(Photo: courtesy of Commonwealth War Graves Commission)

India honours the fallen at Neuve Chapelle Centenary remembrance

Posted on centenarynews.com on 15 March 2015
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India's Ambassador to France, Arun K.Singh, took part in commemorations on March 13th 2015 marking the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Neuve Chapelle.

Mr Singh laid a wreath at the Neuve Chapelle Memorial to more than 4,700 soldiers and labourers from undivided India who died on the Western Front, and have no known grave.

The service was attended by French military representatives, as well as community leaders and schoolchildren from the villages of Richebourg-Neuve Chapelle. 

Ambassador Singh also officially inaugurated a three-week programme of exhibitions being held locally to mark India's contribution to the Allies in the First World War.

A century ago, Indian troops formed half of the attacking force in Britain's first major Western Front offensive at Neuve Chapelle in 1914.

The Commonwealth War Graves Commission, which cares for the Neuve Chapelle Memorial, urged people to remember the colonial Indian Army's sacrifice.

Indian Memorial, Neuve Chapelle (Photo: courtesy of CWGC)

More than one million troops and other personnel from undivided India (now India, Pakistan and Bangladesh) were sent overseas to support the British war effort.

Colin Kerr, CWGC's Director of External Engagement, said: "Very few people are aware of the unique contribution made by Indian servicemen during the First World War. The CWGC commemorates 74,000 Indian servicemen and women who sacrificed their lives during the conflict."

Centenary commemorations have been held in India itself, with the laying of wreaths by the President and Prime Minister at the India Gate in Delhi.

CWGC also participated in a First World War exhibition hosted by India's armed forces at the Manekshaw Convention Centre in New Delhi.

Details of March 2015 community events in Richebourg-Neuve Chapelle marking the centenary of the Battle of Neuve Chapelle can be found here.

Go to CWGC's Forever India website to discover about Undivided India's role in the First and Second World Wars.

Information & images supplied by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Posted by: Peter Alhadeff, Centenary News

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