The Indian Contingent

Search the Ranks

This database includes 2238 names of soldiers of Force K6. 65 of these are British, 6 are French and 2167 are Indian. One of the British names is a woman. Out of a total of 4227 men in Force K6/The Indian Contingent, this is over half.

If you find something that you think is wrong, please let us know. If you find something that relates to your family, please let us know. And if you have more information, please let us know.

My thanks are due to my daughters Alex and Hannah for helping me type in long lists, and to Omer Tarin in Abbotabad, who went through the whole list with me one evening, pointing out the likely origin of each soldier from their name.

Notes on the data

The information listed in the database is, in most cases, first name and ‘surname’, ser vice number, rank and unit. In some cases such basic information is missing or unclear. In many cases there is additional information in the ‘notes’ field.

Wherever possible I have given the source of the information.

I have generally assumed that any given soldier only had one service number, given to him at time of enrolment. There are a few examples when it is recorded that a sepoy changed his service number, for example Blacksmith Abdullah of 42nd Company changed his number from 740028 to 798984 (DGIMS 1942/3/4/F/5/42). Sometimes service numbers were mis-typed by the unit clerks (who must have been extremely busy) so you will find two numbers for some sepoys. In one case I found two separate men in the Reinforcement Unit (RU) with the same service number: 176838 – Tailor Abdul Ghani and Bootmaker Abdul Razaq.

My assumption is that numbers which are close together means that those men enlisted at the same time and place. There are long sequences of consecutive numbers on the list, for example 180624 -29 and 780951 – 57.

Search the Ranks

  • Forename(s) Rehmat
    Surname Ullah
    Service Number 65625
    Rank Driver
    Unit 42 Company
    Notes 17/8/42 on leave DGIMS 1942/3/4/F/5/42
  • Forename(s) Rehmat
    Surname Ullah
    Service Number 177147
    Rank Driver
    Unit 32 Company
    Notes 25/2/42 3rd class English cert DGIMS 8/9/7/41
  • Forename(s) Salim
    Surname Ullah
    Service Number 18347
    Rank Subedar
    Unit 3 Company
    Notes 03/03/1941 apptd clerk (temp vacancy) at Rs125 DGIMS 8/9/2/1941 13/10/41 substantive rank clerk DGIMS 8/9/2/1941 3/5/42 annual increment R10 to R135 DGIMS 8/9/2/1941 15/4/43 with 3 coy WO 179/5902 27/9/43 became head clerk RU from 3 coy WO 179/5886
  • Forename(s) Zaid
    Surname Ullah
    Service Number 736766
    Rank Farrier
    Unit 3 Company
  • Forename(s) Zaid
    Surname Ullah
    Service Number 799160
    Rank Farrier
    Unit 3 Company
    Notes 20/7/42 to IGH DGIMS 8/9/2/1941
  • Forename(s) Mohd
    Surname Urfan
    Service Number 27194
    Rank Driver
    Unit 3 Company
    Notes 28/11/41 joined 3 coy from HQ DGIMS 8/9/2/1941
  • Forename(s) Mohd
    Surname Usaf
    Service Number 780799
    Rank Driver
    Unit 42 Company
    Notes 6/4/42 1 weeks leave DGIMS 1942/3/4/F/42
  • Forename(s) AW
    Surname van Ollenbach
    Rank 2/Lt
    Unit Reinforcement Unit
    Notes 17/5/41 joined RU from India WO 179/5884
  • Forename(s) JG
    Surname Wainwright
    Rank Major
    Unit 25 Company
    Notes 22/1/41 to return to India L/WS/1/355 Oct 41 Lt-Col OC A Tpt depot regt Jullundur Misc_4460
  • Forename(s) Bir
    Surname Wali
    Service Number 1069
    Rank Sepoy
    Unit 3 Company
  • Forename(s) Mah
    Surname Wali
    Service Number 170017
    Rank Driver
    Unit 3 Company
    Notes 9/2/42 joined 3 coy from 25 coy DGIMS 8/9/2/1941
  • Forename(s) Mir
    Surname Wali
    Service Number 783732
    Rank Driver
    Unit 3 Company
    Notes 18/3/42 serious injury DGIMS 8/9/2/1941 18/5/42 discharged mil hosp, readmitted 19/5 DGIMS 8/9/2/1941
  • Forename(s) Mohd
    Surname Wali
    Service Number TB 27538
    Rank Farrier
    Unit 22 Company
  • Forename(s) Raj
    Surname Wali
    Service Number 174968
    Rank Driver
    Unit 22 Company D Troop
  • Forename(s) Raj
    Surname Wali
    Service Number 62538 or 62588
    Rank Daffadar
    Unit 3 Company
    Notes 4/3/42 on 4 weeks NCOs’ English course at Llagattack WO 179/5881 4/1/43 joined 4-week English course for VCOs and Daffadars WO 179/5881 9/9/44 died at Ambala misc 3133
  • Forename(s) Said
    Surname Wali
    Service Number 29237
    Rank Lance Naik
    Unit 3 Company
    Notes 17/5/42 discharged hosp DGIMS 8/9/2/1941
  • Forename(s) Shah
    Surname Wali
    Service Number 29654
    Rank Driver
    Unit 25 Company
    Notes 4/10/41 to IGH DGIMS 8/9/5/41
  • Forename(s) Denis John Patrick
    Surname Weld
    Rank Captain
    Unit Reinforcement Unit
    Notes 20/7/40 joined RU WO 179/5883 21/8/41 CO RU WO 179/5884 28/2/42 to 7 coy WO 179/5885
  • Forename(s) Mohd
    Surname Yaqub
    Service Number 780805
    Rank Driver
    Unit 42 Company
    Notes 16/3/42 1 weeks leave DGIMS 1942/3/4/F/42
  • Forename(s) Mohd
    Surname Yaqub
    Service Number 783972
    Rank Driver
    Unit 42 Company
    Notes 17/8/42 on leave DGIMS 1942/3/4/F/5/42
  • Forename(s) Mohd
    Surname Yaqub
    Service Number 740241 or 799009
    Rank Saddler
    Unit 42 Company
    Notes Sept 42 change of service no DGIMS 1942/3/4/F/5/42
  • Forename(s) Mohd
    Surname Yaqub
    Service Number 181055
    Rank Driver
    Unit 7 Company
    Notes 21/9/41 PT course 'very good' DGIMS 8/9/3/1941 6/1/42 3rd class English cert DGIMS 8/9/3/1941
  • Forename(s) Mohd
    Surname Yaqub
    Service Number 780451
    Rank Lance Naik
    Unit 3 Company
    Notes aug 42 recorded passed Punjab matric exam in 1939 DGIMS 8/9/2/1941 4/1/43 joined 4 week 2nd English Instructors refresher course at Grantown on Spey WO 179/5881 pic 6203
  • Forename(s) Khuda
    Surname Yar
    Service Number R/347
    Rank ALD
    Unit Advanced Remount Depot
    Notes 9/2/41 to Woolecombe WO 179/5888 2/5/41 with advance party from RU to Hereford WO 179/5884
  • Forename(s) Mohd
    Surname Yar
    Service Number 780762
    Rank Driver
    Unit 42 Company
    Notes summer 42 to IGH DGIMS 1942/3/4/F/5
  • Forename(s) Muhammad
    Surname Yar
    Service Number 179441
    Rank Driver
    Unit 25 Company
    Notes 7/10/41 fighting with Mohd Sarwar DGIMS 8/9/5/41
  • Forename(s) Ghulam
    Surname Yasin
    Service Number R385
    Rank Sowar
    Unit Advanced Remount Depot
    Notes 21/4/40 to hospital WO 167/1434
  • Forename(s) Mohd
    Surname Yasin
    Service Number 179120
    Rank Driver
    Unit 7 Company
    Notes 5/1/42 on 7 week English course at Llangattack WO 179/5880
  • Forename(s) Mohd
    Surname Yusaf
    Service Number 175585
    Rank Driver
    Unit 3 Company
    Notes 12/2/42 joined 3 coy from RU DGIMS 8/9/2/1941 14/7/42 from 3 coy to RU for repat DGIMS 8/9/2/1941
  • Forename(s) Mohd
    Surname Yusuf
    Service Number 174215
    Rank Lance Naik
    Unit 22 Company C Troop
  • Forename(s) Mohd
    Surname Yusuf
    Service Number 174679
    Rank Driver
    Unit 22 Company B Troop
  • Forename(s) Mohd
    Surname Yusuf
    Service Number 179457
    Rank Driver
    Unit 25 Company
    Notes 12/8/41 1 weeks leave DGIMS 8/9/5/41
  • Forename(s) Muhammad
    Surname Yusuf
    Service Number 178764
    Rank Driver
    Unit 25 Company
    Notes 22/9/41 on leave DGIMS 8/9/5/41
  • Forename(s) Ali
    Surname Zaman
    Service Number 12971
    Rank Ward servant
    Unit 7 Company
    Notes July 42 on leave DGIMS 8/9/3/1941
  • Forename(s) Ali
    Surname Zaman
    Service Number 178104
    Rank Driver
    Unit 32 Company
    Notes 28/4/42 discharged from hospital DGIMS 8/9/7/41
  • Forename(s) Amir
    Surname Zaman
    Service Number 178092
    Rank Lance Naik
    Unit 29 Company
    Notes 24/3/42 promoted A/U/Nk DGIMS 8/9/6/41 April 42 in rear party to Nantmor WO 179/5912
  • Forename(s) Amir
    Surname Zaman
    Service Number V 2406
    Rank Sowar
    Unit 25 Company
    Notes 21/8/41 1 week leave as A/L/Daff from 25 coy DGIMS 8/9/5/41 Dec 42 on list for repat to India WO 179/5881 pic 6213
  • Forename(s) Amir
    Surname Zaman
    Rank Lance Naik
    Unit 29 Company
  • Forename(s) Gul
    Surname Zaman
    Service Number 22576
    Rank Lance Naik
    Unit 3 Company
    Notes 14/7/42 recommended for Long service and good conduct medal with gratuity WO 179/5881
  • Forename(s) Gul
    Surname Zaman
    Service Number 64086
    Rank Farrier
    Unit 29 Company
    Notes 1/8/41 re-enrolled as farrier with combat status DGIMS 8/9/6/41
  • Forename(s) Gul
    Surname Zaman
    Service Number 173498
    Rank Driver
    Unit 3 Company
  • Forename(s) Gul
    Surname Zaman
    Service Number 174033
    Rank Saddler
    Unit 42 Company
    Notes 30/3/42 1 weeks leave DGIMS 1942/3/4/F/42
  • Forename(s) Gul
    Surname Zaman
    Service Number 178378
    Rank Driver
    Unit 22 Company D Troop
  • Forename(s) Gul
    Surname Zaman
    Service Number 178777
    Rank Driver
    Unit 3 Company
  • Forename(s) Gul
    Surname Zaman
    Service Number 780765
    Rank Driver
    Unit 42 Company
    Notes 30/3/42 1 weeks leave DGIMS 1942/3/4/F/42
  • Forename(s) Haider
    Surname Zaman
    Service Number 174681
    Rank Driver
    Unit 3 Company
  • Forename(s) Haider
    Surname Zaman
    Rank Naik
    Unit Reinforcement Unit
    Notes 30/8/43 promoted T/Daff WO 179/5886
  • Forename(s) Khan
    Surname Zaman
    Service Number 62962
    Rank Lance Naik
    Unit 3 Company
  • Forename(s) Khan
    Surname Zaman
    Service Number 65238
    Rank Driver
    Unit 3 Company
    Notes 20/7/42 to IGH DGIMS 8/9/2/1941
  • Forename(s) Khan
    Surname Zaman
    Service Number 180522
    Rank Driver
    Unit 22 Company C Troop
    Notes Stalag 315, Epinal Ancestry
{

An incredible and important story, finally being told.

- Mishal Husain

The author

Ghee Bowman

Ghee Bowman was born in England in 1961. After careers in the theatre, education and the voluntary sector, he returned to university in 2014. He is married with two grown-up daughters, and lives in Exeter.

‘The Indian Contingent’ is his first book. His father WE Bowman wrote the noted spoof climbing book ‘The Ascent of Rum Doodle’.

Ghee is a story-teller, Quaker and a leader in the Woodcraft Folk, a voluntary youth movement for children and young people.

Acknowledgements

reproduced from the book ‘The Indian Contingent’

This book grew from my PhD at Exeter University, so I should first thank the South, West and Wales Doctoral Training Partnership who funded me. My supervisors Gajendra Singh and Padma Anagol gave first-class guidance and advice. Nicola Thomas has been a great encourager. My fellow PhD students have been wonderful: especial mention to Sonia Wigh, Cristina Corti for the maps and Sophy Antrobus for reading my drafts and being a chum. The University Pakistani Society were great for networking and the Digital Humanities Lab helped with digitisation of photos. This book was written on the top floor of the University Library, and all the library staff deserve medals.

I have built this story on the work of archivists and librarians in five countries, who provided access to my bread and butter (original documents) and have been friendly, helpful and supportive. Thanks to all of them, with a special mention to Jo Meacock at the Kelvingrove Museum in Glasgow.

The Indian Military History Society, through its journal Durbar, was a great source of contacts, and Chris Kempton provided useful input. The ‘Indian Armies of WW2’ Facebook group has answered many questions.

Around the UK I have listened to many stories about the boys of K6. Paritosh Shapland’s story is in many ways at the centre of this book, and he has been very generous with his time and his resources. Yaqub Mirza’s family gave me a great lift right at the end. Betty Cresswell told me of her family’s relationship with Uncle Gian, and kindly shared her photo album with me. The late Giovanna Bloor shared everything she knew. I will cherish the memory of a day spent in her cottage under the Cnicht mountain. Paul Watkins, Mark Ashdown, Geoff Sykes and Trilby Shaw helped me along the way. Hamish Johnston drove me around the Highlands and was a great source of information. Colin Hexley was very generous with material about his father, and Shirley Sutherland introduced me to him and others in Golspie. John Barnes and Peter Wilde in Dornoch, Joan Leed, Donny MacDonald and Marlyn Price in Lairg, Marion Smith, Catriona Spence, David & Sheena Macdougall in Kinlochleven, Stewart Mackenzie, George Milne and Donald Matheson in Loch Ewe were all very helpful and welcoming. In Glasgow, Nadeem Bhatti introduced me to the Colourful Heritage project and its staff Saqib Razzaq, Shazia Durrani and Omar Shaikh. In Woking, Mohammad Zubair gave me one of the best interviews ever, Zafar Iqbal aided my networking, the mosque was very welcoming and Rabyah Khan helped get me started. Katherine Douglass introduced me to the lovely people and the extraordinary story of Etobon.

I stand on the shoulders of giants. Rozina Visram is one such – anyone writing on the South Asian presence in Britain is in her debt. I shared beers and laughs with Lloyd Price, and treasure the friendship we developed in India. Many thanks to Yasmin Khan for writing the foreword.

I am a white British man writing a story about South Asians, which throws open many possibilities of cultural misunderstandings and errors. I am grateful to Sandhya Dave, Nazima Khan and colleagues at the Global Centre in Exeter for giving me confidence and helping me learn to step around a thorny area.

My time in Pakistan would have been fruitless without Major General Shahid Ali Hamid. He offered warmth, hospitality and boundless contacts. I am forever in his debt. My friend Omer Salim Khan (Omer Tarin) was supremely hospitable and generous during my visit to Abbottabad, and even more so afterwards, commenting on the draft manuscript. Jawad Sarwana drove me round Karachi and introduced me to the wide and warm family of General Akbar, and Imran and his daughter Mahin were particularly generous with time and photos. Zeenut Ziad gave me two interviews, when her parrot would let her. Khizar Jawad was incredibly helpful in Lahore. Brigadier Asim Iqbal of the Army Service Corps gave a late rush of help. Above all, Jenny, Marcel and Luqman ensured I had a safe secure base in Islamabad, Sabur was a wonderful fixer who seemed to know everyone in the Potohari villages, Waheed drove us round those villages and Waqar Seyal was a fantastic translator and interpreter. In India, Shachi and Naveen made me welcome and helped me with my first steps in Hindi/Urdu and Rana Chhina at the United Services Institute in Delhi was extremely helpful.

For permission to use quotes, thanks to Hackett Publishing Company for the quotation from Philip Ivanhoe’s translation of Daodejing of Laozi, and to HarperCollins India for the two quotations from Raghu Karnad’s Farthest Field.

I appreciate that I haven’t included all the great stories that I heard during my research. If I’ve missed yours out, apologies. If I haven’t heard it yet, please get in touch. All errors in memory or interpretation are entirely mine.

Three people helped and inspired this writing process. My father Bill Bowman showed the way. Clare Grist Taylor believed in me and this story and gave many practical tips. My editor at The History Press, Simon Wright, was always encouraging, constructive but firm.

Three other people made it possible. My daughters Alex and Hannah helped enter hundreds of names in the database, encouraged me and (in Hannah’s case) did translations from French. Above all, my thanks and love go to my wife Rebecca. She has supported me and fed me all the way through. A wiser partner would be impossible to find.

{

This book needs to be on the national curriculum. The kind of story that brings us together. It would be the perfect tribute to those who fought for our freedom.

- Adil Ray, actor, writer and broadcaster

Force K6

Website credits

Technical consultant
Alex Michel-Bowman

Urdu translation
Waqar Ahmed Seyal

Hindi translation
Sonia Wigh