Officers' Mess (Bombay Snappers), a heritage building with age old army tradition

.Officers' mess (Bombay Snappers)

Bombay Snappers' mess.

Above image: In February 2020 Bombay Snappers turned 200. At Pune,  the Bicentenary Commemoration Parade was reviewed by General MM Naravane,.............................

Officers'  mess, an iconic colonial building set in the midst of a vast garden   came up between March 1906 and April 1907  for the British  army. It is a stone-masonry work with a single upper floor. Both floors in the fa├žade  has slopping brick  red color tiled roof with a tiled gable at the center. The wooden pillars in the building are of similar design. In the dinning room an interesting feature is the the retention of old type fan called Punkha huge black vertical wooden type as there was no electricity when the building came up. It was operated by men from outside and in the summer it would keep the inmates cool.  They would get the punkha going by using the  ropes and peddling with their feet or hand.  They have kept the age old punkha, it is now electrically operated with a hidden motor. Colonial history is brought out by old  aesthetic decorations on the walls

Punkha in colonial India,

Yet another fascinating aspect of this mess is the underground tunnel (now closed for ever) connecting Commandant's office half a mile away. It was a sort of escape route  from the mess in case of an emergency like sudden raid. The great rebellion of 1857made the English come up with many contingency plans. One being creating underground tunnels at many locations for safety and security reasons..

  I understand are The mess was  meant for the  officers  and troops of the Royal Engineer Officers of the British  army. The cost of construction was Rs. Rs 33,000, of which Rs 25,000 was from the government of India and the remaining was c borne by the  royal engineer officers. The loan incurred was adjusted by way of  foregoing the mess maintenance allowance for the following 15 years.

Presently owned by the Bombay Snappers ( the Bombay Engineer Group), the mess is often called Snappers' mess. The origin of the Group can be traced back to a Company of Pioneer Lascars raised in Bombay in 1777.  The present 18 Fd Coy, part of 106 Engr Regt is the direct descendant of the unit.  Recognizing the services rendered by the Group during the First World War, the group got several covetous awards. 

 For several decades  the officers' Mess  has become the venue for the Bombay Snappers of the Indian Army. An interesting and historical fact is the age old tradition of  beginning their arduous tough military journey  here and ending it on a happy note in the same place   still continues without a break. 

The officers' Mess here has the distinction being the only one in the Indian Army which is owned and maintained by the army officers. They make their contribution from their mess allowances and this way they preserve the long held tradition that owes its origin to the British Army under the Raj. Often considered a symbol of solidarity and brotherhood,  here at the Snappers' mess the officers get baptized  before embarking on a challenging military journey.