Forgotten history of Muslim soldiers retold in St Albans

The Bengal Lancers go ‘over the top’ at the Battle of Arras. Picture: Imperial War Museum

The Bengal Lancers go ‘over the top’ at the Battle of Arras. Picture: Imperial War Museum - Credit: Archant

The forgotten history of Muslim soldiers in World War One will be told at a museum lecture in St Albans.

A historian and former advisor at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, Jahan Mahmood, will give the talk as part of a historical diversity exhibition in St Albans called All In It Together.

He will speak on April 26 about the nearly half a million Muslim soldiers who fought and died on the Western Front during the war.

They served with the British Indian Army, when the country was still a colony of Britain, and there has been concern the soldiers’ sacrifices have been forgotten.

The first British Indian soldier to get a Victoria Cross was Khudadad Khan, a machine gunner with the 129th Baluchi regiment.


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One of his achievements included determinedly carrying on firing on German troops after he was the last man left alive in order to stop them reaching France.

The exhibition is run by St Albans district council (SADC) and managed by St Albans Arts Team, from SADC’s leisure provider, 1Life.

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On display will also be army recruitment posters designed by school children inspired by the St Albans printers, Dangerfields - whose work includes photos of West Indian and Indian troops in World War One.

Tickets for the talk at Verulamium Museum, called Muslims in the First World War, are £5 from the museum or on 01727 751810.

The exhibition runs until April 30.

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