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The Bay of Bengal War Zone > 1914-15 Star


Richard Stiles
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Dear All,

I have been researching 2412 / 290667 F T Caley, 1/10th Middlesex who deployed to India with the battalion in 1914. He seems to be one of 60 odd men who qualified for the 1914-15 Star by virtue of entering the War Zone 'Bay of Bengal'. (NB: A few of the entries on the 1914-15 Roll state, 'Bay of Bengal Patrol'). I have never heard of this War Zone and can find no reference for it. Can anybody please advise more information regarding this and what sort of role these men would have undertaken in this area?

As a side note, Caley went on to be 1 of, I believe, only 2 all-ranks of the 1/10th Middlesex to serve in the Bushire Campaign of 1918/19 thus qualifying for the GSM 'S. Perisa'.

Many thanks, this is my first post on the forum!

Richard

 

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Mate,

Read about the SMS Emden who hunted in the Bay during the early part of the war.

She captured and sunk a number of ships there as well as shelling the India harbor (Oil tanks and such)


S.B

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The following link  is from a website of  the Australian Government  Department of Defence  but it does NOT mention Bay of Bengal.

https://www1.defence.gov.au/sites/default/files/doc/files/WWI-criteria-1914-15-Star-Australian-transcribed.pdf

The criteria is

Asiatic Theatre.—To include all operations:—

(a)  In Mesopotamia from 6th November, 1914 and at Bushire from 28th June, 1915.

(b)  At Shaik Said (South-West Arabia) on 10th November, 1914.

(c)  Conducted by Aden Field Force from 3rd July, 1915.

(d)  At Musquat in Gulf of Oman, under the command of Colonel S. M. Edwardes, D.S.O., in January, 1915.

(e)  In Seistan, under the command of Lieut-Colonel J. M. Wikeley, 28th Light Cavalry, in 1915.

(f)  In the Tochi Valley, including the whole of the North Waziristan Political Agency and Barajat, between 28th November, 1914 and 27th March, 1915, both dates inclusive.

(g)  Near Hafiz Kor, within the area bounded on the south by the left bank of the Kabul river, and on the east by a line from Adozai to Tangi, both places included, under the command of Major-General C. F. G. Young, from 14th to 19th April, 1915, and under the command of Major-General F. Campbell, C.B., D.S.O., between 29th August, 1915 and 10th October, 1915, all dates inclusive.

(h)  Carried out by the troops at Katlang, Rastam and Swati, under the command of Brigadier-General N. C. Woodyatt, between 17th and 31stAugust, 1915, both dates inclusive.

(i)  On the Landakai Ridge,north of a line east and west from, but exclusive of Malakand, under the command of Brigadier-General W. G. L. Beynon, C.B., D.S.O., between 21st and 31st August, 1915, by the Malakand Movable Column, which advanced from Chakdara Camp.

(j)  At Perim, on 14th and 15th June, 1915, under the command of Captain A. G. C. Hutchinson, 23rd Sikh Pioneers.

(k)  At and south of Mastung, in the Kalat State, between 1st June, 1915 and 10th July, 1915, both dates inclusive.

(l) In the Kachin Hills,within an are abounded on the north latitude26°30'; on the east by the River Mali Kha, from where it cuts 26° 30' to the confluence, and thence by Irrawaddy until it cuts 25° 15' on the west by longitude 96°; on the south by latitude 25°; between 31st December, 1914 and 26th February, 1915, both dates inclusive.

(m)At Tsing-Tau, between 23rd September, 1914 and 7th November, 1914, both dates inclusive.

Based on  Army Order XX of 23rd December, 1918.

Maureen

Edited by MaureenE
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1/10th is briefly mentioned as first based in Calcutta

https://archive.org/details/storyofdukeofcam00king/page/210/mode/2up?view=theater from  p210 The Story of the Duke of Cambridge's Own (Middlesex Regiment) by Charles Lethbridge Kingsford 1916. Archive.org

The words "Have thus had no active share in the war" are included.  

The attack by the Emden was of Madras, not Calcutta and was  in September 1914,  which was before the 1/10th  left Britain, so seems unconnected with eligibility for the medal.

Maureen

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4 hours ago, MaureenE said:

(l) In the Kachin Hills, within an are abounded on the north latitude 26°30'; on the east by the River Mali Kha, from where it cuts 26° 30' to the confluence, and thence by Irrawaddy until it cuts 25° 15' on the west by longitude 96°; on the south by latitude 25°; between 31st December, 1914 and 26th February, 1915, both dates inclusive.

I wonder if this is the operation in question. The area defined above is shown on this map and instead of about 60 words may have been shortened for record purposes as 'Bay of Bengal'

Irrawaddyrivermap.jpg

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There were men serving on the Andaman Islands in the Bay of Bengal. But was there ever any action or just a threat ?

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Lockwood is Ronald S Lockwood, 1748/290306

 

1914/15 Roll, Ronald Stephen Lockwood, entry 9/11/15 "Bay of Bengal". I note others on the same page have a variety of entry dates. all very odd.

Edited by charlie962
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perhaps @horatio2 or another naval expert can throw further light on the subject. I am presuming the troops were carried onboard naval vessels ?

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Googling around I believe there was a long report produced in 1934 "Connections with the Revolutionary Organisation in Bihar and Orissa" which may give some useful background. Written by Wilfred Arthur Prince Sealy, a senior Indian (Bengal) Policeman. Tree on Ancestry here.

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I hope this thread is not going to die. I note that a similar question has been asked a number of times on this and other forums in the past 10+ years but never answered.

 

Here is a ref, with acknowledgement to googlebooks, to Sealy's report:

255768030_GWFBayOfBengalGunRunning1915.JPG.8ed96dd52f63281bac57ef299ea1c8b0.JPG

 

I note that at least one other man on the Roll with 'Bay of Bengal' was a Signaller (HG Shouler). Would there have been a series of watchpoints along the coast or on ships ?

 

@MaureenE might have a little snippet of info ?

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16 hours ago, charlie962 said:

 

@MaureenE might have a little snippet of info ?

Sorry, nothing much. My only thought is that the decision about the award of the medal seems to have been made after the date of  Army Order XX of 23rd December, 1918. which is quoted above in the link from the Australian Government website, so perhaps may be in the Army Orders between that date, and the date the Medal Rolls were completed. Army Orders are at The National Archives  WO 123, but are not digitised (as far as I am aware), so not particularly helpful.

There is a Naval & Military Press reprint in two volumes of The Die-Hards in the Great War which is also available on the pay website fold3.com, which perhaps may have relevant information.

https://www.naval-military-press.com/product/die-hards-in-the-great-war-middlesex-regiment/ At the time of writing the price is reduced.

https://www.fold3.com/browse/hTGb85NZ8wIfXXI19dKLJy8iX

Note however, the N&M Press description says "This is not a history that deals with each battalion independently, there are too many of them". 

Maureen

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@Richard Stiles are you aware that there are answers to your query? 

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Many thanks to all members who are looking into the Bay of Bengal War Zone for me. The signalling tread may be worth exploring more. My man also qualified for the GSM 'S. PERSIA' attached to LofC Bushire. I know from past research when writing my book 'Taming The Tiger' regarding the IGSM 1908-35 that many men employed on such duty were attached on signalling duties. Hope we can keep this discussion ongoing. Richard 

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A few further thoughts:

1.  I've checked 'Diehards in the Great War' and the chapter on India refers principally to 1/9th Bn. The 1/10th only gets a fleeting mention. 1/9th did guard small-arms factories at DumDum and a couple of others but did not earn Star entitlement for this.

2. The 1/10th were primarily at Fort George Calcutta in 1915, having landed in India Dec 1914.

3. Looking at the 14/15 Star Rolls with that Bay of Bengal theatre, there seem to be at least 56 men of the 1/10th Middlesex who qualified. ie less than 10% of Bn strength. --edited below

4.  2/3rds of these men were NCOs, 1/3rd Privates.-----edited below

5. Entry dates are many and varied, covering the months July to Dec 1915. It is noticeable that the biggest 'arrival' month was December 1915. This might make sense in conjunction with the 'Christmas Day Plot' that is discussed in the Hindu-German Conspiracy that I linked earlier.

6. What was it about their duties that got these men picked out for the 14/15 Star? As noted above there may be a seperate AO or even IAO authorising this ?

7. There are very few surviving service records of those 56 men (I'm still working through the list). But the possible link to Signals does seem to exist.

8. There must have been some officers involved?

9. Sounds like a potential John Masters' title ' Gun-Runners of Bengal' !

Intrigued.

Charlie

Edited by charlie962
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Many thanks Charlie. Perhaps 1 of the surviving service records will help. The AO's or IAO's will no doubt help > question is accessing them at this time.....

Thanks, 

Richard  

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Possible sources of further information

The book Terriers In India: British Territorials 1914-19 by Peter Stanley.

Contact the author Peter Stanley  ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_Stanley Wikipedia entry)

There are online regimental Journals from 1922  from "The Queen's Regimental Association" website, and sometimes there will be articles in regimental journals which cover historical aspects, so there is the possibility there could be an article written sometime after the actual period. 

The Die-Hards. The Journal of the Middlesex Regiment Duke of Cambridge's Own from Volume 1 August 1922 to Volume 16 October 1967.
 
http://queensregimentalassociation.org/museum.html The Museum
 
Maureen

 

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Slight tweek of the figures I gave in my last post:

20 hours ago, charlie962 said:

3. Looking at the 14/15 Star Rolls with that Bay of Bengal theatre, there seem to be at least 56 men of the 1/10th Middlesex who qualified. ie less than 10% of Bn strength. --edited below

4.  2/3rds of these men were NCOs, 1/3rd Privates.-----edited below

I now have 62 men. of the 1/10th

Privates 29

L/Cpls   19

Cpls        6

L/Sgt      4

Sgt         4

 

I also see that the 2/4 Somersets, who relieved the 1/9th Mdx (and perhaps the 1/10th?) in Calcutta Jan 1916, were sent to the Andaman Islands in Aug 1915-Jan 1916 for fear of a German landing (History od SLI in Gt War). Did any of them qualify for 14/15 Star for this ?

edit see this thread for an article I posted re SomersetLI and no star entitlement.

Edited by charlie962
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Slowly but surely. Perfectly positioned in the Bay.............. The dates would make sense on your previous post regarding entries from July to Dec 1915 for the 1/10th men. Perhaps the  2/4th Som LI will come up with the answer. Thank you for your support. Richard

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6 hours ago, charlie962 said:

edit see this thread for an article I posted re SomersetLI and no star entitlement.

If you look at my updated posts (particularly ref to 18th (London) Bn Rifle Bde)  to that thread, it is clear that those who served in the Andaman Islands and Burma in 1916 did not earn the Victory Medal but only the BWM for that service.

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The odd thing about the "Bay of Bengal" Roll entries is the large variety of entry dates for such a small group of men from the same Battalion.

My thoughts were small groups going onto boats or watchkeeping on land. Maybe some of the days with just one man was a relief for sicknes? Either way there must have been a very specific point of entry. Any thoughts, anyone?

20/7/15  5

5/8/15    1

14/8/15  1

15/8/15  2

17/8/15   5

19/8/15  1

26/8/15  1

2/9/15  2

21/9/15  3

25/9/15  1

28/9/15  6

16/10/15  5

19/10/15  3

24/10/15  2

6/11/15  1

8/11/15  1

9/11/15  1

1/12/15  5

7/12/15  3

24/12/15  9

just 1915  4

Total      62

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Thanks Maureen. There must have been something extra to put them in an 'active' theatre ?

Charlie

PS I am working my way through those Middlesex Magazines that you linked above. Thanks for that link.

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