Indians in the first World war

The Indian Army fought in every major theatre of operations during World War One. Letters home from Indian soldiers on the Western Front offer extraordinary insights into their feelings about the conflict and their impressions of European culture.

In August 1914, as the German Army advanced through France and Belgium, more Allied troops were desperately needed for the Western Front. The Indian Army, 161,000 strong, seemed an obvious source of trained men, and the Lahore and Meerut infantry divisions were selected for service in Europe.

The fighting came as a shock to soldiers more used to colonial warfare. One man wrote home 'this is not war; it is the ending of the world'.

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