This article will look at the short-lived 2nd Battalion 50th Kumaon Rifles and will help you to research the Regiment and those who served with it during the First World War. I have written a separate article for the 1st Battalion 50th Kumaon Rifles and a series of guides to help you research soldiers who served in the Indian Army during the First World War. To view these guides click on the links below:
The 2nd Battalion 50th Kumaon Rifles in the First World Wa
Lineage: The 2nd Battalion 50th Kumaon Rifles was formed at Bareilly (Uttar Pradesh, India) on 6 June 1918 and was disbanded in March 1923.
Class Composition of Battalion in 1918: 2 Companies of Kumaonis, and 2 Companies of Brahmans.
The 2nd Battalion 50th Kumaon Rifles was a short-lived, war-raised Indian infantry battalion which was formed at Bareilly (Uttar Pradesh, India) on 6 June 1918. The first commanding officer was Acting Lieutenant-Colonel Denis Wellesley Maxwell, who was appointed to the Battalion from the 2nd Battalion 4th Gurkha Rifles on 18 June 1918. Maxwell was first commissioned on 29 February 1895 and had served on the North West Frontier and in the Boxer Rebellion, though he saw no active service during the First World War.
The majority of British officers who served with the unit during its first year were from the Indian Army Reserve of Officers or Indian Army officers on probation. The Battalion was inspected by Brigadier-General F. W. B. Gray, C.MG., D.S.O., Commanding Bareilly Brigade on 15 March 1919:
Instruction and training satisfactory considering that the battalion is a new one with young non-commissioned officers. Drill and marching might be improved, also instruction of non-commissioned officers in leading platoons at drill… It is now up to pre-war standards as regards physique as far as I can judge Kumaonis, but not up to standard as regards training. This latter will be remedied but requires time.
The Battalion was also inspected by Major-General O. S. W. Nugent, C.B., D.S.O., Commanding Meerut Division, as part of the same report on 10 April 1919:
The 2-50th Kumaonis on being raised in June 1918 had the advantage of receiving a number of trained and partly trained men from other units. Their training proceeded rapidly in consequence. The nit is well commanded and is fit for service overseas. The battalion is worth retention as a permanent unit of the Indian Army.
Confidential review reports on Indian Army units, depots, British officers, etc. for 1918-1919: IOR/L/MIL/7/17030
The Battalion was recorded as serving at Peshawar, North West Frontier Province in the January 1920 Indian Army List, and Waziristan, North West Frontier Province in the July 1921 and January 1922 editions. Despite favourable reports, the Battalion was disbanded in March 1923.
Further Sources for the 2nd Battalion 50th Kumaon Rifles
For information regarding British and Indian officers who served with the 2nd Battalion 50th Kumaon Rifles the Indian Army List can be consulted. Confidential reports for the Battalion are held at the British Library from 1918-1919 onward: Confidential review reports on Indian Army units, depots, British officers, etc. These also contain the annual reports of British officers serving with the Battalion.
I would also recommend having a look at Handbooks for the Indian Army Kumaonis 1933. This small book gives an overview of the history and customs of the Kumaonis. You can buy a reprint very cheaply from AbeBooks.