UK Culture Secretary Sajid Javid with guests at IWM North in Manchester (Photo: courtesy of Department for Culture, Media & Sport)

Neuve Chapelle Centenary: Britain's tribute to Indian forces

Posted on centenarynews.com on 10 March 2015
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As well as India's Centenary commemorations, Britain also honoured the First World War role of Indian soldiers on the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Neuve Chapelle.

Religious leaders from the Muslim, Hindu and Sikh faiths joined schoolchildren from Northwest England for the tribute at Imperial War Museum North, Manchester, on March 10th 2015.

The event featured an evening of traditional Indian dance, readings and poems.

Culture Secretary Sajid Javid, who leads the UK Government's Centenary programme, praised the courage and commitment of India's troops during the First World War. 

He said: "Events in France a century ago are still relevant in Britain today. It’s important that we continue to tell the incredible story of the Indian Army and we never forget the Battle of Neuve Chapelle.

"Neuve Chapelle is not just the place where the course of the First World War hung in the balance for four long days. It is also the place where men from across Britain’s empire stood shoulder to shoulder, fighting thousands of miles from home in defence of what was right.

"Men from modern-day India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nepal taking up arms alongside soldiers from every corner of the UK."

Havildar (Sergeant) Rajinder Singh Dhatt, Vice-Chairman of the Undivided Indian Ex-Servicemen’s Association, said the Indian Army had played a significant part in the war.

He continued: "We welcome the Government’s efforts to ensure that the Centenary is inclusive of all the faith communities who voluntarily participated in the war and pray that this national commemoration of the Battle of Neuve Chapelle will be a resounding success."

Information & images supplied by UK Government (DCMS)

Posted by: Peter Alhadeff, Centenary News