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Murder of the CO of the Hyderabad Lancers


ddycher
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Whilst reading up on the Imperial Service Troops in Egypt I came upon the murder of Maj. Mahomed Ali Mirza of the Hyderabad Lancers, I.S. Cav Bde in British Newspaper Archives.

A Daffadar Singh was executed / shot for the murder of Maj. Mahomed Ali Mirza on the 5th December 1914 at Moascar. Singh had been court martialed earlier in the week for having shot the Major with a pistol after being punished "for a serious military offence". Details had been telegraphed back to the UK by Brig.-Gen William Watson.

Mahomed Ali Mirza was apparently well known in Hyderabad and his murder caused “a sensation” back home in India. Interestingly the incident is not mentioned in the history of the 15th Imp. Ser. Cav. Bde. Or in any of the ref’s I have for Ismailia for the period. The history, and other ref's I have, show Major Mahomed Azmatullah Bahabur in command of the 1st Hyderabad Lancers throughout. Mohamed Ali Mirza is listed as killed in action on the 14th December in action on the Suez Canal. Daffadar Singh is not listed. CWGC lists the Major as Major Mahomed Ali Riza and the son of Safdar Ali Mirza also citing his death as the 14th December.

Dangerous times. Makes you wonder how often events like these occurred and were kept quiet.

Would love to know more but have no idea how to.

Regards

Dave

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Dangerous times. Makes you wonder how often events like these occurred and were kept quiet.

Regards

Dave

Less uncommon than you might think: it is almost common to read in Indian regimental histories of VCOs and NCOs being murdered by irate colleagues. Very often this is under similar circumstances to Mahomed Ali Murza's demise, but tribal rivalries also feature.

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Thanks Steven

I guess I have always thought the official documents would have had to be correct. Have seen many obvious deliberate omissions in the past but this was the first real / confirmed manipulation I have come across as far as the Indian Army is concerned.

But on hindsight pretty naive on my part.

Regards

Dave

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T.H.Westmacott, whose papers are at IWM, was Asst Provost Marshal 1st Cavalry Division ( and later with 24th Division). He relates the case of an Indian cavalryman whose execution he had to manage in 1916. The man had murdered his Wadi Major. Westmacott had to finish him off after the firing squad had failed to kill him.

Michael

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Harry

Interesting. Do you know what was the cause in this case ?

As Steven says. A lot of it going on. Was there that much tension between the Indian officers and the OR's ? Running through what I have I haven't seen a BO involved yet.

Regards

Dave

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Most of it seems to be either tribal differences or slights (real or imagined) over promotion (which might also, of course, be tribal)

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Dave

We have entered a cultural dimension that we are strangers to.

Loss of face (eg: a public bollocking, or a boyfriend being jilted in favour of a younger recruit) could cause tensions culminating in death.

That's how it was. I don't know the reason for the Perim murders. The regiment would remain tight-lipped and go for a swifr court martial and death sentence.

Harry

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Thanks Harry

Now I'm watching for it I am starting to see many incidents like this. First BO I've seen is Lt.-Col H.G. Walker of the 109th Infantry at Aden in 1914. Came across this yesterday on my Aden hunt (see seperate thread).

Going to chalk this up as a recurring theme in the Indian Army of the day and move on.

Thanks to you both for your input.

Regards

Dave

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  • 3 weeks later...
  • 3 weeks later...

Dave

I was looking through my KURDISTAN 1919 article recently ( http://www.kaiserscross.com/304501/527922.html) and I noticed another double murder.

The unit this time was the 49th Bengalis, a regiment raised amidst controversy at the time.

(Look just to the right of the Indian Distinguished service medal.)

Harry

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Got it Harry

Thanks

Dave

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Lt Col GED Elsmie, 25th Cavalry, Frontier Force, was murdered at Kohat on 18 June 1917 by one of his staff. It is not clear whether this was a soldier or one of his household servants though.

TR

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Terry

This one a little closer to home (as far as my research goes). His brother was Alexander Montague Spears Elsmie of the 56th Punjabis, one time deputy commander of the 28th (F.F.) Bde under Younghusband. He actrually commanded the Bde during their time in Aden and was later Brig.Gen commanding Ferozepore. I had nothing more than passing ref's to his brother and did not know this.

Will try to find out more about this one.

Thanks

Dave

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  • 4 months later...
On 10/02/2016 at 12:35, ddycher said:

Whilst reading up on the Imperial Service Troops in Egypt I came upon the murder of Maj. Mahomed Ali Mirza of the Hyderabad Lancers, I.S. Cav Bde in British Newspaper Archives.

A Daffadar Singh was executed / shot for the murder of Maj. Mahomed Ali Mirza on the 5th December 1914 at Moascar. Singh had been court martialed earlier in the week for having shot the Major with a pistol after being punished "for a serious military offence". Details had been telegraphed back to the UK by Brig.-Gen William Watson.

Mahomed Ali Mirza was apparently well known in Hyderabad and his murder caused “a sensation” back home in India. Interestingly the incident is not mentioned in the history of the 15th Imp. Ser. Cav. Bde. Or in any of the ref’s I have for Ismailia for the period. The history, and other ref's I have, show Major Mahomed Azmatullah Bahabur in command of the 1st Hyderabad Lancers throughout. Mohamed Ali Mirza is listed as killed in action on the 14th December in action on the Suez Canal. Daffadar Singh is not listed. CWGC lists the Major as Major Mahomed Ali Riza and the son of Safdar Ali Mirza also citing his death as the 14th December.

Dangerous times. Makes you wonder how often events like these occurred and were kept quiet.

Would love to know more but have no idea how to.

Regards

Dave

 

I apologize for the late addition to this thread but I thought this might be of interest to Dave.

Major Mohd Ali Mirza was shot by Dafadar Durga Singh. Major Mirza later died of his wounds. Dafadar Durga Singh was tried by a summary court-martial and executed on 17th December 1914 (you can find him in the CWGC database). What I found most bizarre is that both men are commemorated on the Heliopolis Memorial in Egypt. When I asked the CWGC, they said that regardless of the circumstances of the death of a man in uniform, they were commemorated if they were serving during the war. A rather sad state of affairs.
There are a few telegrams detailing the events of this incident as it unfolded held in the British Library. Unfortunately they do not mention why the incident occurred and there re no recorded statements of Durga Singh. It is not surprising that it finds no mention in the history of the 15th Imperial Service Cavalry Brigade since it does not make mention of a squadron of the Patiala Lancers who bolted when ordered to attack either. I suppose the uglier side of things were kept out of the official history.

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2 hours ago, Risaldar said:

 a squadron of the Patiala Lancers who bolted when ordered to attack either. I suppose the uglier side of things were kept out of the official history.

 

Can you tell us more (please)?

 

Welcome to the Forum, too.

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42 minutes ago, Steven Broomfield said:

 

Can you tell us more (please)?

 

Welcome to the Forum, too.

 

Thank you Steven. The Rajendra Lancers had retired from a scene of action in April 1915 in Egypt. Colonel Nand Singh who was the commandant at the time had been unwell and not fit to lead and the resulting incident became quite an embarrassment for the Patiala Darbar.

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Not mentioned by Head & McClenaghan in "The Maharajas' Paltans", either!

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9 hours ago, Steven Broomfield said:

Not mentioned by Head & McClenaghan in "The Maharajas' Paltans", either!

 

Yes indeed, the story comes from an Army Department file on the conduct of Imperial Service Troops, 1914-15.

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Fascinating. In the NA?

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Ah. Long way to go on a day off, sadly.

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5 hours ago, Risaldar said:

 

NA of India, Delhi.

Is there any catalogue, online or published in a book, about the holdings at the NA of India Delhi, relating to the Indian or British Army, or Imperial Service Troops/Indian States Forces? Or do you have information about what is there?

 

Cheers

Maureen

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5 hours ago, Maureene said:

Is there any catalogue, online or published in a book, about the holdings at the NA of India Delhi, relating to the Indian or British Army, or Imperial Service Troops/Indian States Forces? Or do you have information about what is there?

 

Cheers

Maureen

 

Hello Maureen,

 

There is a lot on the Indian Army at the NA of India. Most of it is of course part of the Army/Military Department collection but one can find some interesting files every now and then in the Home Department or the Foreign and Political Department. Unfortunately they do not allow researchers to make copies of the indexes and to the best of my knowledge there is no online reference. The only way to get to it is to go there yourself or engage a local researcher. 

 

Like most archives across the globe, it has its quirks and things can get quite frustrating but by and large it is easy to work there. Sadly they do not allow photography. We all know how useful that can be.

 

7 hours ago, Steven Broomfield said:

Ah. Long way to go on a day off, sadly.

 

Steven, the details of the incident will be published soon in Indian State Forces in the Great War. Something to look forward to.

 

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Thanks for the information Risaldar.

 

I hope you will advise the Forum when the book Indian State Forces in the Great War is published. Are you the author? 

 

Cheers

Maureen

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