Letter from Claude Auchinleck to British forces serving in India



Letter from Claude Auchinleck to British forces serving in India


A letter from Field Marshall Claude Auchinleck to British forces serving in India. It thanks the forces for their service and wishes them Godspeed.



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One typewritten sheet mounted on an album page


IBCC Digital Archive


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17th August 1947.

Nearly two hundred years have passed since British soldiers first came to India. There are but few of the many corps and regiments of the British Army which have not played their part in war and in peace in building up what eventually became the Empire of India under the British Crown.
This Empire of India has now come to an end and its place has been taken by two new member states of the British Commonwealth of Nations to be known as India and Pakistan. These two new States will be fully independent and responsible for their own defence and for law and order within their own borders.
This great change means that there is no longer any need in this country as a whole for units of the British Army or the Royal Air Force to form part of the Armed Forces of the two new States.
During the long sojourn of the British Army in India, it has always served in peace and fought in war alongside its comrades of the Indian Army drawn from all parts of this vast country. This partnership has been a close and glorious one and has given birth to a great mutual respect and a warm friendship between the two Armies, which reached its zenith, perhaps, in the hard school of the last war – the greatest of all wars.
The Royal Air Force, also, in the shorter period of its stay in India, has given its best in war and in peace to raise and shape the Royal Indian Air Force. Both air forces fighting side by side in Burma proved that they too had become true comrades in arms.
You, who are now about to leave these shores, will, in your going, bring to an end the long and famous story of the British Army in India and the shorter but equally creditable connection of the Royal Air Force with this country. You have been worthy representatives of those that have gone before you and you may go in the knowledge that your comrades of the Indian Army and the Royal Indian Air Force will not forget you, or the trials and dangers you have faced together. You, for your part, will, I am sure, remember them as great fighters and staunch friends.
You have deserved well of this country and its peoples.
In the name of its fighting men, I wish you Godspeed.
[signature] C Auchinleck F M [/signature]


Claude Auchinleck, “Letter from Claude Auchinleck to British forces serving in India,” IBCC Digital Archive, accessed May 24, 2022, https://ibccdigitalarchive.lincoln.ac.uk/omeka/collections/document/2133.

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