World War I memories: British Defence Secretary Michael Fallon to visit Delhi on October 30

Defence Sec to visit Delhi on Oct 30
New Delhi, Oct 28: British Defence Secretary Michael Fallon will arrive here on a one-day visit on Thursday to commemorate India's contribution to World War 1, which saw the participation of over 1.1 million Indian soldiers and around 70,000 fatalities.

Fallon will also meet ministers and senior government officials. The UK is working very closely with the United Service Institution of India (USI) on the grand commemoration programme.

The UK has funded a battlefield guide book which will be available through USI for those families wishing to visit the France and Flanders battlefields. It has also funded in conjunction with USI a coffee table book giving a pictorial overview of India and the Great War, besides digitising the War Diaries of the India Corps that fought in France and Flanders.

This will be presented to the Indian government and the key Regimental War Diaries will be printed and bound for presentation to the colonels of the regiments 6 Victoria Cross winners won by Indian soldiers.

Memorials are being prepared for presentation to the Government of India. All these will be presented at a WW1 themed joint British High Commission and USI reception at the British High Commissioner's Residence here on October 30, a statement by the High Commission said.

World War 1 started on July 28, 1914 and finished on November 11, 1918 and involved all of world's great powers, 70 million combatants, with more that 9 million killed. British Empire entered the war on August 4, 1914 and over 1.1 million Indian servicemen fought in WW1 and there were around 70 thousand fatalities.

"The Indian Army dominated, but the Indian Navy also contributed and Indians served in the Army Flying Corps. There were also labour battalions recruited from Bengal. The Indian Army has the distinction of having fought in almost all theatres of the war – France and Flanders, alongside the ANZACs at Gallipoli, Mesopotamia, Palestine and North Africa," the statement said.


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