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A group of more than 100 people attended the ANZAC Dawn Service organised by Mantung Hall Committee to remember servicemen from the outback region of South Australia.
To attend this service, the members of the Adelaide and the Riverland Sikh community travelled to Mantung, an area halfway between Karoonda and Waikerie in SA.
According to Australian Sikh Heritage Association, three Sikh Anzacs - Private Sarn Singh, Private Ganessa Singh and Private Juwan Singh belonged to this region.
Navtej Singh, an active member of Riverland Sikh community was present at the ANZAC Dawn Service at Mantung, SA.
“We are very proud of our Sikh heritage and our elders who served the nation when it needed the most,” he said in an interview with SBS Punjabi’s Preetinder Singh Grewal.
“We went to Mantung to remember our heroes. It was a very proud moment,” said Mr Singh.
“More than 100 people gathered to pay their respects. To my knowledge, the dawn service is in place from last three years.”
“Private Sarn Singh was from this area. He was one of 19 Sikhs who were recruited into the Australian Imperial Force during World War I. He was the only known casualty, who died in Belgium in 1917, in the line of duty."
“Private Sarn Singh had a farm in this area. We’re surprised to know that even after 100 years, the locals still call it ‘Singh’s farm’.”
“The local community is very proud of its rich heritage. They extended an open invitation to anyone who wants to pay their respect to their elders who served the nation,” said Mr Singh.
Images from ANZAC Dawn Service organised at Mantung, SA (Photo/Info courtesy - Australian Sikh Heritage Association, Mantung Hall Committee, Leanne Parker)
According to historian Prof Peter Stanley from UNSW Canberra - Sarn Singh, and the 'Indian-born Anzacs' who served with him in the Australian Imperial Force, represented a remarkable phenomenon. They were remarkable because they were among the few non-white members of a force that was legally only supposed to include Europeans, an extraordinary exception to the prevailing racist policy of 'White Australia'.
Private Sarn Singh was a Sikh Anzac who was decorated with British War Medal and Victory Medal during First World War (WW-1). His name is inscribed at Menin Gate in Ypres, Belgium. Preetinder Singh Grewal reports...