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15 October 2014
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Indian memories of World War 2

by Belgrave Library

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Contributed by 
Belgrave Library
People in story: 
Mrs. Gohil
Location of story: 
Dansichru, India
Article ID: 
Contributed on: 
29 June 2004

This story was given to Sneha and Jamini when they visited Mrs. Gohil. It has been added to the site with her permission. She understands the website terms and conditions.

We spoke to Mrs Gohil, who is a resident at Rushey Mead Manor, about the Word War 2. She was 20 years old during the war and lived in India in Dansichru, which is 10 miles away from Navsari.

Her mim and dad passed away during the war, and she was left with on her own because her brother was a soldier.

She remembers vividly her brother being shot, at the age of 22. The British Police were hiding in the tops of the trees just waiting to shoot any of the Indian soldiers, but she said that she was happy because her brother died fighting for India and he died for a good deed.

Mrs Gohil felt very sad and angry when her brother died because she was left on her own, so she took part in Protests. She remembers walking from city to city, singing special holy songs with her friends. Mrs Gohil said that it was tiring but very happy times.

She lived most of her life during the war, with her friends. The houses were very small, and she recalls that 7 people were squashed into one houe, because of limited space.

After the War, it rained, and it was so nice because it was hot, and it was a relief. She said that it was a really happy time, but she still felt sad her brother had died, and she wished that her brother were still alive.

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Message 1 - Indian memories of World War 2

Posted on: 02 July 2004 by Peter - WW2 Site Helper

There seems to be total confusion here. It is claimed that "The British Police were hiding in the tops of the trees just waiting to shoot any of the Indian soldiers".

In WW2 Indian soldiers were part and parcel of the British army. The Indian Army fought gallantly in many theatres with Britain against the Axis forces. Here, for example, is Winston Churchill's telegram to the Viceroy of India after the capture of Karen in Eritrea by the Indian Army in 1941:

"The whole world has been strirred by the achievements of the Indian forces in Eritrea. For me the story of the ardour and perseverance with which they scaled and finally conquered the precipitous heights of Keren recalls memories of the North-West Frontier of long ago, and it is as one who has had the honour to serve in the field with Indian soldiers from all parts of Hindustan, as well as in the name of His Majesty's Government, that I ask Your Excellency to convey to them and to the whole Indian Army the pride and admiration with which we have followed their heroic exploits." (Prime Minister's Personal Telegram, T-53, 7 April 1941: Churchill papers 20/49, quoted in"Finest Hour - Winston S. Churchill 1939-1941" by Martin Gilbert, volume VI, page 1,047 (Henemann, 1983).

Twenty-nine Victoria Crosses were awarded to soldiers of the Indian Army in both world wars.

The writer may be referring to the Nazi inspired 'Indian National Army' (INA). This was founded and led by Subhas Chandra Bose, a Nazi sympathiser who supported the Axis. He fled to Germany in 1940, after breaking with the independence movement led by Ghandi, and there organised a small body of Indian volunteers from PoWs to fight against the Allies. On Japan's entry into the war he returned to the East and recruited the INA from Indian troops captured by the Japanese in the Malayan campaign. The INA took part in the Japanese invasion of eastern India from Burma in 1944. After the defeat of Japan the force disintegrated.



Message 2 - Indian memories of World War 2

Posted on: 03 July 2004 by Trooper Tom Canning - WW2 Site Helper

I can only agree with Peter - and Mr Churchill as the exploits of the Indian divisions in the British Army will live long in memory, particularly the 4th Indian Infantry Division with their service at Beda Fomm with Gen O'Conner in the rout of Graziani's army - then on to Eritrea for the rout of the Duke of Aostas' army - on to Syria to "look after' some recalcitrant "Free " French - back to the Western desert...Alamein -
Tunis - Cassino - Gothic Line - then on to Greece to "look after' the Communists, it was always an honour to fight alongside such men - no ma'am... I would present myself to the nearest Doctor to have my du'lalli checked out !

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