In the vast South Downs, nestled between the fields of Standean Farm, Patcham, the Chattri Memorial stands proud, commemorating 53 soldiers who died in the hospitals in Brighton in World War One.

In the First World War, there were over one and a half million troops serving in the British Indian Army. As the name suggests, the army was commanded by the British Empire, and fought side by side with the Allied powers against Germany on the Western Front.

In 1914, the British Indian Army had one of the largest volunteer armies in the world at 240,000 troops strong. During the war, it is believed to have skyrocketed to over 800,000. 

There were three military hospitals in Brighton during World War One, however Indian soldiers were only treated at the Royal Pavilion, with over 2,300 Indian patients treated in 1915. It is said that King George V had believed that the Indo-Saracenic architecture would comfort the wounded soldiers. The Pavilion housed the over 600 Indian soldiers who were wounded from the Western Front.

In accordance to Hindu and Sikh tradition, the men who died were cremated, with the ashes being spread on the South Downs. The Chattri Memorial was unveiled in 1921 by King Edward VIII, then known as the Prince of Wales, and was built in the exact location of the funeral pyres of the 53 men.

As Poppy Day quickly approaches, and we remember the lives lost during World War One, perhaps find time to visit the Chattri Memorial and have a moment of reflection for the men immortalised in it’s white Sicilian Marble.