This article on the short-lived 2nd Battalion 119th Infantry (The Mooltan Regiment) will provide you with an overview of the Battalion’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 119th Infantry (The Mooltan Regiment) and a series of guides to help you research soldiers who served in the Indian Army during World War One. To view the guides click on the links below.
- 1st Battalion 119th Infantry (The Mooltan Regiment)
- Guides to Researching Soldiers who Served in the Indian Army
The 2nd Battalion 119th Infantry in the First World War
Lineage: There were two distinct 2nd Battalion 119th Infantry battalions during the First World War. The first was formed from the survivors of the 1st Battalion 119th Infantry (The Mooltan Regiment) which hadn’t been captured at Kut-al-Amara. This Battalion was in existence for less than a year before reverting to the 119th Infantry (The Mooltan Regiment). The next 2nd Battalion was formed at Jubbulpore (Jabalpur, Madhya Pradesh, India) on 15 June 1917 and disbanded on 1 August 1921.
Class Composition of Battalion in 1919: 1 Company of Rajputana Rajputs, 1 Company of Rajputana Gujars, 1 Company of Mers and 1 Company of Hindustani Musalmans.
NB: There were two distinct 2nd Battalion 119th Infantry battalions formed during the First World War. See my lineage note above.
In April 1916, the 119th Infantry (The Mooltan Regiment) was captured when the town of Kut-al-Amara fell to besieging Ottoman forces. In June 1916, a second battalion was formed in Mesopotamia from the remnants of the Regiment which hadn’t been besieged at Kut-al-Amara in December 1915. The 2nd Battalion 119th Infantry was officially constituted on 6 June 1916 at Amara and began a long period of training which was hampered by a lack of British and Indian officers.
The 2nd Battalion 119th Infantry moved to Qalat Saleh on 8 July, Abu Sidra on 23 August and Amara on 24 August 1916. During this period the Battalion provided escorts, guards and continued its training. On the 30 September 1916, the strength of the Battalion was 7 British officers, 4 Indian officers and 630 Indian other ranks. On the 21 October 1916, the Battalion left Amara and arrived at Sheikh Sa’ad the next day. The 2nd Battalion 119th Infantry remained at Sheikh Sa’ad until 20 December 1916 when the Battalion moved into an outpost line between Atab and Iman-al-Mansur. The Battalion returned to Iman-al-Mansur on 5 January and then joined the 8th Brigade which was operating in the Muhammad Abdul Hassan bend on 14 January 1917.
On the 5 February 1917, the Battalion moved to Bassouia and subsequently into a line of redoubts where it remained until it moved to the Bassouia Bridgehead on 24 March 1917. The Battalion was then redesignated as the 119th Infantry and for further information regarding the Battalion turn to my page on the 1st Battalion 119th Infantry (The Mooltan Regiment).
The next 2nd Battalion 119th Infantry (The Mooltan Regiment) was formed at Jubbulpore (Jabalpur, Madhya Pradesh, India) on 15 June 1917 and disbanded on 1 August 1921. The Battalion’s first commanding officer was Acting Lieutenant-Colonel Thomas de Beauvoir Carey who was appointed from the 1st Battalion 119th Infantry on 22 June 1917. The 2nd Battalion was inspected by Brigadier-General C. G. Prendergast, Commanding Jubbulpore Brigade on 13 February 1918 by which time the Battalion’s strength has reached 1,000 men:
The training of this unit, which was formed on the 15th June 1917, has been hampered partly by the delay that occurred in obtaining its nucleus, and partly owing to a sudden influx of recruits for whom no adequate instructing staff was prepared. Latterly a great improvement in the method of training has been noticed, and the officer commanding has evidently speeded matters up. The battalion is not fit for active service.
Confidential review reports on Indian Army units, depots, British officers, etc. for 1917-1918: IOR/L/MIL/7/17029.
The Battalion joined the 4th (Quetta) Division in 1918 which remained in India for the duration of the war. Below is an excerpt from the July 1918 Indian Army List showing the British officers who were serving with the Battalion. The Battalion’s British officers were mainly comprised of Indian Army officers on probation (on prob.) or drawn from the Indian Army Reserve of Officers (I.A.R.O.). This composition was typical of a war-raised Indian infantry battalion.
The Battalion did not serve outside of India during the First World War nor did it take part in the Third Anglo-Afghan War. In the January and April 1920 Indian Army Lists the Battalion was at Quetta. The 2nd Battalion 119th Infantry was disbanded on 1 August 1920.
War Diary of the 2nd Battalion 119th Infantry (The Mooltan Regiment)
There is only one war diary for the 2nd Battalion 119th Infantry which has been digitized and can be downloaded from the National Archives’ website. To download the war diary for a small fee click on the blue link below. I have transcribed some of the entries below.
- Date: 05 June 1916 – 31 March 1917
- Tigris Defences and Communications, Shaikh Saad, Mesopotamia
- Reference: WO 95/5022/11
- Notes: The only war diary is detailed in parts but entries are usually short. There are a few appendices, operational orders and two sketches, one of field works constructed and the other of an outpost line in December 1916.
Further Sources for the 2nd Battalion 119th Infantry (The Mooltan Regiment)
For information concerning the British and Indian officers who served with the 2nd Battalion 119th Infantry (The Mooltan Regiment), the Indian Army List can be consulted. There are three confidential reports for the Battalion held at the British Library which also contain the annual reports of the British officers serving with the Battalion.
- Confidential review reports on Indian Army units, depots, British officers, etc. for 1917-1918: IOR/L/MIL/7/17029
- Confidential review reports on Indian Army units, depots, British officers, etc. for 1918-1919: IOR/L/MIL/7/17030
Confidential review reports on Indian Army units, depots, British officers, etc. for 1919-1920: IOR/L/MIL/7/17031
Extracts from War Diary of the 2nd Battalion 119th Infantry (The Mooltan Regiment)
05 June 1916 – 31 March 1917, Mesopotamia, WO 95/5022/11
05 June 1916 – Amara – First draft for the new 2nd Battalion 119th Infantry arrived at Amara.
06 June 1916 – Amara – British officers arrived and Regiment officially constituted.
22 – 30 June 1916 – Amara – The chief difficulty experienced in the training of the Regiment has been the deficiency of British and Indian officers.
August 1916 – Between the dates 24 August – 31 August the strength of the regiment was increased by 189 N.C.O.s and men. The majority of whom came up from Basra. A large number of these men were in very bad physical condition and from the whole regiment 149 men were transferred to hospital during the week ending August 31.
25 – 26 October 1916 – Sheikh Saad – During the night Arabs cut a roadway through wire between posts 9 and 10 and from the footwork had taken away a horse.
09 November 1916 – Sheikh Saad – Owing to wood ration having decreased to 4 ounces per man and on one day to nil a party of 50 men were sent over to the left bank to collect fuel.
04 January 1917 – R3 – Work on new blockhouse line Turk’s Ridge – R3 – Hai continued. Site of new camp improved and five men wounded by bomb which was buried in ground and struck by a pick of one of the working party.
15 January 1917 – Imam-al-Mansor – Orders received to change all rifles for those of Mark VII (HV) pattern. Party sent to Imam to take over all rifles of 2nd Battalion 124th Baluch Infantry and by evening 555 rifles had been exchanged.