“In honour of these soldiers of the Indian army whose mortal remains were committed to fire.”
This is the inscription written on the Indian forces cremation memorial.

On the 9th June 2024, the National Hindu Students Forum (UK) were honoured to be invited to attend the D-Day service at the Chattri Memorial. The annual service commemorates the Indian soldiers who died in World War I. The memorial stands on the Downs near Patcham, the place where Hindu and Sikh soldiers who died in Brighton war hospitals during the war were cremated. It was unveiled by the Prince of Wales on 21st February 1921, and is the only memorial dedicated to Indian soldiers in the UK.

This was truly an incredible experience as this was the first time we had visited the memorial. Upon arriving at the memorial, we were greeted by the Shree Muktajeevan Swamibapa Pipe Band, the first time they have performed at the Chattri Memorial D-Day service.

Jaanki Mistry, Events Team Saha at Chattri Memorial

Following the arrival of the dignitaries such as Davinder Dhillon, OBE, Chairperson of the Chattri Memorial Group, the Lord-Lieutenant of East Sussex, Andrew Blackman and several other lieutenants, we all stood to pray for the soldiers. The Sikh Ardass was spoken by Bhai Narinder Singhji, from the Sri Guru Sing Sabha Gurdwara, Hounslow, whilst the Hindu Mantra was spoken by our very own, Jaanki Mistry, from the National Events Team. Dignitaries then laid wreaths at the memorial.

The descendants of Manta Singh and George Henderson were also present. Their story is a poignant reminder of bravery and friendship. Both men were sent to fight in France during the war. Henderson was injured and Singh, in an attempt to rescue him, was shot. Singh succumbed to gangrene days later, whilst Henderson was recovering in hospital.

As the Shree MNHSF(UK) at Chattri Memorialuktajeevan Swamibapa Pipe Band blew the horn, all attendees bowed their heads in respect for those who lost their lives in the war. The horn marked the beginning and end of a two minute silence. The Lord-Lieutenant then read The Exhortation, and this is an extract from the poem ‘For the Fallen’ by Laurence Binyon:
“They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.”




The Kohima Epitaph was also read:
“When you go home tell them of us and say:
For your tomorrow, we gave today”.

This epitaph, engraved on the Memorial of the 2nd British Division in the Kohima cemetery in North-East India, serves as a powerful reminder of the sacrifices made during the world wars.

The ceremony was concluded with a speech from The Lord-Lieutenant of East Sussex, after which attendees gathered nearby for refreshments and to view the Chattri Exhibition on the journey of the Undivided Indian Soldiers from India to Brighton.

This exhibition highlighted the diverse origins of the soldiers, the structure of the Indian army and the recognitions awarded for service. It also detailed the history of over 14,100 Indian soldiers who were treated in English hospitals, including the conversion of the Royal Pavilion into a hospital for these soldiers, as initiated by Sir Walter Lawrence at the King’s request.

The service and exhibition at the Chattri Memorial underscored the profound historical significance and the rich cultural heritage of the Indian soldiers who fought in World War I. The dignified ceremony honoured their bravery and sacrifice, while the exhibition provided a comprehensive overview of their journey from India to Brighton, amongst many other things. The event was a powerful and moving tribute, offering a deeper understanding and appreciation of the contributions of Indian soldiers. We encourage everyone to attend this service at least once in their lifetime.