The Jat communities during World War 1

world war 1 badge for the Jat communityA jat Badge used during World War 1 - iwm

The Jat community originates from the plains of Panjab, Pakistan and Haryana. Despite being known for their agriculture expertise they are also considered a martial race. During World War 1 the Jat communities were first to participate with the Indian Army due to a long history of previous invasions. One such brave Jat was Badlu Singh VC (13 January 1876 – 23 September 1918)who was an Indian recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest and most prestigious award for gallantry in the face of the enemy that can be awarded to British and Commonwealth forces. He was born in village Dhakla, district Rohtak (now Jhajjar), Haryana, India. His father was Lal Singh. 

" He was a Risaldar in 14th Murray's Jat Lancers, British Indian Army, attached to 29th Lancers (Deccan Horse), during the First World War when he performed the deed on 23 September 1918 at Khes Samariveh, Jordan River, Palestine for which he was posthumously awarded the VC. 

On nearing the position Ressaidar Badlu Singh realised that the squadron was suffering casualties from a small hill on the left front occupied by machine guns and 200 infantry. Without the slightest hesitation, he collected six other ranks and with the greatest dash and an entire disregard of danger charged and captured the position, thereby saving very heavy casualties to the squadron. He was mortally wounded on the very top of the hill when capturing one of the machine guns single-handed, but all the machine guns and infantry had surrendered to him before he died. 

His valour and initiative were of the highest order." 

— London Gazette, 27 November 1918.

The Jat is the agriculturist par excellence and the quintessential soldier. The Hindu Jat of Haryana, Western Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan forms the bulk of the composition of the Jat Regiment, renowned for its valour and steadfastness in battle.The British colonists were impressed by the martial qualities of the Jats and they started recruiting them in ever-increasing numbers into all branches of the Bengal Army. The 1st Battalion was raised as the 22nd Bengal Native Infantry in 1803. 

The 2nd and 3rd Battalions were raised in 1817 and 1823 respectively. All three battalions had distinguished records of service including the winning of many honours during World War I. The 1st Battalion, in particular, served with great distinction in France and Mesopotamia and was conferred the signal honour of being declared ‘Royal’ in addition to being made Light Infantry. 

9th JAT Regiment an elite-fighting Unit of the Jat Regime saw a great deal of fighting in North Africa, Ethiopia, Burma, Malaya, Singapore, and Java-Sumatra. A large number of gallantry awards were won including a Victoria Cross and two George Crosses. At the end of the war the Regiment, in company with other regiments of the Indian Infantry, dropped the numeral 9 from its title and became simply the Jat Regiment.

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