At the end of September and throughout October the Battalion would reassemble back at the home barracks. Officers would be returning from leave in the UK and distant parts of India; troops would be entraining at Bombay after being posted to the 1st Battalion and of course the Hill Station Detachments were en route for base.
Autumn was the camping season, or to use the military terminology the "time for manoeuvres". In November 1931 there was a fortnight's camp at Garhmukhtesar which was twenty-seven miles from Meerut, on the banks of the Ganges. However, the Battalion marched forty-one miles to get there, which needless to say, proved popular!!! Apparently it was a good camp site with plenty of shade and not as much dust. There were plenty of mosquitoes and snakes - particularly in the Russell's Viper. Swimming was not allowed due to large fresh water crocodiles (Mugger) and also due to the fact that Garhmukhtesar was a Hindu holy place and pilgrims were beginning to arrive.
The most strenuous thing undertaken was the twenty-mile night march into camp after a ten-mile march earlier in the day. Apart from this the training in camp was not too severe and tug of war and boxing competitions filled up quite a lot of the time. It was indeed "cushy".
The annual manoeuvres area for January 1933 was Babina near Jhansi. This three week camp was shared with the Cameronians, KOYLI, and the Mahratta Light Infantry. The move from Meerut was by train on the 3rd January 1933 with only a four hundred-yard march to the camp.
Training began on the 4th January, with Battalion training followed by Brigade training and finally Eastern Command Manoeuvres. All in all it was to be a pleasant two weeks under canvas with the last five days taken up by a trek across the United Provinces. In addition, night marches using compasses and the stars were undertaken, like the one from Basaito to Tunka, a distance of twelve miles in twelve hours on the night of 22nd/23rd January.
It was remarked that the troops were very well fed in camp and heartfelt thanks went out to the cooks, the Quartermaster, and the "Roti Wallahs", (roti =Hindi for bread). The other notable feature was the number of thorns, which led to ripped kilts and torn socks. The Battalion marched back to its welcome bungalows in Meerut on January 26th 1933.
Raghanathpur camp November 1933
Raghanathpur Camp was reached in two easy stages of six and seven miles. It was held on the 1st to 5th November 1933 and was by all accounts a "home from home". A high proportion of the time was spent on sports such as football and basketball.
Ready to move off and on the road to Raghanathpur
Manoeuvres in 1935 took the form of a Flag March between 28th January - 16th February in the Berhampore area, one hundred and twenty miles from Barrackpore. A Flag March was to show the flag - a sign of strength to those who wanted Independence.
HQ wing cooks Berhampore 1935 and Battalion guard
The first march was to Jiaganj a village fourteen miles away with a halt at Murshidabad, the old capital of Bengal. The second march occurred on February 8th to Beldanga twelve miles away.
On the march around Beldanga 9th February 1935
It is perhaps fitting to close this section with a direct quote, which gives an insight into the Colonial power in the 1930's.
"Perhaps the Indians will remember our visit much longer than we shall, and with pleasure realise that we are not the barbarians which the agitators had led them to believe, but rather the upholders of their prosperity and ambassadors of peace".