This article on the war-raised 2nd Battalion 116th Mahrattas will provide you with an overview of the Regiment’s service during the First World War and help you research those who served with it. I have written a separate article on the 1st Battalion 116th Mahrattas 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 links below.
The 2nd Battalion 116th Mahrattas in the First World War
Lineage: The 2nd Battalion 116th Mahrattas was formed at Poona (Maharashtra, India) on 3 October 1918 and was disbanded on 25 October 1921. For a history of the Regiment’s lineage see my page on the 1st Battalion 116th Mahrattas.
Class Composition of Battalion in 1919: 2 Companies of Konkani Mahrattas, 1 Company Dekhani Mahrattas and 1 Company of Dekhani Musalmans.
Location in 1919: Arrived at Baroda (Vadodara, Gujarat) on 22 October 1919.
The 2nd Battalion 116th Mahrattas was a war-raised Indian infantry battalion formed at Poona on 3 October 1918. The Battalion was commanded by Major, later Lieutenant-Colonel, Clarence Gordon Hume Henderson who was appointed to the unit on 30 October 1918. Major Henderson was a career Indian Army officer first commissioned in 1900 and who had served with the 29th Lancers (Deccan Horse) on the Western Front. The Battalion was inspected by Brigadier-General Norie who in a report dated 30 January 1919 wrote:
General Observations: The tone is good and the young officers keen. Training is still rudimentary and much more needs to be done but improvement is to be expected.
In several matters there is room for improvement, but considering that the Battalion was raised only on 3rd October 1918 it is settling down very satisfactorily. There are fourteen British Officers of whom seven return shortly to England. Of the remainder two are old-army, and four only speak Hindustani as yet.
Confidential review reports on Indian Army units, depots, British officers, etc. for 1918-1919: IOR/L/MIL/7/17030
In 1919, with the war now over it was decided to reduce the Battalion to a cadre of just 200 men. However, the Battalion was not disbanded and it was considered fit for active service when inspected in 1920. The Battalion was sent to Mesopotamia (Iraq) in August 1920 to help quell the 1920 Iraqi Revolt. Unfortunately, no war diary survives to record the Battalion’s activities. Soldiers of the Battalion who served in Iraq qualified for the General Service Medal with Iraq clasp and fortunately, their Medal Index Cards have survived. The Battalion was disbanded in October 1921. The extract below recorded the British officers serving with the Battalion in the January 1920 Indian Army List.
War Diaries of the 2nd Battalion 116th Mahrattas
Unfortunately, there are no war diaries for the 2nd Battalion 116th Mahrattas.
Further Sources for the 2nd Battalion 116th Mahrattas
For information concerning British and Indian officers who served with the 2nd Battalion 116th Mahrattas the Indian Army List can be consulted. The Medal Index Cards of soldiers entitled to the General Service Medal can be downloaded from the National Archives or viewed on Ancestry. Confidential reports for the regiment are held at the British Library: Confidential review reports on Indian Army units, depots, British officers, etc. for 1918-1919: IOR/L/MIL/7/17030 and Confidential review reports on Indian Army units, depots, British officers, etc. for 1919-1920: IOR/L/MIL/7/17031. These also contain the annual reports of the British officers serving with the Battalion.