Notice

CONTRIBUTION OF INDIAN SOLDIERS IN WORLD WAR 1

 
 
Date: 05 Mar 2015

 

On 28 June 1914 the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand, the heir apparent to the Austrian Empire, at Sarajevo in Bosnia was the main cause of World War-1 (1914-18). Tension between the major European power had, however, been growing for some time, fuelled mainly by Germany’s ambition to be the major power in Europe and as a competitor to Britain in Commerce and trade. This had led to the formation of two power blocks in Europe, the Triple Alliance of Germany, Austria and Hungary; and the Triple Entente of England, French and Russia. Few would have imagined that the pistol shots in Sarajevo would lead to a brutal four year war and would draw in most of the world. Last of all did the Indian Army expect to be pulled out of fighting Pathans to fighting Germans and the Turks.

 

 


 

INDIA'S CONTRIBUTION TO WORLD WAR 1

 

Over 1.5 million soldiers from Indian Subcontinent went to war. They fought in all major theatres of war and continued on orders even beyond 1918 in Afghanistan & Persia (up to 1920).The gallant Indian Soldiers earned 11 Victoria Cross, 5 Military Cross, 973 Indian Order Of Merit & 3130 Indian Distinguished Service Medals during the WW 1. 12 Cavalry Regiments, 13 Infantry Regiments & several other units of other Arms / Services also participated in the 13 Campaigns of the WW 1.

 


India provided Britain with not just men and material, but finances as well to fight World War 1. India bore £100 million towards the cost of the war. In the context of Britain; £100 in 1917 would be worth £34,000 today. An initial offer of a lump sum of £100 million was made in 1917. Three quarters of this was raised by war loans or bonds and the rest by the Government of India. In terms of direct monetary contribution India gave; £146.2 million from its revenues by 1920.

172,815 animals, which included 85,953 horses, 65,398 ponies and mules, 10,781 camels, 5,061 bullocks, 5,692 dairy cattle and 369.1 million tonnes of supplies and stores left the ports of India for various destinations. Within the first few weeks of the war, India supplied 70,000,000 rounds of small arms ammunition, 600,002 rifles, mortars and machine guns. Considerable quantities of shell cases were manufactured. The Army Clothing Department produced 41,920,223 garments between 1914 and 1918. Raw materials like rough tanned hides, wool, manganese, mica, salt-petre, timber, bamboo, raw silk, hemp, coir, tea, rubber, petroleum oils and food stuffs were supplied. A total of 2,737,862 tonnes of items such as rice, flour, atta, ghee, sugar, tea, tinned meat, grain and hay for animals, jam, biscuits and firewood were shipped from India up to March 1919.
 

CLICK HERE TO VIEW MAJOR BATTLES AND AWARDEES OF VICTORIA CROSS IN WORLD WAR -1