3/17th Dogra Regiment in Malaya

Discussion in 'British Indian Army' started by RedStan, Jun 12, 2010.

  1. idler

    idler GeneralList

    A little more about Naik Birman Thapa: he survived as well, according to Stevens' history of 2 Gurkha Rifles, and wrote his story up in their journal in 1946.
  2. hyderabad

    hyderabad Junior Member

    Dear Idler,

    New to the thread. Where did you find the scanned documents for 1 HYD INF and Lt. Col. Ishaq refusing to join INA?

    I came across this doing research on Lt. Col. Ishaq. He was my maternal grandfather.
  3. idler

    idler GeneralList

    Hi, Hyderabad!

    It's from our National Archives (formerly the Public Records Office). Luckily, your grandfather's citation was next to Munro's. The proper way to find it is through their catalogue here. Although you can pay for a copy, you can download the whole file for free from here - you need Image 1/378. It takes you to a checkout but there is no cost.

    I notice that he was also Mentioned in Dispatches. Unfortunately these citations are often missing.

    Do you know if the regiment has got any archives?
  4. hyderabad

    hyderabad Junior Member


    Thank you so much. This information is going to be so valuable to my mother and her siblings. I'm putting together all the documents and information so that I can present it to them. They will be blown away.

    My grandfather died after a few years after he returned to India. His children were very young when he died, so the details about his experience were not transferred to the next generation, unfortunately.

    I'm new to WWII history. So no one in my family would really know if his regiment has any archives.

    What do you mean he is mentioned in Dispatches? Is there a link that I can look at?

    Thanks again,

  5. idler

    idler GeneralList

    A mention in despatches (MID) is awarded for an act that isn't enough to qualify for one of the gallantry medals. Like a medal, an MID is announced in the London Gazette. Your grandad's is here (after a bit of manual searching!), bottom right.

    As with medals, there should be a citation - a description of the act - for an MID but most of these have not survived.
  6. RedStan

    RedStan Junior Member

    Coincidently, Lt Col C A Hendrick, a 3/17 Dogra officer, was CO of 1 Hyderabad Infantry (Indian State Forces) who were guarding RAF Kota Bharu itself. His date of death is given as 10 Dec but he was last seen on 8 Dec. No other 1 Hyd Inf casualties are listed on Geoff's SE.

    I did not know that Hendricks was from the 3/17th Dogras originally. Where did you find that out? Some books mention the Adjutant of the 1st Hyderabad as having been killed at the same time - whats your knowledge on this person?

    If Munro survived was there a different officer killed?
  7. idler

    idler GeneralList

    Hendrick's CWGC entry (the link in the quote above) states "Cdg. 3rd Bn" but he wasn't serving with the battalion. He was attached to 1 HYD INF as the Senior Special Service Officer but assumed command when their CO went on leave just before the balloon went up.

    The only certainties are that Munro was the adjutant and he survived. Hendrick certainly died but I haven't seen anything concrete on how. That said, later in the campaign the regulars of 2/10 Baluch had a run in with a replacement CO which was excused because they didn't know him. It seems that the Indian Army was wary of sudden changes of command.
  8. RedStan

    RedStan Junior Member

    Thanks for explaining that idler. So Lt.Col G.A. Preston must have taken over command of the 3rd Dogras after Hendrick left. That means the 3rd Dogras had three commanding officers from the time they arrived in Malaya; Lt.Col M.L. Hayne / Hendrick / Preston.

    Judging by the turn over of officers and experienced NCOs in the units in Malaya Command this was nothing unusual.

    I am trying to figure out when Preston took command of the Dogras and why there was such a junior officer in charge of B Coy on the night of the Japanese invasion - 2nd Lieut Desmond Peter Thomas Hayne (son of the previous CO Lt.Col M.L. Hayne)
  9. RedStan

    RedStan Junior Member

    Possibly found the answer to my own question - 2nd Lieut Hayne (later Acting Captain and killed during the retreat just to the north of KL) may either have been temporarily in command whilst the OC was away from the unit or Hayne was in command of the B Company Dogras on Sabak Beach itself.

    What ever the reason there must have been a more senior officer in charge of B Coy rather than a recently commisioned 19 year old. Surely?
  10. idler

    idler GeneralList

    Not quite - Hendrick joined the Hyderabads while they were still in India and came out to Malaya with them. It's just one of those coincidences that he ended up next door to his own battalion.

    The Indian Army as a whole suffered from a lot of disruption as battalions were milked of trained men either as cadres for new units or for reinforcements for those in the Middle East.

    Preston took command when Hayne was transferred back to India at the end of Oct 41. There is no record I've found for his promotion to Temporary Lt Col but it seems to have been at the beginning of Dec 41.

    I think OC B Coy was actually Capt Nawin Chandra, 2/Lt Hayne may simply have been next in line.
    RedStan likes this.
  11. sol

    sol Very Senior Member

    For example, when 7/10th Baluch went to Burma in January 1942, two of its companies were commended by captains and other two by 2nd lieutenants.
  12. RedStan

    RedStan Junior Member

    That makes more sense. But according to Zaf1 in the Axis History Forum "70 Minutes before Pearl Harbour" Chandra commanded A Company and Hayne commanded B Company.

    It is not that important for me to work out who was who and who was where, but i have found that there is a lot of conflicting reports on this battle. What i do want to find out is the various positions of the defenders before the Japanese attack started and what was left of the Dogra defenders by the time the 2/12th Frontier Force Regiment and the 1/13th Frontier Force Rifles arrived.

    From what i've worked out about the positions held by the 3/17th Dogras is that A Company held from Badang Beach northwards and B Company held Sabak heading southwards. The Takumi Detachment attacked the Kota Bharu defences almost at the junction of the two companies.

    As for C and D Companies - i know one of these companies was held in reserve west of the beaches and was used in the counterattacks that attempted to recapture Sabak Beach. I assume the fourth company was positioned either south of B Company or north of A Company.

    The 2/12th FFR company under the command of Captain Medappa attempted to recapture the Pill Box in the A Company sector on Badang Beach. Lt.Col Cumming lead a general counter attack from the south with more of the 2/12th FFR and the reserve company of the 3/17th Dogras. During this stage of the battle Preston was wounded.
  13. RedStan

    RedStan Junior Member

    Thanks for all your help - if you are able to shed anymore light on this battle i would really appreciate it.
  14. idler

    idler GeneralList

    Cancel my last: Hayne was not with Chandra. Consequently, I'll defer to Zaf's knowledge: A Coy (Chandra) on Badang and B Coy (Hayne) on Sabak.
    Having untangled myself, D Coy were on Kemassin (south of Sabak) beach with C Coy as reserve coy.

    The Dogra's positions were actually very stable during the day. Apart from the two or three pillboxes actually attacked, and the movement of the reserve coy, the bulk of the battalion was still in its original positions when the counterattacks went in.
  15. Giles12

    Giles12 Junior Member

    I'm at a loss - hope that somebody can help me. I have a citation that my Uncle received whilst serving with the Indian Army in which somebody has written:
    "Previous Awards Mention L.G. 18/2/38 Mention L.G 27/9/25 6 burma Des".

    Any clues?

    In anticipation - many thanks.

  16. RedStan

    RedStan Junior Member

    LG means London Gazette - his previous awards were mentioned in the London Gazette on 18th Feb 1938 and 27th September 1925. If you google London Gazette, look at Advanced Search and put in his name you should be able to find your uncles name.

    Hope that helps
  17. Giles12

    Giles12 Junior Member

    Many thanks.
    I must say - I can't think of a more helpful & willing forum anywhere else on the web.


  18. RedStan

    RedStan Junior Member

    Cancel my last: Hayne was not with Chandra. Consequently, I'll defer to Zaf's knowledge: A Coy (Chandra) on Badang and B Coy (Hayne) on Sabak.
    Having untangled myself, D Coy were on Kemassin (south of Sabak) beach with C Coy as reserve coy.

    The Dogra's positions were actually very stable during the day. Apart from the two or three pillboxes actually attacked, and the movement of the reserve coy, the bulk of the battalion was still in its original positions when the counterattacks went in.

    Thankyou so much Idler - that is all very helpful. Especially that you know the positions of all four companies.

    Two questions; where did you source this info? and do you by any chance know the other company commanders names?

    This whole battle is coming together for me now. Thanks again everyone.

  19. idler

    idler GeneralList

    Know's a very strong term! I'm having problems putting my finger on things at the moment (hence my confusion before). I've got a note that says C Coy were reserve; D Coy's location is by elimination, 'knowing' where A & B were.

    Part of the problem might be that the battalion was operating as 'company groups' rather than companies as per establishment. e.g. Badang was longer than the other beaches, so perhaps a platoon or some sections were attached from the other coys, so Badang coy would be a more convenient reference than A Coy plus hangers-on. The Dogra diary makes no reference to coys in the latter part of 1941 and I'm hesitant to assume that they stayed in the same positions all through the year.

    The very deliberate nature of the defence may also touch on your other point of why a 2/Lt was acting as a coy commander. It's always implied that each beach coy was strung out in fixed positions with the best part of bugger all in reserve (within the coy) - the OC's job may have been more communication than command?
  20. RedStan

    RedStan Junior Member

    Now that is a real probability. The huge distance that the battalion had to cover added to the broken terrain would have made control and communication a nightmare. The whole concept of company command (as per 1941 standards) would not have been practical; therefore the unit structure would have changed. Makes sense. Thanks Idler.

    When looking at this battle I think talking of the 3/17th Dogras in terms of companies and battalion control is not right. Maybe looking at it from the perspective of platoons and sections makes more sense.

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