Local regiments posted to India
The two regular battalions of the East Surreys saw active service on the Western Front during the First World War, but the two Territorial battalions including the 6th (Richmond) Battalion were posted to India. Territorial battalions were made up of volunteer reserves who trained in their spare time. These men were quickly called up after war was declared.
India, which then included the modern countries of Pakistan and Bangladesh, was an important part of the British Empire and many soldiers were stationed there before the war. To release them to come to the Front, and to fill roles left by the thousands of Indian Army soldiers who came to fight for Britain in Europe, territorial soldiers were sent to India.
The 6th Battalion, East Surrey Regiment, was stationed in ‘Fyzabad’ (Faizabad), in Uttar Pradesh.
This picture of the 6th Battalion in India was published in the Richmond Herald on 30 January 1915. The picture has not survived well, a result of poor printing at the time. But it is just possible to make out the uniformed soldiers, in their pith helmets, alongside Indian regimental staff. Do you know any more about the regiments serving in India during the war? Or perhaps you have a story about your family coming from India to volunteer? Please get in touch; we’d love to hear from you.