37th Dogras

This article looks at the 37th Dogras and will help you to research the Regiment and those who served with it during the First World War. I have also written a series of guides which will help you to research those who served in the Indian Army during the war. To view the guides click on the blue link below:

Lineage: Raised at Sialkot by Lieutenant Colonel V. Rivaz in 1887 as the 37th (Dogra) Regiment of Bengal Infantry. It became the 37th Dogra Infantry in 1901, the 37th Dogras in 1903 and in 1922 the 1st Battalion 17th Dogra Regiment.

Class Composition of Battalion in 1914: 8 Companies Dogras. 1919: 4 Companies of Dogras.

Location in July 1914: The 37th Dogras was stationed at Jhelum (Punjab, Pakistan) having arrived from Nowgong (Madhya Pradesh, India) on 22nd November 1909.

The 37th Dogras in the First World War

The 37th Dogras was stationed at Jhelum when the First World War began in August 1914. The Regiment was inspected by Brigadier-General D. C. F. Macintyre, Commanding Jhelum Brigade in its confidential report for 1913-14:

The training of the battalion in all branches is up to date and carefully carried out; they march well and move quickly on manoeuvres. There is a very good esprit-de-corps in all ranks.

The battalion is well commanded and the officers, both British and Indian, are efficient.

Discipline: Very satisfactory.

Interior economy: Quite satisfactory.

Clothing: Due economy is practised as regards clothing deductions.

Fit for service.

Confidential review reports on Indian Army units for 1913-1914IOR/L/MIL/7/17023

The extract below was taken from the October 1914 Indian Army List and recorded the British officers who were serving with the Regiment.

37th Dogras British Officers 1914

The 37th Dogras left India at Karachi (Sindh, Pakistan) on 3 December 1915 and landed at Basra, Mesopotamia (Iraq) on 8 December. The Regiment served in Mesopotamia for the duration of the war as part of the 35th Indian Infantry Brigade, 14th Indian Division and there are three war diaries covering this period. The Regiment continued to serve in the Middle East after the war and in 1922 became the 1st Battalion 17th Dogra Regiment.

War Diaries of the 37th Dogras

There are five war diaries for the 37th Dogras and the first three have been digitized. To download these war diaries for a small fee click on the first three blue links below which will take you to the National Archives’ website. The other two war diaries have not been digitized and can only be viewed at the National Archives. I have copies of all the war diaries and have transcribed some of the entries below.

  • Date: 28 November 1915 – 31 December 1916
  • 35th Indian Infantry Brigade, 14th Indian Division
  • Reference: WO 95/5175/7
  • Notes: An average war diary though there are a wide variety of appendices.
  • Date: 01 January – 31 December 1917
  • 35th Indian Infantry Brigade, 14th Indian Division
  • Reference: WO 95/5175/8
  • Notes: A good war diary with many detailed entries and a variety of appendices including a list of British officers serving with the Regiment on 1 January 1918.
  • Date: 01 January – 31 December 1918
  • 35th Indian Infantry Brigade, 14th Indian Division
  • Reference: WO 95/5175/9
  • Notes: An average war diary at best with a few appendices. There are lists of British officers serving with the Regiment at the end of each month.
  • Date: 01 January 1919 – 31 August 1920 (March-April 1919 missing)
  • 5th Infantry Brigade, 2nd Indian Division
  • Reference: WO 95/5410
  • Notes: An average war diary, with a lot of brief and repetitive entries. There are lists of British officers serving with the 37th Dogras each month and strength returns. Also, a sketch ”Illustrating sniping of Bara Fort on night 3/4 June 1919”.
  • Date: 01 January 1922 – 28 February 1922
  • 10th Indian Infantry Brigade, Waziristan Force
  • Reference: WO 95/5400
  • Notes: A detailed war diary which describes the conditions faced by British and Indian soldiers who fought on the North-West Frontier. Both months contain a nominal roll of British officers present.

Further Sources for the 37th Dogras

If you are researching a British or Indian officer who served with the Regiment then the Indian Army List can be consulted. A good source for the 37th Dogras is its confidential reports held at the British Library in London: Confidential Reports on Regiments etc. These reports also contain the annual reports of the British officers serving with the Regiment. Though when the 37th Dogras was abroad only its Depot and the British officers serving with it were reported on. There is also a regimental history: A History of the 1st (P.W.O) Battalion: the Dogra Regiment 1887-1947: 37th Dogras, 1887-1922: 1st (P.W.O.) Bn., 17th Dogra Regt., 1922 – 1945 by C. T. Atkinson.

Extracts from War Diaries of the 37th Dogras

01 January 1922 – 28 February 1922, Waziristan Force, WO 95/5400

03 February 1922 – At 20.00 hours last night the Machine Guns in the fort opened fire on some men, who were seen moving about 100 yards from this Picquet, but were in dead ground from this Picquet. On being fired on these men disappeared, but were seen again close to West Tower Picquet, who opened fire on them. In the morning the men were discovered to be a gang of Langar Khel. The suffered 4 casualties, 1 killed and 3 wounded, one very seriously.

The perimeter was cut in 3 places last night, In one lace between No.9 and 10 Picquets and in two places between N.7 and 8 Picquets.

11 February 1922 – Company parades. C Company relieved D Company in permanent picquets. Last night at 21.00 hours a party of 10 men left the Jandola – Khirgi Road, just east of West Tower Piquet and started advancing towards the Picquet. The Picquet opened fire and the men lay down. After a few minuted the Picquet put up a Very Light and opened fire again and the men were seen doubling back don the road towards Jandola

17 February 1922 – 17.30 Hours ‘D’ permanent Picquet opened fire on 5 or 6 enemy who appeared to be taking up a position on a hill about 1400 yards distant from the piquet in a westerly direction. One man was seen to drop, the others disappeared.

Guides to Researching Soldiers who Served in the Indian Army

Guides to Researching Soldiers who Served in the British Army