An exhibition charting the importance of soldiers from India to the Allies’ efforts in the First World War is to be displayed at the Gunnersbury Park from Friday 31 July…reports Asian Lite News
More than a million Indian soldiers were deployed overseas in the Great War, sharing in the horrors of the trenches on the Western Front, and other theatres of war around the globe. They were the first to repel the Germans at Ypres in 1914 and, in the course of the four-year conflict, 74,000 gave their lives in service for king and country.
During the war, Indian troops earned 9,200 decorations including 11 Victoria Crosses – the highest honour that can be bestowed on a soldier serving with the British military reserved for those who display extreme bravery.
The exhibition, which will be on display at the café in Gunnersbury Park, in Gunnersbury Avenue, until Thursday 27 August, is on a whistle-stop tour of the UK from its base at the University of Kent in Canterbury as part of commemorations marking the centenary of the First World War. The café is hosting the exhibition while the Gunnersbury Park Museum is closed for the first phase of its £21million restoration.
Reproductions of 100-year-old photographs are being lent to the borough by Gateways to the First World War, a centre set up thanks to cash from the Arts and Humanities Research Council.
Councillor Ed Mayne, Hounslow Council’s Cabinet Member for Public Health and Leisure, said: “The Indian Army paid such a vital role in the First World War, but 100 years after the Guns of August rang out across Europe, their service to the nation seems to have been lost to the annals of time, which is terrible.
“We are very pleased to be hosting this exhibition and I hope many people will have the opportunity to see it. There are some fascinating snapshots of military life and what it must have been like for these soldiers to travel so far to fight in a conflict so far removed from their own experiences.”
Councillor Julian Bell, Leader of Ealing Council, said: “It is so important to remember that it was a world war and there were brave soldiers from across the globe without whose efforts and sacrifice the war may not have been won. We have many generations of people living in the borough with roots in the Indian subcontinent and so this exhibition may even tell the stories of some of their relatives.”