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Anthony Bagshaw

Indians in CWGC cemeteries

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It should perhaps be remembered that the dead of other ethnic/religious groups did not exist in isolation — there were generally numbers of their living colleagues in the vicinity, who will have had views on the matter, and also in many cases 'European' officers with them, who understood their social and cultural background. There may not have been equality with 'Christian' troops, but that does not mean there was an absence of respect, at least in its most basic form, and even if only motivated by a desire to avoid trouble. There were certainly rigid dividing lines, but the ethos in practical matters was very much "We have our ways and they have theirs". The wording quoted by Ivor, "... in such a way that their graves are not completely surrounded by graves of Europeans" suggests a consideration for the sensitivities of the Chinese, rather than a desire to isolate their graves.

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I think Siege G has it spot on.

There was respect in the army for the other religions and great lengths were sometimes gone to to meet their requirements (eg setting up a special chattri for cremations on the South Downs).

This was no doubt both out of respect and in order not to generate ill-feeling and disent. I suspect the Indian Army officers were well schooled in respecting local cultures - remembering the problems caused by the rumour of the use of pig fat to grease cartridges just before the Indian Mutiny! Any affront to religious beliefs could have been counter-productive.

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A Parsee and 'Musalman' buried side by side on the island of Hoy.

Orkney07228-1.jpg

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This struck me also as we visited cemeteries. Thankyou for answering my questions on this matter.

I would like to think it was out of respect for their cultures.

Kim

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Is it possible to find out the locations of Muslim soldiers in 1914 - 18 Cemeteries? Is this a query the CWGC could answer?

Help welcome

A

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Look Gents,

In the early WW1 years,the British,with an Empire,expected Indian/Nepali Soldiers,whether Moslem/ Hindu,etc,to fight and die with them.

If you read the early War Diaries,of British Battalions,they supported,and were supported,by the Indian Battalions.

They fought together,in life and died together,so they should not be separated,in death,unless modern Politics,decree otherwise.

George

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In 1933 Vera Brittain and Winifred Holtby visited Etaples cemetery and Vera commented in her diary that some of the German graves were amongst the other graves butmost of the burials were away at the side nearest Camiers together with the graves of Indians and other natives-"all the outcasts together" was how Winifred Holtby describes them.

The segregation of ranks and nationalities is more apparent in the hospital cemeteries.

Michelle

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Is it possible to find out the locations of Muslim soldiers in 1914 - 18 Cemeteries? Is this a query the CWGC could answer?

Not as such, as a man's religious belief would not be recorded by the Commission. However, with some research you should be able to come up with enough information to ask them to supply information that might assist with whatever you have in mind.

The Indian Army units recruited mainly on a geographical and, thereby, ethnic basis. Whilst I imagine you couldnt exclude the possibility of Muslims serving with a Ghurkha or Sikh battalion, they would probably be in sufficiently small numbers as not to be statistical important. So, what you would need to do is identify the units likely to recruit from areas where there were high concentrations of Muslims. The difficulty will come in areas, such as the Punjab, where there is an ethnic mix. As I understand things, the Punjabi battalions maintained a religious/ethnic separation at company level. However, once you'd identified the units you could ask CWGC for a CD of burials/commemorations for them (for which they make a charge) or, if and when it returns, Geoff's Search Engine can probably do the same thing for free.

John

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Is it possible to find out the locations of Muslim soldiers in 1914 - 18 Cemeteries? Is this a query the CWGC could answer?

I have a list of those at Brookwood, if it's of any use; I can't by means, guarantee that this is complete. I had been intending to visit these plots at some stage, but have yet to get round to it! (I've included WWII for the sake of completeness.)

The graves fall into two categories: those which were originally buried at the Muslim Cemetery site on Horsell Common until moved c.1969 (19 WWI & 5 WWII) which are now in plot 2A of the military cemetery, and 34 others (26 WWI & 8 WWII) which are in plot 128A adjacent to the main cemetery off of Pine Avenue (plot numbers relate to the CWGC plan). The Cemetery on Horsell Common is said to have come about when German propaganda rumoured that the bodies of India's fallen were not being treated in accordance with the needs of their religions. A site on Horsell Common was chosen because of its proximity to the Shah Jehan Mosque. Although the burials were removed to Brookwood, the site does still exist although it's now in a derelict and vandalised state.

section 9.10 (pg 227) of Clarke’s London's Necropolis gives :

The Muslim section is located in the North eastern part of the area and is set at an angle to the main areas. This group of twenty four-graves contains the bodies of muslims who were originally buried in the Horsell Common Muslim Military Cemetery. They were removed here in 1969 after that cemetery fell into disrepair.

Section 9.20 Indian Sepoys [Plot 128/M1] (page 237)

These graves, set at an angle to Pine Avenue, date from the early years of the First World War before the Indians were fighting regularly on the Western Front. First surveyed by the Imperial War Graves Commission in 1920, the headstones were probably erected by private subscription. The majority of the deaths occurred in special Indian Military Hospitals in Brighton and Brockenhurst.

WORLD WAR ONE and after (Died between 1915-1920) NOT ex Horsell

Name/ Rank & Regiment/ Died

1) Khan, Ahmad/ Sepoy, 3rd Sappers & miners/ 4th Nov 1914

2) Khan, Alwa/ Sowar, 34th Prince Albert Victor's Own Poona Horse / 26th Mar 1915

3) Ali, Ameer/ Kote Daffadar ,17th Indian Cavalry/ 18th Aug 1919

4) Shah, Amir/ Sepoy, 40th Pathans/ 9th May 1915

5) Shah, Dowlat/ Follower, Mule Corps/ 31st Jan 1915

6) Khan, Duman/ Lance Daffadar, 34th Prince Albert Victor's Own Poona Horse/ 13th Feb 1915

7) Khan, Fatch/ Sepoy, 107th Indian Pioneers/ 8th Dec 1914

8) Khan , Feroz/ Sepoy, 57th Wilde's Rifles (Frontier Force)/ 30th Jan 1915

9) Aladit, Garib/ Driver, Mule Corps/ 6th Apr 1915

10) Khan, Imam A./ Sepoy, 107th Indian Pioneers/ 8th Dec 1914

11) Khan, Enayat/ Driver, Indore Transport Corps/ 7th Jun 1915

12) Gul, Insar/ Sepoy, 57th Wilde's Rifles (Frontier Force)/ 19th Jan 1915

13) Khan, Lal/ Sepoy, 40th Pathans/ 13th Apr 1915

14) Din, Lal/ Driver, Mule Corps/ 20th Jan 1915

15) Khan, Langa/ Sowar, 36th Jacob's Horse / 24th Apr 1915

16) Khan, Latif/ Sepoy, 107th Indian Pioneers/ 8th Dec 1914

17) Ram, Moti/ Sepoy, 112th Indian Infantry /18th Aug 1919

18) Jan, Mohamed/ Sepoy, 3rd Sappers and Miners/ 4th Nov 1914

19) Sarwr, Mahomed/ Sowar, 19th Lancers (Fane's Horse)/ 19th Jun 1915

20) Khan, Mahommed / Sepoy, 52nd Sikhs (Frontier Force)/ 20th Mar 1915

21) Lay, Pasar/ Sepoy, 127th Queen Mary's Own Baluch Light Infantry/ 26th Mar 1915

22) Khan, Rahim/ Sowar, 34th Prince Albert Victor's Own Poona Horse/ 22nd Feb 1915

23) Khan, Rahim/ Sowar, 34th Prince Albert Victor's Own Poona Horse/ 8th May 1915

24) Mahomed, Sher/ Sepoy, 59th Scinde Rifles (Frontier Force)/ 18th Mar 1915

25) Sultan, (Male)/ Driver, Mule Corps/ 28th Apr 1915

26) Mohamed, Wali/ Sepoy, 3rd Sappers and Miners/ 4th Nov 1914

WORLD WAR TWO and after (Died between 1944-1947) NOT ex Horsell

27) Ali, Suraj/ Private, Pioneer Corps/ 21st May 1943

28) Syed MunsoorAli Mirza / Leading Aircraftman (Pilot), Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve/ 21st Apr 1942

29) Tafail MuhammadKhan/ Private, Pioneer Corps/ 11th Jan 1914

30) Fazi Illahi/ Havildar, Indian General Service Corps/ 1st Apr 1945

31) Ali Raza Khan Pasha/ Pilot Officer (Pilot), Royal Indian Air Force/ 18th Jun 1941

32) Mian Sidiq/ Cook, Royal Indian Navy/ 9th Sep 1947

33) Mohammad Ahmad Khan/ Flying Officer (Pilot), Royal Air Force Volunteer Reserve/ 10th Feb1943

34) Subedar/ Seaman, Merchant Navy/ 11th Sep 1940

WORLD WAR ONE and after (Died between 1915-1920) orinally buried at Horsell

This List was Transcribed from photographs taken at the cemetery site of display board originated by the Lightbox Gallery, Woking:

http://www.windowonwoking.org.uk/sites/gol...s/horsellindian

Name/ Rank & Regiment/ Died

1H) Abdullah/ Follower /16th Dec 1915

2H) Alla Ditta Khan/ 15th Lancers/ 3rd Dec 1916

3H) Ash Gar Ali/ Army Hospital Corp/ 29th Jan 1915

4H) Babu/ Follower, Central Depot/ 3rd Sep 1919

5H) Bagh Ali Khan/ 82nd Punjabis / 29th Sep 1915

6H) Bostan / 9th Mule Corp /19th Oct 1915

7H) Fazal Khan/ 93rd Burma Infantry/ 14th Nov 1915

8H) Hanza/ Army Hospital Corp/ 7th Dec 1915

9H) Kala Khan/ Mountain Bty/ 2nd Feb 1916

10H) Khan Muhammad/ 108th Infantry/ 9th Oct 1915

11H) Mahrup Shah/ 129th Duke of Connaught' Own Baluchis/ 16th Sep 1915

12H) Mehr Khan/ 19th Lancers/ 24th Oct 1915

13H) Mirza Iqbal Ali Beg/ Royal Military College/ 23rd Jun 1920

14H) Sarmast / 57th Wilde's Rifle Frontier Force/ 22nd Jul 1915

15H) Shaikh Abdul Wahab /29th Lancers/ 16th Jul 1915

16H) Shaikh Mohiuddin/ Army Hospital Corps/ 5th Jan 1916

17H) Sher Gul/ 82nd Punjabis/ 25th Sep 1915

18H) Sikandar Khan/ 82nd Punjabis /29th Sep 1915

19H) Zarif Khan/ 129th Duke of Connaught' Own Baluchis/ 22nd July 1915

WORLD WAR TWO and after (Died between 1944-1947) orignally buried at Horsell

20H) Jan Muhammad/ 16th Punjab Regt/ 14th Aug 1944

21H) Karam Khan/ Royal Indian Artillery/ 9th Jul 1946

22H) Khwaja Din/ Indian Pioneer Corp/ 19th Jan 1946

23H) Muhammad Masalachi/ Indian General Hospital/ 17th Sep 1945

24H) Ali L. A. C. Yousef/ RAF /12th May 1947

NigelS

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Nigel,

Very interesting!. Can anyone help with burials in France and Flanders?

A

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Geoff's Search Engine can probably do the same thing for free.

John

John,

Very many thanks for your wise advice on this subject. I can see the potential of this approach. What is / was Geoff's Search engine!?

A :unsure:

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I noticed in Faubourg d'Amiens 3 small separate plots. One contained 3 headstones .....each one "remembering the following Hindu soldier". Another plot which had only one headstone .... "remembering the following Sikh soldier". The last plot contained 5 headstones which marked actuall burials. From reading this thread I think that they must be Muslim soldiers buried there.

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.....Horsell Common Muslim Military Cemetery. They were removed here in 1969 after that cemetery fell into disrepair.....

Not nearly as bad as it was.

I remember it from nearly 30 years ago, seriously overgrown with trees & brambles, littered with beer cans & empty cider bottles.

Now it has been cleared, where the tops of the walls are broken concrete has been used to brevent further damage.

Here it is today (17.03.09) I will make no comment in regard the graffitti on the sign. It does say it is a listed monument though.

Approach in the woods

Woking-001-1.jpg

Andy

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Rear corner from inside

Woking-003.jpg

Sign at the entrance

Woking-007.jpg

Andy

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