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Defence Minister receives sacred soil of two martyred soldiers of WWI

Issue No. 22 | November 16-30, 2017Photo(s): By PIB

Delegation of Garhwal Rifles Regimental Centre recently returned with the sacred soil from the resting place of two soldiers of 39 Garhwal Rifles. The urn was brought from Laventie, France, and will be carried to the Garhwal Rifles Regimental Centre at Landsdowne. The two urns containing the sacred soil were handed over to the Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman by the delegation in a simple and solemn ceremony.

On November 12, 2017, mortal remains of the two soldiers were sent on their final journey with full military honours at Military Cemetery, Laventie, France. A delegation comprising of Commandant and Subedar Major, two bagpipers from the Garhwal Rifles Regimental Center and Colonel Nitin Negi, grandson of late Naik Darwan Singh Negi, Victoria Cross, were present on the occasion. On behalf of the Chief of the Army Staff, homage was paid to the soldiers of Indian Meerut Division at Nueve Chapelle War Memorial by laying of wreaths by Brigadier Indrajit Chatterjee, Commandant and Subedar Major Trilok Singh Negi.

On September 20, 2016, during an excavation work on southern side of the village of Richebourg near Laventie Military Cemetery approximately 230 km away from Paris two human remains were found and identified to be of soldiers of 39th Royal Garhwal Rifles. The office of Commonwealth War Graves Commission in consultation with the French Government and Indian Embassy in France decided to hold ceremony to rest them along with their comrades at Laventie Military Cemetery, with full military honors during the annual memorial service that is held to commemorate the Indian soldiers who were martyred in action in France and Belgium.

During WWI, the Garhwal Brigade comprising of 1st/39th and 2nd/39th Royal Garhwal showed unparalleled bravery in treacherous trenches of France and Flanders. Fighting shoulder to shoulder with British soldiers the Gharwal Brigade earned six Battle Honours and two Victoria Cross in France and Flanders Theatre.