Photograph of Indian Army Contingent in London passing along the Mall

IWM (Q 14955).jpg

Description

A Victory Parade was held in London on 19 July 1919 and soldiers were brought from India to participate in the parade in a show of imperial strength and unity. In the first image, Gurkhas from the Indian Army contingent are seen marching up the Mall, with Admiralty Arch in the background while the second shows the Sikhs.

Context

The First World War officially ended on 11 November 1918 but the Treaty of Versailles was not signed until June 1919. In Britain, the end of war was celebrated on Saturday 19 July, with a Victory Parade in London as the centrepiece. A camp for troops taking part in the Parade was set up in Kensington Gardens. Nearly 15,000 servicemen took part in the Parade, led by Allied military commanders such as Douglas Haig, Ferdinand Foch, and John Joseph Pershing. Commonwealth troops including the Indian Contingent, as in the photographs, participated. Thousands of civilians thronged the capital to view the spectacle, though there was some criticism too about the pomp and extravagance, given that many of the veterans were unemployed and living in poverty.