In Collaboration With Charles Griffin


Brief History
Raised as an emergency unit in 1858 as the Shahjahanpur Levy and given at first the number 44, they became in 1861 the 40th Bengal Native Infantry. Their uniform was originally red with white facings but changed to drab with green facings on becoming a Baluch regiment in 1890. Then, they had red trousers but changed to drab in 1892 when they were a Pathan unit.

The reputation of the Pathans and their regimental number earned them the inevitable nickname of the Forty Thieves and their British Colonel - Ali Baba. Their first active service was in Tibet in 1903-4. By then they had been augmented with Dogras and Punjabi Musalmans. In 1914 they were in Hong Kong, their eight companies comprising of two of Orakzais, two of Punjabi Musalmans, two of Dogras, one of Afridis and one of Yusufzais. A second battalion was added in 1918 and in 1922 the 40th became the 5th battalion of the 14th Punjab Regiment. They were captured by the Japanese in 1942, the survivors were taken into the 1st battalion after the War.

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Uniforms
Post Mutiny
Predecessor Units
Shahjehanpur
(1858 - 1861)
40th Bengal Native Infantry
(1861 - 1864)
40th (Shahjehanpur) Bengal Native Infantry
(1864 - 1885)
40th (Shahjehanpur) Bengal Infantry
(1885 - 1890)
40th (Baluch) Bengal Infantry
(1890 - 1892)
40th (Pathan) Bengal Infantry
(1892 - 1901)
40th Pathan Infantry
(1901 - 1903)
Successor Units
5th/14th Punjab Regiment
(1922 - 1947)
Post-Independence Fate
To Pakistan
Suggested Reading
A Matter of Honour
by Philip Mason

India's Army
by Donovan Jackson

Regiments and Corps of the British Army: A Critical Bibliography
by Roger Perkins

Sons of John Company
by John Gaylor

Armies of India
Painted by Lovett, Text by Macmunn

The Indian Army
by Boris Mollo

Forces of the British Empire
by E. Nevins and B. Chandler

Indian Army Uniforms - Infantry
by W. Y. Carman

Sergeant Pearman's Memoirs
by Anglesey, the Marquess of

Soldier Sahibs
by Charles Allen

The Bengal Native Infantry
by Dr Amiya Barat,

An Account of the War in India Between the English and French on the Coast of Coromandel, From the Year 1750 to the Year 1761
by Richard Owen Cambridge

Sketch of the Services of the Bengal Native Army
by Lt Cardew

The Indian Army: The Garrison of British Imperial India
by Heathcote

Britain's Army in India from its Origins to the Conquest of Bengal
by James Lawford

The Battle Honours of the British and Indian Armies
by Leslie

Sikh Soldier; Battle Honours and Sikh Soldier; Gallantry Awards by Narindar Singh Dhesi

A Matter of Honour: An Account of the Indian Army, its Officers and Men
by P Mason

A History of Military Transactions of the British Nation in Indostan from the Year 1745
by R Orme

From Sepoy to Subedar
by Sita Ram

Forty-one Years in India
by Earl Roberts

Wellington in India
by Weller

The Bengal Native Infantry
by Captain Williams


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by Stephen Luscombe