Using the Imperial Service Troops Army List to Research Indian Officers

This article looks at the Imperial Service Troops Army List which is an important resource to consult if you’re researching Indian officers of the Princely States. I have also written a guide to using the Indian Army List and a series of articles to help you research those who served in the Indian Army during the First World War:

I also offer a First World War Soldier Research Service.

Imperial Service Troops Army List

The Imperial Service Troops Army List was published bi-annually between July 1915 and July 1921 after which it became the Indian States Forces Army List. The Imperial Service Troops Army List was dated either the 1 July or 1 January and eleven volumes were published over the six-year period. The only volume not published was July 1920. The list contains both a contents page and an index enabling you to quickly lookup the unit or officer you require. Each book is around 80 to 120 pages in length and units of the following Princely States were recorded:

  • Alwar
  • Bahawalpur
  • Bharatpur
  • Bhavnagar
  • Bhopal
  • Bikaner
  • Faridkot
  • Gwalior
  • Hyderabad
  • Idar
  • Indore
  • Jaipur
  • Janjira
  • Jind
  • Jodhpur
  • Junagadh
  • Kapurthala
  • Kashmir
  • Khairpur
  • Malerkotla
  • Mysore
  • Nabha
  • Navanagar
  • Patiala
  • Rampur
  • Rutlam
  • Sirmur
  • Tehri
  • Udaipur

There are also sections for:

  • Divisional areas in which Imperial Service units were located e.g. Northern Command
  • Honorary rank
  • Honours and rewards
  • List of British officers (Special Service Officers)
  • List of Officers in possession of Coronation, Delhi Durbar, Good Conduct and Meritorious Service Medals
  • List of References -Professional. The numbers which appear after a name to denote the passing of a qualification e.g. (1) Musketry School, Meerut
  • List of ruling chiefs
  • Order of Merit
  • Units of Imperial Service Troops under the supervision of inspecting officers
  • War services

What Information for Officers was Recorded

An officer’s entry will record:

  • When he entered the service
  • Date he was appointed to the unit
  • His present appointment in the unit and when he was promoted to his rank
  • Remarks e.g. awards or qualifications passed
  • War Service Statement e.g. Great European War, 1914-19 – Star, 1914-15
  • Any coronation, meritorious or long service medals

A unit’s entry will also record when it was raised, what its strength was, the colour of its uniform, facings, unit centre and any battle honours. Below is a page showing some of the officers serving with the 1st Gwalior Lancers in the July 1915 Imperial Service Troops Army List.Imperial Service Troops Army List

Where to Find the Imperial Service Troops Army List

The Imperial Service Troops Army List is a very difficult resource to find and as far as I know, the only place to view them, at least in Britain, is at the British Library in London. You will need a reader’s pass as the documents can only be issued to the Asian and African Reading Room on the third floor. The catalogue numbers for the Imperial Service Troops Army Lists run consecutively from:

To be taken to the relevant entry for the lists on the British Library’s catalogue click here. Then click on the browse collection tab.