This article on the 112th Infantry will provide you with an overview of the Regiment’s service during the First World War and help you research those who served with it. I have written a separate article for the 2nd Battalion 112th Infantry and a series of guides to help you research soldiers who served in the Indian Army during World War One. The links below will take you to the guides:
The 112th Infantry in the First World War
Lineage: Raised at Bombay (Mumbai) in 1798 by Lieutenant James McClintock as the 2nd Battalion, 6th Regiment of Bombay Native Infantry, it became the 12th Regiment of Bombay Native Infantry in 1824. Then the 12th Regiment of Bombay Infantry in 1885, the 12th Bombay Infantry in 1901, the 112th Infantry in 1903 and then the 3rd Battalion 4th Bombay Grenadiers in 1922.
Composition in 1914: 2 Companies of Western Rajputana Jats, 2 of Bagri Jats and Jats from Eastern Rajputana, 2 of Rajputana Gujars and 2 of Punjab Musalmans. 1919: 1 Company of Western Rajputana Jats, 1 Company of Bagri Jats and Jats from the Eastern Rajputana, 1 Company of Rajputana Gujars and 1 Company of Punjab Musalmans.
Location in July 1914: The 112th Infantry was stationed at Nowshera (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan) having arrived from Samana (Punjab, Pakistan) on 15th January 1913.
The 112th Infantry was stationed at Nowshera, on the North West Frontier when the First World War broke out in August 1914. The Regiment had been inspected earlier in the year by Major-General Richard Bannatyne-Allason, Commanding Nowshera Brigade who reported:
The training of this regiment has been well carried out and they have done a lot of good work. Drill is good-but at close order drill for some reason the companies are inclined to walk. Manoeuvre is quickly done but as the regiment belongs to another brigade I have fewer opportunities of judging and comparing it with other units. On occasions at field days they have done quite well…
The officers generally, including the Indian officers, work well and seem keen with about 3 exceptions the British officers are only average ones, though they all do their best. Altogether I think the regiment is a good average one and fit for service.
Confidential review reports on Indian Army units for 1913-1914: IOR/L/MIL/7/17023.
The 112th Infantry served in the Mesopotamia Campaign during the First World War and there are three war diaries covering the period between December 1915 and November 1919. The Regiment left India at Karachi on board the Hired Transport Begum on 8 December 1915 and disembarked at Basra on 15 December 1915. Once in Mesopotamia (Iraq), the Regiment served with the 34th Indian Infantry Brigade, 15th Indian Division until it joined the 17th Indian Division in September 1917. The 112th Infantry served with the 34th Indian Infantry Brigade in Mesopotamia until April 1919 when it began serving on the lines of communication. In the January 1920 Indian Army List, the 112th Infantry was at Nasirabad (Rajasthan, India). In 1922, the 112th Infantry became the 3rd Battalion 4th Bombay Grenadiers. A 2nd Battalion was raised at Nasirabad on 8 July 1917 and you can read about this short-lived battalion here: 2nd Battalion 112th Infantry. The extract below was taken from the July 1918 Indian Army List which recorded British officers serving with the Regiment.
War Diaries of the 112th Infantry
There are three war diaries for the 112th Infantry and all have been digitized. To download the war diaries for a small fee, click on the blue links below which will take you to the National Archives’ website.
- Date: 05 December 1915 – 31 August 1917
- 34th Indian Infantry Brigade, 15th Indian Division, Mesopotamia
- Reference: WO 95/5195/5
- Notes: A good war diary with plenty of detailed entries. There is a list of British and Indian officers who embarked on HT Begum with the 112th Infantry in December 1915. There are sketch maps throughout the war diary including a map of the outposts on the night of 15-16 January 1916 and plan of picquet for an all-round defence by night (detailed sketch). Also, the position of night picquets covering camp of XII Division on night 2-3rd February 1916.
- Date: 01 September 1917 – 30 April 1919
- 34th Indian Infantry Brigade, 17th Indian Division, Mesopotamia
- Reference: WO 95/5209/5
- Notes: A poor war diary with short entries, particularity post-war period. There is a list of British and Indian officers serving with the 112th Infantry in October 1919. A few appendices in the form of orders received by the Regiment.
- Date: 01 May – 30 November 1919
- Line of Communication, Mesopotamia
- Reference: WO 95/5247/10
- Notes: A very short war diary where the majority of entries are only a few words, typically “Physical training and Company Parades” or simply noting which day of the week. A handful of British officers were mentioned.
Further Sources for the 112th Infantry
A good source of information for the 112th Infantry are the confidential reports for the Regiment held at the British Library: Confidential Reports on Regiments etc. These annual reports also contain reports on the British officers serving with the Regiment. However, when the 112th Infantry was abroad only its Depot and the British officers serving with it are reported on. For information regarding British and Indian officers who served with the 112th Infantry, the Indian Army List should be consulted. 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.
Extracts from War Diaries of the 112th Infantry
5 December 1915 – 31 August 1917, Mesopotamia, WO 95/5195/5
1 March 1916 – Birbeck Creek – Road construction continued.
2 March 1916 – Birbeck Creek – Total amount of road work completed to date 5750 yards with 290 yards under construction since 18 February. Average number of Arab coolies employed 235 per day. Guard of 1 Indian officer and 20 rank and rile dispatched to Chabaish to take over duties from guard of 43rd Erinpuras over [?] Telegraph Station.