1st Sikh Infantry Officer's Shoulder Belt Plate c.1867
The regiment was formed in 1846 by Captain J. S. Hodgson at Hoshiarpur as 1st Sikh Infantry, part of the British Indian Army. In 1846-7 1st, along with the 4th Sikh Regiments formed the Infantry of the Frontier Brigade and in 1847 became 1st Regiment of Sikh Local Infantry. By 1851 Frontier Brigade became the Punjab Irregular Force (Piffers) including the Corps of Guides and Punjab Irregular Force. In 1865 the unit became 1st Regiment of Sikh Infantry, Punjab Frontier Force. By 1903 it was retitled 51st Sikhs (Frontier Force). It participated in several campaigns earning the following battle honors:
Based on the single Battle Honor "PUNJAB" on the bottom of the plate and the title "1st SIKH INFANTRY PUNJAB FRONTIER FORCE" in the banners it is assumed this badge dates 1865. A beautiful badge, typical of the Indian Forces of the Victorian Era. It has all of the original nuts and fasteners with a nice patina and finish. Maker Marked Rannkin & Co. The National Army Museum owns a number of buckles and badges of this unit, but not this device. A rare item. There is a small cord tassel on the bottom right that extends beneath the banner, and the matching one on the left is broken off, the only damage to this beautiful badge.