|Prince of Wales's Own West Yorkshire Regiment, Kuldana, Murree 1907- 1910|
|1st Battalion The West Yorkshire Regiment memorial in Kuldana, Murree -- carved to
record the Battalion's three years in the area from 1907-1910
|(Click on the two thumbnails to view each in larger size)|
|Close-up of the memorial
(Photo by Ali Jan - 2003)
kuldana_closeup.jpg 108 KB 1193x755
(Photo by Ali Jan - 2003)
kuldana_wide.jpg 146 KB 1206x755
|The following is my correspondance with the West Yorkshire Regiment Museum, UK:
July 08, 2003
I am spending my holidays in Murree, a summer hill-station in the Punjab province of Pakistan (formerly British India before 1947)
While exploring the forests adjoining Kuldana I came across a large rock monument with a regimental crest and inscription of the ‘Prince of Wales's Own (XIV) West Yorkshire Regt.’ dated 1907 - 1910. The regimental insignia; the ‘Nes Aspera Terrant’ motto with an image of a horse and ‘1807 - 1831 India’ with an image of a tiger are prominently visible. However the Battalion's name ‘1st Bn’ is now almost illegible. On top there is a faded inscription that appears to be ‘THE KNAVES MIRE’. Below on the Prince of Wale's insignia it reads Ich Dien (I serve, in Latin, in tiny print) and ‘XIV’ (fourteen in roman numerals) is inscribed in the centre.
The exact location of this monument is in the forests adjoining Kuldana in Murree. There is a clearing infront and a raised platform a little further which looks like a dais or stage of a paradeground from almost a hundred years before.
I have done a web search for "West Yorkshire" and "Murree" but found no mention of it on the web, but evidently it was stationed here between 1907 - 1910 before the Great War.
Would you have more information on this please? Where was it stationed exactly and what battalion this is, for my personal interest. or would you kindly refer me to somebody who knows.
My house is just a short walk from the site.
The lone rock monument is reasonably well preserved and looks quite impressive. It is about 12 ft length X 5 ft height approx. If you like I could have someone take a picture and have it sent to you for your records in the days to come. Please do acknowledge.
Dr Ali Jan, Murree
Aug 08, 2003
Dear Dr Ali Jan
Thank you for your message.
Our records state that the 1st Battalion The West Yorkshire Regiment
moved from Lahore to Rawalpindi in 1907 and remained in the area until
it returned to England in 1911.The years between 1907 and 1910 are
recorded in the Digest of Service as follows;
1907 (Mian Mir (Lahore) to Rawalpindi
In January Lieutenant General W. Kitchener, CB, carried out Part II of
the Annual Inspection on 16th January 1907 and shortly afterwards on
22nd January the 1st Bn marched out of Lahore Cantonement en route for
Rawalpindi - E Coy under Major Minogne went by rail as advance party and
arrived at West Ridge Rawalpindi on 8th February 1907. The Bn left
behind at Lahore all time expired men, and those for the reserve and
It was at Rawalpindi in March that 1st Bn was issued with the Short
Lee-Enfield Rifle (Mark 1) and bandolier, also for ns, in India an order
was issued abolishing metal cap badges on Khaki helmets. Metal badges
on white helmets were to be worn in front.
In April the C. in C. inspected the Bn in barracks and at the end of the
month the 1st Bn marched by half Bns to Kuldana, Murree Hills. There it
was inspected in barracks by Major Genr Stratford Collins on 28th May.
During the summer in the Murree Hills all companies carried out field
training under the double company system. The years training ended in
November by Hill manoeuvres on the way back to Rawalpindi, and in
December the 1st Bn took part in the Rawalpindi Infantry Brigade
1908 Rawalpindi and the Mohmand Field‚ Force
This proved an eventful year. It started in the usual way the Annual
Inspection by Brigadier-Genral C.H. Powell of Rawalpindi Infantry
Brigade, and Major General Stratford Collins in February. In February
the 1st Bn received the sanction of the C. in C. India to wear whilst in
India a red cloth patch with the White Horse of Hanover embroidered
thereon, on the left side of the Khaki helmet. In April Capt Deverall
was appointed Brigade Major of the Precidency Brigade.
Then swiftly came the change - at 9.30pm on the evening of April 29th
1908 orders were received to mobilize for the Mohmand Field Force, the
1st Bn was to proceed to Peshawar at 5.30 pm the next day April 30th.
The Bn was ready to proceed on time - but did not leave Rawalpindi until
1st May in two trains. At Nowshera a wire received ordered the Bn to
detrain and occupy the new lines - with two companies in the hot weather
barracks. Whilst at Nowshera from the 1st - 12th May the Bn was
exercised on training and route marches - but on 12th May orders were
received to go to Peshawar to replace the Northumberland Fusiliers and
the Munster Fusiliers who had been withdrawn from the Field Force owing
to Cholera. The 1st Bn entrained that night reaching Peshawar before
midnight and bivouacking on the platform. Half scale of kits was
ordered i.e. 10lbs - the remainder being left under guard.
On 13th May the 1st Bn set off the 14 miles to Hajizai - special
precautions being taken on the march and in camp against Cholera, and
were under Brigadier-General Ramsay in the 3rd Brigade of the Mohmand
On the 14th May the Bn marched in two halves to Shabkadr and were met by
General Ramsay. The right half 1st Bn marched with a convoy of 1000 to
Hafiz Kor where they found the 2nd Brigade. The left half march to
Matta and held the Fort there.
On the 15th May the right half marched to Daud with a convoy and
encamped with the 21st Punjabis - manning the perimeter. On the next
two days followed the usual escorting of convoys and the improvement of
camp defences and roads. On the 18th May the right half struck camp and
marched to Galanai via the Kharappa Pass at noon - and arrived about
5pm. The right half halted here and went no further up the line except
on convoy duty. Then followed road making, and improving perimeters and
convoy work - 100 men escored a convoy to the fort of the Nahakki Pass.
On the 20th May four cases of cholera occurred and camp was broken up -
the 34th Pioneers went to Nahakki - the Guides and the 1st Bn
established new camps a mile or so away for each unit - on the 21st Ptes
Plackett and Rogerson died of cholera but there were no more cases. In
the next few days convoy work went on - on the 25th May a few shots were
fired at the 1st Bn signal post on Karappa Pass - and the night was very
dark with a dust storm and a few shots were fired at the sentries of the
On 26th May the 1st Bn moved up to the Guides Camp when half the Guides
went to Nahakki - and again moved camp on the 28th when the rest of the
Guides left to join General Barrets Brigade.
On 29th May a wire was received to prepare for retirement - and on the
30th May the right half Bn marched the 12 miles to Hafiz Kor - on the
31st to Shobkadr, and on the 1st June to Daudzai where at 2 am the left
half Bn rejoined. On the evening of the 2nd June the 1st Bn reached
Peshawar Station and took over all the kit and 34 convalescent men, and
set off in two trains to Rawalpindi, where they arrived on the 3rd -
collecting all the kit from West Ridge and on the 4th the right half set
off Coy march route to Baracao, to Tret on the 5th and to Kuldana on the
6th - the left half following a day behind on the route. On the 8th
June the day after the concentration of the 1st Bn at Kuldana they were
inspected on parade by Major General Martin who inspected them again on
2nd September in barracks. Two companies went on 21st October by rail
to Campbellpore on a months duty. At the End of October the 1st ‚ëBn took
part in the Rawalpindi Brigade Hill manoeuvres near Abbotabad and
received praise from the Divisional Commander Major General Martin for
their marching powers in very difficult country on long marches -
especially the forced march on Sajkote.
In November the 1st Bn left Kuldana and returned to Rawalpindi, and
carried out the Infantry Training Test in December.
The year commenced with the Brigade commanders inspection in January
(Brigadier General Powell). In April the 1st n went once again to
Kuldana, and in May were inspected by Major General H.B. Watkis CB,
commanding 2nd Rawalpindi Division. Returning to Rawalpindi in November
the Battalion took part in the Divisional manoeuvres but these had to be
adbandoned due to rain.
In 1909 the 1st Bn did extremely well in the Rawalpindi Assault at Arms
gaining first place in Sword v Bayonet, Bayonet v Bayonet, Gymnastics,
Best man at Arms, Regimental Cross Country Race, Bayonet Fighting Team
event, Tent pegging Swords and Riding and Jumping. Many 2nd places were
taken as well in these and other events. At the Meerut Rifle Meeting
the 1st Bn Team worn the Attack Practice and Private Wath of the 1st Bn
won the Gold Jewel in the Competition for ARA Jewels in India.
Briagier General Young gave the 1st Bn a good report on the Inspection
in January and to this the Divisional Commander, General Martin added
his complimentary remarks, remarking how cheerfully and how well they
had carried out their duties on the last manoeuvres despite the bad
weather - without a single case of sickness. In February the Inspection
of Gymnastics in India commented on the fine physique of the Bn and how
active and fit it was.
In March the 1st Bn were informed that H.M. The King had approved of the
battle honour "Namur 1695" being awarded to the Regiment in connection
with the operations in the Netherlands 1693-5.
Col T.R.R. Ward completed his period of command in March 1910 and was
succeeded by Major W. de S. Cayley.
In April the 1st Bn went to the Murree Hills. On August 3rd 1910 - Lt
General Sir Alfred Martin, KCB, presented medals to 5 Officers and 374
other ranks for the Mohmand expedition of 1908 - these being all that
were present of the 27 Officers and 900 odd men who were entitled to the
Leaving Kuldana in November the 1st Bn marched to Baracao for training
and from 24th November to 5th December formed part of the Jhelum Brigade
under Major General Tullock and underwent Brigade Training at
Kala-Ki-Serai, and in mid December on Divisional Training at Hasan Abdal
- where General Tullock at the end said "I trust that some day it may be
my good fortune to command you on service, and I can honestly say I can
wish for no better Regiment."
In the Bengal Punjab Rifle Meeting 1910 the 1st Bn teams won the 1st
Prize A Cup - Defence Practice and the 3rd Prize A Cup Attack
We cannot be sure what the memorial stone commemorates. It may be
in memory of the men who died there, or maybe it was simply carved to
record the Battalion's three years in the area.Thank you for your
interest in it, and we would be delighted to receive a photograph of it
if this can be arranged.
Mrs P Boyd
|View of the paradeground from the monument. The dais is located just below, not seen in the picture. (Photo by Khawas Abbasi - 2003)
kuldana_ground.jpg 81 KB 800x600
|The hill-stations of British India, apart from providing pleasurable summer retreats for the English families were also part of an elaborate Imperial system that allowed the British to rule India. Soon after its establishment in 1851 as a hill-station and sanatorium, Murree became the summer headquarter of the army’s Northern Command in the latter half of the 19th century. In time, many smaller cantonments were built around the Murree Garrison amongst which Kuldana is probably the oldest.
Set in a dense pine forest the Kuldana cantonment is presently known as the ‘Army School of Logistics’. During the British-era, infantry battalions were mainly based here. There is a long scroll of names of various regiments stationed in Kuldana in those times. Few well-known amongst these were the Queen’s Own Cameron Highlanders, Gordon Highlanders, 17th regiment of foot the Leicestershire, Irish Fusiliers, Queen’s Royal Surreys, Devonshire and Bedfordshire Regiments, Kings’ Rifle Brigade and so on.
Old maps of the cantonment confirm the existance of infantry lines, barracks and a firing range. A playground, two old cemeteries and a tiny chapel have survived in one form or the other. An old rackets court built in 1897 (now a gymnasium) still stands. Rackets was an older form of squash played in a larger court. Incidentally, Majeed Khan of Nawekali, Peshawar who worked as a bearer at the Peshawar Club won his foremost title at the turn of the last century in Murree. A few other graceful 19th century buildings have remained in their original state more or less and are still in use by the military. Also a few family residences and an officers’ and a sergeants’ mess each were left intact after the British departed in 1947. -- Ali Jan
|“I hope these poignant remnants of the Raj are still there, for they are a memorial to the thousands of ordinary British troops who, far from home, sweated to keep the Empire intact. The discussion as to the rights and wrongs of our presence in India has no place here. The lowly soldier gained nothing from the Empire. He endured the heat, suffered the illnesses and faced the danger for a pittance; and very often died in some remote place for a country that held him in low regard. Not for him the riches of the traders or the high society of the officer class. His home was the barracks, his family the regiment and drink his solace. Hundreds died for their King and Country in minor conflicts that would not even rate a mention in an English newspaper. Their memorial would be these imposing carvings standing out high over the harsh surroundings in this far off corner of the world." -- Walter Reeve, Australia|
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