History GCSE: Jemadar Mir Mast and the British Indian deserters who risked their lives to get back home

Jemadar Mir Mast took an extraordinary risk by deserting to the German army in a bid to get back home.

He was one of thousands of Indian soldiers in the British army on the Western Front and a platoon commander who had been awarded the Indian Distinguished Service Medal.

But in March 1915 he decided to take his fate into his own hands when took 20 of his colleagues across no man’s land.

Shortly after, he was appointed to a diplomatic German mission on an extraordinary journey to meet the Emir of Afghanistan in Kabul.

Germany was unable to persuade the Emir to support their war-effort but it appears that Mir Mast was released and able to return to his home shortly after the mission.

David Olusoga challenges our understanding of World War One in this collection. Each film focuses on those who made it a truly global conflict - the four million non-white, non-European troops and ancillaries who fought and died alongside European troops, to ensure the survival of their Imperial masters.

Teacher Notes

You could ask students to identify the range of evidence used during the investigation and analyse it for utility and reliability.

Curriculum Notes

These films are suitable for teaching History at GCSE in England, Wales and Norther Ireland and at 4th Level in Scotland.

The Belgian priest and the colonial troops in WW1
video
The Chinese Labour Corps in WW1
video
How the colonies made WW1 a global war
video
La Force Noire - West African troops in the French army
video
The African American war hero who had to fight for France
video
Overcoming racial stereotypes in France in WW1
video
Indian soldiers and friendship in WW1
video
Voices of Indian soldiers in WW1
video
The Indian flying ace of WW1
video