This article is about the short-lived 2nd Battalion 30th Punjabis and will help you to research the Battalion and those who served with it during the First World War. I have written separate articles for the 1st, 3rd and 4th Battalions 30th Punjabis and a series of guides to help you to research soldiers who served in the Indian Army in World War One. To view the guides, click on the links below:
- 1st Battalion 30th Punjabis
- 3rd Battalion 30th Punjabis
- 4th Battalion 30th Punjabis
- Guides to Researching Soldiers who Served in the Indian Army
The 2nd Battalion 30th Punjabis in the First World War
Lineage: The 2nd Battalion 30th Punjabis was formed at Lahore (Punjab, Pakistan) on 28 December 1917 and disbanded on 15 March 1922. For a history of the Regiment’s lineage see my page on the 1st Battalion 30th Punjabis.
Class Composition of Battalion in 1919: 2 Companies of Punjabi Musalmans, 1 Company of Sikhs and 1 Company of Dogras.
The 2nd Battalion 30th Punjabis was a short-lived Indian infantry battalion which served as part of the Egyptian Expeditionary Force during the First World War. The Battalion was formed at Lahore (Punjab, Pakistan) on 28 December 1917 and was one of three new battalions raised by the 30th Punjabis during the war. The Battalion’s first commanding officer was Lieutenant-Colonel Charles Vernon Ommanney who was appointed from the 109th Infantry on 5 January 1918. The 2nd Battalion 30th Punjabis had a larger number of pre-war British Indian Army officers than war usual for a war-raised Indian battalion. The extract below was taken from the April 1919 Indian Army List and recorded the British officers serving with the Battalion.
The Battalion served as part of the 180th Infantry Brigade, 60th London Division with the Egyptian Expeditionary Force between April 1918 and January 1919 and there is a war diary available for this period. The 2nd Battalion 30th Punjabis returned to India in 1919 and was mobilised at Multan (Punjab, Pakistan) on 7 May 1919 on the outbreak of the Third Anglo-Afghan War. The Battalion served as part of the 44th Indian Brigade, 16th Indian Division, North West Frontier Force and there is a war diary available between May and September 1919. The Battalion had a quiet war and spent most of its time stationed at Peshawar. The Battalion was inspected by Brigadier-General A. J. Poole, Commanding 44th Infantry Brigade on 20 February 1920:
The Battalion is well advanced in training. The Musketry returns show good results and a good system of instruction prevails. Battalion is well commanded and the officers are keen. The recruits are being well taught and on the right lines.
Confidential review reports on Indian Army units, depots, British officers, etc. for 1919-1920: IOR/L/MIL/7/17031
There is another war diary between November 1920 and December 1921 when the 2nd Battalion 30th Punjabis served with the 23rd Indian Infantry Brigade, Waziristan Force. The war diary covering this period is very good and I have transcribed a few entries below. The Battalion was mostly stationed at Jandola, Sarwekai and Chagmalai when it served with Waziristan Force. The 2nd Battalion 30th Punjabis was the last of the three war-raised battalions to be disbanded on 15 March 1922.
War Diaries of the 2nd Battalion 30th Punjabis
There are three war diaries for the Battalion and unfortunately, none have been digitized and they can only be viewed at the National Archives. I have copies of all war diaries and have transcribed some entries below.
- Date: 01 April 1918 – 31 January 1919
- 180th Infantry Brigade, 60th London Division
- Reference: WO 95/4670
- Date: 07 May 1919 – 15 September 1919
- 44th Infantry Brigade, 16th Indian Division, North West Frontier Force
- Reference: WO 95/5414
- Notes: A poor war diary, though May is detailed and includes a 2 page Regimental Order as an appendix from June the majority of entries consist of “No change”.
- Date: 12 November 1920 – 16 December 1921
- 23rd Indian Infantry Brigade, Wana Column Troops, Waziristan Force
- Reference: WO 95/5402
- Notes: A good war diary though not for the daily activities it recorded but due to a large number of appendices. The usual orders relating to the regiment can be found, but there are also reports of when the Battalion were engaged. These include attacks on the Battalion’s picquets. The longest report concerns operations carried out by the 2nd Battalion 30th Punjabis on 30 January 1921 at Shahur Tangi which is 3 1/3 pages in length with three sketch maps.
Further Sources for the 2nd Battalion 30th Punjabis
For information regarding the British and Indian officers who served with the 2nd Battalion 30th Punjabis, the Indian Army List should be consulted. There is only a single confidential report for the Battalion which is held at the British Library: Confidential review reports on Indian Army units, depots, British officers, etc. for 1919-1920: IOR/L/MIL/7/17031. This report also contains the annual reports of the British officers serving with the Battalion for that year.
Extracts from War Diaries of the 2nd Battalion 30th Punjabis
07 May 1919 – 15 September 1919, North West Frontier Force, WO 95/5414
07 May 1919 – Multan – 12.00 – Received orders to mobilize North West Frontier scale, all ranks recalled by wire.
08 May 1919 – Multan – Orders to join 44th Infantry Brigade, 16th Division Ferozepore on receipt of instructions from Control. Forms, stationary wired for from Calcutta.
22 May 1919 – Suban Kawar – Occupied blockhouse line 47 inclusive to 40 exclusive. 16.00 -Information received that enemy consisting of 800 Afghans, 4000 ? with 5 guns were collecting at Galanai and might be expected to attack the line Matta-Shabkadr-Michni…
23 May 1919 – Saban Kawar – 0400 – Front line and blockhouse line in position. Remainder of Battalion stood to in perimeter awaiting orders to be issue on receipt of information from aeroplane or cavalry patrol. 11.00- Information received that no sign of enemy attacking and supports were withdrawn from blockhouse line. 21.15- Information received that enemy were again concentrating to attack same disposition ordered as for previous day.
24 May 1919 – 04.00- Blockhouse line reinforced, remainder of Battalion stood to as on 23rd… 12.00 – Information received that Afghans were returning [?]. Mohmands submitting and sending in jirga. Working parties withdrawn from right flank and only blockhouse garrisons left out.
19 June 1919 – Peshawar – Battalion quarantined owing to a case of cholera until 22 instant.
24 June 1919 – Peshawar – 07.30 – Subadar-Major Waryam Singh A Company, No. 116 Havildar Hassan Khan D Company and 1 orderly left for Multan en route to London for Peace celebrations.
12 November 1920 – 16 December 1921, Waziristan Force, WO 95/5402
06 December 1920 – Jandola – One platoon D Company, sent to cover the Kotkai – Jandola convoy, engaged by raiders about 14.30 hours. Remainder of D Company under Captain Clarke moved out to support at 15.20 hours, followed at 15.40 hours by C Company with Battalion Headquarters.
Raiders were located in nullah North of Tich picquet and under cover of D Company. Remains of convoy brought in. The 2 Companies arriving back in camp at 18.00 hours. Casualties nil.