Banner High Commissioner’s visit to Chattri Memorial to commemorate the contribution of Indian Soldiers during World War 1

High Commissioner’s visit to Chattri Memorial to commemorate the contribution of Indian Soldiers during World War 1

High Commissioners visit to Chattri Memorial to commemorate the contribution of Indian Soldiers during World War 1

High Commissioner of India to UK, Mr. Y K Sinha, alongwith Defence Adviser Brigadier Rajesh Kumar Jha attended a commemorative event at Chattri Memorial Brighton on 11 June 2017 to commemorate the contribution of Indian Soldiers during World War 1.

The Chattri is a memorial built to honour the Indian dead of the First World War. It stands on the Downs near Patcham at the place where Hindu and Sikh soldiers who died in Brighton war hospitals during 1914 – 1915 were cremated. It was unveiled by the Prince of Wales on 21st February 1921.

During the First World War (1914-1918) over one and a half million Indian army soldiers saw active service alongside British troops. Twelve thousand Indian soldiers who were wounded on the Western Front were hospitalized at sites around Brighton. These included York Place School, the Dome, the Corn Exchange and the Royal Pavilion. The fifty-three Hindu and Sikh soldiers who died in Brighton were taken to a peaceful resting place on the Sussex Downs near Patcham for cremation, after which their ashes were scanned in the sea, in accordance with their religious rites. The Muslim brothers in arms, totaling nineteen, were buried in a purpose built burial ground near to the Shah Jehan Mosque in Woking.

The Chattri Memorial Service is arranged every year in the month of June to commemorate the Indian soldiers who fought on the Western Front during the First World War, on the Downs near Patcham, Brighton.

The commemorative ceremony commenced with wreath laying by the High Commissioner followed by Lord Lieutenant of Sussex, Mayor of Brighton and Hove Council, local dignitaries and members of local community. The High Commissioner, after laying the wreath, recounted the great Indian contribution in World War 1. He highlighted the strong bond between India and people of Brighton and also emphasized on the relevance of such commemorative events which act as catalyst in further strengthening and deepening of Indi-UK relations.

He recounted the well known example of great camaraderie between the British and Indian troops in WW1. In 1915, at the battle of Neuve Chapelle, Manta Singh of the 15th Ludhiana Sikhs, saw an English comrade, Capt George Henderson laying injured on the battlefield with utter disregard to his personal safety, Manta Singh started pushing Henderson out of harm’s way in a wheel borrow, when he was shot. Manta Singh recovered Henderson to safety while himself being severely wounded. He was sent to Brighton to recuperate, but died of his injuries. He said that it was example(s) of camaraderie like this that binds us today and these commemorations are as relevant today as they were a century ago, since they assist in increasing awareness of shared heritage amongst our future generations.

High Commissioner also thanked the organizers including Mr. Davinder Dhillon, Chairman of Chattri Memorial Group, Mayor of Brighton and Hove Council, local police, community leaders, Royal Pavilion Brighton and above all the people of Brighton and Hove. Later, the HC spent time interacting with hundreds of Indian community members present at the ceremony.

 

Jun 12, 2017
 
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