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Commemorative Celebrations of World War-I
Mar 17, 2015

Indian Army commemorated the Centenary of the First World War from 10 to 14 March in New Delhi in memory of the 1.5 million Indian Soldiers who fought in the war and over 74000 who made the supreme sacrifice.  10th March coincides with the Battle of Neuve Chapelle marking the British Offensive in Artois region of France in which the Garhwal Brigade & Meerut Division of the Indian Corps participated. The time period 2014 to 2018 is being commemorated as the Centenary of World War-1.

The President, Prime Minister, Chiefs of three Forces participated in different commemorative events. As part of the centenary celebrations of World War I, the President Pranab Mukherjee inaugurated an exhibition highlighting the role of India in the Great War.

Role of Royal Indian Marine in World War-I (1914-1918)

  • By the time the war ended in 1918, the Royal Indian Marine had transported or escorted 13,02,394 men, 1,72,815 animals and 36,91,836 tonnes of war stores.

  • The Royal Indian Marine suffered 330 causalities and 80 of its personnel were decorated with gallantry awards.

  • It is a lesser known fact that the Expeditionary Forces of the Indian Army that travelled to France, Africa and Mesopotamia to participate in the Great War were transported largely on board ships of the erstwhile Royal Indian Marine, which was the fore-runner to the Indian Navy of today.

  • In fact, the convoy transporting the first division of the Indian Cavalry to France sailed within three weeks of the Declaration of War, on 25 Aug 1914.

  • At the outset of the war, a number of ships were fitted out and armed at the Naval Dockyard in Bombay (Mumbai) and the Kidderpore Docks in Calcutta (Kolkata).

  • The Indian Marine also kept the harbours of Bombay and Aden open through intensive mine-sweeping efforts.

  • Smaller ships of the Indian Marine, designed for operations in inland waters, patrolled the critical waterways of the Tigris, the Euphrates and Shatt-al-Arab, in order to keep the supply lines open for the troops fighting in Mesopotamia.

  • There was even a hospital ship operated by the Indian Marine to treat wounded soldiers.


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