Commemoration in the UK

Neuve Chapelle

Honouring Sikh and Hindu soldiers

Sensitivity to the religious traditions of the Indian soldiers extended to the funeral arrangements too.

Fifty three Hindus and Sikhs, including Manta Singh, were cremated on a specially built funeral ghat on the gentle English hills of the South Downs, overlooking Brighton. Their ashes were scattered in the sea.

To mark the site, a chattri was built.

Chattri

Chattri means umbrella in Hindi, Punjabi and Urdu. Chattris have been used as memorials to the dead for centuries in India. The Brighton Chattri is dedicated to Indian soldiers who died in the First World War.

The Chattri bears the following inscription in Hindi and English:

To the memory of all the Indian soldiers who gave their lives for their King-Emperor in the Great War, this monument, erected on the site of the funeral pyre where the Hindus and Sikhs who died in hospital at Brighton, passed through the fire, is in grateful admiration and brotherly affection dedicated.

Chattri New Screen Wall

In September, 2010, a new screen wall, constructed by the CWGC, was unveiled. It bears the name of fifty three Indian soldiers, including Gurkhas, who died in Brighton hospitals.

For more details about the chattri, check out these links:

www.chattri.com

www.cwgc.org/search/cemetery_details

Honouring Muslim soldiers

Muslim soldiers who died in English hospitals also received burial rites according to their religion. Some were taken to Woking - to a new cemetery near to the Shah Jehan Mosque

Shah Jehan Mosque Muslim Cemetery

Some were taken to Brookwood Military Cemetery. There, in a fusion of Muslim practices with British military traditions, they were interred and a bugler played 'The Last Post'

Brookwood Military Cemetery

Mahomed Sarwar grew up in the Punjab and, like many young men from a rural population, sought adventure and a life outside his ancestral village by joining the 19th Lancers (Fane's Horse)

His regiment went to France in October 1914 as part of the Sialkot Brigade of the 1st Indian Cavalry Division.

Mahomed only survived for eight short months. In Flanders, trench warfare made cavalry charges not only impractical but impossible, so the men left their horses behind the lines and served as infantry in the trenches.

It is not certain how or where Mahomed was injured, but it is quite possible that it was during the Battle of Neuve Chapelle, the same battle in which Manta Singh and Captain Henderson were injured, in March 1915.

By April 1915, Mahomed was in the Kitchener Hospital in Brighton, now the General Hospital. There he died, two months later - not a heroic death on the field of battle like so many other Muslims, but from typhoid. He was only nineteen.

On his headstone in Brookwood Cemetery, it says:

"For God we are and to God we go"

(Qur'an)

Mahomed Sarwar grave

The Memorial Gates

On 6th November, 2002 HM The Queen officially inaugurated the Memorial Gates on Constitution Hill in London, UK.

Memorial Gates Memorial Gates

The memorial, which is not part of the CWGC's work, honours the five million men and women from Undivided India, Africa and the Caribbean who volunteered to serve with the Armed Forces during the First and Second World Wars. It also celebrates the contribution that these men and women and their descendants, members of the Commonwealth family, continue to make to the rich diversity of British society.

On the roof of the pavilion are inscribed the names of recipients of high military honours, many of whose stories are recorded in the Military Honours pages.

Find out more about the Memorial Gates

The Gurkha Memorial

The British memorial to the Gurkhas, on Horse Guards Avenue, London was unveiled by HM The Queen on 3rd December 1997 - again not the work of the CWGC.

Gurkha Memorial

The inscription is a quotation from Sir Ralph Turner, a former officer in the 3rd Gurkha Rifles.

THE GURKHA SOLDIER
Bravest of the brave,
most generous of the generous,
never had country
more faithful friends
than you.

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