This article will look at the service of the 99th Deccan Infantry during the First World War and will help you research those who served with the Regiment. I have written a separate article for the war-raised 2nd Battalion 99th Deccan Infantry and a series of guides to help you research soldiers who served in the Indian Army:
The 99th Deccan Infantry in the First World War
Lineage: Raised in 1788 by Nawab Salabat Khan as a new regiment of the princely army of the Nizam of Hyderabad. The Regiment became the 2nd Battalion, Ellichpur Brigade and in 1826 the 8th Regiment of Infantry. The Battalion was designated the 6th Infantry, Hyderabad Contingent in 1854, before becoming the 99th Deccan Infantry in 1903 and the 5th Battalion Hyderabad Regiment in 1922.
Composition in 1914: 3 Companies of Rajputs, 2 Companies of Jats and 3 Companies of Hindustani Muslims. 1919: 1 1/2 Companies of Rajputs, 1 Company of Jats and 1 1/2 Companies of Hindustani Muslims.
Location in July 1914: The 99th Deccan Infantry was stationed at Sehore in what is now Madhya Pradesh, India having arrived there from Singapore on 24 January 1911.
The 99th Deccan Infantry was stationed at Sehore when the First World War broke out in August 1914. By May 1915, the Regiment had moved to Multan where it was serving with the Lahore Division, though it hadn’t been assigned a brigade. It had small detachments at Samasata, Bhatinda and Ambala. In August 1916, the 99th Deccan Infantry was serving as part of the Derajat Brigade and five of its companies along with the headquarters was based at Tank. Three other companies were spread out on outpost duty in the area. Its Depot was based at Dera Ismail Khan. The extract below was taken from the October 1914 Indian Army List and records the British officers who were serving with the Regiment shortly after the outbreak of war.
The 99th Deccan Infantry remained in India until 10 April 1917, when the unit embarked on board the Hired Transport Franz Ferdinand at Karachi. On 15 April, the Regiment disembarked at Basra, Mesopotamia (Iraq) and initially served on the Euphrates Line of Defences. From April 1917 until April 1921, there are war diaries covering the activities of the unit. The 99th Deccan Infantry had an uneventful First World War and was initially spread out along a series of blockhouses and defensive points. On the 12 August 1917, Subadar Chunni Ram was shot dead by 5324 Sepoy Tota Ram who was subsequently executed on 13 September 1917. In March 1918, a 2nd Battalion 99th Deccan Infantry was formed in India which led to the original unit being redesignated as the 1st Battalion 99th Deccan Infantry. The 2nd Battalion was disbanded in 1919 and the 1st Battalion reverted to its old title of 99th Deccan Infantry.
In April 1918, the 1st Battalion 99th Deccan Infantry moved to Nasiriyah where the Regiment remained until early 1919. In February 1919, the unit joined the 34th Indian Infantry Brigade, 17th Indian Division and in 1920 helped to suppress the Iraqi Revolt. In November 1920, the Battalion joined the 75th Indian Infantry Brigade, 17th Indian Division. The 99th Deccan Infantry was redesignated as the 5th Battalion Hyderabad Regiment in 1922.
War Diaries of the 1st Battalion 99th Deccan Infantry
There are three war diaries for the 1st Battalion 99th Deccan Infantry and all have been digitized by the National Archives. The war diaries were written by British officers serving with the Regiment and recorded its location and activities. They are the primary source of information for the Regiment once it left India. To download the war diaries for a small fee click on the blue links below which will take you to the National Archives’ website.
- Date: 10 April 1917 – 31 January 1919
- Euphrates Defence and Communications
- Reference: WO 95/5029/1
- Notes: A poor war diary with brief and repetitive entries. Between April and December 1917, Indian other ranks leaving the Regiment are recorded including their regimental number and company. After this date, there are some entries recording this information but not as many. There are lists of British officers serving with the Regiment each month from December 1917 and a few appendices recording the strength of the 1st Battalion 99th Deccan Infantry.
- Date: 01 February 1919 – 31 October 1920
- 34th Indian Infantry Brigade, 17th Indian Division, Mesopotamia
- Reference: WO 95/5029
- Notes: A good war diary which provides a lot of information regarding the Regiment’s operations against local Arabs, including a detailed account of an attack on 7 July 1920. The war diary contains a couple of monthly nominal rolls of British Officers.
- Date: 01 November 1920 – 20 April 1921
- 75th Indian Infantry Brigade, 17th Indian Division, Mesopotamia
- Reference: WO 95/5214/5
- Notes: A short war diary which is only nine-pages in length. Between January and March 1921, there are few entries.
Further Sources for the 99th Deccan Infantry
Unfortunately, no regimental history produced for the 99th Deccan Infantry covering its First World War service. The Indian Army List will provide information concerning the British and Indian Officers. A very good resource for the 99th Deccan Infantry 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 who served with the Regiment. However, when the 99th Deccan Infantry was abroad only its Depot and the officers who served with it are reported on. Surviving medal index cards for those soldiers of the 99th Deccan Infantry who qualified for the General Service Medal with Iraq clasp can be viewed on either Ancestry or the National Archives’ website. They are free to view on Ancestry.
The National Army Museum holds a number of items relating to the Regiment, including a photograph album by Colonel F. D. Davidson which dates between 1917 and 1920 and contains 319 photographs.
A Partial List of those who Served with the 99th Deccan Infantry
The list of Indian soldiers invalided to India and the nominal roll of British officers below were taken from the war diaries of the 99th Deccan Infantry. If you’re researching an Indian officer, whether British or India, I would recommend looking at the Indian Army List.
A Partial List of Indian Soldiers Invalided to India
3929 Sepoy Wazir Khan, D Company invalided to India per HS [Hospital Ship] Madras, 26 April 1917.
5434 Sepoy Bhup Singh, B Company invalided to India per HS Varvosa, 8 May 1917.
6029 Sepoy Bhuna, B Company and Langri Rustam of D Company, invalided to India per HS Varela, 14 May 1917.
5094 Sepoy Khusha, C Company invalided to India per HS Dongola, 19 May 1917.
4857 Sepoy Khusabaksh, D Company invalided to India per HS Erinpura, 23 May 1917.
5928 Sepoy Kadam Singh, B Company invalided to India per HS Madras, 25 May 1917.
6250 Sepoy Mohd. Nazir, D Company and Sweeper Chunni, C Company, per HS Vita 27 May 1917
5893 Sepoy Khajan Singh, B Company and 6036 Sepoy Chahat, D Company, invalided to India per HS Takada, 28 June 1917.
Major H. E. Redman, 99th Infantry and 4421 Naik Debi Singh and Bearer Abdul Rahman (Major Redman’s) invalided to India per H.S. Varela, 9 June 1917.
5209 Sepoy Ranji Lal, C Company, invalided to India per HS Ellora, 14 June 1916.
4483 Sepoy Hari Singh invalided to India per HS Ellora, 14 June 1917.
4558 Sepoy Bhanath Singh, A Company invalided to India per HS Herefordshire, 16 June 1917.
4802 Sepoy Habib Khan, D Company, 4735 Sepoy Ramraj Singh, A Company, 4005 Sepoy Jamuna Singh, A Company, 4811 Sepoy Totaram, B Company, 23 Sweeper Mannao, B Company, 21 Kahar Chiranjilal, B Company, invalided to India per HS Sicilia, 1 July 1917.
Nominal Roll of Officers present with the Regiment on 31 March 1919
Lieutenant-Colonel F. D. Davidson – Commandant
Major C de J Luxmoore – 2nd-in-Command (at Ur Junction)
Captain W. H. Happell – Officiating Company Commander
Captain H. B. Kent – Officiating Company Commander
Acting-Captain F. L. Pettman – Acting-Company Commander
Lieutenant E. W. Tomsett – Officiating Adjutant
Lieutenant S. Mackay – Company Officer
Lieutenant F. G. Bevis – Company Officer
Lieutenant C. G. Thomson – Company Officer
Lieutenant T. C. McCarthy – Company Officer
Lieutenant J. R. Marriott – Company Officer
Lieutenant W. A. C. Havelock – Officiating Quartermaster
Lieutenant B. R. Godley – Company Officer
Lieutenant H. V. Bragg – Company Officer (Signalling Officer)
Lieutenant F. Hopkins – Company Officer