This article on the 2nd Battalion 96th Berar Infantry aims to help you research the Regiment and those who served with it during the First World War. I have written a separate article on the short-lived 2nd Battalion 96th Berar Infantry and also a series of guides to help you research soldiers who served in the Indian Army during the First World War. The links below will take you to the guides:
- Guide to the 1st Battalion 96th Berar Infantry
- Guides to Researching Soldiers who Served in the Indian Army
I also offer a First World War Soldier Research Service.
The 2nd Battalion 96th Berar Infantry
Lineage: The 2nd Battalion 96th Berar Infantry was formed at Ahmednagar (Maharashtra, India) on 4 March 1918 and was disbanded on 28 January 1922. For a history of the Regiment’s lineage see my page on the 1st Battalion 96th Berar Infantry.
Class Composition of Battalion in April 1919: 2 Companies Hindustani Musalmans, 1 Company of Tagas, 1/2 a Company of Rajputs and 1/2 a Company United Provinces Jats.
The 2nd Battalion 96th Berar Infantry was a short-lived Indian infantry battalion which was formed at formed at Ahmednagar (Maharashtra, India) on 4 March 1918. The Battalion’s first commanding officer was Lieutenant-Colonel Charles Herbert Jardine who was appointed on the 7 March 1918 from the 1st Battalion 96th Berar Infantry. Lieutenant-Colonel Jardine had seen extensive service, first in South Africa and subsequently in France, Egypt and Mesopotamia (Iraq) before he was appointed to the Battalion. The British officers who initially served with the Battalion were either Indian Army officers on probation or from the Indian Army Reserve of Officers (I.A.R.O.). The extract below was taken from the April 1919 Indian Army List and recorded the British officers serving with the Battalion.
The Battalion was inspected on 12 February 1919, by Brigadier-General E. J. M. Wood:
General Observations: Organisation and discipline very satisfactory. Many difficulties have to be overcome in raising and organising a new battalion. These have been tackled with energy and resource by Lieutenant-Colonel Jardine loyally assisted by his 2nd-in-Command Major Staples. The other British Officers though young and inexperienced have worked well.
Major-General Sir M. J. Tighe, Commanding Poona Division reported:
I concur with the Brigadier’s remarks. This unit was selected to furnish a detachment under Major Staples in aid of the Civil Powers in the Akola district [Maharashtra] and which earned the thanks of the Civil Authorities. It was also selected to form the garrison battalion at Poona and guard the Turkish Prisoners of War.
It was at one period over 2,000 strong and has now to be reduced to 200. Ably commanded by Lieutenant-Colonel Jardine and ably assisted by Major Staples.
Confidential review reports on Indian Army units, depots, British officers, etc. for 1918-1919: IOR/L/MIL/7/17030
The Battalion’s report for the 1918-1919 was given the highest grade of “A very satisfactory report.” The 2nd Battalion 96th Berar Infantry arrived at Santa Cruz, Bombay (Mumbai) on 15 October 1919. The Battalion served in Mesopotamia during 1920-1921 with 14 men of the Battalion commemorated on the Basra Memorial. In the July 1921 Indian Army List, the Battalion’s Depot is at Nowgong (Chhatarpur, Madhya Pradesh) and the 2nd Battalion 96th Berar Infantry was disbanded on 28 January 1922.
War Diaries of the 2nd Battalion 96th Berar Infantry
Unfortunately, there are no war diaries for the 2nd Battalion 96th Berar Infantry.
Further Sources for the 2nd Battalion 96th Berar Infantry
For information regarding British and Indian officers who served with the 2nd Battalion 96th Berar Infantry the Indian Army List should be consulted. Confidential reports for the Battalion are held at the British Library: Confidential Reports on Regiments etc. These reports also contain the annual confidential reports of the British officers who were serving with the Battalion.