The article looks at the 126th Baluchistan Infantry and will help you research the Regiment and those who served with it during the First World War. I have also written a series of guides to help you research those who served with the Indian Army during the First World War:
The 126th Baluchistan Infantry in the First World War
Lineage: Raised by Captain E. M. Wood as the 2nd Extra Battalion of Bombay Native Infantry in 1825, it became the 26th Regiment of Bombay Native Infantry in 1826 and the 26th Regiment of Bombay Infantry in 1885. Then the 26th (Baluchistan) Regiment of Bombay Infantry in 1892, the 26th Baluchistan Infantry in 1901, the 126th Baluchistan Infantry in 1903 and in 1922 became the 2nd Battalion 10th Baluch Regiment.
Composition in 1914: 2 Companies of Hazaras, 1 Company of Khattaks, 1 Company of Wazirs, 2 Companies of Baluchis and Brahuis and 2 Companies of Sikhs other than Jat Sikhs. 1919: 1 Company of Hazaras, 1/2 a Company of Khattaks, 1/2 a Company of Wazirs, 1 Company of Baluchis and Brahuis and 1 Company of Sikhs other than Jat Sikhs
Location in April 1914: The 126th Baluchistan Infantry was stationed at Hong Kong but was under orders to Fort Sandeman (Zhob).
The 126th Baluchistan Infantry was in Balochistan when it was mobilized for service in October 1914. The Regiment initially served with the 30th Indian infantry Brigade which guarded the Suez Canal in 1915. Unfortunately, most of the Regiment’s war diaries covering the First World War have been lost which makes tracing the 126th Baluchistan Infantry’s activities very difficult. Part of the Regiment did serve in Aden (Yemen) in 1915 before the Regiment moved to Mesopotamia (Iraq) likely in 1916.
War Diaries of the 126th Baluchistan Infantry
There are four war diaries for the 126th Baluchistan Infantry and all but the first have been digitized by the National Archives. To download the three Mesopotamia war diaries for a small fee click on the blue links below. The first war diary for the Regiment’s Egypt service can only be viewed at the National Archives.
- Date: 11 October 1914 – 12 February 1915
- 30th Indian Infantry Brigade, Canal Defences in No.1 Section
- Reference: WO 95/4426
- Notes: A typical war diary for a unit in Egypt in 1914-15, very little occurs and the majority of days have no entries.
- Date: 01 August 1917 – 30 November 1918
- Tigris Defences and Communications, Baghailah, Mesopotamia
- Reference: WO 95/5020/7
- Notes: A poor war diary. Months consists of a short summary. List of British officers when the regiment sailed on H.T. Cooeyanna on 03 August and H.T. Barala on 04 August 1918. This war diary has been digitized and is available to download from the National Archives’ website. It has also been combined with the war diary below.
- Date: 01 December 1918 – 30 November 1919
- 51st Indian Infantry Brigade, Mesopotamia
- Reference: WO 95/5211/9
- Notes: A slightly more detailed war diary, though still below the average in detail. Most months have lists of British officers present. Months usually have short appendices commenting on the health, training etc. of the 126th Baluchistan Infantry. This war diary has been digitized and is available to download from the National Archives’ website. It has also been combined with the war diary above.
- Date: 01 December 1919 – 31 March 1920
- 51st Indian Infantry Brigade, 17th Indian Division
- Reference: WO 95/5211/10
- Notes: A poor war diary as is common with most post-war diaries. However, there are a large number of appendices.
Further Sources for the 126th Baluchistan Infantry
For information regarding the British and Indian officers who served with the 126th Baluchistan Infantry, the Indian Army List should be consulted. A good resource 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 126th Baluchistan Infantry was abroad only the Depot and the officers serving with it were reported on.
If you would 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 126th Baluchis
11 October 1914 – 12 February 1915, Suez Canal, WO 95/4426
13 October 1914 – In Camp Quetta – Medical inspection and report rendered that regiment was medically fit for active service. All officers recalled from leave except those in England for whom special instructions were asked. Indents despatched to ordnance and clothing factory for authorised equipment. Submitted list of officers proceeding with regiment and those remaining at Depot. Reservists recalled to the colours by telegram.
01 February – 30 November 1918, Mesopotamia, WO 95/5020
17 July 1918 – Death sentences on No. 6174 Sepoy Ghulab Shah. No. 5274 Sepoy Said Ali. No. 5807 Sepoy Shandi Gull. Shot to death. Carried out at 5.37 am.
Appendix C – The following were tried by S.G.C.M. during the month. No. 6219 Sepoy Tohi Khan – Charge – Voluntarily causing hurt to a person subject to Military Law.
No. 6174 Sepoy Ghulab Shah Murder. No. 5274 Sepoy Said Ali- Abetting the commission of murder. No. 5807 Sepoy Shandi Gull – Abetting the commission of murder.