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Indians on the Western Front

1914

Indians on the Western Front

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  • Intro

    On 26 September, soon after the outbreak of war, the first 28,500 Indian Army troops arrived on the Western Front to fill the gap left by the near decimation of the British Expeditionary Force. They played a vital role and are said to have arrived just ‘in the nick of time’.

     

    Indian soldiers fought at Ypres, Neuve Chapelle, the Somme and Passchendaele. Altogether, some 1.5 million were deployed in all theatres of World War I. A few like the 19-year-old student Indra Lal Roy served in the Royal Flying Corps. A fighter ace, Roy was posthumously awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross. In only 170 hours and 15 minutes of flying time he shot down 10 enemy aircraft, before dying in an air crash.

     

    The Indian Army was highly decorated and won 21 Victoria Crosses. Though briefly acknowledged at the time, their important contributions are only now being publicly remembered.

     

    Shelfmark: Photo 24/294

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