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35th Scinde Horse


SlyTiger
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Hi there!

 

First time posting so please excuse any errors. I'm doing some research for a book and was hoping to get a fairly basic description of what the 35th Scinde Horse regiment would have looked like...specifically in 1920 when they saw action in Mesopotamia. I've read EB Maunsell's book but as someone with absolutely no military background some of it assumes a degree of knowledge that I don't have!

 

I was simply wondering if this unit was comprised of Indian troops under the command of British officers and whether Indian recruits could themselves go on to become officers. The list of officers I have all seem British.

 

Would the regular troops have had *any* non-Indians recruits and would those from India have had any training or simply signed on and then shipped out to Iraq? I assume as it was a cavalry unit there must have been a degree of training or knowledge of horses needed. 

 

Many thanks for your help and apologies if this is a naive question 

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The troops would have undergone training in India.

 

Indian Army List for April 1920

https://archive.org/details/in.ernet.dli.2015.278899/page/n711/mode/2up

 

The British and Indian Officers are listed

The regimented is listed as based at Jubbulpore

 

For further editions see the FIBIS Fibiwiki page Indian Army List online

https://wiki.fibis.org/w/Indian_Army_List_online

 

Further FIBIS Fibiwiki pages may give you information

https://wiki.fibis.org/w/Indian_Army Indian Army

https://wiki.fibis.org/w/35th_Scinde_Horse 35th Scinde Horse

https://wiki.fibis.org/w/Unattached_List Unattached List

https://wiki.fibis.org/w/Category:Military_ranks  Category:Military ranks

 

Cheers

Maureen

Edited by Maureene
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I would recommend Captain Roly Grimshaw's Indian Cavalry Officer 1914-15 (Grimshaw was in the 34th Poona Horse), particularly the chapter 'A Day at an Indian Cavalry War Depot', which touches on training of recruits in India. Might also be worth tracking down The Sepoy and the Raj by David Omissi and the works of David Morton-Jack.

 

You must remember that 'Indianisation' hadn't really come in at the time you're researching, so Indian recruits into the 35th would be eligible for a Viceroy's Commission (after a period of time - possibly quite a long period of time!) but not for a King's Commission; there would be relatively few British Officers, though, and much, if not most, of the day to day management would be by the VCOs.

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There is some quite good information on the 35th Scinde Horse including reports by senior inspecting officers here: https://www.researchingww1.co.uk/35th-scinde-horse


The enclosed image shows a European officer in full dress type 2 (non European).  Each European officer also had a more traditionally British version of regimental uniform for use when serving away from his regiment.

 

There is also some excellent social history regarding the personal experiences of Indian troops (extracted from their mail) at the British Library here: https://www.bl.uk/world-war-one/articles/the-indian-sepoy-in-the-first-world-war

 

B48769BD-9A0F-4603-9959-258EC0872991.jpeg

Edited by FROGSMILE
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That's all really useful; I hadn't seen those pages. Thank you very much for the help. 

 

I had a further question:

 

Was the Political officer attached to a particular regiment or did they attach to a region? 

 

And slightly random: In EB Maunsell's book he often refers to the officers having polo ponies. Is that just the breed (that were also used for polo) or did officers actually bring ponies for the purpose of playing polo which may not be so strange given Maunsell complains a lot about officers having no idea what they're doing and shipping full china sets over to Mesopotamia

 

Thanks! 

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1 hour ago, SlyTiger said:

That's all really useful; I hadn't seen those pages. Thank you very much for the help. 

 

I had a further question:

 

Was the Political officer attached to a particular regiment or did they attach to a region? 

 

And slightly random: In EB Maunsell's book he often refers to the officers having polo ponies. Is that just the breed (that were also used for polo) or did officers actually bring ponies for the purpose of playing polo which may not be so strange given Maunsell complains a lot about officers having no idea what they're doing and shipping full china sets over to Mesopotamia

 

Thanks! 


The political officer was attached to the specific area.  He could not function adequately without knowing the local situation, geography, tribal chiefs, and any idiosyncrasies that might apply.

 

Regiments that took Polo seriously, which included infantry, as well as the more obvious cavalry and artillery, purchased their own strings of specialised polo ponies (they were small, bred to be agile, and able to accelerate from a standing start) .  A regimental fund to which the officers had to subscribe paid for this.  This was a reflection of the need for officers of that time to have a private income, as they could not have afforded that lifestyle on their government pay alone.  Over time this did cause some resentment among officers who were not selected for the polo team (as well as a few who did not play much at all) and yet still had to pay towards funding it.  However, any disquiet was usually kept private, as protesting publicly ran the risk that the officer was deemed by his contemporaries not clubbable and he would then be socially ostracised.  Most regiments sustained a first and a second team, rather like ball games.  One of the most successful regimental teams over a period of several years was that fielded by the Durham Light Infantry, much to the chagrin of the rival teams from the cavalry.

Edited by FROGSMILE
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Out of interest, Julian Byng (later Byng of Vimy) was the fourth son of an impoverished Earl. He was commissioned (through the Militia) into the 10th Prince of Wales's Royal Hussars: they were probably the most exclusive regiment outside the Household Cavalry and Byng could not afford the very high personal cost of being in the regiment. In order to survive, he bought ponies, trained them as polo ponies and sold them on (at a profit - successfully).As mentioned, Polo was taken very seriously and success on the polo field was quite an arbiter of a good regiment, whether British or Indian, cavalry or otherwise.

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  • 2 months later...

Hi all,

 

I had a couple of other questions that I was wondering if anyone knew the answer to?

  • I read that the Scinde Horse officers wore turbans so they'd blend in more and be less conspicuous. Would that always be the case? So in the Arab rebellion for example would officers on a day to day basis wear more European dress like solar topee or a turban? Or was it down to the individual?
  • When a company goes on a long march (e.g. changing camp or taking part in a relief column), would they take their own syces with them?
  • How would they signal for certain things (e.g. Stop during a march or drink break if water discipline is in force)? Would it be trumpet or another means?
  • E.B. Maunsell writes about E.P tents used during bivouac? Are those just standard issue? 

Thanks very much for your help!

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1.  Each ‘European’ officer (usually British, but not in every case) in British-Indian regiments had two forms of dress, often referred to as types ‘a’ and ‘b’, or ‘1’ and ‘2’.  One involved looking as much like his native troops as possible, including a turban and alkalak (knee length tunic), and the other was more closely aligned to the equivalent dress worn in an Imperial British unit (i.e. a helmet and shorter tunic).  The latter tended to be worn when sent on training courses or posted to a position in an Imperial formation headquarters.  The order of dress at regimental duty was decreed in unit routine orders.  When in the field the native style dress was generally preferred else the officers were soon picked of by hostile marksmen.
 

2.  Most unit expeditions into the field involved taking administrative support, although the extent of such “camp followers” had to become increasingly constrained as the decades advanced.  Nevertheless, critical services had to be maintained and grass cutters (for fresh fodder) were a part of the quartermaster’s responsibility.

 

3.  When troops were mounted, bugles were usually used for calls to issue orders, as they were easier (musically simpler) to use.  When dismounted the trumpet was used.  Each cavalry trumpeter was required to carry and ‘sound’ (make calls with) both instruments (see soldier on grey horse with bugle in hand and trumpet slung on his back).

 

4.  By the time of WW1 tentage used on the March was of standard government issue type.  This was primarily because march load tables had to be worked out in advance and so governed what animals, (sometimes wagons) and drivers were required.  These were laid out in army field manuals, such as Army Administration in the Field, and were issued via both, Imperial, and Indian Army publications.  For example, depending upon the terrain and associated tactical requirements the ‘reserve ammunition’ could either, be carried by pack animals (often mules), or by the limbers that were issued to units for that purpose.

 

NB.  You might find this link useful: https://www.britishempire.co.uk/forces/armyuniforms/indiancavalrymenu.htm

 

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7F07DBD9-555B-4812-81E3-CCDC279FE311.jpeg

Edited by FROGSMILE
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Thanks ever so much @FROGSMILE

 

I'm trying to write something about the 35th but having absolutely no military knowledge some of the basics escape me.

 

Really appreciate the detailed answer. 

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20 hours ago, SlyTiger said:

Thanks ever so much @FROGSMILE

 

I'm trying to write something about the 35th but having absolutely no military knowledge some of the basics escape me.

 

Really appreciate the detailed answer. 

I’m glad to help.  There’s plenty of really interesting reading for you here if you’re selective: http://www.durbaronline.co.uk/PDFgallery.htm

 

If you want to get a general feel for how mounted units operated and conducted their general routine I do recommend that you read a couple of the early books by Brigadier Allan Mallinson.  They will give you a good steer as the culture changed very little until the regiments’ converted to armour.  For someone with no military knowledge attempting to write about a cavalry unit it will be very helpful.

7B59092F-003C-4ADE-AA32-E9375B741027.jpeg

Edited by FROGSMILE
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Returning to my earlier recommendation, Roly Grimshaw's book (which can be obtained relatively cheaply on the second hand circuit) really is worth a read to give you an idea of relationships in the Indian cavalry. He also, inter alia, makes somewhat disparaging remarks about the turban as wartime dress.

 

Quite old now, but Philip Mason's A Matter of Honour is well worth a read. It's an excellent history/examination of the Indian Army and, I see, available very cheaply second hand.

 

Not intending to be difficult, but if you are writing something I would suggest you run the finished article past third parties before you release it.

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  • 3 months later...
On 19/03/2021 at 13:54, SlyTiger said:

Hi all,

 

I had a couple of other questions that I was wondering if anyone knew the answer to?

  • E.B. Maunsell writes about E.P tents used during bivouac? Are those just standard issue? 

Thanks very much for your help!

 

Hello,

 

An E. P. Tent was a large tent with double walls and roof, provided for British troops in India and known as the " European pattern" tent.

 

On another point I would echo Steven Broomfield's comments about running your article, you do want to write something accurate I am sure, past some knowledgeable 3rd parties before submission would be wise.

 

Are you aware of the role of the Vicreoys Commisioned officers in a Cavalry regiment - the Jemedars, Risaldars and the Risaldar Major? They pay a key role in how the regiment is run, as well as the role of 'internal economy' - its quite different from the British Army.

 

Kind regards,

 

Matthew

 

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