This article on the 37th Lancers (Baluch Horse) provide you with an overview of the activities of the 37th Lancers (Baluch Horse) during the First World War and help you research a soldier who served with the Regiment. I have also written other guides on the Indian Army:
The 37th Lancers (Baluch Horse) in the First World War
Lineage: Raised by Major A. L. McNair at Shikarpur, Scinde in 1885 as the 7th Bombay Cavalry (Jacob-ka-Risallah) and became the 7th Bombay Cavalry (Baluch Horse) in 1886. Then the 7th Bombay Lancers (Blauch Horse) in 1890 and the 37th Lancers (Baluch Horse) in 1903. In 1921 amalgamated with the 17th Cavalry to form the 17th/37th Cavalry and in 1922 became the 15th Lancers.
Composition in 1914: 2 Squadrons of Derajat Musalmans and Baluchis, 1 of Pathans and 1 of Sikhs.
Location in July 1914: The 37th Lancers (Baluch Horse) was stationed at Multan (Punjab, Pakistan) having arrived from Lahore Cantonment (Punjab, Pakistan) on 17 October 1913.
When the First World War broke out in August 1914, the 37th Lancers (Baluch Horse) was stationed at Multan (Punjab, Pakistan). The 37th Lancers had been inspected by Major-General H. B. B. Watkis, Commanding 3rd (Lahore) Division in its annual confidential report for 1913-14 who reported:
The regiment is in a very efficient condition and in every respect fit for active service. The horses are as good as any I have seen in a sillader regiment, the men all good riders and of excellent material. British and Indian officers keen and energetic. A slight falling off in drill and manoeuvre, in fire discipline and in signaling in the field is reported and requires attention. I also want to see an improvement in musketry both in standard of range practices which is below the average and in the carrying out of more field practices.
Confidential review reports on Indian Army units for 1913-1914: IOR/L/MIL/7/17023
The 37th Lancers (Baluch Horse) remained in India for the duration of the war and there is little information to consult to find out its activities. On the 31 October 1919, the Regiment arrived at Ambala (Haryana, India) where it remained before proceeding to Mesopotamia (Iraq) in 1920. The 37th Lancers (Baluch Horse) would take part in the suppression of the 1920 Iraq Revolt but there is no war diary until October 1920. However, soldiers of the Regiment who took part in the campaign qualified for the General Service Medal with Iraq Clasp and their medal records have survived. The Regiment arrived back in India in 1921 and was recorded as stationed at Multan in the July 1921, Indian Army List. In 1922, the 37th Lancers (Baluch Horse) was amalgamated with the 17th Cavalry to form the 15th Lancers.
Researching Soldiers who Served in the 37th Lancers (Baluch Horse) during WW1
I would suggest starting off by looking at my Guides to Researching the Indian Army in WW1. Researching soldiers who served in the 37th Lancers (Baluch Horse) is a difficult task compared to other Indian cavalry regiments as there are few records to consult. Also, the Regiment sent drafts to other Indian cavalry regiments and these men can be difficult to trace unless they became casualties or were officers. However, the Medal Index Cards for the General Service Medal with Iraq Clasp have survived and can be viewed on Ancestry or downloaded from the National Archives‘ website. A lot of soldiers who served in the First World War would also have served in Mesopotamia in 1920 and the war diary (discussed below) can be downloaded.
British Officers: First start off by looking for a service record at the British Library and then at the National Archives. If the officer was commissioned into the Indian Army Reserve of Officers then look for an application. British officers’ Confidential Reports are useful and as the regiment remained in India there is a complete set until 1919. Many British officers served with another regiment during the war, so you will need to check multiple copies of the Indian Army List which will also contain promotion dates.
Indian Officers: Looking for an officer in the Indian Army List will give you their promotion and enlistment dates. You will want to look at a war service statement which appeared in the January Indian Army Lists. Try to get the latest date you can as they do become more detailed. If you find an Indian officer attached to another regiment you’ll want to get that regiment’s war diaries as Indian officers are often mentioned by name.
Rank and File: Unfortunately, very difficult. If a service number is known then an enlistment date can be worked out. If you have a service number then you should also check the Medal Index Cards for the Iraq Clasp to see if you can find a match. A number of the rank and file would have served as drafts to other regiments including the 15th Lancers (Cureton’s Multanis) and 36th Jacob’s Horse.
War Diary of the 37th Lancers (Baluch Horse)
There is only one war diary for the 37th Lancers (Baluch Horse) which can be downloaded for a small fee by clicking on the blue link below.
- Date: 27 October 1920 – January 1921
- 7th Indian Cavalry Brigade
- Reference: WO 95/5090/3
- Notes: A short war diary which doesn’t contain much detail. The war diary has been digitized and is included with a group of Indian cavalry regiments. The war diary for the 37th Lancers (Baluch Horse) starts on page 144 of the pdf file. I have transcribed a few extracts below.
Further Sources for the 37th Lancers (Baluch Horse)
A good source of information concerning the 37th Lancers (Baluch Horse) and the British officers who served with it are its confidential reports held at the British Library: Confidential Reports on Regiments etc. However, when the Regiment was abroad only its Depot and the British officers serving with it were reported on.
Extracts from War Diary of the 37th Lancers (Baluch Horse)
27 October 1920 – January 1921, 7th Indian Cavalry Brigade, WO 95/5090/3
27 October 1920 – Samawah – Detrained at Samawah and encamped with 10th Lancers on left bank of the river Euphrates.
28 October 1920 – 10th Lancers being relieved proceeded to Basrah. A Squadron proceeded with Column of all arms to Abuquaitan, returned to camp at 15.00 hours. Casualties nil.
29 October 1920 – A and B Squadrons proceeded with Column of all arms to Dabbus where night was spent.
30 October 1920: Column proceeded to Khunainiyah and returned to Camp Samawah at 14.00 hours. Casualties for 29 October: Indian Other Ranks: 1 killed, 2 wounded. Horses: 3 wounded. 30 October: Indian Other Ranks: 2 wounded. Horses: 6 wounded.
31 October – 10 November 1920: In Camp.