Die in Battle, Do not Despair

The Indians on Gallipoli, 1915

Peter Stanley

In 1915 about 15,000 Indian troops - two or three times as many as previously thought - served in the dramatic and doomed eight-month Gallipoli campaign. Their part in the invasion of Gallipoli has lain largely unknown since the publication of long disregarded regimental histories and forgotten British officers' memoirs.
Publication date:
May 2015
Publisher :
Helion and Company
Language:
English
Series :
War and Military Culture in South Asia, 1757-1948
Illustration :
85 b/w photos, 8 colour maps
Format Available     Quantity Price
Hardback
ISBN : 9781910294673

Dimensions : 234 X 156 cm
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+
£25.00
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Overview
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In 1915 about 15,000 Indian troops – two or three times as many as previously thought – served in the dramatic and doomed eight-month Gallipoli campaign. Their part in the invasion of Gallipoli has lain largely unknown since the publication of long disregarded regimental histories and forgotten British officers’ memoirs.

Force G, as it came to be known, included Sikhs, Hindus and Punjabi Musalmans (as Muslim soldiers were called) and four battalions of Gurkhas. They served in an infantry brigade, a mountain artillery brigade, in medical units and in a large contingent of mule drivers, who perhaps made the Indians’ most important contribution to the campaign.

About 1,600 of the Indians who served on Gallipoli died, in actions at Gurkha Bluff and Hill 60. They took part in terrible, failed attacks, at Gully Ravine and Gully Spur and in the climactic attempt in August to seize the summit of Sari Bair – one of the Gurkhas’ most cherished battle honours.

Though commemorated on the great memorial to the missing at Cape Helles (because most Indians’ bodies were cremated or, actually, lost) they are practically invisible on Gallipoli today.

The Indian story of Gallipoli has barely been told before. Not only is this the first book about their part in the campaign to be published in the century since 1915, but it also tells their story in new and unexpected ways. Though inescapably drawing on records created by the force’s British officers, it strives to recapture the experience of the formerly anonymous sepoys, gunners and drivers, introducing Indians of note – Mit Singh, Gambirsing Pun, Kulbahadur Gurung, and Jan Mohamed – alongside the more familiar British figures such as Cecil Allanson, who led his Gurkhas to the crest of Sari Bair at dawn on 9 August 1915. It explores for the first time the remarkably positive relationship that grew on Gallipoli between Indians and Anzacs, and includes a complete list of the Indian Army dead commemorated on the Helles Memorial on Gallipoli.

Professor Peter Stanley, one of Australia’s most distinguished military social historians, has drawn on an extensive range of unpublished evidence, including official and private records in Britain, Australia, New Zealand and India to tell the story of the Indian experience of Gallipoli that has waited a century to be told.


REVIEWS

Stanley paints a fascinating picture of Indian army forces…
Military History Monthly

… Stanley's book is inspirational and will delight readers interested in the minute details of military history and of the Indian Army in particular. Scholars of late colonial India will find much information to mine, both empirically in terms of the Indian element in the First World War and methodologically in terms of how to write such histories. The instructive quality of Stanley's book is illuminating.
The Journal of Military History

" … without question, the best work of military history that I have read for a considerable time. Brilliantly researched, fluently written and fascinating to read, I recommend it to anyone with an interest in the Gallipoli campaign, the British Army in India, the Indian Army or even the Great War in general … A quite brilliant book, and beautifully produced in high quality paper.”
Long Long Trail