Remarkable archive shows true extent of Muslim Allied soldiers' efforts during First World War

Muslim solders pray close to the battlefield Credit: Forgotten Heroes Foundation

Large numbers of Muslim soldiers from around the world fought alongside the Allies in the First World War, although their contribution is not always remembered and there are fears far right activists are actively trying to erase it.

In Saint-Acheul Amiens in northern France, 20 miles behind what was once the front line, are the graves of Christian soldiers who requested to be buried alongside their Muslim counterparts.

Walking among the graves there, Saleha Islam, whose grandfather Kurban Ali left India to fight for Britain during the War, told ITV News about the responsibility she felt of keeping the memory alive.

"He lost many people that he was friends with. They were either killed or they were seriously injured," she said.

"That will now be lost unless I take that on and talk about that with my children."

More than 400,000 Muslims fought for Britain during the First World War, but in total about two million Muslim soldiers and labourers stood with the Allies, according to the Forgotten Heroes 14-19 Foundation, a Belgian NGO.

The Foundation claims to have located 850,000 original documents relating to the global Muslim contribution to the Allied war effort.

Some of the archived images are remarkable.

One shows King George V dismounting from his horse to pay respect to two Algerian soldiers.

King George V (left) pays his respects to two Algerian soldiers Credit: Forgotten Heroes Foundation

In another unpublished photograph Moroccans travel on horseback through northern France.

In another Muslim solders pray close to the battlefield.

Moroccans soldiers are seen travelling through northern France Credit: Forgotten Heroes Foundation

But in northern France, where the far right control several local councils, there is evidence to suggest further Muslim documentation found may have been deliberately destroyed.

"It makes me very angry because I think its part of my identity and history and heritage," the Forgotten Heroes Foundation's Hayyan Bhabha told ITV News.

Mr Bhabha says he is determined to preserve the archive Credit: ITV News

The archives have an important role, helping many families to discover what happened to loved ones lost in the War.

"It just makes me more determined - in the context of the growing far right in Europe and here in France and other parts of the world - more determined to carry on with this mission of preserving archives," Mr Bhabha said.