National Defence Bureau,
New Delhi, 14 November 2017
The urn was brought from Laventie, France and will be carried to the Garhwal Rifles Regimental Centre at Landsdowne. Today the two urns containing the sacred soil were handed over to the Raksha Mantri Nirmala Sitharaman by the delegation in a simple and solemn ceremony.
On 12 November 2017 mortal remains of the two soldiers were sent on their final journey with full military honours at Military Cemetery, Laventie, France. A delegation comprising of Commandant and Subedar Major, two bagpipers from the Garhwal Rifles Regimental Center and Colonel Nitin Negi, grandson of late Naik Darwan Singh Negi, Victoria Cross, were present on the occasion.
On behalf of the Chief of the Army Staff, homage was paid to the soldiers of Indian Meerut Division at Nueve Chapelle War Memorial by laying of wreaths by Brigadier Indrajit Chatterjee, Commandant and Subedar Major Trilok Singh Negi.
On 20th September 2016 during an excavation work on southern side of the village of Richebourg near Laventie Military Cemetery approximately 230 Kms away from Paris two human remains were found and identified to be of soldiers of 39th Royal Garhwal Rifles.
The office of Commonwealth War Graves Commission in consultation with the French Government and Indian Embassy in France decided to hold ceremony to rest them along with their comrades at Laventie Military Cemetery, with full military honors during the annual memorial service that is held to commemorate the Indian soldiers who were martyred in action in France and Belgium.
During World War-I, the Garhwal Brigade comprising of 1st/39th and 2nd / 39th Royal Garhwal showed unparalleled bravery in treacherous trenches of France and Flanders. Fighting shoulder to shoulder with British soldiers the Gharwal Brigade earned six Battle Honours and two Victoria Cross in France and Flanders Theatre.
Shailesh Kumar is an independent journalist with over 17 years of experience in crime, political and defence reporting for leading media brands including Star News, India TV and NewsX. He is the founder editor of defence and security news portal, National Defence.