A French officers account from The Evening Post, Thursday, Dec31, 1914
“It was a curious sight to all of us, French or English, the day when the Indians arrived in a dreary little town of northern France…Suddenly the Indian lancers appeared, and the pavement on the both sides of the street was at once filled by crowds of soldiers and people watching the procession, as London crowd would in Whitehall on the day of opening of parliament. In fact those Indians looked all like Kings. The Lancers sat proudly in their saddles, with their heads upright in their oriental crowns. Then came a regiment of Sikhs, walking at a brisk pace, all big and strong men with curled beards and white ‘Pagri’ on their heads.
The day after, we heard that during the night one of the Sikh regiment had had to recapture the trench, which the Germans had taken by surprise, and their bayonet attack was so tremendous that enemy did not dare to counter attack. Almost immediately after that an order came to not allow the Indians uselessly to expose their lives by walking out of the trenches.
The order was issued because Sikhs had in order to show their contempt for death had refused to hide in the trenches. Fortunately the officers were convinced that it is not the strategy we want to play with and Sikhs stopped doing that otherwise Indian army corps would have disappeared within a week’s time.”
Those who know Sikhs would not doubt the veracity of such eye witness accounts. Yet for those whom a single officers account offers little substantiation of bravery, they need only scroll the documented British awards for gallantry.