Indian war sacrifice to be remembered at Chattri tomorrow

Posted On 08 Jun 2019 at 12:55 pm

Dozens of Indian soldiers who died in Brighton during the First World War will be remembered at an interfaith service at the Chattri memorial tomorrow (Sunday 9 June).

Brighton and Hove mayor Dee Simson lays a wreath last year during the annual Chattri memorial service

The annual service includes the laying of wreaths to commemorate those who were brought to wartime hospitals in Brighton but did not survive.

They included 53 Hindu and Sikh soldiers who died in Brighton hospitals and were cremated at the site on the Downs north of Patcham.

And 19 Muslims, also from undivided India, were buried near the Shah Jehan Mosque in Woking.

They had all been wounded soon after the outbreak of the war in 1914 while fighting on the Western Front.

The wounded soldiers were brought to Brighton and treated in three buildings which were turned into military hospitals – the Royal Pavilion, the Kitchener Hospital (Brighton General Hospital) and York Place (now part of the Greater Brighton Metropolitan College).

They were among about 12,000 troops who were brought to Brighton to recover from their wounds.

The Indian soldiers are commemorated at the Chattri which was unveiled by the Prince of Wales in February 1921.

The annual memorial service, on the second Sunday in June, begins with Hindu and Sikh prayers and hymns before the laying of wreaths.

Those expected to take part include the Lord Lieutenant of East Sussex, Peter Field, the Indian High Commissioner of India, accompanied by the military adviser and the mayor of Brighton and Hove.

One of those due to take part, Jaimal Singh Johal, has particular relevance as the grandson of one of the soldiers, Manta Singh, who was cremated at the Chattri.

Various sections of the British, Indian and Gurkha armed forces will be represented, along with the Royal British Legion, other veterans organisations and religious groups including the Hounslow and Crawley Sikh temples.

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