The Bhopal Battalion was made up of the loyal remnants of the disaffected Bhopal, Gwalior and Malwa contingents raised for local service in Central India. They remained localised until the Second Afghan War when they were to man the North-West Frontier. In 1903, they were brought into the Line as the 9th Bhopal Infantry.
Their nickname was 'The Bo-Peeps' but they earned a reputation for toughness in World War 1. At first they were stationed at Fyzabad and comprised 2 companies of Sikhs, 2 of Rajputs, 2 of Brahmans and 2 of Muslims. Then in September 1914 they were sent to France. In the late afternoon of a cold, wet late autumn day, the Bhopals went to the aid of the remnants of a Brirish battalion near Neuve Chapelle. Still in cotton-drill, they had their first encounter with trenches and barbed wire and stayed, locked in battle for three days without food. Their losses were 11 officers and 262 men. Three days later they lost a further 200 at Festubert. Remaining in France until May 1915, they went on to Mesopotamia where a sepoy, Chattar Singh, earned a VC.. 42 decorations were won by the regiment including 4 Military Crosses. On returning to India, there remained only 15 of the originals who had sailed for France in 1914.
The Bhopals did not have linked battalions so that they suffered immediate problems when they sustained the heavy casualties in France. Unknown officers were posted in and whole platoons of reinforcements arrived, made up of differing tribal origins.
In 1922 they became the 4th battalion 16th Punjab Regiment which was stationed at Mooltan. Their WW2 service was in India, Egypt, Italian East Africa, Italy and Palestine.