19th Lancers (Fane’s Horse) 1914-1922

This article on the 19th Lancers (Fane’s Horse) has two purposes:

  • To provide you with an overview of the activities of the 19th Lancers (Fane’s Horse) during the First World War
  • To help you research a soldier who served in the 19th Lancers (Fane’s Horse) during the First World War whether as a British or Indian officer or Indian rank and file

19th Lancers (Fane’s Horse) in WW1

Lineage: Raised by Lieutenant Fane at Cawnpore (Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh, India) designated Fane’s Horse in 1860. The original regiment contained a large number of volunteers from Hodson’s Horse. In 1861 became the 19th Regiment of Bengal Cavalry, then the 19th Regiment of Bengal Cavalry (Lancers) in 1864, the 19th Regiment of Bengal Lancers in 1874, the 19th Bengal Lancers (Fane’s Horse) in 1901 and the 19th Lancers (Fane’s Horse) in 1903. The Regiment was amalgamated with 18th King George’s Own Lancers to form the 18th/19th Lancers in 1921 which became the 19th King George’s Own Lancers in 1922.

Composition in 1914: 1 1/2 Squadrons of Sikhs, 1/2 of Dogras, 1 of Punjabi Musalmans, 1 of Pathans. 

Location in July 1914: The 19th Lancers (Fane’s Horse) was stationed at Sialkot (Punjab, Pakistan) having arrived from Quetta (Balochistan, Pakistan) on 10 January 1911.

The 19th Lancers (Fane’s Horse) was mobilized at Sialkot on 31 August 1914 where they had been stationed since January 1911. The Regiment left India on the Hired Transports Sealdah and Onda on 15 October and disembarked at Marseilles, France after an uneventful journey on 10 October 1914. The Regiment was for fortunate in that it missed the First Battle of Ypres in October and November 1914 and remained encamped near Orleans until the 7 December 1914.

The 19th Lancers would go into the trenches near Festubert in January 1915 where they suffered their casualties in action. However, this would be one of the few occasions in which the Regiment was used in the trenches though occasionally a squadron was sent. As very little happens to the Regiment on the Western Front it is best to combine the war diaries with the regimental A History of the 19th King George’s Own Lancers 1858-1921 by General Sir H Hudson.

The 19th Lancers remained in France until 1918 and you can follow their movements best by consulting the two war diaries listed below. Unfortunately, the majority of the entries for the war diaries consist of simply ”Nil”. The Regiment embarked on board the Hired Transports Hydaspes and Inventor at Marseilles on 6 March 1918 and disembarked at Alexandra, Egypt on 16 and 17 March 1918. After landing in Egypt, the 19th Lancers (Fane’s) Horse moved to Tel-el-Kebir where they remained 15 April 1918. The Regiment then moved to Deir el Belah (near the present-day Gaza Strip) where it joined the 22nd Mounted Brigade, 1st Mounted Division.

The Regiment entered Jerusalem on 6 May and moved to Jericho the next day. The 19th Lancers (Fane’s Horse) spent the next couple of months in the vicinity of Jericho. In August 1918, the Regiment joined the 12th Cavalry Brigade, 4th Cavalry Division and moved frequently before the Armistice with Turkey came into effect on 31 October 1918. The Regiment’s worst casualties of the war were in October 1918, when the Spanish Influenza outbreak killed 30 of its soldiers.

After the war, the Regiment moved to Bir Hassan near Beirut in present-day Lebanon until February 1919 when it moved to Homs in present-day Syria. The Regiment moved to Hama-Ladikya in May 1919 and subsequently to Sarona, near Tel Aviv in present-day Israel, where it was still stationed when the war diary ended in March 1920.

Researching Soldiers who Served in the 19th Lancers (Fane’s Horse)

If you are researching a British or Indian officer or other rank who served in the 19th Lancers during the First World War then you are in luck. There’s an excellent regimental history which supplements a rather poor set of war diaries (discussed below). The Regimental history contains a list of all killed, wounded, missing and died of the 19th Lancers during the war as well as recording honours and awards. I would suggest starting your research by looking at my Guides to Researching the Indian Army in World War One.

British officers: A complete list of officers who served with the regiment is contained in the regimental history. Start your research by looking for a service record at the British Library and National Archives. If the officer served in the Indian Army Reserve of Officers look for an application. I offer a copying service for all these documents. If you have no success with a service record there will likely be surviving confidential reports for an officer at the British Library. I have a complete set of these records for 1912-19. These reports are very useful. You will also need to check the Indian Army List and London Gazette.

Indian officers: There are no service records available so you should turn to the Indian Army List to find promotion and enlistment dates. Then check the regimental history and war diaries for mentions.

Indian rank and file: Unfortunately, all service records were destroyed after partition along with First World War Medal Index Cards. If you know the soldier’s service number the approximate date a soldier enlisted into the regiment can be worked out. The list of casualties sustained by the 19th Lancers (Fane’s Horse) in the regimental history is very useful as it records the date a soldier was wounded. If you find the soldier you are researching in the list of casualties, turn to the regiment’s war diary for more information.

War Diaries of the 19th Lancers (Fane’s Horse):

  • Date: 31 August 1914 – 31 December 1916
  • 1st Indian Cavalry Division, Sialkot Brigade
  • Reference: WO 95/1178/4
  • Notes: A poor war diary where many days have no entries and those which do are very brief. This war diary has been digitized and is available to download from the National Archives’ website.
  • Date: 01 January 1917 – 28 March 1918
  • 4th Cavalry Division, Sialkot Cavalry brigade
  • Reference: WO 95/1159/5
  • Notes: A poor war diary where many days have no entries and those which do are very brief. This war diary has been digitized and is available to download from the National Archives’ website.
  • Date: 01 March – 31 July 1918
  • 1st Mounted Division, 22nd Mounted Brigade
  • Reference: WO 95/4509
  • Notes: An average war diary.
  • Date: 01 August 1918 – 31 March 1920
  • 4th Cavalry Division, 12th Cavalry Brigade
  • Reference: WO 95/4514
  • Notes: A poor war diary, especially from November 1918.

Further Sources: The best source of information concerning the 19th Lancers (Fane’s Horse) and the British officers who served with it are its confidential reports held at the British Library: Confidential Reports on Regiments etc. For information regarding the British and Indian officers who served with the 19th Lancers (Fane’s Horse) the Indian Army List can be consulted.

Regimental History: A History of the 19th King George’s Own Lancers 1858-1921 by General Sir H Hudson. An excellent book which has been reprinted and can be bought online. 

I offer a research service for soldiers who served in the First World War. To find out more click on the photograph below.ww1-research-service

Extracts from War Diaries

31 August 1914 – 31 December 1916, Sialkot Cavalry brigade, WO 95/1178/4

31 August 1914 – Sialkot – Orders to mobilise received. Full war establishment plus 10% Reinforcement. (Owing to the absence of men on furlough and Reservists the mobilisation was considerably delayed).

21 September 1914 – Sialkot – One Jemadar, one Duffadar and 22 Sowars of 13th Duke of Connaught’s Own Lancers joined the regiment.

24 September 1914 – Sialkot – Mobilisation completed.

11 October 1914 – 9 pm – Sialkot – Concentration orders received.

13 October 1914 – Sialkot  – The regiment left Sialkot in three trains Train A – 2.45 am, Train B-5.49am, Train C-7.22 am.

15 October 1914 – Regiment arrived at Karachi. Train A-10am, Train B-12 noon, Train C 2.30 pm. Embarked at once on Hired Transport Selada and Hired Transport Onda. 60 horses and 60 sets of saddlery were taken over from 28th Light Cavalry.

16 October 1914 – 4 pm – Left Karachi Harbour, anchored in Roads.

17 October 1914 – 6 am – Sailed from Roads.

10 November 1914 – Marseilles – Arrived Marseilles. Two squadrons disembarked ex H.T. Onda.

11 November 1914 – Marseilles – Two squadrons marched to billets. 5 pm. Headquarters and two squadrons commenced to disembark ex H.T. Sealda.

12 November 1914 – Marseilles – Disembarkation completed.

Guides to Researching Soldiers who Served with the Indian Army

Guides to Researching Soldiers who Served with the British Army