It has been 102 years since the Battle of Neuve took place in France. The world has forgotten the sacrifices made by several thousand soldiers, all fighting fearlessly for their motherland. However, one thing that is more tragic is the fact that very few Indians know about the supreme sacrifices Indian troops made for the British while fighting in WWI.
The battle of Neuve Chappelle was fought between the British/French soldiers and the German army. Indians played a massive role in the victory of the British empire in this battle. The fearless Indians were solely responsible for the seizure of Neuve Chappelle in the Artois area of France.
The Germans and the British were so surprised by the valor of the Indians, that the Commanding Officer during this battle, Sir Claud Auchinlek, commented,
Couldn’t have come through both wars [World War I and II] if they hadn’t had the Indian Army.
To commemorate the supreme sacrifices made by Indian soldiers and laborers, a memorial has been constructed on the site. The location was chosen because it was at the Battle of Neuve Chapelle that the Indian Corps fought its first major action. War graves of the Indian Corps and the Indian Labor Corps are found at Ayette, Souchez and Neuve-Chapelle.
Here are some photographs of Indian soldiers in action during this battle:
Sikh soldiers with their mules march on to the battlefield.
Indian Bicycle Troops in Somme, France.
Deccan Horse Regiment of India during the battle.
Rajput Light Infantry in Flanders, France.
15th Sikh Regiment arriving at Marseilles, France.
Indian Cavalry on the western front.
Indian troops manning the guns.
An emaciated Indian soldier.
Indian Army Gunners.
5th Royal Gurkha Rifles in France.
Indian troops charging German positions at Neuve Chapelle.
It’s time we remember our heroes.