This article on the 2nd Battalion 90th Punjabis aims to help you research this short-lived Indian infantry battalion and those who served with it during the First World War. I have written a separate article for the 1st Battalion 90th Punjabis and also a series of guides to help you research soldiers who served in the Indian Army. The links below will take you to the guides:
- Guide to the 1st Battalion 90th Punjabis
- Guides to Researching Soldiers who Served in the Indian Army
The 2nd Battalion 90th Punjabis in the First World War
Lineage: The 2nd Battalion 90th Punjabis was formed at Dhond (Daund, Maharashtra, India) on 20 July 1918 and was disbanded on 15 May 1922. For a history of the Regiment’s lineage see my page on the 1st Battalion 90th Punjabis.
Class Composition of Battalion in 1919: 1 Company of Sikhs, 1 Company of Punjabi Muslims, 1 Company of Brahmans and 1 Company of Ahirs.
The 2nd Battalion 90th Punjabis was a short-lived Indian infantry battalion formed at Dhond (Daund, Maharashtra, India) on 20 July 1918. On the 25 July 1918, Acting Lieutenant-Colonel Lytton Cecil Lambert Bayley was appointed to the Battalion from the 6th Cavalry. The Battalion was inspected at Dhond by Major-General Sir Michael Joseph Tighe, Commanding Poona Division who reported:
General Observations: This unit had a great deal to contend with in the preliminary stages of its existence. I saw it twice at work. It was satisfactory and progressive under the circumstances.
Confidential review reports on Indian Army units, depots, British officers, etc. for 1918-1919: IOR/L/MIL/7/17030.
The extract below was taken from the April 1919 Indian Army List and recorded the British officers serving with the Battalion. The Indian Army List is a great resource to use but full of military jargon so I have created a page to help you: Indian Army Abbreviations and Acronyms. On the 26 June 1919, the Battalion joined Waziristan Force from Dhond and served at Bannu. It was noted as serving with the “Field Force” in the January and April 1920 editions of the Indian Army List. The Battalion’s Depot was at Dhond during this period. There are 25 soldiers of the 2nd Battalion 90th Punjabis commemorated by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. All are commemorated on the Delhi Memorial (India Gate) except for Beniadho Singh who was serving in Mesopotamia at the time of his death. The 2nd Battalion 90th Punjabis was disbanded on 15 May 1922.
One of the British officers who served with the Battalion was Herbert Reginald Robinson who was its Quartermaster and subsequently Adjutant. Robinson was an interesting character who also served in the Burma Military Police in the early 1920s. Robinson had to resign his commission in 1923 as part of the Indian Army’s cutbacks. While in Burma, Robinson knew George Orwell, became addicted to opium and tried to take his own life but only succeeded in blinding himself. His autobiography A Modern de Quincey: Autobiography of an Opium Addict has been reprinted, though he only devotes a few lines to his service with the 2nd Battalion 90th Punjabis.
War Diaries of the 2nd Battalion 90th Punjabis
Unfortunately, there are no war diaries for the 2nd Battalion 90th Punjabis.
Further Sources for the 2nd Battalion 90th Punjabis
For information concerning British and Indian officers who served with the 2nd Battalion 90th Punjabis, the Indian Army List should be consulted. The Confidential Reports for the Battalion are held at the British Library: Confidential Reports on Regiments etc. These reports also contain the annual confidential reports of the British officers who were serving with the Battalion at the time.