November marks the month of Remembrance in Britain, remembering all people who have died in wars – not just World War One (WW1). This includes World War Two (WW2), the Falklands War, the Gulf War, and conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq.
The contribution of Muslim and South Asian people to the Allied Forces
Across the British Empire, approximately 8.9 million men fought in the Great War, with four-fifths of the troops, or 5.7 million, coming from the United Kingdom.
The contribution of Muslim, Sikh, and Hindu people in Britain’s efforts against the Central Powers – mainly Germany, Austria-Hungary, and Turkey, often goes unnoticed but they shouldn’t be forgotten.
To support the Allies (Britain, France, and Russia), India provided 1.4 million troops. They were known as the Indian Army.
Around 430,000 Muslim soldiers were recruited from the Punjab, Bengal, and Kashmir (including present-day Pakistan) regions.
Muslims from Bangladesh, Yemen, and Somalia, also served in significant numbers, with a total of around 430,000 Muslim Men fighting for the allied powers.
Approximately, 800,000 Hindus also fought in the war, and 100,000 Sikhs.
What is Remembrance Sunday?
Remembrance Sunday is held in the United Kingdom as a day to commemorate the contribution of British and Commonwealth military and civilian servicemen and women in the two World Wars and later conflicts.
It is held at 11am on the second Sunday in November (the Sunday nearest to 11 November, Armistice Day.
It is marked by ceremonies at local war memorials in most cities, towns, and villages, attended by civic dignitaries, ex-servicemen and women (many are members of the Royal British Legion and other veterans’ organisations), members of local armed forces regular and reserve units.
Wreaths of remembrance poppies are laid on the memorials and two minutes’ silence is held at 11am.
Church bells are usually rung half-muffled, creating a sombre effect. The service is held for about two hours
November was chosen for Remembrance Day as it coincides with Armistice Day, which falls on 11 November.
However, November is important overall as a month of remembrance as it is traditionally a time in which the Catholic community remembers those who have died.
It is related to the fact that the end of November is the end of the Liturgical Year with a new year starting the First Sunday of Advent – the four-week period of preparation before Christmas.
Catholic people give thanks for those who have gone before them and look with prayer and hope to their new life in heaven and their desire to join them there one day.
Poppies are worn as a show of support for the Armed Forces community.
During WW1, much of the fighting took place in Western Europe. The countryside was blasted, bombed, and fought over repeatedly. Previously beautiful landscapes turned to mud; bleak and barren scenes where little or nothing could grow.
There was a notable and striking exception to the bleakness – the bright red Flanders poppies. These resilient flowers flourished in the middle of so much chaos and destruction, growing in the thousands upon thousands.
Shortly after losing a friend in Ypres, a Canadian doctor, Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae was moved by the sight of these poppies and that inspiration led him to write the now-famous poem ‘In Flanders Fields’.
The poem then inspired an American academic named Moina Michael to adopt the poppy in memory of those who had fallen in the war. She campaigned to get it adopted as an official symbol of Remembrance across the United States and worked with others who were trying to do the same in Canada, Australia, and the UK.
Also involved with those efforts was a French woman, Anna Guérin who was in the UK in 1921 where she planned to sell the poppies in London.
There she met Earl Haig, our founder, who was persuaded to adopt the poppy as our emblem in the UK. The Royal British Legion, which had been formed in 1921, ordered nine million poppies and sold them on 11 November that year.
The poppies sold out almost immediately. That first ‘Poppy Appeal’ raised over £106,000 to help veterans with housing and jobs, a considerable sum at the time.
Today’s Poppy Appeal sees 40,000 volunteers distribute 40 million poppies a year.
Remembrance events in Bradford
Bradford will pay its respects to those killed or injured in conflicts around the world on Armistice Day and Remembrance Sunday.
City Hall will be lit in red from Armistice Day, 11 November until Remembrance Sunday, 14 November.
The Royal British Legion flag and the Union flags will fly in the city centre and across the district until Remembrance Sunday. Bradford Council vehicles will be displaying poppies in tribute.
On Armistice Day 11 November, people will gather at the Bradford Cenotaph to remember, reflect, and pray. The service will be led by the Acting Dean of Bradford, The Reverend Canon Paul Maybury.
The Last Post and Reveille will be sounded and a two minutes’ silence in remembrance of the fallen will be observed.
The Deputy Lord Mayor of Bradford Councillor Beverley Mullaney will attend the annual Parade and Service of Remembrance at the Cenotaph in Bradford at 11am on Sunday, 14 November.
The Civic Parade will form at City Hall at 10.15am and make its way out onto Channing Way at 10.30am, ready to step off to march to the Cenotaph at 10.40am.
The service will be led by the Acting Dean of Bradford, The Reverend Canon Paul Maybury.
Prayers will be led by the Right Reverend Toby Howarth, Bishop of Bradford and Faith Representatives and readings from the Royal British Legion, World War 1 Group Bradford and local school children.
After the Service, at around 11.40 am, the parade will march off back to City Park where the Lord-Lieutenant and the Deputy Lord Mayor will take the salute at the march past.
There will be services held across the district on Sunday, 14 November where wreaths will be laid by civic representatives in Addingham, Allerton, Baildon, Bingley, Bolton Woods, Clayton, Crossroads/Lees/Bocking, Cullingworth, Denholme, Eccleshill, Greengates, Greenwood Park, Harden, Haworth, Ilkley, Keighley, Low Moor, Menston, Oakworth, Oxenhope, Queensbury, Shipley, Silsden, Stanbury, Steeton with Eastburn, Thornton, Tong, Wibsey, Wilsden, Wyke/Low Moor.
For full details on each service visit here.