This article will look at the role of the 95th Russell’s Infantry during the First World War and will help you research those who served with it. I have written a separate article for the war-raised 2nd Battalion 95th Russell’s Infantry and a series of guides to help you research those who served in the Indian Army during the First World War:
- Guide to the 2nd Battalion 95th Russell’s Infantry
- Guides to Researching Soldiers who Served in the Indian Army
The 95th Russell’s Infantry in the First World War
Lineage: Raised at Hyderabad “in 1813, under the Superintendence of Mr. Henry Russell, the Resident and originally designated the 2nd Battalion of the Russell Brigade”. In 1826 it became the 2nd Regiment of Infantry, Nizam’s Army and then the 2nd Infantry, Hyderabad Contingent in 1854. In 1903 it was designated the 95th Russell’s Infantry and the 10th Battalion 19th Hyderabad Regiment in 1922. This was the Regiment’s training battalion.
Composition in 1914: 3 Companies of Rajputs, 3 Companies of Hindustani Muslims and 2 Companies of Ahirs of the Eastern Punjab. 1919: 1 1/2 Companies o Rajputs, 1 1/2 Companies of Hindustani Muslims and 1 Company of Ahirs of the Eastern Punjab.
Location in July 1914: The 95th Russell’s Infantry was stationed at Santa Cruz, Bombay (Mumbai, Maharashtra, India), having arrived from Bolarum, Hyderabad (Telangana, India) on 20th November 1912.
The 95th Russell’s Infantry was an Indian infantry regiment which spent the majority of the First World War in India. In September 1917, the Regiment left Saugor (Madhya Pradesh, India) for Mesopotamia (Iraq) and arrived at Basra on 29 September 1917. The Regiment spent its first months on the Euphrates Defences and Communications until it joined the 56th Indian Infantry Brigade, 15th Indian Division in March 1918. There is a war diary covering the Regiment’s service with the Division between the period between March and May 1918.
Unfortunately, there is a gap in the war diaries for the period between June and December 1918. The opening entry in the war diary for the Regiment on 1 December 1918 described the Regiment sailing to Salonika (Thessaloniki, Greece) where it landed on 3 December 1918. There is a war diary covering the period between December 1918 and November 1919 when the Regiment remained at Salonika. The 95th Russell’s Infantry served in Turkey during 1920 and in the July 1921 Indian Army List was stationed at Benares (Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh, India). In 1922 the 95th Russell’s Infantry became the 10th Battalion, 19th Hyderabad Regiment. This was the 19th Hyderabad Regiment’s training battalion. The extract below was taken from the October 1914 Indian Army List which recorded the British officers serving with the Regiment.
War Diaries of the 95th Russell’s Infantry
There are three war diaries for the 95th Russell’s Infantry and the first two have been digitized by the National Archives. To download these war diaries for a small fee click on the blue links below. The last war diary hasn’t been digitized and can only be viewed at the National Archives. I have copies of all diaries and have transcribed some of the entries below.
- Date: 21 September 1917 – 28 February 1918
- Euphrates Defences and Communications, Nasiriyah, Mesopotamia
- Reference: WO 95/5031/11
- Notes: An average war diary where the majority of entries are brief. There is a list of British officers who embarked on the Hired Transport Egra for Mesopotamia on 23 September 1917. There are also lists of British officers serving with the 95th Russell’s infantry each month from December 1917 to February 1918.
- Date: 01 March – 31 May 1918
- 56th Indian Infantry Brigade, 15th Indian Division, Mesopotamia
- Reference: WO 95/5199/5
- Notes: Overall a good war diary though many days have short entries. There is a list of British officers serving with the Regiment on 31 March and 30 April 1918.
- Date: 01 December 1918 – 27 November 1919
- Black Sea Troops
- Reference: WO 95/4953
- Notes: A short war diary where the majority of days have no entries. Despite its brevity, the war diary provides a good overview of the activities of the Regiment. Most months also have short summaries.
Further Sources for the 95th Russell’s Infantry
If you are researching a British or Indian officer who served in the 95th Russell’s Infantry, the Indian Army List can be consulted. A good resource for the Regiment is its annual confidential reports held at the British Library: Confidential Reports on Regiments etc. These reports also contain the annual confidential reports of the British officers serving with it. Though, when the 95th Russell’s Infantry was abroad only its Depot and the officers serving with it are reported on.
The gravestone of Sepoy Jumman Khan of the 95th Russell’s Infantry, buried in Haidar Pasha Cemetery, Istanbul. Khan’s regimental number of 6711 suggest a late/post-war enlistment.
Extracts from War Diaries of the 95th Russell’s Infantry
01 March – 31 May 1918, Mesopotamia, WO 95/5199/5
01 March 1918 – Nasiriyah – No. 6299 Mangtu Ram shot Jemadar Sekshan Ram (Burma Military Police) and committed suicide. The affair was due to the man having been punished and had nothing to do with field service etc.
01 December 1918 – 27 November 1919, Black Sea Troops, WO 95/4953
01 December 1918 – Second day of voyage on H.T. Malwa practised boat stations.
02 December 1918 – Arrived in Salonika harbour. Very cold and wet.
08 December 1918 – Steel helmets withdrawn.
31 December 1918 – The change from Mesopotamia to a Salonika winter was trying for the men and sickness was slight considering. Great pains were taken to make the men fit and any want of care was punished.
07 January 1918 – 11 men transferred to hospital with influenza. Total of 18 in 3 days.
23 January 1918 – Battalion isolated for influenza.
12 February 1919 – Introduced snowballing and tobogganing with excellent results as it helped the men to make light of the snow.
08 March 1919 – Seven British NCOs left for the concentration camp for demobilization, the end of a short lived scheme of attaching British NCOs. It was a good scheme, but the NCOs coming from different regiments had different methods of instruction.
03 July 1919 – 16 men invalided to India. Malaria starting to become prevalent.
September 1919 – Nothing of interest occurred during the month. Guard duties very heavy until return of the detachment. Malaria very prevalent. Weather fine.