This article on the 119th Infantry (The Mooltan Regiment) will provide you 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 on the 2nd Battalion 119th Infantry (The Mooltan Regiment) and a series of guides to help you research soldiers who served in the Indian Army during the war. To view the guides click on the links below:
- 2nd Battalion 119th Infantry (The Mooltan Regiment)
- Guides to Researching Soldiers who Served in the Indian Army
The 119th Infantry (The Mooltan Regiment) in the First World War
Lineage: Raised by Lieutenant Colonel Michael Kennedy in Bombay (Mumbai) as the 1st Battalion, 10th Regiment of Bombay Native Infantry in 1817, and then the 19th Regiment of Bombay Native Infantry in 1824. Then the 19th Regiment of Bombay Infantry in 1885, the 19th Bombay Infantry in 1901, the 119th Infantry (The Mooltan Regiment) in 1903 and then the 2nd Battalion 9th Jat Regiment in 1922.
Composition in 1914: 2 Companies of Rajputana Gujars, 2 Companies of Mers, 2 Companies of Rajputana Rajputs and 2 Companies of Hindustani Musalmans. 1919: 1 Company of Rajputana Gujars, 1 Company of Mers, 1 Company of Rajputana Rajputs and 1 Company of Hindustani Musalmans.
Location in July 1914: The 119th Infantry (The Mooltan Regiment) was stationed at Ahmednagar (Maharashtra, India) having arrived from Bangalore (Bengaluru, Karnataka, India) on 23rd January 1912.
The 119th Infantry (The Mooltan Regiment) was stationed at Ahmednagar when the First World War began in August 1914. The Regiment had been inspected by Lieutenant-General Sir Arthur Arnold Barrett, Commanding 6th (Poona) Division earlier in the year who reported:
A fine battalion, well drilled and well instructed. Movements in the field are well performed, but I should like to see a little more quickness and elasticity, which would result from more careful training of subordinate leaders.
The principles of fire control and direction are well understood. Discipline and interior economy are both highly satisfactory. There is much esprit-de-corps, and the battalion is quite fit for active service.
Confidential review reports on Indian Army units for 1913-1914: IOR/L/MIL/7/17023
The Regiment initially served in the Mesopotamian Campaign as part of the 17th Infantry Brigade, 6th (Poona) Division and there is a war diary covering the period between November 1914 and October 1915. The Mesopotamia Campaign was fought in present-day Iraq and the Regiment was part of the ill-fated Allied advance on Baghdad. Between 22 and 25 November 1915, the 6th (Poona) Division was halted near Baghdad at the Battle of Ctesiphon and compelled to retreat. The 6th Division fell back to the town of Kut-al-Amara where it was besieged between 7 December 1915 and 29 April 1916 when it surrendered. The 119th Infantry (The Mooltan Regiment) was captured along with the rest of Division and marched off into captivity. There is a list of Indian soldiers of the Regiment captured at Kut-al-Amara which is available to view at the British Library. The extract below was taken from the October 1914 Indian Army List which recorded the British officers serving with the Regiment.After the 119th Infantry (The Mooltan Regiment) was captured at Kut-al-Amara a 2nd Battalion was formed from surviving officers and men. This Battalion was redesignated as the 1st Battalion, 119th Infantry in 1917 and another 2nd Battalion 119th Infantry was formed at Jubbulpore in June 1917. I have written about both Battalions in a separate article: 2nd Battalion, 119th Infantry (The Mooltan Regiment). The reformed 1st Battalion 119th Infantry (The Mooltan Regiment) served in Mesopotamia between April 1917 and March 1920 on the lines of communication and guarding bases. There is a war diary for this period which should be consulted. The 119th Infantry (The Mooltan Regiment) returned to India in 1920 and in the July 1921 Indian Army List was stationed at Ahmednagar. In 1922 the 19th Infantry (The Mootlan Regiment) became the 2nd Battalion 9th Jat Regiment.
War Diaries of the 119th Infantry (The Mooltan Regiment)
There are two war diaries for the 119th Infantry (The Mooltan Regiment) and both have been digitized and can be downloaded for a small fee by clicking on the blue links below. I have transcribed some of the entries at the bottom of the page.
- Date: 17 November 1914 – 30 October 1915
- 17th Infantry Brigade, 6th (Poona) Division, Mesopotamia
- Reference: WO 95/5122/6
- Notes: A detailed war diary between November 1914 to March 1915. From April the entries are fewer and tend to be brief. The war diary contains a large number of appendices mainly orders and reports (not as detailed as some other regiments) for actions on 20 January, 12 – 13 April, 31 May, 01 June, and 27- 30 September 1915.
- Date: 01 April 1917 – 31 March 1920
- Advanced Base and Defences, Mesopotamia
- Reference: WO 95/5035/12
- Notes: A very poor war diary. The majority of entries are brief and repetitive e.g. ‘parades as usual’. The first few months of the war diary contain more detailed entries, though they are also repetitive. There is a roll of British officers with the 119th Infantry on 31 May 1918.
Further Sources for the 119th Infantry (The Mooltan Regiment)
For information regarding British and Indian officers who served with the 119th Infantry (The Mooltan Regiment), the Indian Army List should be consulted. A good resource for the 119th Infantry (The Mooltan Regiment) is the Regiment’s annual confidential reports held at the British Library: Confidential Reports on Regiments etc. These also contain the confidential reports of the British officers who served with the Regiment. Though, when the 119th Infantry (The Mooltan Regiment) was serving abroad only its Depot and the British officers serving with it are reported on. If you’d like to learn more about the Siege of Kut I can recommend Kut 1916: Courage and Failure in Iraq by Patrick Crowley.
Extracts from War Diaries of the 119th Infantry (The Mooltan Regiment)
17 November 1914 – 30 October 1915, Mesopotamia, WO 95/5122/6
07 December 1914 – 4 pm – Disembarked in the evening in the dark. Moved out at once to relieve the 120th posts in Basra city.
16-17 December 1914 – Basra – Patrol of Regiment attacked in Mishrak Quarters Busra and one man (Bhawrani ? Singh No. 3972 H Company Wounded).
25 January 1915 -Basra – The Regiment assumed charge of No.4 post in addition to No.5 Fort. At night 3 men walked up to the perimeter occupied by No.2 D Company but the sentry in obedience to his orders did not fire and the men decamped when the sentry called his picquet commander. Some firing this night and a landmine exploded.
31 January 1915 – Fatigues as usual. In the evening a report was received stating that there was a great deal of activity in the enemy’s camp and that they were crossing the Ratta Canal in considerable numbers. Shortly before 3 am a party of about 75 approached our outer line between Forts No. 5 and 3.
The enemy did not come within 1000 yards range and after having shouted and fired off a considerable amount of ammunition returned firing as they went at ridiculous ranges. No reply was made to their fire.
14 February 1915 – Mezera – The enemy gave a great display of flags on the opposite bank at5pm. Word was sent up from Fort 5 to this effect and a section of the 7th Battery went out to shell the enemy which they did with some effect.
16 March 1915 – Shaiba – At 7.35 am the alarm sounded. The enemy’s cavalry were then quite close into our perimeter. Fire was not opened owing to our cavalry masking the fire of the works… In the evening information was received that the enemy were in no position near Anas Tomb and that we might expect to be attacked. All troops were in a state of constant readiness and at their alarm posts during the night. But the night passed without any attack although very dark. Heavy rain fell all night.