Undivided Indian Ex-Servicemen’s Association
2075. Rajindar Singh Datt
Rajindar Singh Dhatt, aged 101, from London, is one of the last surviving Sikh soldiers who fought in the Second World War, and since moving to Hounslow in 1963 has run the ‘Undivided Indian Ex-Servicemen's Association’ to help bring together British-Indian veterans.
Born in pre-partition India in 1921, Rajindar decided to join the British-Indian Army during the Second World War, and excelled up the ranks, being promoted to Havildar Major (Sergeant Major) in 1943. He was later drafted to the Far East campaign to fight in Kohima in northeast India to support the Allied Forces and help break through the Japanese defences. After the war, Rajindar returned to India before settling in Hounslow with his family in 1963.
The association recently created an online community for veterans, sharing articles about personal stories and opportunities to connect. Rajindar also continues to speak at memorial events and work with charities including the ‘Royal British Legion’ and the ‘Taxi Charity for Military Veterans’, telling stories through teaching packs and online resources.
Rajindar was presented with his award by the Prime Minister at a Downing Street UK-India reception.
(Rajindar is pictured with the Prime Minister. Picture by Simon Walker / No 10 Downing Street)
In a personal letter to Rajindar, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said:
“Since making a permanent home in London, you have created the Undivided Indian Ex-Servicemen’s Association, bringing together British-Indian veterans and fostering unity, support and camaraderie.
“By sharing your experiences, you are also ensuring that the wartime contributions of people from across the Commonwealth and from all faith communities are remembered.
“You are a true inspiration, continuing your extraordinary service to others even as you approach your 102nd birthday!”
“It is an immense honour to receive this recognition from the Prime Minister, to whom I would like to extend my deepest appreciation for acknowledging the importance and impact of the ‘Undivided Indian Ex-Servicemen’s Association.’ The journey of establishing this organisation was driven by a deep sense of duty as an ex-serviceman and the vision of fostering unity, support, and camaraderie.
“This award serves as a testament to the tireless efforts of countless individuals who have contributed to the success and growth of the association over the years. Their unwavering commitment and selfless service has played a pivotal role in bringing about positive change in the lives of our ex-servicemen and their families.
“Thank you again, it is a momentous occasion that inspires me to continue making meaningful contributions to society, even as I near my 102nd birthday!”
See more about ‘The Undivided Ex-Servicemen’s Association’