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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

Uniforms worn by the Sikh Regiment

Guest taran0

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Guest taran0

Hi everyone

i am doing some research into uniforms worn by the Indian Sikh or Punjab regiment during ww1 and ww2, im starting with the following 2 pictures to try and get a good understanding fo the diferent aspects fo the uniform and what their function was.

I am a complete amateur when it comes to uniforms so would really appreciate some help from the more informed users on the forum. The time period is second half of the first world war.

The purpose of my research is that i will recreating the uniform as a digital sculpture for preservation and education purposes.

The main points i need to understand are what all the straps are attached to and what all the diferent bags and pockets were used for. Most importantly i am looking for reference photography of similar items that they would have worn on their person.

any details liek sort of butons and fabris used woudl also be amuch appreciated.

Really appreciate the help and I am glad i found this forum.




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Taran, the first point to note is that the first picture contains non-Sikhs and Sikhs: the right hand man, looking directly at the camera, is (I suspect) a Punjabi Muslim - he is wearing a kullah (a conical-shaped cap, the top of which shows above the pagri or turban). The second picture is also not GW-vintage, almost certainly pre-war.

There was also not "a Sikh regiment" but many regiments containing Sikhs (a very popular class of soldier for the Indian Army), spread throughout the troops in France.

By the second half of the GW, much of the uniform worn by Indian troops (particularly those in France) would have been pretty similar to the British, with the obvious exception that Sikhs didn't wear steel helmets. Picture 1 above shows cavalryment (the tulwar - sword - and the cartridge belts across the chest illustrating that, plus the kurta - coat - worn by the other ranks). The two front characters are Vicerot Commissioned Officers (VCOs - Indian officers). The left-hand is wearing British-style service dress, whereas the right-hand one wears a kurta in the usual british serge (in 1914 men arriving in France had lightweight khaki drill uniforms). Both wear the Sam browne belt (leather) across the right shoulder and round the waist.

Note the Kurta buttoned to the waist and you will see it is longer than the british-style uniform on show.

The various bags and pockets would have carried various things, depending on time of the war. I can't make out if these chaps are wearing gas masks/respirators, I'm afraid.

There are quite a few threads on Indian units and uniforms, so a quich search on the search function might assist.

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Guest taran0

thanks for the info that definately clears up a lot

would you know of any photos of british uniform similar to the style of the central charracter in the 1st picture



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  • 2 weeks later...

If you mean the chap centre left he is wearing a british style osd of the period do a web search for Sir John French he loved a long comfortable service dress. The strap worn over the shoulder and above the epaulette of the VCO in the Kurta could be a respirator (Small Box) strap but could be other things I would think possibly respirator as there seem to be a few of these in the photograph. Other possibilities for this strap include Greatcoat Carrier and Sam Brown Bag as the most likely.

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