In Collaboration With Charles Griffin

Brief History
The Moplah regiments are descended from the Madras infantry line. The 77th comes from the 17th which was raised before 1861, the watershed date after the Mutiny, but the raising and re-raising and re-numbering makes tracing regimental origins difficult. The original 17th was raised in 1777 but renumbered 2/1st in 1796. At that time, in 1796, the 33rd and 34th who were both raised in 1800 became the 1st and 2nd battalions respectively of the new number 17.

Although the Moplahs took on the position in the Madras infantry line of the 17th and 25th, it is unlikely that any Moplahs were in those regiments prior to 1902 as they had, as a race, a reputation for causing trouble. An official report had earlier dismissed them as 'a turbulent and fanatical community'. In the previous 60 years they had participated in no less than 33 outbreaks which required military assistance to supress.

Troublesome races had been successfully recruited into the army before (eg. Sikhs and Gurkhas) so it seemed a good idea to try the Moplahs. But they fell foul of Lord Kitchener's reductions of 'generally inefficient' Madras regiments and were disbanded in 1907. The Moplahs continued to cause trouble to the British, and in Malabar in April 1921 an uprising began that lasted for 6 months. Two British and 4 Indian battalions together with a squadron of The Queen's Bays fought Moplah civilians armed with sticks, swords and stones. 43 soldiers and policemen were killed and 126 wounded whilst Moplah losses amounted to 4000. The jails must have been busy that year because 45,000 were rounded up and imprisoned.

Post Mutiny
Predecessor Units
17th Madras Infantry
(1861 - 1902)
1st Moplah Rifles
(1902 - 1903)
77th Moplah Rifles
(1903 - 1907)
Successor Units
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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