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The Great War was the first to be heavily documented from the front lines.  It is through the photos and the collections of letters sent home from the front that we are able to piece together the daily lives of the Indian soldiers on the tip of the spear in the Western front. 

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From a wounded Sikh to his father [1915]

Tell my mother not to go wandering madly because her son, my brother, is dead. To be born and to die is God’s order... It is a fine thing to die far from home. A saint said this, and, as he was a good man, it must be true.”

 

The forests of France were decimated by artillery fire, leaving behind the haunting burnt skeletons of the once dense forest. 

"No mans land"  - France 1914

Germany used mustard gas as a biological weapon, the first such use of chemical warfare.  Here Indian troops, gas masks on, await inspection. 

From a Garhwali in France to his family [1915]

 

“It is very hard to endure the bombs, father. It will be difficult for anyone to survive and come back safe and sound from the war...The bullets and cannon-balls come down like snow. The mud is up to a man’s middle. The distance between us and the enemy is fifty paces... “

From a wounded Pathan to a relative [1915]

“Do not think that this is a war. This is not a war. It is the ending of the world.”

From a wounded Garhwali to a friend [1915]

"Here the earth is covered with dead men and there is no place to put one’s foot."

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