Indian Army contributed a large number of soldiers to the British and helped them win the war. British promised self-rule to India at the end of the war. They failed to keep their promise, had they kept that pledge, the sacrifices of India’s First World War soldiers might have been seen as a contribution to India’s freedom in 1919.
World War I officially began on July 28, 1914, after the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, and lasted until 1918.
During the World War I, the Central Powers made up of Germany, Austria-Hungary, Bulgaria and the Ottoman Empire fought against the Allied Powers which consisted of Great Britain, France, Russia, Italy, Romania, Japan and the United States.
The Indian Army fought against the German Empire in East Africa and also on the Western Front.
More than 13 lakh Indian soldiers served during World War I fighting for the Britishers.They served in places as diverse as France and Belgium, Mesopotamia, Egypt, Gallipoli, Palestine and Sinai.
As many as 74,187 of the Indian soldiers who served British in World War I lost their lives.
Sir Claude Auchinleck, Commander-in-Chief of the Indian Army once said ” Britain couldn’t have come through the wars if they hadn’t had the Indian Army.”
They were heroes, some recognised but mostly unsung. The Indian Army played vital roles during the war.
India Gate is a popular monument, visited by thousands daily who have no idea that it commemorates the Indian soldiers who lost their lives fighting for British in World War I. India Gate was designed by Sir Edwin Lutyens and is at New Delhi’s Raj Path.
The India Gate was originally named All-India War Memorial and it was built to pay homage to the soldiers of the Indian Army who lost their lives fighting for the British Empire in World War I and the Third Anglo-Afghan War.