This article will provide you with an overview of the history of the 106th Hazara Pioneers during the First World War and help you research those who served with the Regiment. I have also written a series of guides to help you research those who served in the Indian Army during the war. To view these guides, click on the link below:
I also offer a First World War Soldier Research Service.
106th Hazara Pioneers in the First World War
Lineage: Raised by Major C. W. Jacob at Quetta in 1904 from a nucleus of drafts from the 124th Duchess of Connaught’s Own and 126th Baluchistan Infantry and the 4th Hazara Pioneers in 1922.
Composition in 1914: 8 Companies Hazaras. 1919: 4 Companies of Hazaras.
Location in July 1914: The 106th Hazara Pioneers was stationed at Quetta (Balochistan, Pakistan) where it had arrived from Sibi (Balochistan, Pakistan) on 3rd April 1906.
The 106th Hazara Pioneers was an Indian pioneer regiment which spent the majority of the First World War in India. When the First World War began in August 1914, the 106th Hazara Pioneers was at Quetta, where the Regiment was serving as part of the 2nd Quetta Infantry Brigade in the 4th (Quetta) Division. Though the Regiment remained in India until 1918, a draft was sent to the 107th Pioneers which served in France and Belgium. In 1916, the 106th Pioneers was split between Seistan (Sistan, Balochistan, Pakistan) and the Kelat Territory before it returned to Quetta. The extract below was taken from the October 1914 Indian Army List and recorded the British officers serving with the Regiment.The 106th Hazara Pioneers was mobilized for service in Mesopotamia (Iraq) in 1918 and embarked on board H.T. Barala on 22 February 1918. The Regiment arrived at Basra, Mesopotamia on 27 February 1918 and joined the 18th Indian Division. The Regiment moved frequently and there is a war diary covering its activities between February 1918 and April 1920. The 106th Hazara Pioneers spent most of 1918 constructing roads in a variety of places around Mesopotamia with a large part of the year spent at Table Mountain. Between 1919 and August 1921 the 106th Hazara Pioneers continued to move around Mesopotamia with its pioneer role much in demand. On the 16 August 1921, the 106th Hazara Pioneers arrived back in Quetta after three years service in Mesopotamia. The 106th Hazara Pioneers became the 4th Hazara Pioneers in 1922.
The 106th Hazara Pioneers was present in Mesopotamia during the Iraq Revolt of 1920 and qualified for the General Service Medal with Iraq Clasp. Surviving Medal Index Cards for the General Service Medal with Iraq Clasp can be viewed on either Ancestry (for free) or the National Archives’ website.
War Diary of the 106th Hazara Pioneers:
There is only one war diary of the 106th Hazara Pioneers which has been digitized by the National Archives. To download the war diary for a small fee click on the blue link below.
- Date: 15 February 1918 – 30 April 1920
- 18th Indian Division, Mesopotamia
- Reference: WO95/5222/8
- Notes: An average war diary at best which is typical for a pioneer unit. The war diary includes the regimental numbers of Indian soldiers invalided from the 106th Hazara Pioneers during March and April 1918. British officers are frequently mentioned throughout the war diary. The only appendices are nominal rolls of British officers serving with the 106th Hazara Pioneers each month between March 1918 and April 1920.
Further Sources for the 106th Hazara Pioneers
One of the best sources for information concerning the 106th Hazara Pioneers and in particular for the British officers serving with it is the Regiment’s confidential reports held at the British Library: Confidential Reports on Regiments etc. These reports also contain the annual confidential reports of the British officers serving with the Regiment, though when it is abroad only those serving with the Depot are reported. For information concerning British and Indian officers who served with the 106th Hazara Pioneers, the Indian Army List can be consulted. Surviving Medal Index Cards for the General Service Medal with Iraq Clasp can be viewed on either Ancestry (for free) or the National Archives’ website.
There is a short regimental history: A Brief History of the 106th Hazara Pioneers by Brigadier-General B L St. Pierre Bunbury. This is a very rare book which covers the period between 1904 and 1933. The book is only 25 pages in length and touches upon the enlistment of Baltis into the Hazara Pioneers. There is also a short account of two British officers coming across Hazaras fighting with the White Russians during the Russian Civil War. I viewed a copy of the book at the British Library which had a photograph (shown below) of Hon. Captain Dost Muhammad OBI IDSM, Subadar-Major of the Regiment between 1904 and 1917 glued in.
Extracts from War Diary of the 106th Hazara Pioneers (Crown Copyright: National Archives)
15 February 1918 – 30 April 1920, Mesopotamia, WO95/5222/8
15 February 1918 – Jhatpat – Telegram No.2577 Concentration received ordering move of Regiment from Jhatpat to Kiamari on 21st and 24th February respectively.
27 February 1918 – Basrah – 3 pm – Arrive at Basrah (No.5 Berth Margil) and disembark and march to Makina Camp (No.3 Indian Base Depot) arriving in camp at 8 pm. All camps and ground very wet and muddy owing to recent heavy rain.
19 April 1918 – Akab – Brick making and building work Akab, Cook Baksh [the CWGC gives Baksh’s death as the 18 April 1918. It is not unusual to find Indian drowning victims date of death being given for the date their body was recovered rather than when they went missing] reported absent on 2 April 1918 found drowned near Baghdad.
1 July 1918 – Table Mountain – Strength of unit in Field (actually present) British Officers: 7. Indian Officers: 21. Indian Other Ranks: 1010. Followers: 53.
25-26 February 1919 – Baiji – Regiment halted at Baiji. Orders received for Headquarters and two companies to proceed to Balalij on motor lorries for work on roads, remaining two companies to remain at Baiji and cross river on completion of bridge for work on Butmal-Altun Kupri road.