Online Collection

The Online Collection showcases a selection of our objects for you to discover and explore. This resource will grow as the Museum's Collection is catalogued and computerised, and as new acquisitions are added.

« New search

« Prev - 1 of 1 results - Next »

'Sepoy Harnam Singh, 34th Sikh Pioneers (Turkhan Sikh) fait au camp de Cercottes', 7 November 1914

Lithograph by and after Paul Sarrut (1882-1969), 1914.

One of 70 lithographs of sketches by Paul Sarrut, No 81 in a limited edition of 250 entitled 'British and Indian Troops in Northern France', published by H Delepine, Arras, 1920 (c).

Harnam Singh is recorded on the Neuve-Chapelle memorial, Pas-de-Calais. He was killed in action on 23rd November 1914, just 16 days after this portrait was made. This image became one of the most famous images of an individual Indian soldier in the First World War, being published in The Illustrated War News (17th February 1915), popular postcard form, and subsequently in this set of lithographs.

For the British public at the time, Harnam Singh came to be seen as a 'Tommy Atkins' figure, representative of all Indian soldiers. General Sir James Willcocks (1857-1926), who commanded the Indian Corps in France, wrote a poem about an archetypal Indian soldier entitled, 'A Poem for Harnam Singh'. Harnam Singh is also the most common Sikh name in the database of men killed in action, compiled by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission.

Camille Georges Paul Sarrut was born in Grenoble in May 1882. He was an artist and engraver who studied at the École des Beaux-Arts in Paris and exhibited at the Salon des Artistes Français from 1909, under the name Paul Sarrut. Having undertaken national service in 1903, he rejoined the French Army in 1914 as a corporal and served during the First World War (1914-1918). That same year he was posted to the British Army as a Military Liaison Officer and interpreter for the French, Indian and British troops on the Western Front. The National Army Museum holds a large collection of original sketches that Sarrut drew during the war, including the original sketch for this print.

NAM Accession Number

NAM. 1959-09-231-2


Copyright: The Estate of Paul Sarrut


National Army Museum, Study collection

Object URL