This article is about the 2nd Battalion 2nd Queen Victoria’s Own Rajput Light Infantry and will help you to research the Battalion and the soldiers who served with it during the First World War. I have written separate articles for the 1st and 3rd Battalions and a series of guides to researching soldiers who served in the Indian Army. To view these guides click on the blue links below:
- 1st Battalion 2nd Queen Victoria’s Own Rajput Light Infantry
- 3rd Battalion 2nd Queen Victoria’s Own Rajput Light Infantry
- Guides to Researching Soldiers who Served in the Indian Army
The 2nd Battalion 2nd Queen Victoria’s Own Rajput Light Infantry
Lineage: The 2nd Battalion 2nd Rajputs was formed at Agra on 15 June 1917 and was disbanded on 2 September 1921. For a history of the Regiment’s lineage see my page on the 1st Battalion, 2nd Queen Victoria’s Own Rajput Light Infantry.
Class Composition of Battalion in 1919: 4 Companies of Rajputs. July 1921: 2 Companies of Rajputs from the United Provinces (Uttar Pradesh) and 1 Company of Hindustani Musalmans.
The 2nd Battalion 2nd Rajputs (Queen Victoria’s Own) Rajput Light Infantry was a short-lived Indian infantry battalion formed at Agra on 15 June 1917. The Battalion did not have a high reputation and was first inspected by Brigadier-General F. Glanville, Commanding Bareilly Brigade on 12 March 1918:
The training of this unit cannot be considered more than fair. It suffered from a lack of instructors in its early stages, and now that this has to a great extent been rectified, an improvement in training may be looked for. Discipline indifferent. The number of desertions is high and there is a good deal of other crime including some thefts.
In the same report Lieutenant-General H. D’U. Keary wrote:
The battalion is in a backward state. The men are lacking in life and keenness. There have been a great many desertions and the discipline is not all it should be. There have been many faults acquired in the initial stages of training, and these are most difficult to eradicate. I do not consider that there is much intelligence amongst the class recruited, nor soldierly spirit.
Confidential review reports on Indian Army units, depots, British officers, etc. for 1917-1918: IOR/L/MIL/7/17029
The 2nd Battalion 2nd Rajputs had their next inspection on 12 March 1919 by Lieutenant-General Sir Frederick Campbell, Commanding 1st (Peshawar) Division who noted a great deal of improvement. The Battalion still had problems with discipline but this had improved once it had begun to demobilize following the Armistice in November 1918. However, on 6 May 1919, the Third Anglo-Afghan War broke out while the Battalion was stationed at Malakand on the North West Frontier, now the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan. The Battalion served as part of the North West Frontier Force and a very poor war diary is available covering the period between May and July 1919. In the July 1921 Indian Army List, the Battalion was stationed at Lucknow with a detachment at Chakdara, North West Frontier Province. The 2nd Battalion 2nd Rajputs was disbanded on 2 September 1921.
Below is part of the 2nd Battalion’s April 1919, Indian Army List entry which recorded the British officers serving with the Battalion. The overwhelming majority of officers serving with the Battalion were either from the Indian Army Reserve of Officers (I.A.R.O.), with a Temporary Commission (T.C.) or on Probation (on probn.). This was the typical composition of British officers serving with a war-raised Indian infantry battalion. Only the commanding officer, Acting Lieutenant-Colonel R. G. Strong was a pre-war career officer. I have created a page to help you decipher the military jargon found in the Indian Army List: Indian Army Abbreviations and Acronyms.
War Diary of the 2nd Battalion 2nd Rajputs
There is only one war diary for the Battalion which I have transcribed in its entirety below.
- Date: 08 May – 31 July 1919
- Lines of Communication Defence, Peshawar Area, North-West Frontier Force
- Reference: WO 95/5392
- Notes: A poor war diary, with few entries.
Further Sources for the 2nd Battalion 2nd Queen Victoria’s Own Rajput Light Infantry
For information regarding British and Indian officers who served with the 2nd Battalion 2nd Rajputs, the Indian Army List should be consulted. The confidential reports of the Battalion are held at the British library: Indian Army Regimental Confidential Reports. These reports also contain the annual reports of the British officers serving with the Battalion.
War Diary of the 2nd Battalion 2nd Rajputs
08 May – 31 July 1919, North-West Frontier Force, WO 95/5392
08 May 1919 – Malakand – On the 8th May 1919 received copy of a wire… to mobilise units stationed in Malakand. Previous to this unit always practically mobilized.
Mobilisation completed on the 10 May with the exception of 80 leave and furlough men who had been recalled on the 6 May. These men continued to come in in twos and threes daily until the end of the month. Explanation of delay great congestion on the railways and late arrival of orders to rejoin. All British officers except one were present with the unit and he on receiving necessary orders to mobilize rejoined on the 13 May.
22 May 1919 – Malakand – Nothing to report until the 22 May 1919. At 13.00 hours on the 22 May 1919 information was received that one Swat ? estimated bout 2,400 at Shamazai, six miles North-east of Chakdara and 15 miles from Malakand. These dispersed late on the 23 or early morning of the 24 May 1919. From the 22 May 1919 to the end of the month temperature has been 8° above normal. Nothing to report when this closes on the 31 May 1919.
01 June 1919 – Leave and furlough men continued to return and were at present on the 12 June 1919 except two and one reported dead. Nothing to report from the 1 to the 22 June 1919.
23 June 1919 – Malakand – Temperature continues to be considerably above normal. Health of the Regiment ? good.
30 June – Malakand – From 23 June 1919 to end of the month there is nothing to report.
01 – 31 July 1919- Malakand – Nothing to report from the 1 to the 31 July.