When soldiers from the Australian and New Zealand Armed forces (collectively referred to as the Anzacs) landed on the coast of Gallipoli, Turkey, in 1915, a number of Indian soldiers fought alongside. A significant offensive of the First World War (WWI), it was also the bloodiest campaign. A photo exhibition in the city marks 100 years of these landings by the Anzacs, which took place on April 25, 1915.
Two parallel exhibitions — “Camera on Gallipoli” and “India and the Anzacs” — have been curated from a set of images loaned by the various war archives in New Zealand, Australia and India. While the former shows images of Australian soldiers in action on the battlefield, as captured by war surgeon Sir Charles Snodgrass Ryan, the latter shows the contribution of Indians. About 27 black-and-white images taken by different photographers highlight the Indian presence and contribution to the war effort.
Within the first five days of the landings, the bravery of Indian soldiers was tested. The Sikhs stood out for their discipline, and earning the respect of the Anzacs. A picture shows a soldier from the 14th Sikh regiment poised to throw an improvised grenade on the battlefield at Gallipoli. The picture, captioned as the Jam Tin Bomber, identifies the man as Jemadar Man Singh. In fact, this image became symbolic of the Indian presence in WWI, and its silver replica was presented to Australian PM Tony Abbott by Prime Minister Narendra Modi during the latter’s visit to Australia last year.
According to official war records, more than 5,000 Indian soldiers lost their lives in the Gallipoli campaign. The service of not just the men but the mules was also important for its success. Another picture shows a group of Indian soldiers loading supplies and weapons from a boat on to the backs of horses and mules, gathered along the cove at Gallipoli. An Indian mule transport train with 4,316 mules and 2,000 carts was sent to Gallipoli from France during the war. To keep them well-fed, 10,000 tons of hay, barley and maize was shipped from India.
The exhibition at The Australian High Commission, 1/50 G Chanakyapuri is till May 1. Contact: 41399900. Entry from Gate 1.