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Old Soldiers


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Old Soldiers

As the famous line from an old army ballad says "Old soldiers never die, they just fade away." - here is a collection of some of my favourite military images.

Most military images are very stiff and formal, staged photographs in regimental formations - my personal favourites are the informal shots which show the day to day life of a soldier.

This is perhaps one of my favourite images, from perhaps the late 19th century , it shows a Sikh soldier in 'Civvies' - off duty - but still wearing his regimental Pagri Badge (a chakar and Bhagauti).

He wears a large tall dastar - the 10 yard army 'safa'. It shows how his beard is tied very clearly - tied upwards and it appears without the use of any 'Fixo' - today it is more common for the beard to be tied 'downwards' as in it is tucked under rather than upwards. I love the 'cheeky' smile and the salute - a great image.



These next two images reflect the fascination many have with our Kesh and Dastar - It shows Harnam Singh of the 4th Sikh also in his 'civvy' clothes before and after washing and drying his hair.It is from the Desert campaign of the First World War in Kantara, on the east side of the Suez canal in 1914.



More images of 'ablutions'




Time for 'Tiffin'


Veterans at the Delhi Durbar



Wonderfully staged images of Sikh Gunners



A Felice Beato image of some of the first recruits to the British Army


Gallipoli - WW1

The trenches


Mountain Battery






Desert Diwan - Mesopotamia WW1




The Memorial erected by The 35th Sikhs battalion in 1894 - located in the Darshani Deori Amritsar.

It reads -

"Eh chakar paltan number 35 Sikh ne tareek 16 (?) April 1894 mutaabak 5 Vasaakh san 1952 Nu Siri Darbar Sahib Amritsar da darshan karan di ar Ishnaan karan di yaadgar vich Ardass karaiya "


The Saragarhi Memorial


Sikhs in France WW1

Pipe Band




Second World War - A Sikh Soldier escorting prisoners of War 1941


Memorial to Ranjit Singh - Sikh Regiment - Kranji , Singapore


And to finish another favourite image - Sikh boys boxing , (Army Cadets ?) from the 1940s. Note how the boy on the right is wearing a proper 'Reb' Kacchera


Hope you enjoyed the pictures

Ranjit Singh 'Freed'

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Very nice photo's, thanks veer ji.

I particularly like 3 of these:

1 - The love that can be seen in the face on the Singh washing his veers kesh... this is something that is rare amongst the youth today, although many have a lot to say, few speak through such devotional actions.

2 - The mai touching the Fauji Baba in thanks as he is marching, and his respectful yet unseen response shining through his fixed gaze, sustained by his soldierly loyalty and focus...

3 - The legendery Punjabi/Sikh (what you will) competitive spirit - rivalry...which can be either a boon or a downfall for all mankind, depending on how this energy is harnessed...

And how on Earth did the Baba on the 1st photo tie that gravity defying dara! His shawl also looks very comfortable, that don't make them like that anymore...

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Gurfateh! & Many Thanks for your responses

Dear 'Shaheediyan' Bhai Sahib,

In your post you mention it is rare to see love and devotion amongst today's youth - I must disagree - your contribution to this forum is always marked by love and devotion - your posts are a pleasure to read - your responses are always full of 'Mithbola'.

If I haven't said it before your feed back is always constructive and always a pleasure to receive.

Many Thanks

Pyaar Bhari Sat Sri Akaal !

Ranjit Singh (Freed)

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I think dr. bernstein has infiltrated the panth!.....and singho, I am appalled and disgusted at your lack of awareness!!!!! truly offended! don't you know that the only fat singhs are ragi's so they can rest their hands on their tids when they go to matha teyk...katha vaachiks do the same, but they try to swing their arms nusrat style....please lets not go back and turn this into a sanatanvs.shia thing, I'll have to cut into nusrat with some more malkiat!

I bow to my isht, baba lember hussainpuri!

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LOL. Good to know that the fat stomachs do have a practical use within Sikhism! Anyway, it was just a note so that those of us in the western countries can take care to avoid the risk of diabetes, heart attack and stroke associated with being overweight. The people in these images don't seem to have any excess fat at all, and the 20th century wasn't that long ago.

Just being in condition seems to be the difference between having a shorter life expectancy than non-Asian populations in the west, and making history like these soldiers.

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