Sunday, October 31, 2010

Field Service Postcard for Italian POW from India (WW2)

Today happens to be "Rajyotsva Day" in Karnataka i.e. State Formation Day and it is state holiday! So, I have decided to post an article making best use of holiday.

Today, I will introduce you to Prisoner of War (POW) postcards. During WWI and WWII, prisoners were allowed to send postcards to home following Geneva Convention. Depending upon the POW camps and type of prisoners, some were permitted to write a proper letter while rest were just allowed to select options printed on the postcard.

Shown below is a type of postcard where prisoner was not supposed to write anything. All it could do was select some options and put his signature at the bottom of the card.

The postcard indicates that it was printed on 13-12-1941 with quantity of 6,00,000. It is of type A.F.A-2042 (Italian) with censor marking stating "Passed".

The reverse side was printed in Italian which when translates read as (I have translated only phrases which has not been stroked through):



It is not allowed to write on this postcard other than the date and name of the person.
The person is allowed permission to delete those phrases or words that are not needed.
If you add any words then the card will be destroyed.

I am fine.

I received your letter.

I'll write you a letter at the earliest opportunity.

Date: 26-6-1942
No. 12368/26 P. of W. Camp. c/o G.P.O. Bombay

Shown above is another variety of such postcard which was used at the end of WWII. If you see the reverse side, this one allowed prisoner to write proper letter.

This is of type I.A.F.Z. - 2240. This is a letter from P.O.W. No 341344, dispatched from G.P.O. Bombay.

Madras District War Committee - War Fund Advertisement

It's going to be very short post since I have literally no information on it. I tried doing Google but no information at all.

This appears to be an advertisement cum brochure for defence exhibitions and demonstrations organized by Madras District War Committee in 1942. The brochure mentions that there were two programs planned on 27th and 29th January, 1942.

Shown above is one side of the advertisement pamphlet in English. It mentions:


The Defence Services Exhibition Train
27th January 1942 and 29th January 1942

Six Coaches containing various Exhibits and
photographs, Models of Warships and Aeroplanes,
tanks, shells, ammunition, Weapons, clothing, Wireless
sets, telephone exchanges, bombs, Battle of Keren-
4 inches Naval Gun, Fuselage of an aeroplane etc.

Time: 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. and 4-30 6 p.m. - Open to all.
3 p.m. to 4 p.m. - Ladies only.

Rate of Admission: 27th January ... 4 Annas
29th January ... 2 Annas


Demonstrations of guns in action, removal of mines
and other Military displays will be shown at the
S.I.A.A. Grounds (People's Park, Madras) on the
27th and 29th January 1942.

12 noon to 1-30 p.m. and 4-30 p.m. to 6 p.m.
CINEMA SHOW (War Films) at 6-30 p.m.

Rate of Admission: 27th January ... 4 Annas
29th January ... 2 Annas

Inauguration by SIR GEORGE BOAG, K.C.I.E., C.S.I., I.C.S.,
First Adviser to His Excellency the Governor of Madras
at 12 noon on the 27th January 1942



Secretary, Propaganda Sub-Committee.

Govt Press, Madras

Shown above is other side of brochure with same content printed in Tamil.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Bundi State Cash Coupon - WW2 India

I know it's bad time for economy in most of the places. We are in recession; people are loosing jobs and life is tough! The pay check or take home is shrinking. Oops! did I say that, oh ya you are right. My salary has drastically reduced. So much that I have decided to show it to you all. Pity on me! Presenting salary of the month -- Princely State of Bundi Cash Coupon! What else you can expect after I spent all of what was supposed to be my October month salary on bunch of WWI Indian labels on eBay. Hence, this is only what I am left with :-) I realize now that we are in recession :D

Jokes apart, let's focus on today's item. I was planning to show this cash coupon for long but I had only one of *this* with me. I was looking for long time to buy another such cash coupon to make it at least pair. Hey, it is still not complete set :( There is one more cash coupon left though, I have rarely seen it on offering. So, I thought I now deserve to celebrate with this post :-)

Princely state of Bundi was formerly part of Eastern Rajputana States Agency which is now part of modern state of Rajasthan in India. It bordered on the north by the princely state of Jaipur and Tonk state; on the west by Mewar, and on the south and east by Kotah state.

The state was granted 17 gun salute. It accessed to India on 7th April 1949. Even though, I couldn't find much information on Bundi state contribution on WWI and WWII on internet but based on postal items issued by Bundi state one can easily guess that it contributed a lot to British Empire not only in WWI but also in WWII.

It is said that Bundi state issued below stamp during WWI. Pay special attention to left side one. The stamp is recorded in Stanley Gibbons catalogue.

It states: "A special printing of the (1 Anna) took place in late 1917 in connection with the "OUR DAY" Red Cross Society Fund. This had the "RAJ BUNDI" inscription in the bottom tablet with the face value below it. The top tablet carried four Devanagari characters for "OUR DAY". No evidence has been found to suggest that this 1a. stamp was used for postal purposes."

So you can see that Bundi even issued stamp for Red Cross charity during WWI. It was similar to actual postage stamp. Well, I don't have it in my collection but I would like to have it for sure. (Any readers having it spare for selling let me know please.) While searching for Bundi state, I happen to see an article in Stampboard forum. I duly acknowledge it and appreciate the member who shared this fantastic item with us. I decided to loan it here for reference.

Now moving on to their WW2 contribution, all I have is cash coupons. Shown below is two of cash coupons issued by Bundi state during WWII. All the cash coupons have same pattern where they show two cows (well, I see cow mentioned every where but I have a doubt that they are perhaps bull. We will touch that part later.) and the portrait of perhaps one of the ruler (Colonel HH Maharao Raja Shri Sir Raghubir Singh Sahib Bahadur (1889-1927) ??) in center. Wikipedia says that Raghubir Singh supported the British during the World War I (though citations are missing). Well, I think the above stamp is enough proof for that.

First one (on left) was issued with denomination of 1 anna. It has been recorded as number 8.2 in Indian Paper Money Catalogue by Kishore Jhunjhunwalla. It carries a rectangular block pattern around stamp overprinted along with "CASH COUPON BUNDI STATE" in black. This was issued in red color.

Other one (on right) was issued with denomination of 3 Pies (=1 paisa). It has been recorded as number 8.1 in Indian Paper Money Catalogue by Kishore Jhunjhunwalla. It also carries overprint but without outside border. This was issued in light blue color.

Actually, these were postage and fiscal stamps printed on pressboard but later overprinted to be used as Cash Coupons as you can see the pattern of stamps shown earlier are same as cash coupon ones. All the cash coupons carry serial number on reverse.

The catalogue mentions another cash coupon which is missing in my collection. It was issued with denomination of 4 Annas and recorded as 8.3.

It is said that Col. HH Maharao Raja Shri Bahadur Singh Bahadur (1945-77) supported the British and served in the Burma campaign where he earned the Military Cross for his gallantry before succeeding to the throne. I am sure, there will be much more than it in terms of contribution. But as usual, I have no information on Bundi's contribution on WWII front i.e. what kind of assistance it extended to British Empire during those days. Thus, any information in this regard will be highly appreciated.

Before I end this post, lets revisit that cow part. Shown below is Coats of Arms of Princely state of Bundi.

It is said that Bundi’s coat of arms was a shield depicting Garuda, the mount of Vishnu, flanked by winged griffins. The shield was flanked by *bulls* representing dharma or righteousness; it was crowned by a warrior emerging from flames, signifying the creation-legend of the ruling Chauhan clan, which was supposedly created from fire.

Now, see all the stamps once again and solve the puzzle yourself while I help myself with Sudoku!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Indian Information - WW2 Stories from North Africa

Today, I am going to share some of the stories of WW2 from Indian Information magazine. If you remember, I had introduced most of you to Indian Information in my old post.

The publication was fortnightly issued by J. Natarajan, Principal Information Officer, Government of India. It was printed in India by Madan Gopal Mitter at Lal Chand & Sons, 76, Lower Circular Road, Calcutta. The same publication was reprinted with color cover and distributed by British Information Services, Washington, D.C. (USA) to save shipping space and cost.

Today's stories come from Vol. 11, No. 103, October 15, 1942 edition; front cover is shown below:

This edition is full of war news/stories/account and interesting cartoons. It shows a snapshot from a movie of that time "Defenders of India" where Indian Soldiers are shown manning lorries in western desert in Africa.

This is followed by actual account of how Indian soldiers are playing an active role in Africa. I won't type it for you unlike earlier :-) I will let you open the image and read it on our own. It really gives nostalgic feeling while reading WW2 magazine rather than my typed letters!

This is followed by an amazing tale of courage and survival of a Gurkha Soldier who was captured and tortured by Italian/German forces in Battle of Tobruk. He escaped from captivity of enemy and walked 5 weeks to live the tale.

Hope, you will like it. I know, you will say this is another easy post for me :-) I don't have to do any research on items!

British India (Allied) WW2 Propaganda Leaflet - BNS28

Today, I am not in mood to post an item which requires some research :-) So, I have decided to settle on an easy and favorite item: WWII Propaganda Leaflets. But, to ensure that my readers were not deprived of quality of post, I decided to share an interesting pictorial propaganda leaflet.

This is another rare leaflet which was dropped by Allied forces over INA/Japanese forces targeting those Indians who had joined the Germans and Japanese as part of their fight for liberation of India.

The leaflet is coded BNS 28. Since, the code BNS is not recorded anywhere in military archives and since it was just handwritten on the leaflet it may be incorrect.

Shown above is front side of leaflet which depicts Subhas Chandra Bose handing over Mother India in chains to caricatured Japanese Soldier who has dagger with blood on it on one hand while he is eager to hold the chain of Mother India smiling mischievously. The chain is also shown in red color symbolizing blood with statement in English:


For those who are unaware, Vidkun Quisling was a Norwegian army officer and politician who was pro-Nazi and appointed Minister President after the German invasion of Norway. He ruled German-occupied Norway from February 1942 to the end of WWII. After the war, he was tried for high treason and executed by firing squad. To be called a Quisling is to be called a traitor and collaborationist.

You will make out why Bose is shown as Quisling Son of India when you see the back side of leaflet shown above. It shows a Gandhi quote:


Harijan, 21 June 1943

Basically, Allied leaflet uses Gandhi's quote which attacks Bose and calls him a “Quisling.”

This was the way war was fought over Indian Soil and all the places where Indian Soldiers were involved. Both, Allied forces and INA/Japanese machinery used Bose and Gandhi in their context to put their view. Interesting thing about this psychological warfare is INA never showed Gandhi in negative manner instead they used Gandhi to back their propaganda in same manner they used Bose! But, Allied forces didn't have that choice so they always depicted Bose as traitor.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

The Bikaner Rajpatra (WWII Gazette) - 27th Dec 1941

Today's post will be long one :-) It is a publication by Princely State Government of Bikaner on return of Maharajah from his tour of Middle East Asia war front during WWII. It is a state gazette also called as "The Bikaner Rajpatra" in Hindi.

Lallgarh, the 22nd December 1941.

No. 79. - The following speech delivered by His Highness the Maharajah in reply to the Address of Welcome presented by the Citizens of Bikaner on his return from the Middle East War Front is published for general information.

By Command
Prime Minister.


I thank you very sincerely for the Address of Welcome which you have presented to me on my return from the Middle East War Front and I can assure you that the sentiments of loyalty and affection which you have expressed towards me and my family have touched me deeply.

As you know I am never so happy when I am in my own State among my own people; and I need hardly say that I am very glad to be back again in your midst.

Let me take this opportunity of once again saying how greatly I was moved by the wonderful manifestation of your love and devotion both when I left for the War Front and when I returned. These spontaneous demonstrations strengthen my belief that through the blessings of Providence I am fortunate beyond measure in the loyalty and affection of my beloved people.

You have indeed appropriately alluded to the courage and martial spirit shown by my elder grandson, Prince Karni Singhji, in accompanying me on Active Service; and I share with you the pride at his having proved himself so true to the traditions of the Kshatriya race and of our State.

Since my return from the Middle East I have had more than one occasion of speaking about the War, and particularly of the great gallantry and magnificent work done by our Indian Troops. Today, however, I propose to touch upon a few other matter of importance.

I have felt all along, from the moment that the present War started in September 1939, that it was bound to develop into a Second World War. But the present conflict has already proved itself to be a far greater War than the last one, having exceeded it both in intensity and extent; and it might well be said that it now covers the entire world from one end to the other.

This war has now reached the borders of India; and I would like in the first place to impress upon you that, in spite of the initial advantages which Japan has secured through treachery and the element of surprise - though at the cost of extremely heavy casualties in killed and wounded - and although in Wars of such magnitude there must inevitably be ups and downs, there is no cause of alarm. And you, our Seths and Sahukars, as great businessmen and financiers whose level-headedness and steadiness are proverbial, can be of great service to India under the present circumstances by avoiding panic and setting your face sternly against all measures which injure the financial credit of India.

I would, therefore, ask you to be calm and unruffled and to carry on your business in spite of certain dislocation and handicaps which must be expected in such circumstances and to beware of believing false information and alarmist rumours.

As I said the other day, it is true that Germany and Italy have received for the moment a certain accession of strength by Japan's entry into the War; but it should not be lost sight of that already mighty British Empire has gained a far greater accession of strength through the entry of the United States of America - a far more powerful country with far greater resources and much larger population - as our great Ally.

Russia too is our Ally, and in spite of the initial disadvantages which she had to face, is now securing undreamt of victories over Germany, whose forces have suffered tremendous casualties and who has lost a vast amount of war equipment.

Great Britain, which was so unprepared at the start of the War as compared with the Nazi preparedness, has in the past year and a half reorganised her Army, and thanks to its added equipments of all kinds, is now in a very strong position, as is evident from the series of victories which are now being achieved in Libya.

The theory of German invincibility has thus definitely been disproved once for all.

China too, which has so heroically stood against Japan's onslaught for the past 5 years or so, is now our Ally; and some of the other European Nations conquered by the Germans earlier in the War have now raised considerable Forces and are also fighting with great tenacity on our side. As instances I need refer only to the Poles and the Free French.

And do not, above all, forget that the mighty arm and the indomitable Navy of the British Empire are ever ready to defend India.

Thus there cannot be least doubt that the British Empire and its Allies, who form the greatest combination of Nations in the world opposed to the Axis Powers, will, under God's providence, win - and win decisively - putting finally to rest the sense of fear which has for so long haunted the world.

There is happily no need for me to appeal to any section of my people to do everything in their power to support the War efforts of the Empire. For I am well aware how all classes and communities of my subjects are united with me in rendering the utmost possible service to our beloved King-Emperor and the maximum assistance within our power and resources to the Empire.

But modern warfare is essentially a questions of resources. Great Britain alone is daily spending collosal sums of money on the War, whilst the people of Great Britain and other parts of the Empire have made tremendous sacrifices and most significant contributions. The contributions of India too, in spite of certain political differences, have been remarkable; and the Viceroy's War Purpose Fund has already reached many crores. My Government has contributed, is contributing and will continue to contribute, whole-heartedly for War purposes in various ways.

I am well aware of the munificent and loyal donations that so many of you have on various occasions made for work for a beneficent character in our State which have been of great advantage to the State and its people. I have, as in the past, already gratefully acknowledged these spontaneous donations which you so generously made at the time of the Golden Jubilee of my reign. In the face, however, of precarious and adverse conditions and other factors it was my hope, subject to the materialisation of a scheme which my Government had in view, and provided that the War was not to spread, to relieve you at least on this occasion and I had further hoped that our Government and, to a certain extent, I and my family would be able to shoulder your responsibilities. But such a scheme did not materialise. Thus though for such reasons, for which you Seths and Sahukars of Bikaner were in no way responsible, we have so far postponed making a direct appeal to the richer community in Bikaner - so renowned for their wealth and generosity - to make their due contribution towards the War, I am now confident that they, too, will give a good amount of themselves and uphold the honour and pride of Bikaner as the most loyal of the loyal States of India.

I would also like to say that it is not improbable that my Government may before long decide upon certain measures purely as prudent precautions against possible air raids, particularly in the Capital. But that should not cause any alarm to the general public nor be regarded as indicating the imminence of air raids on our Towns of which we have been told there is no great likelihood.

What you have said today in your Address about the Proclamation, which I issued on the eve of my departure on Active Service, is most gratifying to me, as I am sure it is to the Maharaj Kumar. You all know that I and my family are inspired by the most earnest desire to be of service at all times to the State and to all classes and communities of our people, and the issue of the Proclamation was another measure which I am confident will prove to be immensely beneficial to the subjects of the State and tend to their still greater contentment and well-being.

Gentlemen, I once again thank you very much for your loyal Address and, as ever, I pray that God's blessings may be upon you all and upon our State.

The War may come still closer to us. Parts of India may be bombed or bombarded. But put your faith in God and the British Empire; and never fear; we shall win.

Datia State - WWII Red Cross Stamp

It's long time since I have shared some stamps so I decided to cover stamps issued by another princely state today. These are not usual war fund or war contribution stamps rather a red cross stamps!

Datia or Duttia was a princely state in formerly Central India (Bundelkhand) agency. It lay in the extreme north-west of Bundelkhand, near Gwalior, and was surrounded on all sides by other princely states of Central India, except on the east where it bordered upon the United Provinces.

It was second highest in the rank of all the Bundela states after Orchha, with a 17-gun salute, and its Maharajas bore the hereditary title of Second of the Princes of Bundelkhand.

During WWII, Datia was ruled by Hon. Lt. Col. HH Maharaja Lokendra Sir Govind Singh Ju Dev Bahadur. He was born in 1886, G.C.I.E. [cr.1932], K.C.S.I. [cr.1918] and ruled 1907-1951. The Maharaja was Vice President of the St John Ambulance Association and Patron of the Red Cross Society.

Perhaps, the closeness of Maharaja to Red Cross and St John Ambulance association suggests why Datia issued Red Cross stamps.

Shown above is what is called Type 26 of Datia stamp, listed in K&M (Koeppel - Raymond D. Manners "The Court Fee and Revenue Stamps of the Princely States of India" catalogue) as #261. The stamps were issued sometime between 1937-45. Exact date of issue is unknown.

Most of these were hand printed on wove paper. The denomination was of 1 anna with Datia State printed in oval shape and Maharaja's photo in centre. It is also known as Type 25.

The Red Cross issue was type 25 redrawn and 10-1/2 perforated. It was printed in booklets with the word "RED CROSS" added either above or below the design in serif, sans-serif, or upper and lower case letters. Broken and misaligned letters are also known to be in existence.

There are various varieties in existence:
1 anna, brown, (shades)
(a) Imperf.
(b) "RED CRCSS" error below design.
(c) "RE CROSS" error above design.
(d) brown-violet.

I have two varieties as shown above in my collection. I am naturally looking for (a), (b) and (c) to add to my collection :-) If any of my readers have such stamp in spare and willing to sell then let me know.

The Maharaja of Datia finally acceded Datia unto the dominion of India on 1st January 1950; it later merged with the union of India. Datia, together with the rest of the Bundelkhand agency, became part of the new state of Vindhya Pradesh in 1950. In 1956, Vindhya Pradesh state was merged with certain other areas to form the state of Madhya Pradesh within the Union of India.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Bhavnagar Imperial Service Lancers - WWI

Recently, I attended a numismatic exhibition in Bangalore. Though, it was coins exhibition but that didn't mean there was nothing for philatelists. Naturally, you can't expect qualitative philatelic materials in numismatic exhibition. Hence, I could hardly find something of my taste. One could still find normal materials offered by dealers but getting some items related to WWI and WWII seemed impossible for me. Still, I made couple of rounds of all the dealer booths hoping to find something :-)

Probably, I reached the venue in the wee hours of the day thus most of the dealers were still arranging their booth. There were very less visitors at that moment. So, I spent quality time admiring the exhibitions of individuals. I thought, let me allow dealers to get settled in and then I would make the round again to see if I could spot something. I really hate to return from any exhibition empty handed. There was still hope because there were so many dealers. I made another close round of booths and bingo! I found something. It didn't appear to be the WWI or WWII stuff but had some potential. It was set of postcards issued by Bhavnagar State sometime in early 1900s (may be before WWI or during WWI).

I picked up the set hoping to find something related to WWI/II or any military stuff relating to any of great wars. Well, there was indeed something waiting for me. While flipping the cards, I suddenly spotted an issue on Bhavnagar Imperial Lancers Troops. My heart started beating fast :-) I quickly took that aside hoping to find some more. There was no more cards on those topics. I then went through all the sets dealers had on Bhavnagar only to find another similar card. Naturally, I bought both of my prize :-)

The gentleman had come all the way from Bombay (now Mumbai) to attend exhibition in Bangalore. I had some chat with him trying to see if he has any more princely state items related to WWI or WWII. To my bad luck, he had none. He told there was a time when war related items used to be available in plenty but it no more shows up. Not sure if there is lack of interest in today's generation of collectors or those items are now only in collectors hand thus nothing is floating in market. I got a bit disappointed. I was not sure what else to speak or may be his comment made me speechless so I almost started towards exit of exhibition.

When I reached the lift to take me down to ground floor then suddenly it struck to my mind to check with him if he had some items in his Mumbai shop. I returned to his booth and inquired if he had such items in his Mumbai shop. I tried telling him that I did visit Mumbai now and then as part of my official meetings so I could buy it there. Perhaps feeling pity about my situation of not able to find any war related items, he gave me a lead to contact someone in Mumbai which may have some items of my interest. Well, that was another big ticket for me. This is what I was looking for. I always knew Mumbai, Gujarat and Rajasthan are only places which now have most of such materials. They have been part of WWI and WWII history with center of lots of princely states action. Well, I hope to contact the person this week to see if I can get something.

Coming back to the post, you would have by now easily guessed the topic of the day. Yes, it is all about "Bhavnagar Imperial Service Lancers" and its role in WWI. Today, we will go through a bit of history lane on them while I show all my readers both the postcards I bought. I think the collection has one more such postcard issued by Bhavnagar state which was missing in the dealers set. Anyway, we will cover what all I have in today's post.

History Lane at 21.76°N 72.15°E

Shown below is map of Bhavnagar state. Bhavnagar was 13 gun salute princely state. It was first princely state to accede to Indian Union in 1948. I think I have covered a bit of Bhavnagar state history in my previous post on other set of postcards issued by Bhavnagar state thus I won't repeat them here.

Let's directly jump on Imperial Service Troops. The Imperial Service Troops scheme was created in 1888 from amongst the armies of the Independent Indian States in British India. Under the scheme troops from the participating States were trained under British supervision and were then used both on the North West Frontier of India and in places as far apart as China, during the Boxer Rebellion, and Somaliland. By the turn of the Twentieth Century the force numbered about 19,000 men.

Bhavnagar state joined the Imperial Service Troops scheme in 1891, creating Bhavnagar Imperial Service Lancers cavalry unit. The above postcard or card was part of 20 or so such "Bhavnagar State View Series". Front side of card shows the Imperial Service Lancers while reverse carries the state emblem.

The first Indian officers, recruited into the Indian Army under the British in 1905, came from aristocratic families. They were Zorawar Singh of Bhavnagar Princely State and from other princely states. Although enjoying internal autonomy, the princely states were not completely disconnected from the changes occurring in British India. Their military forces in particular mirrored the organization of the Indian Army.

The cavalry unit shown above, the Bhavnagar Imperial Service Lancers, depict the modern, lightly armed, and compact cavalry formations introduced by the East India Company (EIC). Most of the princely states could not afford to maintain such cavalry units, and fewer still had artillery units, but all of them had some form of infantry.

The card I have is black and white one where there is nothing on back side of it. I learnt later that there was a colored version of same, released as part of "Bhavnagar State View Series" shown below:

Well, it is now on my want list :-)

Bhavnagar Imperial Service Lancers participated in WWI where they were stationed in Suez Canal, Sinai, Palestine and Syria. Bhavnagar Lancers were posted under Mysore Lancers in Suez Canal and hence they were mostly recognised as Mysore Lancers Troops during WWI. Nevertheless, this policy was not totally successful as rulers were not always happy to see their troops under the control of another ruler. At a more complex level the definition of “composite” would encompass higher-level formations and several brigades were raised from IST; an example was the 15th Imperial Service Cavalry Brigade. I am not sure what was the extent of contribution Bhavnagar Lancers had in it since most of the historical data mentions Mysore Lancers.

The Brigade was raised in mid-October 1914 at Deolali, India, as the Imperial Service(IS) Cavalry Brigade, preparatory to embarkation for service overseas. It moved to Egypt in November 1914 as an independent brigade, the principal units being 1st Hyderabad IS Lancers, Mysore IS Lancers and the Patiala IS Lancers. The Bikaner IS Camel Corps was already in the country and was attached to the Brigade for administrative purposes. Redesignated as 15th Imperial Service Cavalry Brigade on 22 July 1918, the Brigade formed part of 2nd Mounted Division when that Division was formed on 24 April 1918 (it was re-numbered as 5th Cavalry Division on 22 July 1918).

On arrival in Egypt, the Brigade was engaged in defending the Suez Canal against Turkish raids and carried out reconnaissance duties. This work continued until early 1916 when it was given the responsibility for railway and the Sweet Water canal protection duties. In May 1916, the Patiala IS Lancers were transferred to the Mesopotamian front and the Brigade then operated as a two regiment formation until the Jodhpur IS Lancers joined in the Spring of 1918. In February of that year, the Brigade began to move into the Palestine area of operations and was engaged in the fighting there. It was involved with the capture of Haifa on 23 September 1918 when the Jodhpur and Mysore Lancers attacked the town and captured it in the face of strong opposition. On 26 October 1918, the Mysore Lancers and two squadrons of the Jodhpur Lancers charged the enemy at Aleppo, assisting in the capture of it. The regiments of the Brigade were involved in a number of such mounted charges during the campaign.

The War saw the Indian Army enter into a period of massive expansion, both to plug the gaps arising from catastrophic British Army losses in France, and to fulfill its roles in East Africa, Mesopotamia, Egypt, Palestine and later Salonica.

Thanks to Col. M. S. Jodha for sharing link of Haifa Hero Historic Memorial Ceremony. One can read more on the ceremony organised on the 92nd anniversary of great day here:

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Indian Military Air Letter Card (MALC) - WWII

Today's post is another example of Indian Military Air Letter Cards. This particular example is labeled as ICG (Christmas Greetings Issues) 45, Sub-type 4. This was issued by India Command.

Shown above is front side of what is called ICG 45, Sub-Type 4. Coded G.P.C.-3289/2/A/G947_7-7-45 - 3,50,000 as per catalogue "Indian Military Air Letter Cards 1942-47" by late O.R.J. Lee. The one I have is used sample.

This one was printed by "Government Printer Calcutta" or G.P.C with order number 3289/2/A/G947. The order date was 7-7-1945 and 3,50,000 number of forms were ordered.

The front shows an elephant with a howdah and mahout, passing a temple. At the top is Greetings from India. The form number is I.A.F.F 1083 and on the back has the usual THIS LETTER etc. The bracket on the back is thinner than in the M.I.P. items. The frame is larger at 109-1/2 x 83-3/4 mm. This Xmas form also has only one sealing flap.

The interior has a multi-coloured design with a white space at the bottom right for a written message. At the left is a soldier in jungle uniform with an outstretched left arm, under which can be seen the Taj Mahal (in brown and white).

At the top 'Christmas and New Year Greetings' is shown in big font and at the right, an English winter scene (rather blurred) is depicted having a lantern underneath.

This letter was sent by Sergeant Redmond from India to Great Britain from GROUP TWO PRISONER OF WAR CAMP - 9 m/c. BAIGARH/BHOPAL on 29th November, 1945 as per the postmark on it.

Needless to say, I love ICG designs :-) This makes collecting colorful, creative and more interesting.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

A Warning And An Advice - WW2 Propaganda Leaflet (IIL)

It is a leaflet time once again :-) Today's post in another Indian Independence League propaganda leaflet dropped in India warning different section of society who were assisting Britain in ruling India during WW2.

The leaflet was printed in English and Hindi both. The leaflet is numbered 5509. The text in English reads:



TO THE PRINCES: You are Indians. You are betraying your motherland by siding with Britain. This is a fight to the finish. If you stand with Britain, you will be treated as enemies and you cannot expect mercy. If you side with India, you will be treated as Indians, and will be able to retain your position.

TO TITLED MEN: You are selling your country to win Britain's favour. But remember Britain cannot save you now. You will go the way of all traitors, if you do not mend your ways at once.

TO COMMUNALISTS: There is no room for narrow sectarian faction fight. There is only one fight in India - that is against Britain for India's freedom. Britain is the real enemy. Remember Britain is the wirepuller behind communal strife. Fight Britain - stop fighting between yourselves. Posterity will curse you as the men who failed Mother India in her hour of peril.

TO ANGLO-INDIANS: Remember you are Indians. The British will soon leave you in the lurch. You cannot now fight India and then ask for mercy. Follow the example of your brethren in Malaya and Burma.



Shown above is same text written in Hindi on other side of leaflet. Though, the English side doesn't mention who issued it but the Hindi side mention it - Indian Independence League, East Asia.
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