The Maratha community of World War 1

marathas in mesopotamia during world war 1The Maratha's in Baghdad during world War 1 - IWM

During World War 1 the Maratha regiments were stationed in Mesopotamia. There were around 6 regiments which were 103rd (1 Maratha LI), 110th (3 Maratha LI) and 117th (5 Maratha LI) Mahrattas, as part of General Townshend’s 6th Poona Division, fought all along the Tigris River in battles of Qurna, Es-Sinn and Ctesiphon.

In the second stage of campaign, the 105th and 114th (Maratha LI Regimental Centre) units of the Maratha regiment distinguished themselves in the operations beyond Baghdad. The 105th were further instrumental in the grim fighting that was part of General Allenby’s brilliant campaign in Palestine. The 116th (4 Maratha LI) unit served for full four years in the Mesopotamian theatre and also skilfully dealt with difficult situations in South Kurdistan. In fact, such was their reputation that once a senior British officer was asked, “Who do you think were pick of your lot?” “The Mahratta”, came the unhesitating reply. “I would always like to have a Maratha with me in any scrap.”

The Maratha soldiers served in different locations across the globe during the First World War. Several battle honours have been conferred on many units for their outstanding operations during WW-I. These include: Basra, Ctesiphon, Kut-al-Amara, Defence of Kut-al- Amara, Baghdad, Sharqat, Mesopotamia (1914- 1918), Persia (1918), Megiddo, Nablus, Sharon, Palestine and North West Frontier (1914-17).

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