Culture Secretary Sajid Javid with guests at IWM North event to honour the contribution of soldiers from the Indian sub-continent in the First World War
The heroic contribution of Indian troops who fought in the Battle of Neuve Chapelle during World War One has been honoured at a special event marking the centenary year of the conflict.
Military personnel and religious leaders from the Muslim, Hindu and Sikh faiths, as well as schoolchildren gathered for the event at the Imperial War Museum North for the commemoration.
The Culture Secretary Sajid Javid said: “Events in France a century ago are still relevant in Britain today. It’s important that we continue to tell the incredible story of the Indian Army and we never forget the Battle of Neuve Chapelle.
“Neuve Chapelle is not just the place where the course of the First World War hung in the balance for four long days. It is also the place where men from across Britain’s empire stood shoulder to shoulder, fighting thousands of miles from home in defence of what was right. Men from modern-day India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nepal taking up arms alongside soldiers from every corner of the UK.”
The special event was one of many projects around the country looking at the Indian contribution to the FirstWorld War. In total, around 800,000 Indian troops fought in the war and won 12 Victoria Cross awards.
Sergeant Rajinder Singh Dhatt, Vice-Chairman, of the Undivided Indian Ex-Servicemen’s Association said: “The Indian Troops played a significant part in the First World War and we welcome the Government’s efforts to ensure that the centenary is inclusive of all the faith communities who voluntarily participated in the war and pray that this national commemoration of the Battle of Neuve Chapelle will be a resounding success.”