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History of Kapurthala


Maharaja's War Services

The fidelity of Kapurthala to the British crown is well known. The present ruler has fully maintained the glorious traditions of his house in this respect. In 1878-79, on the out break of the Afghan war, the State troops, comprising 500 infantry, 100 cavalry, three guns and a hundred artillery, rendered active service on the Bannu frontier under General Watson. The detachment was highly spoken of by the British officers for its discipline and good conduct. In 1897 the Maharaja dispatched his imperial service regiment (which was formed in 1888) for active service in connection with the Tirah Campaign. The regiment received its baptism of fire and gave an excellent account of it.

A detachment of 36 rank and file lost its way at Kurman, in the Kurrum Valley and was ambushed by a relentless enemy, but this small force put up a gallant defense again superior odds and preferred heroic death to surrender. On this occasion the Government of India communicated their heart felt regrets and sympathies to his Highness, who raised near the regimental lines a permanent memorial to the heroism of this ill-fated but gallant little detachment.

At the outbreak of the Great War in 1914 His Highness was the first Prince who offered to place all his resources at the disposal of the British Government. The Kapurthala Imperial Service regiment was dispatched for active service in East Africa, where it remained for nearly four years and did excellent work. His Highness himself visited the battlefront in France in 1915 at the invitation of the late Earl of Birkenhead; His Highness took part at the official opening ceremony of India's memorial at Neuve Chapelle in France.

On the successful termination of the Great War the regiment saw active service in Seistan during the Afghan Campaign, and later on spent six months performing imperial duties in Mesopotamia.

In the Second World War His Highness placed his personal services and all the resources of His State the disposal of the King Emperor. The Kapurthala Battalion was the first among the Indian States to proceed on active service and took part in actual fighting at Singapore; where the Japanese along with troops of several other Indian states unfortunately captured it.

The state had done commendable work as regards recruitment, and had raised over 3,000 combatants for the Indian army and over 1,800 technical recruits since the outbreak of the war the state had contributed about Rs. 1,20,000 to the various war fund, while investments amounting to nearly Rs.21, 25,000 in the defense bonds, war loan, saving banks, etc. have been made. Special measures had been taken to render help to the families of soldiers on the front, and to safe guard their interests by promulgating special regulations. A special staff of Welfare Officers had been appointed to look after the dependents of absent soldiers and to render than every assistance.

The Maharaja had been favoured with high honours by the King Emperor, and was rich in the esteem and affection of a wide circle of friends in both the hemispheres. He was above all fortunate to had won and retained all along the profound loyalty and devotion of his subjects. He was venerated as the father of his people, which owes its present frame and prestige entirely to his personality and benevolent guidance.



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