Help needed re.12th Frontier Force Rifles research.

Discussion in 'British Indian Army' started by mac657, Jan 10, 2014.

  1. mac657

    mac657 Junior Member

    Hello all, i have recently come into possession of a medal group conatining a Pakistan independence medal awarded to a member of 12th Frontier Force Rifles. I would like to find out more about this soldier, particularly which battalion he was with. Can anyone give me any pointers as i'm new to researching the British Indian army.

    The soldier in question is;

    3435189 Sepoy Alam Zeb.

    Many thanks,

  2. Charpoy Chindit

    Charpoy Chindit Junior Member

    I am afraid that there was no such regiment as the 12th Frontier Force Rifles!
    12th Frontier Force Regiment or 13th Frontier Force Rifles.
  3. mac657

    mac657 Junior Member

    Thanks Charpoy Chindit, that was a good demonstration of my ignorance !

    The hand written card provided by the owner says 'Rifles' but the medal is actually stamped '12 FFR'. So any suggestions ?

    My research so far has only found quite generic information. i'd like to start narrowing it down a bit.


  4. 4jonboy

    4jonboy Daughter of a 56 Recce Patron

  5. Charpoy Chindit

    Charpoy Chindit Junior Member

    Yes, the official abbreviations were FFR and FF RIF.
    Yours is clearly 12 Frontier Force Regiment, but I know of no way of identifying the battalion from just the number.
    Most of the numbers I have seen for 12 FFR IORs have been 4 or 5 digit.
  6. 4jonboy

    4jonboy Daughter of a 56 Recce Patron

  7. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran


    try the diaries of 4th Indian Division as they fought in the Desert - Abbysinia - Syria - Tunisia - Italy - and finished up in Greece...

  8. DaveB

    DaveB Very Senior Member

    I would presume that the answer is in the question - a photo of the group with a listing of which other awards he received would let us know which possible battalions to narrow it down to.

    If he has a Burma Star then it could possibly be 4/12

    If he has an Italy Star then 1/12 & 3/12 appear to be possibilities.
  9. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    Here's the group.

  10. DaveB

    DaveB Very Senior Member

    Thanks Owen - the full set narrows it down somewhat.

    Personally I am sticking with If he has a Burma Star then it could possibly be 4/12

    4/12th served as the Divisional reconnaissance unit of 17th Infantry Division (India) (The Black Cats)

    I don't know much of the wartime uses of the newly raised Battalions - there could be other contenders for Burma Star eligibility.
  11. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member

    Another possible candidate could be:

    The 9/12 FFR were a very green battalion when they joined the 1st Devons and 3/1 Gurkha Rilfes as part of 80th Brigade from the 20th Indian Division in April 1944. This Brigade fought along the Tamu/Palel Road in Assam.
  12. idler

    idler GeneralList

    There is the added complication that he could have been a muslim soldier swapped-in from an 'Indian' regiment after Partition, so his wartime medals may have been earned with a different unit. For example, a company of PMs from 7 Rajput Regiment was passed to 4/12 FFR to make up for the Sikh and Dogra troops that had gone to India.

    9/12 FFR were redesignated 2/12 FFR in 1946 (the original 2/12 FFR having been lost in Malaya). In late 1948, Pakistan formed a new 9 FFR, though only a handful of the original 9/12 FFR ended up in the new battalion.

    The service number looks to be very late war. GSE has only two 12 FFR casualties out of four with similar numbers. As one of them died in Sep 1945 it is possible that our man could have squeaked in for a Burma Star:












  13. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member

    There is a medal collectors website which deals specifically with South Asia medallic awards and entitlements. They may well have some information that could help with this investigation.

    Here is the address:
  14. dryan67

    dryan67 Senior Member

    Sorry. I tried to post a Word table of the battalions service for the 12th FFR in WWII, but it failed. I will add it as an attachment in the next message.
  15. dryan67

    dryan67 Senior Member

    See the attached Word document for the service of the battalions of the 12th Frontier Force Regiment. This table is from one of my books.

    Attached Files:

  16. Charpoy Chindit

    Charpoy Chindit Junior Member

    Yes, five battalions of the FFR served in Burma, plus at least one Infantry Company of the regiment. That, plus the added complication mentioned above by idler, doesn't bode well for your search.
  17. mac657

    mac657 Junior Member

    Thank you very much all of you for your replies. I will follow up on your suggestions however i agree, it looks like a bit of a lost cause. But hey you never know. I find it surprising though that some more specific documentation or information has not survived somewhere in some form or another ?

    I'm guessing that the FFR would have had British officers ?

  18. mac657

    mac657 Junior Member

    Thanks, i've just registered. There is a wealth of info on there about independence medals.

    However one of the first entries that i read said ...

    "the researching of sepoys and able seaman is nearly impossible"....but you never know !
  19. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member

    Hi Mac,

    I was thinking that maybe the service number sequence might give a clue, at least with the likely date of enlistment.

    Good luck

  20. gmyles

    gmyles Senior Member

    Hi Mac

    12 FFR were part of 11th Indian Infantry Brigade, which was part of 4th Indian Infantry Division.

    I have already attached the official history of 4th Indian Infantry Division in Greece, 1944-45 at

    Just scroll halfway down and you'll find it.

    Happy reading.


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