Vaihayasi P Daniel
In September 1918 the British 15th Imperial Service Cavalry Brigade liberated Haifa from 400 years of Ottoman rule. The bravery of three Indian cavalry regiments is remembered during this campaign, says Vaihayasi P Daniel.
On September 23, Colonel M S Jodha of the Indian Army journeyed to Haifa in Israel, to lay a wreath at the special war memorial that honours his grandfather, Captain Bahadur Aman Singh Jodha, his regiment and other co-regiments.
At his side was India's Ambassador to Israel Navtej Sarna who recalled Captain Bahadur Aman Singh Jodha and his men at the touching ceremony.
Thousands of Indian soldiers saw action in this sunny Mediterranean town, in this theatre of war, during World War I.
And it was the Indians that saved the day.
Explains Ambassador Sarna, who has a special interest in history (he is the author of a biography on Duleep Singh, The Exile), "The action of the Indian soldiers needs special mention as it was the most remarkable cavalry action fought during the whole course of the First World War campaign. This has been acknowledged in the official history of the war and also in the book A History Of The British Cavalry 1816-1919 by the Marquess of Anglesey."
Image: A wreath is placed at the memorial in Haifa
Photographs: Courtesy: The Indian Embassy, Tel Aviv
In September 1918 the British 15th Imperial Service Cavalry Brigade liberated Haifa from 400 years of Ottoman rule.
It was three Indian cavalry regiments whose bravery is remembered during this campaign."
"The Indian cavalry regiments were deployed in France from 1914 to May 1918. In May 1918, the brigade was redeployed to this region as part of the Allied forces under British General Edmund Allenby, sweeping northwards through Palestine, rolling up the remnants of the Turkish Seventh and the Eighth Armies and their German allies in the last great cavalry campaign in history," Sarna said.
The commemoration ceremony to honour these 'Indian bravehearts' on Haifa Day, 92 years after the campaign, was attended by a handful of dignitaries -- representatives from the Haifa City Council, Israel's ministry of defence, the Haifa Historical Society, the Commonwealth Graves Commission as well as defence attaches from several countries.
It was the first time a ceremony was being held to honour the Indian heroes of this battle.
Sarna underlined that the soldiers fought valiantly for the British while they were engaged in a struggle against the British for independence back home.
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