Using the Imperial Service Troops Army List to Research Indian Officers

This article looks at the Imperial Service Troops Army List which is an important resource to consult if you’re researching Indian officers of the Princely States. I have also written a guide to using the Indian Army List and series of articles to help you research soldiers who served in the Indian Army:

I also offer a First World War Soldier Research Service.

Imperial Service Troops Army List

The Imperial Service Troops Army List was published bi-annually between July 1915 and July 1921 after which it became the Indian States Forces Army List. The Imperial Service Troops Army List was dated either the 1 July or 1 January and eleven volumes were published over the six year period. The only volume not published was July 1920. I have looked at the post-July 1921 volumes on my Second World War website: Indian States Forces List.

The Imperial Service List contains both a contents page and an index enabling you to quickly look up the unit or officer you require. Each book is around 80 – 120 pages in length and units of the following Princely States were recorded:

  • Alwer
  • Bahawalpur
  • Bharatpur
  • Bhavnagar
  • Bhopal
  • Bikaner
  • Faridkot
  • Gwalior
  • Hyderabad
  • Idar
  • Indore
  • Jaipur
  • Janjira
  • Jind
  • Jodhpur
  • Junagadh
  • Kapurthala
  • Kashmir
  • Khairpur
  • MalerKotla
  • Mysore
  • Nabha
  • Navanagar
  • Patiala
  • Rampur
  • Rutlam
  • Sirmur
  • Tehri
  • Udaipur

There are also sections for:

  • Divisional Areas in which Imperial Service Units are Located e.g. Northern Command
  • Honorary Rank
  • Honours and Rewards
  • List of British Officers (Special Service Officers)
  • List of Officers in possession of Coronation, Delhi Durbar, and Good Conduct and Meritorious Service Medals
  • List of References -Professional (The numbers which appear after a name to denote the passing of a qualification e.g. (1) Musketry School, Meerut
  • List of Ruling Chiefs
  • Order of Merit
  • Units of Imperial Service Troops under the supervision of Inspecting Officers
  • War Services

What Information for Officers was Recorded

An officers entry will record:

  • When he entered the service
  • Date he was appointed to regiment
  • His present appointment in the regiment (when he was promoted to rank)
  • Remarks e.g. awards or qualifications passed
  • War Service Statement e.g. Great European War, 1914-19 – Star, 1914-15
  • Any coronation, meritorious or long service medals

A unit’s entry will also record when it was raised, what its strength was, the colour of its uniform, facings, unit centre and any battle honours. Below is a page showing some of the officers serving with the 1st Gwalior Lancers in the July 1915 Imperial Service Troops Army List.Imperial Service Troops Army List

Where to Find Imperial Service Troops Army List

The Imperial Service Troops Army List is a very difficult resource to find and as far as I know, the only place to view them, at least in Britain, is at the British Library, London. You will need a Reader’s Pass as the documents can only be issued to the Asian and African Reading Room on the third floor. The catalogue numbers for the Imperial Service Troops Army Lists run consecutively from:

  • IOR/L/MIL/17/6/1: Imperial Service Troops Army List, 1 July 1915
  • IOR/L/MIL/17/6/11: Imperial Service Troops Army List, 1 July 1921

To be taken to the relevant entry for the lists on the British Library’s catalogue click here. Then click on the browse collection tab.