Saturday, November 15, 2008

WWI Medal Discovery Reveals Story of Forgotten Sikh Canadian Hero







This article was sent to me and I thought that this site would be a great venue for it. I've included a few pictures of GSD from this years Remembrance Day service at Pte Buckam's grave site.

I’ll try to get some better quality photos in the near future.

DSB





WWI Medal Discovery Reveals Story of Forgotten Sikh Canadian Hero

The story of one of the first Sikh Canadian WWI soldiers has been uncovered with the discovery of his Victory medal.
Sandeep Singh Brar an avid Sikh historian and creator of the first Sikh website on the internet http://www.sikhs.org/, purchased the medal from a dealer in England and quickly realized its historical significance. The medal revealed a fascinating story of heroism and tragedy.

Buckam Singh came to B.C. from Punjab in 1907 at age 14 and eventually moved to Toronto in 1912/1913. He enlisted with the Canadian Expeditionary Force in the spring of 1915. He's one of the earliest known Sikhs living in Ontario at the time as well as one of only 9 Sikhs that we know of that served with the Canadian military in WWI.

Private Buckam Singh served with the 20th Canadian Infantry Battalion in the battlefields of Flanders during 1916. He's a genuine Canadian hero because not only did he serve, but he was wounded twice in two separate battles. One of the interesting discoveries included the fact that after being shot Private Buckam Singh received treatment at a hospital run by one of Canada's most famous soldier poets Doctor Lt. Colonel John McCrae author of the immortal poem 'In Flanders Fields'.

While recovering from his wounds in England Private Buckam Singh contracted tuberculosis and spent his final days in a Kitchener Ontario military hospital, dying at age 25 in 1919. His grave in Kitchener Ontario is the only known WWI Sikh Canadian Soldier's grave in Canada. It's sad that he never got to see his family again and died forgotten, but it is exciting that his heroic story is now being reclaimed and celebrated including a major online exhibit at the http://www.sikhmuseum.com/ website and a Ardas prayer and wreath laying ceremony which will be performed at his gravesite on Remembrance Day. A circle has been completed and Buckam Singh has been reunited with his people after a century of separation from the Panth.


Contact
Sandeep Singh BrarSikhmuseum.com Curator
Email: sandeep@sikhs.orgWebsite: http://www.sikhmuseum.com/

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

I ran into this website (www.nava-wear.com) that has started a line of Tshirts to honor the Sikh Regiment. Cool designs.

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