Remembering in Lae

by Priya Chandra

Last Friday I had the opportunity to go to the Lae War Cemetery with our Air Force members.

They were there to honour two Australian VC recipients (see the ADF Pacific Partnership Facebook page for more details) and as the Public Affairs team, Helen and I got to go along.

It was an amazing experience. The cemetery is really calm, a wonderful green oasis in the city perfectly designed for reflection and thought.

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Out of the 2,800 souls buried in the cemetery there are 400 unknown Indian Army soldiers who came to Lae as Japanese Prisoners of War. It was so sad to look at those headstones and try to visualise what it must have been like for these men – fighting and dying for a country on the other side of the world. Yes, Australians did the same thing but most of the Australians who fought in WWII were of Anglo-Saxon extraction – they had a much stronger connection to the ‘Old Country’ than the Indian Army members did.

I took great pride in telling some stories of the Indian Army to some of the Americans with us – their grasp of military history outside America’s involvement is sketchy at the best of times, let alone learning about ‘less important allies.’

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We then had an interesting discussion about the meaning of the word Anglo-Indian. In my opinon it means someone who has both Anglo-Saxon and Indian blood in them but they were using it in the context of a Caucasian living in India.

What do you think? How do you use the word?

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3 Comments to “Remembering in Lae”

  1. I refer to the term as someone who has both Indian and Anglo-saxon blood.

  2. In my younger days Anglo_Indian meant a family descended from a male who was English and who had married an Indian and the family they created were called Anglo-Indian.The latter came through the male English side.

  3. Definitely referring to someone who has both Indian and Anglo-Saxon ‘blood’. “So I would be considered Indian if I lived in India, Anglo-Indian?!” A direct quote from an English friend of mine!

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