Applications for Permanent Commissions in the Indian Army

This article will look at the Applications for Permanent Commissions in the Indian Army and is one of a series of guides I have written to help you research a soldier who served in the Indian Army:

Applications for Permanent Commissions in the Indian Army

The British Library in London holds the applications of soldiers wishing to apply for a permanent commission in the Indian Army between 1916 and 1918. The applications are grouped together in files and there will usually be between 10 and 20 officers per file. However, all the pages have numbers allowing you to quickly find the officer you are looking for. The applications run from IOR/L/MIL/9/435 to IOR/L/MIL/9/551. Though the last two files are concerned with procedure rather than applications.

Each of the catalogue references will contain a number of men recorded as follows: Catalogue reference- page numbers – surname, forename, 1916-1918. For example:

IOR/L/MIL/9/548/109-15: Mantle, Charles Alfred: 1916-1918

Charles Mantle’s application will be found in the file IOR/L/MIL/9/548 and it will be on pages 109 to 115. The pages in the folder are numbered. You can’t order individual applications so will be given the entire file.

How to Search for a Permanent Commission

To conduct your search, click on the link below, type in your officer’s full name, followed by “IOR/L/MIL” and then click on the magnifying glass. This will bring up a list of results. If you do not get a result, search their surname only followed by 1916. The applications record a soldier’s name in full.

British Library Search

Once you have conducted your search, make sure you check to see if a service record is held at the British Library or National Archives. See my articles on finding service records below:

What Information will a File Contain?

There’s a great variation in the information contained in applications for a permanent commission in the Indian Army and the only way to be sure of what they contain is to view them. Some applications will only be a couple of pages in length while others will run to over twenty. Each application will contain a mixture of the following information:

  • Correspondence between the applicant and the India Office.
  • Correspondence between War Office and India Office. The date an officer sailed for India was usually recorded though the ship wasn’t.
  • Biographical information including place and date of birth, address, next-of-kin etc.
  • Birth certificate.
  • Letters from the applicants.
  • Report of Selection Board.
  • Report of a Medical board.
  • Character references.
  • Previous military service – this can be very detailed and often records the time spent abroad.
  • Where an officer was educated.
  • Any special qualification for Indian service.