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John James Lawrence (Ahmar Singh)

Ahmar Singh, was a man of mysteries. When interviewed in 1948, he claimed to be of Nepalese birth, 114 years old and a veteran of 18 wars between 1845 and 1918. He wore two Distinguished Service Orders, together with several rows of service ribbons. Well known in Melbourne as a soothsayer and weather prophet, he accurately predicted the appearance of a comet, sunspots and a hurricane.

His service history from the First World War tells a differing story. He enlisted under the name John James Lawrence, while living in Kaniva, Victoria in 1915. He claimed to be 34 years of age, to have served seven years in the United States Navy, and to have been born in Cornwall, England. Civil records reveal he was born in Delamana, India, and worked as a merchant seaman.

Singh served in Egypt and England, as a Sergeant with the 8th Infantry Training Battalion. He was invalided back to Australia suffering from defective vision in 1917.   

Reproduced courtesy of Truth (Brisbane, QLD) 

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