On June 28th I was given the opportunity to work with the UKPHA’s outreach team at the BBC’s World War One at home tour in Woolwich. The BBC’s World War one at Home tour is visiting many different locations in the UK and the aim of tour is too reflect on the impact the war had on families and communities during the outbreak of war. With Armed Forces Day falling on the same day it was fitting the tour was based at the Woolwich army base. My role on the day was working with the UKPHA (UK Punjabi Heritage Association) and there outreach team. Our contribution to the tour was a stall recognising the non-white contribution to the World War one war effort focusing on Sikh/Indian contribution. Despite the Indians playing a large role in war their contribution is often forgotten. Close to 1.5 million Indians served fighting in all the major theatres of battle from the Flanders fields to Mesopotamia. At Woolwich we had many artefacts from the war for the public to view and handle. This included original war medals and a Death Plaque which was given to the next of kin of servicemen/woman who had fallen. Other objects were on the stall such as a standard Indian soldier’s kit bag and an officer’s swagger stick. The stall also included a stereoscope to view images from war.
In all we received a positive reaction from the British public on the day. For some of the people that came to the event it was a shock for them to learn so many Indians had gone to War to defend Britain and its allies. Many were surprised about size the Indian contribution in terms of soldiers sent. The main aim of the day was to promote the opening of the Empire, Faith and War gallery at SOAS, Russell square which is an exhibition on the Sikh contribution in World War One. The Gallery is open till 28th September with free admission. For more information please visit http://www.empirefaithwar.com/. I would also like to thank the BBC and UKPHA for giving me the opportunity to be a part of the World War one at home tour.
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