The 101st Grenadiers

This article is about the 101st Grenadiers and will help you research those who served with the Regiment during the First World War. I have also written an article on the war-raised 2nd Battalion 101st Grenadiers and a series of guides to help you research soldiers who served in the Indian Army during the war:

The 101st Grenadiers in the First World War

Lineage: Formed at Bombay (Mumbai) in 1779 of drafts from the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th Battalions of Bombay Sepoys, and two companies from the Marine Battalion, as the 8th Bombay Battalion. Then in 1783, it became the Bombay Grenadiers and then the Bombay Grenadier Battalion in 1784. Then the 1st Bombay Battalion, or Bombay Grenadiers in 1788 and the 1st or Grenadier Battalion, 1st Regiment of Bombay Native Infantry in 1796. Then the 1st or Grenadier Regiment of Bombay Native Infantry in 1824 and then the 1st Regiment of Bombay Infantry (Grenadiers) in 1885. Then the 101st Grenadiers in 1903 and became the 1st Battalion 4th Bombay Grenadiers in 1922.

Composition in 1914: 2 Companies of Dekhani Mahrattas, 2 Companies of Konkani Mahrattas, 2 Companies of Rajputana Musalmans and 2 Companies of Punjabi Musalmans. 1919: 1 Company of Dekhani Mahrattas, 1 Company of Konkani Mahrattas, 1 Company Rajputana Musalmans and 1 Company of Punjabi Musalmans.

Location in July 1914: The 101st Grenadiers was stationed at Bangalore (Bengaluru, Karnataka, India) having arrived from Mhow (Madhya Pradesh, India) on 11th December 1910. 

War Diaries of the 101st Grenadiers

  • Date: 01 November 1914 – 31 January 1916
  • Lines of Communication, East Africa
  • Reference: WO 95/5369/20
  • Notes: A very good war diary which contains a detailed account of the fighting at the Battle of Tanga in an appendix. This appendix also includes a list of names the commanding officer wishes to bring to notice and a full list of casualties including other ranks. This war diary has been digitized and is available to download from the National Archives’ website.
  • Date: 11 – 28 October 1915
  • Lines of Communication, East Africa
  • Reference: WO 95/5369
  • Notes:
  • Date: 10 October 1916
  • Lines of Communication, East Africa
  • Reference: WO 95/5369
  • Notes:
  • Date: 01 February – 30 December 1917
  • 49th Indian Infantry Brigade
  • Reference: WO 95/4436
  • Notes:
  • Date: 01 January 1918 – 31 March 1919
  • 29th Infantry Brigade, 10th Irish Division, Egyptian Expeditionary Force
  • Reference: WO 95/4581
  • Notes: An excellent war diary which is packed full of useful information. There are a great number of appendices, which include a patrol report on the night of 30/31 May 1918. Very interesting appendices concerning the effect that Turkish propaganda could have on Indian soldiers dated June 1918. There is a report of Turkish soldiers singing verses from the Koran in front of the Indian lines to try and temp soldiers to desert. Also, a transcript of questions asked to 6 Indian NCOs regarding their training at the Imperial School of Instruction Zeitoun. A 3-page report on the raid on 12 August 1918, with another page listing casualties with service number. And a 2-page report on the Battle of Megiddo. There are too many appendices to list individually.
  • Date: 01 April 1919 – 31 March 1920
  • 234th Infantry Brigade, 75th Division
  • Reference: WO 95/4694
  • Notes:

Further Sources for the 101st Grenadiers

If you are researching a British or Indian officer who served with the 101st Grenadiers then the Indian Army List should be consulted.

Extracts from War Diaries of the 101st Grenadiers

01 January 1918 – 31 March 1919, Egyptian Expeditionary Force, WO 95/4581

20 January 1918 – Gaza – The Battalion arrived at Gaza at 05.45 hours on 20, all stores and tents were brought to camp by 10.00 hours. On arrival at camp the British officers were invited to breakfast and all men to a midday meal by the Officer Commanding Alwar Infantry. The invitation was accepted [?] by all and gratefully appreciated.

Noted in the margin of the war diary after the results of the 36th Course of Instruction held at the Imperial School of Instruction Zeitoun are recorded is the following. April 1918.

The standard of instruction at the Indian School of Instruction Zeitoun is a long way below that maintained at the big Regular Indian Army Schools of Instruction in India. Where training is of a very high standard and conducted by Regular Indian Army Officers (British and Indian) who are experts on the subjects upon which they instruct.

At Zeitoun the instructors are on the other hand Indian Officers, Non-commissioned officers and men selected from various regiments in the field, who on passing a course of instruction are retained as instructors at the school for a short time and then returned to their units. New men being selected to take their places. Indian officers, N.C.Os and men frequently complain that the Indian instructors at Zeitoun although knowing their subject well are quite unable to teach men of their own standing in rank and experience how to instruct as instructors.

Cases are also common where Jats such as Mahrattas, Gurkhas, Dogras, who speak a language of their own, and known very little Hindustani are put under Mohammedan instructors who speak [?] Hindustani. It is only to be expected that in cases of this sort failures to pass are many.

Guides to Researching Soldiers who Served in the Indian Army

Guides to Researching Soldiers who Served in the British Army