'Neuve Chapelle: the Imperial War Graves Commission and commemorating the Indian Corps on the Western Front' by Prof Mark Connelly
25 Apr

Caption: "A memorial of stunning grace and beauty" - A domed chattri and the War Memorial at Neuve Chapelle (courtesy CWGC)

About this talk: India made a huge contribution to the British Empire's war effort between 1914 and 1918 including the despatch of over a million men to the fighting fronts. An Indian Corps arrived on the Western Front in the autumn of 1914 and played a vital role in the defensive battles around Ypres. In the spring it took part in the series of offensives launched by the British, most famously at Neuve Chapelle. Following the war, the Imperial War Graves Commission commenced work on commemorating the Indian dead and approached Herbert Baker, who at that time was working with Edwin Lutyens on the plans for New Delhi. The final result was a memorial of stunning beauty and grace. This talk will explore the development of the plans as well as the other memorials and cemeteries dedicated to the Indian Corps.

About this speaker: Mark Connelly is Professor of Modern British History at the University of Kent. His main research interests are the memory of war, the image of the armed forces in popular culture and aspects of operational military history. His publications include The Great War: memory and ritual, Steady the Buffs! A Regiment, a Region and the Great War, (with Tim Bowman and Ian Beckett), The British Army and the First World War and (with Stefan Goebel), Ypres. During the centenary he was director of the Arts and Humanities Research Council-funded, Gateways to the First World War, a multi-university centre aimed at encouraging public engagement with the centenary. He also works closely with the Commonwealth War Graves Commission and the In Flanders Fields Museum, Ieper/Ypres.

Caption: The War Memorial inscribed "INDIA", with two tigers to guard the dead.

Where we meet: We meet at the Royal British Legion Club, Queensway, Petts Wood, Orpington, Kent BR5 1DH. Meetings are held on the last Thursday of each month (except August and December). They start at 19:30, with the doors (and the bar) opening at 18:30. We do not charge entrance fees but do welcome donations of £5 or more towards our costs.

How to get there: The club is next to Morrison's supermarket and Petts Wood railway station (trains from Charing Cross, Cannon Street, and Victoria). Parking at the rear of the club is free but you need to enter your car registration into the machine (on the left as you enter the club). Failure to enter your registration can lead to a £50 fine. There's easy free parking in adjacent side streets


Royal British Legion Club, Queensway, Petts Wood, Orpington, Kent BR5 1DH
25 Apr 2024 19:15