The Indian Army
The Main Ethnic Groups
Arrival and Trench Warfare
Endurance and Departure
The Rewards of Bravery
Indian Hospitals in Brighton
The Pavilion Hospital
The Indians & Brighton
Cremation and Burial
Brighton and The Chattri
Indian War Memorials
Roll of Honour

The Indians & Brighton

“Here the ladies tend us, who have been wounded, as a mother tends her child. They pour milk into our mouths. They wash our bed clothes every week and massage our backs when they ache from lying in bed.
They put us in motor cars and take us through the city. When, at four o’clock, we go out from the hospital, the ladies of the city give us fruit. They say ‘we have never seen such men.”

A Sikh to his father (Punjab) A Hospital, England 20th February 1915

Brighton Sympathy

Medical Orderly Harold Beecham “with his Indian friend”
“One of my duties was also to escort the convalescent patients for walking exercises along the sea front. On these occasions we were photographed at almost every step and when we halted for 5 minutes every half hour, we were surrounded by a crowd offering sweets and cigarettes. Elegant ladies in their expensive furs and gentlemen in top hats used to alight from their big long cars wanting to shake hands with these stalwart wounded heroes. It was generally a pleasant duty but could be most embarrassing at times.

On one occasion, I remember, whilst cutting a loaf of bread, I injured my finger. In a hurry to get out I stuck a piece of sticking plaster and left it at that. Two days later it had began to throb and there was cellulitis spreading on the hand. It had to be opened up and fomented as penicillin, the panacea of all ills, had not been discovered in those days. The surgeon put on a finger splint and put my bandaged hand in a sling. Escorting the convalescents that afternoon I was virtually accosted by men and women saying ‘What a young sergeant and already wounded.’ They inquired if it was a bullet or a shrapnel wound. I did not have the moral courage to confess the truth and spoil their fun but refrained from indulging in this unintentional fraud till the splint was removed.”

The Morale Builders Lieut.-General D.R. Thapar (Asst. Quartermaster Pavilion Hospital 1915)

Brighton Girls

Kitchener Hospital, Brighton, 12th November 1915

Kitchener Hospital Picnic
“This place is very picturesque, and the Indians are liked very much here. The girls of this place are notorious and very fond of accosting Indians and fooling with them. They are ready for any purpose, and in truth they are no better than the girls of Adda Bazar.” Storekeeper D.N. Sircar to Telegraphist S.K. Bapat

Brighton Transport

Kitchener Indian Hospital, Brighton, May 1915

Indian Soldiers in a Char-à-banc on Hove Seafront
“You have written and said that I do not tell you very much [but] the condition here is the same as before: to write a little is useless and to tell lies is not good. In India one can travel by trains very cheaply, but here one can do the same in motor cars…” Jodh Singh (Dogra) To a subedar of the 38th Dogras

Brighton Widows

Kitchener Indian Hospital, Brighton, 9th June 1915

Wounded Indian Soldiers Playing Cards in the Pavilion Grounds
“The women here are of great spirit. You will not see a woman or girl crying because of the loss of a near relative in the war. I have had several opportunities of talking to widows who have lost their husbands in the war; but strange to say, I have never heard a word of lamentation from their lips. Always they spoke with pride that ‘my husband or my brother has been killed in the war’ …Even in this terrible time, one can hear the sound of music in the houses.” Sub-Assistant Surgeon T H Gupta To Sub-Assistant Surgeon Gunpat Ram

Brighton News

Kitchener Indian Hospital, Brighton, 10th June 1915

Indian Soldiers Relaxing
“The news one sees in the papers is not at all true. I see one thing in the Indian newspapers and another in the papers here. The English newspapers are much more reliable and truthful than the Indian. Much light can be gained on the true state of affairs from the newspapers here. It is a great pity that you do not learn the real state of affairs.”
Subedar Muhammad Azim Khan (Punjabi Muslim, 57th Wilde’s Rifles) To his father

Brighton Ladies

Kitchener Indian Hospital, Brighton, 23rd October 1915

Souvenir Brochure
[He encloses a cigarette card of ‘The Duchess of Gordon after Sir Joshua Reynolds’] “This is the woman we get. We have recourse to her. I have sent you this [her picture] and if you like it, let me know, and I will send her. We get everything [we want]. If you do not, let me know, and I will try to procure it for you.” Tura Baz Khan (Pathan) To Sepoy Gul Hassan Khan

Brighton Commemorates

Advertisement for the Royal Pavilion Hospital “Open Days” following the Departure of the Indians
Following the departure of the last Indian soldiers from Brighton the Borough of Brighton opened the Pavilion Hospital to the public in aid of the Mayor of Brighton’s War Charities. By February 9th there had been over 10,000 visitors and at times queues had stretched as far as the Old Steine.


Next Chapter

Cremation and Burial