This article will look at the 114th Mahrattas and help you research those who served with the Regiment during the First World War. I have also written a series of guides to help you research soldiers who served in the Indian Army during the war:
The 114th Mahrattas in the First World War
Lineage: Raised by Lieutenant Wood as the 2nd Battalion, 7th Regiment of Bombay Native Infantry in 1800, it became the 14th Regiment of Bombay Infantry in 1824. Then the 14th Regiment of Bombay Infantry in 1885, the 14th Bombay Infantry in 1901, the 114th Mahrattas in 1903 and the 1922 10th Battalion 5th Mahratta Light Infantry. This was the Regiment’s training battalion.
Composition in 1914: 4 Companies of Konkani Mahrattas, 2 Companies of Dekhani Mahrattas, 2 Companies of Dekhani Musalmans. 1919: 2 Companies of Konkani Mahrattas, 1 Company of Dekhani Mahrattas and 1 of Dekhani Musalmans.
Location in July 1914: The 114th Mahrattas was stationed at Alipore, Calcutta (Kolkata, West Bengal, India) having arrived from Dibrugarh (Assam, India) on 3rd March 1914.
The 114th Mahrattas was stationed at Alipore, Calcutta when the First World War commenced in August 1914. The Regiment remained in India until December 1915, when it moved to Karachi and boarded the Hired Transport Begum on 8 December. The Begum sailed the same day and arrived at Basra, Mesopotamia (Iraq) on 15 December where the Regiment disembarked. By landing in Mesopotamia in December 1915, the soldiers qualified for the 1914-15 Star. The 114th Mahrattas was serving as part of the 34th Infantry Brigade, 15th Indian Division during this period. The Regiment’s war diary is the best source of information concerning its activities and I have discussed this below. Below is an extract from the October 1914 Indian Army List recording the British officers serving with the Regiment.In December 1915, the 6th (Poona) Division was besieged by Turkish forces in the town of Kut-al-Amara. The 114th Mahrattas was fortunate as it did not take part in the failed relief attempts which caused the Anglo-Indian force so many casualties. However, the Regiment was involved in heavy fighting on 7 February 1916 at Butaniyeh, near Nasiriyah. The 114th Mahrattas suffered 76 killed and 25 wounded in this engagement against local Arabs. The Regiment remained at Nasiriyah until June 1916 when it moved to Khamisiyah in southeastern Iraq.
In September 1916, the 34th Indian Infantry Brigade joined the 17th Indian Division where it remained for the duration of the war. The 114th Mahrattas spent a few months at Hakika before the Regiment moved to Nasiriyah in December 1916. During 1917 the Regiment served at Nasiriyah, Magil, Amara, Baghdad and Sadiyah. To follow the Regiment’s movements for the remainder of the war, turn to the war diary listed below. The 114th Mahrattas remained in the Middle East after the end of the war until late 1920 when the Regiment returned to India. In 1922 the 114th Mahrattas was redesignated as the 10th Battalion 5th Mahratta Light Infantry. This was the Regiment’s training battalion.
War Diaries of the 114th Mahrattas
There are four war diaries for the 114th Mahrattas and they have all been digitized by the National Archives. 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: 03 December 1915 – 31 August 1916
- 34th Indian Infantry Brigade, 15th Indian Division, Mesopotamia
- Reference: WO95/ 5195/6
- Notes: A good detailed war diary from 1915 to the end of 1916, especially so when the 114th Mahrattas are in action. The war diary is full of Indian other ranks with their regimental numbers recorded until 1917, including a complete casualty list for the 14 January 1916, with an accompanying map ‘Rough sketch of Operations on Suhej Road”.
- Date: 01 September 1916 -31 August 1917
- 34th Indian Infantry Brigade, 15th Indian Division, Mesopotamia
- Reference: WO95/ 5195/7
- Notes: An average war diary which has no appendices.
- Date: 01 September 1917 – 31 December 1918
- 34th Indian Infantry Brigade, 17th Indian Division, Mesopotamia
- Reference: WO95/ 5209/6
- Notes: A good war diary with detailed entries. There are a variety of appendices including hand-drawn maps, operational orders and a list of casualties sustained on 28 October 1918 with platoon numbers. There are nominal rolls of British officers serving with the Regiment at the end of each month.
- Date: 01 January 1919 – 31 October 1920
- 34th Indian Infantry Brigade, 17th Indian Division
- Reference: WO95/5209/7
- Notes: An average war diary of the post-war period though there are some detailed entries for the Iraq Revolt of 1920. There are a variety of appendices including a copy of a farewell speech by Major-General Leslie, 17th Division and lists of British officers serving with the Regiment at the end of each month.
Further Sources for 114th Mahrattas
For information regarding the British and Indian officers who served with the 114th Mahrattas, the Indian Army List should be consulted. A good resource for the 114th Mahrattas is the Regiment’s annual confidential reports held at the British Library: Confidential Reports on Regiments etc. These reports also contain the annual confidential reports of the British officers serving with the Regiment. Though when the 114th Mahrattas was abroad only the Depot and the officers serving with it were reported on. Surviving Medal Index Cards for the General Service Medal with Iraq clasp can be viewed on Ancestry for free or downloaded for a small fee from the National Archives’ website. I’d recommend vieweing them on Ancestry as not only are they free, they are also in colour.
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 114th Mahrattas
3 December 1915 – 31 August 1917, Mesopotamia, WO95/ 5195/7
8 December 1915 – 1 pm – Arrive Kiamari and ordered to embark on HT Begum. Baggage loaded. Medical inspection of all ranks held. Veterinary inspection of all animals held. No. 1856 Private Gangaram Deoji, C Company, injured in train owing to an accident on arrival and sent to Indian Troops Hospital.
14 December 1915 – Arrived at Basra and anchored in river opposite Rest Camp Pier. Received orders to disembark on 15 instant and proceed by road to Makina Masus rest camp. Spent night on board.
1 April 1916 – Nasiriyah – Information received today from No.9 General Hospital, Basra of the death from pneumonia on 18 March 1916 of No.2883 Private Anna Thorat, A Company.
21 June 1916 – Khamisiyah – In the morning during practice in throwing live bombs an accident occurred, a grenade bursting while leaving the hand of the thrower, No. 3109 Private Bapurao More resulting in his death six hours later. The bombing officer who was standing beside him escaped injury with the exception of a small bruise on the shoulder. No one else was hurt. The accident was due to a faulty fuze.
25 March 1917 – Sunday, holiday. No. 1901 Lance Naik Abdul Jabba Khan died of gunshot wounds. Court of inquiry and summary of evidence held on No. 3579 Private Iman Khan accused of having shot above.
29 March 1917 – Company training. Summary general court-martial held on No. 3579 Private Iman Khan, A Company.
4 June 1917 – No.3579 Private Iman Khan hung at 4.15 am. [The CWGC lists Khan’s service number as 3679]