This article on the 73rd Carnatic 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 for the war-raised 2nd Battalion 73rd Malabar Infantry and a series of guides to help you research those who served in the Indian Army during the war. The links below will take you to the guides:
I also offer a First World War Soldier Research Service.
73rd Carnatic Infantry in the First World War
Lineage: Formed at Madras (Chennai) by Captain H. R. Alcock in 1776 of drafts from the 4th, 7th and 11th Carnatic Battalions as the 13th Carnatic Battalion. In 1784 it became the 13th Madras Battalion and in 1796 the 2nd Battalion, 3rd Regiment of Madras Native Infantry. Then the 13th Regiment of Madras Native Infantry in 1824 and then the 13th Regiment of Native Infantry in 1885. Then the 13th Madras Infantry in 1901 and the 73rd Carnatic Infantry in 1903. Then the 1st Battalion 3rd Madras Regiment in 1922.
Composition in 1914: 4 Companies of Madrasi Musalmans, 2 Companies of Tamils and 2 Companies of Paraiyans and Christians. 1919: 2 Companies of Madrasi Musalmans, 1 Company of Tamils and 1 Company of Paraiyans and Christians.
Location in July 1914: The 73rd Carnatic Infantry was stationed at Trichinopoly (Tiruchirappalli, Tamil Nadu, India) having arrived from Cannanore (Kannur, Tamil Nadu) on 27th January 1912 from Cannanore.
The 73rd Carnatic Infantry was stationed at Trichinopoly (Tiruchirappalli, Tamil Nadu, India) when the First World War began in August 1914. The Regiment was serving with the Southern Brigade, 9th (Secunderabad) Division which remained in India for the duration of the war. The 73rd Carnatic Infantry was mobilised for service in Mesopotamia (Iraq) in 1917 and arrived at Basra, Mesopotamia on 12 October 1917. The Regiment served on the Lines of Communication between October 1916 and August 1917. There is a war diary covering this period but it is very poor and contains only a handful of entries. There is another war diary between September 1917 and January 1920 when the 73rd Carnatic Infantry served on the Lines of Communication at the Advanced Base and Defences.
In the April 1920 Indian Army List, the Regiment was stationed at Secunderabad, India. The 73rd Carnatic Infantry became the 1st Battalion 3rd Madras Regiment in 1922. During the First World War, the Regiment formed a second battalion at Cannanore on 6 June 1918 and I have written an article about the 2nd Battalion here: 2nd Battalion 73rd Malabar Infantry.
Below is an extract from the April 1919 Indian Army List showing a portion of the British officers who served with the 73rd Carnatic Infantry. The Indian Army List is a great resource for researching British and Indian officers who served in the Indian Army. As you can see its full of military jargon and I have created a guide to help you: Indian Army Abbreviation and Acronyms.
War Diaries of the 73rd Carnatic Infantry
There are two war diaries for the 73rd Carnatic Infantry and both have been digitized by the National Archives and I have transcribed a few entries below. To download each war diary for a small fee click on the blue links below which will take you to the National Archives’ website.
- Date: 12 October 1916 – 31 August 1917
- Lines of Communication, Mesopotamia
- Reference: WO95/5247/6
- Notes: There are only a handful of entries for most months and June and July 1917 simply consist of the word “Nil”. Seven Indian soldiers are wounded while on sentry duty and their names, ranks and regimental numbers are listed along with the nature of their wound. There is a list of British officers serving with the 73rd Carnatic Infantry when the Regiment arrived at Basra on 12 October 1916 and also on 25 August 1917.
- Date: 02 September 1917 – 31 January 1920
- Advanced Base and Defences, Mesopotamia
- Reference: WO95/5035/10
- Notes: A poor war diary from September 1917 to May 1918 with very few entries on a single page. From June 1918 onwards entries become more frequent and detailed. The majority of the months contain a list of British officers serving with the Regiment.
Further Sources for the 73rd Carnatic Infantry
For information concerning British and Indian officers who served with the 73rd Carnatic Infantry, the Indian Army List should be consulted. A good source of information concerning the Regiment is its confidential reports held at the British Library: Confidential Reports on Regiments etc. These confidential reports also contain the annual confidential reports of the British officers who served with the 73rd Carnatic Infantry. However, when the Regiment was abroad only its Depot and the British officers serving with it were reported on. If you’d like to learn more about the Mesopotamia Campaign I can recommend When God Made Hell: The British Invasion of Mesopotamia and the Creation of Iraq, 1914-1921 by Charles Townshend.
To learn more about my First World War soldier research service click on the photograph below.
Extracts from War Diaries of the 73rd Carnatic Infantry (Crown Copyright: National Archives)
12 October 1916 – 31 August 1917, Mesopotamia, WO95/5247/6
Afternoon 12th October 1916 – Basra – Arrived per Hired Transport Islanda. Strength: British Officers 10, Indian Officers 9, Rank and File 505, Public Followers 10, Private Followers 8. The following officers arrived with the Regiment: Lt Col H. R. Baker – Commanding. Lt Col H. L. Hole (80th Carnatic Infantry) 2nd in Command, Captain R. B. Harward Adjutant, Lieutenant C. N. Harding (88th Carnatic Infantry), 2nd Lieutenant G. W. Breithaupt Indian Army Reserve Officiating Quartermaster, 2nd Lieutenants T. R. Robb (88th Carnatic Infantry), R. Grant I.A.R., G. W. Clements, I.A.R., L. H. Rodwell, I.A.R. and Lieutenant Mahadevan Indian Medical Service.
Night 29th/30th December 1916 – Tanuma – No. 4477 Private Krishna Nayar A. Company fired at by sniper while on sentry duty, wounded in the knee.
Night 30th/31st – Basra – During a fire, 2nd Lieutenant (acting Captain) Breithaupt Indian Army Reserve was run over and severely injured by a fire engine: injuries necessitated the amputation of the left foot.