Help needed re.12th Frontier Force Rifles research.

Discussion in 'British Indian Army' started by mac657, Jan 10, 2014.

  1. idler

    idler GeneralList

    It would have, but 'Indianization' - the recruitment and use of Indian King's Commissioned Officers (as opposed to the longstanding Viceroy's Commissioned Officers (VCO) who were like super-warrant officers) - started before the war and gained pace through it. Bear in mind, though, that Indian battalions only had about a dozen British or Indian commissioned officers on establishment; most of the officering was done by the VCOs.
  2. idler

    idler GeneralList

    This is only based on what I looked at above, but the 7-digit numbers look like they could be a late-war army-wide system rather than the shorter, presumably regimental, numbers we see through most of the war. 2nd Punjab and IAOC/IASC might be exceptions to the rule out of the mere 321 Indian service numbers between 1000000 and 5000000 on Geoff's Search Engine (which isn't displaying the primary unit for some reason?) Not sure where I'd go to check this theory...
  3. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member

    I think you're right idler, I had a sequence of Gurkha Rifles which were last minute reinforcements for Operation Longcloth in 1943. Their service numbers were 5 digits long, I was looking for identification of unit from these. I got help from the website above and got my answer as to where they had come from, which was the Gurkha Army Service Corps.
  4. Charpoy Chindit

    Charpoy Chindit Junior Member

    There was no such thing as the Gurkha Army Service Corps!
  5. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member

    Hi Charpoy,

    What would ASC stand for then in Gurkha terms? Any ideas. :)
  6. dryan67

    dryan67 Senior Member

    I don't think the IASC (Indian Army Service Corps) recruited Gurkhas during WWII, but if they did it would still be called the Indian Army Service Corps.
  7. Charpoy Chindit

    Charpoy Chindit Junior Member

    That would be the ROYAL Indian Army Service Corps and, as a general rule, I don't think they recruited Gurkhas, the WWII rationale being; the Gurkhas make some of the best infantry in the world, so why waste them in the engineers, service corps, etc.
    However I have come across exceptions, such as CMP (I) and IPC and RIASC, mainly as VCOs.
    It also depends on what you consider a 'Gurkha'. Three of the four Passang Sherpas I know of were indeed riflemen, but the fourth was a Naik in the RIASC.
    I'd be interested in more details of these Longcloth Gurkhas; who identified them as (RI)ASC, and on what basis?
  8. mac657

    mac657 Junior Member

    I've been having a bit of a trawl around the sagongs medal site and had quite a bit of help there. It seems that documantation around OR's is lacking however the 7 digit number allocated to my man seems to tie in with research others have already done. I've pasted in an extract from that site (credited to Rod George) regarding those numbers which may be of interest;

    "We’ve talked a lot in the past about the use of the “Post 1947” army service numbers and many of us have also spent time trying to make sense of the methodology used by Pakistan in its numbering system. Well sense can indeed be made of it all if we go back to basics and accept that they are not actually Post 1947 numbers after all!

    Use of the 7 digit number system

    The use of these numbers to indicate the individuals parent regiment/corps goes back to at least 1944 and it’s a “British Indian Army” (sorry Ed) system rather than an independent India/Pakistan one.
    Quite a few men are listed on the CWGC website with these numbers, and the earliest I’ve found so far is to a member of 6/1st Punjab Regt (2332893 Hakim Ali Din), for 09 Jan 1944. Seven other members of 6/1st PR with these types of numbers are also listed throughout the year and so it’s not just a case of it being an isolated number error. On the contrary, other regiments are also shown to be using these numbers during 1944/45.
    It would seem to me that the whole army was allocated this new numbering system at the same time, with the key being that the first 2 digits used would indicate the man’s regiment or corps. To make complete sense of these numbers we need to consider all of the regiments as one entity (pre-independence) rather than creating separate lists for where they ended up (India, Pakistan and UK) after partition.
    Tweaking data given by two of our members in an earlier post (post 1947 Indian Army numbers) and sifting through the list of service numbers on Pakistan Independence medals (contained in another members posts), as well as a few other resources to hand...... I’ve managed to come up with this list to illustrate the point:

    23xxxxx 1st Punjab Regiment Pakistan
    24xxxxx 2nd Punjab Regiment India
    25xxxxx 3rd Madras Regiment India
    26xxxxx 4th Bombay / Indian Grenadiers India
    27xxxxx 5th Mahratta Light Infantry India
    28xxxxx 6th Rajputana Rifles India
    29xxxxx 7th Rajput Regiment India

    30xxxxx 8th Punjab Regiment Pakistan
    31xxxxx 9th Jat Regiment India
    32xxxxx 10th Baluch Regiment Pakistan
    33xxxxx 11th Sikh Regiment India
    34xxxxx 12th Frontier Force Regiment Pakistan
    35xxxxx 13th Frontier Force Rifles Pakistan
    36xxxxx 14th Punjab Regiment Pakistan
    37xxxxx 15th Punjab Regiment Pakistan
    38xxxxx 16th Punjab Regiment Pakistan
    39xxxxx 17th Dogra Regiment India
    40xxxxx 18th Royal Garhwal Rifles India
    41xxxxx 19th Hyderabad Regt/Kumaon Regt India
    42xxxxx The Bihar Regiment India
    43xxxxx The Assam Regiment India

    44xxxxx The Sikh Light Infantry India
    45xxxxx The Mahar Regiment India
    50xxxxx 1st (KG V) Own Gurkha Rifles India
    51xxxxx 2nd (KE VII) Own Gurkha Rifles UK
    52xxxxx 3rd (QA) Own Gurkha Rifles India
    53xxxxx 4th (PoW) Own Gurkha Rifles India
    54xxxxx 5th Royal Gurkha Rifles (FF) India
    55xxxxx 6th Gurkha Rifles UK
    56xxxxx 7th Gurkha Rifles UK
    57xxxxx 8th Gurkha Rifles India
    58xxxxx 9th Gurkha Rifles India
    59xxxxx 10th Gurkha Rifles UK

    I’ve only listed the Infantry (for ease) but it clearly shows that the numbers were allocated before partition, in numerical / regimental order, and the CWGC indicates that it was done as early as 1944 (poss mid-late 1943). Men who were already serving initially kept their original numbers whilst new recruits were given a new 7 digit one. At some stage all of the old members would have all been reallocated one of the new numbers but this doesn’t seem to happen until after partition (late 40’s or later?).

    With regards to the UK Gurkhas; CWGC lists men from 7 & 10 GR using these number blocks in Mar 1944 & Dec 1945, although this seems to have stopped soon after their transfer to the UK.

    Odd Men?

    Of course just to add a little confusion some men can be found with these new 7 digit army numbers falling outside of their regimental number block e.g.

    3430117 Hav/Clk Daya Ram, Dogra Regiment.

    At first glance this number would indicate him to be a member of the 12th Frontier Force Regiment, but he’s clearly shown to be a member of the Dogras? I believe this is because he was indeed with the 12 FFR when originally issued the number, but was then subsequently transferred to the Dogras as part of the army reorganisation during partition. I’ve also found a few other Dogra members with numbers from 10th Baluch Regt & 13th FF Rifles, and all of this is consistent with the move of personnel from these units to form 8,9 & 13 Dogra in early 1948."
  9. idler

    idler GeneralList

    Thanks for sharing that - saved me some work trying to solve the puzzle from the tiny CWGC sample!
  10. bamboo43

    bamboo43 Very Senior Member

    Thanks for getting back. Not quite what you were hoping for I guess, but something to work with.

    Cheers Mac.

  11. mac657

    mac657 Junior Member

    Bearing in mind this research, it would appear that my man would have earned his Burma star late on. This may narrow it down to particular
    FFR units operating in that theatre i suppose. I'll have to have a look at this later. Judging by the comments on sagongs research into anyone in the indian army except officers /VCO's does seem quite futile. However I'll keep chipping away. It never stops amazing me what little bits ate tucked away in dark corners!
  12. Charpoy Chindit

    Charpoy Chindit Junior Member

    I think there is a problem with the 7-digit theory. The earliest man mentioned, HAKIM ALI DIN, 2332893, was a member of 6/1 Punjab and was captured in Malaya and died as a PW (unless he was INA) in 1944. That means his number must have been assigned before 1942. If a new 7-digit numbering system was introduced that early then most WWII-enlisted IORs would be included in the new system. Clearly they were not. Looking at the 1 Punjab soldiers’ numbers that I have gives the following results; 2x 2-digit, 7x 6-digit, 19x 7-digit, 28x 3-digit, 97x 4-digit and 1232x 5-digit numbers. However, it is true that all but one of the 7-digit numbers are in the 2,300,000 range. 5-digit numbers are by far the most common, and they too seem to show some evidence of block allocation. The vast majority (1184) are between 10,000 and 28,000 with a couple of blips at 90,000 (17) and 96,000 (21).

    Unless someone out there has the answer I suspect this is going to require more work to establish any meaningful pattern.

    Sorry if I’ve hijacked the 12 FFR thread!

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