In 1849 five Punjab regiments were raised by Sir Henry Lawrence, brother of John Lawrence, Governer of the Punjab, who later became Viceroy. In 1853 a sixth regiment was made up from the Scinde Camel Corps. These six regiments were part of the Punjab Irregular Force (PIF) that was put in place to protect British India from the warlike tribes that inhabited (and still do) Afghanistan.
The 57th was formed from the 4th Regiment of Punjab Infantry, the 3rd having been disbanded in 1882 at the end of the Second Afghan War. The actions of the Lawrence brothers in raising the PIF proved to be a Godsend when the Mutiny broke out in 1857. The 4th marched 1000 miles in the height of summer from Bannu on the Frontier to Delhi which was under seige from the mutineers. They were present at the fall of Delhi and went on to Lucknow where, in the storming of the Sikandarabagh with the 93rd Highlanders, Subadar Mukarrab Khan earned immortality for himself by thrusting his left arm through the gap in the closing gates. When the mutineers hacked at it he withdrew it and promptly replaced it with his right arm which was severed at the wrist. The gates remained open and the 4th swarmed through.
The Second Afghan War kept the regiment busy and they were sent to Waziristan in 1894 with the 2nd and 6th on a punitive expedition. Out of all the regiments of the PIF the 4th earned the first overseas battle honour in 1900 when they helped quell the Boxer rebellion in China.
In the renumbering in 1903 the 4th took the next number after the 2nd, since the 3rd had gone. Along with their new, improved status as Rifles, this gave them the title of 57th Wilde's Rifles (Frontier Force). In 1914 they were stationed in Ferozepore and were comprised of 2 companies of Sikhs, 2 of Dogras, 2 of Punjabi Musalmans and 2 of Afridi Pathans. Their WW1 service was at first in India and then in France, Egupt and German East Africa. A second battalion was raised in 1918 but disbanded soon after.
In 1922 the 57th became the 4th battalion 13th Frontier Force Rifles. In the Second World War they served in India, Syria, Persia, Egypt and Italy.