Files Reveal Bravery Of Sikh WWI Soldiers

LONDON – Documents from World War 1, declassified by Britain on Thursday has revealed for the first time the valour of an Sikh soldier who braved heavy machine gun fire from the Germans to pass vital information to the British forces.

A number of files relating to the Indian cavalry fighting in December 1917 against German forces have revealed the fearlessness of Gobind Singh from the 28th Light Cavalry. On three occasions, he volunteered to carry messages between the regiment and brigade headquarters, a distance of 1.5 miles (2.4 km) over open ground which was under heavy fire from the enemy.

He succeeded each time in delivering the message, although on each occasion his horse was shot and he was compelled to finish the journey on foot.

Gobind Singh (1887-1942)-the lance-daffadar won the Victoria Cross on December 1, 1917 near Peizieres in France.

Saying that “no praise is too high for the conduct of all ranks during the whole operation” the documents to be thrown open to the public on Thursday by the National Archives but available with TOI said: “The Germans brought in heavy machine gun fire to bear on the position most of the day. Notwithstanding this and also heavy machine gun fire from both flanks on the way out and back, a sowar of the 2nd Lancers brought in two messages describing the situation to the headquarters. He had three horses shot under him, but nevertheless was ready and wished to return to his regiment.

Included in this batch are records of the Indian Cavalry—the first troops from the Commonwealth to join the British Army with first actions in Givenchy in the autumn of 1914—whose first major contribution was at the Somme where they saw the loss of around 80% of their men at the Battle of Delville.

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