The Maharaja Of Patiala And The Lepanto Window WW1

The Maharaja of Patiala and the Lepanto Window WW1

 Left: Jaswant Singh Aide de Camp to the Maharajah of Patiala, India. Photo taken in Australia. Right: Maharaja of Patiala, India in Belguim with his Aide de Camp in the centre background. Photo Courtesy of the Belgian Army Museum.


Left: Jaswant Singh Aide de Camp to the Maharajah of Patiala, India. Photo taken in Australia.
Right: Maharaja of Patiala, India in Belguim with his Aide de Camp in the centre background. Photo Courtesy of the Belgian Army Museum.

AUSTRALIA REMEMBERS CAPTAIN JASWANT SINGH ON ANZAC DAY

© Len Kenna and Crystal Jordan 25.04.2014

In August 1914 Prince, Captain Jaswant Singh the aide-de-camp to His Highness the Maharajah Bhupinder Singh of Patiala, Punjab, India, was in Australia purchasing “Walers,” horses for the Maharajah’s 30,000 strong, army.  The Captain was a champion polo player and gave demonstrations of his polo skills at various functions.

While the Captain was visiting Melbourne, Victoria, Father George A. Robinson was building Our Lady of Victories Catholic Church in Burke Road, Camberwell and had placed an advertisement in various newspapers asking for donations to pay for the construction of a stained glass window, which when completed would depict the Battle of Lepanto, 7 October 1571, in which the fleet of the Holy League a coalition of southern European Catholic Maritime States, defeated the main fleet of the Ottoman (Turkish) Empire.  The Ottoman Empire lost 30,000 men in the battle.

Captain Jaswant Singh, hearing of this appeal handed a cheque to Father Robinson in October not long after World War One had begun, for £600 which covered the full cost of constructing the window.  This magnificent window was installed in the Church sometime after it opened in 1918.  The church was opened in front of a congregation of 40,000 people.

His Highness the Maharajah of Patiala was the first in India to offer his troops to England to defend the British Empire, they fought in France, Belgium, Italy and Palestine.

Captain Jaswant Singh survived the war and he became famous at Polo.  He was reported playing polo for the Patiala Tigers in Calcutta in 1929.

When His Highness the Maharajah Bhupinder Singh of Patiala offered his 30,000 troops in defence of the Empire he was appointed to the General Staff as an Honorary Lieutenant-Colonel, and was promoted Honorary Major-General in 1918 and Honorary Lieutenant-General in 1931.

A Selection of Bibliography used:

1. Photo: Maharaja Bhupinder Singh of Patiala with Belgian Generals in April 1915.
Photo: Courtesy Belgian Army Museum.
2. “Exhibition of Polo.” Winner Melbourne Vic. 21 Oct 1914, p.4.
3. “Indian Prince’s Loyalty.” The Evening Star, Boulder, WA, 23 Oct. 1914, p.
4. “Personal” Warrnambool Standard, Vic, 29 Sep. 1914, p. 5.
5. “Our Lady of Victories. A Magnificent Contribution.” Freeman’s Journal, Sydney, NSW, 1 Oct. 1914, p. 24.
5. “Our Lady of Victories. A Truly Grand and Great Gift. Tribune, Mebourne, vic, 3 Oct 1914, p. 5.
6. A History of Warfare, Keegan, John, Vintage, 1993.
7. Thank you to Father Cronan.

 

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Lepanto Window, Our Lady of Victories Basilica, Camberwell, Victoria. Photo: Crystal Jordan

Lepanto Window, Our Lady of Victories Basilica, Camberwell, Victoria. Photo: Crystal Jordan