This article is about the war-raised 2nd Battalion 107th Pioneers and aims to help you research those who served with it during the First World War. I have written a separate article for the 1st Battalion 107th Pioneers and a series of guides to help you research those who served in the Indian Army during the First World War. Click on the blue links below to view the guides:
The 2nd Battalion 107th Pioneers in the First World War
Lineage: Formed at Bareilly on 26 July 1917 and was disbanded on 15 June 1921. For a history of the Regiment’s lineage see my page on the 1st Battalion 107th Pioneers.
Class Composition of Battalion in 1919: 4 Mixed Companies of Punjabis.
The 2nd Battalion 107th Pioneers was a short-lived Indian pioneer battalion formed at Bareilly on 26 July 1917. The Battalion received its first annual inspection by Brigadier-General F. Glanville, Commanding Bareilly Brigade which was dated 10 March 1918:
Inspecting Officer’s remarks: Physical appearance good and physical training fairly satisfactory. Considering that the unit started training in the middle of September last and has now over 1,820 men, the progress made is in my opinion satisfactory. Discipline good. The interior economy of this unit is satisfactory.
Confidential review reports on Indian Army units, depots, British officers, etc. for 1917-1918: IOR/L/MIL/7/17029
The 2nd Battalion 107th Pioneers received orders to mobilize at Allahabad on 5 June 1918 and left India for Egypt at Bombay (Mumbai) on board Hired Transport Chakdara on 26 June 1918. The Battalion disembarked at Suez on 8 July 1918 and moved into camp at Tel el-Kebir. Once in Egypt, the Battalion joined the 60th London Division and there is a war diary covering the period between June 1918 and April 1919. In May 1919, the Battalion joined North Force in Syria and subsequently moved to Rayak in Lebanon. The Regimental history of the Bombay Pioneers records:
In May, 1919, the battalion moved into Aleppo and took over the guard duties in that city for a month, when they were relieved by the 34th Poona Horse and the 2/19th London Regiment. They then again worked on the road to Marash, making many small bridges and culverts. When Syria was handed over to the French, the 2/107th moved in November by train from Aleppo to Rayak, being involved in a collision on the way, in which one sepoy was killed.
Companies were then distributed for road and railway work at and Dar’a in Trans-Jordania Samakh on the Sea of Galilee, El Affule and Haifa. In March, 1920, the battalion entrained at Jenin for Suez, where they embarked for India, and proceeded to Jhansi for disbandment. By August, 1920, the 2nd Battalion 107th Pioneers ceased to exist.
History of the Bombay Pioneers 1777-1933 by Lieutenant-Colonel W. B. P. Tugwell
War Diaries of the 2nd Battalion 107th Pioneers
There are two war diaries for the 2nd Battalion 107th Pioneers which cover the period between June 1918 and March 1920. Unfortunately, as of February 2017, neither has been digitized and they can only be viewed by visiting the National Archives. I have copies of both war diaries and have transcribed some of the entries below.
- Date: 05 June 1918 – 30 April 1919
- 60th London Division, Egyptian Expeditionary Force
- Reference: WO 95/4665
- Notes: A good war diary which contains a range of appendices, the most interesting being a series of diagrams of bridges. There is a detailed account of the part the 23rd Sikh Pioneers took in the Battle of Megiddo. There is an A3 appendix titled ”Typical Cross Section of 6 Metre Road”, which contains a diagram of a cross-section with detailed notes. Monthly returns showing decrease in strength, reinforcements received and present strength.
- Date: 10 May 1919 – 30 March 1920
- North Force
- Reference: WO 95/4459
- Notes: A war diary which has some long entries but most are brief. The majority of months are written on a single page with a summary of work undertaken. Strength returns for the 2nd Battalion 107th Pioneers between June and 1919 and March 1920.
Further Sources for the 2nd Battalion 107th Pioneers
For information regarding British and Indian officers who served in the 2nd Battalion 107th Pioneers the Indian Army List should be consulted. A very good resource for the Battalion are its confidential reports held at the British Library: Confidential Reports on Regiments etc. These also contain the annual reports of the British officers serving with the 2nd Battalion 107th Pioneers. Though, when the Battalion was abroad only its Depot and the officers serving with it were reported on. The activities of the Battalion are covered in the History of the Bombay Pioneers 1777-1933 by Lieutenant-Colonel W. B. P. Tugwell.
Extracts from War Diaries of the 2nd Battalion 107th Pioneers
05 June 1918 – 30 April 1919, Egyptian Expeditionary Force, WO 95/4665
August 1918 – During the whole month the Battalion has been in camp about a mile south of Mejdel-Yaba at point P18 G12, and has been employed under the A.D.W. Jaffa on the continuation of the new road from Ludd to Mejdel-Yaba, commencing at point P17 G83.
The road runs north along the slopes of the foothills, through stony country necessitating fairly frequent blasting…
18 September 1918 – P.H. Helmets returned to Ordnance in accordance with instructions received from 60th Division.
12 May 1919 – 30 March 1920, North Force, WO 95/4459
17 – 30 May 1919 – Aleppo – Guard duties and training in Aleppo. The duties required of the 3 Companies in Aleppo were very heavy, the men getting less than one night in bed and practically no training could be done. Drill, musketry and Lewis gun parades were held.
17 June 1919 -Started Battalion workshops instead of Company artificers. Started making masons hammers and chisels etc. All stone cutters and masons put on dressing stone.
18 June 1919 – Commenced casting stone for bridges and culverts.
30 June 1919 – News received that Germans have signed peace terms. Holiday for all ranks. Despatched acting Subadar Major Ala Singh, Hav Iman Din and No. 4524 Lance Naik Sukhram to base to proceed to London for peace celebrations.
02 July 1919 – M.V.S 13th Cavalry Brigade reported that 2 mules died from anthrax.
26 July 1919 – Regimental sports and holiday in commemoration of the second anniversary f the raising of the regiment.
30 July 1919 – Work stopped, out of cement.
02 November 1919 – Rayak – Train No.3. Collision occurred at Kusseir Station about 21.30 hours on 2nd, 4454 Sepoy Roshan severely injured, died on 04 November 1919 at Homs C.F.A.4
12 – 31 January 1920 – Surona – Employed on following camp works:- Road making, hutting, erection of watering places and range.
28 January – C Company moved to Silet ed Dhahr for work on the Jenin-Nablus railway line.
February 1920 – During the whole month the Battalion, less C Company has been employed on the following camp works with the 4 Cavalry Division at Surona:- Road making, hutting, erection of watering places, and a range.