Main content

Razmak Brigade photograph album


Held at: University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts [Contact Us]3420 Walnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6206

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.

Overview and metadata sections

The Razmak Brigade was an infantry formation of the British Army located along the North West Frontier of India, near Afghanistan. The Brigade was formed as early as the 1920s and hosted soldiers through the Second World War. Razmak is at a high elevation, around 7,000 feet and today is part of Pakistan.

These photographs were taken during the Waziristan campaign, during which the British Army fought against the Fakir of Ipi from 1936 to 1939. According to the Telegraph, "Fakir, born Mirza Ali Khan in the village of Ipi in 1898, was a mullah who managed, after centuries of internecine conflict, to unite the warring tribes of the mountainous province of Waziristan." In late 1936, the British moved troops through the Khaisora Valley, from the garrison at Razmak to the east, but the troops were attacked and forced to retreat, which increased support for the Fakir of Ipi. As a result the British increased the number of troops (both British and Indian) in the area to reinforce the garrisons at Razmak, Bannu, and Wana. The British Army faced guerrila warfare and the Fakir of Ipi was never captured.

There does not appear to be much written about the British soldiers' experiences in the Razmak Brigade from 1936 to 1939, but photographs in the collection indicate rugged terrain and extreme temperatures.

This album consists of just under 50 photographs of men who were part of the Razmak Brigade, during the Waziristan campaign. For the most part, the photographs are of the soldiers in both summer and winter uniforms, while in camp. Photographs includes soldiers standing in line at the mess; chatting in front of tents; and waiting for transporation, fully equipped with kits and weapons. Some of the photographs appear to be of very young uniformed men, perhaps boys; and only a few seem to focus on higher ranking officers. The photographs, in general, are casual, even when the soldiers in a group photograph were clearly posed or when higher ranking officers are included. Pet dogs are included in several photographs. There appears to be a great deal of comradery amongst the troops.

There are also some shots of the local scenery of the area, including a bridge, the dramatic hairpin turns in the road, and various mountainous landscapes. Photographs of military transport include the gate into Razmak Brigade, several signposts, military trucks and tanks in convoy, troops traveling on foot through rugged terrain, and military vehicles entering what appears to be a town. There are several sweeping scenes of the British army's camps and two photographs of local Waziri armed men not in uniform..

There are no captions in the album with the exception of a numbering scheme which is not defined. Each photograph contains a number and either KALIA or SHARMA, presumably the photographer. These photographs appear to have been printed and sold to numerous soldiers as identical photographs can be found in other collections.

Purchased, 2008.

University of Pennsylvania: Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts
Finding Aid Author
Clémence Scouten
Finding Aid Date
2016 February 26
Access Restrictions

This collection is open for research use.

Use Restrictions

Copyright restrictions may exist. For most library holdings, the Trustees of the University of Pennsylvania do not hold copyright. It is the responsibility of the requester to seek permission from the holder of the copyright to reproduce material from the Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts.

Collection Inventory

Request to View Materials

Materials can be requested by first logging in to Aeon. Then, click on the ADD button next to any containers you wish to request. When complete, click the Request button.

Request item to view
Photograph album, circa 1936-1945.
Volume 1

Print, Suggest