Rajinder Singh Dhatt is one of the very few surviving Sikh soldiers who saw action during the Second World War.
These two images were photographed 74 years apart:
(Left) Pictured in 1941 in Punjab. Rajinder Singh Dhatt joined the Indian Army in February 1941 as a sepoy (private). He served as a Physical Training Instructor (1942-43) and Army Store Keeper (1943-49). This included a period on the Kohima Front in Burma during 1944.
(Right) Pictured in 2015 by Raj Gedhu, London, during a workshop organised by the National Army Museum and UKPHA. Raj was taken aback by the experience:
'I have heard many stories about the soldiers, the battles they fought in and the courage they displayed day in and day out during the conflict. I have seen their faces in photographs, heard their voices in audio recordings, seen their movement in films, held their weapons and medals, read their letters and seen their uniforms still drenched with their blood.
But the one thing missing from all of the above is a real, living person who was alive at the time and there, where it mattered, and who can tell me stories and answer my questions, first-hand, because everyone who fought in the Great War is now long gone.
So you can imagine my excitement when I heard that a Sikh veteran from World War Two was giving a talk about his experiences during the conflict that defined his own generation!
I teamed up with UKPHA and the National Army Museum to tell the story of the day that Havildar-Major Rajinder Singh Dhatt was guest of honour at an Object Re-interpretation Workshop run by the museum.
I can't begin to explain how different an experience it is to have a real, living person sat in front of me, telling stories and answering questions. As he began his tales, I found myself automatically sitting down cross-legged in front of him on the floor, like an eager eight-year-old about to be told some ancient myths and legends! He even showed us how to use a Sten Gun.
I photographed him and the NAM videoed and recorded audio throughout the day. It's a small effort on all our parts to remember this elderly gentleman and the contribution he made to the conflict he served in. And, through his animated stories we are also remembering his colleagues around the world who are no longer with us.