Neuve-Chapelle Indian Memorial
|Neuve-Chapelle Indian Memorial|
|Commonwealth War Graves Commission|
|For Army of India|
|Unveiled||7 October 1927|
|Designed by||Sir Herbert Baker
and Charles Wheeler
The Neuve-Chapelle Indian Memorial is a World War I memorial in France, located on the outskirts of the commune of Neuve-Chapelle, in the département of Pas de Calais. The memorial commemorates some 4742 Indian soldiers with no known grave, who fell in battle while fighting for the British Indian Army in the First World War. The location of the memorial was chosen because of the participation by Indian troops at the Battle of Neuve Chapelle.
The memorial, designed by Sir Herbert Baker, with sculpture by Charles Wheeler, is a circular enclosure centred on a tall pillar that is topped by a lotus capital, and carved representations of the Star of India and the Imperial Crown. One half of the circular enclosure consists of the panels of names of the dead, while the other half is open. Other architectural and sculptural features of the memorial include carved stone tigers, and two small domed chattris. At the foot of the pillar is a Stone of Remembrance inscribed with the words: "Their name liveth for evermore." The main inscription is in both English and French, while the column also bears an inscription in English, Arabic, Hindi and Gurmukhi: "God is One, His is the Victory".
The memorial was unveiled by the Earl of Birkenhead on 7 October 1927. The Earl of Birkenhead (Frederick Edwin Smith), who was present in his role as Secretary of State for India, had served in France in World War I from 1914 to 1915 as a staff officer with the Indian Corps, and later co-wrote an official history titled The Indian Corps in France (1917, revised edition 1919). Also present at the unveiling ceremony was Marshal Ferdinand Foch, who gave a speech in French. Attending the ceremony was a contingent of troops from India to represent the units that fought in France, including Sikhs, Dogras, and Garhwalis. Foch's speech included the following addressed to them:
|“||Return to your homes in the distant, sun-bathed East and proclaim how your countrymen drenched with their blood the cold northern land of France and Flanders, how they delivered it by their ardent spirit from the firm grip of a determined enemy; tell all India that we shall watch over their graves with the devotion due to all our dead. We shall cherish above all the memory of their example. They showed us the way, they made the first steps towards the final victory.||”|
Later additions to the memorials commemorated other Indian Army dead of both World Wars.
Footnotes and references
- Neuve-Chapelle Memorial, Commonwealth War Graves Commission, accessed 14 January 2010
- "The Neuve-Chapelle Memorial". Commonwealth War Graves Commission. Retrieved 1 November 2014.
- Sikhs And The Great War In France, United Sikhs, accessed 14 January 2010
- Taken from Sikhs And The Great War In France, which states that this extract was taken from Neuve Chappelle - India's Memorial in France 1914-1918, (London, Hodder & Stoughton, 1927)
- Names of VC Holders on Memorials in France, www.victoriacross.org.uk, accessed 14 January 2010
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Neuve-Chapelle Indian Memorial.|
- Details of the Neuve-Chapelle Indian Memorial (Commonwealth War Graves Commission)
- Neuve-Chapelle Memorial, includes picture of the memorial (ww1cemeteries.com)
- Battle of Neuve-Chapelle, picture of memorial at time of construction and close-ups of architectural details (ww1battlefields.co.uk)
- The Indian Memorial at Neuve Chapelle (yourarchives.nationalarchives.gov.uk)
- Sikhs And The Great War In France, (www.unitedsikhs.org)