The Indian Army in Europe, 1914–1918
DOI link for The Indian Army in Europe, 1914–1918
The Indian Army in Europe, 1914–1918 book
In January 1915, a wounded Punjabi Rajput soldier, recovering from injuries sustained on the Western Front, wrote a letter home from a hospital in Britain to a relative in India. ‘This is not war,’ he said, ‘it is the ending of the world. This is just such a war as was related in the Mahabharata about our forefathers’. 2 The author of these words-a Hindu of warrior caste-had been serving, under British leadership, with the Indian Corps in France. Indian troops had arrived in France in late September 1914. They were to fi ght at all the main actions of the British Expeditionary Force in 1914-1915. The Indians fought at the First Battle of Ypres; they were prominent in the British attack at Neuve Chapelle in March 1915; one Indian division was badly mauled at the Second Battle of Ypres in April 1915; and Indian troops went into the attack on the fi rst day of the Battle of Loos in September 1915. The two Indian infantry divisions that had been serving in France were withdrawn at the close of 1915. Two Indian cavalry divisions stayed on in France until March 1918, when they were transferred to the Middle East. 3 We can learn a great deal about the Indian soldiers’ experiences in France because much of their correspondence has survived-preserved as translated extracts attached to the reports of the British military censorship.