Possible Battalions?

Discussion in 'Burma & India' started by _Ali_04, Nov 14, 2020.

  1. _Ali_04

    _Ali_04 New Member

    Hello everyone, I have recently been digging up on my family records to piece together a large scale family tree and have come to the discovery that my great grandfather on my mothers side fought in WW2, the Burma Campaign, before immigrating to England in the 50s where my grandfather settled and my Great Grandfather returned to the newly formed nation of Pakistan. In an attempt to discover more about him Id like to discover what regiment and battalion he fought apart of and what battles he part took in. Any help would be much appreciated. He was from Azad Kashmir , Modern Day Pakistan and his name was Gul-Bahar Shah (or so I have been told).
  2. davidbfpo

    davidbfpo Patron Patron

    Ali 04,
    Welcome aboard this fascinating website, which can be so helpful.
    Do you know if your great grandfather was awarded any medals? Researching the 'Other Ranks' is hard, unless they were awarded a medal(s) or wrote their memoirs later. From memory Kashmir as a princely state provided State Forces in WW2, so did he serve in a British Indian unit or a local princely state one?
    Someone hopefully will be able to advise on whether his service record is available, either in India or Pakistan.
    Any clues will help those here and sometimes you need to be lucky and persistent.
  3. _Ali_04

    _Ali_04 New Member

    I do know he received some medals, which ones he did receive I am unsure of and I believe he fought within the British Raj forces.
  4. davidbfpo

    davidbfpo Patron Patron

    Check out this thread, it has a pointer to records held in the British Library and an address for the Indian Army Service Records Office: British Indian Army records - where are they? There is another similar thread (which I have not viewed): Father and Uncle in Indian Army-how to research?

    An older one is: How to Retrieve Indian War Records

    Looking through the British Indian Army list of threads there is not one with a Kashmiri named unit, although there were Kashmiris who did join up. The British Indian Army sometimes had mixed units or single group units - based on religion primarily, geographical area of recruitment, caste and more. Knowing which religion he followed is important, it could narrow down your search.

    I expect applying for records will take a long time, so good luck!
  5. Skoyen89

    Skoyen89 Senior Member

    Hi Ali04

    Researching Indian (pre-Partition) soldiers is really difficult as it seems that the records, if they exist, are probably in India or Pakistan. It is worth trying the British Library first as that will probably be easier but...

    It would help greatly if you could determine which Regiment or Corps he served in. I would try to find those medals in the family (and also ask for any information, recollections photos, documents etc from all the relatives you can think of) as they seem to be your best chance of getting that basic information. Also, having his name, date of birth, where he came from etc will help. You would be surprised how often a distant cousin turns out to have some information or photos.

    If you get this information the additional place I would look would be the 'Regimental Centre' as they often have a museum and archive. The Regimental Centre could be in India or Pakistan depending on where the Regiment ended up on Partition. Again it is a case of writing with as much information as possible and hoping for a reply!

    Let us know how you get on.

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