HISTORY: Help identify Sikh mystery man in historical B.C. military photo

Published: November 9, 2012

B.C. Regiment. Submitted photo

LARISSA CAHUTE
VANCOUVER DESI

A number of questions are left unanswered after retired B.C. Regiment soldiers unearthed a 100-year-old photo of 14 high-ranking officers and one “Sikh gentleman.”

“There he was sitting with our senior non commission officers,” said Commanding Officer Harjit Sajjan. “In that time frame in history, you don’t sit and take a picture like that with senior non commission officers.”

Retired officers started the search for the man’s identity after they wrote a pictorial history book called Swift and Strong.

“We wanted to bring out some unique history of the regiment that we haven’t seen before and this was one of them,” said Sajjan.

Although the photograph has been hanging in downtown Vancouver’s regimental hall for years, they finally have the time to look into who he was.

A number of pictures have been painted of the mystery man: “He could have easily been a soldier who fought in different battles,” suggested Sajjan, or “back then, we used to have many, many units that had many Sikh soldiers as part of the unit — he could have been in that time temporarily training with us.”

“It’s part of our history so we want to find out details of this person: what the person’s name was, when did he come here, does he have a family, does the family still exist?”
According to Sajjan, it’s not uncommon for a Sikh man to be amongst the regiment.

“A lot of Sikhs when coming to Canada … because they’ve served before in the British military, it was quite common to be connected,” he said. “The interesting part is just the diversity of our regiment. It’s just not now that our regiment has been diverse, our regiment has been open and diverse for a very long time — that’s just one proof of it.”

As the oldest regiment in British Columbia, they take pride in their history and their members — so the officers are doing everything they can to identify the man and are asking for anyone who may recognize him to contact them at dukeinfo@bcregiment.com.

“We try to stay connected, we call it ‘the regiment of family,’” said Sajjan. “If you’ve ever served, or your family’s ever served — we stay connected.”

If you have any information on this mystery man please contact webeditor@vancouverdesi.com




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