History

Map of Europe 1914

Map of Europe 1914

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August 1914
Britain declares War on Germany. Europe plunged into War.
September & October 1914
2 Infantry & 1 Cavalry Division of the British Indian Army arrive at Marseille. The French line the streets to welcome Les Hindoues.
October 1914
Lahore Division fights at the 1st Battle of Ypres.
November 1914
Lance Naik Darwan Sing Negi of the Garhwal Rifles becomes the 2nd Indian soldier of the war to win the Victoria Cross for his bravery at Festubert.
December 25th1914
The Garhwal Rifles trade gifts with the Germans during the unofficial Christmas Truce. The candles on the Christmas trees put up by the Germans remind them of Diwali, the Hindu Festival of Light.
March 1915
The Meerut Division leads the 3-day assault at the Battle of Neuve Chapelle. 4,200 Indians are killed or wounded. Sepoy Gobar Sing Negi wins the Victoria Cross after dying of his wounds.

Of the 130,000 Indians who served in France and Belgium in 1914 & 1915, 7% (or 9,000) died. In total, during the course of the First World War, nearly one million Indians had enlisted as combatants and 65,000 died.

Further reading: India at the Western Front, Dr. David Omissi, BBC Website