Also known as
Soldier Singh AWMM
- WWI 11/1011 AWMM
- WWI 13/1011a AWMM
Date of birth
Place of birth
Address before enlistment
WW1 Unknown AWMM Manakau AWMM
Post war occupation
Next of kin on embarkation
WW1 Sanwan Singh (father), Shaukar, Punjab, India AWMM
Pre 14 February 1915 AWMM Single AWMM
POW liberation details
POW serial number
- 14 July 1915 AWMMHospital Diseases , Wounds, WWI AWMM
Wounded in lower extremities. AWMM
- Hospital Diseases , Wounds, WWI AWMM
Recurring appendicitis AWMM
- Tattoos, WWI AWMM
Tattoo marks both forearms AWMM
Name is recorded as Tagt Singh in Nominal Rolls, as Jagt Singh in Archives New Zealand. Listed as Tagt in the New Zealand Society of Genealogists "New Zealand World War I Service Personnel & Reserves Index/"
Featured in the diary of Lieutenant Colonel James McCaroll of the North Auckland Mounted rifles: "We came under machine gun and artillery fire, so we had to steady up. The Regiment H.Q. reached a small knoll and we dismounted and had a look and here was the whole Turkish force on the move back - we were within hundred yards of them, so I ordered all to retrieve...to the horse mount and get back. I behind a bush, then Jagt Sing[h] came up with my horse. I can tell you I got mounted in record time."
"A new life in Aotearoa
Jagt Singh migrated to New Zealand in 1913 and served in World War I as a trooper with the New Zealand Mounted Rifles. Singh was born in Punjab, India in 1889 and at age 24 left home for a new life in New Zealand. Just over a year after his arrival in New Zealand, Singh enlisted in the Army and became one of a small number of Indian New Zealanders who served with the New Zealand Forces in World War I.
Though they were often willing to serve, the Indian community in New Zealand were excluded from service in the First World War for the most part. As British subjects, Indian immigrants living in New Zealand were balloted for service, however, when they tried to enlist they were usually turned away. They could be rejected on grounds of being medically unfit, and later ‘commissariat difficulties’* were used as a reason to put them on early discharge or indefinite leave.
This context, of systematic racial and religious intolerance, makes Jagt Singh’s achievements in the First World War all the more remarkable. He was an experienced soldier who proved himself to be a valuable asset to the New Zealand Army.
Jagt Singh entered Trentham Camp in January 1915 and served with the New Zealand Army for the duration of the War, a full four years and 176 days. He had previously spent nearly six years in the Indian Army in the cavalry regiment The 20th Deccan Horse, earning the nickname "Soldier Singh".
Private Singh was posted to Egypt for training with the Wellington Mounted Rifles, 3rd reinforcements and went on to serve in the Gallipoli Campaign. It was during the Battle of Chunuk Bair in August 1915 that Jagt Singh was badly wounded in the leg and admitted to hospital in Heliopolis.
Making his mark
Singh recovered quickly and rejoined his unit in Palestine and Egypt. By 1916 Singh had transferred to the Auckland Mounted Rifles 4th reinforcements. He is praised in the diary of Lieutenant Colonel James McCarroll, Commanding Officer of the Auckland Mounted Rifles for his quick thinking and helpfulness in the field.
The Regiment H.Q. reached a small knoll and we dismounted and had a look and here was the whole Turkish force on the move back – we were within a hundred yards of them, so I ordered all to retrieve to the horse mount and get back. I could not find my horse and I saw the Turks on the hill and we got some heavy fire. I was running back, bullets flopping round me, so I fell behind a bush, then Jagt Singh came up with my horse. I can tell you I got mounted in record time. We retired and assembled about half a mile away.
For Jagt Singh, the Army offered him the opportunity to make a return visit to India. In 1919 he went to Bombay on leave and returned to the New Zealand Army a few months later. After the War he was discharged and sent back to New Zealand, eventually moving back to India though he returned to New Zealand for work on multiple occasions.
The many poppies placed on our digital memorial to Jagt Singh on Online Cenotaph represent the tributes of those still remembering him today.
You can visit Online Cenotaph to lay your own poppy, add a note, or contribute information you have about the man and his service.
*'Commissariat difficulties' referred to the difficulties for the army to cater to diets such as vegetarian and Halal, and special food preparation requirements adhered to for religious reasons." Excerpt Johnson, Ella. Soldier Singh, an Indian ANZAC. Auckland War Memorial Museum - Tāmaki Paenga Hira. First published: 1 November 2017. Updated: 1 November 2017. AWMM
Date of death
Age at death
Place of death
Cause of death
Roll of Honour
Remember Jagt Singh by laying a poppy.
Leave a note
Leave a tribute or memory of
- New Zealand Army Expeditionary Force. (1914-1919). Nominal Rolls of New Zealand Expeditionary Force, Volume I. Wellington, N.Z.: Govt. Printer. AWMM
Page No: 666 AWMM
- Roche, M. and Venkateswar, S. "Neither Natural-born British Subjects Nor Aliens: Indians in the New Zealand Expeditionary Force" in Crawford, J., Littlewood, David, & Watson, James. (2016). Experience of a lifetime : People, personalities and leaders in the First World War. Auckland, New Zealand : Massey University Press. 2016. AWMM
|23 August 2018||Ella||Auckland, NZ||Researcher||
|04 May 2017||Manisha||Wellington||Researcher||
The development of the Online Cenotaph is an ongoing process; updates, new images and records are added weekly. In some cases, records have yet to be confirmed by Museum staff, and there could be mistakes or omissions in the information provided.