British High Commissioner Philip Barton unveiling the Victoria Cross holders' memorial with Abdul Ghafoor Chaudhary and Ghulam Nabi Minhas, descendants of Sepoy Khudadad Khan VC (Photo: British High Commission, Islamabad)

Britain honours First World War Victoria Cross soldiers in Pakistan

Posted on on 16 November 2014
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A plaque honouring three soldiers who were awarded the Victoria Cross during the First World War has been unveiled in the Pakistani capital, Islamabad.

The ceremony, part of the UK Government's Centenary commemorations, was performed on November 10th 2014 by the British High Commissioner (Ambassador) to Pakistan, Philip Barton.

The plaque commemorates the bravery of Sepoy Khudadad Khan, Jemadar Mir Dast and Naik Shahamad Khan, all of whom came from what is now Pakistan. They served in the colonial Indian Army when undivided India was under British rule.

Descendants of Khudadad Khan, the first Muslim recipient of the Victoria Cross, were among those present, together with representatives from Dulmial village in Punjab province. More than 450 soldiers from Dulmial fought in the First World War, the largest single number from any village in South Asia. 

High Commissioner Philip Barton said: "As we honour Pakistan’s three recipients of the Victoria Cross, the United Kingdom’s highest award for gallantry, we should remember the sacrifices made a century ago that helped shape our present world. People from different nations came together to uphold our way of life."

The plaque will eventually be placed in a prominent public area in Islamabad with the aim of making the VC recipients' stories better known, particularly among younger generations.

After the unveiling, the High Commissioner and Pakistan's Defence Secretary, Lieutenant General (Retired) Alam Khattak, laid a wreath in remembrance of all those killed in the First World War, and those who have fallen in conflicts since.

To discover more about Sepoy Khudadad Khan's story, click here.

Source: UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Images courtesy of the British High Commission, Islamabad

Posted by: Peter Alhadeff, Centenary News