Britain’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has launched a new digital archive telling the inspiring stories of war heroes, including six Indians, as part of the UK government’s centenary celebrations to mark World War I.
As many as 175 men from 11 overseas countries were awarded Britain’s highest award for valour, the Victoria Cross (VC), during the war.
These included six soldiers from undivided India who fought in the war as part of the British Indian Army and honoured in a commemorative plaque presented to India back in 2014.
“Behind every name engraved on the memorial plaques there is a truly remarkable story. It is fitting that we pay tribute to the Victoria Cross recipients from overseas by bringing their stories together in this digital archive,” said FCO minister Hugo Swire.
“By doing so we are sending a message that these men, and the important role played by their home countries in the First World War, will never be forgotten by the people of the United Kingdom,” he said.
The new Digital Archive launched today to chronicle individual biographies of Risaldar Badlu Singh from Punjab, Sepoy Chatta Singh from UP, Naik Darwan Singh Negi and Rifleman Gabar Sing Negi from modern day Uttarakhand, Lance-Daffadar Gobind Singh from Rajasthan, and Lance Naik Lala from Himachal Pradesh.
They were all awarded for their “conspicuous bravery” on the battlefield.
Besides six VCs from India, the 11 countries covered by the special plaques include Pakistan (3); Nepal (2); Canada (70 VCs); Australia (66); New Zealand (16); South Africa (14); US (5); Denmark (2); Belgium (1) and Ukraine (1).
August 2014 had marked 100 years since Britain entered the First World War. Prime Minister David Cameron had launched the ongoing commemoration programme back in October 2012.
The new digital archive can be accessed through the UK government’s official gov.uk portal.