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Letter To Field Marshal Birdwood, Commander in Chief, British India

Below is a transcript of a letter written in 1925 to Field Marshal Sir William Riddell Birdwood, who was the Commander in Chief of British India. It is written by a soldier on behalf of Dulmial Village, Punjab in thanks for being rewarded with a 12 pounder Carron Ironworks, Scottish, Blomefield design Cannon in 1925. This cannon was also known as ‘Birdwood Gun’ and was awarded to Dulmial for providing 460 men in the First World War, a record for any South Asian village.

Field Marshal W.R. Birdwood

Field Marshal Sir William R. Birdwood
Commander in Chief in India

May it please your Excellency,
At the express desire of the Indian Officers, Indian other Ranks and the inhabitants of Dulmial, District Jhelum, Punjab. I am commissioned by them on their behalf to welcome and greet your Excellency on your again settling foot on this historic Gateway of India.
The news that your Excellency was appointed by His Majesty command to be Commander in Chief in India, thrilled the hearts of Dulmial with ever whelming joy and gratitude to God for such an exceptional distinction and all Dulmial have been only longing day after day for your safe arrival, and see you again in their midst eye to eye.
It was your Excellency that advanced the fame of Dulmial here you have passed many a happy days, and it is no exaggeration that it was your Excellency that appreciated the work and worth, honesty and loyalty of the people of Dulmial.

And further in recognition of the meritorious service rendered to the Crown since the dark days of the Indian Mutiny in 1857, their successful engagements in the various battles that ensued and the valour they displayed in the Great War were crowned by the presentation of the huge gum known as the ‘Birdwood Gun’ as a memento and reward, for the good services rendered by the people of Dulmial, and all this was through your Excellency’s instrumentality.
The tourists, visitors and people passing Dulmial speak highly of this honour and its attainments and all this is due to the impetus you have given and promoted.

It is to my sorrow that owing to the shortness of time in Bombay and the much duties you have to get through in your arrival that I am unable to present this to you in person and I conclude wishing your Excellency health and happiness and formidable courage to govern and conduct the destinies of the Forces in India and so promote, peace, happiness and safety both to people and the Crown.
Begging to be excused for intruding on your precious time.

I remain Your Excellency’s most obedient and humble servant,
Ghulam Muhammad Khan, Subedar
On behalf of the Indian Officers, other Ranks and Inhabitants of Dulmial Village
District of Jhelum
5th August 1925.

Dulmial Village Cannon, also known as ‘The Birdwood Gun.’

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