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World War 1 Sikh-Canadian Pioneers: Still Searching for Our Sikh War Heroes

Discussion in 'History of Sikhism' started by Admin Singh, Feb 20, 2011.

  1. Admin Singh

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    Sikh-Canadian Pioneers: Still Searching for Our Sikh War Heroes
    by DAVID R. GRAY

    In the making of a new Canadian documentary film, Canadian Soldier Sikhs: A Little Story in a Big War, we have reached a watershed.

    Our film is taking shape, filled out by the exciting detail we have found in war diaries, attestation papers and other archival documents, and by some amazing personal stories.

    We know that the film will be well-received, but we are hesitant to bring it to completion.

    Why?

    Because we are certain that there are still other undiscovered treasures of information about "our" ten Sikh soldiers that we have so far not uncovered. Where are these treasures of information? They are in the memories and the stories passed down through generations of Sikh families, both here in Canada and in India.

    By requesting help from readers of sikhchic.com, I am hoping that more stories will come to light about these and other men, so that they can be shared through this film.

    How can you help?

    First, some background to the film. When our first film, Searching for the Sikhs of Tod Inlet, was screened at The Spinning Wheel Film Festival in Toronto in 2007, we were asked what the next project might be. I hesitantly suggested that I would like to follow up on my recent discovery that a handful of Sikhs had enlisted in the Canadian Army in the First World War.

    I also shared my concern that such a topic might not be possible. Would there be enough information? Would it even be possible to find photographs of these men? Would any personal stories be found, or was that too much to expect when we were searching for just ten men in an army of thousands?

    That very day we discovered, by a wonderful coincidence, that there were already two of us researching the story of one of these Canadian Sikh soldiers, and that one of his war medals had just been discovered (CLICK here for article by Sandeep Singh Brar).

    Well, the last four years have continued to be an amazing time of research and discovery. We received a grant from the OMNI Television Independent Producer's Initiative to produce the film. A year ago our two-man crew was in Europe documenting the graves of two of the Sikh-Canadian soldiers who were killed in action. We have found some wonderful stories and unexpected nuggets of information that we have worked into the film.

    A short preliminary trailer version of our film, called Sikh-Canadian Heroes of the First World War, was screened at The Spinning Wheel Film Festival in Toronto and at the Film Festival in Hollywood, California, U.S.A. in 2008, where it was awarded a Creative Media Award. The short version was also screened at the exhibition, The Spirit Born People: Defending the World, at the West Block, Parliament of Canada, Ottawa, in October 2009.

    In the strong belief that there are more unknown stories that we need to tell, I would like to ask readers to look at the following list of ten Canadian soldiers, to see if any of these men are known to your family and friends.

    The Soldiers
    Of the dozen men from Punjab and India who had immigrated to Canada and enlisted in the Canadian Army during the First World War, one was Muslim, one probably Hindu and the others, most with the surname "Singh," were probably Sikhs. Of the ten, eight served in England and France. One man who enlisted never left Canada.

    Here's How You Can Help
    We are looking for help from people who live in, or travel to India and Pakistan, and may be able to contact the relatives or descendants of the Sikh-Canadian soldiers. As well as contact information, we are hoping to discover photographs of some of
    these Sikh-Canadian soldiers, perhaps even letters written home, as we know that at least one of the Canadian soldiers wrote letters to his family in India.

    The following section gives some basic information on the ten soldiers. For more detailed information on the film and the soldiers, please visit our website at: www.canadiansoldiersikhs.ca

    If you know the families of any of these soldiers, or if you may be travelling to their home villages or places where their next-of-kin lived, please help us with contacts or information. Any contacts with the soldiers' families or home villages would be gratefully appreciated.

    If you can help, please let us know. Contact:

    David R. Gray, Director/ Producer
    Grayhound Information Services
    3107 8th Line Road
    Metcalfe, Ontario
    Canada K0A 2P0

    Tel: 613-821-2640

    grayhound@xplornet.com

    www.canadiansoldiersikhs.ca



    THE SOLDIERS

    1 John Baboo (John Baboo Singh)
    Service Number: 830650
    Address: Henry Ave., Winnipeg, Manitoba and P.O. Box 571, Vancouver, BC.
    Next of Kin: Wife - Virginia Maude Alice Baboo (124 Smith Street, Winnipeg)
    Birth Date: May 27, 1888
    Place of Birth: Sharpa, Puajah (Punjab), India
    Trade: groom, labourer
    Place and Date of Attestation: Winnipeg. Jan. 29, 1916
    Military Unit: 144th Battalion, to 44th Btn
    Former Military Unit: 28th Calvary Madras India
    Later History
    Last Known Address: 837 Bay Street, Victoria
    Family Names:
    Wife - Virginia Maude Baboo (Irish, born Indiana, USA about 1888)
    Daughter - Margaret (born in USA in 1908 or 1906)
    Time and Place of Death: July 9, 1948 (?) Saanich, B.C.

    2 Sunta Gougersing, (Gouger Sing, Goojar Singh, Gow Ger Sing, S.)
    Service Number: 65400
    Next of Kin: Father - Gougersing (Gouger Sing), S.G. Singh was a "widower"
    Birth Date: 1881
    Place of Birth: Lahore, Punjab, Pre-Partition India, now Pakistan)

    Place and Date of Attestation: Jan. 6, 1915, Montreal
    Initial Unit: 24th Bn (Quebec Regt)
    Former Military Unit: 32nd Punjab Rifles

    Later History
    Last Known Address: Lahore, Punjab
    Family Names
    Father - Bhola Singh, Santa, of Janbal, Phillour Tahsil, Jullundur District
    Wife - Musammat Bishn Kaur, of Janbal, India
    Time and Place of Death: Killed in Action October 19, 1915, buried in La Laiterie
    Military Cemetery, Belgium.

    3 Buckam Singh (Bukkam, Buk Am, Bukkan)
    Service Number: 454819
    Next of Kin: Father - Badan Singh,
    Mother - Chandi (Mrs Buckan) Mahilpur, Hosiar, Punjab
    Wife - Pritam Kaur (married March 1903)
    Birth Date: Dec. 5, 1893
    Place of Birth: Punjab, India. From Mahilpur, Hoshiarpur, Punjab
    Trade: Labourer
    Place and Date of Attestation: Smiths Falls, April 23, 1915 Military Unit: 38th Btn
    Later History
    Last Known Address: Kitchener Military Hospital, Ontario
    Family Names
    Wife - Pritam Kaur c/o Bhagwan Singh Gill, Jamsher, (Jamshahr)
    Jullundur, Punjab.
    Also - Nihal Singh Gill, Jullundur
    Time and Place of Death: August 27, 1919. Kitchener, Ontario
    Gravestone: "Of Mahilpur, Punjab"

    See also Sandeep Singh Brar's website at: www.sikhmuseum.com/buckam

    4 Hari Singh
    Service Number: 139181
    Address: 181 Simco Avenue, Toronto
    Birth Date: June 6, 1882
    Place of Birth: Lallpur, Amritsar, Punjab, India
    Next of Kin: Wife - Mrs Nihell Coor Hari Singh
    Address: Lallpur, Amritsar, India
    Trade: Caretaker
    Place and Date of Attestation: July 13, 1915, Toronto
    Military Unit: (5th Bombay Cavalry Sindhars - 3 years) 75th Btn, 198th Btn, 3rd
    Reserve Btn, Royal Canadian Dragoons.
    Former Military Unit: 5th Bombay Cavalry Sindhars - 3 years
    Later History
    Last Known Address: 783 Gerrard East, and 395 Ossington Av, Toronto
    Family Names: Wife - Mrs Nihall Coor Hari Singh, c/o S. Shum Singh, P.O.
    Naushshra, Pauuan District, Amritsar, Punjab, India.
    Sons - two
    Address: Worked at Toronto Carpet Manufacturers and Canadian Corps of
    Commissionaires
    Time and Place of Death: April 8, 1953, Toronto ?

    5 Harnom Singh (alias Harry Robson)
    Service Number: 827025
    Address: Chilliwack, BC
    Birth Date: 4 July 1888
    Place of Birth: Juarez Mexico?
    Next of Kin:
    Father - Joseph Robson / Gondo Robin Hormon
    Mother - Bishina Counom
    Address: Father - Singapore?, India (134 Linge St.), Mother - Counial Raper,
    India Trade: Sawyer
    Place and Date of Attestation: October 20, 1916. Vancouver
    Military Unit: 47th, 143rd Battalion (Railway Construction Battalion)
    Later History
    Farmer
    Last Known Address: Chilliwack (General Delivery, Vancouver)
    Family Names: Wife - Indu Kaur (Indercorp Hindu) (Mrs. Ind Kur)
    Address: (Patti) Raipur P.O. Raiper, India, (Poti Rangeki P.O.), Village
    Raipur, Thana Delu District, Ludisham, Pounjoub, India
    Time and Place of Death: unknown

    6 John Singh
    Service Number: 721760
    Address: Winnipeg
    Birth Date: December 13, 1880
    Place of Birth: India
    Next of Kin: Hird Singh
    Address: Dodea, Lahore, Punjaub, India
    Trade: Farm Labourer
    Place and Date of Attestation: January 28, 1916, Winnipeg
    Military Unit: 108th Overseas Battalion, 2nd Labour Battalion, 73rd CFC
    Later History
    Last Known Address: GPO Winnipeg
    Family: Next of Kin - Sidodo S., Fraser Mills, B.C.
    Time and Place of Death: October 30, 1971

    7 Lashman Singh (Laal M. Singh) (Loal Singh)
    Service Number: 219222
    Next of Kin: Brother - Dalip Singh, Dlep Singh
    Birth Date: Jan. 15, 1885
    Place of Birth: Punjab, India
    Trade: Labourer
    Place and Date of Attestation: Sept. 7, 1915. Smiths Falls, Ontario
    Military Unit: 75th Battalion
    Later History
    Family Names: Brother - Dalip Singh, Address - Bulohiwall P.O. Dhada Fateh Hoshian, Punjab, India
    Bulohwall P.O. Singh Wole, Dhade Fatch, Hoskear, PW Punjab
    Bulowall P.O. Dhade-Fakh, Hoshiar, Singhwele PU Punjab
    Time and Place of Death: Killed in action on October 24,1918. Buried in the Arras
    Road British Cemetery, Roclincourt, France.

    8 Ram Singh
    Service Number: 4080094
    Address: Grand Forks BC
    Birth Date: December 3, 1888
    Place of Birth: Punjab
    Next of Kin: Uncle - Ralla Singh
    Address: c/o Riverside Nursery, Grand Forks, BC
    Trade: Labourer
    Place and Date of Attestation: December 12, 1917. Vancouver
    Later History
    Last Known Address: Grand Forks, BC
    Family Names: single
    Time and Place of Death: unknown

    9 Sewa Singh
    Service Number: 2024282
    Address: 776 Homer St., Vancouver, BC
    Birth Date: June 7, 1890
    Place of Birth: Niminra, Dinjutah, India
    Next of Kin: Brother - Outram Singh
    Address: Niminra, Dinjutah, India
    Trade: Millman
    Place and Date of Attestation: June 10, 1918. Vancouver, BC.
    Military Unit: 1st Cdn Res Battalion
    Former Military Unit: 14th Sikhs - 3 years
    Later History
    Last Known Address: 776 Homer St. Vancouver in 1918
    2205 Commercial Drive (Canadian Legion) Vancouver in 1919
    Family: widower
    Sons: Lowl Singh, Mona Singh
    Address: District Gelanda, Boat House, P. Preovada (Pocovada?), City of
    Nomarna, Punjab, India (Post Office Fugbara)
    Time and Place of Death: 1957?

    10 Waryam Singh (Wary Am Singh)
    Service Number: 410622
    Next of Kin: Father: Wazam Singh, Dhobae, Punjab
    Mother: Mrs. Darbey Singh (Darley Kaur)
    Birth Date: Jan. 23, 1883 ? and June 15, 1879 ?
    Place of Birth: Punjab, India
    Trade: Farmer, labourer
    Place and Date of Attestation: Smiths Falls, May 5, 1915
    Military Unit: 38th Btn (Eastern Ontario Regiment) Later History
    Last Known Address: Dhobae, Kapurthala, Punjab and Sikh Temple, Vancouver
    Family Names: Daughter - Miss Amrous (Karem Singh), Dhobae, Kapurthala,
    Punjab
    Mother - Mrs. Darley Kaur c/o Waryea Singh, Dhobae, Kapurthala
    Brother: Slae Indar Singh, Dhobae, Kapurthala, Punjab
    Time and Place of Death: unknown



    The author is a Film Director based in Ottawa, Canada.

    February 18, 2011
     

    Attached Files:

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