The Commonwealth

The Commonwealth answered the call with volunteers from far and wide including pre-partition India, the Caribbean and Africa, all of whom make up a vibrant part of our culture today.

We recognise them today as part of the global family of the Commonwealth, and they served with honour, earning the highest awards for bravery.

You can find out more about the Caribbean contribution on the West India Committee website or in their new book The Caribbean's Great War (available by emailing or calling 02077995441).

The first Muslim soldier to win the Victoria Cross

The First World War involved many countries around the world, but did you know about the vast amount of Commonwealth countries whose citizens gave up their lives and fought with British forces? India was one of those countries and the story of Khudadad Khan is just one of many tales of bravery during WW1.

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The 100-year friendship

Today keeping in touch with friends and family near and far couldn’t be easier, but this was obviously not the case 100 years ago. Bonds forged in war can echo down the generations; but rarely are they as enduring as those between the Henderson and Singh families.

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The First Indian Pilot of WW1

Hardit Singh Malik was eager to be a pilot but was turned down because he was Indian. The student from Rawalpindi served as an ambulance driver with the French Red Cross before the authorities relented. Hardit, known as The Flying Sikh of Biggin Hill, was the first Indian pilot of the war and would go on to become a distinguished diplomat.

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The role of Muslims in the First World War

One in every six soldiers of the British Empire was from the Indian subcontinent; its contribution was the equivalent of all the forces from the then dominions of the British Empire combined (namely Canada, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa). Of these around 400,000 (about a third of the British Indian Army) were Muslims.

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The First World War in Africa

Whilst many of the First World War’s highest profile events happened in Europe on the Western Front, Britain also fought campaigns in East Africa, Southern Africa, West Africa and Egypt. There is little published regarding these campaigns, but for the people caught up in the conflict on the African continent, it was as real and horrifying as events on the Western Front.

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Contact us

If you would like to write to us, our postal address is:
Thank You Team, Remembrance Department
199 Borough High Street
London SE1 1AA

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