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Sikh-Canadian WW I soldier remembered

One of 10 Sikh soldiers who fought with Canadian regiments during the First World War was remembered Sunday at a special service in Kitchener, Ont.

One of 10 Sikh soldiers who fought with Canadian regiments during the First World War was remembered Sunday at a special service in Kitchener, Ont.

Pte. Buckam Singh is believed to be the only Sikh-Canadian soldier from the First or Second World War to have a military gravesite on Canadian soil.

But the Kitchener site had been long forgotten until an amateur historian rediscovered it three years ago.

Sandeep Singh Brar of Brampton began his search after finding Singh’s victory medal in a thrift shop. His research took him to Mount Hope Cemetery in Kitchener, where Singh was buried at the age of 25.

Singh was 14 years old when he came to Canada in 1907 from Punjab and settled in Ontario. After joining the 20th  Canadian infantry at the start of the First World War, he fought on several battlefields in France and was wounded twice.

He was recovering in an Ontario hospital when he developed tuberculosis and died in 1919.

More than 90 years later, Singh has become a hero in Canada’s Sikh community, which holds annual ceremonies at his gravesite as part of Remembrance Day activities. On his tombstone, Singh’s first name is spelled Bukkan, one of several spellings used during his lifetime.

The ceremony on Sunday was attended by military dignitaries, including Brig.-Gen. Matthew Overton, director general of military careers, and Lt.-Col. Harjit Singh Sajjan, the commanding officer of the British Columbia Regiment Duke of Connaught's Own, who is a veteran of Bosnia and three tours of duty in Afghanistan. 

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