Indian contribution to WW1 highlighted by Manchester academics

The historic and significant role played by Indian soldiers in the First World War is the focus of a public lecture taking at The University of Manchester today (4 March).

According to the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, out of the one million plus Indian men who served in WW1, an estimated 60,000 were killed in battle - India supplied the largest contingent of British Empire forces who fought across the globe, from the trenches in Western Europe, to Palestine, Mesopotamia (modern day Iraq), Russia and as far as China.

By the time the war ended in November 1918, 1,105,000 Indian personnel had been sent overseas.  While 138,000 went to France and 144,000 to Egypt and Palestine, with smaller contingents to Aden, East Africa, Gallipoli and Salonika, the vast majority, 657,000, served in Mesopotamia.

The lecture entitled ‘The Indian Army in Mesopotamia - forgotten prisoners, forgotten army, and forgotten war’ is the first in a series of public lectures on international law and WW1 taking place this year.

It is being given by Professor Col. Charles Garraway from the University of Essex (formerly the Army Legal Services) who will explore the underexplored history of the Indian army in Mesopotamia and will include readings from his grandfather’s diary from the time he fought in the region during WW1.

Professor Iain Scobbie, the Co-Director of the Manchester International Law Centre, said: “The Indian infantry made a key contribution to Allied campaigns with Mesopotamia being the first foreign affray for the (British) Indian Military. Professor Garraway’s lecture aims to remember the contribution of the Indian Army during the Mesopotamia campaign which we believe to be all but forgotten.”

Notes for editors

Professors Jean d'Aspremont and Iain Scobbie are available for interview and can be contacted via the Media Relations Office on 161 275 0790.

Media enquiries to:

Kath Paddison
Media Relations Officer
The University of Manchester
Tel: 0161 275 0790
Mob: 07990 550050
Email: kath.paddison@manchester.ac.uk