Steve Purewal (left)  discusses his exhibit about the British Indian Army with Mayor Akbal Mund. The exhibit is at Kal Tire Place as part of the Okanagan Military Tattoo.

Steve Purewal (left) discusses his exhibit about the British Indian Army with Mayor Akbal Mund. The exhibit is at Kal Tire Place as part of the Okanagan Military Tattoo.

Military tattoo ready to shine

The second annual Okanagan Military Tattoo unfolds at Kal Tire Place Saturday and Sunday.

Pageantry and history will come alive.

The second annual Okanagan Military Tattoo unfolds at Kal Tire Place Saturday and Sunday.

“Everything is looking good,” said Norm Crerar, Okanagan Military Tattoo president, as he and an army of volunteers launched set-up Wednesday morning.

Crerar is anticipating large crowds for the shows at 7 p.m. Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday.

“This is a marching, music, singing extravaganza. There is something for everyone,” he said.

Those visiting Kal Tire Place, can also check out Duty Honour Izzat: The Call to Flanders Fields, which tells the story of the British Indian Army in the First World War.

“It’s something most people are unaware of,” said Steve Purewell, a Lower Mainland resident who is curator of the exhibit.

“The principle photo is of King George with a turban on. That’s why they (Indians) went to war — for the crown. When John McCrae was writing In Flanders Field, Punjabis were in that sector.”

The graves of 10,000 Indian soldiers are in the cemeteries across western Europe.

“More Indians died than from any other Commonwealth country in the First World War,” said Purewall.

“They were standing side by side with Canadians.”

Purewall was inspired to put the exhibit together after one of his children learned about the war and In Flanders Field and there was no mention of Indian soldiers.

“I thought, ‘We can’t have that in a diverse country.’ It’s about our shared values.”

The exhibit is at Kal Tire Place during the tattoo and then will be at the Kelowna Museum in August.

“I enjoy learning about history,” said Akbal Mund, Vernon mayor, who says some of his ancestors may have fought in the Indian army.

“It (war) was a collaboration between many countries that helped forge the world towards where we are today.”

As part of the Okanagan Military Tattoo, Lord Strathcona’s Horse Musical Ride will be at the Armstrong fairgrounds Friday at 7 p.m.

For more information, go to www.okanagantattoo.ca.