One in six: the South Asian contribution to the First World War
One hundred years ago, undivided India provided Britain with a massive volunteer army in its hour of need. From 1914-1918 close to 1.5 million Indians served, fighting in all the major theatres of war, from Flanders’ fields in Belgium to the Mesopotamian oil fields of present day Iraq. One in six of the service personnel under British command was from the Indian subcontinent. Because of this there are many connections to be made between Britain’s South Asian communities and this landmark conflict.
In this talk, William Spencer, principal military specialist at The National Archives, and Jahan Mahmood, an independent military historian, explore the South Asian contribution to the First World War, from the official to the personal.
This talk was recorded at the Library of Birmingham on April 15 2015. It was organised in conjunction with the Voices of War and Peace.