Military Honours

Taukkenyan Cremation Memorial and Grave

Battle Honours for the troops of Undivided India


"The achievements in combat of these Indian soldiers are noteworthy. They have carried on successfully in grim and bloody fighting against a tenacious enemy helped by terrain particularly favourable for defence. No obstacle has succeeded in delaying these Indian troops for long or in lowering their high morale or fighting spirit... The bravery of Indian troops is attested by the Battle Honours and Decorations awarded."

Lt.-General Mark W. Clark (U S Army) February 27th, 1945, Italy

Though referring to the Fourth, Eighth and Tenth Divisions under his command in Italy, Clark's words only echo what has been said so often about troops from Undivided India in the course of the First and Second World Wars.

Victoria Cross Medal

The Memorial Gates Trust reports that, in the First World War, "participants from the Indian subcontinent won 13,000 medals."

Marika Sherwood says, on the BBC History website, that in the Second World War, "Indian personnel received 4,000 awards for gallantry."

Courage in battle is exemplified by those men who were awarded the Victoria Cross.

The Victoria Cross is the highest award for gallantry in Britain. It is awarded for an act of outstanding courage or devotion to duty in the presence of the enemy.

It was introduced in 1856 by Queen Victoria during the Crimean War.

Indian troops were not originally eligible for the VC, because they already had a similar award - the Indian Order of Merit. At the time, the Indian Army was still under the control of the Honourable East India Company.

In 1860 when Indian soldiers came under Crown control, pressure was exerted to allow them to receive the VC. It took until 1911 for this measure of equality to be put into practice.

In the First World War 11 soldiers from Undivided India were awarded the Victoria Cross.

2 of these awards were posthumous.

In the Second World War there were 31 recipients of the Victoria Cross from Undivided India.

2 of these awards were posthumous.

Each one of their stories is remarkable and inspiring, no one more deserving of our admiration than any other.

It is our intention to feature a few examples to begin with so that each one can be examined and honoured individually, with no danger of becoming lost amongst so many others.

Every story will be told on this website over time.

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