Unsung heroes

Following Hugh Mackay's letter (17 June), the Indian Army was the largest volunteer force the world has ever known.

During the First World War and again in the Second World War, it came to the defence of Great Britain and gave that magnificent support with huge loss of life and sacrifice.

Fergal Keane, in his book on the subject, appears to have had a patronising idea about colonial forces. The Indian Army, however, was then the King Emperor's Indian Army and an elite body to which many young Scots aspired as officers.

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To this day, the Indian Army, the second-largest army in the world, is a fine body of men who fulfill their role guarding India, but also their obligations within the UN to other theatres of war and peacekeeping.

Some years ago, I passed an elegant old war memorial in the middle of a wide road in the centre of Jabalpur, which is truly in the heart of India. I just managed to read: "In memory of all the men of all classes and creeds who sacrificed their lives…" That most poignant of phrases sums up the sacrifice of so many in the 20th century.

We must not forget these true unsung heroes.


Hartree Square

By Biggar, Lanarkshire