Tribute to the Sikh
Contribution in World War One on
the battlefields of France and Belgium Lest
and hundreds of thousands of soldiers have lost their lives. If you go
on the field of battle you will see corpses piled upon corpses, so that
their is no place to place or put hand or foot. Men have died from the
stench. No one has any hope of survival, for back to Punjab will go only
those who have lost a leg or an arm or an eye. The whole world has been
brought to destruction."
(letter home from a Sikh soldier)
Over 138,000 Indian
troops fought in Belgium and France during World War I, many of them Sikhs.
More than one quarter of these soldiers would became casualties.
After the bloody
battle of Neuve Chapelle in 1915 the Sikh regements had lost 80% of their
men, 3 regements stood at only 16% of their original compliment.
the dark days of 1914 when our men had to face mortars, hand grenades,
high explosive shells for which they themselves were not provided. They
could reply only with their valour, their rifles and two machine guns
per batallion. And yet they did it." (Lt. General Sir James Wilcox,
Commander of the Indian Corps)