Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Former Bahawalpur State Army

The Bahawalpur State Forces
Bahawalpur was a semiautonomous Princely State within British India, lying along the left bank of the River Sutlej in areas now comprising southwestern Punjab. At the time of Partition of India in 1947, it acceded to Pakistan. The two senior battalions of Bahawalpur Regiment trace their origin to 1827, when the Nawab of Bahawalpur first organized his forces. In 1848, Bahawalpur State actively supported the British war effort during the Second Sikh War with 7000 infantry and 2500 cavalry, who were engaged in operations near Multan. During the Great Indian Rebellion of 1857, Bahawalpur State troops aided the British "in quelling mutinies in Oudh, a Bahawalpur contingent of 1000 men occupying Sirsa and maintaining quiet in the district." During the Second Afghan War of 1878-80, “Five hundred men of the State Infantry and 100 sowars were stationed at Dera Ghazi Khan and did useful service in strengthening the frontier posts vacated by regular regiments.” In 1889, Bahawalpur State Forces were accepted as Imperial Service Troops, and a small force of cavalry and infantry was placed at the disposal of the British for use in emergencies. However, in 1901, the force was disbanded and in its place, Bahawalpur raised a camel baggage train with an escort of mounted infantry, called the Bahawalpur Imperial Service Mounted Rifles and Camel Transport Corps, which would go on to become the 1st Bahawalpur Sadiq Battalion in 1924. In 1912, the colour of their uniform was khaki with green facings.

The First World War
During the First World War, Bahawalpur State Forces ,served in EgyptPalestineEast AfricaMesopotamiaBaluchistan and the North West Frontier of India.

Bahawalpur Infantry, Delhi, 1903.
A detachment of 73 men from the Bahawalpur Mounted Rifles was sent to Egypt as reinforcement for the Alwar State Infantry Battalion with whom it served throughout the war; except briefly in 1915, when it served with the Bikaner Camel Corps. In February 1915, Turkey launched an attack on Suez Canal from Palestine. The detachment of Bahawalpur Mounted Rifles took part in reconnaissance of the Turkish advance and then pursuit of the retreating Turks after their attack was repulsed. It then served on line of communication during the British advance into Palestine, in the Third Battle of Gaza and the Battle of Megiddo, which resulted in Turkish defeat. In Palestine, it operated in the Jordan Valley and took part in the capture of Amman. Meanwhile, the rest of the Camel Corps was dispatched to the Persian Gulf in November 1914 in support of the Indian Expeditionary Force. However, the detachment soon returned, as the camels were no longer required. In February 1915, a detachment of 38 men and 100 camels was sent to Jubaland in British East Africa but returned in November after the death of most of the camels. From May 1917 to January 1918, the Bahawalpur Camel Transport Corps operated with the South Waziristan Field Force against hostile Mahsud tribesmen, while between March and May 1918, it took part in a punitive expedition against rebellious Marri and Khetran tribsemen in Baluchistan.

Post First World War
In 1917, Bahawalpur State raised the Imperial Service Double Company, which was designated as 2nd Bahawalpur Household Infantry in 1922 and re-designated as 2nd Bahawalpur Haroon Infantry a year later. During the Third Afghan War of 1919, Bahawalpur Mounted Rifles and Camel Transport Corps operated in the Zhob Valley in Baluchistan. After the war, the Camel Corps was disbanded and the remaining elements eventually emerged as the 1st Bahawalpur Sadiq Battalion in 1924. In 1921, Bahawalpur joined the Indian State Forces Scheme, placing its two infantry battalions at the disposal of the Government of India. The Bahawalpur Infantry was mostly composed of Punjabi Muslims. Their uniforms underwent numerous changes, until settling for grey colour in 1930. Ceremonial headdress included the distinctive 'fez', which was unique to the Bahawalpur State Forces. The badges of Bahawalpur Infantry also underwent numerous changes but included the pelican as their central theme.

The Second World War
On the outbreak of the Second World War, the Nawab of Bahawalpur placed his forces at the disposal of the British Government. In March 1941, the 1st Bahawalpur Infantry (Sadiq Battalion) was dispatched to Malaya in anticipation of impending hostilities with Japan. The battalion was deployed for the protection of airfields in Kedah in North Malaya. Following the Japanese invasion in December and their rapid advance, the battalion was forced to retreat towards Singapore with the rest of the British forces. On 15 February 1942, it was taken Prisoner of War at Singapore after the British surrender. Captain Mahmood Khan Durrani was awarded the George Cross for displaying outstanding courage, loyalty and fortitude during the harsh and brutal Japanese captivity. On repatriation after the war, the battalion was reformed in 1946. Bahawalpur raised two more battalions in 1940 and 1944. The 4th Battalion was re-designated as 3rd Bahawalpur Light Infantry in 1946 on conversion of the 3rd Battalion into Training Centre. The 2nd, 3rd and 4th Battalions remained in India.

The Bahawalpur Regiment
On partition of India, Bahawalpur State acceded to Pakistan and in 1952, Bahawalpur Infantry was integrated into Pakistan Army as the Bahawalpur Regiment. The regiment was entirely composed of Punjabi Muslims. The Regimental Centre was based at Dera Nawab Sahib. Uniform of the new regiment was of rifle green colour with scarlet facings. Officers' winter mess kit was of French grey cloth with black cuffs and facings, and blue overalls. Cummerband was rifle green. Cap badge of gilding metal consisted of a pelican surmounted by a star and crescent, the whole surrounded by a date palm wreath, with a scroll below, inscribed 'Bahawalpur Regiment'. Backing for the cap badge was of circular maroon cloth. The lanyard was of maroon cord.

In July 1948, 5th Bahawalpur Light Infantry was raised from Muslim officers and men of 2nd Patiala Infantry, who had opted for Pakistan. It was re-designated as 4 Bahawalpur in 1952. In 1956, a major re-organization took place in Pakistan Army and the existing infantry regiments were amalgamated to form larger regimental groups. As a result, the Bahawalpur Regiment was merged with the Baluch Regiment. The new line up of Bahawalpur Infantry was.
§  1st (Sadiq) Battalion The Bahawalpur Regiment - 8th Battalion The Baluch Regiment
§  2nd (Haroon) Battalion The Bahawalpur Regiment - 9th Battalion The Baluch Regiment
§  3rd (Abbas) Battalion The Bahawalpur Regiment - 20th Battalion The Baluch Regiment
§  4th Battalion The Bahawalpur Regiment - 21st Battalion The Baluch Regiment

Battle Honours of the Bahawalpur Regiment

Battle Honours awarded by the Governments of British India and Pakistan
Suez CanalEgypt 1915-17GazaMegiddoNablusPalestine 1917-18NW Frontier, India 1917Baluchistan 1918JohoreSingapore IslandMalaya 1941-42.

Battle Honours awarded by the Nawab of Bahawalpur
1st Kabul War 1837Multan Campaign 1848Mutiny 18572nd Kabul War 1879Great War 1914-18East Africa 1915Mesopotamia 1915Persian Gulf 1916-18,Jordan Valley 1918Waziristan 1917Marri Field Force 1918Afghanistan 1919, Kot Sabzal 1930.


Bahawalpur State ForcesPakistan Army
Line Infantry
Standard Infantry
Regimental Centre
Dera Nawab Sahib
Rifle green; faced scarlet
Second Sikh War 1848
Indian Rebellion of 1857
Second Afghan War 1878-80
First World War 1914-18 (Egypt,Palestine)
Third Afghan War 1919
Second World War 1939-45 (Malaya)

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