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I'm trying to work out the nationality of a soldier awarded the BWM.

The rank is (Ftr.) fitter and the unit IWT (Inland Water Transport) and the name is Singho.

I could only find one man with that surname on the NA site, a Pte. in the Ceylon Sanitary Company.

Any help is very much appreciated.



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Hi - Tony, I was hoping that a member might have been able to help with details of this man ? I will tell you what I know of the Inland Water Transport.

They were set-up in the 1st WW to take advantage of the excellent French network of canals and rivers. Men were brought in from many different places - the main requirement being that they had experience with boats on inland waterways. The idea was very succesful and helped to move supplies and ammunition - in bulk - around the fighting areas. I had the medals at one time to a major in this unit.

When General Allenby moved our Middle East Army into Palestine and Mesopotamia , this major was promoted Lt. Col. and set-up a similar operation on the waterways of the Middle-East. He married an Australian nurse and I had pictures of their wedding in Cairo - with a line of the boatmen all holding oars ! Between them they held 6 MID's. The medal groups have long gone - and unfortunately, I cannot remember his name.

Anyway - that's a 'potted' history of the unit. Contact the Imperial War Museum - they should be able to help. Mervyn

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British forces in France included both the Chinese Labour Corps and Maltese labourers so it woudln't be at all surprising if a waterways unit included what were referred to in the period as "Lascars" - sea-going labourers from India and other places in the East.

'Singho' certainly has the sound of a South Asian name rendered by an English enlistment/employment clerk! Largely unsung in history, such men did invaluable work, alongside the RA Service Corps, railway troops and other support units. Interesting medal!


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Thank you both for your replies.

I will try to get to the bottom of this medal only it may take a while.

It actually came with another I was after, in fact there were 3 in total, an AIF casualty BWM to a swede, the one to Pte. Singho and another to a Gunner.


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  • 3 weeks later...

Hello Michael,

Thanks for that and I'd say we've nailed his nationality.

I've since found 12 (I think) members of the Royal Navy (Ceylon Mine Clearance) with the same name. I don't think I'll find anymore information on him but haven't given up hope yet.

Simeon also crops up as a crew member many times between the wars on voyages to the US.


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  • 10 years later...

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