The Chattri, a small
domed shaped monument on the Downs near
During the Great War, many Indian soldiers were treated for their
injuries in Brighton.
Those Sikh and Hindu soldiers who did not survive were cremated on
the Downs above the town.
In 1921 a memorial to these soldiers, built on the spot where the
pyre had been. It was unveiled by HRH the Prince of Wales on 1 February
1921 after which he delivered a speech praising the bravery of Indian
soldiers and asking that "future
generations should not forget that our Indian comrades gave their
lives in ... a conflict of which the issues were to most of them strange
The memorial, now known as the Chattri, can be seen from parts of
the town. It stands as a reminder to the part that was played and
the sacrifice that was made by soldiers of the Empire in World War
On Sunday 26 June
2000 a commemorative service was held at the Chattri at Patcham
for Sikh and Hindu soldiers who died in Brighton during the First
World War. The
ceremony was attended by over 200 people including World War II
Indian veterans from London, members of the Indian Commission, the
Patcham Branch of the Royal British Legion. And local people, to
witness the wreath laying and to hear the last post sounded.
An inscription in Urdu, Hindi and English
"To the memory of all Indian soldiers who
gave their lives for their King-Emperor in the Great War, this monument,
erected on the site of the funeral pyre where Hindus and Sikhs who
died in hospital at Brighton passed through the fire, is in grateful
admiration and brotherly affection dedicated"
The text below is from a sign near the memorial:
The Chattri Indian War Memorial
Brighton's War Hospital and Memorial
During the First World War (1914/18) the
Indian Army fought on the Western Front with British troops. The
Brighton Royal Pavilion, used as a hospital for wounded Indian soldiers,
nursed over 4000 patients back to health. The Moslems who died at
the hospital were buried at Woking in Surrey, but the Hindus and
Sikhs were cremated at this site of funeral pyres sprinkled with
symbolic metals, flowers, fruits, grains and spices. The ashes from
the pyres were then scattered in the sea.
The Chattri was erected on the site of the cremations
in honour of the Indian soldiers who died at the Royal Pavilion
war hosputal. Brighton Borough Council jointly funded its construction
with the India office, and now maintains the memorial and the land
on which it is situated.
The Chattri, designed by Indian architect
EC Henriques, is constructed from white Sicilian marble. Around
the base there are inscriptions in English and Hindi. At the foot
of the stairway, which is in the form of an Indian riverside landing
traditionally associated with memorials to the dead, lie three granite
slabs covering the three concrete crematory bases.
now, officials of the local High Commission and retired British
exsevicemen of Brighton, collect once a year to remember the martyrs
who died fighting the cause of Kaiser-i-Hind i.e. the British Emperor.
One of them was Major Henry Lincoln, a veteran of the 8th Punjab
Regiment, who paid his respects at Chattri, Southdowns, on Remembrance
Day in 1996. For him it was a real pilgrimage, to reach the Chattri
by a Landrover, over a boggy three-mile track to pay homage to his
fellow soldiers, who fought with him on the western front of France.