This article is about the 2nd Battalion 155th Indian Pioneers and will help you to research the Battalion and those who served with it.
I also offer a First World War Soldier Service.
NB: The 2nd 155th Indian Pioneers is also known as the 2nd Battalion Indian Pioneers.
2nd Battalion 155th Indian Pioneers
Lineage: Formed in Palestine in June 1918 and disbanded in 1920.
Class Composition of Battalion in 1919: 1 Company of Yusafzais and 3 Companies of Mazbhi Sikhs.
2nd Battalion 155th Indian Pioneers
The 2nd Battalion 155th Indian Pioneers was one of eighteen Indian infantry battalions formed in the Middle East in 1918. These battalions were formed to replace British battalions withdrawn from the Middle East to the Western Front following the German Spring Offensive in March 1918. The 2nd Battalion 155th Indian Pioneers was formed in Palestine in June 1918 from the following drafts:
- A Company 121st Pioneers
- W Company 1st Battalion 23rd Sikh Pioneers
- C Company 2nd Battalion 32nd Sikh Pioneers
Once formed, the Battalion served as divisional troops with the 10th (Irish) Division for the closing stages of the Palestine Campaign. The Battalion remained in the Middle East after the war and the war diaries cover the period between June 1918 and March 1920. The 2nd Battalion 155th Indian Pioneers was disbanded in 1920.
War Diaries of the 2nd Battalion 155th Indian Pioneers
There are two war diaries for the 2nd Battalion 155th Indian Pioneers and both can only be viewed at the National Archives. I have transcribed some entries below.
- Date: 12 June 1918 – 30 April 1919
- 10th (Irish) Division, Egyptian Expeditionary Force
- Reference: WO95/4575
- Notes: Not that detailed. After November 1918, there are very few entries except for “Work on Homs-Tripoli, Homs-Hama Roads”. The names of British officers appear throughout the diary.
- Date: 01 May 1919 – 31 March 1920
- North Force, Egyptian Expeditionary Force
- Reference: WO95/4459
- Notes: A poor war diary, from May to October 1919 where most entries consist of “Work on Aintab – Marash Road” – or “Sunday Rest”. The rest of the war diary is not much better.
Further Sources for the 2nd Battalion 155th Indian Pioneers
For information regarding British and Indian officers who served in the 2nd Battalion 155th Indian Pioneers, the Indian Army List should be consulted. No regimental history was produced for the 155th Indian Pioneers nor are there any confidential reports.
Extracts from a War Diary of the 2nd Battalion 155th Indian Pioneers (Crown Copyright: National Archives):
12 June 1918 – 30 April 1919, Egyptian Expeditionary Force, WO95/4575
12 June 1918 – 30 April 1919 – Surafend – Detail of formation of 2nd Battalion 155th Indian Infantry laid down… The following reported their arrival for duty with the Regiment. 09.30 – A Company 121st Pioneers … 11.00 W Company 1st Battalion 23rd Sikh Pioneers… C Company 2nd Battalion 32nd Sikh Pioneers.
13 June 1918 – Surafend – A Company 2nd Battalion 23 Sikh Pioneers… arrived in Ludd Station on night of 12-13 June, reported their arrival and joined.
17 June 1918 -Surafend – Lewis gun teams selected and instruction commenced.
21 June 1918 -Surafend – Renumbering carried out; it had been hoped to renumber by length of service but it could not be effected in time. Ordnance agree to exchange short bayonets for long bayonets as former were unsuitable for entrenching tools.
05 July 1918 – Abu Kush – Work on Abu Kush – Ram Ullah Road. Evening parade under company arrangements.
19 September 1918 -Surafend – Patrols on night 18/19 – A) Captain Hill and 16 Indian Other Ranks left J33.a.8.4 and proceeded to J.188.8.131.52. and made cover. Orders were to divert enemy attention from attack on Tubmas Aya on our right. Patrol threw stones and blew whistle and drew heavy fire from Turkish trenches…
20 September 1918 – Turks evacuated positions astride Nablus Road… 1 man killed and 4 wounded from enemy traps – trip wires attached to bombs.