BRIGHTON Festival will remember the city's role in the First World War with a special installation opening tomorrow.

Dr Blighty will focus on Brighton's care of wounded Indian soldiers with a particular focus on the Royal Pavilion.

In 1914, the early months of the Great War, Britain found itself short of experienced soldiers, such was the ferocity of the new battlefield weaponry they faced. And so the onus to fill the void fell on the rest of the Empire.

More than a million men - Muslims, Sikhs and Hindus - left their homes in India for a journey to the darkest corner of earth – Europe’s Western Front.

Between 1914 and 1916, those Indian soldiers who escaped wounded were brought to Brighton’s majestic, Mughal-inspired Royal Pavilion.

Converted into a 722-bed hospital, it became home to 2,300 soldiers of Empire during the war. The rumour – the British authorities made no effort to quash – was that this the home of King George V himself, specially vacated for wounded heroes. In times of war, morale was a powerful weapon.

Great efforts were made to accommodate the needs of the varied religions and castes: Muslim soldiers had meat prepared in accordance with Islamic rites whereas Hindus and Sikhs had a separate supply. Pork was banned. Gas-fired ovens were provided for Indian cooks, who made dal and chapattis for the sick men.

Through letters home, censoring out the horrors of the war, Brighton became synonymous across India with restoration and health - a blessed place where their sons and husbands slept in the King’s own home.

An ambitious new project for Brighton Festival, called Dr Blighty, remembers this unexpected episode in the city's history.

Produced by Nutkhut, it tells the story of the soldiers who convalesced at the Pavilion, bringing the experiences of the soldiers, and the locals who cared for them, movingly back to life.

Visitors can expect immersive installations, ambient soundscapes and theatrical interludes, inspired by letters the soldiers sent back home. Once the sun has set, video projections will colourfully animate the Pavilion itself.

Dr Blighty runs in Royal Pavilion Gardens, New Road, Brighton, from tomorrow, May 24, until Saturday, May 28, from 2pm until 10pm.