Our Joint Ancestors
Legacy of Togetherness
Taking inspiration from contributions made by Indian Muslim and White British personnel who served side by side during World War One, this project will engage with their descendants on a journey of collective ancestral discovery.
The Joint Ancestors Project borught together five descendants of WW1 Indian Muslim soldiers and five descendants of the British Army Officers who led these Indian regiments.
Working with a professional genealogist at the National Archives, they uncovered more about their grandfathers and great grandfathers who fought side-by-side and were able to verify stories passed down through the generations about their ancestors’ expereinces and where they served.
A Muslim descendant from Derby, who uncovered more about her own family’s WW1 history as part of the Project said: ” When you see depictions of the men who fought in the trenches 100 years ago, you don’t see many brown faces. But they were there- Muslims, Hindus and Sikhs. My own great-grandfather was there. ” I think it is important for young Muslims growing up in Britain to know their own ancestors are part of this country’s history. That’s not always an easy conversation- my grandfather fought as a subject of the British Empire, after all- but it’s an important once, about history that we all share.
The Project culminated in a media facing event where partiicpants shared what they had learnt. Lord Paddy Ashdown, a descendent of a WW2 British Army Officer of an Indian regiment, spoke of the huge contributions the Muslim community have made to society and why it is more important than ever to remember the Muslim Indian soldiers and the Commonwealth soldiers’ contribution.
© IWM (Q 52695)