This article is about the short-lived 2nd Battalion 25th Punjabis and will help you to research the Battalion and those who served with it during the First World War. I have also written a separate article for the 1st Battalion 25th Punjabis and a series of guides to help you research soldiers who served in the Indian Army during the war:
The 2nd Battalion 25th Punjabis in the First World War
Lineage: The 2nd Battalion 25th Punjabis was formed at Jhansi on 16th October 1917 and disbanded on 21 March 1922. For a history of the Regiment’s lineage see my page on the 1st Battalion 25th Punjabis.
Class Composition of Battalion in April 1919: 2 Companies of Punjabi Muslims, 1/2 a Company Bannuchis and Marwats, 1/2 a Company of Sikhs, 1/2 a Company of Dogras and 1/2 a Company of Pathans.
The 2nd Battalion 25th Punjabis was a short-lived Indian infantry battalion formed at Jhansi on 16th October 1917. In common with other war-raised units, the Battalion drew the majority of its British officers from either newly commissioned Indian Army officers on probation or the Indian Army Reserve of Officers (I.A.R.O.). Below you can see part of the July 1918, Indian Army List recording the British officers serving with the Battalion. Of the sixteen officers, only two were serving with the Indian Army before the outbreak of war.The Battalion was first inspected by Brigadier-General Robert Montagu Poore, Commanding Jhansi Brigade on 9 March 1918:
General efficiency: The regiment is being run on thorough and systematic lines. The organisation of its training is very good. The instruction is very thorough and the individuality of the men is very strongly brought out with the result the men have reached a very advanced stage for their service. I consider this regiment is in a very satisfactory state. There is a very good system in vogue of instructing young officers in their text-books.
Confidential review reports on Indian Army units, depots, British officers, etc. for 1918-1919 IOR/L/MIL/7/17030.
The 2nd Battalion 25th Punjabis served on the North West Frontier (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan) and a partial war diary exists for 1921 when the Battalion was stationed at Ladha, Waziristan. While on the North West Frontier the Battalion’s Depot was initially at Jhelum and afterwards at Delhi. The 2nd Battalion 25th Punjabis was disbanded on 21 March 1922.
War Diaries of the 2nd Battalion 25th 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 this war diary and have transcribed some entries below.
- Date: 01 May – 30 June and November 1921
- 9th Indian Infantry Brigade: Waziristan Force
- Reference: WO 95/5400
- Notes: Part of the war diary was ‘not sent owing to the Commandant going into hospital and the matter being overlooked’. A typical war diary for a unit serving on the North West Frontier, full of soldiers getting sniped at and details about picquets etc.
Further Sources for the 2nd Battalion 25th Punjabis
For information concerning the British and Indian officers who served with the 2nd Battalion 25th Punjabis, the Indian Army List should be consulted. Confidential reports for the Battalion are held at the British Library: Confidential Reports on Regiments etc. These confidential reports also contain the annual reports of the British officers who served with the Battalion.
Extracts from the War Diary of the 2nd Battalion 25th Punjabis
01 May – 30 June and November 1921, Waziristan Force, WO 95/5400
3 May 1921 – 05.30-17.30. Ladha Battalion on Convoy- Constructing 2 new permanent picquets- 2 enemy scouts seen watching construction of Camel Picquet. Fired 3 shells- Most effective.
11 June 1921- 05.15 to 10.00 – Ladha – A and B Companies under Captain Oliver Stephen Chaundler took up covering position while Two Tree Picquet was being rebuilt by pioneers. Party of about 20 Mashuds fired from North slope of Sniper’s Hill and inflicted one casualty: No. 2429 Sepoy Nadir Khan A Company Killed. Friendly villagers assisted in retirement which was ably carried out by Captain G.F.Abram.
15 June 1921- 14.30. – Ladha – Some firing took place in main nullah at Mashuds (friendly) who had stolen four mules. Hump and Potwela Picquets both fired a few rounds.
24 June 1921 – 05.00 – Ladha – Camp sniped from Snipers Hill. Two Tree Picquet (Commander No. 2108 Naik Sher Zaman) fired one Lewis gun magazine, 35 rifle rounds and 3 Stokes mortar shells, Snipers withdrew.
5 November 1921 – 19.45 – Parasol Picquet was approached by enemy scouts to within 10 yards of outer wire from North East- 2 hand grenades were thrown and 27 rounds from Lewis gun as they retreated North from North knoll North West 150 yards there was also an enemy covering party, which also retired on finding the picquet alert.