The contribution of Indian soldiers during World Wars can’t be commended enough. A huge number of soldiers didn’t return home and were marked either MIA or KIA, the latter being the dominant one. Mortal remains of those soldiers lays scattered throughout the fields which saw the greatest battle humankind was ever involved in. It is a proud moment for Indians as two such soldier’s remains will find their way back to India.
Remains of two Indian soldiers along with a British and a German soldier were found in a field in north-western region of France near Dunkirk. The unnamed soldiers of 39th Garhwal Rifles regiment along with their regimental insignia were found in September, 2016. The remains are over 100 years old and are believed to be part of an engagement with Germans during WWI.
The remains were found during a civic work and authorities got in touch with the regiment identifying them from the insignia found. A team of four Indian defence personnel, including a Brigadier from the Garhwal Rifles will travel to France to bring back the remains. Some artefacts, including the regimental insignia, have also been found. “Our team will try to determine the identities of the soldiers, and see if any other details can be found,” said a Garhwal Rifles officer posted in Lansdowne, Uttarakhand.
The Garhwal Rifle regiment is one of the most decorated Indian Army regiments. Raised during 1887 as Garhwali Regiment of Bengal army, they contributed brave men to both the wars. During WWI, 721 men from the regiment were killed, while 349 died in World War II.
Gabar Singh Negi, who won the Victoria Cross for his actions at the Battle of Neuve Chapelle in France, was a member of 39th Garhwal Rifle regiment. There exists a war memorial for Indian soldiers who were martyred during the battles in Neuve Chapelle.
Garhwals Rifles still serves as an Indian Army regiment and have played huge role during 1965,1971 and Kargil wars.