This article is about the 43rd Erinpura Regiment and will help you to research the Regiment and those who served with it during the First World War. I have written a separate article for the war-raised 2nd Battalion 43rd Erinpura Regiment and 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 blue links below:
The 43rd Erinpura Regiment in the First World War
Lineage: Raised in 1860 as the Infantry of the Erinpura Regiment Irregular Force. In 1903 became the 43rd Erinpura Regiment and was disbanded on 14 October 1922.
Class Composition in 1914: 4 Double Companies of Rajputana Hindus and Musalmans. 1919: 4 Companies of Rajputana Hindus and Musalmans.
Location in July 1914: The 43rd Erinpura Regiment was stationed at Erinpura (Rajasthan, India).
The 43rd Erinpura Regiment was an Indian infantry regiment which was serving at Erinpura when the First World War began in August 1914 as part of the Nasirabad Brigade, 5th (Mhow) Division. The 5th (Mhow) Division remained in India for the duration of the First World War. However, the 43rd Erinpura Regiment was ordered to mobilize at Chaman (Balochistan, Pakistan) on 27 July 1915 when it was serving as part of the 2nd Quetta Infantry Brigade, 4th (Quetta) Division. Like the 5th (Mhow) Division, the 4th (Quetta) Division remained in India for the duration of the war. The extract below was taken from the October 1914 Indian Army List and recorded the British officers serving with the Regiment. The 43rd Erinpura Regiment embarked on board Hired Transport Egra at Karachi on 5 August 1915 and arrived at Basra, Mesopotamia (Iraq) on 10 August 1915. The Regiment stayed at Basra and Qurnah for the remainder of the month. Once in Mesopotamia, the Regiment joined the 30th Indian Infantry Brigade, 12th Indian Division and there is a war diary covering the period between July and December 1915. Initially, the 43rd Erinpura Regiment was employed guarding the lines of communication in the Qurnha, Basra and Ahwaz area. Subsequently, the two companies of the Regiment moved to the Hakika channel on 19 October 1915 where they remained and provided escorts for convoys on the Euphrates. The headquarters remained at Qurnah with the other two companies at Ahwaz.
In 1916, the 43rd Erinpura Regiment joined the 33rd Infantry Brigade, 12th Indian Division and there is a war diary covering the period between January 1916 and February 1919. The Regiment spent most of 1916 at Nasiriyah. The Regiment sent a company to relieve the 114th Mahrattas at Hakika on 20 December 1916 where they once again provided escorts on the Euphrates. For the exaction distribution of the Regiment each month the war diary should be consulted. The detachment at Hakikia rejoined the Regiment in April 1917. After April 1917 the Regiment remained in Nasiriyah until they moved to the 33rd Infantry Brigade’s camp at Karada in late July 1917.
The Regiment was present at the Second Battle of Ramadi (28-29 September 1917) but was not heavily engaged. After the battle, the 43rd Erinpura Regiment helped to clear the battlefield and moved to Ramadi where it remained providing guards and escorts. During the first months of 1918, the Regiment was split with detachments at Dhibban, Madhej and other areas. The Regiment concentrated at Madhej in late April 1918 where it remained until moving to Hillah on 10 October 1918. While at Hillah, the 43rd Erinpura Regiment provided detachments at Dewaiyah, Kipil, Hindiyah and on the railway line to Baghdad. The war diary ends in February 1919 when the Regiment was still at Hillah.
The 43rd Erinpura Regiment returned to India in 1919 and was recorded as being stationed at Erinpura in the January 1920 Indian Army List. In the July 1921 Indian Army List, the Regiment was at Pishin (Balochistan) and under orders for Erinpura. The 43rd Erinpura Regiment was disbanded on 15 October 1921. During the First World War, the 43rd Erinpura Regiment raised a second battalion at Ahmedabad on 23 June 1917 which was disbanded on the 20 July 1920. You can read more about the Battalion here: 2nd Battalion 43rd Erinpura Regiment.
War Diaries of the 43rd Erinpura Regiment
There are two war diaries for the 43rd Erinpura Regiment and both have been digitized by the National Archives. To download the war diaries for a small fee click on the blue links below which will take you to the National Archives’ website.
- Date: 27 July – 31 December 1915
- 30th Indian Infantry Brigade, 12th Indian Division, Mesopotamia
- Reference: WO 95/5146/9
- Notes: An average war diary where daily entries usually concern the arrival of bellums. The majority of months consist of summaries only with no daily entries. The war diary records the regimental numbers of Indian ranks invalided to India. There is a detailed complaint regarding drinking water at Basra in the margin of the war diary for July – August 1917.
- Date: 01 January 1916 – 28 February 1919
- 12th Indian Infantry Brigade, 15th Indian Division
- Reference: WO 95/5194/2
- Notes: A poor war diary with very brief entries which contain no detail. However, the war diary does contain the regimental numbers of Indian soldiers who were invalided to India or arrived as reinforcement but there are no names.
Further Sources for the 43rd Erinpura Regiment
A good source of information for the 43rd Erinpura Regiment are its Regimental Confidential Reports held at the British Library: Confidential Reports on Regiments etc. These reports also contain the annual confidential reports of the British officers who served with Regiment. Though, when the Regiment was abroad only its Depot and the British officers who served with it are reported on. For information regarding British and Indian officers who served with the 43rd Erinpura Regiment, the Indian Army List can be consulted.
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 Professor Charles Townshend.
Extracts from War Diaries of the 43rd Erinpura Regiment
27 July – 31 December 1915, Mesopotamia, WO 95/5146/9
31 August 1915 – Qurnah – Ordered to mobilize at Chaman on 27 July 1915. Left Chaman on 2 August 1915. Arrived Karachi on 5 August 1915 and embarked forthwith on H.T. Egra after medical inspection. Left Karachi on 5 August 1915, arrived Basra on 9 August 1915, disembarked on 10 August 1915. In accordance with orders received at 7 am on 15 August 1915, Headquarters, machine guns and 4 companies at Field Service strength proceeded to Qurnah, taking over charge from the 66th Punjabis on the 16th August 1915…
Quarters occupied in Busra and Qurnah, reed huts with matting roofs, at Busra the men were provided with bed boards, which was a great convenience. Regiment has taken part in no military operations, and there is no other matter to date requiring report.
September 1915 – Qurnah – During September the Regiment was on the line of communications, with the Headquarters wing at Qurnah and the other wing at Busra till the 17 instant and then en route to and at Ahwaz.
Convoy work on the Euphrates is now confined to lake bellums, on account of the low depth of water. Owing to the unsettled state of the Marsh Arabs a permanent guard of 14 rifles has been furnished for the dredging and telegraph station at Chabaish. An escort of 4 rifles for the weekly mail to and from Nasiriyah and Qurnah is provided. There is nothing further to report.