This article will look at the short-lived 40th Cavalry Regiment and will help you to research a soldier who served with the Regiment. I have written other guides to help you research those who served in the Indian Army:
I also offer a First World War Soldier Research Service.
The 40th Cavalry Regiment in the First World War
Lineage: The 40th Cavalry Regiment was formed at Baleli in April 1918 and disbanded in 1921.
Composition in 1919: 1 Squadron of Rajputs, 1/2 a Squadron of Jats, 1/2 a Squadron of Sikhs, 1/2 a Squadron of Dogras and 1 and a 1/2 Squadrons of Muslims.
The 40th Cavalry Regiment was a short-lived Indian cavalry regiment formed in April 1918 by Lieutenant-Colonel James Robert Gaussen, C.M.G., D.S.O. The Regiment was formed from a squadron of the 1st Duke of York’s Own Lancers (Skinner’s Horse), 2 Squadrons from the 3rd Skinner’s Horse, and a Squadron from the 7th Hariana Lancers. In early 1919, the Regiment was inspected by Brigadier-General H. B. Birdwood, Commanding 12th Mounted Brigade who gave it a satisfactory report
The 40th Cavalry Regiment was stationed at Quetta in what is now the Balochistan Province of Pakistan when the Third Anglo-Afghan War began on 6 May 1919. The Regiment served with Baluchistan Force during the war and moved to Chaman (Balochistan, Pakistan) on 4 June 1919. Unfortunately, there is no war diary for Regiment’s involvement in the war. The 40th Cavalry Regiment moved to Sibi (Balochistan, Pakistan) on 17 November 1919 and by June 1920, the Regiment was stationed at Baleli with one squadron at Quetta and another at Gulistan. At the end of the year, the 40th Cavalry Regiment was still stationed at Baleli and no longer had any squadrons serving away from the unit. By May 1921, the Regiment was stationed at Saugor and was reported to be “under disbandment” which had been completed by August.
Below is an extract from the April 1919 Indian Army List which shows the British officers serving with the Regiment. Like other war-raised Indian units, the 40th Cavalry had a large number of British officers either on probation (on probn.) or from the Indian Army Reserve of Officers (I.A.R.O.).
Researching a Soldier who served in the 40th Cavalry Regiment
Researching a soldier who served in the 40th Cavalry Regiment is difficult as the Regiment left few records to consult and was disbanded shortly after it was raised. First, have a look at my guides to researching soldiers who served in the Indian Army. These articles will provide you with an overview of the sources you will need to consult and will explain the ranks and acronyms associated with the Indian Army. Click on the blue links to be taken to the relevant page. I also offer a soldier research service and have all the available information concerning the 40th Cavalry Regiment to hand.
British officers: The majority of British officers will not have surviving service records but you should check at both the British Library and National Archives. Also, if they were commissioned into the Indian Army Reserve of Officers (which is often recorded on their medal index card) check for an application to join the IARO. There is a single confidential report for the Regiment which also contains short reports on its British officers. I offer a copying service for all these documents. For promotions and other information look at the Indian Army List and search the London Gazette.
Indian officers: They are very difficult to research as there are no surviving service records. Look for promotion dates in the Indian Army List. Indian officers originally served in other cavalry regiments, so try to find the Indian officer in an Indian Army List from 1917 and after disbandment in 1921. You’ll need to match up enlistment and promotion dates as many Indian officers had the same name. The 40th Cavalry Regiment was initially created from the 1st Duke of York’s Own Lancers (Skinner’s Horse), 3rd Skinner’s Horse and 7th Hariana Lancers, so start with these regiments first.
Indian Rank and File: I currently do not know of any resources to research a soldier who served in the ranks of the 40th Cavalry Regiment.
War Diaries of the 40th Cavalry Regiment
War diaries were written by an officer of a unit and recorded its locations and activities. Unfortunately, there are no war diaries for the 40th Cavalry Regiment.
Further Sources of Information for the 40th Cavalry Regiment
There is a confidential report for the Regiment held at the British Library: Confidential review reports on Indian Army units, depots, British officers, etc. for 1918-1919: IOR/L/MIL/7/17030.
Regimental History: There is no regimental history for the 40th Cavalry Regiment.