Two Indian soldiers, who died in World War I, to get burial in France

New Delhi, Nov 11 (IANS) Two Indian soldiers of Garhwal Rifles, who fought in the First World War and whose remains were found in an excavation recently, will be given burial with full military honours in France on Sunday, an official said.

The remains of the two soldiers were found on September 20, last year, during an excavation work on the southern side of the village of Richebourg near Laventie Military Cemetery, approximately 230 km from Paris, a statement issued on Saturday said.

On examining their belongings, they were identified as casualities of 39th Royal Garhwal Rifles which participated in World War I.

The office of Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWWGC), the curator of graves of such unsung heroes, in consultation with the French government and the Indian Embassy in France, decided to hold a burial ceremony at Laventie Military Cemetery, with full military honours for these soldiers alongside the Annual Memorial Service to commemorate the Indian soldiers who sacrificed their lives in France and Belgium.

On behalf of the Indian Army, a delegation comprising the Commandant and the Subedar Major of the Garhwal Rifles Regimental Centre, two bagpipers from the Garhwal Rifles Regimental Pipe band and Colonel Nitin Negi, grandson of late Naik Darwan Singh Negi, Victoria Cross — the gallant hero of the battle of Festubert, will attend the ceremony on November 12.

In a symbolic gesture, the soil from the graves of these soldiers would also be brought back to their homeland.

During World War I, the Garhwal Brigade comprising 1st/39th and 2nd/39th Royal Garhwal Rifles showed unparalleled bravery in France and Flanders in Belgium.

The Garhwal Brigade earned six Battle Honours and two Victoria Cross in France and Flanders theatres.

On the solemn occasion, homage will also be paid to the martyrs of Indian Meerut Division at Nueve Chapelle War Memorial by laying wreaths on behalf of the Chief of the Army Staff, Indian Army, by Brigadier Indrajit Chatterjee and Commandant and Subedar Major Trilok Singh Negi of the Garhwal Rifles Regimental Centre.

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