Embassy of India in The Hague to host Commonwealth Remembrance Day Service in memory of martyrs in the First and Second World Wars on November 12

Posted on : 08-11-2017 | Back | Print





11:45am – 13:15pm, Westduin Cemetery, Ockenburghstraat 27, The Hague

The Embassy of Indiaon behalf of theCommonwealth-Netherlands Joint Committeeof theCommonwealth War Graves Commission, will be hosting the Commonwealth Remembrance Day service this year to honour the sacrifices of the Commonwealth forces in the First and Second World Wars. All Indians and friends of India are invited to join the service. Please confirm your participation at

A photo exhibition showcasing the contribution of Indian soldiers in World Wars I will also be on display at the Westduin cemetery after the service.

We look forward to welcoming you at the Commonwealth Remembrance Day Service 

Background Information

India’s Contribution to the First and Second World Wars

The forces of undivided India played a significant part in both world wars and her 163,000 dead are buried and commemorated by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission in war cemeteries in 60 countries.

The First World War

Over 74,000 Indian soldiers lost their lives in World War I in which approximately 1.1 million Indian soldiers participated on behalf of the British Government. India provided Britain with a volunteer army equal in numbers to the combined forces contributed by the dominions of Canada, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa.

Indian soldiers fought valiantly across several fronts including France and Flanders,Mesopotamia, Persia, East Africa, Gallipoli and elsewhere in the near and Far East. The supplies that the troops were sent with them from India were inadequate in the face of the harshEuropean winter. The thin khaki drill uniforms left them exposed to the wind, sleet, and snow. In additionto the searing cold, the techniques of European warfare – snaking trenches with barbed wire, bunkers, andmachine gun nests were relatively new to the Indian troops. And yet, despite the myriad obstacles, Indiansoldiers won accolades for their bravery.

After the war, 9200 Indian soldiers were decorated and 11 Indian soldiers who participated in the war were awarded Britain’s highest award for valour, the Victoria Cross, for their conspicuous bravery on the battlefield.

The Second World War

India’s army by the end of the Second World War with over 2.5 million men was the largest volunteer army the world had ever seen and suffered the heaviest losses. Over 89,000 Indian soldiers lost their lives in the Second World War.

Indian soldiers fought with distinction in theatres of war across the world: India and Burma; Malaysia, Singapore and Hong Kong; the Middle East and North Africa; Greece and Italy. They served at sea and in the air, as well as contributed to medical personnel and technical troops.

After the war, 17 Indian soldiers who participated in the war, were awarded Victoria Crosses.

Commonwealth War Graves Commission
The Commonwealth War Graves Commission is responsible for marking and maintaining the graves of those members of the Commonwealth forces who died during the two world wars, for building and maintaining memorials to the dead whose graves are unknown and for providing records and registers of these 1.7 million burials and commemorations found in most countries throughout the world.

Commonwealth cemeteries in The Hague
There is a total of four Commonwealth cemeteries in The Hague. The Hague General Cemetery at Kerhoflaan and The Hague Roman Catholic Cemetery contain war graves of the First World War. The Hague (Westduin) Cemetery and The Hague (Oud EikEnDuinen) Cemetery contain war graves of the Second World War.

The Commonwealth-Netherlands Joint Committee annually remembers the sacrifices of these Commonwealth forces in a ceremony held at the Westduin Cemetery.The Westduin Cemetery in The Hague contains 87 Commonwealth burials of the Second World War.

The Remembrance Day Service also pays tribute to The StijkelGroep, named after Hans Stijkel, Leader of a group of individuals actively involved in the resistance against German occupation after the invasion of The Netherlands on 10 May 1940. Memorial stones have been erected in Westduin Cemetery in their honour.


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