This article looks at the activities of the 122nd Rajputana Infantry during the First World War and will help you research those who served with the Regiment. I have also written 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 link below:
The 122nd Rajputana Infantry in the First World War
Lineage: Raised by Lieutenant John Cunningham at Bombay (Mumbai) in 1818 as the 2nd Battalion, 11th Regiment of Bombay Native Infantry. It became the 22nd Regiment of Bombay Native Infantry in 1824, the 22nd Regiment of Bombay Infantry in 1885, the 22nd Bombay Infantry in 1901, the 122nd Rajputana Infantry in 1903 and became the 3rd Battalion 6th Rajputana Rifles 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 122nd Rajputana Infantry was stationed at Kohat (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan) having arrived from Fort Sandeman (Zhob, Balochistan, Pakistan) on 3rd January 1913.
The 122nd Rajputana Infantry were stationed at Kohat, a town on the North West Frontier in August 1914 where it was serving as part of the Kohat Brigade. The Regiment had been inspected earlier in the year by Lieutenant-Colonel F. Campbell, Commanding Kohat Brigade who reported:
Much hard work has been done in smartening up the battalion and credit is due to all ranks for the success attained. Drill fairly satisfactory showing much improvement. Signalling very satisfactory. Musketry satisfactory, but fire direction requires much attention.
Interior economy very satisfactory and due economy is practised in regard to deductions for clothing. Conduct and health good. Manoeuvres unsatisfactory. The rank and file show greater alacrity than last year but the handling of units by Indian and British officers is weak. An offensive spirit requires to be instilled in all ranks.
Confidential review reports on Indian Army units for 1913-1914: IOR/L/MIL/7/17023.
The extract below was taken from the October 1914 Indian Army List and recorded the British officers serving with the Regiment.The 122nd Rajputana Infantry remained in India for the first two years of the war before leaving Kohat for Karachi on 1 November 1916. The Regiment embarked on board Hired Transport Muttra on 3 November which sailed the same day for Basra, Mesopotamia (Iraq). The 122nd Rajputana Infantry arrived at Basra on 8 November and moved to Amarah on the 14 November. Between November 1916 and April 1920, the 122nd Rajputana Infantry served either guarding bases or on the lines of communication. The Regiment had an uneventful First World War and there are war diaries covering this entire period.
In May 1920, the 122nd Rajputana Infantry joined the 34th Indian Infantry Brigade in which they served for the remainder of the year. The Regiment qualified for the General Service Medal with North West Persia clasp as they served with the North Persia Force. There is another war diary covering the period between January and April 1921. A portion of the Regiment’s Medal Index Cards have survived for the North West Persia clasp and can be viewed on Ancestry or downloaded from the National Archives’ website. I’d recommend viewing them on Ancestry as they are free and in colour.
The 122nd Rajputana Infantry returned to India in 1921 and in the July 1921 Indian Army List was stationed at Ahmednagar (Maharashtra, India). In 1922, the 122nd Rajputana Infantry became the 3rd Battalion, 6th Rajputana Rifles.
War Diaries of the 122nd Rajputana Infantry
There are five war diaries for the 122nd Rajputana Infantry and all have been digitized by the National Archives. To download a war diary for a small fee click on the blue links below.
- Date: 01 November 1916 – 31 October 1918
- Tigris Defences and Communications
- Reference: WO 95/5015/4
- Notes: A poor war diary where most of the entries consist of “Duties. Garrison fatigues” etc. and are very brief. However, the war diary notes the regimental numbers and occasionally name and rank, of Indian soldiers leaving and rejoining the 122nd Rajputana Infantry due to illness. There is in excess of 150+ regimental numbers. British and Indian officers appear throughout. There is a list of British and Indian officers who embarked on the H.T. Muttra on 03 November 1916 divided by company. There are also monthly nominal rolls of British officers serving with the 122nd Rajputana Infantry between January and October 1918, though August is missing.
- Date: 01 November 1918 – 30 April 1919
- Base and Defence Troops, Mesopotamia
- Reference: WO 95/5035/13
- Notes: A poor war diary. Entries are very short, typically ‘Duties, parades’ or similar. There are nominal rolls of British officers serving with the 122nd Rajputana Infantry each month.
- Date: 01 May 1919 – 30 April 1920
- Lines of Communications, Mesopotamia
- Reference: WO 95/5287/12
- Notes: A poor war diary with brief entries. Each month contains a list of British officers serving with the 122nd Rajputana Infantry. There are two interesting appendices: A three-page report (with operation orders) concerning the operation of the Mobile Column, 122nd Rajputana Infantry on 5-6 August 1919, and a three-page report on another Mobile Column operation between 24 and 26 August 1919.
- Date: 01 May – 31 December 1920
- 36th Indian Brigade, Mesopotamia
- Reference: WO 95/5051/1
- Notes: An average war diary where there are a large number of appendices, typically a variety of orders, regimental, brigade etc. The most interesting appendix is a 3 1/3 page report with sketch map on a reconnaissance/attack by D Company commanded by Lieutenant Russell on 27 October 1920.
- January – April 1921
- North Persia Force, Mesopotamia
- Reference: WO 95/5047/1
- Notes: A short war diary where the majority of entries consist of “Duties. Parades.” and the number of men admitted to hospital. The names of British officers appear throughout and there are lists of officers serving with the 122nd Rajputana Infantry at the end of each month.
Further Sources for 122nd Rajputana Infantry
For information regarding British and Indian officers who served with the 122nd Rajputana Rifles, the Indian Army List should be consulted. The annual confidential reports are an excellent resource for learning more about the Regiment and include the annual reports of the British officers. These reports are held at the British Library: Confidential Reports on Regiments etc. Some of the Regiment’s Medal Index Cards have survived for the North West Persia clasp and can be viewed on Ancestry or downloaded from the National Archives’ website. I’d recommend viewing them on Ancestry as they are free and 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 the122nd Rajputana Infantry
01 November 1916 – 31 October 1918, Mesopotamia, WO 95/5015/4
21 November 1916 – Amara – 2 pm – No. 2242 Sepoy Chedu Khan tried by S.C.M. and sentenced to a corporal punishment of fifteen lashes for “Neglecting to obey Regimental Orders” (entering a brothel).
25 November 1916 – Amara – Hand and foot impressions of supposed Arab rifles thieves found on ground east of camp, inside barbed wire, about 20 yards from perimeter; guards and sentries warned.
26 November 1916 – Amara – More hand and body impressions of supposed Arab rifle thieves found on ground about 20 yards North of perimeter this morning. Piquets of 3 Non-commissioned officers per company detailed to lie up for Arabs in piles of brushwood outside camp from 11 pm to 3 am every night from tonight.
28 December 1916 – Amara – Duties and fatigues… No 1430 Lance Naik Mobh Singh accidentally shot in right forearm by a sentry who was carelessly unloading; transferred to No. 23 Indian General Hospital; wound not serious.