The Indian Corps, consisting of two infantry divisions (Meerut and Lahore), arrived in France in September/October 1914. It was commanded by Lieutenant-General Sir James Willcocks who was the most senior officer n the BEF after Field Marshal Sir John French and General Sir Horace Smith-Dorrien. The corps remained on the Western Front till the end of 1915, when it was transferred to the Middle East, a more suitable theatre of war for Indian Army troops. This history was published at the request and under the authority of the India Office, and apart from General Willcocks’ own memoirs, With The Indians in France, it is the only record of the corps. It is not altogether a happy tale, as the book makes clear. While there was no questioning the bravery of the troops (five Indian/Gurkha VCs) there were problems of climate, reinforcements, officer casualties (the Indian battalion had only 13 British officers, who were first priority targets for the Germans), not to mention mishandling and lack of understanding on the part of the High Command. Total casualties among Indian Army units amounted to 21,413 (each division had, initially, three British battalions and divisional artillery was British). An unusual and fascinating story and history.
INDIAN CORPS IN FRANCE
The only history of the Indian Corps in France in the Great War, from 1914 to 1915 when the Corps transferred to the Middle East. A fascinating story.