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Soldiers from present-day Pakistan honoured for services in WWI

Updated June 27, 2014
— Photo courtesy: gov.uk/government
— Photo courtesy: gov.uk/government

Three soldiers from Pakistan were among 175 men honoured in a ceremony held by the British government for winning UK’s highest military honour, the Victoria Cross, for services rendered in the First World War.

The soliders include Sepoy Khudadad Khan, Jemadar Mir Dast and Naik Shahamad Khan. There are a total of 11 VCs that were awarded to soldiers from pre-partition of India and of them, three trace their origins to present day Pakistan.

As part of the British government’s First World War Centenary Programme, HRH The Duke of Kent and Senior Foreign Office Minister Baroness Sayeeda Warsi unveiled commemoration plaques for 175 foreign men.

The 11 bronze memorial plaques, which were on display for public in London this week, bear the names of Victoria Cross holders and will be sent to the recipients’ home countries.

The plaques will be showcased at a prominent location while acting as a symbol of gratitude that is felt towards the recipients by the people of UK.

Meanwhile, the plaque commemorating the Pakistani recipients of the Victoria Cross will be presented to the government later this year.

Speaking about the event, Senior Foreign Office Minister Baroness Warsi said: "It is important to remember this was a truly global war, one which pulled in people from every corner of the earth. Sacrifices were made not only by people in the United Kingdom but by many millions across the world: whether it was the large proportion of Australian men who volunteered to fight in a war far from home, the 1.2 million troops from the Indian Subcontinent who took part in the war, or the essential support which came from the islands of the West Indies. It is truly inspiring that so many countries came together 100 years ago to uphold our way of life. This was a war which saw extraordinary courage and sacrifice from an entire generation."

"This year, we are marking our gratitude to 175 men from 11 countries, including Pakistan, who demonstrated the utmost bravery “in the face of the enemy” during the First World War. These extraordinary men were awarded the Victoria Cross, Britain’s highest award for valour for their actions during the War. We shall honour them by engraving their names on bronze memorial plaques, to be presented to their home countries, sending out a powerful message that people of all backgrounds and faiths can unite in the name of a common cause."

"I am determined that we ensure that people of all backgrounds and of all generations learn about the courage and heroism of their forefathers a hundred."