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The First World War History of Dulmial Village and its British Cannon

By Dr Irfan Malik.


An iron cannon cast in Scotland two centuries ago stands proudly in the centre of the Pakistani village of Dulmial – a testament to the community’s remarkable military tradition and its old ties with Britain. Its fame is such that Dulmial is known across Pakistan as the “village with the gun”.


The story of the Dulmial gun began during the First World War. Dulmial, located some 100 miles south of Islamabad in the Salt Range, a hilly region of northern Punjab, had always been a nursery of soldiers. With the advent of the global conflict, it sent 460 men to serve and fight in the British imperial forces, including two of my great grandfathers. Nine of the men gave their lives.


To recognise the community’s contribution to the war effort, the government of British India in 1925 offered the village a reward of its own choosing. The man put in charge of this unusual task was Captain Ghulam Mohammad Malik, the village’s highest ranking and most decorated soldier. The captain was a man of great experience, having begun his military career in the Derajat Mountain Battery and participated in Lord Robert’s famous march from Kabul to Kandahar during the Second Afghan War. His achievements are documented in Brig. Gen. Graham’s book, ‘The History of the Indian Mountain Artillery’ along with a photograph. A man deeply steeped in military tradition, the captain eschewed suggestions of land, money or water facilities. Instead, he asked for Dulmial’s contribution in the war to be recognised with the gift of a cannon to stand as a monument in the village in honour of its soldiers.


The government agreed and duly presented Dulmial with an old 12-pound muzzle loader. It had been made at the Carron Ironworks, in Falkirk, Scotland in 1816. Its carriage was built at Cossipore Gun Foundry in India under the supervision of Captain A. Broome, in 1847. The gun was collected from the 1st Punjab Regimental Centre in Jhelum, from where it was carried by train to Chakwal. There the gun was dismounted and loaded in a cart to be pulled by three pairs of oxen for the remaining 28 kilometres. The roads are semi mountainous, and the passage was difficult. It would take the oxen two weeks to cover the distance. When still five kilometres from Dulmial, the road became even steeper, and the village had to send five additional pairs of oxen to get over the final stretch.


Safely in Dulmial, the gun was reassembled and placed at the centre of the village. A photograph was taken with the army officers who hailed from Dulmial standing proudly next to the new memorial. It remains there to this day, a reminder of the contribution Dulmial made in the First World War.  Despite its fame in Pakistan as the “village with the gun”, Dulmial is rather less well known in the United Kingdom.  

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The Dulmial cannon

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Dulmial Officers

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The Dulmial cannon





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