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The 29th Indian Brigade was an infantry brigade of the British Indian Army that saw active service with the Indian Army during the First World War. Formed in October 1914, it raided Sheik Saiad en route to Egypt, defended the Suez Canal in early 1915, before taking part in the Gallipoli Campaign (April to December 1915). On returning to Egypt it acted as an independent formation being broken up in June 1917.

29th Indian Brigade
Active31 October 1914 – 25 June 1917
Country British India
AllegianceBritish Crown
Branch British Indian Army
Part of10th Indian Division
att. to British 29th Division
EngagementsFirst World War
South Arabia
Raid on Sheik Saiad
Sinai and Palestine Campaign
Actions on the Suez Canal
Gallipoli Campaign
Third Battle of Krithia
Battle of Gully Ravine
Battle of Sari Bair
Maj.-Gen. H.V. Cox
Br.-Gen. P.C. Palin



The 29th Indian Brigade was formed in October 1914 as part of Indian Expeditionary Force F (along with the 28th and 30th Indian Brigades) and sent to Egypt.[1] En route to Egypt it raided Sheik Saiad (10–11 November). The Ottoman Empire maintained a small fort at Sheik Saiad guarding the entrance to the Red Sea. Having destroyed the Ottoman fortifications, the brigade re-embarked and continued on to Suez.[2]

10th Indian Division

After arriving in Egypt, it joined the 10th Indian Division when it was formed on 24 December. It served on the Suez Canal Defences, notably taking part in the Actions on the Suez Canal on 3–4 February 1915. After the defeat of the Turkish attempts to cross the canal, the division was dispersed and the brigade was sent to Gallipoli in April 1915.[3]


The brigade formed Indian Expeditionary Force G for service in Gallipoli, the only Indian Army formation to serve on the peninsula.[4] From 1 May to 7 July 1915 it was attached to the British 29th Division at Cape Helles.[2] While with the division, it was in reserve for the Second Battle of Krithia (6–8 May), but played a more major role at Gurkha Bluff (12 May), the Third Battle of Krithia (4 June) and the Battle of Gully Ravine (28 June–2 July).[5]

The brigade was switched to ANZAC Cove where it was attached to the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps, with which it took part in the Battle of Sari Bair (6–21 August 1915). 1st Battalion, 6th Gurkha Rifles was the only unit to reach the top of the ridge and see the Dardanelles; shelled by the Royal Navy, a Turkish counter-attack drove them off.[6] The brigade's involvement at Gallipoli came at a high price: the 14th Sikhs, alone, suffered 264 killed and 840 wounded while serving at Gallipoli.[7][a]


On 7 January 1916, the 10th Indian Division was reformed as part of the Suez Canal District, and the brigade joined it. The need to return depleted units that had served in France to India meant that this was short-lived. The division was broken up on 7 March and the brigade became an independent formation. It continued to serve on the Suez Canal Defences.[3]

In March 1917, the Egyptian Expeditionary Force started forming the British 75th Division, originally to be made up of Territorial Force battalions arriving from India. In May 1917, to speed up the formation of the division, it was decided to incorporate Indian battalions.[9] To this end, the 29th Indian Brigade was broken up in June 1917 and its battalions posted to 75th Division.[10]

Orders of battleEdit


The brigade had the following commanders:[16][15]

From Rank Name Notes
31 October 1914 Brigadier-General H.V. Cox subsequently commanded the Australian 4th Division[17]
17 February 1915 Major General
26 September 1915 Brigadier-General P.C. Palin
5 February 1917 Brigadier-General E.R.B. Murray
25 March 1917 Brigadier-General P.C. Palin subsequently commanded the British 75th Division[18]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ An Indian infantry battalion had a strength of 13 British officers, 17 Indian officers and 723 other ranks.[8] Such losses represented approximately 150% of this strength.


  1. ^ Perry 1993, p. 172
  2. ^ a b Perry 1993, p. 117
  3. ^ a b Perry 1993, p. 118
  4. ^ Haythornthwaite 1996, p. 246
  5. ^ Becke 1935, p. 123
  6. ^ Gaylor 1996, p. 236
  7. ^ Gaylor 1996, p. 168
  8. ^ Perry 1993, p. 173
  9. ^ Becke 1937, p. 129
  10. ^ Perry 1993, p. 168
  11. ^ a b c d Perry 1993, p. 116
  12. ^ Becke 1935, p. 86
  13. ^ Becke 1935, p. 50
  14. ^ Becke 1935, p. 119
  15. ^ a b Perry 1993, p. 167
  16. ^ Perry 1993, p. 115
  17. ^ Perry 1992, p. 27
  18. ^ Becke 1937, p. 123


  • Becke, Major A.F. (1935). Order of Battle of Divisions Part 1. The Regular British Divisions. London: His Majesty's Stationery Office. ISBN 1-871167-09-4.
  • Becke, Major A.F. (1937). Order of Battle of Divisions Part 2B. The 2nd-Line Territorial Force Divisions (57th–69th) with The Home-Service Divisions (71st–73rd) and 74th and 75th Divisions. London: His Majesty's Stationery Office. ISBN 1-871167-00-0.
  • Gaylor, John (1996). Sons of John Company: The Indian and Pakistan Armies 1903–1991 (2nd ed.). Tunbridge Wells: Parapress. ISBN 1-898594-41-4.
  • Haythornthwaite, Philip J. (1996). The World War One Source Book. London: Arms and Armour Press. ISBN 1-85409-351-7.
  • Perry, F.W. (1992). Order of Battle of Divisions Part 5A. The Divisions of Australia, Canada and New Zealand and those in East Africa. Newport: Ray Westlake Military Books. ISBN 1-871167-25-6.
  • Perry, F.W. (1993). Order of Battle of Divisions Part 5B. Indian Army Divisions. Newport: Ray Westlake Military Books. ISBN 1-871167-23-X.

External linksEdit