Category Archive: first world war

  1. WW1 Sikh Memorial Wins Prestigious Award

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    WW1 Sikh Memorial Wins Prestigious Award


    Britain’s first and only memorial to Sikh service during the First World War today won a prestigious award in London.

    The “Remember WW” awards recognised the monument at a special ceremony at the Army and Navy Club in Pall Mall, where it won the category prize for “Remembering the Fallen: War Memorials, Graves and Gardens.”

    The judging panel of Rt Rev & Rt Hon Richard Chartres (Bishop of London) and Andrew Murrison MP (Prime Ministers Special Representative for the Centenary Commemorations of the Great War) praised the project.

    The monuments creator and Chairman Jay Singh-Sohal said: “It’s an honour and privilege to be recognised in this way because the WW1 Sikh Memorial is so special. It’s in remembrance of our forebears who left their homes in the Punjab to travel far and fight in distant lands that we felt we needed to leave a lasting tribute in their name for future generations to recognise their heroism and sacrifice.

    “We achieved our goal by being innovative and creative, thinking big and being bold in fundraising, engaging with different community groups and leading from the front in our efforts to leave a legacy of remembrance. The result is that we’re inspiring many people to find out how and why Sikhs served and also encouraging them to undertake public service too.

    The “WW1 Sikh Memorial” was unveiled on 1st November 2015 at a lavish ceremony by senior military figures and leaders within the British Sikh community at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire.

    The organisation behind the monument is now working to ensure lasting co-operation and support for Her Majesty’s Armed Forces amongst the community by encouraging Sikh groups to sign up to the Community Covenant, a statement of mutual support between a civilian community and its local armed forces community.

  2. Memorial Event Speeches

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    Jib Footage.00_09_28_08.Still003

    It’s been 6 weeks since the WW1 Sikh Memorial was unveiled – but the hard work isn’t over yet!

    Since then we have been distributing donor packs to all those who contributed to the project but were unable to attend.

    We have also been sending copies of our special Sikh Chronicles publication to the great and good, as well as putting into libraries and museums all over the country.

    If you would like one for your organisation, do contact us directly.

    BUT the main work which we have been undertaking is to make the event available to all those who were unable to attend.

    If you click on these images below, you will find speeches from the launch from Bhai Sahib Dr Mohinder Singh Ahluwalia, Peter Singh Virdee, Major General Patrick Sanders and of course J. Singh-Sohal.

    NMA 1115-1Peter Singh VirdeeNMA 1115-3DSC_0549





  3. Faith and War: Sikhs in World War One

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    Here’s a presentation I gave ahead of the first screening of “Indians in the Trenches” at Goldman Sachs, London on 28th May 2014.

    In this part, I narrate briefly the Sikh contribution during World War One and why it was so significant.

    The trailer is also below – and the film will be released this August.

    ** If you’d like to host such a presentation contact us via dothyphen1 AT gmail DOT com **

  4. BBC World War One At Home

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    The BBC’s series “World War One At Home” has a special episode on “Sikhs In The Trenches.

    You can listen to it via this link here or the image below.

    A special programme on  “The Empire’s Army” will be broadcast on BBC Coventry and Warwickshire on Monday 2nd June at 8.15am and a longer more in depth edition at 11.30am the same day.

  5. Sikhs in the Canadian Expeditionary Force

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    Fellow researcher Marika Pirie (mentioned below) alerted me to this fantastic Library and Archive of Canada website where you can search for those who fought in WW1.

    Over 600,000 men and women enlisted in the Canadian Expeditionary Force – and this surprisingly included some Sikhs!

    Searching for the surname “Singh” I’ve come across 9 – of course not all “Singhs” were Sikh, as it was a surname also used by some Rajput Hindus.  The names are listed below, please do contact me if you know or have any to these soldiers.

    Marika alerted me to one particular soldier:

    Born in Punjab in January 1883, Waryam Singh was a labourer who joined the 38th Battalion of the Canadian Overseas Expeditionary Force in Ottawa in May 1915. 

    Being in his 30’s, what he did to get to Canada would be interesting to find out!

    While the first two pages of the Attestation soldiers undertook is now online, more details will be released on the site later this year about each soldier.  It’ll be interesting to find out more about Waryam Singh.

    Update:  click here for an interesting article about another Canadian Sikh who served.