Sikhs In The Army

1856. The Raising of the Regiment.

The Regiment was raised at Lahore in January 1856 by Captain Thomas Rattray. Afterwards Colonel Rattray C.B, C.S.I. Cornmandant 42nd Regiment Native Infantry) as the Bengal Military Police Battalion and has always been known as "Rattray's Sikhs".

The original strength of the Battalion was :-

500 Cavalry

1000 Infantry composed of 500 Sikhs.

300 Punjabi Musalmans.

2000 Dogras.

Most ofthe Sikhs 'who were enlisted had served under Maharaja Ranjit Singh and had also fought against the English in the Sikh Wars. The Regiment was raised under the orders of the Government of Bengal for services in the Sant al Perguuahs, and in September

1856, having marched across the country, reached Bengal in February1857.

 

1857 The Mutiny.

At the outbreak of the Indian Mutiny the only loyal troops between Calcutta and Benares were the 10th Foot (much below strength) and Rattray's Sikhs. The Regiment was continually engaged in active operations against the mutineers for fourteen months, and during 1857,1858,1859 took part in thirty engagements with the enemy besides many minor affairs under the civil 'officers of the district. In a despatch from the Government of India-thanking Colonel Rattray and his Sikhs it was stated that it was the result of the loyalty and bravery of the Regiment that the Government could keep control over the provinces on which depended the finances of Bengal, and without the Regiment it would not have been possible to have preserved the hold on Behar. .

1857. The Defence of Arrah.

The most famous action of the Regiment during the mutiny was the defence of Arrah from 27th July to 2nd August 1857, when eleven British civilians, and fifty of Rattray's Sikhs, under the command of Jemadar Hukam Singh, successfully defended themselves.  in the Billiard Room House, near the Judge's Bungalow,  at Arrah, against some three thousand mutineers from. native infantry battalions at Dina nore under the leadership of Koer Singh, until relieved by a force under Major Vincent Eyre. The Billiard Room House was of two storeys. The Europeans held the upper and the Sikhs the lower storey. Among the mutineers were some Sikhs, who tried in vain by promises and threats, to induce the men of Rattray's Sikhs to desert the Europeans and join them. :Rattray's Sikh answered their threats and promises of reward with

fire and remained loyal, and heroically defended themselves and the Europeans until relieved.

In recognition of their services in the Mutiny the Government granted the Regiment the honour to bear the wards "Defence of Arrah" and "Behar" on the Regimental Colours. Captain Daunt and

 

 

History of the 45th Rattray's Sikhs.

3rd Bn. (Rattray's Sikhs) 11th Sikh Regiment.