This article on the 82nd Punjabis aims to give you an overview of the Regiment’s activities and help you research those who served with it during the First World War. I have also created a series of guides to help you research the Indian Army and those who served with it during World War One which can be read by clicking the link below:
The 82nd Punjabis in the First World War
Lineage: Raised by Captain James Dalrymple at Ellore (Eluru) in 1778 as the 29th Madras Battalion. It became the 2nd Battalion 11th Regiment of Madras Native Infantry in 1796 and the 22nd Regiment of Madras Native Infantry in 1824. Then the 22nd Regiment of Madras Infantry in 1885 and the 22nd Madras Infantry in 1901. It was designated the 82nd Punjabis in 1903 and in 1922 became the 5th Battalion 1st Punjab Regiment.
Composition in 1914: 4 Companies of Punjabi Musalmans, 2 Companies of Sikhs and 2 Companies of Jats. 1919: 2 Companies of Punjabi Musalmans, 1 Company of Sikhs and 1 Company of Jats.
Location in July 1914: The 82nd Punjabis was stationed at Nowshera (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan) having arrived from Malakand (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan) on 17th February 1910.
The 82nd Punjabis was stationed at Nowshera when the First World War began in August 1914. The Regiment had been inspected by Major-General Richard Bannatyne Allason, Commanding Nowshera Brigade on 21 and 22 November 1913 who reported:
The regiment has continued to improve in all matters of peace training. Drill is smart and clean and manoeuvre well taught and sensibly carried out. Physical training is very good and very well reported on by the expert inspector. Best in Division. The musketry has much improved and the signalling is satisfactory.
The officers take great interest in their men and a good tone exists among all ranks. The Indian officers are, with one exception, a good lot. The interior economy is satisfactory and due economy is practised as regards clothing deductions. Generally the regiment is in very good order and fit for service.
Confidential review reports on Indian Army units for 1913-1914: IOR/L/MIL/7/17023
The extract below was taken from the October 1914 Indian Army List and recorded the British officers serving with the Regiment.
The 82nd Punjabis was mobilized in the winter of 1915 and sailed from Kiamari (Karachi, Pakistan) for Basra, Mesopotamia (Iraq) on 10 January 1916. The 82nd Punjabis arrived at Basra on 15 January 1916 where the Regiment served with the 36th Infantry Brigade, 14th Indian Division. There is a war diary covering the period between December 1915 and July 1918. The 82nd Punjabis took part in the Battle of Dujaila on 8 March 1916, during the failed attempt to relieve Kut-al-Amara. The Regiment suffered 224 casualties, a casualty rate of over 33% of those engaged.
After Kut-al-Amara fell in April 1916, the 82nd Punjabis was rotated in and out of the front line while General Maude reorganised the Anglo-Indian force. The Regiment spent most of the summer at Iman Ali Mansur and subsequently in the Magasis area. The 82nd Punjabis took part in the offensive which took Baghdad and entered the city on 14 March 1917. The Regiment remained in Baghdad until 21 July when it moved to Buhiz and moved frequently for the remainder of the war. The war diary will give you its exact location. The 82nd Punjabis was at Baghdad in April 1919 and returned to India shortly afterwards. The Regiment served in the Third Anglo-Afghan War in 1919 with the North West Frontier Force and in 1922 became the 5th Battalion 1st Punjab Regiment.
War Diaries of the 82nd Punjabis
There are two war diaries for the 82nd Punjabis and the both have been digitized and are available to download from the National Archives’ website. To download this these war diaries for a small fee click on the blue links below. I have transcribed some entries below.
- Date: 01 December 1915 – 31 July 1918
- 36th Indian Infantry Brigade, 14th Indian Division
- Reference: WO 95/5178/3
- Notes: Overall, a good war diary which contains a number of detailed sketch maps, though there are months where there are few entries. The war diary contains a detailed account of the Battle of Dujaila.
- Date: 01 August 1918- 30 April 1919
- 37th Indian Infantry Brigade, 14th Indian Division, Mesopotamia
- Reference: WO 95/5181/1
- Notes: A poor war diary with little detail. There is a list of British officers serving with the 82nd Punjabis at the end of each month.
Further Sources for the 82nd Punjabis
A good source of information for the 82nd Punjabis is its regimental confidential reports which are held at the British Library: Confidential Reports on Regiments etc. These annual reports also contain the confidential reports of the British officers who were serving with the Regiment at the time. However, when the 82nd Punjabis was abroad only its Depot and the British officers who were serving with it are reported on. For information regarding British and Indian officers who served with the 82nd Punjabis, the Indian Army List can be consulted.
If you’d like to learn more about the Mesopotamia Campaign and the 1920 Iraqi Revolt 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 82nd Punjabis
01 August 1918- 30 April 1919, Mesopotamia, WO 95/5181/5
01 August 1918 – Work on Railway as usual. 50 men employed on PT course.
31 August 1919 – C Company under Lieutenant Warrington marched 2.30 am for Kanimira. 3.30 pm. Orders received from Division for one company 82nd Punjabis and one section guns to proceed at once to Hushqurru under Lieutenant Colonel Milne. 4.30 pm Col Milne with Medical Officer left with 50 men in motors.
17 September 1918 – Orders received to despatch Non-commissioned officers and men and 3 Indian officers to India to 2nd Battalion 82nd Punjabis.
18 September 1918 – 3 Indian officers, 23 NCOs and 24 Sepoys left for 2nd Battalion, 82nd Punjabis.
24 September 1918 – Orders received to hold a moveable column of 100 men in readiness. Lieutenant Willard and 100 men from D Company detailed.
7 October 1918 – B Company training. D Company duty company and training. C Company less 3 platoons duty. A Company and 3 platoons C Company engaged on Naft-Khanah and Char Surkh roads and at Huskqurv. Lieutenant acting Captain Rickets reported his arrival from war leave 1 pm.
12 November 1918 – Rain. News received of Armistice signed with Germany on 11 instant.
20 January 1919 – Parades. Received orders to prepare for entraining with a view of embarkation for India.
2 April 1919 – Baghdad Citadel – Regiment employed on guards, parades and fatigues. 1 Indian officer, 106 Indian other ranks arrived, the majority of them being rejoined wounded.