On Remembrance Sunday, we look at the story of a Sikh cavalryman who fought on horseback and in the trenches in the frozen soil of France, surviving – just – to tell his tale.
One hundred and two years ago this week he landed in France to help stem the German tide, putting his life on the line. In doing so he and his colleagues made history, albeit a largely forgotten aspect of the Great War, which we now remember through our Empire, Faith & War (‘EFW’) project.
Please take a moment to reflect on the Indian Army’s crucial role in WW1 this remembrance weekend and share this newsletter with others and ask them to sign up directly so we can continue to create the definitive Sikh people’s history of WW1.
Nahar Singh: frostbitten, starving but fighting on
Lance Duffadar Nahar Singh of the 30th Lancers (Gordon’s Horse) was born Dianatpur village, Jalandhar District, East Punjab, and his life has been researched by his grandson, Citizen Historian Balbir Singh Nijhar.
He reached French soil on 11 November 1914 and served as part of the Indian Cavalry divisions deployed at battles including Givenchy and Ypres. He also spent time in the trenches, where, due to the freezing conditions that winter, he nearly lost his legs to frostbite. He also recalled in later life how he had to scavenge for food whilst surviving on a handful of chickpeas.
Despite these trials and tribulations Nahar Singh lived to the ripe old age of 100. Read about his life story before, during and after the war, here.
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