Officers of the Jodhpur Lancers, Linghem, France, 1915.

By Rebecca Drew

INCREDIBLE black-and-white images have revealed what life was like for more than a million brave Indian soldiers who fought in WW1 to help Britain defeat the Germans.

Indian officers, 39th Garhwalis, Estaire La Bassée Road, France, 1915.

The stunning monochrome photographs show members of the Indian infantry lined up in the trenches, prepared against a gas attack with weapons at the ready and a bombing party preparing to attack.

Other pictures show horses being treated at an Indian Cavalry horse hospital at a French factory, Gurkhas marching to dig out more trenches and preparing a meal. Another image shows the General Sir James Willcocks talking to Indian officers at an inspection parade.


Gen. Remington, Sir Partab Singh, & the Rajah of Rutlam riding in France, 1915.

The Indian Cavalry are also pictured enjoying a game of football at the front, whilst Sikhs are seen singing religious chants outside of their living quarters.

The photographs were taken by photographer H.D. Girdwood who was in India when the First World War broke out and attached himself to the expeditionary force the Indian Army was forming to serve in France.


Indian cavalry playing football at the front Estrée Blanche, France, 1915.

From July to September 1915, Girdwood worked in France as an official photographer to Indian and British troops in the field.

Over a million Indian soldiers fought in the war and around 62,000 of these died. A total of eleven Victoria Crosses were awarded to Indians for their gallantry in the battlefield.


Officers of the Jodhpur Lancers, Linghem, France, 1915.

The soldiers fought in France until the end of 1915 when the decision was made to break up the Indian Corps and dispatch all Indian infantry regiments on other fronts. Two cavalry divisions stayed in France until 1918.