University of Leicester
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The Indian Army’s British Officer Corps, 1861-1921

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posted on 2018-07-03, 14:36 authored by Adam John Prime
The Indian Army underwent a process of reform and modernisation from 1861 onwards. The aim was to create a desirable working environment for the Indian troops, who were necessary for the defence of the subcontinent. This included providing Indian regiments with a professional officer corps, consisting of British men of sufficient quality. By creating a prosopography and combining this with thematic chapters, this thesis aims to chart this process of reform up to 1914. The First World War placed demands on the Indian Army which meant that progress was interrupted owing to an influx of new officers. This created numerous challenges which had to be overcome during the conflict. The effects of the First World War, the world’s first ‘total war’, on the Indian Army will be assessed. As will the performance of Indian Army units in numerous battles and campaigns between 1861 and 1921, analysing the role of the British officer on active service. Away from the battlefield, the officers of the Indian Army were a diverse group with many different backgrounds. The thesis aims to analyse these backgrounds and look for trends within the officers’ origins. Familial ties to India or the military would have helped officers assimilate to the subcontinent. Finally, the social lives enjoyed by officers will be evaluated; sport, marriage, and family all impacted on an officer’s career. Overall, this thesis aims to provide a thorough depiction of the Indian Army officer corps in the period under consideration.



Anderson, Clare; Kidambi, Prashant

Date of award


Author affiliation

School of Historical Studies

Awarding institution

University of Leicester

Qualification level

  • Doctoral

Qualification name

  • PhD


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