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Introduction

The Building

The Chattri Memorial is situated near Patcham, near Brighton in Sussex, and was designed as monument in memory of the Sikh and Hindu soldiers who died while in hospitals in Brighton and Hove during the Great War 1914 - 1918. 53 bodies were cremated and their ashes scattered there. The memorial bears the following inscription, in English and Hindi: "to the memory of all the Indian soldiers who gave their lives in the service of their King - Emperor this monument erected on the site where the Hindus and Sikhs who died in hospital at Brighton passed through the fire is in grateful admiration and brotherly affection dedicated". Unveiled in 1921 by the then Prince of Wales, the Memorial has been the subject of an annual pilgrimage organised by the British Legion up until 1999, but others have now taken this custom on. In total, more than 12,000 wounded Indian soldiers passed through Brighton & Hove Hospital during the Great War, the first time that the Indian Army would be deployed to fight outside of India. The Indian soldiers who were injured while fighting in France in the First World War had expected to be sent to Egypt, but the grave situation across the Channel meant they were deployed instead to the Western Front. Those wounded there needed to be tended on the southern English coast and so this is why Brighton, among other seaside towns and cities, served as a recovery locations. King George V ordered that the Pavilion be used as a hospital for wounded Indian soldiers. Thus it was that the creatures born of British fantasies about exotic Asia - the dragons, the elephants, the tigers and other marvels crawling over the Pavilion's ceilings and walls - looked down upon these teak-skinned men with their soft eyes and smiled.

 
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