A Malikdin Khel of the Khyber Rifles, 1908 (c)
Watercolour by Major Alfred Crowdy Lovett (1862-1919), 1908 (c).
The Khyber Rifles were one of several paramilitary police units recruited from the tribesmen of the North West Frontier. They served as auxiliaries to the regular Indian Army. Raised in the early 1880s and recruited from Afridi Pathan tribesmen, the Rifles were commanded by British officers on secondment from regular Indian regiments.
Until 1919 units like the Khyber Rifles provided a useful link between the British and the local tribes and helped keep the peace, but following the Afghan incursion into British-India and the outbreak of revolt in the North West Frontier there were many desertions as men threw in their lot with their tribal cousins.
This is the original artwork for an illustration in Major G F MacMunn's 'Armies of India', published in 1911.
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National Army Museum, Out of Copyright
National Army Museum, Study collection
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