This article is about the 2nd Battalion 72nd Punjabis and will help you research this short-lived Battalion and those who served with it during the First World War. I have written a separate article for the 72nd Punjabis and a series of guides to help you research those who served in the Indian Army during the war. The links below will take you to the guides:
The 2nd Battalion
72nd Punjabis in the First World War
Lineage: The 2nd Battalion 72nd Punjabis was formed at Kamptee (Nagpur, Maharashtra, India) on 16 October 1917. For a history of the Regiment’s lineage see my page on the 1st Battalion 72nd Punjabis. The Battalion was disbanded on the 15 May 1921.
Class Composition of Battalion in 1919: 2 Companies of Sikhs, 1 Company of Punjabi Mussalmans and 1 Company of Pathans.
The 2nd Battalion, 72nd Punjabis was a short-lived, war-raised Indian infantry battalion formed at Kamptee (Nagpur, Maharashtra, India) on 16 October 1917. The Battalion’s first commanding officer was Acting Lieutenant-Colonel Henry Maurice Butler, who was appointed on 16 October 1917 from the 104th Wellesley’s Rifles. The Battalion drew the majority of its British officers from recently commissioned Indian Army officers or from the Indian Army Reserve of Officers. The Battalion received its first inspection on 31 January 1918 by Brigadier-General C. G. Prendergast, Commanding Jubbulpore Brigade:
Care of equipment. In good order and clean. The battalion consists of a nucleus. Recruits are coming in an elementary stage and are quite satisfactory. The Commanding and British officers and nucleus appeared capable and efficient and should raise a good regiment in course of time.
Confidential review reports on Indian Army units, depots, British officers, etc. for 1918-1919: IOR/L/MIL/7/17030.
In the same report, Major-General George Vere Kemball, Commanding the 5th (Mhow) Division commented “Rather slow information. Wants speeding up”. In May 1918, the Battalion moved to Multan (Punjab, Pakistan). There it was inspected by Brigadier-General P. J. Miles, Commanding Multan Brigade on 26 February 1919:
This unit was inspected by the Inspector of Infantry North in August, who considered it shaping well. Was then ordered to be ready for Field Service in November, which was afterwards altered to December and later countermanded. On demobilisation commencing, it was ordered to reduce to a cadre, but at end of January, again ordered to maintain strength of 940, all these facts show how difficult it has been to carry out systematic training. The administration of this unit is carried out on sound lines, and credit is due to the Commanding Officer [Butler] who has not spared himself.
Confidential review reports on Indian Army units, depots, British officers, etc. for 1919-1920: IOR/L/MIL/7/17031.
The Battalion served overseas in the Middle East before it was disbanded on 15 May 1921. While overseas, the Battalion’s Depot was at Anandi. Below is part of the Battalion’s entry in the April 1919 Indian Army List showing some of the British officers who served with it. You’ll notice that there are only three pre-war officers while the rest are mostly from the Indian Army Reserve of Officers (I.A.R.O.) or holding a Temporary Commission (T.C.). I’ve written a guide to help you use this important resource: Guide to the Indian Army List.
War Diaries of the 2nd Battalion 72nd Punjabis
Unfortunately, there are no war diaries for the 2nd Battalion 72nd Punjabis.
Further Sources for the 2nd Battalion 72nd Punjabis
For information regarding British and Indian officers serving with the 2nd Battalion 72nd Punjabis, the Indian Army List should be consulted. There are three confidential reports for the Battalion are held at the British Library which also contains the annual reports of the British officers who served with the Battalion:
- Confidential review reports on Indian Army units, depots, British officers, etc. for 1918-1919: IOR/L/MIL/7/17030
- Confidential review reports on Indian Army units, depots, British officers, etc. for 1919-1920: IOR/L/MIL/7/17031
- Depot only: Confidential review reports on Indian Army units, depots, British officers, etc. for 1920-1921: IOR/L/MIL/7/17032