The Friends of the Indian Soldiers Memorial group and New Milton Town Council worked closely together to host the Annual Commemoration held on Monday 10 July 2023 at the Indian Memorial Obelisk located in Barton on Sea.
The Friends group, formed in 2022, are keen to continue to promote and share the heritage and history of the Indian Memorial Obelisk, which was originally unveiled on 10 July 1917 in honour of the Indian Troops who convalesced in Barton on Sea during World War 1.
There are two inscriptions on the monument, one side in English and the other side is a translation in Urdu.
“This Memorial is erected to commemorate the establishment at Barton on Sea in 1914 of the Convalescent Depot for Indian Troops who fought in Europe during the Great War and was subscribed for by members of the staff”
Invited guests, including the Deputy Lieutenant of Hampshire and Civic Leaders, joined representatives from Arnewood School, New Milton Junior School, and Durlston Court School, as well as members of the public, to pay their respects at the Act of Remembrance.
One of the distinguished guests, Shrabani Basu, a renowned journalist and author specialising in the special history between Britain and India, was delighted to address the congregation proudly acknowledging the support of the Indian Troops who signed up to fight alongside Britain during World War 1.
A key participant during the Act of Remembrance was Callum Murray, a student at Durlston Court School and honorary member of the Friends group, who recited the Kohima during the service and afterwards he said “I feel it is so important to remember the close bond between the local people of New Milton and Barton on Sea and the wonderful Indian Soldiers who briefly shared our town during those awful days of the Great War. The continued bond is represented by the Soldiers Obelisk, and it is always an honour to play my small part to ensure the past is remembered and the future is embraced, as we would not have this opportunity without their sacrifice.”
Speaking on behalf of the Friends of the Indian Soldiers Memorial, Harmeet Singh Brar, one of the founding members said “This Obelisk is a symbol of our cultural history, a symbol of courage that binds us together as we remember our ancestors fighting for freedom, that freedom that allows us to be here together today”
He went on to say “It is the intention of the Friends group to continue to promote that cultural history, nurturing interest for this incredible piece of history, by engaging with the community and encouraging relationships with other heritage groups. Please get in touch, we always welcome new members!”
Further information about the Indian Troops presence in the New Forest can be viewed on the Milton Heritage Society website Milton Heritage Society
Further information about the Friends of the Indian Soldiers Memorial group can be viewed on their website Friends of the Indian Soldiers Memorial (newforestindianmemorial.co.uk)
Or email enquiries directly to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Dated: 12 July 2023