MOHMAND OPERATIONS, 1933
In August and September, 1933, the 1st/11th Sikhs took part in operations
against the Upper Mohmands. The Peshawar and Nowshera Brigades marched
methodically up the Gandao valley in two columns towards the Nahakki
Pass to cover the construction of a motor road into the Mohmand
The Peshawar Brigade was in the lead and by the 2nd of August had
arrived at Ghalanai. On this day the Sikhs moved forward to Dand
Banda and relieved the Guides Infantry, who moved on to join the
Peshawar Brigade. The 1st/ 11th Sikhs remained in this camp throughout
August and it became the headquarters of the Nowshera column while
the construction of the motor road proceeded. The road had to be
protected every single day by the troops of the two brigades. Piquets
moved out every morning at 5.30, remained out all day and returned
to camp between 6 and 7 p.m. It was very monotonous work, but there
was scarcely any fighting during the whole period. On the 13th August
the Sikhs had their only small battle when a party of tribesmen
engaged one of the piquets covering the road.
The motor road was ready for traffic as far as Ghalanai by the
1st of September and the Sikhs moved forward there on that date
and were followed four days later by the remainder of the Nowshera
The Battalion provided a guard of honour at a jirga held by the
Governor of the North-West Frontier Province at Ghalanai on the
3rd of September. A few days later the Battalion moved forward to
Katsai Camp, some five miles forward of Ghalanai, and provided defensive
posts for the construction of the road forward from Katsai. Here
the Sikhs were engaged with small parties of tribesmen who tried
to harass road construction.
On the morning of the 15th of September an R.A.F. aeroplane made
a forced landing about a mile from Katsai Camp. A strong detachment
of the Battalion turned out to bring in the pilot and air gunner,
who were both unhurt. In moving out, the Battalion met considerable
opposition from the tribesmen, who made great efforts to stop the
Sikhs reaching the aircraft. However, the two airmen were successfully
recovered and Captain J. V. Gordon and two Indian ranks received
immediate awards of the Military Cross and Indian Distinguished
Service Medal, respectively, for gallantry in dashing ahead of .the
troops and actually effecting the rescue under very heavy fire.
On the next day the Peshawar Brigade moved out from Ghalanai to
cover the salvage of the aircraft. The tribesmen followed up the
withdrawal of the Brigade in the afternoon and a piquet held by
a platoon of the 1st/ 11th Sikhs, under Jemadar Sundar Singh, was
very heavily engaged by superior numbers of tribesmen. Repeated
attacks were driven back and Jemadar Sundar Singh was awarded the
Indian Distinguished Service Medal for his skilful and stouthearted
The Mohmands now accepted the British terms and operations came
to an end. The Battalion returned with the Peshawar Brigade to Nowshera
on the 5th of October.
A fortnight later the 1st/ 11th Sikhs were transferred to the Khyber
Brigade and during the next two years were either in the Khyber
Pass or in posts on the Kajuri Plain.
The Battalion marched out of Nowshera on the 21st of October, receiving
a great send-off from all units in the station, and reached Jamrud
on the 23rd of October, where they took over four Khyber piquets.
On the 11th of December His Excellency The Commander-in-Chief inspected
the Battalion at Jamrud and presented the Indian Distinguished Service
Medal to Jemadar Sundar Singh, Lance-Naik Channan Singh and Sepoy
He was very pleased with all he saw and thanked all ranks for their
work in the Mohmand operations.
On the 12th of January, 1934, the 1st/ 11th Sikhs moved from Jamrud
to Fort Salop on the left bank of the Bara river in the Kajuri Plain
and had a detachment at Jhansi Post. Both of these posts were established
during operations in 1930-31 and are situated well inside Afridi
tribal territory. While at Fort Salop Field-Marshal The Earl of
Cavan visited the Battalion.
The Sikhs remained on the Kajuri Plain for six months. There were
no incidents of any kind and the Afridis did nothing to disturb
the peace throughout this period.
In the middle of July, 1934, the Sikhs moved from the Kajuri Plain
to Landi Kotal by lorry. While at Landi Kotal the Battalion again
found itself split up and two companies were located in Bagh Fort
and the permanent piquets in that area. The 1st/ 11th Sikhs remained
in Landi Kotal until the end of February and then marched back down
to the Kajuri Plain and this time occupied Fort Milward in addition
to Fort Bara and Jhansi Post.
In October, 1934, His Highness The Rajah of Faridkot was appointed
an honorary officer to the Battalion.
The Battalion remained on the Kajuri Plain until November, 1935,
when it was specially selected to join the Jubbulpore Brigade. This
was thoroughly well deserved after eight strenuous years on the
Frontier and the men were naturally delighted, since they would
have an opportunity of seeing their families and would be at a station
where guards and duties were not heavy.
During their stay on the Frontier the Sikhs had little opportunity
for hockey and athletics and, although the Battalion entered for
most tournaments and invariably put up a creditable performance,
there was no notable success, with the exception of a fine win in
the Peshawar Silver Jubilee Hockey Tournament. This was an open
tournament and some twenty-five civil and military teams from all
over Northern India took part. It was therefore an excellent performance
and compensated for the defeat by the 2nd/ 11th Sikhs in the semi-final
of the Punjab Native Army Tournament at Jhelum.
The 1st/ l1th Sikhs arrived in Jubbulpore on the 20th of November
and soon settled down to new conditions in a peace station. Everyone
enjoyed the next year; for the first time for a long time the Battalion
was all together with no detachments; there was very little in the
way of guards and duties; officers and men were with their families;
the men were able to get down to hockey and sports; while officers
had good shooting and also hunting with the Nerbadda Vale Hunt.