This article is about the 1st Battalion 151st Sikh Infantry and will help you to research this war-raised Battalion and those served with it. I have written separate articles for the other two Battalions of the Regiment and guides to help you research soldiers who served in the Indian Army:
I also offer a WW1 Soldier Research Service.
1st Battalion 151st Sikh Infantry
Lineage: Formed in May 1918 and disbanded on 15 May 1921.
Class Composition of Battalion in 1919: 3 Companies of Sikhs and 1 Company of Punjabi Musalmans.
The 1st Battalion 151st Sikh Infantry was formed at a rest camp near Baghdad, Mesopotamia (Iraq) in May 1918. The Battalion was one of eighteen new battalions formed to replace British battalions leaving the Middle East for the Western Front. This was following the heavy losses British battalions had suffered in the German Spring Offensive. More information concerning the context in which the Battalion was created can be found here: 2/151 Sikh Infantry F.F. by Christopher Trevelyan.
The Battalion was formed of drafts from the following regiments:
The 1st Battalion 151st Sikh Infantry did not remain in Mesopotamia for long as in June 1918, the Battalion embarked on board the Hired Transport Chakdina for India. The Battalion served as part of the North West Frontier Force during the Third Anglo-Afghan War in 1919 and was disbanded on 15 May 1921.
Below is an extract from the July 1919 Indian Army List which records the British officers serving with the Battalion. The Indian Army List is a great resource to use to research both battalions and British and Indian officers. I have written a guide to the military jargon usually encountered in these books: Indian Army Abbreviations and Acronyms. Indian Army Abbreviations and Acronyms.
War Diary of the 1st Battalion 151st Sikh Infantry
There is only one war diary which has been digitized by the National Archives and is available to download for a small fee by clicking on the blue link below.
- Date: 15 May – 17 June 1918
- Base and Defence Troops, Mesopotamia
- Reference: WO95/5035/13
- Notes: It is unfortunate that the only war diary for the 1st Battalion 151st Sikh Infantry is only five pages in length. There is a list of British officers with the Battalion when it was formed. Very few days have an entry and I have transcribed the majority below. This war diary has been digitized and is available to download from the National Archives’ website.
Further Sources for the 1st Battalion 151st Sikh Infantry
For information regarding British and Indian officers who served with the 1st Battalion 151st Sikh Infantry, the Indian Army List can be consulted. There was no regimental history produced for the 151st Sikh Infantry. There are two confidential reports for the Battalion held at the British Library in London which also contain the confidential reports of the British officers serving with the 1st Battalion 151st Sikh Infantry:
- Confidential review reports on Indian Army units, depots, British officers, etc. for 1918-1919 IOR/L/MIL/7/17030
- Confidential review reports on Indian Army units, depots, British officers, etc. for 1919-1920: IOR/L/MIL/7/17031
Extracts from the war diary of the 1st Battalion 151st Sikh Infantry (Crown Copyright: National Archives):
15 May – 17 June 1918, Mesopotamia, WO95/5035
15 May 1918 – Baghdad – The regiment was formed and assembled at the Advance Base Rest Camp on 15 May 1918. It was formed from 1 Company from each of the following Regiments. Regiments 14th King George’s Own (Ferozepore) Sikhs. 36 Sikhs. 45th Sikhs. 52nd Sikhs Frontier Force.
16 May 1918 – Major C.R. Lyall 36th Sikhs joined the Regiment and took over temporary command, Captain M. Wace acting as 2nd-in-Command, Captain R.E. Banks as Adjutant and 2nd Lieutenant Pattinson as Quarter-Master. The Regiment was inspected at 5 pm by the General Officer Commanding Line of Communications advanced defences Brig General H Nepean C.B. in mass near the camp.
17 May 1918 – 11 am – The Regiment embarked on PS52 at advanced base for Basra.
20 May 1918 – Arrived at Basra too late to disembark.
21 May 1918 – Makina – 6 am – The Regiment disembarked and marched to “O” Camp Makina where the camp consisting of 160lb tents was already laid out.
22 May 1918 -Makina – Major A.D. Strong 10th Lancers took over command of the Regiment.
20 May 1918 -Makina – Major C.R. Lyall evacuated sick to No. 3 B.G. Hospital.
31 May 1918 – Makina – Orders received to be prepared to embark on H.T. Obra at short notice.
01 June 1918 – Makina – Midday – Orders received that Regiment will not embark on H.T. Obra but should be ready to embark on H.T. Chenad about 5 June… Afternoon. Orders received to hand in ordnance base all rifles, bayonets, scabbards and frogs.