Discussion in 'British Indian Army' started by Kuno, Nov 14, 2008.
No. This is not the 'Indian Long Range Patrol' - they had vehicles similar to those of the LRDG.
Oops sorry, what are the photos of then? And can you remember the link?
Cannot remember the link. As far as I know, the title of the link was fairly misleading....
Yes, as are a lot of them. I suppose censorship at the time didn't help, but really would be beneficial to update their descriptive fields ...
Badge on officer cap is very similar with badge of The Guides Cavalry (10th Queen Victoria's Own Frontier Force)
I have looked at Major Samuel Vallis McCoy, b. 25/11/1908, in preparing an article on his WW2 command, the Indian Long Range Squadron, so this is a small update on him.
His name first appears in 'The London Gazette' 1/2/1929, alas the link on Google misses the previous page so it is unclear what it meant. I expect it was his arrival in India, on joining the Indian Army. See: https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/33462/page/773/data.pdf
A useful website on Indian Army officers has brief details of his career: Officers of the Indian Army 1939-1945 -- M
He is shown as a Captain (Acting Major) with the Indian Armoured Corps 14/10/1943: https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/36209/supplement/4542/data.pdf
'The London Gazette' 3/12/1957 refers to him being awarded a Queen's Commendation for Brave Conduct, when serving as a a Flight Lieutenant with the Royal Air Force. The citation states: 'For courage and devotion to duty when alone and when armed only with a stick he successfully tackled and apprehended five intruders on Cluntoe airfield'. See: https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/41243/supplement/7048/data.pdf
Cluntoe airfield was a training establishment, between 1953-1955, near Cookstown, Co. Tyrone, Northern Ireland. From: RAF Cluntoe - Wikipedia
'The London Gazette' 6/10/1961 refers to him being appointed to a Permanent Commission (Equipment Branch): https://www.thegazette.co.uk/London/issue/42614/supplement/1866/data.pdf
So far unable to locate his grave or when he died.
I have watched the footage several times now, although my interest is not in the vehicles shown - it does appear to be the Indian Long Range Squadron (ILRS). First a link to the footage: Indian L.R.D.G. Unit 1943
Amongst the vehicles shown are armoured cars - which I have not identified. Neither the LRDG nor ILRS had such equipment according to the Osprey book available via: https://www.39-45.org/videos/3945/V036.pdf There are two different types of small calibre guns on trucks, which the LRDG / ILRS did have, possibly 20mm / 37mm and Two Pounder.
The ILRS was formed in January 1942 it was composed almost entirely of Indian volunteers from three Indian cavalry regiments, including Prince Albert Victors Own Cavalry (11th Frontier Force) which would explain the sighting of an officer with their badge. A useful source on the ILRS: LRDG related links page
My error. There is a separate thread that discusses the footage and concludes it was The Guides Cavalry, not the ILRS. That will teach me! See: The guides cavalry
The armoured cars are Marmon Herrington. The turretless vehicles are Indian Pattern Carriers (these are wheeled). I could only make out one type of gun, which is a 2pdr portee on a CMP chassis.
Today looking for something quite different I found a previously unknown British officer who served with the ILRS, via an interview with the Imperial War Museum (London). One Benjamin Broughton Gingell, a British officer who served with the Indian Long Range Squadron, Indian Armoured Corps in India and Iraq, 1945-1947. Then a long gap till his time as a civilian and police reservist in Rhodesia, 1959-1982
Gingell, Benjamin Broughton (Oral history)
There are five tapes to listen to, so there may be an update one day.
Very little readily found. He was b.15/12/1924 and died April 1994, buried in Plymouth. See: Benjamin Gingell @ gingell.com
Having listened to the Oral History tapes Gingell provides a few details on his time with the ILRS in India and then Iraq, before he left them to await demobilization in March-April 1947. He was promoted to Captain and commanded two of the patrols and finally the Support Troop.
Around this time Major Samuel McCoy handed over command to an Indian officer, he returned to India, but presided over the unit's disbanding on the 4th August 1947 at their depot @ Quetta (now Pakistan).
I had seen references to the Anglo-Iranian Crisis 1946-1947 before, but had missed the deployment of Force 401, a brigade sized force (accounts vary, three brigades and up to 15,000 strong) to Basra, in response to concern over the British-owned oilfields in south-east Iran, including the oil refinery @ Abadan. The ILRS had a role in checking possible routes to the border and as tensions eased did night guard duties at a RAF ordnance depot which was being looted.
As an aside there are two commentaries on this time: See Chapter 11, the author is Force 401's C.O.'s ADC: Nigel Buxton and a chapter on an Indian Signals officer: veekay's history book: Biography - Lieut. General R.N. Batra, PVSM, OBE
If you want to read about the political crisis see:
That man has a brilliant Oxford accent—he sounds like Brian Sewell (who didn't actually go to Oxford...)
dbf posted the above reply in 2009, but I feel it is as apt now as it was back then. Thank you for the new updates on this subject.
I have returned to a late 2018 research project into the ILRS, due to be published in 'Durbar', the printed journal of the Indian Military History Society, in 2019. Now in the second draft and time soon to identify gaps. Very grateful for all the pointers here and help from Jonathan Pittaway, the historian of the Long Range Desert Group (LRDG). One day I will add some more here and update Wiki too - which has a slim entry for the ILRS.
From somewhere in my dusty notes I have the following about the ILRS when it shipped to India:
It shipped to Bombay on 17 August 1943 and became part of the Indian Armoured Corps, serving in GHQ India Reserve. It was expected to deploy to Burma with the Chindits but Wingate’s antipathy towards Indian troops meant that this did not occur and instead the squadron deployed to Baluchistan to patrol Persian, Afghan and Russian border areas from mid-1944 onwards to prevent Soviet infiltration.
I cannot recall the source for this. Can anyone clarify the unit's movements and deployment when in India?
There is a post here by RobG64 dated 16/10/2009 that states, alas minus a source:
I have a number of references for their role in Baluchistan and being in Iran, in May 1944.
A few excerpts from my article in 'Durbar' which was published in January 2019. They indicate the ILRS was truly a 'Special Forces' unit. There are very few photos of them and only one very short film.
The ILRS’s initial deployment was in January 1942, involving a very small party, with two Chevrolet trucks mounted with double-mounted Vickers K machine guns, which provided an escort to an Indian Office civil servant, the diplomat Sir Clarmont Percival Skrine. Remarkably he took a small cine camera and recorded his journey – the only known footage of the ILRS. He and a small party, including his wife, travelled by road from Quetta in modern-day Pakistan through the ‘East Persian Corridor’, one of the many Allied supply routes to the Soviet Union through Persia, to take up his post as British consul-general in Mashhad, Persia (a large city in north-east Persia near the borders with Afghanistan and Turkmenistan.
After a period spent at Ferozepur, Punjab the ILRS was deployed In May 1944 to Zahedan, Persia (the city of Zahedan is located near the tripoint of the borders then of Afghanistan, India (Baluchistan Province) and Persia) where it saw the war out patrolling the volatile border to discourage any Soviet infiltration into this oil-rich border region. One post-war letter by an ILRS NCO refers to their role being to patrol the Quetta to Mashhad supply route. Zahedan is shown on a large scale map of Persia as being in the Soviet occupation zone.
The photo was found on Twitter is of Signalman Nadir KHAN killed on 22/3/1943.
 Skrine’s footage has a very short clip showing the ILRS trucks at 3.22-3.37. See: https://player.bfi.org.uk/free/film/watch-quetta-damghan-1943-online
2. See: British Empire's hidden workings in India and Iran revealed in remarkable new film footage
The Indian Military Historical Society has an article about them in their latest magazin.
Thanks to a pointer to a book 'A Second World War Soldier: Before, During and After’ by Ernest George; a British signaler posted to the ILRS, has some details on the incident @ Zella, 22/2/1943 where Nadir Khan died - he and another wondered off and set off a mine trip wire. Zella is an oasis in Fezzan, there is a map on: Zella, Libya - Wikipedia
Only one other soldier is buried in Libya killed that day: George Albert Knight, a driver from the Royal Army Service Corps. See: https://www.cwgc.org/find-war-dead/casualty/2225668/knight,-gordon-albert/
I do not have access to his full record on: Record Details for Gordon Albert Knight (Royal Army Service Corps)
Knight is buried @ Tobruk CWGC Cemetery; Nadir Khan is buried @ Tripoli CWGC Cemetery. It appears Knight's grave was consolidated, presumably after WW2.
Would someone have a photo of Major S.V. McCoy commander of the ILRS
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