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15th Punjab Regiment
File:15th Punjab Regiment Badge 1947.jpg
Active 1922 - 1956
Country British Raj British India 1922 - 47
Pakistan Pakistan 1947 - 56
Branch Army
Type Infantry
Regimental Centre Sialkot
Uniform Scarlet; faced buff
Engagements Indian Mutiny 1857-58
Second Anglo-China War 1860-62
Assam 1862-63
Bhutan War 1864-66
Lushai Expedition 1871
Second Afghan War 1878-80
Third Burma War 1885-87
Somaliland Campaign 1901-04
Chinese Revolution of 1911
First World War 1914-18
Burmese Rebellion 1931-32
Second World War 1939-45
Kashmir War 1948

The 15th Punjab Regiment was a regiment of the British Indian Army from 1922 to 1947. It was transferred to Pakistan Army on Partition of India in 1947, and amalgamated with the 1st, 14th and 16th Punjab Regiments in 1956 to form the Punjab Regiment.[1]

Early History

The 15th Punjab Regiment was formed in 1922 by the amalgamation of the 25th, 26th, 27th, 28th and 29th Punjabis. All five battalions were raised during the upheaval of the Indian Mutiny in 1857 by John Lawrence in the Punjab. The 27th Punjabis served in China during the Second Opium War in 1860-62, while the 26th and 29th Punjabis participated in the Bhutan War of 1864-66. All battalions saw service on the North West Frontier of India and took part in the Second Afghan War of 1878-80, while the 26th and 27th Punjabis also served in the Third Anglo-Burmese War of 1885-87. In 1901, the 27th Punjabis were dispatched to British Somaliland to suppress the resistance movement led by the Somali religious leader Abdullah Hassan of the Dervish State.[1][2]

First World War

During the First World War, the five battalions of 15th Punjab Regiment served with distinction in all the major theatres of war.

All war-raised battalions were disbanded after the war. In 1921-22, a major reorganization was undertaken in the British Indian Army leading to the formation of large infantry groups of four to six battalions. Among these was the 15th Punjab Regiment. The line-up of battalions for the 15th Punjabis was:[2]

The class composition of the new regiment was Punjabi Muslims, Sikhs and Jats. The new regimental badge was a Muslim crescent entwined with a Sikh quoit, surrounded by a wreath and surmounted by a Tudor crown with a scroll below, which read "15th Punjab Regiment". The uniform was scarlet with buff facings. Sialkot in the Punjab was chosen as the permanent station for the Training Battalion. In 1921, Sepoy Ishar Singh of the 28th Punjabis was awarded the Victoria Cross during an action in Waziristan on the North West Frontier.[2]

Second World War

During the Second World War, the 15th Punjab Regiment raised ten new battalions. Most of the active battalions were engaged in fighting the Japanese in the Far East except the 3rd Battalion, which fought in Somaliland and Italy. Performance of the 4th Battalion in Burma in particular was outstanding. The battalion suffered 921 casualties and was awarded numerous gallantry awards including two Victoria Crosses to Lieutenant Karamjeet Singh Judge and Naik Gian Singh.[1]

  • 1st Battalion - India, Burma.
  • 2nd Battalion - India, Singapore, Sarawak, Borneo. Captured by the Japanese in Borneo in March 1942. Re-raised in 1946 as a Machine-Gun Battalion.
  • 3rd Battalion - India, Somaliland, Aden, Persia, Iraq, Syria, Italy. Became a Machine-Gun Battalion in 1946.
  • 4th Battalion - India, Burma, Siam, Malaya.
  • 5th Battalion - Raised in 1940. India. Disbanded 1946.
  • 6th Battalion - Raised in 1941. India, Ceylon, Burma. Disbanded 1947.
  • 7th Battalion - Raised in 1941. India, Burma. Disbanded 1946.
  • 8th Battalion - Raised in 1941 by re-designation of the 11th (Territorial) Battalion. India. Disbanded 1946.
  • 9th Battalion - Raised in 1941 by re-designation of the 12th (Territorial) Battalion. India, Burma. Disbanded 1947.
  • 10th (Training) Battalion - Converted into the 15th Punjab Regimental Training Centre in 1943.
  • 11th (Territorial) Battalion - Mobilized in 1939. Re-designated as 8/15th Punjab on conversion to active status in 1941. Disbanded 1946.
  • 12th (Territorial) Battalion - Raised in 1939. Re-designated as 9/15th Punjab on conversion to active status in 1941.
  • 14th Battalion - Raised in 1942. India. Disbanded 1943.
  • 15th Battalion - Raised in 1942. India. Broken up into garrison companies in 1945.
  • 16th Battalion - Raised in 1943 by re-designation of 25th Garrison Battalion on conversion to active status. India. Re-designated as 2/15th Punjab in 1946.
  • 25th Garrison Battalion - Raised in 1941. On conversion to active status, became the 16th Battalion. India.
  • 26th Garrison Battalion - Raised in 1942. India. Abu Atoll. Disbanded 1946.
  • 27th (Jind) Garrison Battalion - Raised in 1943 in Jind State. India. Disbanded 1946.
  • Machine-Gun Battalion - Raised in 1942. Transferred to the Indian Artillery to form the 15th Punjab Anti-tank Regiment. Disbanded 1944.[1][2]

Post Independence History

On the Partition of India and independence of Pakistan in 1947, the 15th Punjab Regiment was allotted to Pakistan Army. At the time, the active battalions were 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th. Sikhs and Jats were transferred to the Indian Army and the regiment's new class composition was fixed as Punjabis and Pathans. The regiment's badge was also modified and the Sikh quoit was replaced by an Islamic star. In 1948, the 2nd and 3rd Battalions fought in the war with India in Kashmir. In 1956, a major reorganization was undertaken in the Pakistan Army and larger infantry groups were created by amalgamating the existing infantry regiments. As a result, the 15th Punjab Regiment was amalgamated with the 1st, 14th and 16th Punjab Regiments to form one large Punjab Regiment. The four regimental centres were also merged and the combined centre moved to Mardan. The line up of the new regiment was:[1]

Sepoy 26th Punjabis. Watercolour by Major AC Lovett, 1910

  • 1 Punjab - 1/1st Punjab
  • 2 Punjab - 2/1st Punjab
  • 3 Punjab - 3/1st Punjab
  • 4 Punjab - 5/1st Punjab
  • 5 Punjab - 1/14th Punjab
  • 6 Punjab - 2/14th Punjab (Duke of Cambridge's Own)
  • 7 Punjab - 3/14th Punjab
  • 8 Punjab - 4/14th Punjab
  • 9 Punjab - 1/15th Punjab
  • 10 Punjab - 2/15th Punjab
  • 11 Punjab - 3/15th Punjab
  • 12 Punjab - 4/15th Punjab
  • 13 Punjab - 1/16th Punjab
  • 14 Punjab - 2/16th Punjab
  • 15 Punjab - 3/16th Punjab
  • 16 Punjab - 5/14th Punjab (Pathans)
  • 17 Punjab - 4/16th Punjab (Bhopal)
  • 18 Punjab - 7/1st Punjab
  • 19 Punjab - 7/16th Punjab
  • 20 Punjab - 14/1st Punjab

Battle Honours

China 1860-62, Ali Masjid, Peiwar Kotal, Charasiah, Kabul 1879, Ahmad Khel, Kandahar 1880, Afghanistan 1878-80, Burma 1885-87, Chitral, Somaliland 1901-04, Loos, France and Flanders 1915, Suez Canal, Egypt 1915, Megiddo, Sharon, Palestine 1918, Tigris 1916, Kut al Amara 1917, Baghdad, Mesopotamia 1915-18, Persia 1918, NW Frontier, India 1917, Kilimanjaro, East Africa 1914-17, Berbera, Assab, Abyssinia 1940-41, Tug Argan, British Somaliland 1940, The Sangro, The Moro, Cassino II, Gothic Line, The Senio, Italy 1943-45, West Borneo 1941-42, South East Asia 1941-42, Rathedaung, Donbaik, Jail Hill, Naga Village, Kyaukmyaung Bridgehead, Mandalay, Fort Dufferin, Meiktila, Nyaungu Bridgehead, Capture of Meiktila, Taungtha, Myingyan, The Irrawaddy, Yenaungyaung 1945, Kama, Pyawbwe, Toungoo, Pegu 1945, Sittang 1945, Burma 1942-45.[3]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Rizvi, Brig SHA. (1984). Veteran Campaigners – A History of the Punjab Regiment 1759-1981. Lahore: Wajidalis.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 Gaylor, John (1991). Sons of John Company: The Indian and Pakistan Armies 1903–91. Stroud: Spellmount. 
  3. Rodger, Alexander. (2003). Battle Honours of the British Empire and Commonwealth Land Forces 1662-1991. Ramsbury: The Crowood Press.

Further reading

  • Shearer, Lt Col JE. (1937). A History of the 1st Battalion, 15th Punjab Regiment, 1857-1937. Aldershot: Gale & Polden.
  • Stoney, Lt PS. (1924). A History of the 26th Punjabis, 1857-1923. Aldershot: Gale & Polden.
  • A Short History of the 4th Battalion 15th Punjab Regiment (28th Punjabis).
  • Rizvi, Brig SHA. (1984). Veteran Campaigners – A History of the Punjab Regiment 1759-1981. Lahore: Wajidalis.
  • Cardew, Lt FG. (1903). A Sketch of the Services of the Bengal Native Army to the Year 1895. Calcutta: Military Department.
  • Gaylor, John (1991). Sons of John Company: The Indian and Pakistan Armies 1903–91. Stroud: Spellmount. ISBN 978-0-946771-98-1. 
  • Barthorp, Michael; Burn, Jeffrey (1979). Indian Infantry Regiments 1860-1914. London: Osprey. ISBN 0-85045-307-0. 
  • Sumner, Ian (2001). The Indian Army 1914-1947. London: Osprey. ISBN 1-84176-196-6. 

See also

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