This article will look at the short-lived 42nd Cavalry Regiment and will provide you with an overview of the Regiment’s service during the First World War and 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:
The 42nd Cavalry Regiment (Indian Army) 1918-1921
Lineage: The 42nd Cavalry Regiment was formed at Baleli on 2 August 1918 and disbanded in 1921.
Composition in 1919: 1 3/4 Squadrons Sikhs, 1 1/4 Squadrons Punjabi Muslims, 1/2 Squadron Pathans, 1/4 Squadron Dogras and a 1/4 Squadron Hindustani Muslims.
The 42nd Cavalry was a short-lived Indian cavalry regiment formed at Baleli on 2 August of 1918 and disbanded in 1921. The 42nd Cavalry Regiment was formed around a nucleus of the sixth squadron of the 35th Scinde Horse and a squadron from the 10th Lancers (Hodson’s Horse). The Regiment was raised and initially commanded by Acting Lieutenant-Colonel Percy Henry Mitchell Taylor who was appointed from the 32nd Lancers on 26 July 1918.
On the 12 March 1919, the 42nd Cavalry Regiment was inspected by Lieutenant-Colonel D. Baird on behalf of Lieutenant-General R. Wapshare, Commanding 4th (Quetta) Division who reported:
Considering the short time the Regiment has been raised it has done extremely well. I have seen it in the Field and on Ceremonial parade and it showed up very creditably. The turn-out is good and the horses are in good condition and trained well.
Confidential review reports on Indian Army units, depots, British officers, etc. for 1918-1919 IOR/L/MIL/7/17030
When the Third Anglo-Afghan War broke out on 6 May 1919, the 42nd Cavalry Regiment was at Quetta (Balochistan, Pakistan) and moved to Chaman (Balochistan, Pakistan) on 4 June 1919. There is a war diary covering the Regiment’s activities during July 1919 but it is very poor. In October 1919, the 42nd Cavalry Regiment joined the East Persia Force where it continued to serve into 1921. While the Regiment served with the East Persia Force its Depot was at Sibi (Balochistan, Pakistan). The 42nd Cavalry Regiment was disbanded in 1921.
Below is an extract taken from the Indian Army List April 1919 showing British officers serving with the 42nd Cavalry Regiment. The large numbers of British officers either on probation (on probn.) or from the Indian Army Reserve of Officers (I.A.R.O.) is typical of a war-raised Indian unit.
Researching a Soldier who Served in the 42nd Cavalry Regiment
Researching soldiers who served with the 42nd Cavalry Regiment is a difficult task due to the paucity of records concerning this short-lived regiment. I would start off with my guides to researching the Indian Army during the First World War which contain articles on Indian Army ranks, medals etc. There’s only one war diary for the Regiment which is poor and only a single confidential report. Click on the blue links to be taken to the relevant page.
British officers: Start by checking for a service record at the British Library and National Archives. Many officers who served with the 42nd Cavalry Regiment were part of the Indian Army Reserve of Officers so you need to check to see if there’s an application to join the Indian Army Reserve of Officers. There’s a single confidential report for the Regiment for 1918-19 which contains short reports on British officers serving with the regiment. The Indian Army List and London Gazette will also contain information regarding an officer.
Indian officers: The Indian officers of the 42nd Cavalry would have started their service with another cavalry regiment. First, find their enlistment date in the Indian Army List and use this to match the officer to another cavalry regiment in the 1917 or 1923 Indian Army Lists. However, not all officers will appear as some were promoted when they joined the regiment and others retired after the regiment was disbanded in 1921. Pay particular attention to the 10th Lancers (Hodson’s Horse) and 35th Scinde Horse.
Indian Rank and File: I currently know of no way to research an Indian soldier who served in the regiment due to the lack of available records.
War Diary of the 42nd Cavalry Regiment
There is only one war diary for the 42nd Cavalry Regiment which hasn’t been digitzed and can only be viewed at the National Archives.
- Reference: WO 95/5395
- 12th Mounted Brigade, Baluchistan Force
- Date: July 1919
- Notes: The only war diary for the 42nd Cavalry Regiment is two pages in length and most of the entries are very short. I have transcribed a few below.
Further Sources for the 42nd Cavalry Regiment
For information concerning the British and Indian officers who served with the 42nd Cavalry Regiment, the Indian Army List can be consulted. There is a single 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 of the 42nd Cavalry Regiment
Unfortunately, there is no regimental history for the 42nd Cavalry Regiment.
Extracts from War Diary of the 42nd Cavalry Regiment
July 1919, 12th Mounted Brigade, Baluchistan Force, July 1919
1 July 1919 – Convoy escort to Fort Spin Baldock – 1 British officer, 1 Indian officer, and 20 men.
8 July 1919 – Routine work.
17 July – 1 Indian officer and 25 men to patrol towards Saifulla Nawar 05.30 to 12.00.