National Army Museum secures funding to develop Indian Army Collection

By Sarah Jackson | 17 December 2013

A major grant will allow the museum to digitise and research its unique Indian Army Collection, commemorating the millions of men who fought in the First World War for the allies

Photograph of British and Indian soldiers posing in uniform.
Photograph by Felice Beato of Sikh and British Officers of Hodson’s Horse (1858)© Felice Beato. Courtesy of National Army Museum

The National Army Museum has secured £71,292 to develop its Indian Army Collection in the latest round of grants from the Esmée Fairbairn Collections Fund.

The museum will use the money to research and digitise items from its Indian Army Collection as part of its First World War commemorations programme. It will also cover the salary of a Project Officer who will be responsible for investigating and documenting the Collection.

“The Museum holds a rich variety of historically and culturally significant items relating to the Indian Army before Partition in 1947," explained David Bownes, of the collection.

“This project will make a fundamental difference to advancing our research into it and helping us share what we discover at the Museum, as well as regionally, nationally and digitally.”

In addition to increasing access to the Indian Army Collection, the project will raise awareness of the fascinating items the museum holds relating to the Indian Army soldiers of the First World War. Highlights include uniforms and medals, as well as personal papers and photographs.

The Indian Army was made up of two million volunteers raised to fight alongside the allies – at the same time, the country was seeking independence from Britain.

In conjunction with this new endeavour, the Museum will also be working with community partners in a £23.25 million redevelopment project, Building for the Future, to increase access to its unique and multi-cultural collection.

The fund is administered by the Museum Association to support time-limited collection work that exceeds the capacity of an organisation’s core resources.

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Two charcoal drawings, the top showing Indian soldiers with rifles and bayonets and the bottom showing two Indian soldiers at rest.
15th Sikhs - fait a Allouagne (10 January 1915)© Courtesy of National Army Museum

Full length charcoal drawing of an Indian soldier.
Jemadar Daudali-Khan. Kach Khani. Indian Cavalry Corps (1914). Charcoal drawing, signed lower right ‘P Sarrut’, circa 1915© Courtesy of National Army Museum

Follow Sarah Jackson on Twitter @SazzyJackson.

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