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Remembered Today:

Mobilisation of Reservists in India, 1914 and 1915


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Can anyone point me to a simple introduction of the mobilization priorities in India during 1914/15 please. I have seen the LLT's piece on Reservists.


My curiosity was aroused by noting that many Reservists had obtained permission before the war to live in India. Many were not mobilsed until 1915 and were then drafted to top-up other units in Mesopotamia. There is a description in Palmer's Letters of the voyage India to Basra in Aug 1915 on the Varsova. The drafts he refers to included a considerable amount of late mobilized Reservists, some of whom I have been researching:


                 There are no fewer than forty-one units on board this ship. They include drafts from almost every Territorial Battalion in India, convalescents rejoining the regular battalions already in Mesopotamia, and various engineers and gunners. The ship is grossly overcrowded 1,200 on board an ordinary 6,000 ton liner. The officers are very well off, though. She is a bran-new boat, built for this very run (in anticipation of the Baghdad Railway), with big airy cabins and all the latest improvements in lights, fans and punkahs. There is nobody I know on board and though they are quite a pleasant lot they don't call for special comment.

                 The C.O. is a genial major of the Norfolks. He did some star turns the first two days. There was a heavy monsoon swell on, and the boat rolled so, you could hardly stand up. However the Major, undaunted, paraded about a score of men who had squeaked on to the ship after the roll-call at Bombay. These were solemnly drawn up in a line as defaulters and magisterially called to attention to receive judgment. On coming to attention they over balanced with the regularity of ninepins in a row : and after three attempts the major had to harangue them standing (nominally) at ease. Even so, his admonition was rather impaired by his suddenly sitting down on the deck, and having to leave rather hurriedly for his cabin before the peroration was complete.


What were the considerations eg type of employment, marital status or ? Was India slower in mobilisation than UK ?






edit-  I add this extract fom the BJMH Feb 2016


It was to the credit of the pre-war planners that the Indian Army had a scheme for mobilisation and deployment, with specialist equipment, in place when the war broke

out. India had two infantry divisions and one cavalry brigade available for immediate operations.Nevertheless, there were problems from the outset. The call-up

occurred in August when most personnel were on leave and, in an age before information technologies, it took a little while to make contact with everyone,

especially soldiers up in the hills. The depot system, which was supposed to operate as the rear link for deploying units, handling call ups, reservists, pensions and

discharges was completely overwhelmed and remained chaotic well into 1915

Edited by charlie962
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