the 129th, with whom Khudadad Khan won the first Indian VC). It was not unknown for British other ranks to be commissioned into the Indian Army. If you post his name, someone might be able to tell you more. Possibly wise to post his name in a new thread in "Soldiers", where it will be seen more quickly.

I'll check out the Baluchis later (assuming no-one else does first).

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OK - me then :thumbsup:

At the outbreak of war, there were the following Baluch Regiments:

124th Duchess of Connaught's Own Baluchistan INfantry

126th Baluchistan Infantry

127th Queen Mary's Own Baluchi Light Infantry

129th Duke of Connaught's Baluchis

130th King George's Own Baluchis (Jacob's Rifles)

The 124th formed a 2nd and a 3rd Battalion, only the 2nd served overseas as a unit

The 126th served in Aden and then Mesopotamia

The 127th formed a 2nd Battalion: the 1st served in East Africa and the 2nd in Palestine

The 129th also formed a 2nd Battalion: the 1st served in France, then East Africa; the 2nd didn't serve overseas.

The 130th also formed a 2nd Battalion, which did not go overseas. The 1st served in East Africa and latterly in Palestine.

Post-war the various Baluchis were amalgamated into the 10th Baluch Regiment, as follows

1st Battalion - 1/124th

2nd Battalion - 126th

3rd Battalion - 1/127th

4th Battalion - 1/129th

5th Battalion - 1/130th

10th Battalion - 2/124th

The Baloch Regiment (note changed spelling) still exists in the Pakistani Army.

Coming back to why your Gt Uncle ended up where he did I suggest, as mentioned, a new thread with his name as the title. Does the "trophy" have a regimental number (e.g. 129th) on it? Is it possible to post a photo?

Sounds interesting.

Note: information comes from Chris Kempton's Duty & Fidelity, The Indian Army August 1914-1922

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Steven, thanks so much for your help, it is really appreciated. I did post in "Soldiers" quite some time ago and another member kindly e-mailed me a copy of Fred`s medal index card and another an extract from "The London Times" relating to his promotion. The medal card to my untrained eye does`nt tell me much as the writing is terrible. It confirms he was first in the RAMC with service number 44806, entered service Sept 1916. Says also to somewhere (un-readable !) in India. The only other bit I can read refers to the CO Karachi Bde forwarding information to support the medals award. Theatre of war is given as Mesopotamia. I have his medals, the usual two and another for his Indian Army service. Another member sent me some information on it, but sods law, I can`t find it now, must have got mixed up with papers on some other relatives I`m researching, so will have to search for that. The "Trophy" does`nt say anything other than his rank, name and Balluchistan Infantry I`m afraid. Pateley Bridge was a small place and the townsfolk clubbed together to award these to everyone who came back. The war memorial there is unusual too, as it lists them as well as those who died. Sorry, getting off track there !. But I will try to post up a photo of it if I can figure out how, I am not very computer literate I`m afraid. The only other things I have relating to Fred are some very faded photographs he took around Bahgdad. Also the certificate for his promotion to temporary 2nd Lieut on 5th Nov, 1918. Sadly it does`nt give any unit details. My father did inherit his service revolver somehow, but he handed it into the police during a weapons amnesty several years ago, before I became interested in all this unfortunately !.

Thanks again for your help, it is good to know a bit more about the Balluchistan Infantry. I`m guessing from your list and the old photos I mentioned, he was most likely in the 126th ?.

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126th would look good, I suppose. Fascinating story, though - I'm afraid I don't know much about Indian Army Officers' records - I suspect they might be at the British Library, but I'm not sure.

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After trying for ages to find Chris's dad' records (British Library had a file, just containing correspondence re his pension), we found the whole lot in an envelope among papers in an old suitcase - details of 6 east lancs until 1947 when he retired from the Indian Army. It seemed to be the original, so have no idea if they are replicated anywhere else. I must say it surprised us!

Cheers

Shirley

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For Indian Army records generally, see the FIBIS Fibiwiki page "Indian Army"

http://wiki.fibis.org/index.php?title=Indian_Army

Officers will be found in the Indian Army Lists available on the open shelves at the British Library. For those unable to visit the British Library, there is a reprint available, which perhaps you may find in a library near you.

"The Indian Army List 1919: A four-volume comprehensive list of the Indian Army during the Great War, including its British officers. Gives details of ranks, promotions, background, honours and awards of all who served in India and other theatres" Published by Naval and Military Press

http://www.naval-military-press.com/indian-army-list-1919.html

For a later period, Savannah Publications, London has republished "War Services of British and Indian Officers of the Indian Army 1941"

http://www.savannahpublications.com/info.php?itemid=123

Cheers

Maureen

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I'm forever going slightly off-topic, but you might be interested in knowing that part of Baluchistan - Mekran and Gwadur - were an Omani enclave until as late as the 1950's. Oman recruited it's infantry from there, which retained Brit contract officers until quite recently. Even when Oman handed back Gwadur the "PB's" as we called them (Pakistani Baluch, to distinguish from other Pakistanis) were recruited as mercenaries under terms which were much better than those offered to other soldiers from the sub-continent. As the army "Omanised" we had "Omani" battalions and "PB" battalions, the latter being principally quartered and deployed in Dhofar where most northern Omanis preferred not to serve. So British officered Baluch units - albeit it with a different shaped crown on the cap badge - are something which are not too far remote in time.

Very tough, fierce men. I admired them greatly.

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As well as the various infantry regiments, the 37th Lancers were known as The Baluch Horse: Baluchis were fearless horsemen, swiftly recruited by the British after the annexation of Sindh, which Baluchistan borders. Fearless and tough, Baluch horsemen had spread quite widely into the Derajat, which led to them being enemies of, and later recruited by, the various regiments (such as Jacob's Horse) which oversaw the pacification of the area.

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Ironically the Great War Baluch Regiments did not contain many Baluch tribesmen.

(See pages 148 & 163 0f Major General Rafiuddin Ahmed's History of the Baloch Regiment 1820-1939 for recruitment history.

Presently you should get a 20% reduction on this paperback from Naval & Military Press.)

Hart's 1915 Annual Army List states these class company compositions:

124th Duchess of Connaught's Own Baluchistan Infantry

2 x Hazaras; 1 x Khattacks; 1 x Mahsud Wazirs; 2 x Punjabi Mussulmans; 2 x Sikhs other than Jat Sikhs.

126th Baluchistan Infantry

2 x Hazaras; 1 x Khattacks; 1 x Wazirs; 2 x Baluchis & Brahuis; 2 x Sikhs other than Jat Sikhs.

127th (Queen Mary's Own) Baluch Light Infantry

4 x Pathans; 2 x Hill Baluchis; 2 x Punjabi Mussulmans.

129th Duke of Connaught's Own Baluchis

4 x North-West Frontier Pathans; 2 x Hill Baluchis; 2 x Punjabi Mussulmans.

130th (King George's Own) Baluchis (Jacob's Rifles)

3 x Pathans; 2 x Mahsuds; 3 x Punjabi Mussulmans.

Reference Stoppage Drill's Post No 9 above.

I have attempted to make my own dedication to my former Baluch comrades-in-arms at the end of this article:

http://www.kaiserscross.com/304501/420601.html

Operations in Dhofar were similar to the pre-WW2 ones on the North-West Frontier of India, including the use of mules and mountain guns.

The Baluch were particularly suited to mountain warfare drills such as picqueting, patrolling and the speedy construction and defence of strong points.

Whilst the Arab battalions did nine months in Dhofar followed by nine months in peaceful northern Oman, the Baluch battalions were on operations in Dhofar permanently.

Harry

(ex-Dhofar Gendarmerie and Al Kateeba Al Janoobia, translated as The Southern Regiment, Sultan's Armed Forces)

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  • 1 month later...

I hope my query is not too far off the topic on this thread, but I have recently found an ancestor who served in the 126 Baluch Infantry, and also a photo of him in uniform, where he is shown wearing the ribbons of 7 medals, and I also found his medal card on Ancestry, where it is shown he was awarded the Indian General Service Medal with clasps Kurdistan and Iraq (Irak) so now I am wondering what the other medals are they he is wearing, but can find no other medal card with any information. I also found another record of his medal awards which shows him to be a member of 2nd Battalion of the 10 Baluch Regiment, and that is the record of the award of the same medal and same two clasps. This has me rather confused, I did find some info on the web that the 126th at some time became the 10th and is still in existence to this day in the Pakistan army. Can anybody please point me in the direction where perhaps I may be able to find details of the other medals he is wearing on the photo, and where I may be able to find his service record. I have no idea of the year he commenced his service or when he retired, he was born in Kent in 1891.

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Vonners

Please can you post the photo on this thread.

Harry

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Vonnie

My understanding is that for Infantry Regiments in the Indian Army, the only British personnel were officers. You accordingly need to look for him in the Indian Army Lists, see my post above. There would probably be details of war medals.

The British Library has some records of service, where you can search for names online, but I don’t know to what extent officers are included. There may also be some details about officers in the India Army in the British Army Lists, but this would be limited.

The London Gazette (available online) would probably have his initial appointment as an officer.

Cheers

Maureen

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Can you give me instructions on how to post the photo please

I have also found, from another person on an Indian army site, that he was also awarded the following, (list is at the bottom of this message) and that may explain what the medals are in the photo, but I cant find any medal card or a servie record for him in WW1 to show he was awarded medals for 1914-18. I havent included his name or date of birth, would prefer to only give that in a private message rather than on a public thread, is that OK, or is that not in accordance with the rules of this site, but I must observe this at present as other family members are sometimes sensitive, although they love it when we find more info and give it to them but most are too lazy to do any research or chase info themselves and leave it to me to find the info by some means then give it to them, so please tell me if I am not observing the rules of this site. I also believe that prior to Indian Army service he was a member of the Middlesex Regiment, and maybe that is where he served in WW1 till he went to India in 1918, and a mystery as to why no medal card in WW1, the only thing that comes up is the medal card for 126th Baluch Infantry, no other card with his name, and I have no info on his army number, and dont even know if he would have had one when he was commissioned on 19th July 1915 or whether they may have meant he was serving prior to that date as an other rank. He was born November 1890, so would have been 24 at the outbreak of war.

1st Commissioned 19th July 1915

Arrived in India 30th September 1918

Indian Army 30th September 1919

Captain 10th April 1920

Serving with RIASC

Served in S.Kurdistan 1919 - MiD London Gazette 30 May 1918 and 12 Feb 20

Still serving in the IA (RIASC) in 1939

The photo is mid/late WWII or after, and he is wearing his RIASC shoulder title and his WWII medals (looks like 39-45 Star & Africa Star, plus WWI pair, GSM, War Medal, and what looks like BEM (the first one)

Vonners

Please can you post the photo on this thread.

Harry

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I can’t comment about this Forum, but one option is to upload the photograph to the FIBIS Fibiwiki. There is a Fibiwiki page called "Upload images"

This says "We are always looking for images to illustrate our articles or provide a useful source of information. If you have any pictures you are willing

to upload, they would be very much appreciated" The page sets out the procedure for uploading images .You can upload files up to 7 MB, but first you

must register with the FIBIS webmaster.

http://wiki.fibis.org/index.php?title=Upload_images

Some photographs uploaded to the Fibiwiki can be enlarged to quite an extent, but I think this depends on how they were scanned, which depends on

what scanning options your scanner has. However, the enlargement is very handy for the identification of military photographs

This is an example about an unidentified group

http://wiki.fibis.org/index.php?title=File:1923_Group.jpg.

This image was placed in the category "Unidentified uniforms"

http://wiki.fibis.org/index.php?title=Category:Unidentified_uniforms

Cheers

Maureen

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  • 1 year later...

To correct the record, my statement in post 15 that the only British personnel in the Indian Army were officers needs amendment. Apparently there were a few NCOs in positions such as Quartermaster Sergeant.

##

 

http://www.icrc.org/eng/assets/files/other/icrc_002_0937.pdf

I was interested to see the document on page 3, regarding 4 POWs in Germany, captured at La Bassée on the Western Front on 20 December 1914. If my very basic German is correct, then these men, who were classified as "English (Afghans)" were in fact soldiers of the Indian Army, three from the 129th Baluchis, and one from the 127th Baluchis

Cheers

Maureen

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Vonnie,

I took your clues to identifying your man and have managed to identify him - lets call him Mr A.

He served in the ranks from 5/8/14 to 18/7/15, but not overseas I think

Commissioned 2/Lt, service battalions, the Middlesex Regiment 19/7/15

I suspect he was an original officer of 19th battalion (2nd Public Works Pioneers)

Promoted temporary Lt 2/10/15

19th battalion (2nd Public Works Pioneers) goes to France 2/5/16 (earning British War & Victory medals)

Promoted temporary Captain 4/2/17

Mentioned in despatches, temporary Captain, Middlesex regiment London Gazette 30/5/18

Appointed on probation with the I.A. as a temporary Lt 29/8/18

Initially appointed, on probation, to 39th Garhwal Rifles (January 1919 Indian Army List)

then later attached to the 126th Baluchistan Infantry (later 2nd battalion, 10th Baluch regiment after 1922)

He was mentioned in despatches London Gazette 12/2/20 as Lt, attached 126th Baluchistan Infantry

He would have earned the General Service Medal 1918-62 bar Kurdistan for this service.

Permanently appointed to the IA 30/9/19

promoted Captain IA 19th April 1920.

He is still listed as serving with the 126th Baluchistan Infantry in the April 1921 Indian Army List

He is still listed as serving with the 2nd battalion, 10th Baluch but attached the Supply & Transport Corps in the April 1923 Indian Army List.

Transfers permanently to the Supply & Transport Corps/ Indian Army Service Corps at some point, probably around this time.

He was promoted Major 18/4/34

Promoted Lieutenant-Colonel 18/4/42

Appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire in the London Gazette of 1st January 1946.

Retired from the I.A. 31/3/47.

His officers record of service may still exist at the British Library in London as part of the Asia Pacific collection.

It would be under the L/Mil/14 or maybe under L/Mil/9 (these are shelfmarks)

I hope that helps.

Matthew

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Thank you Matthew ,and others who have been so helpful, I have added all the details of his service history to my family history file, and passed it to all the other family members who are interested in the history of their family, best wishes to all

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