156th Indian Infantry

This article is about the 156th Indian Infantry and will help you to research the Regiment and those who served with it during the First World War. I have also created guides to help you research soldiers who served in the army during the First World War:

Lineage: Formed at Basra, Mesopotamia (Iraq) May 1918 and disbanded in 1919.

Class Composition of Battalion in 1919: 3/4 of a Company of Tamils, 2 Companies of Madrassi Musalmans, 3/4 of a Company of Mayaros, 1/4 Company of Moplahs and 1/4 Company Madrassi Christians.

The 156th Indian Infantry in the First World War

The 156th Indian Infantry was one of eighteen new Indian infantry battalions formed in the field in 1918 to replace British battalions leaving the Middle East for the Western Front. This was in consequence of the heavy losses sustained by the British Army in the German Spring Offensive which began in March 1918. The 156th Infantry was formed at Basra, Mesopotamia (Iraq) of drafts from the following regiments:

The 156th Indian Infantry remained in Mesopotamia until June 1918 when the Regiment returned to India. The Regiment was disbanded in 1919.

War Diary of the 156th Indian Infantry

There is only one war diary for the 156th Infantry which has been digitized by the National Archives. To download this war diary for a small fee click on the blue link below.

  • Date: 01 May – 30 June 1918
  • Lines of Communication, Mesopotamia
  • Reference: WO 95/5247/11
  • Notes: It is unfortunate that the only war diary for the 1 Battalion 156th Indian Infantry consists of a single page with an appendix listing British officers. I have transcribed the page below.

Further Sources for the 156th Indian Infantry

For information regarding the British and Indian officers who served with the 156th Indian Infantry, the Indian Army List can be consulted. No regimental history was written for the 156th Indian Infantry and there are no confidential reports.

Extracts from the War Diary of the 156th Indian Infantry

01 May – 30 June 1918, Mesopotamia, WO 95/5247/11

26 May 1918 – The 1st Battalion 156th Indian Infantry was formed by Captain E.G. Phythian-Adams 80th Carnatic Infantry from drafts supplied by the 73rd Carnatic Infantry, 79th Carnatic Infantry, 80th Carnatic Infantry and 83rd Wallajahbad Light Infantry.

Composition of the Battalion as follows:- 9 platoons Madrassi Mussulmans, 3 platoons Tamils, 3 platoons ? , 1 platoon Paraiyans and Christians. Strength 7 British Officers, 16 Indian Officers, 961 Indian Other Ranks, 33 Public Followers, 6 Private Followers.

01 June 1918 – Awaiting embarkation.

07 June 1918 – ditto.

10 June 1918 – Inspected by Major General G.F. MacMunn K.C.B. C.S.I. D.S.O. I.G.C.

22 June 1918 – Embarked for India at Magil on HT Bamora. Strength 6 British Officers, 11 Indian Officers, 839 Indian Other Ranks, 23 Public Followers, 6 Private Followers.

Nominal Roll of British Officers

Lieutenant Colonel Phythian-Adams Commanding, Major T.S. Conner 2nd in Command, Captain T.R. Robb, Captain J.A. Robinson, Captain D.M. Williams, Captain C.W. Cawood Adjutant and Quartermaster.

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