This section considers Important events within Anglo-Sikh history such as early European accounts of Sikhs, the role ofSikhs in the armed forces and pre British Raj accounts.


Sikh Forces in Iraq - 1922


The 14th Sikh Regiment left Jullundur on the 20th of February for Iraq and proceeded to Baghdad, where they were detailed for garrison duty. Later in the year the 14th Sikhs moved to Kut al Amara, where they were employed in closing down the military cantonment and demolishing the post. Early in 1923 the 14th Sikhs were back again in Baghdad and were responsible for the protection of the Royal Air Force aerodrome.

At this time tribesmen in Kurdistan, under the leadership of Shaikh Mahmud, were actively hostile to the British administration. They had met with considerable success in the autumn of 1922 and the British forces had not been able to deal with them during the winter on account of the bad weather. In February troops were urgently required in Kirkuk and "A" and "B" Companies, under Captains Maclaren and Spankie,, were detailed for this role. The two companies were transported there by air on the 21st of February. This was the first occasion in history on which a large body of troops had been carried by air for military operations. The two companies, in full fighting equipment, were moved in nine troop-carrying aeroplanes and the actual journey in the air took less than an hour, whereas by march route: Kirkuk could not have been reached in less than a week.

The 14th Sikhs took part in the punitive operations directed by the Commander of the Royal Air Force in Iraq against Shaikh Mahmud and his forces in May and June, 1923. They joined a column under Colonel B. Vincent and concentrated in Kirkuk. The column marched from Kirkuk on the 12th of May and for a fortnight traversed the Kurdistan country, making many long marches. However, no serious fighting took place, and no casualties were suffered. The column returned to Kirkuk in June and then dispersed, although the 14th Sikhs remained at Kirkuk until the end of September.

For their services in Kurdistan, Major Story received brevet promotion to lieutenant-colonel and Subadar Bogh Singh was awarded the Military Cross. The Regiment arrived back in Baghdad in October and remained there until its return to India at the beginning of 1924.

Source:The Sikh Regiment - Lieutenant-Colonel P.G. Bamford, D.S.O

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