The contribution of the Indian Princely State armies to WW1 is virtually unknown. Drawing on a wide range of sources, this book corrects that imbalance.
The contribution of the Indian Army to the First World War has been, until recently, at best forgotten, and at worst ignored. This is especially so of those military units provided by the semi-autonomous Indian Princely States whose contribution, even in the Official Histories, barely merits a mention. This book corrects that imbalance. Drawing on a wide range of regimental and Army Headquarters war diaries, few of which have been cited in other publications, as well as political records held exclusively at the National Archive of India, the book explores why the State rulers volunteered their services and those of their armies. It looks at the deployment of those armies in Europe, Egypt and Palestine, Mesopotamia, East Africa, the Dardanelles and within British India. It draws attention to problems encountered in their deployment, but also highlights successes such as the capture of Haifa and Aleppo by State cavalry units, and the outstanding role of some State infantry units in East Africa. One appendix records over 1,600 State soldiers who died - killed in action, died of wounds or as prisoners of war, or died of disease, while other appendices record battle honours and rewards for gallantry or meritorious service. Problems identified during the war were addressed in its aftermath and the book concludes by looking at the recommendations which led to the transformation of the Imperial Service Troops scheme into the Indian State Forces scheme.
Tony served in the British Army, is a graduate of Lancaster University, a former crown servant and commercial risk management consultant. Now retired, he lives with his wife in Cambridgeshire. Tony's keen interest in Indian military history spans almost 50 years and has seen him until very recently as Secretary/Editor/Treasurer of the Indian Military Historical Society. His Indian Princely Medals (Delhi: Lancer, 1996) documented the orders, decorations and medals given by the Maharajas to their State subjects. He co-authored with the late Richard Head The Maharajas' Paltans - a History of the Indian State Forces 1888-1948 (Delhi: USII/Manohar, January 2013) which documented the development of the Imperial Service Troops/Indian State Forces. He has contributed chapters to other books and has published articles in the Journal of the Society for Army Historical Research, the Bulletin of the Military Historical Society, the Journal of the Orders and Medals Research Society and Durbar, the journal of the Indian Military Historical Society. In recent years he has presented at a wide range of conferences on the Indian contribution to the First World War in Delhi, London, Pondicherry, British Columbia and Nottingham.