Rifles (Frontier Force) sailed from Karachi for France on 21st
September 1914 where it stayed until December 1915; the regiment was in the
Bareilly Brigade of the 7th Meerut Division. The pre-war class composition of the regiment
was 3 companies of Sikhs, 1 company of Dogras, 3 companies of Pathans, and 1
company of Punjabi Mohammedans. On the
battlefield the regiment re-organised into: No I Company: Sikhs; No. II
Company: Two platoons Yuzafsais and two platoons Punjabi Mohammedans; No. III
Company: Two platoons Sikhs and two platoons Dogras; No. IV Company: Afridis.
During hard fighting in France the battalion lost 6
British and 11 Indian officers and 348 men killed[i],
plus 5 British and 30 Indian officers and 1,163 men wounded. Gallantry awards received by members of the
regiment included 3 Distinguished Service Orders[ii],
4 Military Crosses[iii],
1 Indian Order of Merit, 1st Class[iv];
12 Indian Orders of Merit, 2nd Class[v];
and 21 Indian Distinguished Service Medals[vi]. The Afridis fought bravely and were adept at
night patrols and trench raids, but sadly on the night of 2nd/3rd
March 1915 Jemadar Mir Mast[vii],
(later forfeited), and fourteen Afridis deserted to the German lines.
When the Indian Corps left France
at the end of 1915 most units were re-deployed to Mesopotamia, but battalions
with strong Pathan contingents went to East Africa or Egypt where it
was hoped that Turkish co-religionist subversion would not be effective. 58th Vaughan’s
Rifles went to Egypt and
from there fought its way northwards through Palestine for the duration of the war. But a sub-unit of the regiment was also
deployed from India to East
Africa in 1918, and it was used on local security duties in Porto Amelia (now
Pemba) in Portuguese East Africa (now Mozambique). This detached company did not do anything
dramatic, but its story, which does not appear either in the Condon regimental
history or the draft official history for East Africa,
deserves to be placed on record.
From January 1916 to September 1917 the 58th Rifles served
as part of the force defending the Suez Canal,
being mainly located in the southern sector.
The Turks had unsuccessfully attempted to seize the Canal in 1915[ix]
but after that failure they withdrew eastwards across the Sinai Desert,
leaving only outposts and raiding parties behind. Drafts arrived from the Depot and from the
linked battalion, 55th Coke’s Rifles (Frontier Force) and the
established strength for an infantry battalion was restored. Route marching over the sand and trench
digging maintained physical fitness after the debilitating hardships of winter
months in the French trenches. Each
section carried a stretcher on the marches and was responsible for carrying its
own men home if they fell out; as Condon’s history puts it: ‘This had a most salutary effect’.
Commanding Officers (COs) changed in February 1917 when
Lieutenant Colonel E.R.B. Murray[x]
was moved upwards to command 49th Indian Infantry Brigade; Major
A.G. Lind took over the CO’s appointment which he was to hold for the next nine
years. As Commanding Officer Colonel
Lind promoted physical training (PT) throughout the battalion, and often took
volunteer officers’ squads on PT himself.
During this period in Egypt
leave to India
for the Indian ranks was opened and detachments were temporarily posted
elsewhere. Major R. de W. Waller (108th
Infantry attached to 58th Rifles) and Captain G.R. Dowland took the
Sikh company to Somaliland for nine months, building a coastal fort at
Lashkorai, and garrisons were maintained on the Red Sea Sinai coast at Abu
Zenima, where there were manganese mines, and Tor[xi]. From Tor Captain E.B. Kitson and a party
escorted a British Mission to the Convent of Saint Catherine at the foot of the
Mount of Moses.
Also during this
period, and in preparation for the commencement of operations against the
Turks, the remaining loyal Afridis were posted to 55th Coke’s Rifles
in East Africa, under Subadar Anar Gul of that regiment who had been attached
to the 58th. The only major
operational activity occurred on 18th February 1917 when the 58th
Rifles accompanied Yeomanry detachments of 6th Mounted Brigade in a
march across the Sinai
Desert to capture
Nekhl. However local Bedouin alerted the
Turkish post commander who quickly withdrew, leaving only a field gun and
eleven men who quickly surrendered when the British reached Nekhl Oasis.
Palestine, September to December 1917
On 12th September 1917 58th Vaughan’s Rifles moved forward to the trenches facing Gaza to join the 234th
Brigade of the 75th Division.
The battalion had been re-organised again and its companies were:
‘A’ Company (Captain R.B. Kitson): two platoons Dogras and
two platoons Yusafzais. ‘B’ Company (Acting Captain G.R. Dowland): 4 platoons
Punjabi Mohammedans. ‘C’ Company (Major R. de W. Waller): four platoons Sikhs. ‘D’ Company (Lieutenant R.G. Ekin[xii]):
two platoons Punjabi Mohammedans, one platoon Khattaks and one platoon
Yusafzais, all attached from 55th Coke’s Rifles.
The Adjutant was Captain D.B. Mackenzie. On the Canal four Vickers medium machine guns
had been issued, but they were replaced with 16 Lewis light machine guns[xiii]
during the move to Gaza. Unfortunately a murder occurred within the
Yusafzai ranks on 16th September, and although this did not appear
to have political or religious significance it led to most Pathans being
withdrawn from the battalion. A
replacement company of Punjabi Mohammedans from the 101st
Grenadiers, commanded by Lieutenant B. Douglas, was attached to the battalion.
was captured on 10th November 1917 the 58th was not
involved in the advance but some Lewis gun mules of an adjacent British
battalion bolted under shell-fire and were retrieved by the jawans; to the joy
of some the ammunition panniers were found to contain bottles of beer and not
Lewis gun magazines.
Left: The defile of the Bab El Wad, Palestine
Three days later the 58th was in brigade
reserve when a company was urgently needed to plug a gap on the brigade right
flank that occurred during the British attack on Junction Station. The 101st Grenadiers’ company was
sent forward with Captain Kitson in overall command; the Grenadiers joined the
right of the brigade advance but got well ahead of it. It then appears that Captain Kitson observed
a Turkish counter-attack forming-up against the brigade, and so he forestalled
it by immediately attacking the enemy himself.
During the fierce fighting that followed both Captain Richard Buller
Kitson and Lieutenant Bryce Douglas were killed along with 23 Grenadiers,
additionally three Indian officers and 42 jawans were wounded. The company had bought time for British
mounted troops to appear, and the British operation succeeded.
On the following day the battalion moved up to Junction
Station and on the way the Sikhs managed to acquire a flock of sheep that they
immediately milked. Some light relief
now occurred for the jawans as, despite being told that the area was clear of
Turks, whenever Colonel Lind appeared in his trademark ‘pig-sticker’ topi[xiv]
and carrying his pointer staff[xv]
he was engaged by a distant Turk who sniped him with a light field gun. The enemy then broke contact and the 58th
enjoyed a quiet few days.
In recognition of the superior hill-fighting qualities of
Frontier Force regiments the commander of the British 75th Division,
Major General P.C. Palin CB[xvi],
attached 58th Vaughan’s
Rifles to 232nd Brigade for a special operation on 19th
November. 232nd Brigade, also with the
South African Field Artillery Brigade attached, was ordered to advance through
the narrow defile named Bab el Wad (Mouth of the Pass) on the road to Jerusalem. Colonel Lind deployed Captain Dowland and
Subadar Muhammad Arabi[xvii]
IOM with the Punjabi Mohammedans on the right ridge, and Major Waller with the
Sikhs and Dogras on the left ridge.
During a wet night and day of
intense and rapid action the defile was cleared of ambush from above. The citation for the award of the Military
Cross to Captain Roy Dowland describes his tactics: He
took his platoon right up to a hill, whence he came under fire of some hostile
picquets. Driving back one picquet, he rushed the second, capturing seven
prisoners. Remaining in this position all night, at dawn the next day he
captured a further nine prisoners, the position he took up being essential to
the safe passage of the division through the pass. His endurance and courageous
determination were of the highest order.
For gallantry and leadership displayed on the right ridge
during the following day two Indian Orders of Merit were awarded. Subadar Muhammad Arabi IOM was elevated to
the Indian Order of Merit, 1st Class: This Indian officer occupied a post on a hill with a small
detachment in action on the 19th November 1917. The party was heavily shelled and was
attacked three times. The position was
an important one and it was due to the courage, skill and initiative of Subadar
Muhammad Arabi that it was held.
Subadar Lal Khan received an Indian Order of Merit, 2nd
officer was associated with Subadar Muhammad Arabi in the action on the 17th
November 1917 (sic), described
above, and shared with him the success in seizing and retaining the position
Meanwhile on the left ridge Major Waller’s Sikhs and
Dogras drove back a large enemy body that was waiting on the heights to ambush
British troops in the pass. During this
operation six jawans were killed and 34 were wounded, Major Waller being
For the next few days the 58th Rifles was not
in action whilst the 75th Division fought for and took Nabi Samweil;
the division then moved down the coast to rest and refit. On 9th December Jerusalem was surrendered to the British and
immediately a detachment of 50 Mohammedans from the battalion under the command
of Subedar Major Tikka Khan was sent to guard the Mosque of Omar[xviii]. Here the Sheikh of the Mosque ate a tin of
‘bully’ beef with the Subadar Major in confirmation of his statement that it
was lawful food for a Mohammedan to eat on the battlefield, even if the cattle
had not been slaughtered by a brother Mohammedan.
Right: Minaret of the Mosque of Omar, Jerusalem
The final action of 1917 was a brigade attack with good
artillery support against light enemy opposition on the 180-metre-high Khurbet
Ibbaneh Ridge that dominated the plain around Lydda. The 2nd Battalion of the 5th
Hampshire Regiment attacked on the right alongside the 58th Rifles
on the left. The Sikhs and Dogras led,
fortified by a double rum ration, and the ridge was swiftly ascended in style
and in good formation. The brigade took
18 casualties but captured 15 Turkish prisoners and a machine gun, the other
enemy guns having been withdrawn before the attack went in. After this action the 58th was
employed on road-making in the severe winter months whilst the heavy losses in
Lewis gunners and signalers were made up by internal training cadres. Tin hats were issued and worn to the
amusement of all, but when instructions arrived from Amritsar stating that these were unlawful
headwear, the Sikhs reverted to wearing safas.
In mid-March 1918 the company from the 101st
Grenadiers left to rejoin its own regiment.
A replacement company from the 98th Infantry[xix],
commanded by Captain D.R. Montford, was attached to the 58th Rifles;
its jawan were Rajputs and Ahirs[xx]. Many men in this company were recent recruits
and there were no specialists such as signalers, stretcher bearers and Lewis
gunners; these specialists had to be provided by the other companies.
Although at this time two Divisions and 42 units were
being hurriedly sent from Palestine to France to meet the German threat on the
Western Front, an offensive planned to straighten his line by General Sir
E.H.H. Allenby KCB GCMG, the Palestine theatre commander, went ahead on 30th
March. Due to ignorance and
intransigence on the part of the Divisional staff this operation did not go
well for the 58th Rifles.
Also and very unfortunately the plan of attack was captured by the enemy
on the first day as it had been improperly carried into action by an officer of
another unit who was killed. The
battalion was tasked with seizing El Kefr village[xxi]. Observation posts manned by the 58th
Rifles had reported that El Kefr was strongly held by the enemy but the staff
would not accept this and ordered an attack with two companies only. Lieutenant J.T.R. McKay and his Punjabi
Mohammedan company attacked the village, and at the specific request of Captain
Montford his attached company from the 98th Infantry attacked a
small rocky hill 200 metres distant from the village.
The Punjabi Mohammedans got into the village but the other
company did not hold the ridge and dominate the ground below it, and the Turks
surrounded the village. Both Lieutenant
John Thomas Ralph McKay and Captain Douglas Raymond Montford were killed, along
with 12 jawans, whilst Jemadar Mirza Khan and 63 men were wounded. A further 34 men were missing believed
killed; reports indicated that after the sepoys who were cut-off in the village
surrendered, those that were Sikh and Hindu were killed by the villagers. The supporting British artillery fired
concentrations that broke up the Turkish counter-attack, allowing those men who
could to return to the British lines.
Above: Water ration, Palestine, 58th Rifles
Jemadar Diwana received an Indian Order of Merit, 2nd
Class, for his gallantry and leadership at El Kefr: On
the 30th March 1918, he was the only Indian Officer present in a
very trying situation when the enemy made two counter-attacks advancing under a
heavy cross-fire barrage from machine-gunners.
He behaved throughout with great coolness and gallantry, directing the
fire of the Lewis gunners, and by his fine example and entire disregard of his
own personal safety was instrumental in saving a critical situation. Four other men were awarded Indian
Distinguished Service Medals for bravery at El Kefr on that day, and a fifth
medal was awarded for similar conduct the following day.
A Military Cross awarded around
this time to Lieutenant George Gregory Hills (Indian Army Reserve of Officers
attached to 58th Vaughan’s Rifles) was probably earned during the El
Kefr operations: For conspicuous gallantry and devotion to duty
during an advance. His platoon came under very heavy cross fire from machine
guns, and after going about 150 yards was unable to advance or retire. He got
the survivors back to the top of a hill, which was then counter-attacked by the
enemy, who advanced under an extremely heavy machine-gun barrage to within 25
yards of the top. With great gallantry and steadiness he beat off the attack with
Lewis guns and bombs. The enemy then tried to capture the hill by coming in on
his left flank, and was again beaten back. Owing to his courage and example the
hill was retained.
On 9th April, after a preliminary bombardment
by 6-inch howitzers, El Kefr was attacked again by two other battalions with
the 58th Rifles in support.
The village was captured and then the Punjabi Mohammedans of the 58th
under Subadars Tikka Khan and Mohammed Arabi enthusiastically fought for and
seized a ridge 1,400 metres beyond the village.
Right: Gas sentry, 58th Rifles, Palestine
Major Waller was overseeing the evacuation of his wounded
Sikhs after El Kefr and was impressed by their conviviality. Further investigation discovered that a
‘fantassi’ (camel-borne water tank) accompanying the wounded was full of
rum. When the battalion entered theatre
the British Army Service Corps units that supplied it were unaware that not
everyone in an Indian Army unit automatically qualified for a rum ration, and
nobody in the battalion had been in a hurry to advise them. No doubt those in the battalion who did not
imbibe alcohol received adequate compensation in one form or another of
Before the British army units sent back to France left the theatre many of them attached
cadres of experienced soldiers to the Indian Army units remaining in Palestine. The aim of these attachments was to spread
technical expertise, especially in areas such as Lewis gunnery and quarter-mastering,
throughout the Indian battalions. The 58th
Rifles received eight senior Non-Commissioned Officers (NCOs) from the British
Territorial Army 2nd Battalion of the 4th Devonshire
Regiment. These British attached
personnel were of great value, most of them quickly learning sufficient Urdu to
After the El Kefr action the battalion stayed in the line
in the hills, operating from stone-built sangars[xxiii],
but experienced a fairly quiet summer whilst General Allenby planned his final
offensive. A comedy moment occurred when
the Bugle-Major was lightly hit in the stomach by a bullet. A Pathan bugler beside him extracted the
still-protruding round with his teeth, leading to a Sikh bugler exclaiming: “Now he’ll need to put his finger on the hole
before he can blow his bugle”.
The last battle –
Tabsor, 19th September 1918
On 19th September the final set-piece battle of
the Palestinian Campaign started, and it became known as the Battle of
Megiddo. The 75th Division
operated in a unique role on the left and coastal flank of the British force,
having as its limited objective the seizure of Et Tire which was defended by a
Turkish Division. The 58th
Rifles was still in 234 Brigade and it led the left flank of the Brigade
assault on Tabsor
Village with the 1st
Battalion of the 152nd Infantry, Indian Army, alongside it on the
right flank. Two companies of the 5th
Somerset Light Infantry were positioned between the two Indian battalions with
the task of dealing with the initial enemy positions whilst the Sepoys advanced
straight through the enemy lines. The
artillery support, a creeping barrage, was very effective but it raised clouds
of thick dust that disorientated the infantry who were reliant on compass
bearings for direction. Enemy resistance
encountered during the assault was swiftly subdued with the bayonet and eventually
Captain Ekin and Subadar Thakur Sing with a handful of men came across Tabsor Village
in the dust and seized it. The enemy
Second Line was then advanced to and seized but it contained only dead and
However some of the 58th
Rifles saw stiff fighting, as this citation for the award of the Military Cross
to Temporary 2nd Lieutenant Alfred Henry Charles Allen (2nd
Battalion of the 4th Devonshire Regiment, attached to 58th
Rifles) shows: For gallantry and great devotion to duty in
the attack on the Tabsor defences on September 19th, 1918. He was in command of
the moppers-up immediately in rear of the first wave. Throughout the operations
he showed great zeal and entire disregard for his personal safety. He was shot
through the shoulder before the first objective was reached, and although
disabled and in great pain refused to quit the firing line until the final
objective had been reached—a distance of 9,000 yards approximately from the
starting point. His zeal and
personal example had a most inspiriting effect on those near him.
The casualty figures for the 58th Rifles at
Tabsor were: 7 men killed, plus 2nd Lieutenant Allen, Subadar
Mohammed Arabi, 2 British NCOs and 37 men wounded. Most of these casualties were caused by enemy
artillery fire as the assault commenced.
The battalion captured around 100 prisoners, six machine guns, two 77-mm
guns, a 5.9-inch howitzer, many animals and much material. The 75th Division now moved into
Corps Reserve. During September and
October much of the Turkish force in Palestine
crumbled away into British captivity and an Armistice was signed at the end of
Other Palestine awards
As well as the names already mentioned the following other
awards for service in Palestine were received by
members of the 58th Vaughan’s
Distinguished Service Order
Lieutenant Colonel Alexander
Gordon Lind; and Major Robert de Warrenne Waller (108th Infantry attached to 58th
The following men of the 101st
Grenadiers also received the Indian Distinguished Service Medal for
bravery displayed in actions when they were attached to the 58th Vaughan’s Rifles in Palestine:
Subadar Ahmed Din; 1873 Temporary
Havildar Muhammad Yusaf; 1893 Temporary Lance Naik Muhammad Khan; 1177
Temporary Lance Naik Gowhar Ali Khan.[xxiv]
Right: Sepoy Damodar's IDSM
Palestine and Egypt, 1919
Rifles stayed in Palestine
until March 1919, suffering casualties from the Spanish Influenza epidemic that
swept around the world. The battalion
then moved to Egypt
expecting swift repatriation to India,
but it was required to stay in the Middle East until January 1920 because of
security concerns involving the rebellion that occurred in Egypt[xxv]
from 1919 to 1920. However during this
time 52 Mohammedan officers and men went to Mecca on pilgrimage. Also Acting Subadar-Major Indar Singh MC
IDSM, 3336 Havildar-Major Mir Mohammed, 3921 Lance Naik Kapura (a Dogra) and
Langri (cook) Ugarsain travelled to London to attend the Peace
Celebrations. Finally the battalion
sailed and landed at Karachi in February 1920,
and then moved to the Depot in Multan. A 48-hour ‘Tamasha’[xxvi]
East Africa, 1918
On 4th February 1918 a company of
58th Vaughan’s Rifles (Frontier
Force) from India landed at Dar Es Salaam, German East Africa (now Tanzania). The war diary does not state the point of
origin but it probably was the Regimental Depot in Multan.
The British officers were Captain B.A. Solano (46th Punjab
Infantry) and Captain L. Brilliant (1st Battalion 129th
Duke of Connaught’s Own Baluchis). The
Indian officers were Subadars Hamid Khan and Huqmat Khan of the 58th
Rifles and Jemadar Juma Khan of the 55th Cokes Rifles. The company, designated No.1 Company,
contained 196 other ranks. During the
voyage all prizes for sports competitions except boxing had been won by the
Right: Beach near Porto Amelia
The troops landed, received
vaccinations for smallpox and pitched their own camp. Straight away guard details were required for
railway facilities, the Royal Flying Corp depot, and for German prisoners of
war whilst they were in their prison camp and when they were outside on road
construction tasks. On 18th
February the theatre commander, the South African General Sir J. van Deventer
KCB, inspected the company and decided to send it to Porto Amelia in Portuguese
East Africa (PEA). The company was
tasked to perform local security duties with the possibility of a deployment
later onto operational duties in the bush-warfare that was taking place across
Exactly why the company had been sent
is not known because at that time all other Indian Army combat units except two[xxvii]
were being withdrawn from the theatre because of the associated health problems;
however Indian Army logistical and administrative units remained. It is probable that the unpredictable and
disturbingly successful tactics being used by the German commander in PEA,
General Paul von Lettow-Vorbeck, had rattled the British headquarters, and had
led to a request for more infantry from India[xxviii].
In late February training for bush
warfare commenced and the fighting scale of equipment and weapons was issued,
including Lewis guns. Local African
porters were taught how to be gun and ammunition carriers. The Young Mens’ Christian Association (YMCA)
provided welfare occasions such as sessions of recorded Pushtu music played on
a gramophone and cinema films. But the
local climatic conditions started affecting the health of the company and by 1st
March Captain Solano and 30 men were sick.
Three days later the company embarked on a three-day voyage on a very
over-crowded ship; due to galley limitations only one meal a day could be
prepared and served. On 7th
March the company was disembarked at Porto Amelia in heat much more intense
than that experienced at Dar Es Salaam,
and a camp was pitched; but every day men trickled away to the sick-bay with
fever and other tropical ailments such as jigger-fleas that burrowed under
The sepoys were employed on
security tasks around the town and port where pilfering by local inhabitants
was endemic, or on collecting firewood and fencing-in their own camp. It was now the Monsoon season and violent
rain and thunderstorms fell on most days whilst strong winds sometimes blew
tents down. Captain Solano and ten sick
sepoys were returned to India
and Lieutenant Brilliant became Company Commander. Reinforcement drafts arrived from Egypt and India. At the end of April the company paraded a
Guard of Honour for the PEA Governor General, and that change of routine was
doubtless welcomed by many of the men.
In May the weather had improved
and much use was made of the football pitch that the company had made; the
sickness rate was 14%, and even the company Sub-Assistant Surgeon had been
ill. On 20th May a Court
Martial sentenced No. 29 Sepoy Umar Khan to 20 lashes, the sentence was carried
out four days later but the nature of the offence was not recorded in the war
diary. At the end of May the company at
last saw combat, but with the wrong opponents!
A guard detachment was attacked by 70 Ruga-Ruga, the name given to local
African irregular militia employed by the British. The Ruga-Ruga were armed with sticks and
bayonets, and perhaps they were objecting to their pilfering activities being
interrupted by the sepoys. No shots were
fired but two sepoys went to hospital with bruises.
The final entry in the war diary
on 31st May 1918 states: News
received that company is to return to India as soon as relief can be
effected. No further details are
account of 58th Vaughan’s Rifles
after its brutal sojourn in France
ends here. The sepoys tasted oranges in Palestine, dates in Somaliland and coconuts in East Africa. Throughout
the travels and travails of this single-battalion multi-class regiment, the
sepoys always performed to a high professional standard, earning praise and
respect from their peers.
Shahbash Sikhs, Dogras, Pathans,
and Punjabi Mohammedans of Vaughan’s
Rifles – together you did all that was asked of you!
for East Africa
Two awards for service in East
Africa can be identified for 58th Vaughan’s Rifles’ sepoys. No. 2446 Havildar Major Yar Khan was awarded
an Indian Distinguished Service Medal whilst he was attached to 55th
Coke’s Rifles, and No. 2708 Havildar Khitkhwab was awarded an Indian
Meritorious Service Medal. It is not
known whether the latter award was gained for service on attachment to another
unit or as a member of No. 1 Company in Porto Amelia.
in the Middle East and East Africa
The Commonwealth War Graves
Commission records list 418 deaths of members of 58th Vaughan’s Rifles
(Frontier Force) during the Great War.
That number includes fatalities in France
but 86 names can be found on the Heliopolis
(Port Tewfik) Memorial in Egypt. More names are on the Kantara Indian Cemetery
Memorial and graves can be found in the Ramleh, Suez War Memorial and Gaza War
Cemeteries. Two sepoys[xxix]
are commemorated on the Berbera Memorial in Somalia
and in East Africa one name[xxx]
is inscribed on the Dar Es Salaam British and Indian Memorial, Tanzania.
Chhina, Rana. The
Indian Distinguished Service Medal. (InvictaIndia 2001). Condon, Brigadier W.E.H. OBE: The Frontier Force Rifles. (Gale & Polden 1953 and a Naval
& Military Press re-print). Duckers, Peter. Reward
of Valour. The Indian Order of Merit 1914-1918. (Jade Publishing Limited,
Oldham 1999). Hayward J.B.
& Son. Honours and Awards Indian Army 1914-1921. Jarvis, S.D. & D.B. The Cross of Sacrifice Volume 1.
(Roberts Medals Ltd, Brighton 1993). MacMunn, Sir George and Falls, Captain Cyril. History of the Great War. Military
Operations Egypt & Palestine, three volumes. (Imperial War Museum and
The Battery Press 1996). Sandes, Lieutenant Colonel E.W.C. The Indian Sappers and Miners. (Institution of Royal Engineers,
Chatham 1948). Wavell, Lieutenant General A.P. The Palestine
Campaigns. (Constable, London 1941). London Gazette
entries and Medal Index Cards.
[i] These numbers will include some attached
personnel from other regiments.
[ii] Lieutenant Colonel C.E.D Davidson-Houston, later killed in action;
Major A.G. Thompson, wounded; and Captain S.B. Pope.
[iii] Captain G.S. Bull, wounded and later died; Captain S. Gordon,
Indian Medical Service; Jemadar Indar Singh IDSM; and Jemadar Hawindah IDSM
[iv] Subadar Suhel Singh, later killed.
[v] Jemadar Harchand Singh; Havildar Karam Singh, wounded; Naik Kashmir
Singh; Lance Naik Lal Badshah; Jemadar Muhammad Arabi; Lance Naik Phangan
Singh; Havildar Roshan Khan, killed; Havildar Saidak; Havildar Santa Singh;
Lance Naik Sher Khan; Jemadar Sihel Singh, later killed; and Sepoy Isar Singh.
[vi] Subadars Hamid Khan, Indar Singh, Phuman Singh, and Raj Talab,
later OBI; Jemadar Mir Mast (later forfeited); Havildars 3404 Baidullah, 2164
Sundar Singh, 3212 Lashkar, 2763 Ajun, 3136 Sarfaraz, 2008 Hawindah, 3066
Sardar, and 2198 Fazal Dad; Naiks 2758 Dewa Singh, 3083 Zar Baz, and 2634
Sergun Shah, later OBI; Lance Naiks 3567 Said Asghar, and 2934 Muhammad Amin;
Sepoys 3097 Azam Khan (later forfeited), 3374 Dewa Singh, and 3133 Maluk Singh.
[vii] Brother of Subadar Mir Dast of 55th Coke’s Rifles
(Frontier Force) who won the Victoria Cross at Ypres when attached to and
fighting with 57th Wilde’s Rifles (Frontier Force).
[viii] Indian Distinguished Service Medal.
[ix] For details of the initial Turkish attack on the Suez
Canal refer to the article Turks
Across the Canal in Durbar Volume
27, No. 1, Spring 2010.
[x] Attached from 89th Punjabis.
[xi] Further details of Tor can be seen in the article 2nd Bn 7th Gurkhas in
the Action at Tor, Sinai 12th February 1915 that appeared in Durbar Volume 30, No 3, Autumn 2013.
[xii] During the Second World War he became Major General R.G. Ekin CIE.
[xiii] One for each platoon in the battalion.
[xiv] A pith helmet worn for protection against sun and heat.
[xv] A hand-carried wooden rod that folds out into two parallel sticks
so that the holder can point out ground features to another person, who looks
along the second stick.
[xvi] Formerly 14th Sikhs.
[xvii] Arabi is the spelling used in the regimental history, whilst
official documents and notifications use Arbi.
[xviii] Traditionally the place where Abraham was ordered to sacrifice his
son Isaac, and formerly the site of Solomon’s Temple.
[xix] Class composition: Rajputs, Hindustani Mohammedans and Ahirs from
the eastern Punjab.
[xx] A community of traditional cow herders.
[xxi] The only possible reference to this operation found in the Official
History is a footnote on page 352 of Volume II that states: ”the 58th
Rifles had captured the village
of Deir Ghussane”.
[xxii] 56.8 litres.
[xxiii] A semi-circular unroofed firing position, usually made of stone or
[xxiv] The 58th
Rifles’ regimental history states that there were three more men from the 101st
Grenadiers who received the award, but their names are not readily
[xxvii] 22nd Derajat Mountain Battery (Frontier Force) and 14th
Sappers & Miners.
[xxviii] At the end of 1917 General von Lettow-Vorbeck had marched a small
but very proficient force into PEA from southern German
East Africa, and he immediately captured Portuguese garrison posts
to re-supply his force with weapons, ammunition, food and clothing.
[xxix] No. 4349 Sepoy Ranak Singh and No. 3477 Sepoy Nihal Singh, who were
doubtless on the detachment that built the fort at Lashkorai.
No. 3542 Sepoy Babur who died on 6th July 1918.