This article is intended to give an overview of the service of the 15th Lancers (Cureton’s Multanis) during the First World War and help you research soldiers who served with it. I have also created other guides to researching the Indian Army and its soldiers which can be viewed by clicking on the link below:
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15th Lancers (Cureton’s Multanis) in the First World War
Lineage: Formed at Lahore (Punjab, Pakistan) by Captain C. Cureton in 1858 from Multani Pathans originally raised in 1857 by Ghulam Hasan Khan and designated The Multani Regiment of Cavalry. Then in 1860 became Cureton’s Multani Regiment of Cavalry, then the 15th Regiment of Bengal Cavalry in 1861, then the 15th (Cureton’s Multani) Regiment of Bengal Cavalry in 1871. Then the 15th (Cureton’s Multani) Regiment of Bengal Lancers in 1890, the 15th (Cureton’s Multani) Bengal Lancers in 1901 and the 15th Lancers (Cureton’s Multanis) in 1903. The Regiment was amalgamated with the 14th Murray’s Jat Lancers in 1921 to form the 14th/15th Lancers which was designated the 20th Lancers in 1922.
Composition in 1914: 4 Squadrons of Musalmans (Multani Pathans and Musalmans of the Derajat and Cis-Indus).
Location in July 1914: The 15th Lancers (Cureton’s Multanis) was stationed at Jullundur (Jalandhar, Punjab) having arrived from Risalpur on 5 November 1912.
When the First World War commenced in August 1914, the 15th Lancers (Cureton’s Multanis) was stationed at Jullundur, now Jalandhar, India. The Regiment was highly regarded and the following was recorded by Major-General H. B. B. Watkis, Commanding 3rd (Lahore) Division in its annual inspection for 1913-14:
The Cavalry Brigade Commander has noted points requiring attention which I know they will get. I have seen the regiment at work in the field again this season and can wish for no better one on service- officers and men.
There has been a still further improvement in musketry, but a trained machine gun officer is required. Fit for service.
Confidential review reports on Indian Army units for 1913-1914: IOR/L/MIL/7/17023
War Diaries of the 15th Lancers (Cureton’s Multanis)
There are two war diaries for the Regiment and both are available to download from the National Archives’ website for a small fee by clicking on the blue links below. I have also transcribed some entries at the bottom of this page.
- Date: 08 August 1914 – 30 December 1915
- 3rd Indian (Lahore) Division, Divisional Troops
- Reference: WO 95/3918/1
- Date: 09 December 1915 – 30 June 1917
- Bushire Force
- Reference: WO 95/5010/1
Further Sources for the 15th Lancers (Cureton’s Multanis)
A good source of information concerning the 15th Lancers (Cureton’s Multanis) and the British officers who served with it are its confidential reports held at the British Library: Confidential Reports on Regiments etc. However, when the Regiment was abroad only its Depot and the British officers serving there were reported on. For information regarding the British and Indian officers who served with the 15th Lancers (Cureton’s Multanis), the Indian Army List can be consulted.
Regimental History: There is no regimental history covering the First World War period. There is a rare regimental history published in 1910 which covers the period between 1858 and 1908: 15th Lancers (Cureton’s Multanis) 1858-1908 by Anon. I haven’t seen a copy and it is a hard book to find.
Extracts from War Diaries of the 15th Lancers