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These graves of Indian Muslim soldiers in Britain will surprise you

There are 35 graves of Muslim soldiers from the Royal Indian Army Service Corps (RIASC)in Britain.

Who are they and how come their graves are here?

These Indian Muslim soldiers were a part of army who died in Britain during the Second World War (1939-45).

They were all Muslims, mostly from Punjab, in present day Pakistan. Their records were kept by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

The RIASC had two purposes, to feed the British Indian Army in peace and war, and to provide mechanical and animal transport of fighting units.

When stationed in Britain some of these soldiers died and were buried here.

In England there are 9 graves in 5 cemeteries, Ashbourne (Derbyshire), Charlestown (Cornwall), Colchester (Essex), Hereford and Plymouth.

In Wales, 13 graves in 5 cemetries, Brecon, Cardiff, Abergavenny, Crickhowell and Pontypool.

In Scotland, 13 graves in 4 cemetries, Aberdeen, Keith, Dornoch and Kingussie.

What was the RIASC doing in Britain in WW2?

At the start of World War 2 Britain realised they may need animals for the muddy terrains of the battlefields. The best source of such transport was undivided India. Hence 4 companies were sent over with logistical support. These were known as Force K6, consisting of 1800 personnel and 2000 animals. All of the soldiers were Muslims, mostly from Punjab.

Force K6 arrived in Marseille, France in December 1940. After service in France some of the men and animals were moved to the Inverness-shire area of Scotland, camping at Aviemore. They were appropriately supplied with sheep for curries, atta flour and ghee. Arrangements for prayers were also made in a Mosque area.

In this region they underwent snow and mountain warfare techniques. The Allies were preparing to open another front by invading Norway, but this never happened.

In this Scottish terrain 9 Muslim soldiers died and were buried at Kingussie cemetery. Some passed away with illnesses, other as a result of accidents.

Below are the details and photographs of the 9 Muslim graves at Kingussie, Scotland.

The graves have been lovingly cared for by the local community for nearly 75 years. Their contribution in the Second World War has not been forgotten, even in this remote area of Scotland.

They travelled 4000 miles to help The Allies in the war effort.

Unfortunately these 9 men buried at Kingussie, along with 26 others did not make it back. Their families, many in present day Pakistan will have missed them. Their descendants may not have even known their history.

Pakistan should not forget these men and their contributions.

Name: ALI BAHADUR

Nationality: Indian

Rank: Daffadar

Regiment/Service: Royal Indian Army Service Corps

Unit Text: 25 Mule Coy.

Age: 38

Date of Death: 22/11/1942

Service No: 59383

Additional information: Son of Sumundar Khan and Sahib Noor, of Badyal, Hazara, Pakistan.

Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead

Grave/Memorial Reference: Sec. 3. Grave 538-539.

grave-1

Name: BARI SHER

Nationality: Indian

Rank: Driver

Regiment/Service: Royal Indian Army Service Corps

Unit Text: 42 Mule Coy.

Age: 37

Date of Death: 20/06/1943

Service No: 64164

Additional information: Son of Jang Khan, and of Bodla, of Ali Sojal, Poonch, Kashmir; husband of Begum

Jan, of Ali Sojal.

Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead

Grave/Memorial Reference: Sec. 3. Grave 542-543.

grave-2

Name: DADAN KHAN

Nationality: Indian

Rank: Driver

Regiment/Service: Royal Indian Army Service Corps

Age: 22

Date of Death: 20/08/1942

Service No: 783738

Additional information: Son of Mir Zaman and Bivi Ji, of Merabala, Hazara, Pakistan; husband of Noor

Jahan, of Merabala.

Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead

Grave/Memorial Reference: Sec. 3. Grave 574-575.

grave-3

Name: FAZL ALI
Nationality: Indian

Rank: Driver

Regiment/Service: Royal Indian Army Service Corps

Age: 25

Date of Death: 25/06/1943

Service No: 784364

Additional information: Son of Taj Ali and Hayat Bibi, of Chak Mehmda, Gujrat, Pakistan.

Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead

Grave/Memorial Reference: Sec. 3. Grave 534-535.

grave-4

 

Name: KHAN MUHAMMAD

Nationality: Indian

Rank: Driver

Regiment/Service: Royal Indian Army Service Corps

Unit Text: 3 Mule Coy.

Age: 32

Date of Death: 15/10/1942

Service No: 28513

Additional information: Son of Fakhar Din and Jan Begum, of Jawra, Rawalpindi, Pakistan; husband of Mirza Jan, of Jawra.

Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead

Grave/Memorial Reference: Sec. 3. Grave 572-573.

 

grave-5

 

Name: KHUSHI MUHAMMAD

Nationality: Indian

Rank: Driver

Regiment/Service: Royal Indian Army Service Corps

Unit Text: 3 Mule Coy

Age: 35

Date of Death: 20/04/1943

Service No: 65621

Additional information: Son of Habib Ali and Masuma, of Chok Anjam Mirpur, Kashmir; Husband of Halima, of Chok Anjam.

Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead

Grave/Memorial Reference: Sec. 3. Grave 540-541.

grave-6

 

Name: MUHAMMAD

Nationality: Indian

Rank: Driver

Regiment/Service: Royal Indian Army Service Corps

Unit Text: 7 Mule Coy.

Age: 29

Date of Death: 30/10/1942

Service No: 172870

Additional information: Son of Ahmed, of Burch Basoa, Gujrat, Pakistan; husband of Fazal Begum, of Burch Basoa.

Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead

Grave/Memorial Reference: Sec. 3. Grave 536-537.

grave-7

Name: MUHAMMAD SADIQ

Nationality: Indian

Rank: Naik

Regiment/Service: Royal Indian Army Service Corps

Unit Text: 42 Mule Coy.

Age: 29

Date of Death: 28/06/1942

Service No: 172305

Additional information: Son of Allah Ditta, of Sukho, Rawalpindi, Pakistan.

Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead

Grave/Memorial Reference: Sec. 3. Grave 576-577.

 

grave-8

 

Name: MUSHTAQ AHMAD

Nationality: Indian

Rank: Driver

Regiment/Service: Royal Indian Army Service Corps

Unit Text: 7 Mule Coy.

Age: 21

Date of Death: 19/10/1942

Service No: 780335

Additional information: Son of Nur Alam and Fateh Bibi, of Dhok Saiyan, Jhelum, Pakistan.

Casualty Type: Commonwealth War Dead

Grave/Memorial Reference: Sec. 3. Grave 570-571.

grave-9

 

 REFERENCES:

Hamish Johnston ‘A Corner of Pakistan in Scotland’ Highland Family History Society.

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