Remember India’s Sacrifice In First World War Urges Commonwealth War Graves Commission
10 March 2015
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission is urging the public to
remember the contribution and sacrifice made by Indian servicemen
and women during the First World War on the centenary of the Battle
of Neuve Chapelle (10 - 13 March 2015).
Indian Army units began arriving in France in September 1914,
and went on to fight in some of the bloodiest battles of the first
year of the war.
In March 1915, the first major British offensive of the First
World War took place at Neuve Chapelle - with the Indian Corps
making up half of the Commonwealth fighting force. Soldiers writing
home talked of "shells pouring down like rain in the monsoon" and
the bodies of the dead "covering the country like sheaves of
Over the course of the war, India sent over 140,000 men to the
Western Front. They hailed from the length and breadth of undivided
India: from the Punjab, Garwahl, the Frontiers, Bengal, Madras,
Burma, and from neighbouring Nepal, and represented an extremely
diverse range of religious, linguistic, and ethnic cultures.
Of the combatants, over 8,600 were killed and as many as 50,000
more were wounded. Over 4,000 of these men are commemorated on the
CWGC Neuve Chapelle Memorial in northern France.
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