Dignitaries, senior military figures and locals gathered yesterday at a Highland cemetery to remember the fallen soldiers of the British Indian Army who rest there.
The multi-faith remembrance service took place at Kingussie Cemetery, next to the war graves of nine soldiers from Force K6.
Organisers spoke after the ceremony to call for a permanent memorial to be erected in Scotland in a bid to commemorate the “forgotten soldiers”.
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Thirteen soldiers from the British Indian Army died in Scotland whil training in harsh conditions alongside their British counterparts.
Kingussie the largest single graveyard in the UK where members of Force K6 have been laid to rest. Other soldiers of the force are buried in Aberdeenshire, Sutherland, and Banffshire.
Reverend Duncan MacPherson and Imam Asim Hafiz conducted the ceremony, attended by senior members of the Armed Forces, event organisers Colourful Heritage and Muslim, Sikh, Hindu and Christian groups.
Omar Shaikh, founder of Colourful Heritage, said: “Today is a watershed moment on the back of the centenary celebrations. There have been calls from the community that the recognition of coloured soldiers and their role in the world wars needs to be improved and a lot more needs to be done.
“We have launched a campaign today to call for a permanent memorial for the British Indian Army in Scotland.
“So if anyone ever asks ‘what did people from Pakistan, India and Bangladeshis ever do for Britain?’ you can tell them – 4million soldiers and over £78billion contributed to defending Britain in World War One and World War Two.”
Isobel Harling, 95, from Kingussie has laid poppy crosses and maintained the soldier’s graves ever since the end of the Second World War.
Mrs Harling said: “I did it for the boys who are so far from home.
“Their own family are not here to do it for them. My brother is buried in Belgium, he was shot down over Leuven and the Belgian people look after his grave and the crew of the aircraft.
“It makes you feel sad. You think of the boys and none of their own family are there but the boys that did go home told them of the boys that were left here.
“It’s the first time this has ever happened and at least they are not forgotten, that’s the main thing.”
Lieutenant Colonel Adrian Williams said: “I am delighted with the numbers that have attended. It is a shame this is the first occasion this has been done but it is very important for us to remember the significance, the sacrifice and contribution of the Indian Army in the First World War and the Second World War.
“When one thinks of remembrance, it is very important to make sure we remember all of those who gave their lives.