This article is about the 4th Rajputs (Prince Albert Victor’s) and will help you to research the Regiment and the soldiers who served with it. I have written a separate article for the war-raised 2nd Battalion 4th Rajputs (Prince Albert Victor’s) and a series of guides to researching soldiers who served in the Indian Army during the First World War. To view these guides click on the blue links below:
- 2nd Battalion 4th Rajputs (Prince Albert Victor’s)
- Researching Soldiers who Served in the Indian Army
The 4th Prince Albert Victor’s Rajputs in the First World War
Lineage: Raised at Baragaon in 1798 by Lieutenant Colonel John Hilliard as the 2nd Battalion, 16th Regiment of Bengal Native Infantry. In 1824 became the 33rd Regiment of Bengal Native Infantry, then 4th Regiment of Bengal Native Infantry in 1861 and 4th Regiment of Bengal Infantry in 1885. The 4th (Prince Albert Victor’s) Regiment of Bengal Infantry in 1890; 4th (Prince Albert Victor’s) Rajput Regiment of Bengal Infantry in 1897; the 4th (Prince Albert Victor’s) Rajput Infantry in 1901, the 4th Prince Albert Victor’s Rajputs in 1903 and the 2nd Battalion 7th Rajput Regiment in 1922.
Class Composition of Battalion in 1914: 8 Companies Rajputs. 1919: 4 Companies of Rajputs.
Location in July 1914: The 4th Rajputs was stationed at Multan (Punjab, Pakistan) having arrived on 13th April 1914 from Colombo, Ceylon (Sri Lanka).
The 4th Prince Albert Victor’s Rajputs was an Indian infantry regiment which spent nearly four years serving in Mesopotamia (Iraq) both during and after the First World War. When the First World War began in August 1914 the 4th Rajputs was stationed at Multan and was mobilised on 20 January 1915. The Regiment initially served with the 12th Indian infantry brigade, 12th Indian Division and disembarked at Basra on 7 February 1915. The Regiment’s first engagement was the Battle of Ahwaz, on 3 March 1915 and for the rest of the year, it saw little action.A portrait of Major Reginald Edwin Bond 4th Rajputs who was killed in action at Ahwaz on 3 March 1915. Bond has no known grave and is commemorated on the Tehran Memorial. This portrait was published along with a brief biography in Bond of Sacrifice.
The Regiment briefly served on the Lines of Communication between January and May 1916 before it moved to the 8th Indian Infantry Brigade, 3rd Lahore Division in June 1916. The Regiment then moved back to the Lines of Communication between November 1916 and December 1917. During this period the 4th Rajputs spent the majority of its time at Amarah, Sheikh Sa’ad and Ali Gharbi.
The Regiment briefly served on the Lines of Communication between January and May 1916 before it moved to the 8th Indian Infantry Brigade, 3rd Lahore Division in June 1916. The Regiment then moved back to the Lines of Communication between November 1916 and December 1917. During this period the 4th Rajputs spent the majority of its time at Amarah, Sheikh Sa’ad and Ali Gharbi. The 4th Rajputs was then used as Base and Defence troops between January 1918 and September 1919. The Regiment left Sheikh Sa’ad on 15 January 1918 for Baghdad where they arrived four days later. The 4th Rajputs stayed at Baghdad until at least September 1919 (the last month in Mesopotamia where there is a war diary). The Regiment moved back to India in 1919 and was stationed at Lucknow (Uttar Pradesh, India). The 4th Rajputs served on the North West Frontier from late 1919 and was stationed at Bannu (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan) in the July 1921 Indian Army List. The 4th Prince Albert Victor’s Rajputs became the 2nd Battalion 7th Rajput Regiment in 1922.
The 4th Rajputs formed a second battalion at Agra on 26 February 1918 and I have written a separate article about the Battalion here: 2nd Battalion 4th Prince Albert Victor’s Rajputs.
War Diaries of the 4th Rajputs
There are six war diaries for the 4th Rajputs and all but the last have been digitized by the National Archives. To download these war diaries for a small fee click on the blue links below which will take you to the National Archives’ website. The last war diary can only be viewed at the National Archives. I have copies of all the war diaries and have transcribed some entries below.
- Date: 20 January – 31 December 1915
- 12th Indian Infantry Brigade, 12th Indian Division, Mesopotamia
- Reference: WO 95/5145/5
- Notes: A good war diary proving excellent detail regarding the activities of the 4th Rajputs. Though entries become shorter from May onwards. Appendices include the usual orders, a ”Report on action on March 3rd 1915, near Ahwaz” which is three A4 pages and a sketch map. A diagram of the ”Fortification Southern Perimeter Camp Ahwaz” and a cross-section of the fortifications.
- Date: 01 January – 31 May 1916
- Tigris and Defences Communication
- Reference: WO 95/5015/2
- Notes: A good war diary for a regiment serving on the lines of communication with a mixture of poor and detailed entries. There is a map of Nakhailah Post dated 30 March 1916 with a cross-section of the defences.
- Date: 01 June – 31 October 1916
- 8th Indian Infantry Brigade, 3rd (Lahore) Division, Mesopotamia
- Reference: WO 95/5108/7
- Notes: A good, detailed war diary though there are no appendices.
- Date: 01 November 1916 – 31 December 1917
- Tigris and Defences Communication, Headquarters Troops, Shaikh Sa’ad, Mesopotamia
- Reference: WO 95/5022/10
- Notes: A more detailed war diary than is usually found for a unit serving on the lines of communication. There are also separate war diaries for detachments of the 4th Rajputs. There is an A3 map of Mudelil Camp dated 31 March 1917 showing locations of the picquets.
- Date: 01 January 1918 – 30 September 1919
- Base and Defence Troops, Mesopotamia
- Reference: WO 95/5035/7
- Notes: A poor war diary which mainly consists of repetitive entries concerning training and provides no great detail.
- Date: May 1921
- 8th Indian Infantry Brigade
- Reference: WO 95/5399
- Notes: This war diary is only two pages in length covering the month of May 1921 when the 4th Rajputs was on garrison duty at Bannu.
Further Sources for the 4th Prince Albert Victor’s Rajputs
A very good source of information for the Regiment and the British officers who served with it are its confidential reports held at the British Library: Confidential Reports on Regiments etc. These reports contain the annual confidential reports of the British officers who served with the 4th Rajputs. However, when the Regiment was abroad only its Depot and the British officers who served there are reported on. For information regarding the British and Indian officers who served with the 4th Rajputs, the Indian Army List should be consulted.
Extracts from War Diaries of the 4th Rajputs
01 January 1918 – 30 September 1919, Mesopotamia, WO 95/5035/7
25 January 1918 – Baghdad – 1 am – A hostile aeroplane flew over camp in vicinity of Baghdad and dropped bombs. None dropped near our own camp at plain.
6.30 am – Two British officers and 250 rifles from the Regiment provided the guard at the execution of a Turkish (Arab) officer. Shot publicly near the north gate of the city.
4th August 1919 – Baghdad – False alarm in the course of the day. Two companies with Lewis guns turned out, one (B) proceeded by [?] to Sapper Camp on right bank downstream of Hinaidi. The other (D) to Hinaidi Grove [?] as reserve. Alarm due to grossly exaggerated report made to advanced section H. A. through shipping by a Sub-assistant surgeon concerning the running ‘amok’ of a Sepoy in the 32nd Pioneers attached to this Sappers and Miners Company. Company returned 18.30 not being required. Officer commanding sapper company killed.
20 January – 31 December 1915, Mesopotamia, WO 95/5145
20 January 1915 – Multan – Orders received to mobilise as part of Force D to form with the 2nd Royal West Kent Regiment, 90th Punjabis, and another regiment to be notified hereafter, the Nasirabad Brigade.
22 January 1915 – Multan – Followers identity discs issued.
23 January 1915 – Multan -Recruits fit to accompany Regiment selected and attested.
26 January 1915 – Multan – Oiling and dubbing of equipment completed. Disposal of families of men and followers arranged. Ten Maxim gun mules received from