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Brief History of the Kumaon Regiment

Origin and Raisings - Pre-Independence

In the lap of the snow-capped Himalayas, between the kingdom of Nepal and the Indian region of Garhwal, lie the KUMAON Hills, the home of the Kumaonis and the KUMAON Regiment.

But the KUMAON Regiment did not always have its home among the lush hills of KUMAON, nor was it known by that name till recent years. Some of its battalions have a history that goes back to the closing decades of the eighteenth century. Retracing that history, we find that the Regiment was born far away in the Deccan, where some of its units were raised as part of the army of the Nizam of

Hyderabad. Two Battalions of the KUMAON Regiment trace their origin to First and Second Battalions of Ellichpur.

Brigade, raised by Nawab Salabat Khan, Subedar of Berar, as part of the forces of Nizam of Hyderabad. In March 1813, Sir Henry Russell, then British Resident in the court of Nizam of Hyderabad , raised the Russell Brigade comprising two Battalions. One of the Battalion is now known as 3 PARA  and the other Battalion has been designated as the KUMAON Regimental Centre. Later, four more battalions were raised and they were known as the Berar Infantry. The two battalions of Salabat Khan were also included but continued their separate identity as Ellichpur Brigade. The men of the Russell Brigade were chiefly Hindus, recruited from Oudh and other parts of Uttar Pradesh.

By 1826, the Nizam's Army had grown to eight battalions which remained the same till 1853. Later, in 1853 after signing of a treaty with the then Governor General of India, The Nizam's Contingent was renamed as the Hyderabad Contingent and became part of the regular Indian Army. Two of its battalions, the 5th and 6th Infantry (previously Berar Infantry) were disbanded the same year.
Pressures on demand for good fighting men during World War I led to the raising of a KUMAON Battalion at Ranikhet on 23 October 1917, which was named as the 4/39th KUMAON Rifles, and later in 1918 designated as the 1st Battalion the 50th KUMAON Rifles. 2nd Battalion the 50th KUMAON Rifles was also raised in the same year.

On 01 Dec 1922, as part of the reorganization of the Indian Army, the six Regiments of erstwhile Hyderabad Contingent were grouped into one Regiment called the 19th Hyderabad Regiment. The 1st Battalion the 50th KUMAON Rifles joined the 19th Hyderabad Regiment in 1923 and was renamed 1 KUMAON Rifles.

4th Battalion, The 19th Hyderabad Regiment was amongst the eight units of the Indian Army, selected to replace the British Officers by King's Commissioned Indian Officers (KCIO).

The period post World War I saw demobilization of the Indian Army. 2nd Battalion the 50th KUMAON Rifles was disbanded in 1923, 5th Battalion, The 19th Hyderabad Regiment (previously 99th Deccan Infantry), 6th Infantry Hyderabad Contingent, 8th Infantry Nizam's Army, and 2nd Battalion Ellichpur Brigade were disbanded in 1924. 3rd Battalion, The 19th Hyderabad Regiment (previously 97th Deccan Infantry), 4th Infantry Hyderabad Contingent, and  2nd Battalion Berar Infantry were disbanded in 1931.

However, during the Second World War the Regiment was expanded again and the 5th (at Jabalpur ) 6th, 7th, 8th and 9th Battalions (at Agra ) were raised in 1941-52. The 11th Battalion 19th Hyderabad Regiment was embodied at Danapur as a territorial unit of the Regiment which, on 15 Sep 1941, was converted as the 1st Battalion Bihar Regiment.

Hyderabad Regiment Becomes Kumaon Regiment

The Hyderabad Regiment, as mentioned earlier, had from the outset been recruited mainly from Rajputs of Uttar Pradesh, while some Muslim and others were recruited from the Deccan Plateau. In 1902, under a new treaty, the assignment of Berar was converted into a permanent base of the British Government, and the Contingent's link with the Nizam's dominion was severed forever. In April of 1903, the cavalry of the Contingent (consisting of 20th Deccan Horse, 29th Lancers and 30th Lancers; the former two were subsequently amalgamated into the present Deccan Horse and the last into the present 8 Cavalry) was transferred to Bombay Command; its artillery was disbanded, and the six infantry battalions were transferred to the Madras Command.

With the periodic reorganization of the Regiment, the class composition had also undergone major changes. The Deccan Muslims were removed in 1922 and the following composition was adopted in 1930: - 

                      One Company Kumaonis.            One Company Jats.
                      One Company Ahirs.                     One Company Mixed.

Thus, with severing of connections with Hyderabad , a need was felt to change the name of the Regiment. A proposal was forwarded in 1935, but was turned down by the Commander-in-Chief. Soon after World War II, the Jats of the Regiment were transferred to the JAT Regiment and the GRENADIERS. The Kumaonis filled the vacancy. On 27 Oct 1945, the long felt need was realized and the name of the Regiment was changed to 19 KUMAON Regiment. 27 October is thus observed every year throughout the Regiment as the KUMAON Day.

Post War Demobilization

The end of World War II, once again brought about the demobilization of the Indian Army. The 5th, 7th 8th and 9th Battalions were disbanded in 1946. 4/19th Battalion The KUMAON Regiment was reconstituted by merging the 8th Battalion (which was disbanded) in 1946. The assets and Battle Honours of 8th Battalion were taken over by the 4th Battalion.


The reconstitution of the Airborne Division led to renaming of 1st KUMAON as 1st Para Battalion The KUMAON Regiment. Later the unit was renamed as 3rd Battalion The Parachute Regiment.

The 13th Battalion has the distinction of being the first raising in the Regiment after Independence . It was raised in October 1948, with Kumaonis and Ahirs in equal proportion. In 1950, 1 KUMAON Rifles was renamed as 3rd Battalion the KUMAON Rifles (the suffix `Rifles’ was permitted to keep its link with the past).

Two new battalions joined the KUMAON family: 4 Gwalior Infantry, under Lt Col TK Mehra, and the Indore Infantry under Lt Col Ram Singh.

3 BORDER SCOUTS was reorganized and 4 BORDER SCOUTS was raised. Subsequently, the Battalion was designated as KUMAON SCOUTS

Birth of the NAGA Regiment

On 01 Nov 1970 NAGA Regiment was raised at Ranikhet as a single battalion regiment and was affiliated to the Kumaon Regiment. (The raising of the NAGA Regiment was in fulfillment of Central Governments obligation towards NAGA Peace Accord of 1969). This affiliation with the Kumaon Regiment was made on specific request of the Nagaland Government, based on the performance of battalions of the Kumaon Regiment in fighting insurgency in Nagaland.

Another battalion was raised at Haldwani,  Even though the NAGA Regiment was affiliated to the KUMAON Regiment, but it has its own distinctive dress and flag.

The Larger Family

The Regiments now consists of a number of KUMAON and NAGA Battalions, KUMAON SCOUTS, Rashtriya Rifles Battalions, Territorial Army Battalions. Besides its old affiliates a Parachute and Mechanised Infantry Battalion, One Indian Naval Ship and a Squadron of Indian Air Force are also affiliated to the Regiment.
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