90th Punjabis

This article will look at the role of the 90th Punjabis during the First World War and will help you research those who served with it. I have also written a separate article on the 2nd Battalion 90th Punjabis and a series of guides to help you research those who served in the Indian Army during the war:

I also offer a First World War Soldier Research Service.

The 90th Punjabis in the First World War

Lineage: Raised at Masulipatam (Machilipatam) by Captain T. K. Crewe in 1799 “principally of men who had belonged to Raymond’s Brigade at Hyderabad, and was originally styled the Masulipatam Battalion”. It became the 2nd Battalion, 15th Regiment of Madras Native Infantry in 1800 and the 30th Regiment of Madras Native Infantry in 1824. Then the 30th Regiment of Madras Infantry in 1885 and the 30th Regiment (5th Burma Battalion) of Madras Infantry in 1892, the 30th Burma Infantry in 1901, the 90th Punjabis in 1903 and the 2nd Battalion 8th Punjab Regiment in 1922.

Composition in 1914: 4 Companies of Sikhs, 1 Company of Brahmans, 1 Company of Rajputs and 2 Companies of Punjabi Musalmans. 1919: 2 Companies of Sikhs, 1/2 a Company of Brahmans, 1/2 a Company of Rajputs and 1 Company of Punjabi Musalmans.

Location in July 1914: The 90th Punjabis was stationed at Nasirabad (Rajasthan, India) having arrived from Bhamo, Burma (Kachin, Myanmar) on 2nd November 1911.

War Diaries of the 90th Punjabis

  • Date: 01 January 1915 – 30 April 1916
  • 12th Indian Infantry Brigade, 12th Indian Division, Mesopotamia
  • Reference: WO95/5145/7
  • Notes: A good war diary given plenty of information concerning the activities of the 90th Punjabis. The only appendix is a copy of orders the 90th Punjabis received while on HT Arankola dated 04 February 1915. This war diary has been digitized and is available to download from the National Archives’ website.
  • Date: 01 May 1916 – 27 March 1919
  • 12th Indian Infantry Brigade, 12th Indian Division, Mesopotamia
  • Reference: WO95/5194/3
  • Notes: An average war diary, which while providing an overview doesn’t go into that much detail. This war diary has been digitized and is available to download from the National Archives’ website. The only appendix is a detailed Report on the Action of 11 September 1916.

Further Sources for the 90th Punjabis

For information concerning the British and Indian officers who served with the 90th Punjabis, the Indian Army List can be consulted.

If you are researching a soldier who served in the First World War click on the photograph below to learn more about the research service I offer.ww1-research-service

Extracts from War Diaries of the 90th Punjabis

01 January 1915 – 30 April 1916, Mesopotamia WO95/5145

25 February 1915 – Kurna – Sentry on No. 1 Post (Fort Winslow) opened fire at about 5.15 am on 4 men moving down bund on left bank of Tigris R. It transpired that these men belonged to a patrol of 119th Infantry. The error was due to a want of knowledge as to exact [?] distance patrolled on the left bank (the 17th Infantry [Brigade) side. There were fortunately no casualties.

04 March 1915 – Blosse Lynch – Put field guns ready for action on upper deck in front of bridge. Heard at 9am while passing Braikeh that the action at Ahwaz had ceased at 10 pm on 3rd and that no further fighting had taken place.

16 March 1915 – Ahwaz – 6 Arabs came up to barbed wire at North-west corner of No. 4 Section of defence were fired on by a sentry ? the machine gun. When they all retired without firing… at about 6am Captain Butterfield went to investigate the matter and followed up tracks of men to an old trench about 200 yards to the North-west of the corner under reference where he found traces of some 50 men or more who had apparently been in occupation of this trench awaiting the results of the reconnaissance of the aforesaid 6 men…

Guides to Researching Soldiers who Served in the Indian Army

Guides to Researching Soldiers who Served in the British Army