1st Battalion West Yorkshire Regiment and also Port Blair garrison

Discussion in 'British Indian Army' started by RobG64, Dec 26, 2019.

  1. RobG64

    RobG64 Well-Known Member

    Hi looking for a reply from DRyan67 about two subjects: Firstly, 1st Battalion West Yorkshire Regiment and secondly, the garrison of Port Blair from 3rd September 1939 to 23rd March 1942

    David, I read with interest your conversation in these pages with a colleague who confirmed for you that 1st Battalion West Yorkshire Regiment was at Trimulgherry, Secunderabad, Deccan District on 3rd September 1939 and NOT at Nisarabad, Mhow Brigade Area as Joslen had stated (he does get a lot wrong!)
    Can you confirm for me the following details:
    That as you stated it was relieved by 1st Battalion Cameronians in October 1940 and took up their garrison at Barrackpore in the Presidency and Assam District of Eastern Command in November 1940?
    Did it supply one company as garrison to Port Blair (Andaman Islands) from November 1940 to January 1942?
    The battalion arrived at Rangoon on 29 January 1942 and came under command 17th Indian Division as it's support battalion from 5th February 1942 before joining 48th Indian Infantry Brigade of the same division from 1st August 1944 to the end of the war?

    Port Blair garrison (Andaman Islands)
    "C" Company, 1st Battalion Northamptonshire Regiment 3rd September 1939 to January 1940
    One Company, 1st Battalion Cameronians January to June 1940
    One Company, 1st Battalion West Yorkshire Regiment October/November 1940 to January 1942
    4th Battalion 10th Gurkha Rifles 4 January 1942 to early March 1942

    Best regards
    Rob
     
  2. Tullybrone

    Tullybrone Senior Member

    Hi,

    I’ve alerted dryan67 to your post.

    Steve
     
  3. Rothy

    Rothy Well-Known Member

    Hi Rob,

    I have some notes on the period before arrival at Rangoon in February 1942. However, since he's been asked, let's wait for David first.

    Steve
     
  4. RobG64

    RobG64 Well-Known Member

    Thanks Steve!
     
  5. RobG64

    RobG64 Well-Known Member

    Yes please! I logged onto your site to check the 29th January 1942 arrival date!

    Rob
     
  6. Rothy

    Rothy Well-Known Member

    Rob, think I'll have to amend that arrival date.

    The regimental history has the Battalion sailing from Calcutta on 28th January 1942 and ".... landed in Rangoon on February 2nd...", although in a later chapter it just says ...late January...".

    Having looked at convoy sailings today, it seems convoy S.R.4 left Calcutta for Rangoon on 28th January 1942. At sea, on 29th January 1942, S.R.4 met convoy M.R.1. which was coming from Madras and carrying the 48th Indian Infantry Brigade. The combined convoy arrived at Rangoon on 31st January 1942, the date is confirmed by the 48th Brigade war diary. Of the ships which arrived from Calcutta, some left Rangoon on 1st February 1942 and the remainder the next day.

    So it might be that the 1st West Yorks "arrived " at Rangoon on 31st January 1942 and "completed disembarkation" on/by 2nd February 1942.

    Steve
     
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  7. RobG64

    RobG64 Well-Known Member

    Many thanks Steve! Isn't it always the way? Look at something more closely and things (dates) change!

    I must admit I should have checked the Convoy Web as well. Ha, not enough time!

    Thank you
    Rob
     
  8. RobG64

    RobG64 Well-Known Member

    Hi Steve, whilst I have your attention (!), can I ask you when exactly the 13th Indian Infantry Brigade arrived in Rangoon? Some sources say March/April 1941 whilst your sites states April 1941. Would like to know a definite date(s) and narrow down which ship(s) were used to transport it. I don't think it was part of any convoy...

    Regards
    RobG
     
  9. Rothy

    Rothy Well-Known Member

    Hi Rob, difficult one this. I have a single source, an appendix from an unidentified source, shared with me by David Ryan. This has a single line which reads:

    The 13th Indian Brigade - "Proceeded to Burma as an Indept. Brigade", 20th March 1941. "Proceeded...", I assume to mean "left" and presumably "arrived" later that month ...or early April ha ha.

    From the history of the 7th Indian Division, "Golden Arrow" we have to do a bit of maths. The Division was formed on 1st October 1940 at Attock. "Six months later the 13th Brigade left for Burma.....". This could be March or April 1941, depending on how you count "six months".

    As you say, other sources refer to March 1941. One says the Brigade was "ordered" to Burma that month.

    Steve
     
  10. Rothy

    Rothy Well-Known Member

    Back to the 1st West Yorks....... I have this for the pre-war, pre-Japanese war period:

    1st Battalion, The West Yorkshire Regiment

    28/03/1934 Arrived in India from Egypt

    30/03/1934 Arrived at Quetta from Karachi

    Oct-1935 Arrived at Karachi from Quetta

    Oct-1936 Under Deccan District at this time

    07/11/1936 Left Karachi on board H.T. "Ellora" for Bombay

    09/11/1936 Arrived Bombay from Karachi

    11/11/1936 Arrived at Trimulgherry, Secunderabad from Karachi. Became a unit of the 12th (Secunderabad) Infantry Brigade, 4th Division

    15/11/1937 Date upon which the Battalion was ordered to begin training as a Machine Gun Battalion, but to retain structure as an infantry battalion. Actual date that training began was 1st February 1938.

    Mar-1938 During early 1938, the Battalion was organised in turn as: a M.G. Battalion; a L.M.G. Battalion; a mixed Battalion with a Vickers M.G. company

    Apr-1938 A mixed battalion, organised with 'A', 'B', 'C' and 'M(S)' [machine gun] Companies.

    Sep-1938 A regular infantry battalion with four rifle companies.

    30/09/1938 Mobilised for overseas service but stood down two days later.

    Jun-1939 'D' Company took over from a company of Cameronians as the Port Blair Garrison, Andaman Islands

    Oct-1940 The Battalion, less 'D' Company, transferred from Secunderabad to Barrackpore.

    06/04/1941 'C' Company relieved 'D' Company at Port Blair, Andaman Islands

    23/10/1941 'C' Company relieved at Port Blair by a company of the 1st Battalion, The North Staffordshire Regiment

    Nov-1941 The Battalion concentrated at Ranchi.

    Dec-1941 The Battalion returned to guard duties in the Barrackpore-Calcutta area

    25/01/1942 After being issued with wheeled carriers, mortars and L.M.Gs., the Battalion embarked at Kidderpore Docks, Calcutta for Burma

    28/01/1942 The Battalion sailed for Rangoon in convoy S.R.4

    31/01/1942 The Battalion arrived at Rangoon in convoy S.R.4.

    02/02/1942 The Battalion disembarked at Rangoon on or by 2nd February 1942
     
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2019
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  11. RobG64

    RobG64 Well-Known Member

    Excellent replies Sir, as ever!
    (I might have to do a bit of digging on the three battalions in 13th Brigade to see if I can dig up more)

    Many thanks
    RobG
     
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  12. Rothy

    Rothy Well-Known Member

    Yep, good idea. I didn't have anything on any of those
     
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  13. dryan67

    dryan67 Senior Member

    I am a bit late to the discussion but I will see what I have tomorrow. Rothy is correct about the appendix stating when 13th Brigade left India. I will see what else I have regarding the 1st West York’s and the Port Blair garrison.
     
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  14. Rothy

    Rothy Well-Known Member

    I'm sorry David, I didn't want to steal your thunder, as it were. I'm out and about the next couple of days so I posted with that in mind.

    Steve
     
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  15. RobG64

    RobG64 Well-Known Member

    Many thanks David!

    RobG64
     
  16. dryan67

    dryan67 Senior Member

    To start with, here is what I have on the Port Blair, Andaman Islands garrison during WWII:

    1st Battalion, The Northamptonshire Regiment
    The battalion was not mobilized at the outbreak of war. It occupied two separate barracks in Dinapore with one company at Arrah and Victoria, which held another company, Battalion HQ and Headquarters Wing. Another company was permanently on detachment at Muzaffarpur in North Bihar and ‘C’ Company was located at Port Blair in the Andaman Islands. ‘C’ Company was relieved by a company of 1st Cameronians in January 1940. The battalion left Dinapore by train on 14 January 1940 after handing over to 1st Lincolnshire Regiment. It arrived in Jhansi on 15 January and concentrated there with no detachments.
    (Jervois, W.J. The History of the Northamptonshire Regiment: Volume II: 1934-1948. Northampton: The Regimental History Committee, 1953.)

    1st Battalion, The Cameronians (Scottish Rifles)
    The battalion remained in Barrackpore until November 1940 on internal security. One company served at Port Blair in the Andaman Islands from January until June 1940. It moved to Trimulgherry, Secunderabad Area in November 1940, where it remained until mobilized on 11 February 1942.
    (Barclay, C.N. History of the Cameronians: Volume III. London: Sefton Praed, 1948.)


    1st Battalion, The West Yorkshire Regiment (The Prince of Wales’s Own)
    The battalion was in Nizarabad under the Mhow Brigade until June 1940. In June 1940 it moved to Barrackpore, near Calcutta with one company at Ishapore, one company at Ranchi and ‘D’ Company at Port Blair in the Andaman Islands from June 1940. ‘C’ Company relieved ‘D’ Company on 6 April 1941 and left on 23 October 1941, when relieved by a company of the 1st North Staffordshire Regiment. The battalion helped form the Andaman Islands Territorial Force. On 7 December 1941 the battalion concentrated at Ranchi but returned to Barrackpore to guard Dum Dum Aerodrome, Ishapore Arms Factory and other vital points. On 25th January 1942 the Battalion embarked at Kidderpore Docks, Calcutta and sailed on 28th January for Rangoon. It disembarked on January 31st, 1942 at Rangoon.
    (Sandes, E.W.C. From Pyramid to Pagoda; the Story of the West Yorkshire Regiment (The Prince of Wales’s Own) in the War 1939-45 and afterwards. London: F.J. Parsons Ltd., 1952.)

    The Andaman Islands Territorial Force
    The force was formed by ‘D’ Company, 1st Battalion, The West Yorkshire Regiment, when they arrived at Port Blair in June 1940. It served in the Andaman Islands and was disbanded in March 1942. The islands were evacuated on 12 March 1942.
    (Sandes, E.W.C. From Pyramid to Pagoda; the Story of the West Yorkshire Regiment (The Prince of Wales’s Own) in the War 1939-45 and afterwards. London: F.J. Parsons Ltd., 1952.)

    1st Battalion, The North Staffordshire Regiment (The Prince of Wales’s)
    The battalion remained in Poona under the Poona (Independent) Brigade from 3 September 1939 until October 1940, when 2nd Border Regiment relieved it. It then moved to Calcutta under Calcutta Fortress from October 1940 until 13 August 1942, when 9th Border Regiment relieved it. One company was sent to the Andaman Islands on 23 October 1941 and remained there until 12 March 1942.
    (Scott, Tony. The Staffords in World War II. Lichfield: Staffordshire Regiment Museum, 2003)

    4th Battalion 10th Gurkha Rifles
    The battalion remained at Abbottabad for six months forming and training, then moved to Campbellpore in October 1941 to come under command of the newly created 33rd Indian Infantry Brigade. It was mobilized in mid-December 1941 for operations in the Andaman Islands as the battalion most advanced in training of the four Gurkha Rifle battalions of 7th Indian Infantry Division. It moved to Madras at the end of December 1941 and embarked for Port Blair in the Andamans on 2 January 1942. It arrived there on 2 February 1942 to join a company of the 1st North Staffordshire Regiment and a company of Indian Military Police. In early March 1942, the garrison was withdrawn to India and the battalion was sent to Secunderabad.
    (Mullaly, Brian. Bugle and Kukri. Edinburgh: William Blackwood and Sons, Ltd., 1957.)

    8th Battalion 6th Rajputana Rifles
    The battalion arrived in Ranchi on 6 April 1944 and rested and refitted there until 8 May. It was then sent to the North-West Frontier as a Frontier Defence Reserve unit and was located at Malakand until 28 February 1944.
    The battalion then moved to Tori, near Ranchi, where it joined 116th Indian Infantry Brigade. It remained there with the brigade through 25 September 1944, when it moved to Calcutta to embark for the Andaman Islands as an advanced guard battalion of the brigade. It moved by sea from 25 September to 7 October and landed at Port Blair in the Andamans. It remained there through 17 February 1945 except for the period of time from 10-24 October, when it was located on Ross Island. It returned embarked at Port Blair on 17 February and arrived at Calcutta by sea on 21 February. It then moved to Kamptee to rejoin the brigade. It served with brigade until the end of the war. It moved to Allahabad on 18 May 1945 under the brigade.
    (Abhyankar, Major M.G. The Rajputana Rifles; a History of the Regiment 1775-1947. Bombay: Orient Longmans, 1961.)
     
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  17. dryan67

    dryan67 Senior Member

    Here is what I have on the moves of the 1st Battalion, The West Yorkshire Regiment. If more details are needed, I have the regimental history in hand:

    1st Battalion, The West Yorkshire Regiment (The Prince of Wales’s Own)

    Secunderabad Area – 3 September 1939 to October 1940
    The battalion was in Trimulgherry, Secunderabad until October 1940. In June 1940, ‘D’ Company moved to Port Blair in the Andaman Islands to relieve a company of the 1st Cameronians.

    Presidency and Assam District – October 1940 to 24 January 1942
    In October 1940 it moved to Barrackpore, near Calcutta with one company at Ishapore, one company at Ranchi and ‘D’ Company at Port Blair in the Andaman Islands. ‘C’ Company relieved ‘D’ Company on April 6th, 1941 and left on October 23rd, 1941, when relieved by a company of the 1st North Staffordshire Regiment. The battalion helped form the Andaman Islands Territorial Force. On December 7th, 1941 the battalion concentrated at Ranchi but returned to Barrackpore to guard Dum Dum Aerodrome, Ishapore Arms Factory and other vital points.

    India Command – 24 January 1942 to 5 February 1942
    It was mobilized by January 25th, 1942. On 25th January 1942 the Battalion embarked at Kidderpore Docks, Calcutta and sailed on 28th January for Rangoon. It disembarked on January 31st, 1942 at Rangoon.


    17th Indian Infantry Division – 5 February 1942 to 12 March 1942
    The battalion joined the 17th Indian Division on February 5th, 1942. It moved to Taukkyan north of Rangoon with ‘A’ Company at Thanatpin on arrival. It then formed Pegu Force with Frontier Force 6 and some Burma Military Police at Yitkan. It moved to Pegu but ‘A’ Company was under the 7th Hussars and the 48th Indian Infantry Brigade and ‘C Company was detached in Tharrawaddy area west. At the start of March it moved from Thanatpin to Pegu to replace the1st Cameronians and joined the 48th Indian Infantry Brigade in the defence of Pegu. It fought on March 6th, 1942 and had 114 causalities. On March 9th the battalion left Taukkyan to move to Prome and join the 7th Armoured Brigade.

    7th Armoured Brigade – 12 March 1942 to 12 May 1942
    It joined the 7th Armoured Brigade on March 12th. It reorganized in the area between the Tharrawaddy and Letapan on the Prome railway. It moved to Meiktila with the 7th Armoured Brigade and was then sent to Monya with the brigade and to Shewegyin. The regiment destroyed its stores and transport on May 11th and then went to 63rd Indian Infantry Brigade.


    17th Indian Infantry Division – 12 May 1942 to September 1944
    The 1st West Yorks came under the command of the 63rd Indian Brigade on May 12th and then joined the 16th Indian Infantry Brigade the next day. It moved toward Kalemyo and Yazagyo to Tamu with the brigade.
    The battalion left Burma on May 19th, 1942 and moved to Palel. It then moved to Imphal on May 20th and stayed at Palel Road, Imphal until mid-September 1942. It next moved to Ranchi at Piska Camp and became the support battalion for the 17th Indian Light Division. It stayed in Ranchi for three months and left Piska Camp on December 23rd, 1942 for Assam. It arrived at Chitapore in Calcutta on December 25th and moved to Dimapur on December 30th 1942 on the Burma/Assam border. It served as a support battalion for the division from October 1942 until September 1944 organized on a four-company basis.

    48th Indian Infantry Brigade – September 1944 to 31 August 1945
    The battalion then served under the 48th Indian Infantry Brigade from September 1944 until the end of the war. It moved to Ranchi from Burma on September 11th, 1944 and to Imphal on January 11th, 1945. It re-entered Burma on February 28th, 1945 and served there for the rest of the war with the brigade.
     
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  18. dryan67

    dryan67 Senior Member

    Regarding the arrival of 13th Indian Infantry Brigade in Burma, I have the following:

    Headquarters, 13th Indian Infantry Brigade
    Proceeded to Burma on 20 March 1941 as an independent Brigade.
    (Appendix 'F' - Part II - Indian Formations - NB: I obtained this many years back and I am not sure of the source)

    5th Battalion 1st Punjab Regiment
    13th Indian Infantry Brigade – September 1940 to 7 March 1942
    The Battalion joined the 13th Indian Infantry Brigade on arrival at Campbellpore. It mobilized under command of the brigade in January 1941. The battalion embarked from India on March 20th, 1941 and on arrival in Burma in April 1941 it was sent to Mandalay.
    (Quershi, Mohammed. The First Punjabis - History of the First Punjab Regiment 1759-1956. Aldershot: Gale and Polden, 1958.)

    1st Battalion 18th Royal Garhwal Rifles
    13th Indian Infantry Brigade – 1 October 1940 to 1 April 1943
    It moved to Campbellpore in September 1940 and came under the command of the 13th Indian Infantry Brigade when the brigade was raised on 1 October 1940. It was mobilized and then sailed from Calcutta on March 30th, 1941 to Rangoon as part of the brigade.
    (Deedes, Lt. Gen. R.B. Historical Records of the Royal Garhwal Rifles Volume II 1923-47. Dehra Dun: The Army Press, 1962)

    1st Battalion 7th Rajput Regiment
    13th Indian Infantry Brigade – October 1940 to 7 March 1942
    The 1st Battalion joined the newly created 13th Indian Infantry Brigade, which was formed on October 1st, 1940. On March 11, 1941, it was warned to move from Campbellpore. It left for Calcutta on March 26, 1941 in two trains, one containing the Battalion less 'D' Company and the other containing 'D' Company. It sailed for Rangoon on March 31, 1941 and landed at Rangoon on April 3, 1941. The Battalion moved to Mandalay on April 4, 1941.
    (Ahmad, Mustasad. Heritage: the History of The Rajput Regiment 1778-1947. Regimental Centre, 1989)

    12th (Poonch) Mountain Battery IA
    The Battery embarked for Burma on March 20, 1941.
    (Palit, Maj. Gen. D.K. History of the Regiment of Artillery, Indian Army. London: Leo Cooper, 1971.)

    It appears the the Brigade embarked for Burma in two batches, the first on March 20, 1941 and the second on March 30-31, 1941.
     
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  19. RobG64

    RobG64 Well-Known Member

    Absolutely brilliant David, thank you!
    The information that 13th Indian Brigade embarked in two batches would certainly explain the "arrives in March/April 1941" from the Official History! And so much to learn about the Andaman Islands garrison!

    Many thanks to Steve as well - love this site and the people who contribute with their knowledge!

    RobG
     
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  20. dryan67

    dryan67 Senior Member

    RobG:

    Sorry about answering so late, but the holidays have kept me busy.

    David
     
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