13. Udham Singh Ji
Udham Singh was one of the great patriots of India, with a burning desire to
see his motherland free from the clutches of British colonialism and
imperialism. According to British records, he was born at Sunam Village,
Patiala State, on 23 August 1901, and was known at various stages in his
relatively short life by the following names : Sher Singh, Udham Singh,
Udban Singh, Ude Singh, Frank Brazil and Mohemed Singh Azad.
at the age of three, he was brought up in the Sikh or hanage attached to
Khalsa College, Amritsar. He was issued with a passport on 20 March 1933 in
Lahore in the name of Udham Singh. In a Metropolitan Police report, file
MEPO 311743, dated 16 March 1940 (3 days after Udham Singh had been charged
with the murderof SirMichael 01 Dwyer), we find information concerning his
life, which reveals him to be a highly active, well-travelled, politically
motivated, secularminded young man with some great purpose in his life, a
supporter of Bolshevism and driven by an ardent hatred of British rule in
India. This is how the report, runs :
SINGH served in the Army in Basra for a year and a half and in British East
Africa for two years. He, returned thereafter to India for a few. months and
then proceeded to London in the company of one PRITAM SINGH.The two sailed
for the United States via Mexico. He worked for two years in California and
for some months in Detroit and Chicago, whence he moved to East New York
where he lived for five years.
Thereafter he shipped for voyages in various
vessels of the US Shipping Line according to his own account as a Porto
Rican, because no Indians were allowed to be employed on US vessels. (He is
known to have held a seaman's certificate in the name of FRANK BRAZIL of
Porto Rico). From New York he made a trip to Europe, landing in France, and
thereafter visiting Belgium, Germany and going as far as Vilna in Lithuania,
returning via Hungary, Poland, Switzerland, Italy and France, embarking
there for, America.
After another few months in the USA, he took employment
on vessels plying to most of the Mediterranean ports
andthereafters'ecur edemployment6ntheS.S. Jalapaasacarpenter. He arrived in
this vessel at Karachi injury, 1927, and deserted from her in Calcutta.
While in America he appears to have come under the influence of Ghadr Party
[Party of Revolt] and to have been affected by its teaching. He used to read
seditious literature Published by this party. On 27 July 1927 he was fined
at Karachi for having in his possession a large number of obscene postcards.
On 30 August 1927 he was arrested at Amritsar as it was suspected that he
was in possession of unlicensed Arms.
Two revolvers, one pistol, a quantity
of ammunition and copies of the prohibited paper, Ghadr-i-Gunj [Voice of
Revolt], were recovered from him. He was prosecuted under section 20 of the
Arms Act and was sentenced to fii,e years rigorous imprisonment. He stated
that he had intended to murder Europeans who were ruling over Indians and
that he fully sympathised with the Bolsheviks. as their object was to
liberate India from foreign control. He was released from gaol on 23 October
He visited his village for a short time in 1933 and then proceeded to London
where in 1934 he Was known to be living at 9 Alder Street, Commercial Road.
On 5 July 1934, as Udham Singh, he applied in London for endorsements to his
passport no. 52753, issued in Lahore: he gave his address as 4, Best Lane,
Canterbury, Kent, and said he had a business as a sports outfitter in
India5, but that he had not worked since his arrival some nine months
previously. (There is, however,evidence to show that he had been pursuing
the calling of a peddler).
He announced that he wished to travel by
motor-cycle via Germany, Belgium and Poland to Russia, across Russia to
Odessa, where he would take ship for Constantinople en route for India. This
was considered rather strange, in view of the fact he had recently broken
his arm, but as he had not at that time been identified as an Indian of
extremist views no objections could be raised.
On 12 May 1936, he applied in London for endorsements for Holland, Germany,
Poland, Austria, Hungary and Italy, giving the address 4, Duke Street,
Spitalfields, E. The application was granted.
On 16 May 1936 he applied in Berlin for further endorsements including the
Eastern European countries and the USSR. In view of the fact that he had not
asked for these at the time of his application in London four days earlier,
he was informed that his case would have to be referred to London, where
upon he withdrew his application.
On 25 June 1936 he was reported as arriving in London from Leningrad, and in
the following November it was reported that he was living with a white woman
in the West End of London and was working at intervals on crowd scenes at
film studios. On several occasions he is reported to have expressed extreme
views and he is known to have boasted that he had smuggled arms into India.
In August,1938, UDHAM SINGH was charged in London with demanding money with
menaces. The Jury disagreed at the first trial and he was acquitted at the
He has not come under notice at meetings organised by Indian extremist
movements in London.
On National Registration day he registered in the name of AZAD Singh, under
Serial No. EACK / 305 / 7, giving his occupation as carpenter, and stating
that he was born on 23 October 1905. His address was given as : 581 Wimbome
A further record of antecedents was supplied by the prisoner to Detective
Sergeant Lisney and this is also attached.
It appears his last employment terminated on 7th November, 1939,
sincewhenhehas beenreceiving 17/-perweekunemployment benefit in the name of