42nd Deoli Regiment

This article on the 42nd Deoli Regiment aims to help you research the Regiment and the soldiers who served with it during the First World War. I have written a separate article for the war-raised 2nd Battalion 42nd Deoli and a series of guides to help you find out even more about researching someone who served in the Indian Army. The links below will to take you to the guides:

The 42nd Deoli Regiment in the First World War

Lineage: Raised at Deoli in 1857 as the Meena Battalion. In 1860 it became the Infantry of the Deoli Irregular Force and then the 42nd Deoli Regiment in 1903. The Regiment was disbanded on 10 December 1921.

Class Composition in 1914: 4 Double Companies of Rajputana Hindus and Musalmans. 1919: 4 Companies of Rajputana Hindus and Musalmans.

Location in July 1914: The 42nd Deoli Regiment was stationed at Deoli (Rajasthan, India) with detachments at Jaipur (Rajasthan, India) and Kotah (Kota, Rajasthan, India).

The 42nd Deoli Regiment was stationed at Deoli when the First World War was declared in August 1914. The Regiment was part of the Nasirabad Brigade, 5th (Mhow) Division which remained in India for the duration of the war. The Regiment was inspected by Major-General K. S. Davison, Commanding Nasirabad Brigade for its confidential review report for 1913-14 who reported:

Turn-out: Clean and good.

Efficiency in drill: Satisfactory.

Manoeuvres: Manoeuvres well.

Musketry: Good.

Signalling: Good.

Health: Satisfactory.

Conduct: Very good.

General efficiency: Satisfactory; fit for service.

Interior economy: Satisfactory; due economy is practised as regards clothing deductions. Bayonet-fighting, equipment and technical instruction of officers require more attention.

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

The Regiment served on defence and communication duties in Mesopotamia and there are two war diaries available covering the dates between April 1917 and September 1918. After the Armistice, the Regiment continued to serve in the Middle East, including Persia, before returning to Indian and being disbanded on 10 December 1921. The 1st Battalion 42nd Deoli Regiment qualified for the General Service Medal with North West Persia clasp and their Medal Index Cards have survived. The Medal Index Cards can be viewed on Ancestry or on the National Archives‘ website.

The 42nd Deoli Regiment raised a second battalion in 1917 and I have written a separate article here: 2nd Battalion 42nd Deoli Regiment.

War Diaries of the 42nd Deoli Regiment

There are give war diaries for the Battalion and all have been digitized by the National Archives. To download the war diaries for a small fee click on the blue links below.

  • Date: 01 April 1917 – 28 February 1918
  • Euphrates Defence and Communications, Nasiriyah, Mesopotamia
  • Reference: WO 95/5031/9
  • Notes: An average war diary which is mostly typed. There are two lists of British officers serving with the 42nd Deoli Regiment, one dated 1 February 1918, the other with no date, but probably 1 March 1918. No appendices.
  • Date: 01 March – 30 September 1918
  • Euphrates Defence and Communications, Nasiriyah, Mesopotamia
  • Reference: WO 95/5199/4
  • Notes: An average war diary, though the first two months are more detailed. The entire war diary is typed and there is a list of British officers serving with the 42nd Deoli Regiment each month.
  • Date: 01 October 1918 – 30 April 1919
  • 56th Indian Infantry Brigade, 14th Indian Division, Mesopotamia
  • Reference: WO 95/5181/11
  • Notes: A poor war diary which was typed. Entries tend to consist of troop movements with very little detail. There is a list of British officers serving with the 42nd Deoli Regiment each month.
  • Date: 01 June 1919 – 31 December 1920
  • 36th Indian Brigade
  • Reference: WO 95/5031/9
  • Notes: This war diary has been digitized and is available to download from the National Archives’ website.
  • Date: 01 January – 31 May 1921
  • North Persia Force
  • Reference: WO 95/5046/3
  • Notes:

Further Sources for the 42nd Deoli Regiment

The best resources for researching the 42nd Deoli Regiment are a series of confidential reports held at the British Library: Confidential Reports. These reports also contain the annual confidential reports of the British officers who served with the Regiment. However, when the Regiment was abroad only its Depot and the British officers serving with it are reported on. For information regarding British and Indian officers who served with the Regiment, the Indian Army List can be consulted. The Regiment’s Medal Index Cards for the General Service Medal can be viewed on Ancestry or on the National Archives‘ website.

If you’d like to learn more about the Mesopotamia Campaign I can recommend When God Made Hell: The British Invasion of Mesopotamia and the Creation of Iraq 1914-1921 by Charles Townshend.

Extracts from War Diaries of the 42nd Deoli Infantry 

01 April 1917 – 28 February 1918, Mesopotamia, WO 95/5031

21 August 1918 – Lieutenant Allen and 4 NCOs returned from Lewis Gun course Amara. 11 AM Captain Spankie and 100 rifles C Company given one hour to embark on T.I. to assist Arab scouts in preventing Arabs looting Turkish wrecks near Asfuriyah village. Arrived 2 PM, officer commanding scouts reported situation well in hand and detachment bivouacked night.

01 March – 30 September 1918, Mesopotamia, WO 95/5199

5 March 1918 – Samawah – 2nd Lieutenant Metcalfe arrived from Basrah and reported his bearer Mela missing, believed drowned that morning. All available men fatigues, preparing 4 acres for potato planting.

8 March 1918 – Samawah – All available men planting potatoes and 2.30 – 5 pm building bund.

15 March 1918 – Rain commencing at about 10.15 am continued in showers all day and developed into a storm at night. One bellum broke from its mooring. One bellum broke from its moorings.

16 March 1918 – Abbad Moanes – Above bellum recovered early, but a second was driven across the river and filled with water. Wired for another to release it.

1 April 1918 – Baghdad – Heavy rain. 2 further cases of scurvy, apparently outbreak of February (24 cases up to 7 March 1918) not yet eradicated.

4 April 1918 – Baghdad – Permission granted for 20 men per company to proceed daily to Baghdad. 8 Lewis guns drawn – Total 16.

1 July 1918 – Hillah – 206 Indian other ranks. Station working parties. Box respirators received.

2 July 1918 – Hillah – Half Regiment inoculated 1st dose against cholera.

3 July 1918 – Hillah – Other half regiment inoculated. Jemadar Dewa Singh and 30 rifles left as escort to ration convoy going to Kufa.

8 August 1918 – 4 cases of Influenza reported. Inspection of camp by General Officer Commanding Division.

12 August 1918 – 37 fresh cases Influenza.

19 August 1918 – 4 fresh cases of Influenza, 231 cases up to date.

Guides to Researching Soldiers who Served with the Indian Army

Guides to Researching Soldiers who Served with the British Army