DEFENCE NOTES

8th PUNJAB REGIMENT

This chapter is being re-produced with thanks from JOHN GAYLOR'S fine book 'SONS OF JOHN COMPANY'. JOHN GAYLOR, first came to India with the Royal West African Frontier Force and served in India and in Burma with the 82nd (West African) Division. He subsequently served with the London Scottish and the Special Air Service. He is the Secretary of The Military Historical Society and lives in retirement in Kent. This book is available from JOHN GAYLOR directly at 19.99 (UK) plus postage. He can be contacted at 30 Edgeborough Way, Bromley, Kent BRI 2UA Tel 44 (181) 3251391

Centre: 1923 LAHORE
              1946 LAHORE

Class Composition:  1923 Punjabi Mussalmans, Sikhs, Rajputana Hindus (other than Rajputs, Jats and Mers)

                                      1946 Punjabi Mussalmans from the Punjab (less Ambala Civil Division), including Niazi and other Pathans of the Punjab, Hazarawalas of NWFP and Mussalmans from Jammu and Kashmir State and Gilgit Agency, Gujars from the Punjab, United provinces and rajputana, Sikhs from the Punjab.

Despite its title, the 8th Punjab Regiment was another of those which owed its origins to the old Madras Army. The 29th Madras Infantry was mustered out on 15 Oct 1893 and was reconstituted the next day at Meiktila in Central Burma as the 29th (7th Burma Bn) Madras Infantry, made up of Punjabis and Sikhs. Similarly, the 30th Madras Infantry became the 30th (5th Burma Bn) Madras Infantry, the 31st became the 31st (6th Burma Bn) Madras Infantry, the 32nd became the 32nd (4th Burma Bn) Madras Infantry and the 33rd the 33rd (3rd Burma Bn) Madras Infantry. In 1901, all these titles were simplified by removal of all mention of Madras and the five regiments were styled 29th Burma Infantry, 30th Burma Infantry, 31st Burma Light Infantry, 32nd Burma Infantry and 33rd Burma Infantry. These Burma battalions were to police the troublesome new territories acquired in the Third Burma War. In 1903, when all Madras regiments had sixty added to their numbers, the 29th and 30th became 89th and 90th Punjabis, the 31st became the 91st Punjabis (Light Infantry), the 32nd became the 92nd Punjabis whilst the 33rd only performed a half-change, entering the new Line as the 93rd Burma Infantry. It may be said that it was the Afghan Campaign of 1878-80 which set the seal on the future of the Madras soldier. The 30th Madras Native Infantry served in the Khyber Pass but suffered so much from extremes of cold that it put into doubt the suitability of the Southern soldier for service in what was clearly to be a recurring trouble spot.

FIRST WORLD WAR

89th Punjabis - India, Aden, Egypt, Gallipoli, France, Mesopotamia, Greece, Russia.

2/89th Punjabis (raised in 1917) - India, Mesopotamia 90th Punjabis - India, Mesopotamia

2/90th Punjabis (raised in 1918) - India

91st Punjabis - India, Mesopotamia, Egypt

2/91st Punjabis (raised in 1918) - India, Egypt

92nd Punjabis - India, Mesopotamia, Egypt

93rd Burma Infantry - India, Egypt, France, Mesopotamia, Burma

Following the return of Indian troops after the war, all the second battalions were disbanded with the exception of the 2/89th Punjabis.

Between the Wars

The badge chosen for the 8th Punjab Regiment on its creation in 1923 was probably one of the most interesting and heraldically appealing. In the light of the former history of the constituent regiments, it was appropriate that the new regiment should adopt the Chinthe, the mythical lion-dragon, the guardian of Buddhist pagodas, above the numerical '8' and the title scroll.

The new line-up was as follows:

89th Punjabis became 1st Bn 8th Punjab Regiment

90th Punjabis became 2nd Bn 8th Punjab Regiment

91st Punjabis (Light Infantry) became 3rd Bn 8th Punjab Regiment

92nd (Prince of Wales's Own) Punjabis became 4th Bn 8th Punjab Regiment (Prince of Wales's Own)

93rd Burma Infantry became 5th Bn 8th Punjab Regiment (Burma)

2/89th Punjabis became 10th Bn 8th Punjab Regiment

The 92nd had been made 'Prince of Wales's Own' in 1921 for their services during the war. The 5th Bn of the new regiment was nominated in the early 1930s as one of the battalions chosen for Indianization.

There was no Territorial battalion raised for the 8th Punjab Regiment.

Second World War

1st Battalion - India, Malaya. Captured on Singapore Island in February 1942.

Reformed in 1946 by redesignation of 9/8 Punjab.

2nd Battalion - India, Burma.

3rd Battalion - India, Persia, Egypt, Italy.

4th Battalion - India, Iraq, Iran.

5th Battalion - India, Burma, Malaya, Dutch East Indies.

6th Battalion (Machine Gun) - raised in August 1940. India, Burma, Malaya, Dutch East Indies.

7th Battalion - raised in August 1940. India, Malaya. Captured on Singapore Island in February 1942.

8th Battalion - raised in May 1941. India, Burma.

9th Battalion - raised in May 1941. Joined 6/15 Punjab and 6/16 Punjab in 39 Indian Infantry Brigade, the only all-Punjab brigade in the Indian Army.

India, Ceylon, Cyprus. Redesignated 1/8 Punjab in 1946.

14th Battalion - redesignated 9th (Punjab) HAA Regt Indian Artillery in June 1942.

15th Battalion - Raised in January 1942. India. Became a training battalion for VCOs and NCOs.

16th Battalion - Raised in August 1943. India.

25th Garrison Battalion - raised in April 1941. India.

26th Garrison Battalion - raised in March 1942. India.

The Regiment's pipes and drums went to London in 1946 to march in the Victory parade, their claim being that they were the best in the Indian Army.

Partition

The 8th Punjab Regiment was allocated to Pakistan and the Sikh companies returned to India, principally to replace Punjabi Mussalman companies in battalions of The Sikh Regiment and to help in creation of new Sikh battalions. The regular battalions on transfer of power were the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th.

Battle Honours

Cochin, Maheidpore, Ava, Afghanistan 1878-80, Burma 1885-87, China 1900. Loos, France and Flanders 1915, Macedonia 1918, Helles, Krithia, Gallipoli 1915, Suez Canal, Egypt 1915, Megiddo, Sharon, Palestine 1918, Tigris 1916, Kut-al-Amara 1917, Baghdad, Khan Baghdadi, Mesopotamia 1915-18, Afghanistan 1919.

North Malaya, Jitra, Gurun, Malaya 1941-42, The Trigno, Perano, The Sangro, Villa Grande, Gustav Line, Monte Grande, The Senio, Italy 1943-45, Donbaik, North Arakan, The Shweli, Myitson, Kama, Burma 1942-45.

BOOKS

None known.

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