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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent work on neglected contribution to war effort
This book deals with the contribution made by the Indian Corps in the early battles of the Western Front and a remarkable story it is too.
The sepoys were put into the front line the moment they arrived, often issued with rifles they had no experience of handling before, facing, for the first time, artillery and, later, gas. They did remarkably well, plugging up...
Published on 11 July 2000

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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars What a disappointment!!
I hate not to finish any book and will often persevere long after I should call it a day.With this one I enjoyed the first fifth or so; the complexity and variety of the India Corps was new and interesting. Thereafter the author allowed himself to be overwhelmed by his material. For him as a military historian the minutiae of the first battle of Ypres may have been...
Published 8 months ago by Richie


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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent work on neglected contribution to war effort, 11 July 2000
By A Customer
This book deals with the contribution made by the Indian Corps in the early battles of the Western Front and a remarkable story it is too.
The sepoys were put into the front line the moment they arrived, often issued with rifles they had no experience of handling before, facing, for the first time, artillery and, later, gas. They did remarkably well, plugging up the gaps in the First Battle of Ypres and counter-attacking with gusto at Neuve Chappelle.
This book is particuarly strong on how the Indian troops - totally ill-prepared for high intensity warfare - dealt with the Western Fornt on an individual and cultural level. Extensive, and effective, use of letters and diaries from the Indian troops themselves is used throughout.
The author, formerly an officer in the Ghurkas, clearly has a great empathy with his subject and his contemptous dismissal of one oft-quoted source which, completely wrongly, has Indian troops cowering under fire shows his completely understandable, partisan leanings. The book is the better for it.
My quibbles (minor, I'm a pedant)is that the descriptions of combat can read more like a military report than a narrative and without a decent grasp of the battles of late 1914 and early 1915, you might wonder quite why it all matters so much, but the sweep of the book overcomes these minor failings.
I would recommend anyone with an interest in World War One, or the Indian Army, to buy this book and read a truly fascinating, and neglected, story of a war that has attracted so much attention.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting Account of a little known subject, 20 Jan 2002
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This well researched and nicely presented book, by Gordon Corrigan, offers the reader an insightful and interesting account of the Indian Corps during the first year of the Great War. The book provides a detailed combat narrative of the period between 1914 - 1915 when the Indian Corps served on the Western Front. The author, who served in the British Army from 1962 to 1998, spent some time in command of a Gurkha unit and his love for these brave and resourceful soldiers shows in this account.
The book is well written and covers a large range of material and subjects concerning the Indian units who served on the Western Front as part of the BEF until they were re-deployed to Mesopotamia in November 1915. Not only are the battles covered in detail but the make-up and performance of the Indian Corps is assessed and a number of myths and stories are clarified and laid to rest.
The author takes the time to give you the background of the Indian Corps and how it was organized and recruited to function under much different circumstances than the attritional warfare of the Western Front. He then shows the problems encountered by the Indian Army on the Western Front due to it being raised, trained and equipped to fight skirmishes on the Indian frontiers and not a modern European war.
At the end of the book you feel that the officers and men of the Indian Corps did an outstanding job during that first year of the Great War and that they might not have received the credit that they were due. That they had fought in every major British battle during that period and suffered horrendous casualties fighting in a country they knew little of and in a war that had nothing to do with them and still retained their loyalty and faith in the British Empire was quite amazing.
The author has utilised a number of first-hand accounts throughout the narrative, which give you a small idea and feeling of the Indian troops fighting in France. A number of black & white photographs and detailed maps are provided throughout the book and are of a decent standard. Overall this is an excellent account covering a little known and sparsely written about aspect of the First World War. I am sure that any student or reader of this period of history will enjoy this book and will learn something new to take away after putting the book back on its shelf.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars epic history brought to lige, 2 Sep 2014
By 
Robi Kemp (Eastbourne, East Sussex, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Sepoys in the Trenches: The Indian Corps On The Western Front 1914-15 (Kindle Edition)
I haven't read such an in depth story of history since I left school in 1983.
This book brilliantly tells the story of the brave but cruelly ill equipped Indian soldiers who fought so magnificently in WWI.
I HIGHLY RECOMMEND THIS BOOK.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not just for military historians, 5 Feb 2010
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This is not just an authoritative and fascinating military account, but provides a moving background for anyone interested in the 20th century history and literature of the Indian sub-continent. The image of Indian troops in the freezing trenches with no great coats or winter clothing remains long after the precise details of their advances and retreats have faded. Useful maps. It could be read alongside fiction dealing with the First World War, such as "Birdsong" and the "Regeneration" trilogy.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Informative read, 25 Mar 2014
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This review is from: Sepoys in the Trenches: The Indian Corps On The Western Front 1914-15 (Kindle Edition)
I have read a few books on WW1 but have not encountered any which touch upon the Indian Army's role in the fighting. It was fascinating to learn about the great, courageous actions of these men who were brought to an unknown country to fight alongside British soldiers. The concept of izzat was particularly inspiring as Corrigan recounts of instances where Indian soldiers have risked their own lives, sometimes being shot in the process, to salvage the bodies of their fellow soldiers and officers. Would definitely recommend.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding definitive work on the subject, 19 Aug 2014
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London Rat (London, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Sepoys in the Trenches: The Indian Corps On The Western Front 1914-15 (Kindle Edition)
Gordon corrigan, himself a Gurkha officer, brings his study and experience to bear on a little known and misunderstood early phase of world war 1. His grasp of the essentials of the strategic, operational and tactical elements of the British army that began the war in Flanders is a welcome clear view. His ability to bring to life and describe in detail what it was like to serve in the Indian Corps in the first winter of the war in tropical uniforms in the cold rain and mud under shellfire and in the trenches is breathtaking. He also gives long overdue credit to many, many brave men whose sacrifice on our behalf has been largely ignored and forgotten. An excellent book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Very interesting, 27 April 2014
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Paul Steed (devon) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Sepoys in the Trenches: The Indian Corps On The Western Front 1914-15 (Kindle Edition)
I have just read a book about the Germans at Ypres, and how almost all references to 'the enemy' are the French, here I read that 20% of the English troops were from the Indian subcontinent! Mythology is a wonderful thing. This is a well written book by a soldier with a deep respect for soldiers and the various Indian peoples and religions.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating account of an unrecognised group of Western Front combatants, 17 April 2014
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This review is from: Sepoys in the Trenches: The Indian Corps On The Western Front 1914-15 (Kindle Edition)
Starting with helping the BEF at the start of the first world war, and working through the early years of Trench warfare.

This also covers the challenges the Indian Army were faced with, and how the bravery of the men and officers overcame many of those challenges. It details the battles, how the injured were nursed, the organisation, and how it had to meet the new form of warfare.

If you are interested in this period, an excellent read.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Essential reading, 2 April 2014
This review is from: Sepoys in the Trenches: The Indian Corps On The Western Front 1914-15 (Kindle Edition)
Essential reading for those interested in the war on the Western Front and also soldiering in general. The courage, humanity and achievements of the Sepoys are rightly highlighted. Would be interested in reading a similar book about Indian soldiers in the Second World War.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent book., 25 Mar 2014
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This review is from: Sepoys in the Trenches: The Indian Corps On The Western Front 1914-15 (Kindle Edition)
I was incredibly pleased to find this as a Kindle book and at such a great price. I enjoy reading about both World Wars and the fact that this focuses on the Indian Army was particularly fascinating. With beliefs and religions differing throughout the Corps it was very interesting to see that often Indian soldiers and British soldiers held each other in great esteem and with great admiration. This is underlined by the various and numerous medals given to Indian soldiers as a result of their bravery and courage on the battlefields of Europe. Clearly written and easy to follow Sepoys in the Trenches is a must read for WW1 fans or any history fans.
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