This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government
Last week across the country volunteers from Sikh, Muslim and Hindu communities came together to commemorate the fallen of World War One and to raise money for the Royal British Legion.
We Remember Too encourages communities from across the UK to remember their ancestors’ contribution to World War One through locally-led, multi-faith events in the week leading up to Remembrance Sunday.
Around 1.3 million men from pre-partition India – which consists of modern day Pakistan, India and Bangladesh – fought in the First World War for Britain in the British Indian Army. Awareness of the contribution of pre-partition Indians to the British war effort was previously not well known by the majority of the British public but over the past 2 years this has increased by 24%, with 68% of the public now aware.
Poppy stalls collecting for the Royal British Legion were set up by multi-faith groups across London and in Derby, Redbridge, Leeds and Nottingham with volunteers drawn from churches, synagogues, mosques, gurdwaras and temples. Communities Ministers also attended events in London.
Speaking after attending a We Remember Too event outside Westminster Cathedral on 5 November, Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government Eric Pickles said:
World War One touched the lives of millions of people across generations and across continents – from every corner of the world people united to fight for Britain. The legacy of their sacrifice can be felt in the freedoms that we all now enjoy today. 100 years on, it’s only right that Briton’s from every background come together to remember their service.
Communities Minister Stephen Williams said:
One hundred years from the tragedy of World War One I can think of no better way to mark the outstanding contribution that people of faith and no faith have made to our country than through communities coming together and learning about our shared history together.
We Remember Too was founded last year with grants from community groups alongside a Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) Together in Service grant.
This year’s project is entirely community-funded and is complimented by DCLG’s Victoria Cross commemorations.
Speaking after attending collections outside the Palace of Westminster as well as remembrance events organised by the Muslim and Hindu communities, Communities Minister Lord Ahmad said:
The British War effort during World War One was underpinned by the support of many thousands of Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs and people of other minority faiths.
In Britain’s time of need they stood up to be counted. They gave their service, and their lives, fighting for our society and our values – justice, fairness and liberty, a legacy which lives on in the diverse and vibrant Britain of today.
Eleven pre-partition Indians were awarded the Victoria Cross, Britain’s highest military award for bravery, during World War One. All 11 will be commemorated permanently with a paving stone at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire. See more information on the Victoria Cross commemorative paving stones.
We Remember Too is a community-led project organised by the Faiths Forum for London.