The Forgotten Soldiers

Muslim War Heroes Profiles

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Learn more about our project

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Oral Histories / podcasts

Workshops

Trips / Visits

Exhibition

About Our Forgotten Soldiers Project

A magazine that was published in 2009 quotes the military historian Major Gordon Corrigan as saying: "The role of the British Indian army was vital to the war effort; had they not helped fortify the front line during the First World War the Germans might well have broken through and made it to the Channel ports. Of the 1.5 million Indians who constituted the volunteer force during the First World War, approximately 400,000 were Muslims." 

The Punjabi Muslim was regarded as the backbone of the old Indian army, and constituted about a third of the British Indian army. Known for their reliability, they were steady men who could be depended on to carry out any task at hand. Many Muslims were stationed in France at the time of Eid in July 1917. All of the Muslims of the division use to pray together and the assembly of 1,500 men use to assemble and pray for the victory of our king and the nation.

World War II cost the lives of over 36,000 Indian servicemen and more than 34,000 were wounded and over 67,000 became prisoners of war. World War II was the last time the Indian Army fought as the British Indian Army, as independence and partition followed in 1947.

As part of this programme we are creating a documentary that collates pictures/interviews and thoughts of community members, project volunteers, as well as veterans that were involved in the British Armed Forces and how this impacted on their lives in Britain today.  

Main Aims Of The Project

We envisage our programme to have 5 main aims:

  • To create a short documentary highlighting the lesser known narratives of the Great Wars.
  • To deliver 6 workshops/presentations engaging young people from all communities to appreciate the contributions of Muslims soldiers.
  • To create an Exhibition to showcase at local arts centres, schools and places of worship.
  • To create a social media campaign 'Forgotten Soldiers’. Leading up to our Exhibition.
  • Reducing Islamophobia in our communities and creating more social inclusive environment.

The project will raise awareness of Muslim contributions to Britain's past war efforts. Through delivering various interactive workshops we will explore how many countries regardless of colour, nationality and religious indifferences came together to serve one nation to overcome the enemy

Over 100 years ago the British authorities made elaborate arrangements to cater for the soldiers religious and cultural needs. Nine different kitchens were set up in the grounds of the Brighton Pavillion hospital, so that food could be cooked by the soldiers' fellow caste members and co-religionists. Muslims were given space on the eastern lawns to pray facing towards Mecca. Aspects of which can also help us today maintain inclusion and respect. 

The project will look at commemorating the "Forgotten Muslims" who died in the First and Second World War and we will create a local archive and deliver an exhibition in the Mosque and in our local arts Centre in Sale. We will also be taking participants of the project to the 2014 remembrance Sunday to take part in the local event and gather information on key poets and literary greats during the time.     

The idea of the exhibition would be to capture detail of the sacrifices made by people from Muslim backgrounds to keep Britain free. These soldiers fought and died together along with British troops and we would like them to be remembered and honored together.

A key aspect of the project will be to involve younger people from all backgrounds, Muslims and non-Muslims alike. Volunteers of all ages will be invited to help with the research and interviews. Families of the soldiers who fought in the conflict will be interviewed and the recorded and the information being collected alongside memorabilia such as medals, uniforms and photographs. Other material will include posters, contemporary newspaper reports, postcards as well as artifacts and documents that are brought to our attention.