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The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Can anyone tell me about this Indian Regiment?


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I recently bought a Victory Medal to the following man, ‘Bugler 1202 Fazal Khan, 51st Sikhs’. I can find absolutely nothing though about the 51st Sikhs. Can anyone tell me anything about them? Where they served that sort of thing.



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Egypt, Aden, Mesopotamia, Palestine.....XXIst Corps, Meerut Division, 28th Infantry Brigade with the 53rd Sikhs and the 56th Punjabi Rifles.



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The 51st Sikhs were formed in 1846 along with their sister regiments the 52nd, 53rd and 54th Sikhs.

These Regiments were of mixed Sikh, Hindu and Moslem composition and were entitled "Sikhs" because they were recruited from the ranks of the disbanded army of the former Sikh Kingdom(your bugler is a Moslem soldier). They formed part of the Frontier Force raised to garrison the North West Frontier which had been inherited from this country after Britain defeated them in the 2nd Sikh War.

In 1922 all these regiments were amalgamated as the Frontier Force Regiment. The other units of the Frontier Force formed the Frontier Force Rifles, The Pathan Regiment, some cavalry and mountain artillery units plus the famous Guides, who were infantry and cavalry combined. These Regiments pioneered the use of Khakhi in the army.

With the creation of Pakistan non-Moslem troops left for India. This badly affected these regiments and the FF Regiment, Pathan Regiment and FF Rifles amalgamated as a new FF Regiment which is a large and active component of the Pakistan Army with its Depot at Abbotabad.

The constituents of the old FF Regiment formed second battalions in the Great War. Service was in the Middle East (Egypt, Palestine, Aden, Mesopotamia) and on the NW Frontier (battle honours for 1914, 1915, 1916 and 1917)

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Yes, your bugler is a Muslim; his name indicates that.

However, I have read that the Sikhs were not Muslim, but monotheistic Hindus. Left them out in the cold and that was what led to their horrific massacres during the partition of '47. Hindu and Muslim alike had no use for them.



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Sikhism was a reformation of Hinduism by the ten Gurus, ending up as a separate religion in its own right

Sikhs were most definitely not Moslems, the Sikh Kingdom being set up in opposition to and conflict with the Moslem Moghul Empire run by the Kings of Delhi.

The Sikh regiments of the Frontier Force contained all three religions, as had been the practice in the old Sikh Army which contained many Dogras (who were Hindu) as well as Moslem mercenaries from Afghanistan in the cavalry.

When it came to partition the Sikhs opted for India, although many Sikhs suspected the all India government was suspicious/jealous of their success and sought to limit them.

Although Sikhism was meant to renounce the caste system there was a pretty fixed social system. Higher caste Sikhs joined the infantry battalions which became the Sikh Regiment while lower caste Sikhs joined the Pioneer Battalions which became the Sikh Light Infantry.

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