2nd Battalion 67th Punjabis

This article on the 2nd Battalion 67th Punjabis aims to help you research the Regiment and those who served with it during the First World War. I have also written a separate article for 1st Battalion 67th Punjabis and have created a series of guides to help you research soldiers who served in the Indian Army during the First World War. The links below will take you to the guides:

The 2nd Battalion 67th Punjabis in the First World War

Lineage: The 2nd Battalion 67th Punjabis was formed at Loralai ( (Balochistan, Pakistan) on 17 March 1915 and became the 10th Battalion 2nd Punjab Regiment on 1 March 1922. This was the Regiment’s training battalion. For a history of the Regiment’s lineage see my page on the 1st Battalion 67th Punjabis.

Class Composition of Battalion in 1915: 4 Companies of Punjabi Musalmans, 2 Companies of Sikhs and 2 Companies of Punjabi Hindus. 1919: 2 Companies of Punjabi Musalmans, 1 Company of Sikhs and 1 Company of Punjabi Hindus.

The 2nd Battalion 67th Punjabis was a short-lived, war-raised Indian infantry Battalion formed at Loralai (Balochistan, Pakistan) on 17 March 1915. The Battalion was one of the first of the new second battalions formed by Indian infantry regiments after the outbreak of war. Prior to August 1914, it as only the 39th Garhwal Rifles and the Gurkha regiments which had two battalions.

The Battalion was initially formed from details of the 1st Battalion 67th Punjabis left at Loralai, reservists from the 67th, 69th, and 74th Punjabis, and a Company of the 66th Punjabis. The first commanding officer was Lieutenant-Colonel Harry Burroughes Ford, who was appointed to the Battalion on 17 March 1915. Lieutenant-Colonel Ford had been commissioned in March 1888 and had seen extensive service on the North West Frontier and in Somaliland. The Battalion received its first inspection in February and March 1916 by Brigadier-General T. H. Hardy, Commanding 2nd (Quetta) Infantry Brigade:

General Observations– The battalion is fit in every way for active service, a state of efficiency which is very creditable to Lieutenant-Colonel Ford and the officers and non-commissioned officers under him.

On 4 April 1917, the Battalion arrived at Tank, a town on the North West Frontier (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan) and on the 18 April marched to Khajuri Kach, leaving 2 Companies at the Nili Kach Post. The Battalion received its baptism of fire on 1 May 1917, when 2 Companies were ambushed by Mahsuds (a Pashtun tribe) in the Nili Nullah (a nullah is a riverbed or ravine) along with a Company from the 94th Infantry. The Battalion suffered heavily, with Captain Everett, Jemadar Tahl Singh, Subadar Mit Singh and 20 rank and file being killed and 27 officers and men wounded. Unfortunately, no war diary survives from this period. The Battalion became part of the Waziristan Field Force when it was formed in May 1917, continued to garrison Khajuri Kach and Nili Kach and provided men to guard the Lines of Communication to Wano.

The 2nd Battalion 67th Punjabis then moved to Tank where it remained until December 1918 when it moved to Rawalpindi (Pakistan), and subsequently Chaklala (Rawalpindi) in March 1919. The Battalion was inspected on 23 March 1918, by Major-General Sir William Beynon, Commanding Derajat Brigade where its long service on the Frontier was shown to have taken a toll:

Owing to severe sickness in the autumn and to having been on outposts since January this year, the battalion requires steady drill and manoeuvres as a battalion before it can be considered quite satisfactory. Training on right lines. Did good work during the Mahsud expedition and has experience of Frontier warfare. Not up to pre-war standard.

When the Battalion was inspected in January 1919, it was described as, “A smart well set up battalion. They handle their arms well and move smartly”. In May 1919, the Battalion was mobilized to take part in the Third Anglo-Afghan War and there is a war diary covering this period. The Battalion moved to Ali Musjid, the narrowest part of the Khyber Pass, where it was employed on escort duties, and guarding forts and outposts in the area. The extract below was taken from the April 1919 Indian Army List and recorded the British officers serving with the Battalion. As the Indian Army List is full of military jargon I have created a page to help you: Indian Army Abbreviations and Acronyms.

2nd Battalion 67th PunjabisOn 2 July 1919, the Battalion moved from Ali Musjid to take over the Lower Khyber Posts with the Battalion HQ stationed at Shagai Post, 200 officers and men at Fort Maude and the rest scattered over a number of piquets and outposts. On the 18 July, a picquet was overrun and there is a very good description in the war diary which I have transcribed below. On the 30 August 1919, the Battalion took over the upper Khyber Posts before returning to Ali Musjid on 9 September.

The Battalion remained at Ali Musjid until September 1920, when it moved to Agra. The Battalion then served in Mesopotamia (Iraq) from March 1920 and arrived back in India in October 1920. The 2nd Battalion, 67th Punjabis became a Training Battalion on 1 March 1922 and was designated the 10th Battalion 2nd Punjab Regiment.

War Diary of the 2nd Battalion 67th Punjabis

There is only a single war diary for the 2nd Battalion 67th Punjabis which at the time of writing, July 2018, has not been digitized and can only be viewed at the National Archives. I have a copy and have transcribed some of the entries below.

  • Date: 07 May 1919 – 30 September 1919
  • 6th Infantry Brigade, 2nd Indian Division, North West Frontier Force
  • Reference: WO 95/5411
  • Notes: A good war diary with plenty of detailed entries describing the Battalion’s service on the North West Frontier. There are no appendices.

Further Sources for the 2nd Battalion 67th Punjabis

An excellent resource for the 2nd Battalion 67th Punjabis is its Confidential Reports held at the British Library: Confidential Reports on Regiments etcThese Confidential Reports also contain the annual reports for the British officers then serving with the Battalion. For information regarding the British and Indian officers who served with the Battalion, the Indian Army List should be consulted. There is a regimental history for the 67th Punjabis but it only contains a 2 page summary for the 2nd Battalion 67th Punjabis: History of the 1st Battalion, 2nd Punjab Regiment Late, 67th Punjabis, and Originally, 7th Madras Infantry 1761-1928 by Colonel N. Ogle and Lieutenant H. W. Johnston.

 

Extracts from War Diary of the 2nd Battalion 67th Punjabis

07 May 1919 – 30 September 1919, North West Frontier Force, WO 95/5411

07 May 1919 – Chaklala – 1st Day of mobilization. Preparing papers etc. Issuing orders for Movement and Depot. Ordered by 6th Infantry Brigade to be prepared to move at short notice to Nowshera. Weather cloudy, cool.

25 June 1919 – Ali Musjid – Usual guard piquets and escorts. After the disturbances last night there was no more trouble. 21.30 hours: Heaving firing for short duration heard from south end of Lower Camp. Firing was heard on occasions all through the night apparently work of tribesman snipers by the sound of the explosions.

18 July 1919 – Barley Hill Picquet – This piquet garrisoned by Jemadar Hussain Khan and 30 other Indian ranks was attacked by a party of tribesman numbering 5-600 at 06.45 hours. It is thought that there were many deserters from the Khyber Rifles in this party. The action could be seen from Shagai and at 09.40 hours the 6th Brigade were asked to send guns to assist. These guns arrived, got in their first shot at 11.50 hours. They consisted of 1/2 section of No.3 Mountain Battery.

After withstanding heavy attacks throughout the whole morning, the wounded of the picquet were evacuated at 11.45 hours and the remainder after firing their last shot were overpowered by 4-500 enemy coincident with the first shot from the guns. The picquet was reinforced by 35 Indian Other Ranks and Subadar Allah Dad Khan from Fort Maude, whose subsidiary picquet Battery Hill ? and 11,000 rounds were carried to it by these reinforcements covered by fire from Fort Maude.

The enemy finally rushed the picquet cleverly covering their rush by fire from the surrounding hill tops. Had the guns arrived 10 minutes earlier undoubtedly the picquet would have been saved. Jemadar Hussain Khan and 8 Indian other ranks killed and 25 Indian other ranks wounded. The enemy is believed to have suffered severe casualties as their first attacks were en-mass, while Fort Maude accounted for many.

Many of the enemy were seen through the glasses to be wearing light blue shirts, tucked into what appeared to be khaki shorts. Their pugrees [turbans] appeared to be dark coloured. Weather hot.

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