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Remembered Today:

The Empire at War. Volume V. Part IV. INDIA


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  • 1 year later...


Frustratingly my download, which I pulled down whilst in Hong Kong this weekend, is shot through with blank pages. I was specially looking forward to Atkinson's section on the expansion of the Indian Army and typically page 200 is one of the blanks. Do either of you get a complete download ?



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Dave, I have not tried to download a pdf file, but reading it online seems fine. From the OCR text version, pages 199 (part)-200-201 (may contain some inaccuracies)

It is from the autumn of 1916, when General Sir Charles

Monro arrived in India, that the development of a new system
of recruiting, the consequent expansion of the Indian Army,
and the great increase in India's share of the Empire's burden
should be dated. A Central Recruiting Board was set up, the
assistance of civil departments and Indian gentlemen of local
influence or military connexions was invoked, modifications
in terms of service were adopted, rates of pay and pensions were
increased. The old system of recruiting men according to
classes ', by which battalions or companies were formed
exclusively from men of one of the regular military classes, 1
was replaced by a territorial system under which any recruiting
officer enrolled men of any class and not from one special class
only. Further, new or little-recruited 'classes ' like the Ahirs,
Gujara, and Gaur Brahmins of the south-east of the Punjab
were encouraged to enlist. Among other new sources of
recruits the Kachins and Chins of Burma were tapped with
excellent results, a 70th Burma Rifles coming into existence in

1 Thus a Frontier Force Rifle regiment might consist of one company of Sikhs,
Bd f Punjabi Mohammedans, one of Dogras and one of Af ridis.


September 1917 and being increased in less than a year to
a regiment of four battalions, which did exceptionally good
service in suppressing the troublesome Moplah rising of 1921
and was retained (as the 20th Burma Regiment) when the
majority of the newly raised units were disbanded and even
after not a few old regiments disappeared in the organization
of 1923. In the same way a 50th Kumaon Rifles, originally
raised as a 4th Battalion of the 39th Garhwalis, represented
another successful experiment in extending the recruiting
area, though ,a Punjabi Christian battalion brought into the
Line as the 71st Punjabis in October 1917, and a Mahar
battalion raised (as the lllth Mahars) at the same time did not
survive the reductions after the war.

As a result of these new methods the supply of recruits
increased enormously. In 1917 nearly as many recruits were
taken as had come in up to the end of 1916, and in consequence
the number of additional battalions rose to over 50 before
the end of the year. It was this which made it possible to form
the 17th and 18th Indian Divisions for service in Mesopotamia,
to transfer the Lahore and Meerut Divisions to Palestine, and
to increase the small Indian contingent in Egypt. Several
additional companies were at the same time added to each of
the three regiments of Sappers and Miners and additional
batteries of mountain artillery were raised. Then with the
crisis in France in March 1918 the call on India was increased
and additional drafts on the man-power of India did much to
keep the British Armies in France up to strength indirectly,
if not as in 1914 by the dispatch of Indian units to that country.
The expansion of the Indian Army by another 50 battalions
between March and May 1918 allowed of the * Indianization '
of the bulk of the Egyptian Expeditionary Force. This time
not only were 2nd Battalions added to some twenty and more
existing regiments, 1 but both in Egypt and in Mesopotamia new
regiments were formed by drafting companies from existing
battalions and grouping them in fours to form new battalions.
The companies drafted were replaced by recruits and the new
battalions grouped in regiments by threes, receiving numbers
from 150 to 156. 2 Throughout the rest of 1918 the process

1 In the end all but 40 of the pre-war units raised a new battalion and several
raised two or even three.

8 The highest numbered unit in existence in 1914 was the 130th Baluchis
(Jacob's Rifles).


of raising additional battalions went forward. In July a two
battalion 131st (United Provinces Police) Regiment was
raised, followed by several other local units such as 1/1 40th
Patiala Regiment, 1/1 41st Bikauor Regiment. 1 In August
three new cavalry regiments were formed, followed by four
more in October, and corresponding increases were made in
the mountain artillery and Sappers and Miners, the enlistment
of over 300,000 recruits in the course of 1918 providing ample
material for this expansion. The majority of these new units
never came into f action, though the army which General
Allenby commanded in September 1918 contained nearly
twenty battalions not in existence before the war, including
over half a dozen battalions of the new series from 150 onwards,
while several others were actively engaged in Mesopotamia ;
but the importance of the great increase in the Indian Army
which General Monro had inaugurated and successfully carried
through is not to be measured by the actual fighting done by
the additional units. Their existence had made it possible
to reinforce Picardy from Palestine and yet maintain the British
forces facing the Turk at a strength sufficient to drive him
out of .the war. Had not the Bulgarians been so prompt to
quit the sinking ship Indian units would have had a chance
of taking an effective part in the operations in Macedonia, and
at the end of the war India was the one portion of the British
Empire whose effective man-power was still increasing. When
the difficulties not only of recruiting, raising, and equipping so
largely augmented an army, but of providing it with British
officers, are taken into consideration, the expansion of the Indian
Army in the years 1917 and 1918 will be seen to rank high
among great administrative achievements, to redound greatly
to the credit of those who conceived it and carried it out, and
to stand comparison not only with what the Dominions accom-
plished in the way of improvising their contingents but with
the Mother Country's effort in raising, training, and equipping
the ' New Armies '.

1 These were not Imperial Service troops.



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Many thanks Maureen

Gives an overall picture now to find the detail.

There was a thesis by David Leask on Ethos for a while but this does not seem to be available any longer. Trying to locate elsewhere. After that its back waiting to run through the lists in the BL I think.



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