This article looks at the 9th Hodson’s Horse and will help you to research the Regiment and the officers and men who served with it. This page is one of a series of guides to help you research the Indian Army which can be viewed by clicking on the link below:
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9th Hodson’s Horse in the First World War
Lineage: Raised by Lieutenant William Stephen Raikes Hodson in the Punjab in 1857 and embodied in the camp before Delhi as Hodson’s Horse. In 1858 became the 1st Regiment of Hodson’s Horse, then the 9th Regiment of Bengal Cavalry in 1861 and the 9th Regiment of Bengal Lancers in 1886. Then the 9th Bengal Lancers (Hodson’s Horse) in 1901 and the 9th Hodson’s Horse in 1903. The Regiment was amalgamated with the 10th Duke of Cambridge’s Own Lancers (Hodson’s Horse) in 1921 to form the 9th/10th Hodson’s Horse which became the 4th Duke of Cambridge’s Own Hodson’s Horse in 1922.
Composition in 1914: 1 1/4 Squadrons of Sikhs, 1 1/4 Squadrons of Dogras, 1 1/4 of Punjabi Musalmans and 1/2 of Pathans.
Location in July 1914: The 9th Hodson’s Horse was stationed at Ambala (Haryana, India) having arrived from Cawnpore (Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh, India) on 1 January 1912.
The 9th Hodson’s Horse was stationed at Ambala when the First World War broke out in August 1914 where it formed part of the Ambala Cavalry Brigade. The Regiment had been inspected earlier in the year by Major-General J. B. B. Watkis, Commanding 3rd (Lahore) Division in who reported:
A thoroughly satisfactory report and very creditable to Major Beatty who has been in command for the past year and to all ranks. The decrease in the number of 2nd and 3rd class shots is very satisfactory but a higher figure in the range practices is obtainable and should be aimed at without neglecting field practices which are generally satisfactory. Physical training is also reported as requiring more attention. Fit for service.
Confidential review reports on Indian Army units for 1913-1914: IOR/L/MIL/7/17023
The 9th Hodson’s Horse received orders to mobilize on 31 August 1914 and left India on 13 October for France on board the Clan Macphee and the Aratoon Apcar. The Regiment disembarked at Marseilles on 7 November and served in France for the next three and a half years. The Regiment served initially as part of the Ambala Cavalry Brigade, 2nd Indian Division before the Ambala Cavalry Brigade moved to the 5th Cavalry Division in January 1917. The Regiment’s service on the Western Front was, for the most part, uneventful though the 9th Hodson’s Horse did spend some time in a dismounted role in the trenches. The severest fighting that the Regiment took part in was during the Battle of Cambrai on 30 November and 1 December 1917. The 9th Hodson’s Horse suffered 10 killed (including 2 British officers Major Fraser and Atkinson) and 48 wounded. You can combine the war diaries and regimental history (both discussed below) if you wish to learn more about this period.
The solitary grave of 3453 Sowar Noor Mohammed, 9th Hodson’s Horse who died on 11 August 1916 and was buried in the Norfolk Cemetery, Becordel-Becourt, France. This photograph was taken by Sue Hill who has very kindly allowed me to use it on this page. The 9th Hodson’s Horse was in bivouac at Querrieu, near Amiens in early August 1916 but provided working parties to improve trenches around in the Mametz Wood-Longueval-Contalmaison area. As the Norfolk Cemetery is close to this area, Noor Mohammed was most likely killed or mortally wounded while on a working party.
In March 1918, the 9th Hodson’s Horse moved to Egypt where it briefly served as part of the 5th Mounted Brigade, Australian Mounted Division before it joined the 13th Cavalry Brigade, 5th Cavalry Division in July. The Regiment would take part in the closing stages of the Palestine Campaign where it was used in its traditional mounted role. After a brief stay at Tel el Kebir, Egypt the Regiment moved towards Palestine on 19 April. In May, the Regiment took over a section of the line at the Mellahah Wadi, where the 9th Hodson’s Horse sent out patrols and on 22-23 May carried out a raid on the Turkish trenches. The Regiment would rotate in and out of the front line over the summer months and the regimental history is best used in conjunction with a map to follow the 9th Hodson’s Horse’s movements.
The Regiment took part in the opening day of the Battle of Megiddo on 19 September 1918 and the subsequent advance into Syria. The Regimental history records:
The achievement of the 5th Cavalry Division, and indeed the whole Desert Mounted Corps, in these memorable operations was a splendid one. Since leaving the concentration area near Jaffa thirty-eight days before the division had marched 567 miles (the distance covered by the 9th Hodson’s Horse was 509 miles), and had taken eleven thousand prisoners and fifty-eight guns.
The 9th Hodson’s Horse continued to serve in the Middle East after the war and returned to India in December 1920. In 1921 the Regiment began a process of amalgamation with the 10th Duke of Cambridge’s Own Lancers (Hodson’s Horse) and became the 9th/10th Hodson’s Horse which was redesignated as the 4th Duke of Cambridge’s Own Hodson’s Horse in 1922.
War Diaries of the 9th Hodson’s Horse
There are four war diaries for the Regiment but only the first two have been digitized and are available to download. To download these war diaries for a small fee click on the first two blue links below. The other two war diaries can only be viewed at the National Archives.
- Date: 31 August 1914 – 31 December 1916
- 2nd Indian Cavalry Division, Ambala Cavalry Brigade
- Reference: WO 95/1185/3
- Notes: A typical Indian cavalry war diary for the Western Front where not a lot happens and there are few entries. Though there are some longer entries for December 1914 and August 1916. Some casualties are recorded by name and regimental number.
- Date: 01 January 1917 – 31 March 1918
- 5th Cavalry Division, Ambala Cavalry Brigade
- Reference: WO 95/1164/3
- Notes: A poor war diary with most months having brief monthly summaries or only a handful of entries. No appendices.
- Date: 01 April – 30 June 1918
- Australian Mounted Division, 5th Mounted Brigade
- Reference: WO 95/4566
- Notes: A short war diary but covers the period in detail, though not a lot happens.
- Date: July 1918 – March 1920
- 5th Cavalry Division, 13th Cavalry Brigade
- Reference: WO 95/4518
Further Sources for the 9th Hodson’s Horse
A good source of information concerning the 9th Hodson’s Horse and the British officers who served with it are its confidential reports held at the British Library: Confidential Reports on Regiments etc. For information regarding the British and Indian officers who served with the 9th Hodson’s Horse, the Indian Army List can be consulted.
Regimental History: Hodson’s Horse 1857-1922 by Major F. G. Cardew. This is a very good regimental history which also includes a history of the 10th Duke of Cambridge’s Own Lancers (Hodson’s Horse). There are 60 pages covering the 9th Hodson’s Horse’s service during the First World War. This regimental history has been reprinted and can be easily obtained online.
Extracts from War Diaries of the 9th Hodson’s Horse
31 August 1914 – 31 December 1916, 2nd Indian Cavalry Division, Ambala Cavalry Brigade, WO 95/1185/3
1 – 6 September 1916: Lancheres: In bivouac. Troop, squadron and regimental training carried out.
6 September 1916: Marched to Inval and thence to Molliens-Vidame.
7 September 1916: Marched to bivouac near Bussy les Daours.
7 – 14 September 1916: Bussy les Daours: In bivouac. Squadron, regimental and Brigade training carried out.
14 September 1916: March to Dernancourt and bivouacked for the night.
15 September 1916: Marched to a position of readiness near Montauban.
15 – 17 September 1916: Montauban: In a position of readiness during the infantry attack on those dates. The Regiment was leading regiment of the division. Patrols from regiment kept touch with the infantry advance.
17 September 1916: Marched to bivouac near Bussy les Daours.
17 – 26 September 1916: Bussy Les Daours: In bivouac near Bussy les Daours. Squadron, regiment and Brigade training carried out.
26 September 1916: Marched to Molliens Vidame and went into bivouac.
26-30 September 1916: Molliens Vidame: In bivouac. Squadron, regimental and Brigade training carried out,
1-31 October 1916: Molliens-Vidame: In bivouac. Divisional, Brigade and regimental training carried out. All dismounted men were attached to 14th Corps during the month and were in bivouac near Montauban.
1 November 1916: Molliens-Vidame Montieres: 1 November 1916: Left bivouac at Molliens-Vidame and marched to billets in Montieres-Soreng-Ansenne-Monchaux-Rieux area.
4 November 1916: Montieres: 2/Lieut. W Kinloch Indian Army Reserve of Officers joined the Regiment for duty.
21 November 1916: Ambala pioneer battalion proceeded to the front, the Regiment providing a company of 266 all ranks. The battalion went into billets in huts near Carnoy.
2 – 30 November 1916: Squadron, regimental training and staff rides carried out.
8 December 1916: Montieres: 2nd Lieut A M Wallace Indian Army Reserve of Officers, joined the Regiment.
14 December 1916: Montieres: Ambala pioneer battalion returned from the front.
21 December 1916: Montieres: 2 Lieut G Wilson Indian Army Reserve of Officers joined the Regiment.
1 – 31 December 1916: Montieres: Squadron and Regimental Training and Staff Rides carried out. A number of British and Indian officers, N.C.Os and men attended various courses of instruction at the Divisional School Ault.