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3rd (Lahore) Division

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Title: 3rd (Lahore) Division  
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Subject: Indian Army during World War I, Battle of Tabsor, 7th (Meerut) Division, John Shea (Indian Army officer), Battle of Arara
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3rd (Lahore) Division

3rd (Lahore) Division
Active 1852 – ?
Country British India
Branch British Indian Army
Type Infantry
Garrison/HQ Mian Mir (Lahore)

Western Front[1]

Mesopotamian Campaign
Palestine Campaign

Sir Hugh Henry Gough, VC
Frederick Walter Kitchener

The 3rd (Lahore) Division was an World War I as part of the Indian Corps in France before being moved to the Middle East where it fought against troops of the Ottoman Empire.


The Lahore Division first appears in the Indian Army List in 1852, when the short-lived Cis-[3] Lahore Fort was occupied by the British after the First Anglo-Sikh War and the city of Lahore was annexed in 1849 at the conclusion of the Second Anglo-Sikh War. In 1852 a military cantonment (known until 1906 as Mian Mir) was established outside the city.[4]

Composition 1852[5]

General Officer Commanding (GOC): Brigadier-General Sir John Cheape, KCB, Bengal Engineers (appointed 9 July 1852) (absent commanding Bengal Division in Second Anglo-Burmese War).

Lahore: Commanding Station: Brigadier Sir James Tennant, Bengal Artillery

  • HQ, 1st and 2nd Troops, 3rd Brigade, Bengal Horse Artillery
  • HQ, 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th Companies, 2nd (European) Battalion, Bengal Foot Artillery (1st Company and O Company Ordnance Drivers manning No 7 Light Field Battery (horsedrawn))
  • 2nd Company, 8th (Native) Battalion, Bengal Foot Artillery, and D Company Ordnance drivers, manning No 2 Light Field Battery (bullock drawn)
  • 4th Company, Bengal Sappers and Miners
  • Her Majesty’s 96th Foot
  • 5th Bengal Native Infantry
  • 9th Bengal Native Infantry
  • 39th Bengal Native Infantry
  • 57th Bengal Native Infantry
  • 65th Bengal Native Infantry
  • 1st Bengal Irregular Cavalry (Skinner’s Horse)
  • 18th Bengal Irregular Cavalry

Wazirabad: Brigadier J.R. Hearsey

  • 4th Company 7th (Native) Battalion, Bengal Foot Artillery
  • Her Majesty’s 3rd Light Dragoons
  • Her Majesty’s 10th Foot
  • Her Majesty’s 24th Foot
  • 21st Bengal Native Infantry
  • 32nd Bengal Native Infantry
  • 34th Bengal Native Infantry

Sialkot: Lieutenant-Colonel J.T. Lane, Bengal Artillery

  • 2nd Troop, 2nd Brigade, Bengal Horse Artillery
  • 1st Company, 1st (European) Battalion, Bengal Foot Artillery
  • 10th Company, Bengal Sappers and Miners
  • 4th Bengal Light Cavalry
  • Detachment Her Majesty’s 24th Foot
  • 63rd Bengal Native Infantry
  • 6th Bengal Irregular Cavalry

Govindgarh (Bathinda):[6]

  • 3rd Company, 8th (Native) Battalion, Bengal Foot Artillery
  • Detachments Her Majesty’s 10th Foot and Native Infantry

Indian mutiny

During the 'Indian Mutiny' (or 'First War of Independence') some Indian regiments at the Mian Mir cantonments plotted to mutiny but were disarmed under the guns of a British horse artillery battery and infantry battalion to prevent them seizing Lahore Fort. Later the 26th Bengal Native Infantry at Mian Mir did mutiny, murder some of their officers and escape under cover of a dust storm, but Lahore was held for the remainder of the conflict by British troops and Indians troops loyal to the government.[7]


Over succeeding decades, the stations controlled by Lahore Division varied, and the forces under command were regularly rotated. For example:

Composition January 1888[8]

GOC: Maj-Gen Sir Hugh Henry Gough, VC (appointed 1 April 1887)
Aide-de-Camp: Capt H.F.M. Wilson, Rifle Brigade

Divisional HQ: Mian Mir (Lahore Cantonment)[9]

Mian Mir:

Fort Lahore:

  • 3rd Battery, 1st Brigade, Scottish Division Garrison Artillery, Royal Artillery
  • Detachment 2nd Battalion, Northumberland Fusiliers

Multan Brigade:



  • Detachment 1st Battalion, Border Regiment
  • Detachment 24th (Punjab) Regiment Bengal Native Infantry


Bakloh (near Dalhousie):

Pre–World War I

Under the reforms introduced by Lord Roberts as Commander-in-Chief (CinC) India, the Divisions were renamed 1st Class Districts in 1890. In the next round of reforms inaugurated by Lord Kitchener as CinC, they became numbered divisions with their territorial affiliation as a subsidiary title. The title 3rd (Lahore) Division first appears in the Army List between 30 September and 31 December 1904, as part of Northern Command, with the Jullunder, Sirhind and Ambala brigades under command. Lahore District/3rd (Lahore) Division at this time was under the command of Maj-Gen Walter Kitchener, the CinC’s younger brother, who commanded it at the Rawalpindi Parade 1905. In 1914 the division, with HQ at Dalhousie, consisted of the Ferozepore, Jullunder (based at Dalhousie) and Sirhind (based at Kasauli) infantry brigades, and the Ambala cavalry brigade (based at Kasauli).[10]

World War I

Western Front 1914

Indian reinforcements who fought at Givenchy in December 1914

In 1914 the 3rd (Lahore) Division was part of Indian Expeditionary Force A sent to reinforce the British Expeditionary Force (BEF) fighting in France. The bulk constituted an infantry division as part of Indian Corps, while the Ambala Cavalry Brigade was detached to form part of 1st Indian Cavalry Division in the Indian Cavalry Corps. While in France the division was known as the Lahore Division, and its brigades by their names, to avoid confusion with the 3rd British Division. Despatch from India was delayed by the activities of the German raiders Emden and Konigsberg operating in the Indian Ocean, and by the slow speed of the transport vessels. The first two brigades landed at Marseilles on 26 September 1914, but there were further delays while the troops were re-armed with the latest pattern rifle, and the supply train could be improvised, using tradesmen's vans procured locally.[11]

The 3rd Lahore Divisional Area was formed in late 1914 to take over the garrison duties of the 3rd Division when it left for France. The 3rd Lahore Divisional Area was disbanded in May 1917, the responsibilities of the area being taken over by the 16th Division.

Order of Battle October 1914[12][13]
GOC: Lieut-Gen H.B.B. Watkis, CB

Ferozepore Brigade
GOC: Brig-Gen R.G. Egerton, CB

Jullundur Brigade
GOC: Maj-Gen P.M. Carnegy, CB

Sirhind Brigade - arrived at Marseilles from Egypt 30 November, joined 9 December 1914
GOC: Maj-Gen J.M.S. Brunker

Divisional Troops: Mounted Troops:


  • V Brigade, Royal Field Artillery (RFA) - joined 22 November 1914 from 7th (Meerut) Division
    • 64th, 73rd & 81st Batteries, V Brigade Ammunition Column
  • XI Brigade, RFA - joined 22 November 1914 from 7th (Meerut) Division
    • 83rd, 84th & 85th Batteries, XI Brigade Ammunition Column
  • XVIII Brigade, RFA
    • 59th, 93rd & 94th Batteries, XVIII Brigade Ammunition Column
  • 109th Heavy Battery, Royal Garrison Artillery (4.7-inch guns)
    • Heavy Battery Ammunition Column
  • Lahore Divisional Ammunition Column


Signals Service:

  • Lahore Signal Company


Supply & Transport:

  • Lahore Divisional train

Medical Units:

  • 7th & 8th British Field Ambulances
  • 111th, 112th and 113th Indian Field Ambulances

The division finally got into action piecemeal at the simultaneous Battles of La Bassee, 1st Messines and Armentieres along the British part of the Western Front in October–November 1914. The degree to which the division was broken up can be gauged by the 29 October entry in the diary kept by the Indian corps' commander, Lt-Gen Sir James Willcocks:

"Where is my Lahore Division?
Sirhind Brigade detained in Egypt.
Ferozepore Brigade: somewhere in the north, split up into three or four bits.
Jullunder Brigade: Manchesters gone south to (British) 5 Division (this disposes of only British unit)
47th Sikhs: Half fighting with some British division; half somewhere else!
59th Rifles and 15th Sikhs: In trenches
34th Pioneers (divisional troops) also in trenches
15th Lancers: In trenches.
Two companies of Sappers and Miners fighting as infantry with British divisions.
Divisional Headquarters: Somewhere?
Thank heaven the Meerut Division will get a better chance."

When the troops were relieved in November 1914, the reassembled division defended a section of the front in Indian Corps' sector.

Western Front 1915

After winter operations (in which the Indian soldiers suffered badly) the division next took part in the Battles of Neuve Chapelle, Aubers Ridge, Festubert and Loos in 1915.[1]

Order of Battle May 1915[15]
GOC: Maj-Gen H.D'U. Keary

Ferozepore Brigade
GOC: Brig-Gen R.G. Egerton, CB

Jullundur Brigade
GOC: Brig-Gen E.P. Strickland

Sirhind Brigade
GOC: Brig-Gen W.G. Walker, VC

Divisional Troops: As before, with addition of XLIII (Howitzer Bde, RA (40th & 57th Batteries)


On 13 August 1915, General Sir John Nixon, commanding Indian Expeditionary Force D in Mesopotamia, requested one of the Indian infantry divisions in France as reinforcements for his advance on Baghdad. Coincidentally, on the same day, the Secretary of State for India, Austen Chamberlain, told the Viceroy of India that he was anxious for the Indian infantry to be withdrawn from France before they had to endure another winter. The system for supplying drafts had broken down and the Indian battalions were becoming very weak after the heavy casualties they had suffered. Although the Secretary of State for War, Lord Kitchener, objected to their withdrawal from the Western Front, orders were issued on 31 October for the two divisions of Indian Corps (3rd (Lahore) and 7th (Meerut) Division) to embark at Marseilles for Mesopotamia. They were to leave behind their attached Territorial Force and Special Reserve battalions, and the three RFA brigades of 18-pounder guns of 3rd (Lahore) Division.[16] The two divisions were relieved in the front line on 6 November and were due at Basra in December, but their departure from Marseilles was delayed because of fear of submarine attack.[17] 3rd (Lahore) Division finally arrived in Mesopotamia in April 1916 and joined Tigris Corps, too late to relieve 6th (Poona) Division at Kut-al-Amara.[18]


After the fall of Baghdad, the Palestine Campaign was given priority over Mesopotamia, and in March 1918 the division was transferred to Egypt to join Sir Edmund Allenby's Egyptian Expeditionary Force until the end of the war.[19] At the Battle of Megiddo in September 1918 it formed part of Sir Edward Bulfin's XXI Corps on the right flank.[20]

Order of Battle September 1918[21]
GOC: Maj-Gen A.R. Hoskins

7th Brigade:

8th Brigade:

9th Brigade:


  1. ^ a b
  2. ^ East India Register and Army List 1851–53; Bengal and Agra Directory and Annual Register 1852.
  3. ^ East-India Register and Army List 1847–53
  4. ^
  5. ^ Bengal and Agra Directory and Annual Register 1852; East-India Register and Army List 1853
  6. ^
  7. ^
  8. ^ India List January 1888
  9. ^
  10. ^ Monthly Army List August 1914.
  11. ^ Edmonds, 1914, Vol II, p. 92, Note 1.
  12. ^ Edmonds, 1914, Vol II, Appendix 1.
  13. ^ F.W. Perry & A.F. Becke, Orders of Battle.
  14. ^ Lt-Gen Sir James Willcocks, With the Indians in France, London: Constable, 1920 (quoted in Corrigan p 74).
  15. ^ Edmonds & Wynne, 1915, Vol II, Appendix 2.
  16. ^ Edmonds & Wynne, 1915, Vol II, pp. 402–3.
  17. ^ Moberly, Vol II.
  18. ^
  19. ^ Moberly, Vol IV.
  20. ^ Bullock.
  21. ^ Bullock, Appendix.


External links

  • British Empire has list of all Indian Army regiments with pictures of their regimental badges.
  • Imperial Gazetteer of India 1908–30, gives complete list of Indian towns and their history and establishment.
  • The Long Long Trail, gives orders of battle and much more.
  • by PB ChappellThe Regimental Warpath 1914 - 19183rd (Lahore) Division on at the Wayback Machine (archived 17 May 2008)
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