Corps of Guides (British India)
The Corps of Guides was a regiment of the British Indian Army
British Indian Army
The British Indian Army, officially simply the Indian Army, was the principal army of the British Raj in India before the partition of India in 1947...

 which served in the North West Frontier and had a unique composition of being part infantry and part cavalry.


The brainchild of Sir Henry Lawrence
Henry Montgomery Lawrence
Sir Henry Montgomery Lawrence was a British soldier and statesman in India, who died defending Lucknow during the Indian Mutiny.-Career:Lawrence was the brother of John Lawrence, 1st Baron Lawrence and was born at Matara, Ceylon...

, the Corps had modest beginnings. When it was raised at Kalu Khan
Kalu Khan
Kalu Khan is a town and Union Council of Swabi District in the North-West Frontier Province of Pakistan. It is located at 34°13'0N 72°18'0E with an altitude of 317 metres ....

, on the Yusufzai Plain, in the Peshawar Valley region by Lt. Harry Lumsden
Harry Burnett Lumsden
Lieutenant-General Sir Harry Burnett "Joe" Lumsden was a British military officer active in India.Lumsden was born aboard the East India Company’s ship Rose in the Bay of Bengal, the son of a British Army Colonel Thomas Lumsden, C.B...

 in December 1846, it comprised just one troop of cavalry and two companies of infantry. The first action was at Mughdara, in the Panitar Hills.
Within two years, the small force of Guides had established a name for itself, under Lumsden, its founder and sole British officer. When the Second Sikh War broke out in 1848, the unit was given authorisation for a three-fold increase in size, to six companies of infantry and three troops of cavalry. The Guides maintained the quirky 'cavalry and infantry combined in the same regiment' format for many years, and even when split into two separate components, the name lingered in both elements.
The Corps of Guides became the garrison unit of a key post on the frontier, the new fort of (Hoti ~) Mardan
Mardan , known as The city of hospitality, is a city and headquarters of Mardan District in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Province, Pakistan. It is the de facto headquarters of the Yousafzai tribe and the second most populous city in the province, located at 34°12'0N 72°1'60E and an altitude of in the south...

. In 1857 the unit was called urgently to help relieve the Siege of Delhi
Siege of Delhi
The Siege of Delhi was one of the decisive conflicts of the Indian rebellion of 1857.The rebellion against the authority of the British East India Company was widespread through much of Northern India, but essentially it was sparked by the mass uprising by the sepoys of the units of the Army which...

. In just over three weeks the Guides marched nearly six hundred miles during the hottest month of the year, crossing five great rivers and fighting four small actions. The march coincided with the month of Ramadan
Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, which lasts 29 or 30 days. It is the Islamic month of fasting, in which participating Muslims refrain from eating, drinking, smoking and sex during daylight hours and is intended to teach Muslims about patience, spirituality, humility and...

 meaning that the muslim
A Muslim, also spelled Moslem, is an adherent of Islam, a monotheistic, Abrahamic religion based on the Quran, which Muslims consider the verbatim word of God as revealed to prophet Muhammad. "Muslim" is the Arabic term for "submitter" .Muslims believe that God is one and incomparable...

 soldiers in the force could neither eat nor drink during the hours of daylight. On arrival at Delhi, the force of 600 Guides were almost immediately called upon to join the defence of the city. Men who had just completed a march of some 580 miles were thrown into a battle of such intensity that no fewer than 350 of the 600 became casualties within an hour of their arrival in Delhi.

The Corps of Guides was part of the Frontier Force
Frontier Force
Frontier Force usually means any of a Paramilitary type border security or border guard, it can mean any of the following:* Frontier Force Regiment , one of six Infantry regiments in the Pakistan Army...

 brigade and developed a reputation of being an elite unit. They were the first unit in the Indian or British Armies to dress in "khaki
This article is about the fabric. For the color, see Khaki . Kaki, another name for the persimmon, is often misspelled "Khaki".Khaki is a type of fabric or the color of such fabric...

". Typically, the Guides were often used in small detachments, usually supported by other Frontier Force troops.

The designations of the Corps of Guides changed over time as follows:
  • The Corps of Guides (1846)
  • The Corps of Guides, Punjab Irregular Force
    Punjab Irregular Force
    The Punjab Irregular Force was created in 1851, to protect the NW frontier of British India. It was termed "Irregular" because it was outside the control of the Regular British armies of the 3 Presidencies of Bengal, Bombay or Madras, but was under the control of the British chief magistrate of...

  • Corps of Guides, Punjab Frontier Force (1865)
  • Queen's Own Corps of Guides, Punjab Frontier Force (1876)
  • Queen's Own Corps of Guides (1901)
  • Queen's Own Corps of Guides (Lumsden's) (1904)
  • Queen Victoria's Own Corps of Guides (Frontier Force) (Lumsden's) (1911).

In 1911 the cavalry and infantry components were designated as such. The cavalry then became, successively:-
  • Queen Victoria's Own Corps of Guides (Frontier Force) (Lumsden's) Cavalry (1911)
  • 10th Queen Victoria's Own Corps Of Guides Cavalry (Frontier Force)
    10th Queen Victoria's Own Corps Of Guides Cavalry (Frontier Force)
    The Guides Cavalry is an armoured regiment of the Pakistan Army which was raised in 1846 as The Corps of Guides. During more than a hundred and fifty years of glorious military service, the regiment has earned the reputation of one of the most glamorous military units in the world.-Historical...

  • The Guides Cavalry (10th Queen Victoria's Own Frontier Force) (1927)

and the infantry:-
  • Queen Victoria's Own Corps of Guides (Frontier Force) (Lumsden's) Infantry (1911)
  • 5th Bn (QVO Corps of Guides) 12th Frontier Force Regiment
    12th Frontier Force Regiment
    The 12th Frontier Force Regiment was part of the British Indian Army. It was formed in 1922. It consisted of five regular battalions; numbered 1 to 5 and the 10th Battalion. During the Second World War a further ten battalions were raised. In 1945 the prenomial "12th" was dropped when the British...


Post-World War II

In 1945, the 12th Frontier Force Regiment was renamed the Frontier Force Regiment and on independence and the partition of India
Partition of India
The Partition of India was the partition of British India on the basis of religious demographics that led to the creation of the sovereign states of the Dominion of Pakistan and the Union of India on 14 and 15...

 it was allocated to Pakistan
Pakistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan...

. The cavalry regiment was also allocated to Pakistan and was renamed the Guides Cavalry (Frontier Force). In 1957, the Frontier Force Rifles
13th Frontier Force Rifles
The 13th Frontier Force Rifles was part of the British Indian Army, and after 1947, Pakistan Army. It was formed in 1922 by amalgamation of five existing regiments and consisted of five regular battalions.-History:...

 and The Pathan Regiment were amalgamated with the Frontier Force Regiment to form a new Frontier Force Regiment
Frontier Force Regiment
For Pakistan's Border Guard see: Frontier CorpsThe Frontier Force Regiment is one of six Infantry regiments in the Pakistan Army. At present, the regiment consists of 67 battalions and has its regimental depot at Abbottabad in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa. For that reason Abbottabad is also known as Home of...

. The Guides battalion became the 2nd battalion of the new regiment.

The Guides, along with the 2nd Gurkha Rifles(Sirmoor Rifles) and the 60th Rifles won with their blood the unique honour and the right to wear red piping on the collars of their Uniforms. As such both The 10th Guides Cavalry (FF) and the 2nd Battalion (The Guides) of the Frontier Force Regiment of the Pakistan Army wear red piping on the collars of their uniforms.


  • The Guides are the subject of George John Younghusband's book, The Story of the Guides, first published in March 1908.
  • Rudyard Kipling
    Rudyard Kipling
    Joseph Rudyard Kipling was an English poet, short-story writer, and novelist chiefly remembered for his celebration of British imperialism, tales and poems of British soldiers in India, and his tales for children. Kipling received the 1907 Nobel Prize for Literature...

    's "The Ballad of East and West
    The Ballad of East and West
    The Ballad of East and West is a poem by Rudyard Kipling. It was first published in 1889, and has been much collected and anthologised since. Its first line is often quoted, sometimes as an example of Kipling's attitudes to race and to the Empire; but those who quote it thus often completely miss...

    " is about the Guides.
  • M.M. Kaye's
    M. M. Kaye
    Mary Margaret Kaye was a British writer. Her most famous book was The Far Pavilions .-Life:M. M. Kaye was born in Simla, India, and spent her early childhood and much of her early-married life there...

     novel The Far Pavilions is about an officer in the Guides.
  • Sir Peter Stark Lumsden & George Robert Elsmie, Lumsden of the Guides: A Sketch of the Life of Lieut.-Gen. Sir Harry Burnett Lumsden, KCSI, CB., with Selections from His Correspondence and Occasional Papers (London: J. Murray, 1900; facsimile edition by BiblioLife, 2010)
  • Memoirs of General Sir Henry Dermot Daly, G.C.B., C.I.E. (1905) by Maj. H. Daly.

Founding figures

  • Sir Harry Lumsden
  • W.S.R. Hodson (the Hodson of Hodson's Horse
    Hodson's Horse
    Hodson's Horse is a cavalry regiment which originated as part of the British Indian Army. It was raised by Brevet Major William Stephen Raikes Hodson during the Indian Rebellion of 1857, and exists today as the 4th Horse Regiment in the Indian Army...

  • G.N. Hardinge
  • Dr. R. Lyell (MO)
  • Frederick Battye
  • Wigram Battye
  • Sir Henry Daly, GCB, CIE
  • Walter Hamilton, VC
  • Surgeon A.H. Kelly (MO)
  • Arthur Hammond, VC

  • Daffadar Fateh Khan
  • Rissaldar Fateh Khan
  • Subedar Rasul Khan
  • Subedar Dilwar Khan

External links

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