The Regiments in India: Photographs

Surrey History Centre holds the vast archive of The Queen’s Royal Surrey Regiment and its predecessors, which spans four centuries and occupies 45 metres of shelving in the archive strongrooms.

The regiments served all over the world, in China, India, Africa, and the far East. Through battalion war diaries and private journals, official photograph albums and snaps taken by wide-eyed soldiers, thousands of stories are revealed documenting heroism and disaster, imperial heyday and decline, the trenches on the Western Front, the deserts of the Middle East and the jungles of Burma.

These images show just a sample of the diverse cultures encountered.

In 1825, the Queens and the 31st Foot landed in India for the first time.  Both stayed for 20 years beginning a long association with the sub-continent.  Between 1825 and Indian independence in 1947, the regular battalions of both the Queen’s and the East Surrey Regiments, along with some of their territorial units during World War I, spent a total of 177 years in India.

Both regiments took part in the 1st Afghan War of 1839-42 and the 31st Foot in the two campaigns against the Sikhs in 1843 and 1846, gaining the battle honour Sobraon.  The 70th Foot saw action on the North West Frontier during the Mutiny of 1857-9 and later in the 2nd Afghan War of 1879-81.  Both regiments took part in many punitive actions against the tribes along the North West Frontier.

The following portraits of an Indian couple, an Indian man and an Indian woman (1880s) come from an album taken by the 31st Regiment of Foot (later East Surrey Regiment). The 31st Foot were based Calcutta and Allahabad in the 1880s (SHC ref: ESR/2/13/4 p.79) .

Indian_Couple_c_1880s_SHC_Ref_ESR_2_13_4_p75d    Indian_Man_c1880s_SHC_Ref_ESR_2_13_4_p75b    Indian_Woman_c1880s_SHC_Ref_ESR_2_13_4_p79a

Click here to read more about the Queen’s Royal Surrey Regiment.

Click here to read a summary of the arrangement of the records of the Queen’s Royal Surrey Regiment held at the Surrey History Centre.

Click here to see the research guide (pdf) “Tracing military records at Surrey History Centre“.

Click here to find out more about Surrey’s diverse cultures.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *