3rd Afghan War

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3rd Afghan War
6 May – 8 August 1919
Chronological list of Wars and Campaigns
[[Image:|250px| ]]
Location: Afghanistan
British Army Afghan regular forces
British subsidy dicontinued
Afghans regained control of foreign policy
Border with British India confirmed
India General Service Medal (1909)
Clasp:Afghanistan NWF 1919
Category: 3rd Afghan War

Hoping to regain control of foreign policy ceded to the British at the Treaty of Gandamak 1879 and to divert attention from internal strife, Amir Amanullah Khan invaded India on 3 May 1919. Military action took place mostly in the Khyber Pass but Kabul was bombed by the Royal Air Force and the Afghans attacked Thal. The Afghan forces were driven from British Indian territory and the Treaty of Rawalpindi on 8 August ended the British subsidy to Afghanistan which regained the right to conduct its own foreign affairs. The Durand Line defining the border between Afghanistan and the North West Frontier was re-affirmed.

British Library holdings

  • The Third Afghan War 1919 Official Account, with maps, by General Staff, Army Headquarters, India, published 1926 Calcutta. Now available online, see below.
  • Afghanistan 1919. An Account of Operations in the Third Afghan War by Lieutenant- General G. N Molesworth, (George Noble) 1962. UIN: BLL01002520046. Molesworth served as Adjutant to the 2nd Battalion Somerset Light Infantry throughout this conflict.
  • War Diary [Collection], Army Headquarters India, Afghan War, 1919. GSI, 1919. 9 vols IOR/L/MIL/17/5/4057-4065. Printed volumes from the Military Library. Locate these records using the British Library Search.

Regimental histories

  • Frontier Assault: The North Staffordshire Regiment in the Third Afghan War 1919 by James Green.[1] This book is stated to include an account of the North-West Frontier during WW1. Available at the British Library UIN: BLL01019500027 .


  • The medal awarded was the India General Service Medal 1908 with clasp Afghanistan N W F 1919
  • Also see Medal Rolls

External links

The Third Afghan War and the External Position of India, 1919-1924 by M H Jacobsen. Report presented at the Conference on Asian Studies, Madison Wisconsin 7 November 1987. Defense Technical Information Center DTIC ADA195401 Archive.org . He also appears to have been the author of a PhD Thesis, University of California The Modernisation of the Indian Army 1925-1939 by Mark Houston Jacobsen (1979), available in a 1983 edition at Imperial War Museums LBY 83/3224, possibly as a microfilm.

Historical books online

  • "Operations against Afghanistan" London Gazette Supplement 12 March 1920
  • Third Afghan War 1919--Official Account by Army HQ India 1926 may be downloaded as a pdf from PAHAR- Mountains of Central Asia Digital Dataset. Archive.org mirror version. Includes Map. Also available on Archive.org, mirror from Central Secretariat Library Delhi.
  • "The Third Afghan War", page 270 A History of Afghanistan Volume II by Brig-Gen Sir Percy Sykes 1940 Archive.org
  • Army. The official names of the battles and other engagements fought by the military forces of the British Empire during the Great War, 1914-1919, and the Third Afghan War, 1919. Report of the Battles Nomenclature Committee as approved by the Army Council. This publication is available on the subscription website UK Parliamentary Papers, reference Command Papers/ Accounts and Papers/ Session: 1921/Paper Number: Cmd. 1138. See Subscription websites-online newspapers, journals and directories for details and suggested access. Your Library needs to have subscribed for the module for this period. Also available at the National Archives, Kew, WO 161/102. There was a reprint edition published c 1992-93.
  • Records of the Survey of India, Volume 20. The War Record 1914-1920 1925. If the download button does not display, locate in Books/Survey Of India, or Direct link PAHAR Mountains of Central Asia Digital Dataset. Google Books version (now full view). Archive.org version. Work of Royal Engineers and other staff of the Survey of India mapping in various theatres of war, in Mesopotamia, Kurdistan, Macedonia, Arabia, Persia, Palestine, East Africa and Afghanistan.
  • Hired to Kill: Some Chapters of Autobiography by Charles John Morris 1960. Link to a pdf download, PAHAR Mountains of Central Asia Digital Dataset. Archive.org mirror version. John Morris was an officer with the 3rd Gurkha Rifles from 1918 until 1934 in Palestine, Afghanistan (the Third Afghan War in 1919), Waziristan and the North West Frontier of India.
  • Page 88 The Story of the 1st & 2nd Battalions, 41st Dogras: Volume I, October 1900 to December 1923 and October 1917 to March 1922 by Officers of the Regiment [1923] Archive.org. Part of a chapter about the 3rd Afghan War.
  • The Indian Sappers and Miners by E. W. C Sandes [Edward Warren Caulfeild] 1948. (726p). nzsappers.org.nz. Includes a chapter on the 3rd Afghan War.
  • The Green Howards In The Great War 1914-1919 by Colonel H C Wylly 1926
Available on the pay website findmypast[2]. If signed in to findmypast, the links are Title page (image 4), Contents page (image 9)
Includes the 1st Battalion in India and the Third Afghan War 1914-1919. Commences Page 9, (image 27), Third Afghan War: page 15 (image 33)
Also available in a reprint edition[3], which in turn is available as an online book on the Ancestry owned pay website fold3.
Note the fold3 version is easier to read online than the findmypast version.
  • The Somerset Light Infantry is available online on the Ancestry owned pay website fold3 located in Military books/Britain scroll to letter T. This appears to be The History of the Somerset Light Infantry (Prince Albert's) 1914-1919 by Everard Wyrall, originally published 1927 and is a reprint edition published by Naval & Military Press.[4] From comments seen elsewhere, includes the 3rd Afghan War.
Also note the book by a SLI officer who took part: Afghanistan 1919. An Account of Operations in the Third Afghan War by Lieutenant- General G. N Molesworth, (George Noble) 1962 available at the British Library UIN: BLL01002520046 .



  1. Frontier Assault: The North Staffordshire Regiment in the Third Afghan War 1919 by James Green. Google Books
  2. British Army Records & Regimental Histories located in Armed Forces & Conflict/Regimental & Service Records. findmypast. Click on 'Browse Title', select title, then click on 'View Results'.
  3. Green Howards in the Great War Naval & Military Press.
  4. History of the Somerset Light Infantry (Prince Albert's) 1914-1919 Naval & Military Press.