BRIGHTON ROYAL PAVILION HOSPITAL

The Brighton Royal Pavilion – built in the manner of the architecture of the ‘exotic’ Orient for the Prince Regent, later King George IV - served as a hospital for Indian troops during the Great War. The imposing and magnificent Oriental architecture of the Royal Pavilion seemed a fitting location for the brave Indian troops who were wounded in the line of fire.

The care and treatment of Indian soldiers in Brighton seemed to British officials a testament of the unity and goodwill within the Empire at a time of conflict. As Sir Walter Lawrence, Commissioner for the Welfare of Indian Troops, noted, ‘great political issues are involved in making the stay of the Indians in England as agreeable as possible'. Soldiers wrote back home about the excellent care and treatment they received from ‘Doctor Brighton’. The visits of the King-Emperor George V to meet his wounded Indian soldiers in the Royal Pavilion seemed to strengthen the personal connection between them and further reaffirmed the reverence in which many soldiers held the King.

Even as arrangements were made to ensure the comfort of these soldiers in Brighton, their movements were restricted and closely monitored. Paranoia about racial relations was exemplified by the fact that English female nurses were not allowed to take care of the soldiers in the hospital. The worry was that such interactions might make the Indians ‘conceive a wrong idea of the ‘izzat’ [honour] of English women … [it] would be most detrimental to the prestige and spirit of European rule in India.’

  • About Us

    The Joint USI-MEA Centenary Commemoration project highlights the oft-forgotten role of India in the First World War and commemorates those soldiers who served during the War. The project is aimed at exploring India’s engagement in the war from a variety of perspectives.
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    The United Service Institution of India
    Rao Tula Ram Marg (Opposite Signals Enclave)
    Post Bag No 8, Vasant Vihar PO, New Delhi - 110 057

    Ph: +91-11-26147464
    E-Mail: cafhr@usiofindia.org