Many Indian soldiers like Khudadad Khan were wounded during the war and a great number of them were taken to Brighton, then part of East Sussex, to be nursed back to health.
As these soldiers were a mix of Muslims, Hindus and Sikhs great care was taken to respect the religion and customs of each. Separate water supplies were provided for Hindus and Muslims in each ward, and nine kitchens catered for the different requirements of the patients. Separate areas were also provided for worship with a a marquee being erected in the grounds for Sikhs and an east-facing area of the lawn reserved for Muslim prayer. Wounded soldiers were cared for by orderlies of the same caste and religion.
The Indian hospital is marked by two monuments in Brighton. The Chattri memorial stands on the spot on the Downs where Hindus and Sikhs were cremated. It is accompanied by a memorial maintained by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission bearing the names of the 53 men who were cremated here. An annual remembrance ceremony takes place here every June, organised by the Chattri Memorial Group.
During the peak of the war Sikhs made up 20% of the army, meaning that roughly 130,000 Sikh men had served!
Different battalion fought in different parts of the world. The Punjabi Muslim Battalions fought in Mesopotamia. This particular Battalion was made ‘Prince of Wales Own’ to recognise the bravery and gallantry that they had shown.
At the beginning of WW1, the Indian Army consisted of 240,000 men.By the time it was 1918 its ranks had grown to about 550,000 men. The majority of the army came from the north of India, mostly Punjab.