This article is about the 2nd Battalion 19th Punjabis and will help you to research the Regiment and soldiers who served with it during World War One. I have written a separate article about the 1st Battalion 19th Punjabis and a series of guides to help you to research soldiers who served in the Indian Army during the First World War. To view the guides click on the blue links below:
The 2nd Battalion 19th Punjabis in the First World War
Lineage: The 2nd Battalion 19th Punjabis was formed at Hyderabad Sind (Sindh, Pakistan) on 12th January 1917 and disbanded on 24 August 1922. For a history of the Regiment’s lineage see my page on the 1st Battalion 19th Punjabis.
Class Composition of Battalion in 1919: 2 Companies Sikhs, 1 Company Punjabi Muslims and 1 Company Pathans.
The 2nd Battalion 19th Punjabis was a short-lived Indian infantry battalion formed at Hyderabad, Sind (Sindh, Pakistan) on 12 January 1917. The Battalion initially served with the 4th (Quetta) Division which would remain in India for the duration of the First World War. The Battalion’s commanding officer during its formation was Lieutenant-Colonel George Ross Deas Churchill who was appointed from the 1st Battalion, 19th Punjabis on 2 March 1917. Churchill was killed in action on 20 December 1919 while commanding the Battalion and is commemorated on the Delhi Memorial (India Gate). The following was reported when the Battalion was inspected for its confidential report for 1917-18: ”The tone pervading the Officers Mess and the whole of the Indian ranks is evidence of good discipline and general contentment. Fit for service”.
The Battalion received its orders to mobilize while serving at Fort Sandeman (Zhob), Balochistan on 19 December 1917. Before the Battalion departed for Egypt, A and B Companies served with the Marri Field Force between March and April 1918. The Battalion embarked on board the Hired Transport Egra at Karachi on 11 May 1918 and disembarked at Suez on 25 May 1918. The Battalion served as part of the 179th Infantry Brigade, 60th London Division between May 1918 and January 1919. While the Battalion served overseas its Depot was at Hyderabad, Sindh. A war diary is available but the majority of entries are very brief. The Battalion served on the North West Frontier and in Aden after the war (July 1921 Indian Army List) and was disbanded on 24 August 1922. The extract below was taken from the April 1919 Indian Army List and recorded the British officers serving with the Battalion. There were four pre-war Indian Army officers serving with the Battalion which is more than is usually found in a war-raised battalion. A lot of the officers were either from the Indian Army Reserve of Officers (I.A.R.O.) or were on probation (on probn.).
War Diary of the 2nd Battalion 19th Punjabis
There is only one war diary for the Battalion which hasn’t been digitized and can only be viewed at the National Archives. I have a copy of the war diary and have transcribed some of the longer entries below.
- Date: 19 December 1917 – 31 January 1919
- 179th Infantry Brigade, 60th London Division
- Reference: WO 95/4668
- Notes: The majority of entries are very brief and are a single line in length and the war diary between December 1917 and 22 May 1918 is on a single page. A lot of Indian officers are mentioned by name.
Further Sources for the 2nd Battalion 19th Punjabis
For information concerning British and Indian officers who served with the 2nd Battalion 19th Punjabis, the Indian Army List should be consulted. The confidential reports for the 2nd Battalion 19th Punjabis which also contain the annual reports of its British officers are held at the British Library: Confidential Reports on Regiments etc. However, when the Battalion was abroad only its Depot and the British officers serving there were reported on.
Extracts from War Diary of the 2nd Battalion 19th Punjabis
19 December 1917 – 31 January 1919, Egyptian Expeditionary Force, WO 95/4668
12 August 1918 – In the line- In conjunction with raiding operation carried out by 10 Division No.10 Platoon under Jemadar Sahib Shah raided enemy trench in J20d (Map Ref Telfit 1/40,000). The trench was found to be quite empty and the Platoon returned sustaining 3 casualties, 3 men wounded, by machine gun fire from either flank.
13 August 1918 – In the line- Strong enemy patrol threw 2 bombs into one of our advanced posts wounding 3 men. Patrol was driven off by our bombs and rifles fire at 01.30 hours. The patrol appeared again at 01.50 hours and opened fire with two machine guns on another of our advanced posts from about 300 yards range. Our men did not return the fire and the Patrol withdrew having caused no damage. 2 Wounded evacuated and struck off strength.