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Indians in the trenches: voices of forgotten army are finally to be heard

1.5 million fought with the British and 34,000 died....

They were the forgotten voices of the first world war: 1.5 million men, mostly illiterate villagers from northern India, fighting under the command of colonial masters who repaid their bravery and sacrifices with brutality and prejudice.

More Indians fought with the British from 1914 to 1918 than the combined total of Australian, New Zealand, Canadian and South African troops. Some 34,000 Indian soldiers were killed on battlefields in Europe, Africa and the Middle East. But the part they played in the war has been largely whitewashed from history.

Now, just before the 11 November armistice centenary, the last testimonies of the British Empire’s first world war Indian servicemen – 1,000 pages of veteran interview transcripts – have been offered to the British Library...

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