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The Indian Army in Europe, 1914–1918

Omissi, David


David Omissi


Eric Storm

Ali Al Tuma


In January 1915, a wounded Punjabi Rajput soldier, recovering from injuries sustained on the Western Front, wrote a letter home from a hospital in Britain to a relative in India. ‘This is not war,’ he said, ‘it is the ending of the world. This is just such a war as was related in the Mahabharata about our forefathers’. The author of these words-a Hindu of warrior caste-had been serving, under British leadership, with the Indian Corps in France. Indian troops had arrived in France in late September 1914. They were to fi ght at all the main actions of the British Expeditionary Force in 1914-1915. The Indians fought at the First Battle of Ypres; they were prominent in the British attack at Neuve Chapelle in March 1915; one Indian division was badly mauled at the Second Battle of Ypres in April 1915; and Indian troops went into the attack on the first day of the Battle of Loos in September 1915. The two Indian infantry divisions that had been serving in France were withdrawn at the close of 1915. Two Indian cavalry divisions stayed on in France until March 1918, when they were transferred to the Middle East. We can learn a great deal about the Indian soldiers’ experiences in France because much of their correspondence has survived-preserved as translated extracts attached to the reports of the British military censorship.


Omissi, D. (2015). The Indian Army in Europe, 1914–1918. In E. Storm, & A. Al Tuma (Eds.), Colonial Soldiers in Europe, 1914-1945: "Aliens in Uniform" in wartime societies, 119-139. Taylor & Francis.

Publication Date Dec 22, 2015
Deposit Date Jun 11, 2019
Publisher Taylor & Francis
Pages 119-139
Series Title Routledge studies in modern history
Series Number 18
Book Title Colonial Soldiers in Europe, 1914-1945: "Aliens in Uniform" in wartime societies
Chapter Number 6
ISBN 978138999305; 9781138099487
Public URL
Publisher URL