Regimental Life in the British Army in India 1921-1922, by F.H. Broomhall & edited by R Bonner

Regimental Life in the British Army in India 1921-1922, by F.H. Broomhall & edited by R Bonner
Regimental Life in the British Army in India 1921-1922, by F.H. Broomhall & edited by R Bonner

Published by Fleur De Lys in 1997, 26 pages. Square booklet - c.19.5cm by 20.5cm (N5721)

For those interested in what life was really like for a soldier in the period immeadiately after the First World War this booklet is a must read! It is a first-hand account of life with the 2nd Manchesters in Kamptee in India, and offers a fascinating account of a largely unrecorded way of life that remained unchanged until the outbreak of war in 1939.

The booklet offers a short account of the training, uniforms and equipment of the period, as well as day to day life in a typical Indian peace-time barracks. There is also a section on the Indian Army of the time and the experiences for the British soldier when out of barracks. Four appendices cover Regimental Standing Orders of the period, the responsibilities and duties of the Regimental Sergeant, Warrant Officers and NCOs, Private Soldiers and the Boys.

From the preface by Rober Bonner: In the final fighting of the Great War, between 1st and 6th November 1918, 2nd Battalion The Manchester Regiment had been actively involved in the battle for the crossing of the Sambre and Oise canals. In achieving their objectives they sustained many fatal casualties including 2nd Lieutenant Wilfred Owen MC and 2nd Lieutenant James Kirk, whose bravery was awarded with a posthumous Victoria Cross.

At the end of hostilities on 11th November the battalion made a number of moves and event­ually was posted to Bonn in Germany, forming part of the British Army of Occupation and em­ployed mainly on ceremonial duties. During March 1919 the majority of the battalion were sent home for demobilisation and the cadre of the battalion moved to Bordon in Hampshire alongside the cadre of the 1st Battalion.

During April the battalion was quickly reformed with the intention of foreign service in North China. However at the end of November the destination was changed and the battalion was or­dered to reinforce the garrison in Ireland. Then followed a three month period in Tipperary where they were frequently called out on duties in aid of the Civil Power.

At the end of 1919 the battalion received orders to proceed to Mesopotamia, the complete batta­lion being there by early March 1920. During their stay in Mesopotamia the battalion took part in the ill-fated fighting at Hillah where Captain George Henderson DSO MC was awarded a posthu­mous Victoria Cross. In addition to Captain Henderson, Captain and Adjutant H.G. Harrison, Captain E.M. Glover MC and 131 non-commissioned officers and men were killed during the battle. Sergeant John Willis was awarded the Distinguished Conduct Medal.

In December 1920 the battalion moved to Baghdad, embarked for India on the 27th, landing in Bombay on 6th January 1921. On disembarkation the battalion entrained for Deolali, then pro­ceeded on 13th February 1921 to Kamptee which was to become their permanent station in India.

This account of a soldier's life in a typical British Army Infantry Regiment serving in India in the years following the Great War of 1914/1918 provides a fascinating insight into a largely unre­corded way of life. This hardly changed until the outbreak of war, once again, in 1939.

I am most grateful to Mr Broomhall, long resident in Australia, for allowing the publication of this record.

The condition of the booklet is generally very good. The cover has one or two minor scuffs but is clean and bright, the staple spine is tight and intact, and all pages are intact, unblemished and tightly bound.
There is very light yelowing to the inside page edges throughout
Condition New