Prime Minister Narendra Modi will pay his respects at the Heliopolis (Port Tewfik) Memorial in the Heliopolis War Cemetery in Cairo, Egypt, where the names of nearly 4,000 Indian soldiers who fought in Word War 1 in Egypt and Palestine are commemorated.
The Heliopolis Commonwealth War Graves Cemetery also commemorates 1,700 Commonwealth soldiers who died in World War 2.
What is the significance of Heliopolis (Port Tewfik) Memorial?
The Heliopolis (Port Tewfik) Memorial is part of the larger Heliopolis Commonwealth War Graves Cemetery. This memorial commemorates the memory of 3,727 Indian soldiers who died fighting in various campaigns in Egypt and Palestine in the First World War.
The original Port Tewfik memorial had been unveiled in 1926 and was situated at the entrance to the Suez Canal. Port Tewfik is now known as Port Suez. The memorial was destroyed in the Israeli-Egyptian War of 1967 by retreating Egyptian soldiers and a new memorial bearing the names of the Indian soldiers who died in the First World War campaign in Egypt and Palestine was erected in Heliopolis Commonwealth War Grave Cemetery in 1980.
Which are the Indian regiments which are commemorated at the war memorial?
A large number of Indian Regiments belonging to the Indian Army, as well as to the State Forces of the princely stated, are represented in the memorial. The princely states played a vital part in the war effort in the First World War and the troops of State Forces saw widespread action in almost all theatres of the war.
Among the regiments listed at the Heliopolis memorial are the 42nd Deoli Regiment, 58th Vaughan’s Rifles (Frontier Force), 2nd Battalion, 3rd Queen Alexandra’s Own Gurkha Rifles, 51st Sikhs (Frontier Force), 1st Battalion 50th Kumaon Rifles, Jodhpur (Imperial Service) Lancers, 3rd Sappers and Miners and many more.
Is any prominent Indian soldier commemorated at the war memorial?
Risaldar Badlu Singh, who was awarded the highest British war time gallantry award, Victoria Cross, posthumously, is commemorated at this war memorial. He had died in battle and was cremated in the field.
Risaldar Badlu Ram belonged to the 14th (Murray’s) Jat Lancers and was attached with 29th Lancers (Deccan Horse) and died fighting on September 13, 1918. The memorial lists him as son of Lal Singh, of Dhakla, Jhajjar, Rohtak, Punjab.