Desanda SINGH

SINGH, Desanda

Service Number: 3720
Enlisted: 1 November 1917, Adelaide, South Australia
Last Rank: Private
Last Unit: 3rd Light Horse Regiment
Born: Rampur Jagir, Kapurthala, India, 1879
Home Town: Denial Bay, Ceduna, South Australia
Schooling: Not yet discovered
Occupation: Farmer/Hawker
Died: Natural Causes (lost eyesight - died in the 1950's), Rampur Jagir, India, date not yet discovered
Cemetery: Not yet discovered
Memorials: Ceduna Denial Bay and Districts WW1 Roll of Honor
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World War 1 Service

1 Nov 1917: Enlisted AIF WW1, Adelaide, South Australia
7 Mar 1918: Involvement AIF WW1, Private, 3720, 3rd Light Horse Regiment, Enlistment/Embarkation WW1,

--- :embarkation_roll: roll_number: '1' embarkation_place: Melbourne embarkation_ship: SS Ormonde embarkation_ship_number: '' public_note: ''

7 Mar 1918: Embarked AIF WW1, Private, 3720, 3rd Light Horse Regiment, SS Ormonde, Melbourne
10 Oct 1918: Discharged AIF WW1, Private, 3720, 3rd Light Horse Regiment

Photograph of Desanda - Dasunda Singh

Photograph of Desanda - Desunda Singh: Crystal Jordan

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Saw active service in Egypt.

Service Record states that discharge on 10 Oct 1918 was granted for "family reasons"

Desanda - Dasunda Singh A Pioneer

Dasunda Singh was born in Kapurthala, Punjab, India in 1879. He was the son of Boota Singh and had a brother, Chunda. Dasunda migrated to Australia in 1898. He began hawking in South Australia and in the early 1900’s he conducted his hawking business from the Murray River Paddle Steamer the “City of Oxford”with his friend Bhagwan Singh. The “City of Oxford” was owned by another of Dasunda’s friends Rhoda Singh.

Dasunda settled on the Eyre Peninsular in South Australia, to be more exact in around the Denial Bay – Ceduna area and spent most of his working life there. He settled on a farm in the early days after his arrival in Australia and tried his hand at Farming and Hawking. This area was declared marginal country because of the lack of rain and surface water.

He can be consider to be a pioneer of the district as he is mentioned in early histories of the area as a farmer who was involved in clearing the virgin scrub, a thankless, difficult, lonely and dirty job. The area that we are talking about was covered with Saltbush and Mulga and Mallee trees as well as other desert and semi desert species of plants. To clear virgin bush it was necessary to first burn the scrub to thin it out.

Towards the end of the First World War Dasunda enlisted in the 3rd Australian Light Horse in 1917 and on March the 6th 1918 he embarked on the “Ormonde” for Suez. Later he was transferred to Palestine where he became ill or suffered an injury and was returned to Australia and discharged on October the 10th 1918. He returned to Australia with Sirdar Singh his friend from Adelaide. It is interesting to note that both Dasunda and Sirdar were accepted in the Australian Light Horse, as this was an elite Regiment and many good Australian Horsemen were rejected. It is suspected that Dasunda had served in the 16th Bengal Lancers and this would have certainly given Dasunda preference over other enlistments regardless of their nationality. Records confirm Sidara’s military record with the 16thBengal Lancers and as they were close friends who travelled together it is reasonable to assume that they knew each other. In addition to this Dasunda wore a yellow and blue turban for most of his life and this was the Regimental Colours of the 16th Bengal Lancers.

Dasunda returned to India on a number of occasions for holidays to visit his wife and children. He returned to India on the the 30th May 1939 on the “Narkunda” and the trail of Dasunda seems to end in Australia around the 1940s. However, he did finally return to his family in India, where he later became blind and died about 10 or 15 years later.

© Len Kenna and Crystal Jordan 2014

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