11th Gurkha Rifles

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11th Gurkha Rifles
Active 18 May 1918 – 12 April 1922
Country  British India
Allegiance British Crown
Branch  British Indian Army
Type Infantry
Size Four battalions
Part of 1st (Peshawar) Division
53rd (Welsh) Division
Engagements

First World War

Sinai and Palestine Campaign
Battle of Nablus (1918)
Third Anglo-Afghan War
Battle Honours Afghanistan 1919[1]

The 11th Gurkha Rifles was a Gurkha regiment of the British Indian Army. It was formed in Mesopotamia and Palestine in May 1918, saw active service in the First World War and the Third Anglo-Afghan War, and was disbanded in April 1922.

History[edit]

Background[edit]

Heavy losses suffered by the British Expeditionary Force on the Western Front following the German Spring Offensive in March 1918 resulted in a major reorganization of the Egyptian Expeditionary Force:

In fact, the 75th Division already had four Indian battalions assigned,[b] so of the 36 battalions needed to reform the divisions, 22 were improvised[15] by taking whole companies from existing units already on active service in Mesopotamia and Palestine to form the 150th Infantry (3 battalions), 151st Sikh Infantry (3), 152nd Punjabis (3), 153rd Punjabis (3), 154th Infantry (3), 155th Pioneers (2), 156th Infantry (1) and the 11th Gurkha Rifles (4).[16] The donor units were then brought back up to strength by drafts; in the event, just 13 of the battalions were assigned to the divisions[17] and the remaining nine were transferred from Mesopotamia to India in June 1918.[18]

Formation[edit]

The regiment formed four battalions, the first three were formed in Mesopotamia in May 1918 with companies posted from Gurkha battalions (and the 39th Garhwal Rifles) serving in the 14th, 15th, 17th, and 18th Indian Divisions.[19] They were transferred to Bombay (Mumbai) in June 1918.[20] All three later took part in the Third Anglo-Afghan War in 1919 as part of the 1st (Peshawar) Division,[21] they were disbanded in India in 1921 and 1922 with personnel transferred to various regular Gurkha battalions.[1]

In contrast, the fourth battalion was formed in Palestine with three companies and two half-companies posted from Gurkha battalions serving in the 3rd (Lahore), 7th (Meerut), and British 75th Divisions, it remained in Palestine until the end of the war, before returning to India.[22] It was disbanded in 1920 with personnel transferred to the other three battalions of the regiment.[1]

The badge of the 11th Gurkha Rifles was crossed kukris, points upwards, cutting edge inwards, with "XI" above the intersection,[1] the 11 Gorkha Rifles, formed by the Indian Army in 1948 after the Partition of India, uses the same badge. It does not claim any connection with the First World War regiment.[23]

Battalions[edit]

1st Battalion[edit]

The 1st Battalion was formed at Kut-al-Amara on 18 May 1918[1] by the transfer of complete companies from:[24]

In June 1918, the battalion arrived at Bombay Brigade, 6th Poona Divisional Area and in December was transferred to the 2nd (Nowshera) Brigade, 1st (Peshawar) Division.[20] It served with the brigade and division in the Third Anglo-Afghan War in 1919.[21]

The battalion was disbanded on 20 August 1921[25] at Abbottabad with the personnel transferring to 2nd Battalion, 5th Gurkha Rifles (Frontier Force).[1]

2nd Battalion[edit]

The 2nd Battalion was formed at Baghdad on 24 May 1918[1] by the transfer of complete companies from:[24]

In June 1918, the battalion arrived at Bombay Brigade, 6th Poona Divisional Area and in December was transferred to the 2nd (Nowshera) Brigade, 1st (Peshawar) Division,[20] it served with the brigade and division in the Third Anglo-Afghan War in 1919.[21]

The battalion was disbanded on 15 August 1921[25] at Abbottabad with the personnel transferring to 2nd Battalion, 4th Gurkha Rifles and 1st Battalion, 7th Gurkha Rifles.[1]

3rd Battalion[edit]

The 3rd Battalion was formed at Baghdad on 25 May 1918[1] by the transfer of complete companies from:[24]

In June 1918, the battalion arrived at Bombay Brigade, 6th Poona Divisional Area;[20] in October, the Garhwal companies went to 4th Battalion, 39th Garhwal Rifles and were replaced by drafts from 1st Battalion, 7th Gurkha Rifles, 1st Battalion, 9th Gurkha Rifles and 2nd Battalion, 10th Gurkha Rifles[1] In December, it was transferred to the Presidency Brigade, 8th (Lucknow) Division,[26] it served with the 3rd Indian Brigade, 1st (Peshawar) Division in the Third Anglo-Afghan War in 1919.[21]

The battalion was disbanded on 12 April 1922[25] at Abbottabad with the personnel transferring to 2nd Battalion, 5th Gurkha Rifles (Frontier Force), 1st Battalion, 7th Gurhka Rifles and 1st Battalion, 10th Gurkha Rifles.[1]

4th Battalion[edit]

The 4th Battalion was formed at Sarafand (now Tzrifin) on 24 May 1918[22] by the transfer of complete companies from:[24]

and half companies of

  • 2nd Battalion, 3rd Queen Alexandra's Own Gurkha Rifles
  • 3rd Battalion, 3rd Queen Alexandra's Own Gurkha Rifles

The battalion joined the 158th Brigade, 53rd (Welsh) Division on 4 June 1918 near Ram Allah, it remained with the division for the rest of the Sinai and Palestine Campaign,[22] taking part in the Battle of Nablus (18–21 September 1918). At the end of the battle, the division was employed on salvage work and working on the Nablus road.[27]

On 27 October, the division started moving to Alexandria even before the Armistice of Mudros came into effect on 31 October, thereby ending the war against the Ottoman Empire, it completed its concentration at Alexandria on 15 November. The division received demobilization instructions on 20 December 1918, the Indian infantry battalions returned to India as transports became available and the division was reduced to cadre by 7 June 1919.[27] The battalion was disbanded on 1 August 1920[25] in India with the personnel transferring to 1st, 2nd and 3rd battalions of the regiment.[1]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ The remaining infantry division in the Egyptian Expeditionary Force in March 1918 – the 54th (East Anglian) Division – remained unaffected by these changes.[12]
  2. ^ In March 1917, the Egyptian Expeditionary Force started forming the 75th Division, originally to be made up of Territorial Force battalions arriving from India. In May 1917, to speed up the formation of the division, it was decided to incorporate Indian battalions.[13] To this end, the independent 29th Indian Brigade was broken up in June 1917 and its battalions posted to 75th Division.[14]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Gaylor 1996, p. 246
  2. ^ Becke 1936, p. 115
  3. ^ Becke 1937, p. 121
  4. ^ Perry 1993, p. 54
  5. ^ Perry 1993, p. 90
  6. ^ Perry 1993, pp. 21–24
  7. ^ Perry 1993, pp. 25–28
  8. ^ Becke 1938, pp. 15–16
  9. ^ Becke 1936, pp. 120–121
  10. ^ Becke 1937, pp. 29–30
  11. ^ Becke 1937, pp. 126–128
  12. ^ Becke 1936, pp. 128–129
  13. ^ Becke 1937, p. 129
  14. ^ Perry 1993, p. 167
  15. ^ Perry 1993, p. 174
  16. ^ Perry 1993, pp. 177–178
  17. ^ Hanafin, James. "Order of Battle of the Egyptian Expeditionary Force, September 1918" (PDF). orbat.com. Archived from the original (PDF) on 9 January 2015. Retrieved 11 November 2011. 
  18. ^ Perry 1993, pp. 44,64,81,103,155
  19. ^ Perry 1993, pp. 128,134,144,148
  20. ^ a b c d Perry 1993, p. 80
  21. ^ a b c d Perry 1993, p. 38
  22. ^ a b c Becke 1936, p. 121
  23. ^ Gaylor 1996, p. 297
  24. ^ a b c d Perry 1993, p. 178
  25. ^ a b c d Gaylor 1996, p. 347
  26. ^ Perry 1993, p. 103
  27. ^ a b Becke 1936, p. 123

Bibliography[edit]

  • Becke, Major A.F. (1936). Order of Battle of Divisions Part 2A. The Territorial Force Mounted Divisions and the 1st-Line Territorial Force Divisions (42–56). London: His Majesty's Stationery Office. ISBN 1-871167-12-4. 
  • Becke, Major A.F. (1937). Order of Battle of Divisions Part 2B. The 2nd-Line Territorial Force Divisions (57th–69th) with The Home-Service Divisions (71st–73rd) and 74th and 75th Divisions. London: His Majesty's Stationery Office. ISBN 1-871167-00-0. 
  • Becke, Major A.F. (1938). Order of Battle of Divisions Part 3A. New Army Divisions (9–26). London: His Majesty's Stationery Office. ISBN 1-871167-08-6. 
  • Gaylor, John (1996). Sons of John Company: The Indian and Pakistan Armies 1903–1991 (2nd ed.). Tunbridge Wells: Parapress. ISBN 1-898594-41-4. 
  • Perry, F.W. (1993). Order of Battle of Divisions Part 5B. Indian Army Divisions. Newport: Ray Westlake Military Books. ISBN 1-871167-23-X. 

External links[edit]