Indian soldiers’ bravery

War diary of the 57th Wilde’s Rifles, 1 Aug 1914 to 31 Dec 1915 (catalogue reference WO 95/3923)

Dated November 1914, this extract shows the bravery of Indian soldiers in action together with British soldiers when trying to recover trenches lost near Festubert, November 23-24, 1914. In particular it praises Naik Darwan Sing Negi, who won his Victoria Cross for this action.


After re-capture of the right section four others of this splendid Highland regiment were found in sole possession of a length of about 300 yards of the trench as a gap then existed between the left of the 58th and right of the 2/8th Gurkha. Nothing daunted, these 4 were firing steadily in spite of the many bombs which were being hurled into the trench. They only retired when ordered to do so carrying one of their numbers who had been seriously wounded. There were, of course, many instances of distinguished courage and devotion which will never be recorded. One however has won for an Indian soldier the Victoria Cross. First in every dash on the traverses with the bayonet, three times wounded, Naik Darwan Sing Negi of the i/39th Garhwal Rifles did not even report his wounds till his company fell in.

Such is the story of an action which is dwarfed by the magnitude of the struggle in which we are engaged. It will add nevertheless one more page to the glorious history of the Briton and Indian side by side in arms.

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