A woman pins flowers to a soldier's tunic during a march past (Photo © IWM Q 70214)

UK Government backs new memorial to Sikh troops

Posted on centenarynews.com on 31 January 2018
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Plans for a national memorial in London to honour Sikhs who fought for Britain in both world wars have won support from the UK government.

Funding will be provided for the project at a site yet to be identified in the capital.

Communities Secretary Sajid Javid has announced the decision  as part of the final year of First World War Centenary commemorations.

"The part played by Sikh servicemen really stands out – a contribution that’s all the more remarkable when you consider that these brave men travelled thousands of miles to fight for a country that wasn’t their own, " Mr Javid said.

"We are indebted to all those servicemen who volunteered to serve and fought to defend the freedoms we enjoy today.

"That’s why a Sikh war memorial in our nation’s capital will honour their sacrifice and ensure that this part of our shared history is never forgotten. So I’m delighted to get behind this campaign and ensure its success."

During the Great War, more than a million troops and other personnel from all communities in undivided India were deployed overseas as part of the British Empire's forces, serving on the Western Front, in the Middle East, Africa and Gallipoli.  

Sikhs accounted for more than 20 per cent of the colonial Indian Army's manpower - despite making up only two per cent of the population.

An online petition - started in December by the Labour Member of Parliament for Slough, Tanmanjeet Singh Dhesi - has attracted more than 27,000 signatures in support of the call for a prime Central London location to be found for a National Sikh War Memorial. 

A working group will be set up to identify possible sites.

Tan Dhesi's campaign has won support across the political divide, with leading figures from the main UK parties attending this week's launch event at the Houses of Parliament.

 Follow the National Sikh War Memorial Trust on Twitter @SikhWarMemorial.

Source: UK Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government

Images courtesy of Imperial War Museums © IWM (Q 70214)

Posted by: CN Editorial Team