Creative commons - labelled for Re-use
“Quoted stats from various sources”
1.4 million individuals, the forgotten heroes of WW1
Did you know that India provided the largest voluntary force ever assembled in history (IWM) with around 1.4 million individuals during WWI?
- “Almost 1.5 million Muslim, Sikh and Hindu men volunteered in the Indian Expeditionary Force.' Photo of members of a Waziri Khasadar, India, 1917-19” (https://www.britishcouncil.org/voices-magazine/how-was-india-involved-first-world-war)
- “Commissioned officers, British and Indian, held identical ranks to commissioned officers of the British Army. Recruitment was entirely voluntary; about 1.75 million men served in the First World War.” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_Indian_Army)
- “India played a significant part in World War One. However, India’s part in the war is frequently overlooked as a result of the horrors experienced in trench warfare and by Europe’s tendency to home in on battles such as those fought at the Somme and Verdun, which many assume only Europeans fought in. In total, 800,000 Indian troops fought in all the theatres of the war with 1½ million volunteering to fight.” (https://www.historylearningsite.co.uk/world-war-one/india-and-world-war-one/)
- “India made a vital contribution to Allied success in the First World War. The Indian Army grew from some 150,000 in 1914 to nearly 1.4 million by 1918.” (https://www.cwgc.org/history-and-archives/first-world-war/forces/indian-army)
- “The Indian Army played a crucial role in WW1, fighting in every major theatre of operations alongside British units. During the Battle of Neuve Chapelle, March 1915, the Indian Army provided as much as half of the attacking force. For the first time, Indian soldiers were fighting on European soil.” (https://www.thegazette.co.uk/all-notices/content/332)
- “In both WW1 and WW2, Indian soldiers formed the backbone for Great Britain’s land forces as Britain’s main advantage was its naval power. Millions of Indian soldiers and volunteers participated in both wars on Britain side. It would be no exaggeration to say that without Indian soldiers, Britain might have lost the war and Germany would have conquered Europe.” (https://cmvtcivils.wordpress.com/2015/09/04/role-of-india-in-ww1-and-ww2-and-what-are-its-effects-on-india/)
Nearly 74,000 Indian Soldiers died, 67,000 wounded and 10, 000 missing during the First World War.
Join us in remembering and commemorating all those who sacrificed their lives for us so that we could live in peace.
- ‘Some 113,743 Indians were reported dead, wounded or missing at the end of the war, and many were decorated for their efforts.’ (https://www.iwm.org.uk/learning/resources/the-empire-called-to-arms)
- “I urge our youth to visit this exhibition to learn about the war in which nearly 74,000 of our men were martyred in far-flung lands,” India PM Mr Narendra Modi (https://www.irishtimes.com/news/world/asia-pacific/india-reclaims-lost-history-of-its-ww1-soldiers-1.2165656)
- “The CWGC commemorates some 74,000 who lost their lives while serving with Indian forces between 1914 and 1921. Many were cremated in accordance with their faith and their names are inscribed on memorials, which can be found from Brighton to Basra, Cape Helles to Gallipoli and from Egypt to eastern Africa.” (https://www.cwgc.org/history-and-archives/first-world-war/forces/indian-army)
- “Over 1 million Indian soldiers served overseas. Of those, 67,000 were wounded, while 62,000 died in battle. In total, at least 74,187 Indian soldiers died during World War I. Many think that if the British hadn’t had the Indian army, they wouldn’t have got through the war.” (http://www.thevintagenews.com/2018/02/23/wwi-india-army/)
- “The total number of Indian casualties during the war was: 62,000 killed in battle, 67,000 wounded, some of whom died from their wounds. In all at least 74,200 died during WW1. Many wounded colonial troops were sent to England to receive treatment and to recover from their injuries. Several were sent to the Royal Pavilion Hospital in Brighton, which during WW1, was used as a military hospital.” (https://www.allenscrosscommunity.co.uk/contribution-of-the-british-indian-army-in-ww1/)
- “Over 74,000 were killed — five times more than the combined death toll from every war that India has fought since independence — and 80,000 were held prisoner. (https://cmvtcivils.wordpress.com/2015/09/04/role-of-india-in-ww1-and-ww2-and-what-are-its-effects-on-india/)
Military Honours Including Victoria Crosses
Indian troops during the WW1 won over 13,000 awards for gallantry including 11 Victoria Crosses.
- “The Indian Corps won 13,000 medals for gallantry including 12 Victoria Crosses. Khudadad Khan won the Corps first Victoria Cross.” (https://www.historylearningsite.co.uk/world-war-one/india-and-world-war-one/)
- “Participants from the Indian subcontinent won 13,000 medals, including 12 Victoria Crosses”. “Some 100,000 Gurkhas from Nepal took part in fighting during the First World War. Two Victoria Crosses – the supreme award for valour – were won by Gurkhas.”(http://www.mgtrust.org/ind1.htm)
- “Khudadad Khan Minhas VC was the first Indian recipient of the Victoria Cross, the highest military award for gallantry in the face of the enemy given to British and Commonwealth forces.” (http://www.victoriacross.org.uk/bbkhkhan.htm, http://ww1.nam.ac.uk/learning/khudadad-khan/, )
- “For the Indians who fought for the Empire, earning a staggering 13,000 gallantry medals in the process, this legacy of ignorance is a scandal.”(https://cmvtcivils.wordpress.com/2015/09/04/role-of-india-in-ww1-and-ww2-and-what-are-its-effects-on-india/)
India provided 3.7 Million tons of Supplies
Huge amounts of supplies were shipped from India during the war to various forces around the world. In addition to supplies, India provided, 40 field ambulances, 6 clearing hospitals, 35 stationary hospitals, 18 general hospitals, 9 x-ray sections, 8 sanitary sections, 7 advanced depots and 1 general medical store depot. India also provided 2,327 doctors, nurses and 720 nursing orderlies.
- “India supplied 170,000 animals, 3,7 million tonnes of supplies, jute for sandbags, and a large loan (the equivalent of about £2 billion today) to the British government.” (https://www.britishcouncil.org/voices-magazine/how-was-india-involved-first-world-war)
- “By early 1917 these increasingly complex transportation networks - supported by a specially created Labour Corps which included tens of thousands of men recruited from China, Egypt, India and other Empire countries - were capable of supporting defensive lines almost indefinitely. They also developed the capacity to support the concentration of forces and supplies sufficient to unleash a blow that could shatter the opposing lines.” (https://www.iwm.org.uk/history/transport-and-supply-during-the-first-world-war)
- “The Empire’s biggest contribution was by India. This included 3.7 million tonnes of supplies, over 10,000 nurses, 1,70,000 animals, £146m of Indian revenue.” (https://cmvtcivils.wordpress.com/2015/09/04/role-of-india-in-ww1-and-ww2-and-what-are-its-effects-on-india/)
True cost of WW1 to India and today’s terms
According to calculations by famous economist J C Kumarappa, the Indian share of deployment costs for its soldiers was Rs. 1300 crore. A similar amount of Rs.1200 crore was spent in expenses pertaining to the war, which led to a figure of Rs.5700 crore, which was many times larger than the British estimate of Rs.1600 crore. Hence, the true cost of war to India could be well into hundreds of billions in today’s terms.
Years after the cease-fire had been signed, other financial costs of war still continued but were not accounted for. Such costs include compensating families of those killed, disabled and displaced soldiers should have been considered.
“As a colony of Great Britain, India was already contributing people and goods to the war effort. In 1917, India offered a gift to its colonial rulers—an extra $500 million for the war.”
- “The services of India a estimated at a value of $240,000,000 for the two and half years that the war will have lasted at the close of the present financial year.” Calculating the pre war insurance, afforded by India’s expenditure on the army of £14,000,000 (or $70,000,000) a year, at fifteen year’s purchase he fixes its value to the Empire at £210,000,000 or $1,050,000,000 in 1918.” (http://www.arvindguptatoys.com/arvindgupta/englands-debt-lajpat.pdf - page xv) (https://archive.org/details/englandsdebttoin00lajpuoft)