Discovering the stories of Asian soldiers during the First World War


One hundred years ago today (31 October 1918), fighting in the Middle Eastern theatre of the First World War ended following the signing of the Armistice of Mudros.

Signed the previous day (30 October 1918) on HMS Agamemnon, near to the Greek island of Lemnos, it ended four years of fighting between the Ottoman Empire and the Allies, which included Britain, Russia and France.

As part of the British Empire, Asian soldiers fought for the Allies in the Middle East campaign. However, similar to black soldiers, their contribution during the First World War has often been overlooked.

As part of the centenary of the First World War, the Arts & Humanities Research Council, through its five engagement centres, has been helping communities around the UK to research Indian soldiers and reveal their untold stories.

See also our 'Remembering the contribution of black soldiers in World War One' feature or visit our World War One section at ahrc.ukri.org/WW1.

The Indian Army in the First World War: An Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire perspective

A community group in Oxfordshire researched the Soldiers of Oxfordshire Museum archive, looking at information relating to the war in Mesopotamia. It looked at how the colonial experiences are perceived by Sikh, Muslim and Hindu communities today. Watch the video below and read more about on on our 'Beyond the Trenches' website.

Watch the video on Vimeo from Sharon Woodward on Vimeo.


Trench Brothers exhibition

HMDT Music's Trench Brothers is an education programme that brings the experiences and personal stories of Indian Army, British West Indies Regiment and Black British soldiers to life. The exhibition follows the journeys of eight soldiers, using maps, photography, puppets and audio recordings. It can be seen at Newhaven Fort until Saturday, 4 November 2018. www.hmdt.org.uk/hmdtmusic/trenchbrothers/exhibition


Lest we forget

1 November 2018, the Birmingham Library will host two performances of ‘Lest we forget’ which brings to life the experience of Commonwealth soldiers at the end of the First World War. It tells the journey of an injured Indian soldier from the front line to Birmingham. www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/the-play-house-presents-lest-we-forget-tickets-50165638776


South Asian Journeys in the First World War

In London, volunteers helped to research and create an exhibition at the Royal Geographical Society that told the stories of Asian soldiers during the First World War. They produced this video which charts the journey of six soldiers during the war. You can also view the downloadable PDFs about each of the journeys at: southasiansoldiers.org.uk/stories.

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