2nd Battalion 76th Punjabis

This article on the short-lived 2nd Battalion 76th Punjabis aims to help you research either the Battalion or a soldier who served with it during the First World War. I have written a separate article for the 1st Battalion 76th Punjabis which was captured at Kut-al-Amara and have also created a series of guides to help you research soldiers who served in the Indian Army. The links below will take you to the guides:

The 2nd Battalion 76th Punjabis in the First World War

Lineage: Formed at Nasirabad on 16 October 1917. For a history of the Regiment’s lineage see my page on the 1st Battalion 76th Punjabis.

Class Composition of Battalion in 1919: 2 Companies of Punjabi Muslims, 1 Company of Sikhs and 1 Company of Jats.

The 2nd Battalion 76th Punjabis was a short-lived Indian infantry Battalion which was formed at Nasirabad on 16 October 1917. The Battalion received its first inspection in early 1918 and Major General Sir George Vere Kemball, Commanding 5th (Mhow) Division reported:

This new battalion contains good material but its progress since formation had been far too slow. There was no valid reason for not beginning musketry and a more strenuous spirit must be shown under the Commanding Officer.

Confidential review reports on Indian Army units, depots, British officers, etc. for 1917-1918: IOR/L/MIL/7/17029.

After a slow start, the Battalion made good progress and was reported as being fit for service in its confidential report for 1918-19. The Battalion did not serve outside of India during the First World War and in the January 1920 Indian Army List was stationed at Kohat (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan). The 2nd Battalion 76th Punjabis served with Waziristan Force in 1920 and a short war diary has survived. The 2nd Battalion 76th Punjabis was recorded as serving overseas in the July 1921 Indian Army List with its Depot at Jubbulpore, now Jabalpur (Madhya Pradesh, India). Three soldiers of the Battalion are commemorated on the Basra Memorial which indicated that the Battalion was serving in Mesopotamia (Iraq) from April and into the summer of 1921. The 2nd Battalion 76th Punjabis was disbanded in 1922. The extract below was taken from the April 1919 Indian Army List and recorded the British officers serving with the Battalion.

2nd Battalion 76th Punjabis British Officers

War Diaries of the 2nd Battalion 76th Punjabis

There is only a single war diary for the 2nd Battalion 76th Punjabis which as of January 2018 has not been digitized and can only be viewed by visiting the National Archives. I have a copy of the war diary and have transcribed some entries below.

  • Date: 01 October – 15 November 1920
  • Waziristan Force
  • Reference: WO 95/5398
  • Notes: The only war diary for the 2nd Battalion 76th Punjabis which though short at under 20 pages in length, contains plenty of useful information regarding the Battalion’s activities.

Further Sources for the 2nd Battalion 76th Punjabis

If you are researching a British or Indian officer who served with the 2nd Battalion 76th Punjabis the Indian Army List should be consulted. An excellent source of information for the Battalion is its confidential reports held at the British Library: Confidential Reports on Regiments etc. These also contain annual confidential reports for the British officers who served with the Battalion.

Extracts from War Diary of the 2nd Battalion 76th Punjabis 

01 October – 30 November 1920, Waziristan Force, WO 95/5398

08 August 1920 – Sora Rogha Camp – Camp fatigues. A message was received saying that 170 Abdullais were between Khirgi and Sora Rogha, for the purpose of riding. Picquets were warned to be on the look out. Nothing happened.

14 August 1920 -Sora Rogha Camp – Wire all correct. At about 02.00 hours several Mashuds were heard in the wire near “D” Camp picquet. Several Very lights were fired, fire was opened, and several bombs thrown. The Mashuds were heard to retire hurriedly. At 08.30 hours a party of Mashuds about 15 strong, armed with rifles, was reported by “A” picquet day group to be in a nullah, 400 yards to the North. 09.00 hours fun fire. The nullah being searched [?] by the guns. Observation was impossible from the picquets. At 10.00 hours, guns ceased firing, and the day group ordered back into position. Reported that no enemy visible.

At 13.00 hours Officer Commanding “B” picquet reported parties of Mashuds in the nullah east of his picquet. One Mashud approached to within 100 yards of the picquet was warned off; he shouted “We are not hostile”.

20 August 1920 – Sora Rogha Camp – The wire was cut last night to a depth of approximately six yards between Saliman [?] and “D” Camp picquets. At 02.00 the bomb trap which had been set on the 15 instant exploded. Several Very lights were fired, but nothing was seen. Result unknown.

24 August 1920 – Sora Rogha Camp – Holiday. The Force Commander presented parchment certificated for gallantry, devotion to duty at 18.30 hours [list of 10 Indian officers and other ranks].

10 September 1920 – Ladha Camp – The Buglers, Pipers and drummers practice the muster retreat daily under the Pipe-Major of the 2 Norfolk Regiment.

18 September 1920 Ladha Camp – The Battalion was formed up in mass outside the wire facing camp at 06.45 hours. Brigadier-General G.Gwyn-Thomas C.M.G. D.S.O. Commanding 9 Indian Infantry Brigade inspected the Regiment, bade farewell before marching off and congratulated it on the work it had done on the Frontier during the Campaign.

It is interesting to note that 53 men were left behind, in 27 C.C.C.S suffering from fever.

14 October 1920 – Kotkai – During the last three months the Regiment has suffered severely from fever. The number of admissions to hospital has been very high. This epidemic of fever has reached its culminating point here, in Kotkai. The daily sick slate averages nearly 10%; of this 9% is due to fever. (On 11 October 1920 the morning sick slate was 58, 53 of these being fever cases).

Guides to Researching Soldiers who Served in the Indian Army

Guides to Researching Soldiers who Served the British Army