The war memorial is a testimony to the valour and sacrifice of Indian soldiers: Vice President

The Vice President of India, Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu inaugurated the First World War Memorial constructed by the Government of India at the town of Villers Guislain in France today.  Shri Naidu laid wreath and paid homage to the Indian soldiers who fought selflessly and heroically during World War 1 and made the supreme sacrifice. The Mayor of Villers Guislain, Mr. Gerard Allart, the Ambassador of India to France, Mr Vinay Kwatra, Members of the Indian Community and others were present at the venue.

This is the first such memorial built by the government of India in France and the historic occasion was witnessed by the representatives of Indian French armed forces and locals amidst severe rain.

Later the Vice President addressed the gathering at Mayor’s office and said that the Indian memorial in Villers-Guislain would stand tall as a towering manifestation of our continuous efforts to express solidarity with France in remembering the martyrs of the First World War.

The Mayor of Villers Guislain, Mr. Gerard Allart, Ambassador of India to France, Mr Vinay Kwatra, Members of the Indian Community and others were present at the venue to witness the moment meant to recognise and recollect the extra ordinary bravery of Indian soldiers. 

It was almost 100 years back on this same soil that the Indian Cavalry comprising of the Deccan Horse, Hodson’s Horse, Poona Horse, Central India Horse and 18 Cavalry had charged at German positions during the Battle.

The Vice President said that said that the memorial in Villers-Guislain would stand tall as a towering manifestation of India’s continuous efforts to express solidarity with France in remembering the martyrs of the First World War.

He termed it as a testimony to the valour of the Indian soldiers and the duty they stood for, leaving behind their kith and kin, even though it was not a war that India was involved with directly, they fought for human liberty and freedom. Their contributions can never be forgotten.

Shri Naidu said that the valour of the Indian soldiers and the duty they stood for, leaving behind their kith and kin, is a memory that can never be erased. They fought for human liberty and freedom, even though it was not a war that India was involved with directly.

The sons and daughters of India have always stood on the side of righteousness even when confronting the toughest adversities and have fought gallantly and laid down their lives to uphold and promote these cherished ideals, in the far-flung corners of the world.

Nearly 1.3 Million Indian soldiers fought with valour and distinction during World War I. A designated Indian Expeditionary Force ‘A’, the Indian Corps that served in France and Belgium from Sep 1914 consisted of two Infantry and two Cavalry Divisions. Nearly 1,40,000 Indian Soldiers took part in World War 1 in France and Belgium. 9300 of them made supreme sacrifice and are buried in 168 cemeteries in France and Belgium.

The Battle of Cambrai was fought on this very piece of land that you are standing upon today from the morning of November 20, 1917 till December 4, 1917. Over 40,000 soldiers had died during that battle, including many Indians.

The land in Villers-Guislain was donated by the French government to the Government of India for constructing a memorial recognising the sacrifices of Indian soldiers during during the Battle of Cambrai in 1917.

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