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Today in Labour History

31 October 1914
Khudadad Khan in action, Ypres, Belgium, 1914
Source: 2011/2175

Indian Soldier wins Victoria Cross

Indian troops arrived on the European continent at the end of September 1914 to fight in the Great War. They had been basically trained for colonial warfare in warm climates and were woefully short of warm clothing and modern weapons. Yet, these underequipped troops, as soon as they reached the frontline, were sent into battle. The 129th Baluchis regiment was the first to see action near Ypres, and it performed creditably, sepoy Khudadad Khan winning the first Victoria Cross ever bestowed on an Indian soldier on 31 October 1914. However, with the onset of cold weather, the troops had to be withdrawn, having suffered heavy casualties.

Read more? Claude Markovits, 'Indian soldiers' experiences in France during World War I  in: The World in World Wars. Experiences, perceptions and perspectives from Africa and Asia (Leiden 2010)

More info: The World in World Wars (IISH Publication)