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Indian Army POW Reports and Service Records


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#1 sirjahn

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Posted 24 September 2013 - 02:01 PM

How would one go about requesting service records of Indian soldiers from WWII. I have the names of two Indian Nursing Sepoys that were in the Rennes POW Hospital and would like to follow up on them. In particular if they filed E&E reports.  I believe they were captured in North Africa.

  • CPL Sohan Singh
  • N/Sepoy Bashir-Ud-Din Ahmed

 

Apparently prior to D-Day the hospital had a population of 40 or so Indian POWs suffering from tuberculosis cared for by 5 Indian Medical Orderlies and paroled French doctors.  I am trying to find out more about the Indian Medical staff and what they did when the D-Day casualities started showing up.  I found a report by the American Senior Officer with a photo of him and Singh, and a MID report on Ahmed's escape but little else thus far.

 

So is there a specific location for Indian records I should be searching?


Edited by sirjahn, 24 September 2013 - 05:30 PM.

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#2 bamboo43

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Posted 24 September 2013 - 04:50 PM

This has been discussed before on the forum, here is the link to that thread;

 

http://ww2talk.com/f...rds#entry444625


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Chindit Chasing, Operation Longcloth 1943

#3 sirjahn

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Posted 24 September 2013 - 05:28 PM

Thanks for that link.  I am not sure I have enough information to just write off to India.  I don't know units, service numbers, or dates of birth.  For Ahmed I have 1401 Nursing Sepoy which might be a unit and says captured in France 1940.  And a picture of Singh which indicates he is a Sikh but no DUI or patches in the photo (attached).

 

gage-singh-smith-patyRennesMilitaryHospi


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#4 bamboo43

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Posted 24 September 2013 - 06:00 PM

sirjahn,

 

This is totally unscientific, but here are some Bashir Ahmed's who were held POW by the Italians in 1943, likely to have been captured in N. Africa, but not guaranteed. There is one Ambulance Sepoy amongst them.

 

Attached File  1943.JPG   24.68K   4 downloads


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#5 sirjahn

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Posted 24 September 2013 - 06:09 PM

So if I wrote off to the Indian Army Service Office and asked for information on any Indian Troops that were held in Rennes Military Hospital (AKA Frontstalag 221 W, Rennes EPS, Lazarett 133) could they give me a listing and some details or would I have to be very specific and ask for Bashir Ahmed and hope that his record has information about the other Indian POWs in Rennes?


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#6 bamboo43

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Posted 24 September 2013 - 06:46 PM

Sadly, I think they would need as much information as possible. Even our own Ministry of Defence require a service number and notification of death before they will search out any service records.

 

Hopefully someone else will be along soon with more helpful information.


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#7 mcan

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Posted 25 September 2013 - 12:08 AM

A small number of records are also kept at the British Library,

 

http://indiafamily.bl.uk/UI/Home.aspx

 

Not all of the records are available online so it wouldn't be a bad idea to send them an e-mail about it either.

 

I haven't had much luck with the Indian Records Office but in their defense I didn't really have much information to go by.

 

Good luck with your search!


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#8 sirjahn

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Posted 25 September 2013 - 02:11 PM

So I looked at the order of battle for the BEF in 1940 and the subsequent reinforcements and I don't recognize any Indian Units in the lists.  The MID for Ahmed says he was captured in France 1940.  Does anyone have any knowledge of Indian troops participating the the Battle of France 1940?


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#9 Charpoy Chindit

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Posted 26 September 2013 - 11:47 AM

Yes, the British Army was completely mechanized and had no animal transport, so Force K-6 was sent from India to France in 1939.  It consisted of four AT Coys and a SDS together with a Force HQ, a Reinforcement unit, an IGH Section and an ARD.


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#10 sirjahn

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Posted 26 September 2013 - 03:20 PM

Okay you used some abbreviations I am not familiar with. What is the SDS, IGH and ARD? Are any of these elements medical units and does the number 1401 apply to any of them?


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#11 Charpoy Chindit

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Posted 26 September 2013 - 05:19 PM

SDS = Supply Depot Section

IGH = Indian General Hospital

ARD = Advanced Remount Depot

 

So your men were most probably members of the IGH Section.

 

No clue about the number, I'm afraid.

As far as I know every unit had a unique War Office Serial Number, so it could be that.  I know of no list of these numbers, but others might.


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#12 sirjahn

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Posted 30 December 2013 - 02:40 PM

I now have another Indian at Rennes Military Hospital.  Is the 22 AT Company in the War Office records somewhere?

 

Buland Khan 22 AT Coy RASC [22nd Anti-Tank Company, Royal Army Service Corps] Cook Indian
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#13 idler

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Posted 30 December 2013 - 02:48 PM

AT in this instance is Animal Transport. Indian and Cypriot mule units were used in some of the less developed areas of France.

 

Relevant threads here and here.


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#14 sirjahn

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Posted 30 December 2013 - 04:08 PM

Thanks for that correction.  So it looks like this guy was captured while supporting the 51st Highland Division in 1940.  His role as a cook would have been to support the TB Sanatorium that was set up at the Rennes Military Hospital supporting Indian troops that got TB from the cold climate.


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#15 Maureene

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Posted 01 January 2014 - 02:14 AM

I sent a query recently to the National Archives of India, about a WW1 Indian Army file (death in Mesopotamia, soldier of British background).

 

I had previously seen a post on this Forum from D Fielder which said “I enquired at the National Archives in Delhi and received 150 pages of my grandfather's service record. An enquiry doesn't cost any money until they copy documents for you. The process is slow but well worth the wait”. http://ww2talk.com/f...-they/?p=360157

 

I wrote to the email address in the “ Contact Us” at the bottom of the  National Archives of India webpage http://nationalarchi...in/Default.aspx

 

I did receive a reply, after about seven weeks. Unfortunately the reply was that they did not have a file.  However, to actually receive a reply is somewhat unusual for letters sent to India.

 

Cheers

Maureen

 

 


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#16 sirjahn

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Posted 02 January 2014 - 01:50 PM

Thanks for that lead I will give the Indian Archives a try.


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#17 Rumdoodle

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Posted 06 March 2014 - 09:30 AM

I now have another Indian at Rennes Military Hospital.  Is the 22 AT Company in the War Office records somewhere?

 


Buland Khan

22 AT Coy RASC [22nd Anti-Tank Company, Royal Army Service Corps] Cook Indian

 

Hi sirjahn

 

The complete nominal roll for  the 22 AT Coy RIASC is in the National Archives in London as part of their War Sevice Diary (WO 167/1437). It lists a Buland Khan as a 'mess servant', not  as a Cook or a medic. But he's definitely there. Unfortunately there is no service number given for him, unlike most of his fellows. 22 Coy was recruited in Rawalpindi. If you find out more, I'd be very interested to know! 


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#18 sirjahn

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Posted 06 March 2014 - 01:58 PM

I have emailed away to the Indian Archives about a month ago per earlier suggestion but no response yet.  Thanks for looking in the WD.


Edited by sirjahn, 06 March 2014 - 01:59 PM.

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