I must firstly record my most sincere thanks to Muhammad Naeem, a civil engineer from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, for his enthusiastic help in providing the photographs used here. For more information on the men buried at Manzai Fort cemetery, please read the notes linked to each of the photographs in the galleries.
One of the interests that I have developed while working on the Royal Signals honours and awards project relates to the fate of the Corps’ casualties, particularly those who lie in graves not maintained by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. Details of these will feature in a section of this website later in the year. One of my keenest interests is in the casualties of the inter-war years, particularly those men who died in the North-West Frontier Province.
Most of the military cemeteries and many of the civilian graveyards in which they lie are no longer in use and are not maintained. Although many have become derelict they remain a feature of the locale and some are protected by virtue of the fact that they sit within or near military or Frontier Constabulary bases.
In the account of the Shahur Tangi Ambush, which occurred almost exactly 83 years ago on 9 April 1937, I showed photographs of the graves of Corporal E. C. Turner and Signalman N. Davies, who were killed in action in the ambush. They were buried in the cemetery at Manzai Fort.
A British military outpost was first established at Manzai in 1919 during the Third Anglo-Afghan War and over the next two decades it grew into an important base in the region, served by a narrow-gauge railway and a small airstrip. Located at 1,600 feet on a 13-miles long ridge in the land of the Pashtun Bhitanni tribe, Manzai Fort is a little over 60 miles from the ancient city of Dera Ismail Khan to the east, the headquarters of Waziristan District Signals through much of the 1920s and 1930s. Twenty-five miles by road to the east is Tank, the district capital and an important British base for operations into southern Waziristan. Twelve miles to the north-west is Jandola, another important post throughout the various Waziristan campaigns, which lies at the junction of the Shahur and Tank Zam rivers and the start of the two main routes into Mahsud tribal territory. Running along the ridge on which the fort sits is the Tank-Jandola road. Testament to the site’s importance it remains in use by the Frontier Constabulary. For much of its existence the fort had a small hospital, which accounts for the number of men who died here of illness and disease.
The cemetery is located on the east of the Tank-Jandola road, half a mile north of the fort. Built on a shallow slope, the cemetery is surrounded by a stone wall with decorative corner posts. Some of the graves are covered with stone plinths and each grave has a cement-covered, stone marker inscribed with the details of the casualty. These cement covered markers appear to be as a result of a refurbishment of the cemetery in the late-1930s, and this may explain some of the errors on them. The harsh weather in the region accounts for most of the damage but some stone blocks making up the plinths have been removed.
Royal Signals Burials at Manzai Fort
2309555 Lance Corporal Alfred John Cowderoy, ‘B’ Divisional Signals,
died of disease or illness at Mazai Fort on 28 March 1923, aged 21.
5239123 Sergeant Caleb William Muddiman, W/T Section, Manzai Detachment, Waziristan District Signals, died suddenly of disease or illness at Manzai on 2 April 1927.
2316052 Corporal Edward Cooper Turner, Waziristan District Signals,
killed in action on 9 April 1937 at Shahur Tangi, aged 31.
2324234 Signalman Norman Davies, Waziristan District Signals,
killed in action on 9 April 1937 at Shahur Tangi, aged 22.
Killed in Action on 9 April 1937 at Shahur Tangi & Buried at Manzai Fort
(Additional details may be found linked to the photographs in the gallery.)
Major Henry William Dayrell Palmer, 3rd Battalion, 16th Punjab Regiment.
Captain Myles Bertram Courtney, 3rd Battalion, 16th Punjab Regiment.
Lieutenant Michael Earle, Royal Regiment of Artillery, 2nd (Derajat) Mountain Battery (Frontier Force).
Lieutenant Edwin Stuart Rainier France, 3rd Battalion (Duke of Connaught’s Own), 7th Rajput Regiment.
Lieutenant Eric Charles Langford Hinde, Corps of Royal Engineers, 19th Field Company, Sappers and Miners.
Second Lieutenant George Laurence Scott, 3rd Royal Battalion (Sikhs), 12th Frontier Force Regiment.
Other Burials at Manzai Fort
(This list should not be considered complete. Additional details may be found linked to the photographs in the gallery.)
Captain Frederick Herbert Fardell MC, 8th Lahore Mountain Battery, Royal Artillery, died of disease or illness on 21 September 1927.
Flying Officer Kenneth Northcote Lees, No. 5 (Army Cooperation) Squadron, Royal Air Force, was killed in an air crash on 11 March 1937.
Lieutenant Arthur Sidney Noel Barron, No. 14 Indian motor Transport Company, Indian Army Service Corps, died of disease on 29 July 1922.
1040 Company Quartermaster Sergeant C. W. Rowley, No. 8 Indian Motor Transport Company, Indian Army Service Corps died on 13 July 1922.
787349 Staff Sergeant John Davies, Indian Army Service Corps, died on 22 July 1934.
5878587 Staff Sergeant R. Weaver, The Northamptonshire Regiment attached to the Indian Army Service Corps, died on 16 December 1923.
M/14716 Sergeant Alfred William Beer, No. 18 Indian Motor Transport Company, Indian Army Service Corps, died on 15 May 1926.
M/14476 Sergeant Albert Edward Beavan, No. 24 Indian Motor Transport Company, Indian Army Service Corps, took his own life on 8 November 1923.
1852132 Lance Sergeant Allan Urquhart Liddell, Corps of Royal Engineers, died on 15 July 1926.
7870494 Private Douglas Alexander Hay, 9th Armoured Car Company, Royal Tank Corps, took his own life by way of a self-inflicted gunshot from a revolver on 25 April 1923.
Private-Follower Joseph, 1st Madras Pioneers, died 2 December 1921.
2979103 Private Neil McCracken, 2nd Battalion, The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders (Princess Louise’s), was killed in action on 27 May 1937.
5242658 Private Ernest W. Mealin, The Worcestershire Regiment attached to Headquarters 10th Indian Infantry Brigade, died of disease or illness at Manzai on 21 June 1922.
2979738 Private J. Moore, 2nd Battalion, The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders (Princess Louise’s), was killed in action on 27 May 1937.
Manzai Fort Cemetery
Royal Signals Graves at Manzai Fort
9 April 1937 Shahur Tangi Casualties Buried at Manzai Fort
Other Burials at Manzai Fort
1. (Back) Now Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan, which since 2018 has included the Federally Administered Tribal Areas.
2. (Back) Manzai Fort GPS Coordinates: 32.249555, 70.246004. Cemetery GPS Coordinates 32.261531, 70.243371.
3. (Back) Incorrectly recorded on the Royal Signals Roll of Honour as ‘Signalman C. Davis’.