The Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) maintains the graves of the 1.7 million Commonwealth servicemen and women who died during the two world wars. This includes caring for the graves and memorials of more than 110,000 men and women who served with Canadian forces in the two world wars. Their graves and memorials can be found at more than 2,700 locations across Canada and in some 70 countries.
Recently, the Commonwealth War Graves Commission started working in partnership with the Sikh Heritage Museum of Canada to raise awareness of the First World War sacrifice of Canadian Sikhs through a new initiative as part of the 1914-1918 Centenary.
Many are not aware of the group of Sikh who enlisted to serve for Canada during WWI nor the fact that there are more Canadian Sikh War memorials in France than in Canada from WWI. This includes the grave headstones of Private Gouger Singh who was the first Sikh to enlist in Canada for WWI, and unfortunately the first Sikh to die in action on the western front in France. Private Lashman Singh who also died in action in France. From the group of Sikh Canadians that fought in WWI, eight served in England and France. Three of these men were wounded, two were killed in action.
We strongly encourage people to visit these sites and learn more about the history of the role played by these soldiers. For more information about the Commonwealth War Graves Commission click here.
Private Bukam Singh was the first of the Canadian Sikh Soldiers to be wounded. Though he returned to action twice after recovering in British Hospitals, in early 1917 he became ill with tuberculosis and eventually repatriated to Canada and in 1918 was demobilized in London Ontario and died a year later due to his war induced illness. He is buried at the Mount Hope Cemetery in Kitchener Ontario Canada.
Private Gouger Singh (Goojar Singh) was the first casualty. He was killed in action early in the war in the trenches near Kemmel, Belgium, just south of Ypres, in October 1915. He is buried in the La Laiterie Military Cemetery among 197 other Canadians, strangely, Private Gouger Singh’s gravestone does not show the Canadian Maple Leaf, though his Canadian Battalion number is noted. The Sikh inscription is unusual for a Canadian gravestone. The Sikh script in Gurmukhi language reads: “God is one” and “Victory to God.”
Private Lashman (Laal) Singh was killed in action late in the war, in October 1918, at or near the town of Bellaing, France where the Canadians were driving back the German army with ferocious, but costly, success that soon brought the War to an end. Private Lashman Singh was first buried in the churchyard at Bellaing. In the 1930s, his body was re-buried in the Arras Road Cemetery, near Roglincourt, France, along with over one thousand other First World War commonwealth soldiers. There is also a WWI memorial bearing Private Lashman Singh’s name (L. Singh) in the town square in Bellaing, France.
Events & Exhibitions
Shauna Singh BaldwinEvent
Juss Kaur Mantra ArtExhibition
Sikhs in CanadaExhibition
Guru Nanak Dev PaintingEvents
Lions of the SeaExhibition
Call to FlandersExhibition
Private Bukkam SinghEvent
Army of SikhsExhibition
Valour & FaithExhibition
#125-2980 Drew Road,
Mississauga, ON L4T 0A7
Monday – Friday
By appointment only