From 2014 to 2018, we all marked 100 years of World War 1 in various manners – from deep emotional testimonies invoking the horrors of millions who lost their lives to learning the contribution of ‘overseas’ soldiers to the British campaign on the Western Front. Many of us were surprised, even shocked that so many Indian and African men were part of the British Army and died for Britain, some of who were our forefathers
The War ended in Nov 1018 at the agreement of an armistice. However for many Indian soldiers it did not . Britain had promised that if India (including what is now Pakistan and Bangadesh) joined the war effort, that it would be given greater autonomy. Instead they came home to confront even a more draconian life with the introduction of the Rowlatt Act – resulting in several massacres of protests across India – especially in Punjab and Bengal (now Bangladesh).
After The War continues our work to introduce topics of ‘Empire ‘learning and shared heritages.
How we will deliver the project?
From mid-June 2021 we will make the following available:
- Digital excerpts of topics from the script
- Education packs
From September when Covid lockdown environments are eased.
Image:Reproduced courtesy of the Council of the National Army Museum The following is from their catalogue: "The soldiers depicted were probably from the 25th County of London Cycle Battalion. The caption refers to an incident on 10 April 1919 in Amritsar in the Punjab. Riots had broken out that day during anti-British demonstrations and several Europeans had been killed and many buildings damaged. Around 20 Indians were shot by the Army. During the unrest, Marcella Sherwood, a Church of England missionary, was set upon by a crowd as she cycled down a narrow lane. Although badly beaten she survived, but the incident outraged British opinion and helped convince them to place most of the Punjab under martial law. In the days that followed, the British made Indian men, even those who had gone to Miss Sherwood’s aid after the attack, crawl along the street as a punishment. Three days later, thousands of unarmed protesters, as well as people out enjoying a local festival, were gathered at Jallianwala Bagh (garden) when they were fired upon without warning by Indian Army troops. Most of the people present did not know that Martial Law had been declared. The order to fire was given by Brigadier-General Reginald Dyer. The official report stated that 379 people were killed and 1200 wounded, but the true figure was much higher. The massacre was a watershed in the history of British India and helped pave the way for the growth of Gandhi's independence movement."