Published: 9th September, 2018
Surrey and The Royal British Legion have joined forces to recognise the role of Indian soldiers during the First World War as part of the Legion’s ‘Thank You’ movement.
The commemorations will be focused around play on Day Three of the Final Test Match between England and India at the Oval on Sunday 9th September, and will highlight the contribution of the Commonwealth during the First World War – and in particular that of the Indian Army.
In the year that marks the end of the First World War Centenary the Legion’s ‘Thank You’ movement is encouraging the nation to show their gratitude to the whole of the First World War generation.
The movement recognises not only those who fought on the front line but those who played their part on the home front and those who returned to build a better future – all those who served, sacrificed, and changed our world.
Activity on Sunday includes a lunch time re-enactment of a cricket match played on the Western Front between the Royal Manchester Regiment and the Sikh Regiment of the Indian Army.
Later this year, the Legion will underscore the British Asian contribution with the introduction of a Khadi Poppy. A limited run will be distributed among the British Asian community to symbolically recognise its contribution to the First World War.
India and England squad captains Virat Kohli and Joe Root were the first people to wear the poppy at the start of the test match.
Commissioned by the Legion to mark this contribution, the red cloth poppy is identical in every respect to the traditional British symbol of Remembrance.
Khadi is a handwoven fabric made famous by Mahatma Gandhi, who promoted the use of a spinning wheel to make India more self-sufficient. The poppy will be distributed during the Remembrance period by the Legion’s partners in the British Asian community in the UK.
Another area of partnership is with ‘The 48’ a book written by Surrey Member and military historian Philip Paine, in collaboration with BBC Test Match Special commentator Daniel Norcross.
The book tells the stories of the 48 men listed on the Surrey CCC War Memorial on the wall of the Long Room in the Micky Stewart Members’ Pavilion, examining their connections with Surrey as well as their journeys during the First World War. It is available in the club shop and online for just £10 with all profits being donated to the Legion.
Chief Executive of Surrey County Cricket Club, Richard Gould, said: “Surrey are proud to be partnering with The Royal British Legion to help commemorate the 100th anniversary of the end of the First World War.
“Our country owes more to the sacrifices of this generation than it is possible to express and this anniversary seems a particularly appropriate time to say ‘Thank You’. Through ‘The 48’ and the events being held during the Test Match, the club is honoured to be doing its bit to help a very important national campaign.”
Director General of The Royal British Legion, Charles Byrne, said: “The First World War left so many legacies that positively impact our lives today, from ground-breaking social change to pioneering innovations.
“This Centenary of the ending of the First World War is a chance for us all to thank the British Armed Forces who fought and gave their lives, but also to the thousands who fought alongside them from India and across today’s Commonwealth, and the many men, women and children who played their part on the home front.
“I am very grateful to Surrey County Cricket Club for commemorating the Legion’s ‘Thank You’ movement during such an important game of cricket between England and India.”