A Popular History of The Great War/Volume 1/Page 102

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THE RALLY OF THE EMPIRE


The British government had considerable forces of different kinds in India upon which it could draw. In the first instance there were 75,000 British soldiers, the regular Indian garrison. It would not have been wise to deplete this garrison too much, but it was possible to take away large numbers of trained and hardened soldiers and to replace them by Territorials. Next there came the regular Indian Army, an army strong in numbers, rich in traditions, and trained to a point of high efficiency. The regular Indian Army numbered 160,000 men, including over 3,000 British officers and officials, and it had 40,000 reserves to be drawn upon. It was largely raised from the fighting Mahomedan races, and in the years immediately before the war, starting with the time when Lord Kitchener was commander-in-chief, its entire organization had been remodelled and its artillery and transport brought up to a war standard.

The Indian Expeditionary Force as despatched to Europe in September, 1914, consisted of 70,000 men. Other forces were sent to Mesopotamia and elsewhere, and by the spring of 1915 India had put in the field in the several theatres of war, including the British troops sent from India, a force equivalent to nine complete infantry divisions, with artillery, and eight cavalry brigades, besides several smaller bodies of troops, aggregating more than an infantry division, in minor and outlying spheres. She had placed at the disposal of the empire for service out of India, so Mr. Asquith stated in a speech at the Guildhall, London, 28 regiments of cavalry, British, Indian, and Imperial, and 174 regiments of infantry, British, Indian, and Imperial. The prime minister on that occasion declared: " When we look at the actual achievements of the force so spontaneously dispatched, so liberally provided for, so magnificently equipped, the battlefields of France and Flanders bear an undying tribute to their bravery." Lord Hardinge, in a speech dealing with the dispatch of troops, was able to point with justifiable pride to what had been done, and to declare significantly: "We are not at the end of our military resources."

The voyage of the Expeditionary Force to Europe was carefully planned. The ships were guarded the whole way across by the allied fleets, and the first divisions arrived without loss in Marseilles in the later part of September, to be quickly followed by others. The dark-skinned troops, as they landed and marched through the streets of the rock-bound southern French port, had

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