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Remembered Today:

Royal West Kents in India


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I attach a photo of Thomas Pittock who joined the Royal West Kents (3rd Battalion) in June 1916. His service records show he served with the regiment in Mesopotamia. The photo (undated) was taken in Poona, India. What might a RWK soldier have been doing there? Would it have been rest or active service?

Any ideas would be of interest.



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3rd Bttn was the Depot/Reserve bttn that supplied troops to the fighting bttns (as did the 9th bttn). The 4th Bttn and 5th Bttn - both Territorial bttns served in India, releasing the 2nd Bttn for service in Middle East. I believe the 5th Bttn later served in Mespot, fighting the Turks and therefore Thomas Pittock almost certainly served with the 5th. In India their role would have been to police and protect the Imperial dominion.

Nice photo.


Jon S

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Hello Wesmo,

Great photo.

I assume that you have a copy of his service papers from WO364 which confirm him as G/15911 RWK and ex-Essex Yeomanry, ending up as an acting C.Q.M.S. in the Northumberland Fusiliers. Here's my reading of his file for what it's worth.

So he enlists on 10/12/15, is put into the Army Reserve (in this case 3rd RWK) on 11/12/15 until 6/6/16 when he's called up and sent to 'Mespot' on the "Franz Ferdinand", leaving Devonport on 9/10/16, arriving 2/12/16.

Here's the interesting thing: unless I'm missing something his papers don't show him being in India with the RWK. He's mentioned as being at Busra and Magil, both of which are in Iraq. He transfers to the Northumberland Fusiliers in Feb 1917 but it is not until March 1918 that he "proceeded on one month leave to India". At this point I don't think he should have a RWK badge on his helmet when in India. So either he went to India in the couple of months prior to transferring to the Northumberland Fusiliers and it's not mentioned in his records, or the photo was actually taken in Iraq by a photographer who originated from Poona.

I'm wondering if he actually made it to any RWK battalion at the front- it would have to be the 2nd at this time in 1917, and they were desperate for men in this period after the surrender at Kut. It certainly looks like he was present at No.7 Base Depot but was classified a certain way due to an "old GSW to head" and didn't go to the 2nd battalion- this "GSW" may be a reference to his boyhood fractured skull injury.

It looks like he was sent to the 2nd (Garrison) Bn of the Northumberland Fusiliers, probably due to his old injuries and age, and they were based in India. But his file indicates that he was serving in "Mespot" and not India, so I'd guess he was utilized in some rear-area capacity at the Basra and Magil bases.

Hope this makes sense,


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Nice photo...

Have a look at this site - http://www.kentfallen.com and Geoff Sullivan's work here - http://www.kentfallen.com/west%20kent%20pages.html

Pittock, Thomas Royal West Kent Regiment C/15911 Acting Corporal [1] Royal West Kent Regiment C/15911 Acting Corporal [2] Northumberland Fusiliers 48923 Acting Corporal


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  • 1 year later...

Dear Wesmo

Sorry for being slow (!) in picking up your posting.

Here is some info on Thomas Pittock:

He enlisted as 1055, A Squadron, Essex IY on 18 March 1908; age 27, a dealer. He lived at 2 Enmore Terrace, Clacton-on-Sea

He re-enlisted two weeks later as 15, A Squadron, Essex Yeo (TF) on 1 April 1908. He served with the Clacton troop, who obviously had their training on 1 April and bagged all the low numbers! (I have the TFEM to number 10 who would have been with him that night!)

Pittock was discharged on termination of his engagement on 22 March 1911.

I hope this helps.


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  • 1 year later...

Hi Guys,

Hope this thread isn`t too old to bring back to life. But having come across it, whilst trying to ascertain some information I`m after, I hoped that someone out there might be able to confirm something for me......

I have a British War Medal to a Pte in the RKR, his MIC confirms this to be his sole entitlement for WW1, however, he is also entitled to an IGS clasp Afghanistan 1919, from this information is it possible to identify which battalion he may have served in? I am assuming that he spent his WW1 service in India?

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  • 8 years later...

I do not know if it is possible to revive this link.

Thomas Pittock was my grandfather. I have his medals showing the army numbers quoted by Neil Clark.

He spoke of time spent in Mesopotamia, but I do not recall any mention of India.

Also westkent78 mentions a boyhood skull injury. This he certainly had but all I know is that he was 'kicked by a horse'.

Queries I have are;- How do you know this is Thomas Pittock and where can I obtain his service record ?

On 16/09/2007 at 23:17, wesmo said:



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Welcome to the Forum. This isn't my area of knowledge, but as no-one else has replied yet ...


Wesmo last visited us on July 29, 2018. I'll send him a message alerting him to your interest.


I used Google Images Search and couldn't find another copy of the photograph on the Web.


Post 3 above says that the service record is in WO364 at the National Archives, Kew. I've very little experience of researching these records and couldn't locate it here


By playing around on the website you may have more luck - or some kind soul may have a go for you.


Happily, WestKent78, who summarised the record in post 3 is still active and visited us the day before you yourself posted. I'll alert him to your interest.


However, I did come across Thomas's


medal card


You can enlarge the watermarked image and may be able to decipher what it says.


Hopefully more experienced members will be more helpful.



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Hello C Spencer. You can see your grandfather's service record on Find My Past here. If you do not have a subscription to Find My Past you can get access by signing up for a free trial although you will have to submit your credit card details and you will end up paying for the access unless you cancel within 14 days. 

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If his papers do not show him based in India, he may have been sent from Mesopotamia to India for medical treatment. Alternatively he may have been granted recreational leave, and India was normally where this was spent.


The original post says that the photo was taken in Poona, India.  Poona (now Pune)  was  located at an altitude of 560 metres and so relatively cooler with a  more pleasant climate. It reasonably close to Bombay (Mumbai) , which was the destination port for the ships travelling from Mesopotamia. In the photo he looks quite healthy to me, so I'd guess he was on recreation leave.




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C Spencer,


Hopefully Wesmo can clear up how they came by this photo and how this relates to your Thomas. It's certainly of a RWK individual in tropical garb so one assumes that his name is on the reverse of the photo.

His file has been divided into two by FMP.



Thomas Pittock 1880 G/15911 Royal West Kent Regiment Durham Wo 364 - First World War Pension Claims


Thomas Pittock 1879 48923 Northumberland Fusiliers Durham Wo 364 - First World War Pension Claims


As to his injury- there is another page that mentions a broken skull and collar bone as being the boyhood injury.


The confusing thing for me is that he transferred to the 3rd Garrison Bn Northumberland Fusiliers in Feb 1917 while in Mespot, and goes on one month's leave to India in March/April 1918 which is presumably when he's photographed, but his badge is still RWK? Seems odd to me.


Best regards,



p.s. Thanks Moonraker for the pm.

Edited by westkent78
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