Category Archive: british india

  1. Remembrance at the WW1 Sikh Memorial

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    On Sunday 5th November 2017, we were joined by Lichfield MP Michael Fabricant to mark Remembrance at the WW1 Sikh Memorial at the National Memorial Arboretum.

    The event is a regular event, held on the first Sunday of November and before the national Remembrance Day.

  2. Comrades of WW1

    We get a lot of questions and messages on Twitter via @SikhsAtWar

    One such person is Marika Pirie from Canada, who shared with us this rare postcard showing a British and Indian soldier.

    The individual on the right is a Sikh, the beard and turban certainly show this to be the case.  But the chakkar on the turban seems more crescent shaped that circular – highly likely a mistake on the part of the artist.

    If you have any images you’d like to share with us on this blog – please do so via dothyphen1

  3. New “Sikhs At War” Logo

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    We tasked our favourite artist Jag Lall to create a new logo for the “Sikhs At War” project.

    We went through a long procedure to iron out the best motif – debating what we wanted to depict in order to show the shared British-Sikh history and inspire others to feel proud about their connection and service during the Great War.

    Below are some of the design concepts Jag came up with, which we creatively discussed:

    The common theme was the chakkar / silver circle.  This denotes the oneness with God that Sikhs believe in – reflected within the kara or iron bracelet that forms one of the 5 K’s which all Sikhs wear.

    The Sikh soldier too is represented – in memory of the countless tens of thousands who fought for freedom and against tyranny in every arena of the Great War.  The soldiers turban is large, this was the only defence Sikhs had in war and they’d often find bullets within them!  The beard appears trimmed but isn’t – Sikhs did not cut their hair even in combat; but the beard was kept tied up to stop it jamming in the rifle.

    We debated about whether to keep the Union Jack flag and Nishaan Sahib – but in our final choice we were won over by simplicity as we didn’t feel the need to make this extroversial gesture.

    Our final choice for our logo is the final one above – image 6.

    We feel this pays tribute to the memory of Sikhs during the Great War – please do comment and add your thoughts.

  4. Sikh Order of Battle

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    One of the key elements of “Sikhs At War” research has been to understand how the Sikh regiments were organised during the Great War.

    This is important for a number of reasons.

    Firstly, because it acknowledges the number of Sikhs that served.  Not just in the double-company and squadron system each regiment had – but also the overall number that were deployed.

    Up to 126,000 Sikhs served from 1914 – 1918 in all 7 major arena’s of the war.

    Secondly, it enables us to see where the regiments were deployed by virtue of the Brigades and Divisions that were sent.

    Sikhs didn’t just go to France, but many many more went to Mesopotamia – as well as East Africa, Gallipoli, Palestine, Suez and the North West Frontier to defend India.

    I’m pleased therefore that with our recent Kickstarter funding campaign we’ve been able to put into a short film format our research into the Order of Battle of Sikh Units in 1914.

    We’ll be releasing the full video shortly – but here’s a teaser.

    Many thanks to our designer Richard Stott for his valiant efforts creating this video map.