Today is Armistice Day. It marks the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month in 1918 when the guns finally fell silent on the Western Front.
I was going to put up a picture of my grandfather who spent four years driving trucks of supplies to the trenches in World War One.
But instead I am going to put up a picture of my father and the men he fought with in World War Two.
The No1 Sikh Engineer Battalion served in Iran, Syria, Lebanon, Palestine and Egypt before being sent to Italy in 1943 to serve with the specialist troops of the British Eighth Army.
It is very hard to find out anything about the Sikhs who served in Italy. They don’t seem to get the attention they deserve. But, according to The Sikh Nugget 5,782 Indian soldiers died in the fighting there. Six out of the 20 Victoria Crosses awarded in that campaign were given to Indian soldiers.
My dad and the soldiers he served with were engineers. The only thing he would ever say about his experience in Italy was that he spent the entire campaign blowing up bridges and then building them again.
So, here’s to you, dad. Capt. David Scott, No 1 Sikh Engineer Battalion. And here are the names of the men you were with, that you so carefully wrote on the back of the picture.
Back row: Jemadar Bishan Singh; Capt. DE Gaye, RE; Jem. Bavant Singh; Lt. GL Nicholson, RE; Jem. Ralla Singh; Capt. J. Harcombe, RE.
Standing: Lt. SR. Bapat, IE; Jem. Gulwar Singh; Lt. David Scott; Jem. Baradur Singh; Lt. Srivastera, IAME; Jem. Amar Singh; Jem. Baradur Singh; Capt. RJ Ryan; Jem. Chayja Singh.
Sitting: Jem. Kishan Singh; Capt. IA Munro, RE; Subadar Mahan Singh; Maj. AE Coults, RE; Sub Maj and Hon Lt Bhagar Singh, OBI; Lt. Col. JP Davidson MCIE; Subadar Jina Singh; Capt. JM Scott (?); Jem. Mula Singh.
Front row: Jem Gian Singh; Jem Udham Singh; Lt. EG Mountford, RE; Jem. Blagwan Singh; Jem Tikla Singh.
Lest we forget.
Great photo to treasure 😉
Yes, I love it.
Very nice tribute to your Dad and the Sikhs, who are often forgotten. I wonder if he met my Dad in Egypt!
He never said…
No, all I ever knew about my Dad’s war was what he ate and whether he won on the horses. And the fact he and his mate were left behind, accidentally, in Venice. For a month. Eating icecream.
I’d like to do that…
Men like you Dad di something remarkable, We can never thank them enough
Thanks, Peter – although I’ve never been able to find out the details of what he did actually do.Its really hard tracing the activity of a Royal Engineer because they just get attached to other units.
I just want to say a big thank you to all these people, without whom I would not be able to sit here and live the life of my choosing. THANK YOU.
No, thank you for reading it.
I love this. Cheers to your dad.
Thanks, NTT. I don’t know why posting this made me cry. But it did. He didn’t have a very happy life, but he loved his time in that battalion