Pictures have been unveiled of a new permanent memorial in honor of the Indian Sikh soldiers who fought during World War One. The “WW1 Sikh Memorial” will take the form of a statue at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire, and it will commemorate around 130,000 Sikh soldiers who fought in the Great War. A […]
Pictures have been unveiled of a new permanent memorial in honor of the Indian Sikh soldiers who fought during World War One. The “WW1 Sikh Memorial” will take the form of a statue at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire, and it will commemorate around 130,000 Sikh soldiers who fought in the Great War.
A national campaign for the permanent memorial began back in August. Work is now well underway for the statue, and it is due to be unveiled in a special ceremony at the Arboretum in March next year.
Despite only making up 1% of the Indian population at the time, the Sikh contribution to the war efforts is recognized as remarkable. They constituted 20% of the British and Indian Army and were represented in more than a third of regiments at the time.
The project is being managed by the “Sikhs At War” team as part of its legacy efforts to create British-Sikh heritage initiatives. They say it is to ensure the Sikh sacrifice is never forgotten. The Midlands itself is home to many multi-generation British-Sikh families, many of whom will have an ancestral connection to the WW1 soldiers being honored in Staffordshire.
“The memorial has had a phenomenal amount of support from Sikhs and non-Sikhs alike – and with just weeks to go until we reveal the final statue we’re busy ensuring there is a lasting legacy which will inspire and educate future generations about this heroic war contribution.”
“This is a fitting memorial to our forefathers and will no doubt inspire those Indians serving now and into the future. Whether you are a soldier or a civilian we should all be grateful for the sacrifices made by such a small distinct group such as the Sikhs – and be encouraged that their contribution has made it easier for successive generations in Britain to integrate and be key players in society.”
The memorial’s sculptor is Mark Bibby, who’s from Stamford in Lincolnshire. His grandfather served alongside Indian soldiers during World War 2. He says he’s excited to have been commissioned to make this memorial in recognition of the soldiers.
“I am proud to be able to support a memorial commemorating the Sikh soldiers who fought in the Great War. The valor and courage of Sikh soldiers is something that was quite rightly commended by British Generals – as a nation we should recognize this by building a lasting tribute to the sacrifice of these often forgotten heroes”.
“This is a fantastic initiative to recognize the service, suffering and sacrifice of Sikh soldiers in the First World War. Set in 150 acres, we are home to over 300 memorials to a wide range of conflicts, groups and individuals, with many more in the pipeline. This particular sculpture will highlight and provide a lasting tribute to the 130,000 Sikh soldiers who served between 1914 and 1918, and it will become an important focal point during the period of centenary commemorations.”
The Sikh sacrifices can never be forgotten! And the World shall remember them as Great Warriors!
~ Source: itv.com