NEWS/EVENTS

JBA INDIA TOUR 2017 - LATEST UPDATE

Due to unexpected changes, the March 2017 Tour was postponed until later in the year; all  were informed. Plans are now well in hand toablish the tour in late October/November 2017 (probably30 October to 8 November tbc) for approximately 8-10  days. Due to the security situation in Pakistan it has been reluctantly agreed that the tour will be confined to India; a reassessment of the situation will be made next year to see if a visit to Ist Frontier Force Regiment might be possible.

The proposed programme is to leave London for Delhi on Monday 30 October and return from Delhi on Wednesday 8th November. 

After two days in Delhi visiting historic places relevant to our history and after an Officers' Mess dinner we will fly to Amritsar to visit the Golden Temple and the new Museum there and include attending the famous Border Guard Mounting exchange between elements of the two National Armies (see:https://youtube.be.blmfloX6zTM.

Then to Jullundur to visit the Brigade's old barracks and lunch before driving to Kasuli to stay in the mountain Officers' Club where a dinner will be held.

The next day we will drive to Dharampur to catch the Mountain Train to Simla. We will enjoy a conducted tour of Simla and do other sight seeing of this iconic place over the next two days.

The next day we will drive on Chaidigal for a sponsord lunch bfore returing to Delhi to begin our return journey to London.

It is hoped that the whole trip, including internal transport and accommodation, will come in well under £1000 a head. Flight from and to UK will be costed separately and we will be applying for rebated group travel tickets. Invitations have already been received to attend local JBA supporters and friends during the travel.

Further details will be reported as the programme and costings are refined; so keep checking this space. It would be useful if those who think they may be attending could let me know now with final confirmations being asked for a little nearer the time.

Visas will be needed.

JBA ANNUAL CURRY LUNCH 2017

The Annual JBA Curry Lunch took place in the Punjab Restaurant in Covent Garden on Friday 23 June. 26 members attended their details have been circulated separately. 

The President welcomed everyone and then mantioned that a considerable number of JBA Members who could not attend had written in to wish those attending a happy and successful lunch.

The Vice President then gave an India/5 SIKHS update and stated that reports had been received from the Colonel of The Duke of Lancaster's Regiment and from the Commanding Officer of the Ist Frontier Force Regiment( which will be inserted here).

The President mentioned that the Canadian Chapter of the JBA had indicated that they were considering holding a matching Lunch in Canada in future years.

An excellent lunch was then enjoyed by all. Details for 2018 to follow! 

 

 NEW MEMBERS 2017 

The following new Members have joined this year and the first five are now listed under the Canada Chapter; the others are listed under the UK Chapter:

 

a. Cranston, Don

Lives in Toronto, Canada. Honorary Lt Col of the Royal Hamilton Light Infantry. Has connection with JBA through being employed for six summers in the early 1980s with the Fort Henry Guard; the British 8th of Foot served at Fort Henry during the War of 1812. Is currently the Chair of the Friends of Fort York in Toronto. Fort York was attacked by the US Army in April 1813; two companies of the 8th of Foot, elements of the Canadian Militia, and First Nations allies attempted to repulse the attack. The 8th's Grenadier Company engaged the US troops in a futile bayonet charge resulting in 46 dead including Captain Neal McNeale. 

 

b. Newman, John

Lives in Toronto, Canada. Honorary Lt Col of the Canadian Rangers. Works for a Financial Holdings organisation in Toronto.  

 

c. Panday, Hari

Lives in Toronto, Canada. Honorary Lt Col 32 Service Battalion, 4th Canadian Division. Attached to the Canadian Forces College as a Founding Director. Is the first Canadian Indian born HLtCol. Is currently President and CEO of a Canadian Capital Corporation. His Father, a Doctor, lived in Lahore Cantt. and was Personal Physician to the Governor of the Punjab before Partition.

 

d. Chapman, John

From UK National Service was commissioned into REME, serving in 16 Parachute Brigade in Cyprus and Jordan. Later became a Captain in 21 SAS (Artists Rifles)TA. Spent a year as Resident Engineer constructing  a Power Plant in Ralwind inthe Punjab. Visited various places of military interest including the Kyyber Rifles Officers' Mess at Landi Kotal. Returns home in Canada in February 2017.

 

e. Dillon, Dhandev Singh

His wife's grandfather, Risalder Hardit Singh of 9th Hodson's Horse, died on 5 December !917 in the Battle of the Somme and his grave is at La Chapellete British and Indian Cemetery near Amiens, France. Dhandev served with the Central India Horse from 1964 to 1981 and then raised a new regiment-44 Armoured Regiment. tHe reired as a Brigadier in December 2017. He lives between Canada and India. 

 

f. Johnson, Andy

Lives in UK. Is a Military Historian with particular interest in the Indian Army 

 

g. Roberts, Andy

Lives in the North West of UK. Is also a Military Historian with particular interest in the Indian Army.

 

h. Paddam, (Paddy) Singh of Sheikhupura

Is an ex officer (Captain) of 16th Light Cavalry.Lives in UK near Salisbury and manages a Travel Company (www.hindoostantours.com). Is a friend of our Vice President and of Member  Hari Singh. He is a regular visitor to New Delhi.

 

i. Plumptre, Tim

Is an amateur military history researcher who lives near Salisbury. His father was an infantry officer (The Buffs) in WW2, was captured at El Alamein and, after hospital treatment, was a POW in Italy and who, on Italy's capitulation, escaped and travelling south to meet the Allies advance where he rejoined his Regimen, being subsequently decorated with the MBE (Military).

j. Aftab, Hassan

(Belated entry)

Member of 1FF Regiment and currently based at the Pakistan Jigh Commission, London as Counsellor.  

 

All members are requested to check their personal details displayed on the Membership Page for accuracy of detail and spelling. Any required amendments should be emailed direct to the President. 

 NB:

1. Those names marked by * are asked to confirm their current email address to the President

2. General notices sent by eMail will be sent out on set distribution lists to country specific bcc addressees to avoid compromising individual members' privacy. 

 

 

THE SIKH PIONEERS AND SIKH LIGHT INFANTRY ASSOCIATION 2017 NEWS LETTER

Once again, with the agreement of the Editor and JBA Member Iain White, I am able to publish the 2017 Sikh Pioneers and Sikh Light Infantry Association 2017 Newsletter which contains much of interest to JBA Members:

 

 

THE SIKH PIONEERS AND SIKH LIGHT INFANTRY ASSOCIATION

WINTER 2017 NEWSLETTER

 

EDITOR’S REPORT

I hope that this newsletter finds all our Members well and that everyone had an enjoyable Christmas and New Year.  I wish all members a great Spring and Summer.

After another successful reunion lunch last October at the Bombay Brasserie, we have already made a provisional booking for 2017, but as our Treasurer Hilary Mackay mentions in her Report, we are happy to receive other suggestions from Members.  So please do let us know if you have any ideas for alternative venues.

The Sikh Light Infantry Regimental reunion is still expected to take place this year, although at the time of going to press we still await final details of the arrangements.  The latest suggestion is that it may take place in October or November.  This is due to the fact that Brigadier Kabindra Singh, Commandant of the Sikh LI Regimental Centre at Fatehgarh, has been promoted to Major General, and will shortly take up a new posting.  However, that has not yet been confirmed and so a new Commandant is not yet in place.  Until the new Commandant is appointed and can begin to organise the reunion, we shall have to wait for final details. [JBA Member] Hugh Mackay and I still hope to be able to attend in due course.

Members will note that we plan to return to the Bombay Brasserie for our 2017 Reunion Lunch on Saturday 7th October.

 

Republic Day Reception

I was delighted and honoured to receive an invitation to attend the Indian High Commission’s Republic Day Reception at the Grosvenor House Hotel, Park Lane, on 26th January, courtesy of Brigadier Rajesh Kumar Jha.  It was a wonderful occasion and very well attended and I am grateful to the Brigadier for extending an invitation to me.  

 

Bonny Club Lunch

In November I was able to attend the Indian Army Bonny Club lunch at the Army & Navy Club in London.  For Members who do not know, the Bonny Club was set up under the auspices of Major Keith Bonny of Hodson’s Horse to bring together former Indian Army officers who wished to meet up informally on a regular basis.  Major Bonny passed away last year, but the Club still holds a lunch twice a year, usually with a very interesting speaker.

It was wonderful lunch, made all the more so by the fact that I was sitting with His Honour Judge Robin Rowland QC who served from 1942 to 1946 with the Indian Army.  Robin is now 95 years old and not only is he fascinating company but he also lives near me, in Rutland.  After OTS Mhow, he joined the Royal Deccan Horse at Secunderabad after being commissioned in July 1942, before he was transferred to the war-raised 7th Battalion of the 2nd Punjab Regiment in Madras in the spring of 1943.  After jungle training near Ranchi, the Battalion went to the Arakan in Burma with the 7th Indian Division.  They were then in almost continuous action until 1945.  The Battalion, and the Division, were sent north to help relieve Kohima in 1944, followed by the advance to the Chindwin, the crossing of the Irrawaddy, the capture of Mandalay and the final advance to Rangoon.  After the armistice, the Battalion went first to Thailand to take the surrender of Japanese forces there before a spell in Malaya.  Robin eventually came home in 1946 to continue his legal studies. 

UK-India Year of Culture

Members may or may not be aware but 2017 marks the UK-India Year of Culture, one of the events to mark the 70th anniversary of Indian independence from Britain.  This programme of cultural exchanges is organised jointly by the British Council in India and the Indian Government in the UK, with support from the UK Arts Council.  The official launch took place on 27th February at Buckingham Palace, at a reception hosted by the Queen.

Events will take place across the UK and India throughout 2017; so look out for events in your area.

 

2017 and the Sikh Pioneers

As the First World War centenary continues, 2017 marks the first year when all three of the Sikh Pioneer regiments were in action, all in the Middle East against the Turks.  As many Members will know, the 34th Royal Sikh Pioneers had come to Europe in 1914 with the Indian Army Corps.  From the end of 1915, they had transferred to Mesopotamia for the advance north towards Kut and Baghdad with the Tigris Corps.

Similarly the 23rd Sikh Pioneers had been in action since 1914, first in Aden and from 1916 in Egypt.  1917 would see them take part in the operations against Gaza.

Finally 1917 would also see the 32nd Sikh Pioneers in action.  The Battalion had been on duty on the North West Frontier, also providing drafts to the 23rd and 34th overseas.  In April 1917, they left their depot at Sialkot and proceeded to Mesopotamia by sea, from Karachi to Basra. See the later article on Colonel Adrian Hope for more details of their campaign.

 

The Chattri Memorial Service

Members are reminded that this year’s annual Chattri Memorial Service is due to take place on Sunday 11th June at the Chattri near Patcham, on the Downs north of Brighton.  If members plan to attend, you should aim to reach the Chattri around 2.00pm for a 2.30pm start.

On the day of the service, cars are permitted to drive all the way to the Memorial.  From the A27/A23 intersection, follow signs as if you are taking the A27 towards Lewes but as you cross over the A27 at the junction with the A23, or if you are coming from the west, if you exit the A27, rather than taking the slip road right to Lewes go straight on into Braypool Lane.  Turn right, then left on to a farm track.  After a few hundred yards, a gate on the left will be open on the day and simply follow the track for almost a mile across farmland until you reach the Chattri.

If Members ever want to visit the Memorial on any other day, you should simply park on the verge in Braypool Lane and take the walk across farmland for about a mile.  On a sunny day the views south to Brighton are spectacular.

 

Iain Smith

 

THE ANNUAL REUNION LUNCHEON 2016

 

The 69th Annual Reunion of the Association took place at the Bombay Brasserie, South Kensington on Saturday 8th October 2016. We had a good turnout of 26 Members and guests present.  We had expected a few more, but unfortunately Brigadier Rajesh Kumar Jha, Military Adviser to the Indian High Commission was called away on official duties and Captain Anudeep Singh Chauhan was detained in the USA and did not arrive back in London in time.  We hope to see them and their wives at future lunches of course.

It was nevertheless welcome to see a number of members and guests attending their first reunion. Shilpy Singh flew back from a work assignment in South Africa to be with us, so thank you to Shilpy.Pritpal Singh Mangat, another member whose father served with the 5th Battalion, also came. My friend Matthew Broadbridge, a fellow Indian Army collector and enthusiast, accompanied me from Leicester.  Sir Michael Oswald and his son William joined us having made a visit to India the year before.  Sir Michael’s great uncle, Colonel Hay Mitchell, served with the 32nd Sikh Pioneers.  Peter McCoy, 13th Frontier Force Rifles, met Amarjit Singh Kahai (IASC – 1962 to 1978) and Inder Singh Uppal MBE at a function in London and we were happy for them to join us.  Finally [JBA Members] Penny and Bryan Ayres were most welcome.  Penny’s grandfather was Colonel Beatson-Bell of the 32nd Sikh Pioneers and Judge Advocate General’s Department.  

 

The list of those present was as follows:

Lt Cdr and Dr M S Daiches                       Buffs att 1 SLI daughter

Mrs J Dudley                                          Buffs att 1 SLI widow

Mrs M Dudley                                         Buffs att 1 SLI daughter in law

Miss H Mackay                                        34 RSP granddaughter

J Escombe                                                       

Lt B McIntosh                                         Mahar Regiment

Capt P McCoy                                         13th Frontier Force Rifles

Capt H C T Routley                                 1 SLI

Mr I Smith and Mr M Broadbridge             Member

Mr K K Wynes                                         32 SP son

Mrs A Sutton-Pratt                                   23 SP daughter

Mr A Sutton-Pratt                                    23 SP grandson

Capt S Pal Singh Chadha                          5 SLI

Harbinder Singh Rana                              Anglo Sikh Heritage Trail

Pritpal Singh Mangat                                5 SLI son

Shilpy Singh                                            5 SLI daughter

Tom Donovan                                          Historian, book dealer and publisher

Lt Col Bill Prince                                       Kai Kai Baluch Club

Sir Michael and William Oswald                  32 SP great nephew

Mr and Mrs B Ayres                                  32 SP grand-daughter

Amarjit Singh Kahai                                  Indian Army Service Corps

Inder Singh Uppal MBE

 

Once again thank you to everyone who was able to attend and we look forward to seeing you in 2017.

  

Advance notice – the 2017 Reunion Lunch

Members are urged to make a note in their diaries for this year’s Reunion Lunch.

We have provisionally booked the Bombay Brasserie, Kensington for Saturday 7th October.  Full details will be included in the summer newsletter.  The attendance last year was excellent and we hope as many of you as possible will come and make this year’s lunch a memorable event.

 

TREASURER’S REPORT(Intentional deletion)

 

  

 

INDIA LIAISON OFFICER’S REPORT

Firstly, the Sikh Light Infantry Officers’ Association have just held their annual luncheon at the Field Marshal Manekshaw Centre in Delhi, on Sunday 5th February.  As mentioned earlier, it had been hoped that the details for the Regimental reunion at Fatehgarh would be confirmed.  Unfortunately the new Commandant is not yet in post and so the final arrangements cannot be made.  It is hoped that the dates and details will be available shortly.

 

The Colonel of the Regiment, Lt Gen Hira, retired at the beginning of January and has taken up a post as Chairman of the Punjab Public Service Commission.  We wish him well in his new role.

The new Colonel of the Regiment will be Lt Gen Devraj Anbu, who is currently serving as GOC Northern Command based at Udhampur, having been appointed to that position on 1 December.  The new appointment is yet to be formally confirmed, but that should be soon.  We extend our congratulations and best wishes to the new Colonel.

This delay in confirming Lt Gen Anbu’s appointment as Colonel is one reason for the delay in confirming the dates for the reunion, since only once he is appointed can Lt Gen Anbu issue his decision with confirmation of the dates.  Similarly, Brigadier Kabindra Singh, Commandant of the Regimental Centre, has been notified of his promotion to Major General.  But his new posting has not been confirmed, and neither has his replacement.  It is hoped that the new Commandant, once in post, will have a couple of months to organise the reunion, hence the current delay.

Sadly Lt Gen Anbu was not able to attend the Officers’ Association lunch in Delhi on 5th February because of security responsibilities and the aftermath of avalanches in Kashmir.

The Regiment now has five Lieutenant Generals.  In addition to Generals Hira and Anbu, Lt Gen Sharanjeet Singh has now taken over as Chief of Staff at South West Command, Jaipur.  Lt Gen Naravane has moved from GOC 2 Corps to a new post as GOC Delhi Area.  Finally Lt Gen Harish Thukral, a former CO of the 9th Battalion, has been appointed as Director General Ceremonials and Welfare at Army HQ.  He had also previously had a long stint as Defence Attaché in Pakistan when he held the rank of Brigadier.

 Hugh Mackay

 

VISIT TO AMRITSAR

In late August Major General Peter Davies of the Jullundur Brigade Association thoughtfully sent JBA members the invitation from Squadron Leader Rana Chhina to visit Amritsar in October 2016 for the Dedication Ceremony of the Punjab State War Heroes Memorial and Museum.  The invitation was made on behalf of the Government of the Punjab.  While my father served on the North West Frontier with the 34th Royal Sikh Pioneers, my only claim was my involvement with the Sikh Light Infantry, the successors to my fathers Regiment.  I thought I would bolster my claim with a genuine Retired British officer from the Indian Army.  Optimistically I contacted a friend, Major Tom Conway formerly of the Guides Cavalry.  Commissioned in 1941, after El Alamein and then Iraq (with PAIForce) he returned to India in 1943 and served on the North West Frontier in charge of a Sikh Squadron.  The only problem at 97 years old was that he might think himself too old for the trip.  But no.  We were formally invited and on 20th October we flew to India.  It was for this reason I was not able to come down to London for the Association lunch.

There was a great welcome on our arrival.  The State allocated three schoolteachers to be our aides.  Also we had four armed police.  The procession was therefore two white cars and a small truck. Broadly this applied throughout the visit.  It seemed to work well when I made the occasional purchase.  We started with the Golden Temple.  Beautiful, colourful and profound.  Then the Jallianwala Bagh Gardens (the scene of the 1919 Massacre) where there is indeed one exit and about two yards wide.  On two subsequent days we looked at two fine Hindu Temples, the Ram Bagh Gardens and Gobindgarh Fort.  The latter is being painstakingly restored.  It is not yet open to the public but it will be an absolute must for future visitors.

The dedication was on the 23rd.  Major Tom laid a wreath (of course made from fresh flowers), we had the speeches (a test of my Punjabi that I failed), a fine meal and the chance to meet friendly interesting people and find out about mutual friends.  The Museum is in two buildings with an open space in which stands a giant Kirpan, which is 145 feet high with the blade pointing towards the border with Pakistan.  15,000 people attended the event.

The chief Minister of the Punjab was very kind to us.  Rana (who some Members have met) is charming and great company.  Brig Aura who was in charge of much of the event could not have been more helpful.  This was a superb visit and I will certainly spend more time in Amritsar in the future.

 Hugh Mackay

 

THE DELHI DURBAR 1911

The Delhi Durbar was held to celebrate the coronation of King George V and Queen Mary, which had been held in Westminster Abbey on 22nd June 1911.  In the official proclamation, it was stated that:

 

“…it is Our wish and desire to make known to all Our loving subjects within Our Indian dominions that the said solemnity has so been celebrated and call to Our presence Our Governors, Lieutenant-Governors and others of Our officers, the Princes, Chiefs and Nobles of the Native States under Our protection and representatives of all the Provinces of Our Indian Empire, now We do by this Royal Proclamation declare Our Royal intention to hold at Delhi on the twelfth day of December one thousand nine hundred and eleven an Imperial Durbar for the purpose of making known the said solemnity of Our Coronation and We do hereby charge and command Our right trusted and well-beloved counsellor Charles Baron Hardinge of Penshurst, Our Viceroy and Governor-General of India, to take all necessary measures in that behalf”.

 

The details in this article are taken mostly from the Official Directory published by the Government Press Calcutta.  At that time the capital of Imperial India was at Calcutta and no sign of the future New Delhi designed by Lutyens and Baker had yet taken shape.  The area covered by the Durbar and all its attendant camps was vast, stretching north and west from the Delhi Ridge to the north of the Old City, in an area bordered to the east by the River Jumna with the camps stretching west beyond the Ambala Kalka Railway towards the North West Western Railway.  The whole site was approximately 3 miles by 3 miles with separate camps for the Royal party, Indian princes, Provincial parties and troops.

 

The events at Delhi took place over a period of ten days commencing with the State Entry to the city on Thursday 7th December 1911.  The Durbar itself took place on Tuesday 12th December and the events concluded with the State Departure of their Majesties from Delhi on Saturday 16th December.

Space here does not permit me to list the full details of all the guests, attendees and events.  The key military contingents were the Cavalry Division, the 3rd Lahore Division, the 7th Meerut Division, a composite Division and the Delhi Garrison along with the Imperial Service Troops from the Native States and also a Veterans Camp.

The reason for including this article in our newsletter is that two of the three Sikh Pioneer regiments took part: the 23rd Sikh Pioneers as the divisional Pioneer regiment of the 3rd Lahore Division and the 34th Sikh Pioneers as a part of the Delhi Garrison.

Pirouet’s history of the 23rd Sikh Pioneers mentions that the 23rd was employed on railway construction and other preparatory works for the Durbar ceremonies.  Given the scale of the main site and its associated camps, these works must have been extensive.  Pirouet goes on to say that in April the Regiment, living in 160lb tents frequently had to contend with temperatures running up to 125°F, and in consequence of this great heat, the rails which were being laid got so hot that the men had to wrap wet sandbags round them before they could seize them.  In spite of the heat, the health of the Regiment was never better.

On 11th December 1911, the 23rd Sikh Pioneers then provided a Guard of Honour for King George V consisting of 107 Indian other ranks, who between them were in possession of 311 medals, with all ages equally represented.  The event was held on the Polo Ground, where the King presented new Colours to a number of British and Indian Regiments.  Additionally Lt Col Holland was invested with the MVO and Subedar Major Balwant Singh was presented with the Victorian Order Silver Medal.

 The Official Directory lists the following British Officers, wives and guests as present from the two Sikh Pioneer regiments:

 

23rd Sikh Pioneers

Lt Col and Mrs G L Holland

Major and Mrs H F A Pearson

Major G H F Kelly

Major A V W Hope

Captain R Nicholas

Captain and Mrs B C H Drew

Captain and Mrs E P A Melville

Captain E L Croslegh

Captain B Turnbull

Captain and Mrs H B Renny

Lt and Mrs R N B Campbell, and Miss Campbell

Lt W A H Bird

Lt E W C Ricketts

Lt F C Squires

Lt D P Chesney

Captain and Mrs M L Puri, Indian Medical Service

 

34th Sikh Pioneers

Lt Col and Mrs R C Lye DSO

Major and Mrs W J Ottley

Major and Mrs H A Gib

Captain C K Crookshank

Captain C E Hunt

Captain G D S LeMesurier

Lt A Masters

Lt G F J Paterson

Lt D G Ponsonby

Lt H T D Hickman

Lt H R L Lawrence

Lt P B Bharucha, Indian Medical Service

Guests: Major H T Marshall, Lt O Masters and Lt P F Pope

 

Army Headquarters Camp

Lt Col A S Cobbe VC DSO (32nd Sikh Pioneers), General Staff Officer, Army HQ

Major H F Cooke (32nd Sikh Pioneers), Assistant Secretary to the Government of India, Army Department

 Also present as part of the Veterans Camp were the following soldiers:

 Mutiny Veterans – 32nd Sikh Pioneers

Subedar Hari Singh

Subedar Jhanda Singh

Havildar Jawala Singh

Havildar Ala Singh

 

Order of British India Contingent

Subedar-Major (Hony. Captain) Nand Singh (23SP)

Subedar-Major Gopal Singh (23SP)

Subedar-Major Jiwan Singh (23SP)

Subedar-Major Gurdayal Singh (23SP)

Subedar-Major Fateh Singh (32SP)

Subedar-Major (Hony. Captain) Narayan Singh (34SP)

 

 Indian Order of Merit Contingent

Jemadar Ishar Singh (23SP)

Havildar Bachan Singh (23SP)

Nand Singh (23SP)

Havildar Fateh Singh (23SP)

Naik Jhanda Singh (23SP)

Havildar Sundar Singh (23SP)

Jemadar Sundar Singh (32SP)

Subedar Baga Singh (32SP)

Subedar Kesar Singh (32SP)

 

Comparing the Official Directory to the Delhi Durbar medal roll, we find that one or two officers were not present, yet others (from the 32nd Sikh Pioneers) were in Delhi and on duty such that they qualified for the commemorative medal.

Captain Melville of the 23rd and Major Ottley of the 34th are not included on the medal roll, neither are the two medical officers.  Melville and Ottley appear to have been replaced with Lt M Duberly and Capt G Clarke respectively.  We also know from the Official Directory that the bands of the 23rd and 34th were present in Delhi, and both Bandmasters, Goldstein of the 23rd and McArthur of the 34th, were given medals.

Officers serving with the 32nd Sikh Pioneers and who were presented with commemorative Delhi Durbar medals (but who do not appear in the Official Directory) were as follows:

Lt Col F H Peterson

Maj E H S Cullen

Capt M W R de Courcy

Capt G C Hodgson

Capt H S Mitchell

Capt C E H Wilson (attached from the 34th)

Lt A H P Cruickshank

I may include more details of the Durbar in a future newsletter.  Suffice it to say for now that it is pleasing to see the Sikh Pioneers so well represented.

Iain Smith

 

COLONEL ADRIAN VICTOR WEBLEY HOPE CIE

Following on from the previous article, one of the officers present at the Delhi Durbar in 1911 was Major Adrian Hope, 23rd Sikh Pioneers.

 

On 9th February 2017, I purchased at Marlow’s Auctions, Stafford, the Mess Kit of the then Lt Col Adrian Hope, at that point of the 32nd Sikh Pioneers.  I felt that I could not let the opportunity pass to purchase such an important Sikh Pioneers artefact.

 

What follows is a brief biography and digest of services of this Sikh Pioneers officer based on the published regimental histories, Indian Army Lists and the Ancestry website.  However, as you will see, Adrian Hope did not spend all his career with the Sikh Pioneers; rather he spent the first 18 years with Madras Regiments.

 

Adrian Hope was born in Yorkshire on 16 February 1873, the son of Rear-Admiral Charles Hope, at one time ADC to Queen Victoria.  Of interest is the fact that two of Adrian’s brothers went on to become Admirals and another was a Lt Col with the British Army.

 

Educated at Mount Kelly School near Tavistock in Devon, a school established for the sons of Naval officers, Adrian spent much of his early childhood in Devonport.

 

Adrian Hope was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant on 28 January 1893 and went on to spend a year in India with the Cheshire Regiment before joining the Indian Army Staff Corps attached to the 27th Madras Infantry, at their depot in Madras in April 1894.  Promoted Lieutenant in April 1895, in November 1895 the Regiment moved to Moulmein in Burma.

 

In May 1897 Adrian Hope transferred to the 23rd Madras Light Infantry at their depot at Trichinopoly (south Madras province).  The Regiment then moved to Secunderabad (Hyderabad State) in January 1898 and Adrian Hope was appointed Adjutant in May of that year.

 

Promoted Captain on 28 January 1902, the Regiment had moved to Rangoon in November 1901.  In Kitchener’s 1903 reforms, the Regiment became the 83rd Wallahjabad Light Infantry.  Adrian Hope was still with them when they returned to India in 1904 with a move to Bellary (north Madras province).  By 1905, Captain Adrian Hope was Station Staff Officer (SSO).  He was re-appointed Adjutant in May 1906 and remained SSO Bellary.

 

The Regiment next moved in 1908 to Cannanore on the west coast of Madras Province, where Hope once again became SSO.  The Regiment went east to Madras in November 1909, but by 1910 Captain Hope had been sent to Secunderabad as SSO.  From there he obtained a transfer to the 23rd Sikh Pioneers. 

 

Not knowing why Adrian Hope took this course of action, I can only speculate.  Perhaps with reductions in the Madras forces after the Kitchener reforms of 1903 and an increased emphasis in the Indian Army on recruitment from northern India and particularly the Punjab provided on-going opportunities for active service on the North-West Frontier.  Perhaps the south Indian climate did not agree with him.  Whatever his motive, a move from Madras to the Punjab and service with a Sikh regiment must have represented a significant change for a man who, until then, had spent his Indian Army career in southern India and Burma.

 

Promoted Major on 28 January 1911, remaining for a short period as SSO Secunderabad (according to the July 1911 Indian Army List), Adrian Hope was attached to the 23rd Sikh Pioneers at Ambala and was formally transferred in November (in time to be present with the Regiment at the Delhi Durbar in December 1911).  In the rank of Major, Hope was a Company Commander along with Majors H Pearson and G Kelly and Captain Nicolas.  CO was Lt Col Holland MVO.

 

The 23rd Sikh Pioneers were mobilised for overseas service on 15 September 1914 and after a bout of cholera amongst the men, which delayed full mobilisation for two weeks, the Regiment was detailed for Indian Expeditionary Force E for the defence of the Suez Canal and Red Sea.  The Regiment sailed from Karachi on 2 November 1914 and disembarked at Aden.

 

The Regiment spent time in early 1915 preparing the road through Lahej to the Turkish Arabian frontier.  But the shifting sands of the desert made these works impossible.  After retreating to camp, the Regiment was involved in later efforts to repulse Turkish advances towards Lahej and during these operations Captain Squires was killed.  The operations were unsuccessful and the column returned to Aden.  Major Adrian Hope with his Company remained in Aden during this advance.  The situation was eventually remedied with the advance of 28th Indian Frontier Force Brigade.

 

Later in the year Captain Bird took a party across the Red Sea to Somaliland to join operations against Dervish tribesmen.  Then early in 1916 the Regiment departed for Suez.  However, neither Major Hope nor Major Ottley went with them.  Ottley was returning to India for medical treatment and Adrian Hope had been appointed as Second in Command of the 32nd Sikh Pioneers, leaving for India in October 1915.  As mentioned earlier in the newsletter, the 32nd had spent the War until that date in India, at Sialkot or on Frontier defence.

 

Adrian Hope’s CO in the 32nd Sikh Pioneers was Lt Col H Cooke, who for a brief period in 1915 had commanded the 34th on the Western Front and later that year had been given temporary command of the newly-raised 9th Pioneer Battalion of the Border Regiment.  However, Lt Col Cooke was soon transferred to Army HQ and in May 1917 Hope was promoted as Acting Lt Col and CO, with Major Hay Mitchell appointed as his 2iC.  As detailed by MacMunn’s regimental history, which lists the officers of the 32nd serving in Mesopotamia, Hope was CO at 31 December 1917.

 

So it was Adrian Hope who took the battalion to Mesopotamia as part of 17th Indian Division.  The 32nd ended the War as part of General Cobbe’s victorious advance to Mosul.  Cobbe of course was another Sikh Pioneer officer, serving with the 32nd earlier in his career.  After the ending of hostilities with the Turks, the Battalion remained in northern Mesopotamia.  Adrian Hope was promoted substantive Lieutenant Colonel on 28 January 1919.  Later in 1919 the Regiment were involved in road-building and also sent two companies to Persia.

 

In the King’s Birthday Honours List of June 1919, Adrian Hope was made a Companion of the Order of the Indian Empire (CIE) for his services in Mesopotamia as CO of the 32nd.  Additionally, Adrian Hope was mentioned in despatches twice, in February and June 1919.

 

In 1920, the Arab Rebellion broke out in Mesopotamia and Major Mitchell was severely wounded in the defence of Jarboyah in July.

 

It would appear however that Adrian Hope returned to the UK on leave in 1920 at some point because on 14 April 1920 he married Ethel Middleton.  A daughter, Margaret, was born on 17 May 1921.

 

Once the Arab Rebellion was defeated, the Regiment was finally able to return to India, landing at Karachi on 21 April 1921.  After a spell at Multan, they returned to their depot at Sialkot in September.  Adrian Hope was again mentioned in despatches.  1921 then saw further campaigning against the Pathans in Waziristan.  The 32nd were sent to the Frontier at Thal as part of the Razmak Field Force before returning to Sialkot in September 1922.  They returned to the Frontier the following month to work on the Thal-Razmak Road near Tochi, where Lt Benji Bromhead was wounded.  The Regiment remained on the North West Frontier until May 1924.

 

With the Army reorganisation the 32nd Sikh Pioneers became the 2nd Battalion of the newly merged 3rd Sikh Pioneers.

 

Still CO, Adrian Hope was promoted full Colonel on 28 January 1923.  Having served over seven years as CO, first in a wartime temporary post and eventually as full Lt Col and then Col, Adrian Hope took his Regiment back to Sialkot and retired to the Indian Army Unemployed List on 3 June 1924.  For his services in Waziristan he was again mentioned in despatches.  His replacement as CO was Lt Col E L Croslegh.  Adrian Hope’s full retirement was confirmed with effect from 3 December 1924.

 

Having settled his affairs in India, Adrian Hope returned to the UK with his wife and daughter, arriving on the SS City of Paris in Liverpool on 16 April 1925 having sailed from Bombay.  The family eventually settled in Marlow Common, Buckinghamshire.  Edith died in 1938 but Adrian lived on until 1960.  He died on 19th August at the age of 87.

 

It is humbling to think that the uniform I now have in my wardrobe was once worn by an officer with such a long and illustrious career.  I shall certainly treat it with the care and respect it deserves.

 

If any Members can shed any more light on the life and career of Colonel Adrian Hope, please do contact me.

 

 

Iain Smith

END OF SIKH PIONEER NEWS LETTER 2016/17 

 

 

THE JULLUNDUR BRIGADE-"AN UNTOLD STORY 1914-2014"

 

Remembering the hugely successful  JBA 2014 pilgrimage to the Menin Gate, the Indian Army War Memorial and the battlefields of Flanders where the Jullundur Brigade fought in World War 1 realised by the tremendous support and presence of The Duke of Lancaster's Regiment, and largely organised by the enthusuasm and efficiency of the Project Officer, Maj Bob Smethurst, with the total support of The Colonel of The Duke of Lancaster's Regiment, Brig Peter Rafferty MBE and his Regimental Secretary, Col Chris Owen, an educational book was produced by David Brookhouse, Heritage Learning Manager of the Cultural Services of Lancashire County Council for distribution to Schools Educational Centres in the North West of England and elesewhere. The book, which is handsomely produced with  a plethora of excellent photographs and recorded statements of participants in the Brigade, continues through to the present day. 

The book takes the form of Lesson Plans to be utilised by teachers to focus on the contribution that the three Regiments, British,Indian and (now) Pakistan of the Jullundur Brigademade to our joint  and National heritages. It is primarily the work of school children from 850 Primary Schools in the North West of England, a selection of whom attended the pilgrimage, under the coordination of David Brookhouse of the Cultural Services of Lancashire County Council, and is designed for use within schools  to record this particular history of our National Cutural heritage.

David has kindly agreed to post individual copies of "The Untold Sory" to the first ten applicants who email him at:   This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

"FOR KING AND COUNTRY"

The  President JBA, as Patron of 1914 Sikhs, and organised by Harbinder Singh Rana, hosted an evening presentation by Shrabani Basu in the Birmingham and Midland Institute to launch in the Midlands her recently published book "For King and Another Country" - 'Indian Soldiers on the Western Front 1914-18' (and thus of particular interest to members of the JBA). The occasion formed part of the UK wide programme of events arranged by 'Sikhs 1914' to highlight the contribution of the Sikhs in World War and its aftermath. The evening was Chaired by Jim Richards a Litigation Partner of Pinsent Masons LLP who generously hosted the event.

Some 30 members of the public, including local members of the JBA, attended what was a most stimulating and informative presentation which took the form of the Author reading moving extracts from the book, including mention of some of the Victoria Crosses awarded to Sikhs  and afterwards, under the stewardship of Jim Richards, taking questions from the audience.

It is hoped that there will be a similar presentation in London to mark the launch of the paperback version of the book later this year (details will appear in our website in due course).

The book, which is beautifully printed and includes some fine photography, can be purchased now, published by Bloomsbury under ISBN 978-93-84052-91-1 in hardback for £25 and is highly recommended.   

 

   

 eMail Addresses

All members are asked to register their changes in personal circumstances (personal eMail address and contact telephone numbers in particular) direct to The President ( This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ); this will greatly facilitate correspondence with members.

 

Articles

Articles on subjects relating to the Jullundur Brigade will be most welcome. Articles on individual soldiers, their Regiments, gallantry awards, dress, equipment, battles and related subjects, together with maps and photographs where available, should be forwarded to the President whose decision on inclusion ,amendment or rejection will be final. Submitted articles will be returned to the originator if so requested.

For the current list of articles, access the Articles section of this website.

Note under "The Regiments" that an extra dimension has been added to the History of the 59th (Scinde) Frontier Force Regiment thanks to input from JBA Member Iain Smith. 

 

Purchasing Regimental Militaria

Anyone wishing to purchase items of militaria of the Manchester Regiment (and its successor regiment The King's Regiment and now The Duke of Lancaster's Regiment) should go to www.dukeoflancastersregimentshop.com where many items of interest are illustrated and costed.

 

YouTube

Members might like to access You Tube at "World War 1 - The Indian Army" where some interesting pictorial information is displayed, much of it relevant to the Jullundur Brigade in Flanders.

 

JBA MEMBERS' BIOGRAPHIES

 

 

To add interest for  Members I have decided to publish, roughly once a month, a short biographical account of the life and service of individual members. I will do the selection and try to vary it between the various countries we now live in.

 

Number 2 Founder Member:

Lt Gen Devraj Singh (Retd)

 

I was born in Agra (the city where the Taj Mahal is located). My father Maj Lakshman Singh was in the Artillery but later went to the Army Education Corps. Happily married to Shiela Singh. We have a son.

Commissioned in 5 SIKH Battalion of the SIKH Regiment, went on to command the same. During my command, had the privilege to host Maj Gen Peter Davies, our current President JBA, Brig Percival, then Military Advisor, British High Commission, New Delhi and Pushpinder Chopra for a few days.

 

I retired as Director General Infantry and Colonel of the SIKH Regiment. In October 2014 travelled along with my wife Shiela Singh to France commemorate the battles fought by the Jullundher Brigade as part of the JBA delegation.

 

[Last amended 14 June 2017]