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My father in India


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BED8D760-A2FC-4F25-828D-0043DD195109.jpeg.61444fdbca842a1594952f8c4db4d507.jpegMy father was Private John Clegg 75595 Royal Welch Fusiliers. I am belatedly researching my family history and am trying to find some facts relating to his deployment to India during WW1. 
I am amazed that he didn’t serve on the western front along with so many others from his home town of Burnley. At the moment I can only assume that there was some medical reason for this.

From conversations I had with him the voyage to India was quite an adventure. I know that he mentioned being in Cape Town around Christmas time. I believe that he landed in Bombay and eventually ended up in Kirkee or maybe Poona?  I just wondered if anyone on this site could tell me why they were there. It’s one question I never thought to ask and he never told me. 
I have attached some photos .

Thank you.CAD882CD-7A7A-425F-9648-912E944D7F6A.jpeg.ad4e3929316a09f000aa158d8426c37d.jpeg62448F03-1DFE-47D2-916D-D16CCD18BA08.jpeg.8ccc418abe20f782ae88bcc420548dc8.jpeg6CE2D56D-FFE1-4C98-A745-F2569273E68D.jpeg.e394aa5ae41536718f93d19746c0d319.jpeg








Edited by clegg
Removal of some photos
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10 minutes ago, clegg said:

I am belatedly researching

Welcome to the Forum. Never too late to start but we all wish we'd started earlier and asked those probing questions.


Your father would seem to have spent his wartime service in India because he was entitled to the British War Medal but not the Victory Medal.


Great set of photos, many thanks for sharing.



Edited by charlie962
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The majority of British  troops in India were  Territorial Force troops  who were sent to India so that regular units could be released for service in France.

They were   performing garrison duties, which from time to time could include internal security duties, or sometimes, depending where they were based, they could get involved with incidents with tribes on the North West Frontier.  However, most of the time they were in cantonments, or undergoing training to be ready to fight.


See the FIBIS Fibiwiki page First World War, section British Army Territorial Force troops in India



Looking at the Royal Welsh Fusiliers page from The Long, Long Trail, 


I can't see that there were any Battalions from that Regiment in India. Do you have any further regimental details?



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I'm sorry I can't help you though I have to agree they are a fine set of photos and wish you success with your research.

I'm currently wondering why I receive notifications for newly posted topics that aren't usually in my sphere of interest and I haven't contributed to. I don't complain as they have opened my eyes on aspects I wouldn't search out and I will follow this one. Anyone else getting unexpected notifications or have I once again pressed the wrong button?




P.S. Happy New Year to all. I live in a small Pennine village so I'll let you all know when the village gets round to new year (often the third wet Tuesday after fog). Think this years village calendar celebrates us finally reaching 1951.



Edited by mancpal
struggling to focus, edit2, decent grammar went west as well
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He appears in the RWF medal rolls with the annotation Infantry Reserve Depot, India. Many of the others in the same roll are 1st (Garrison) Battalion RWF and men transferred from 1st (Garrison) Battalion Cheshire Regiment. Both of these battalions ere based in Gibraltar so I wonder if there was a draft of men sent to India at some point?

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  • 1 month later...
On 31/12/2020 at 18:21, clegg said:

My father was Private John Clegg 75595 Royal Welch Fusiliers.

Hi Clegg, I see that you have not visited the Forum since Jan 12th but I happened upon your post and will make my observations anyway. In the first pic we have 2 sergeants sat astride on donkeys wearing uniforms that to my eye are hot climate issue. Their sergeant stripes are hooked onto the tunics rather than sewn in place, presumably to make them easily removable,  to preserve them from the rigors of continual washing. Both men also have medal ribbons. An expert may be able to identify them? The third pic (Possibly by the stores, sign on left) to me looks as if these are men at a training camp/barracks somewhere in the UK. The rifles are an older pattern and are often seen in pictures being used by new recruits. The 4th pic back in a hot climate, the dress of the locals will tell us more, your Father if he is the sergeant 2nd from the right, has two good conduct stripes on his arm. I am wondering if these pictures were taken in 1919 when the 1st Bn Royal Welch Fusiliers were sent to India? The 2nd Bn were in Quetta, (Which is in Pakistan after 1947) in 1913 and on their way back to England in 1914. That is my pennies worth for now, @NepperI read what you have put and that would seem a plausible explanation. @FROGSMILE When yo have a chance, if you would cast your eyes over these pics please and give us you opinion it would be of help. Regards, Bob.

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Interesting photos that I have not seen before.  In two of the photos RWF insignia is visible, both cases appear to be early in John Clegg’s career (in the portrait photo he wears an early war ‘simplified’ pattern jacket).  In the bayonet duel photo the long arms are P14 Enfield Rifles, made under contract in the USA, which suggests a training, or garrison battalion.  Both 4th (formed at Wigan) and 6th (formed at Aintree) Garrison Battalions of the RWF deployed to Egypt, and in the photo where Clegg is a sergeant and wearing two overseas Service chevrons, he is sat among men wearing various versions of a Fez, suggesting either Egyptian, or other indigenous Muslims.

Some other photos show men in turbans and the appearance of typical native Indians.  My guess is that Clegg enjoyed his Army Service and perhaps signed on for a short engagement at the end of the war, as was often encouraged for younger men in good health.  It seems possible that he then joined the 1st Battalion RWF who deployed to India in 1919, initially at Lucknow, and then on active service in Waziristan, not leaving the sub-continent until 1930.  However, this latter theory is a long shot and doesn’t chime with his being initially, and for at least two-years, in a low grade (medically) garrison unit, and yet subsequently being fit enough for a regular army battalion on campaign.  
Alternatively, as Nepper has said, the 1st Garrison Battalion were in peaceful Gibraltar, so it does seem feasible that some men were sent in drafts to reinforce units in India, which implies that if initially with that battalion he might’ve been sent to a different regiment to the RWF from the infantry reserve Depot there.  This latter theory seems the most likely of the two.


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35 minutes ago, FROGSMILE said:

Interesting photos that I have not seen before

Thank you for your input here Frogsmile. Any clues on the medal ribbons?  Regards, Bob.

Edited by Bob Davies
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21 minutes ago, Bob Davies said:

Thank you for your input here Frogsmile. Any clues on the medal ribbons?  Regards, Bob.

Possibly the British War Medal, Bob. 


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