by LAUREN CODLING
A NEWLY refurbished memorial room dedicated to the British Indian Army was unveiled at the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst last Friday (6).
The Indian Army Memorial Room (IAMR), reinvigorated by the National Army Museum (NAM), displays an array of objects and paintings commemorating the contribution of South Asian soldiers.
Showcasing more than 100 objects from the NAM’s collection, the room was unveiled by Field Marshal Sir John Chapple in front of distinguished guests from the diplomatic community of countries such as India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
Field Marshal Chapple, a dedicated patron to the memorial, previously donated a collection in 2013 amassing more than 8,000 pieces
Among the additions to the room, there are more than 50 portraits and scenes which hang above new display cases filled with ceramics, silverware and regimental badges.
Four pieces of stained glass have been conserved from the NAM collection and installed, including a Victorian stained glass depicting the coats of arms of the East India Company and Addiscombe College.
More than 40 shields of the Commanders in Chief in India, memorial plaques, busts and swords are also on display in the historical area.
Originally set up in 1950, the IAMR aimed to preserve the history of the British Indian Army.
Welcoming guests at the event, Major General Paul Nanson, who serves as commandant of Sandhurst, said the renovation was “long overdue”.
“(The memorial) is a reminder of the courage and spirit of the great regiments of the British Indian Army,” he told the audience.
Thanking the NAM for their contribution, he said: “This room serves as a fitting memorial to over 200 years of service and sacrifice.”
NAM’s director Justin Maciejewski added that the museum was “delighted” to be able to display more of their collection in such a “historical” setting such as Sandhurst.
“These objects and the inspiring stories that they represent show the extraordinary diversity of the British Indian Army,” he said.
Brigadier Gavin Thompson, the UK’s defence adviser in India who attended the event, said the room “(reflected) the important shared history and links between our modern-day armies”.
“This refurbishment is an entirely appropriate demonstration of the close historic, present and future partnership between our nations,” Thompson said.
Sandhurst, which famously trained the Duke of Cambridge and the Duke of Sussex, is open one day per year to members of the public. It is also accessible throughout the year via bookings.
To see more: https://www.sandhursttrust.org/