New member interested in Indian Cavalry

Section for new members to introduce themselves and get tips and advice on how to get the best out of the forum.

New member interested in Indian Cavalry

Postby W.Singh » 28 Jun 2017 15:26

Hello everyone

I have recently found 4 medals and a clasp. They were awarded to my great grandfather. He served in the 'old' 17th Bengal cavalry and then in 1882 served with 2nd Bengal Cavalry (later becoming Lancers).

I have done some research in the past especially with Sikh history, however now decided to learn more about his regiments. I have Whitworth's, 'A History of the 2nd Lancers' and Yeats-Brown 'The Star and Crescent', to start off with.

I wish to publish my findings in a book and produce a few copies for family and friends.

My family did have an image of my great grandfather along with his regiment. My uncle in the 1950's in India gave them to a shop to be framed...but he never went back to collect them!

With information from the above books, uniforms from A.H. Bowling's book and further research, I hope to bring him back to life.

My great grandfather's medals tell us he started off as a 'Sowar', however his LSGC Victorian Kaisar-I-Hind medal I am unable to read the rank, I will post this medal so someone can read the inscription, but I think as a newbie, I am unable to post an image yet.

Thank you for reading
New Member
Posts: 19
Joined: 06 May 2017 18:03

Re: New member interested in Indian Cavalry

Postby Mark » 29 Jun 2017 09:36

Welcome to the forum!

Mark Simner BA (Hons) MSc | Web: | Twitter @marksimner
User avatar
Forum Administrator
Posts: 4022
Images: 57
Joined: 10 Aug 2007 16:05
Location: United Kingdom

Re: New member interested in Indian Cavalry

Postby Redcoat 57 » 29 Jun 2017 14:12

Welcome! I look forward to seeing your posts - you can see how to post images in the Forum Rules & Announcements section.

User avatar
Redcoat 57
New Member
Posts: 39
Joined: 21 Jan 2017 14:55

Re: New member interested in Indian Cavalry

Postby BingandNelsonFan » 29 Jun 2017 15:04

Hi! Hope you have a great time here on the forum.
If you'd like any help looking your grandfather up in some records, just post his name, dates and any info that you have. :)

User avatar
Senior Member
Posts: 414
Joined: 08 Nov 2013 13:59
Location: Ohio, United States

Re: New member interested in Indian Cavalry

Postby W.Singh » 29 Jun 2017 18:53

Thank you all for the warm welcome.

Eric, I have seen the section you mentioned and it has helped (I was looking up at 'IMG tab' but did not look down at the 'Upload Attachment').

Sarah, how kind of you to offer help. That would be amazing! There is no time like the present. So let me start.
My great grandfather-

Name -Sundar Singh s/o Deva SIngh (also spelled Soondar or Soonder)

Born - Longwal 1852 -1855

Enrolled with 'Old' 17th Bengal Cavalry - Sialkot(e) present day Pakistan, around 1872-1876 as the 17th Bengal cavalry were stationed there.

He served during the Jowaki Expedition and the 2nd Anglo- Afghan War.

On his first medal, IGSM Jowaki 1877-8 Clasp, it states-
'So.... Soonde(a)r Singh 17th Bengal C'

Second medal 'Afghanistan Medal 1878-79-80 it reads -
'...war Sonndar Singh 17th Bengal....'

In 1882 the 17th Bengal Cavalry disbanded and he joined with the 2nd Bengal Cavalry (Gardners horse) which later became, while he was still serving, the 2nd Bengal Lancers.

He served in the Egyptian Campaign of 1882 and he was awarded the Khedive Star and the Egypt medal. We only have his 'Tel-El-Kebir Clasp', not the Egypt medal.

His last medal was is the LSGC Victorian Kaisar-I-Hind which reads his rank, I think as Trumpeter. However, everyone during his civilian life knew him as Major Sundar Singh. I suspect he may have retired as Trumpet-Major during 1895-1899.

His last medal reads - '361 Trumpeter Sundar Singh 2nd B' Lancer'.

We know he may have been allotted 50 acres of land, locally known as 'dho muraba'. Dho meaning two and muraba meaning twenty-five acres. He retired at a village named Chak 46 Junabi District Sargodha. He passed away in 1940.

I do not have any paperwork or further information. The other information is from my uncle who is now in his 80's who mentioned that Sundar Singh enrolled at Sialkot(e). The 'Star and Crescent' book by Yeats-Brown, confirms this as 17th Bengal Cavalry were stationed there between 1872-1876 making Sundar Singh possibly 16-18 years old during recruitment.

Thank you,

New Member
Posts: 19
Joined: 06 May 2017 18:03

Re: New member interested in Indian Cavalry

Postby W.Singh » 29 Jun 2017 18:56

Correction, the name should read...

Second medal 'Afghanistan Medal 1878-79-80 it reads -
'...war Soondar Singh 17th Bengal....'
New Member
Posts: 19
Joined: 06 May 2017 18:03

Re: New member interested in Indian Cavalry

Postby Frogsmile » 29 Jun 2017 19:19

Welcome to the forum, Gurjit.

I think that you are very likely correct that his final post was Trumpet-Major. In the British-Indian (and British) Army this was an 'appointment' on the regimental 'staff' that could be held by any non-commissioned rank, although it was traditionally held by a man with sergeant ( 'daffadar' - of ascending grades) status. It was traditional in many cavalry regiments for such appointments (e.g. farrier-major) to be addressed within the regiment as 'major' as a mark of status. His home villagers would have known and observed that tradition.

His position as trumpeter carried extra pay, because his role in action was an important one, in that he conveyed with his trumpet 'sounds' (not calls) the tactical directions of his commanding officer. You can listen to these sounds by clicking on the icons displayed in the lower of the two lists of calls here:
Relic of many a fight and siege and sack, it points a moral and adorns the back.
User avatar
Forum Fellow
Posts: 5077
Joined: 25 Jan 2011 20:17
Location: Wiltshire, England

Re: New member interested in Indian Cavalry

Postby W.Singh » 30 Jun 2017 19:04

Thanks Frogsmile for this great and unexpected reply. For me, all that you have written is new information, and it now makes sense when you stated, 'His home villagers would have known and observed that tradition'. My uncle tells me that all in the village were veterans and their families.
I am currently working out what my great grandfather's uniforms looked like and it is very confusing.

I have two books about the history of his regiments i.e. The 'old' 17th Bengal cavalry and the 2nd Bengal Cavalry (Gardner's Horse) later becoming 2nd Lancers. So far I have the following but am I missing something?

Sowar - 1875-1882 17th Bengal Cavalry.
Blue 'Sikh' Turban. Blue Kurta. Red Cumberbund. Brown belt. White pyjama tucked into Black cavalry boots with spurs. Weapon-Tulwar.

Sowar 1882 -1888 2nd Bengal Cavalry
Red Turban. Emerald green Alkalak. Wide cuffs with gold/yellow braid. Scarlett facing and silver lace. Red cumberbund. Shoulder chains. Multani Mitti pyjamas tucked into black cavalry boots with spurs.

Trumpeter 1888-1896 2nd Bengal cavalry/Lancers
Dark blue turban with grey stripes and gold stripes. Blue Kurta with light blue facing. Gold shoulder chains. Shoulder strap. Crossed trumpet badge on upper arm sleeve.

1896 -? Trumpet-Major 2nd Bengal Lancer
Same as above I imagine, but with 3 or 4 chevron badge just beneath badge of crossed trumpet on right arm, and possible the same chevrons on the cuff of his left arm.

I have an artist who will be using the information I will be giving on uniforms together with photographs of my great grandfather's son, to recreate him.

I will also post the above in 'Unforms, Insigina, Weapons' Board also Under 'Help with 'Old' 17th Cavalry & 2nd Bengal Cavalry uniform.

Thanks again.
New Member
Posts: 19
Joined: 06 May 2017 18:03

Re: New member interested in Indian Cavalry

Postby Will Mathieson » 30 Jun 2017 19:19

This may be of interest and have answers:
User avatar
Will Mathieson
Veteran Member
Posts: 804
Joined: 03 Mar 2009 00:56
Location: near Fort Henry

Re: New member interested in Indian Cavalry

Postby W.Singh » 01 Jul 2017 15:56

Hello Will Mathieson

I really appreciate this as I have already found some great information on badges and insignia for the 2nd B' cavalry, from the link you posted.

Thank you.
New Member
Posts: 19
Joined: 06 May 2017 18:03

Return to New Members

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Yahoo [Bot] and 1 guest