In Collaboration With Charles Griffin

Brief History
The Punjab Frontier Force was established on 18th May 1849 as the Transfrontier Brigade. It became the Punjab Irregular Force in 1851 and finally the Punjab Frontier Force in 1865. There were originally six Punjab Infantry regiments and five of cavalry as well as artillery. The four Sikh regiments sprung from the disbanded regiments of Sikhs following Gough's victory at Sobraon (10th Feb 1846) at the end of the First Sikh War. Together with some artillery they formed the Frontier Brigade. This name was dropped the following year and they became the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th Regiments of Sikh Local Infantry. In 1851 these four and the famous Corps of Guides were added to the Punjab Irregular Force. The P I F as it was known, became famous throughout the Empire and the men who served in it were proud to call themselves 'Piffers' long after the name changed.

Despite its title, the 51st Sikhs was compoed of Punjabi Musalmans, Dogras and Pathans as well as Sikhs. As the 1st Sikhs they saw much action in the 2nd Afghan War and helped quell the Boxer Rebellion in China in 1900. In WW1 they served in India, Aden, Egypt, and Mesoptamia. For their services in the Middle East, they were given the title 51st The Prince of Wales's Own Sikhs (Frontier Force) but in 1922 they became the 1st battalion 12th Frontier Force Regiment. A territorial battalion was raised in March 1922 attached to the 1st but soon became the 11th battalion recruiting only Pathans. In WW2 the 1st served in India, Iraq, Syria and Italy. After the war they were nominated for parachute training to join 2nd Indian Airborne Division. On Partition, the regiment logically went to Pakistan; the Sikhs and Dogras were routed to India.

Pouchbelt Badge
Post Mutiny
Principal Campaigns and Battles
1878 - 80 Afghanistan
1878 Ali Masjid
1900 Pekin
Predecessor Units
1st Regiment of the Frontier Force
(1846 - 1847)
1st Sikh Local Infantry
(1847 - 1857)
1st Sikh Infantry, Punjab Irregular Force
(1857 - 1865)
1st Sikh Infantry, Punjab Frontier Force
(1865 - 1901)
1st Sikh Infantry
(1901 - 1903)
Successor Units
1st/12th Frontier Force 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