La Chapelette British & Indian cemetery, setting for international remembrance in September 2017 of India's contribution in 1914-18 (Photo courtesy of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission)

Somme ceremony honours Indian troops of the Great War

Posted on on 24 September 2017
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Tributes have been paid in France to 320 Indian First World War troops buried at a Commonwealth cemetery near Péronne on the Somme.

The international ceremony at La Chapelette British & Indian Cemetery on 10 September 2017 honoured in particular the many members of the Indian Labour Corps commemorated there.

It also aimed to raise local awareness of the cemetery, which is cared for by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, and the part played by soldiers of the colonial Indian Army in the Allied war effort.

The service was attended by French, Indian, British, Australian and South African representatives. For the full story and pictures, see Mission Centenaire and Somme 14-18.

Péronne, on the former battlefields of the Somme, is also hosting a special exhibition devoted to the Indian forces who served in France. It runs at the Musée municipal Alfred-Danicourt until 12 November 2017.

During WW1, both Britain and France recruited tens of thousands of men from their colonies, as well as China, to carry out essential  labouring duties in suppport of their armies.

More than one million troops and other personnel from British-ruled India (now India, Pakistan and Bangladesh) were deployed overseas.They fought in the Middle East, Africa, and at Gallipoli as well as on the Western Front. 

Also in Centenary News:

India's Prime Minister pays tribute at Neuve Chapelle, April 2015.

Source: Mission Centenaire

Images courtesy of the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC)

Posted by: CN Editorial Team