Indian Long Range Squadron

Discussion in 'British Indian Army' started by Kuno, Nov 14, 2008.

  1. Kuno

    Kuno Very Senior Member

    I would like to start the discussion about this hardly known "Special Unit". They are mentioned in line with the LRDG and were probably similar to LRDG patrols - but not much is known about them at all.

    I will post some photos, better stills, about a sequence in a contemporary newsreel. The text reads like this:

    Attached Files:

  2. AndyBaldEagle

    AndyBaldEagle Very Senior Member

    I think they were formed before the LRDG but were in bigger numbers as it were.
    The Middle East is not my are of expertise, not that I can consider myself an expert in anything really!!
    Like the look of the book, when is it due to be published?
    And welcome to the Forum

  3. Kuno

    Kuno Very Senior Member

    @ Andy; the ILRP was only founded AFTER the LRDG. They were operating independently but co-ordinated with the LRDG. The only ops I am aware of is when they were acting as scouts for Leclercs Free French from the South towards Tripoli (strange enough since there were roads ;-))


    The book about Jebel Sherif is under layout-works now. Publishing is planned for early 2009. When you think the job is done - then the works actually starts...
  4. Warlord

    Warlord Veteran wannabe

    The Indian Squadron (Indian Long Range Squadron) was an LRDG unit that operated more or less independently of the other patrols, but without being considered a separate outfit, from its raising in late 1941 until disbanded sometime during 43.

    Try this link for a bit of info:

    LRDG, Long Range Desert Group 1940-1943
  5. Kuno

    Kuno Very Senior Member

    I was quite sure that I had read that they were an independent but the somehow under a common command - might be that they were set under the command of LRDG HQ.
  6. Owen

    Owen -- --- -.. MOD

    Just flicking through my old Osprey Vanguard 36: The Long Range Desert Group by Jenner and List.
    Page 7 mentions ,
    Indians from the cavalry regiments in the Indian motor brigades were used in the Indian Longe Range Squadron patrols with British Officers and NCOs.

    page 32
    28 December 1941 ILRS formed.

    page 33
    15 June 1942
    Five patrols , including one from ILRS on direct action tasks.

    page 34
    April/May 1943
    ILRS redeploy to Eastern Persia.

    page 8

    When formed the Indian Long Range Squadron (ILRS) consisited of seven British officers, nine British other ranks , three Indian officers and 82 Indian other ranks, formed into a HQ and two two patrols, with 35 vehicles basically identical to those of the LRDG, although the armament differed.

    Found this.
    [section] | NZETC

    An Indian Long Range Squadron of four patrols came under the command of the LRDG in October 1942.

    edit page 14 of the Osprey book says
    The ILRS also suffered from being used for limited reconnaissance by 'Reesforce' until they managed to get properly attached to the Group in October 1942.
    JimHerriot likes this.
  7. Kuno

    Kuno Very Senior Member

    ...should obviously read my old books again. Thanks for reminding me, Owen!
    JimHerriot likes this.
  8. Kuno

    Kuno Very Senior Member

    There is really hardly anything to be found about this unit. Obviously they never got that publicity as the LRDG (hope to find something one day...)
  9. Kuno

    Kuno Very Senior Member

    Hardly anything known about this unit. There is a small newsreel in British Pathe showing them paradign with their trucks - actually the only pictures I had ever seen about them!
  10. Kuno

    Kuno Very Senior Member

    ILRS: The unsung Desert Raiders

    Whilst we have plenty of books about the ‘Long Range Desert Group’, there is hardly any mentioning of a unit, which was founded after the initial success of the LRDG: The ‘Indian Long Range Squadron’. The patrols 1, 2, 3 and 4 consisted of members of an Indian cavalry unit and were lead by British officers.
    The tasks and the equipment of the ILRS were similar to those of their famous sister-unit.

    Where can I find information about this unit?
  11. Capt.Sensible

    Capt.Sensible Well-Known Member

    Hi Kuno,

    You may be already aware of this book but it would seem like a logical starting point as it the 'official' history and does at least acknowledge that the ILRS existed. In an ideal world, it would also include a bibliography and references to other records heldl in various archives.

    Special Forces in the Desert War Public Record Office War Histories: Public Record Office: Books

    Edit: God bless Google Books!.....a lot more information here plus names and ORBAT etc:
    The Indian Army 1914-1947 - Google Books
  12. Kuno

    Kuno Very Senior Member

    Thanks, Capt. Sensible - I have the first book you mentioned since it was published and it is quite worn out in the meantime!!!
  13. Kuno

    Kuno Very Senior Member

    Am not sure about the statement made in the second book you mention. I know only 3 photos of the ILRS trucks and there they did not have letters but numbers on their trucks - the patrols employed in North Africa were actually numbered 1, 2, 3 and 4.
  14. Capt.Sensible

    Capt.Sensible Well-Known Member

    I wonder if they were detached from the Indian parent formation as lettered patrols but then given new patrol numbers during thier association with the LRDG?
  15. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    WO 379/116 Special Forces. Includes Special Boat Squadron/Service, Sea Reconnaissance Unit, Special Service Units in the Middle East, Special Engineering Section Raiding Forces, Indian Long Range Squadron, Long Range Desert Group 1941 Jan 01 - 1946 Dec 31
    WO 172/4605 Indian Long Range Squadron 1943 Aug.- 1914 Dec.
    WO 172/7360 Cavalry: Indian Long Range Sqn.5170 1945 Jan.- Dec.
    WO 172/10062 Indian Long Range Sqn. 1946 Jan., Feb.
    WO 201/722 Indian Long Range Desert Squadron: war equipment table 1942 Jan.
    WO 201/797 Future policy: Long Range Desert Group and Indian Long Range Squadron. Also includes Reorganisation of Raiding Forces 1942 Nov 20-1943 Aug 7; 1943 Nov 5-11
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2019
    JimHerriot likes this.
  16. Capt.Sensible

    Capt.Sensible Well-Known Member

    Hi Kuno,

    There is a little more information here on the various patrol commanders, for instance

    Travers John Durrant'

    Officers of the Indian Army 1939-1945  -- B

    Looking closely, I think all the commanders are listed.

  17. Richard Doherty

    Richard Doherty Junior Member

    The Indian Long Range Scouts came into being on 25 December 1941 in Syria under HQ Ninth Army. At squadron strength, with a Squadron HQ and four patrols, it was formed from volunteers from units of 3 Indian Motor Brigade. These were 2nd Royal Lancers, Prince Albert Victor's Own Cavalry and 18th King Edward's Own Cavalry.
    The four patrols were designated J, M, R and S which denoted the origins of their soldiers: Jats, Muslims, Rajputs and Sikhs. McCoy's squadron was declared operational in late-January 1942. Its role was to harry enemy forces in Iraq, Syria and Persia should the Gerrmans attack through the Caucasus.
    When that attack became less likely, J and R Patrols were redeployed to Egypt and operated under LRDG command from Siwa Oasis to cover Eighth Army's open desert flank. By autumn they were also operating from Kufra and in October '42 the complete squadron came under LRDG command.
    As the Indian Long Range Squadron, it reconnoitred the route to outflank the Mareth Line in early 1943 and remained under LRDG command until April when Eighth Army passed through the Gabes Gap into country unsuited for the Squadron's type of operations.
    On 3 April 1943 the ILRS was the last element of the LRDG to leave Eighth Army. It later moved to India where its soldiers expected to deploy into Burma but Wingate's Chindits rendered them redundant, in part, at least, because of Wingate's antipathy towards Indian troops. Instead the Squadron deployed to Baluchistan to patrol the Persian/Afghan/Russian border and prevent Soviet infiltration.
    When the sub-continent was partitioned in 1947 the Squadron returned to India where it was disbanded.
  18. sol

    sol Very Senior Member


    The Cap Badge
    The badge is crossed lancers with a tablet in the center with LR on it. It comes in brass for other ranks and silver for officers.

    Shoulder Title
    The shoulder title worn by the Squadron comes in two forms; the first is a cloth slip-on with initials ILRS embroidered in gold on a blue oblong. The second is a hand-cut, blackened brass shoulder title I.L.R.S.

    Attached Files:

    • 00.jpg
      File size:
      6.2 KB
  19. ADM199

    ADM199 Well-Known Member

    Hardly anything known about this unit. There is a small newsreel in British Pathe showing them paradign with their trucks - actually the only pictures I had ever seen about them!

    There two Files in T.N.A. regarding the unit I noted a couple of years ago.
    One is in WO201 and the other in WO218 contains information about their activities during July - Dec 1942.

    Perhaps some day there will be time to look at them.

  20. dbf

    dbf Moderatrix MOD

    Thank you all for posting additional information to this thread.

    I admit to knowing nothing about them; always good to learn.


    Think this is link to Pathe newsreel in question?

    British Pathe - INDIAN L.R.D.G. UNIT 1943

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