This article on the 75th Carnatic Infantry aims to help you research either the Regiment or a soldier who served with it during the First World War. I have also written a separate article for the short-lived 2nd Battalion 75th Carnatic Infantry and have created 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 2nd Battalion 75th Carnatic Infantry
- Researching Soldiers who Served in the Indian Army
I also offer a First World War Soldier Research Service.
The 75th Carnatic Infantry in the First World War
Lineage: Formed at Tanjore (Thanjavur) in 1776 by Captain John Davis from drafts of the 2nd, 6th and 12th Carnatic Battalions as the 15th Carnatic Battalion. It became the 15th Madras Battalion in 1784 and the 2nd Battalion 4th Regiment of Madras Native Infantry in 1796. Then the 15th Regiment of Madras Native Infantry in 1824 and the 15th Regiment of Madras Infantry in 1885. The 15th Madras Infantry in 1901, the 75th Carnatic Infantry in 1903 and the 2nd 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 75th Carnatic Infantry was stationed at Cannanore (Kannur, Tamil Nadu, India) having arrived from Fort William, Calcutta (Kolkata, India) on 7th March 1914.
The 75th Carnatic Infantry is a difficult regiment to research for the First World War period as it has left few records. The Regiment was serving at Cannanore, in what is now Tamil Nadu in southern Indian when war broke out in August 1914. For its confidential report for 1913-14, the Regiment was inspected by Major-General E. S. May, Commanding Presidency Brigade:
Turn-out: Well turned out.
Efficiency in drill: Very good.
Personnel: Satisfactory with the exception of some officers not up to the standard. Have been warned.
General efficiency: Battalion is particularly well trained and is exceptionally hard and fit for service owing to the great attention paid to its training by Lieutenant-Colonel Campbell. It marches particularly well and ready to meet any emergency at manoeuvres. Clothing and necessaries satisfactory and no complaints.
Confidential review reports on Indian Army units for 1913-1914: IOR/L/MIL/7/17023
The 75th Carnatic Infantry remained in India until 1916 when it moved to Aden, in what is now Yemen. Aden was considered one of the worst postings of the British Empire due to its unhealthy climate and isolation. The 75th Carnatic Infantry remained at Aden for the rest of the First World War before returning to India in either late 1920 or early 1921. A second battalion was formed at Bangalore in October 1918: 2nd Battalion 75th Carnatic Infantry.
In the July 1921 Indian Army List, the 75th Carnatic Infantry was stationed at Bangalore. In 1922, the Regiment was redesignated as the 2nd Battalion, 3rd Madras Regiment. Below is part of the October 1914, Indian Army List which recorded the British officers serving with the Regiment. I have written an article on how to use this useful resource: Indian Army List.
War Diary of the 75th Carnatic Infantry
There is only war diary for the 75th Carnatic Infantry, which as of January 2018 has not been digitzed and can only be viewed at the National Archives. I have a copy and have transcribed some of the entries below.
- Date: 01 April – 30 June 1916
- Aden Force
- Reference: WO95/5438
- Notes: Unfortunately, the only war diary for the 75th Carnatic Infantry consists of only four pages. The majority of the days covered by the diary consist only of the word ”Nil”.
Further Sources for the 75th Carnatic Infantry
If you would like to learn more about a British or Indian officer who served with the 75th Carnatic Infantry during the First World War, then the Indian Army List can be consulted. A good source of information for the Regiment are its confidential reports held at the British Library: Confidential Reports on Regiments etc. These reports also contain the annual reports of the British officers who were serving with the 75th Carnatic Infantry. However, when the Regiment was abroad only its Depot and the British officers serving with it were reported on.
There is very little information on Aden but Harry Fecitt has written an article on operations in Aden just prior to the arrival of the 75th Carnatic Infantry which provides good context: Military Operations in Aden 1914-15.
Extracts from War Diary of the 75th Carnatic Infantry (Crown Copyright: National Archives)
01 April – 30 June 1916, Aden Force, WO95/5438
25 April 1916 – Sheikh Othman – The advance party 75th Carnatic arrived at Sheikh Othman [Aden in present day Yemen] on 25 April from the Crater and took over from the 69th Punjabis.
2 May 1916 – Two companies from Kamaran and two companies from Perim arrived at Aden by SS Tuna about 6.30 am. They disembarked at Maala about 7 am and proceeded to SO [Sheikh Othman] by rail at 2 pm where they arrived at 4 pm and went into camp west of the Dhobi’s well. The regiment took over the duties of local reserve for the ensuing week.
13 May 1916- Lieutenant Baines, Jemadar Krishnasami and 20 rifles, reconnoitering patrol, went out from Halwan at 3.30 am towards Dar Mansur, where they arrived at 5.30am. They were fired on by a party of about 100 Turks. The patrol withdrew, suffering no casualties. “war stations” received 7.20 am. men in camp reinforced no.3 Section. Dismissed 8.15am.
8 June 1916 The movable column including 2 1/2 Double Companies, 75th Carnatic Infantry was ordered out to attack Waht in co-operation with bombardment by sea-planes. The operations were cancelled at 10.20 pm.