Indian WW1 heroes find place in UK digital archive

London(PTI): Britain has launched a new digital archive telling the inspiring stories of war heroes, including six Indians, as part of the U.K. government’s centenary celebrations to mark World War I.

In this June 8, 2016 photo, metal WWI soldiers from the French and British armies are on display at the Thiepval WWI memorial in Thiepval, France.

As many as 175 men from 11 overseas countries were awarded Britain’s highest award for valour, the Victoria Cross (VC), during the war. These included the six soldiers who were honoured in a commemorative plaque presented to India in 2014.

“Behind every name engraved on the memorial plaques there is a truly remarkable story. It is fitting that we pay tribute to the Victoria Cross recipients from overseas by bringing their stories together in this digital archive,” said Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) minister Hugo Swire.

“By doing so we are sending a message that these men, and the important role played by their home countries in the First World War, will never be forgotten by the people of the United Kingdom,” he said.

The new Digital Archive was launched by FCO on Monday to chronicle individual biographies of the following war heroes.

  1. Risaldar Badlu Singh from Punjab

  2. Sepoy Chatta Singh from Uttar Pradesh

  3. Naik Darwan Singh Negi from modern day Uttarakhand

  4. Rifleman Gabar Sing Negi from modern day Uttarakhand

  5. Lance-Daffadar Gobind Singh from Rajasthan

  6. Lance Naik Lala from Himachal Pradesh.

They were all awarded for their “conspicuous bravery” on the battlefield.

Besides six VCs from India, the 11 countries covered by the special plaques include Pakistan (3); Nepal (2); Canada (70 VCs); Australia (66); New Zealand (16); South Africa (14); US (5); Denmark (2); Belgium (1) and Ukraine (1).

August 2014 had marked 100 years since Britain entered the First World War. Prime Minister David Cameron had launched the ongoing commemoration programme back in October 2012.

The new digital archive can be accessed through the U.K. government’s official portal.