That’s the way it’s always been for me – perhaps a fitting quality for a journalist.
It was curiosity that led me to enquire about a Royal Navy ship called HMS Sikh that served during the 2nd World War.
That made me take time out from busy work days to travel to the British Library and National Archives to dig into it’s history.
The result of a year’s research, writing and reading is a new booklet I’m printing later this year.
HMS Sikh 1939-42 is a short research paper about the Destroyer and will be available for a modest fee on Amazon.co.uk
While the work I’ve put into this has been somewhat removed from my main research interests of the Great War period; I’ve learnt lots of new skills from the process.
My curiosity certainly got the better of me!
I’ll put a direct link to the sale page here when it’s ready.
So it’s 6 months since I last blogged, but lot’s has happened since then.
For one, we’ve launched an Arts Council Exhibition based on my “TURBANOLOGY” documentary from 2009. This exciting touring project has had lots of media and is wooing crowds with colourful Turban-art. You can find out more via:
FACEBOOK – www.facebook.com/turbanology.sikhs.unwrapped.exhibition
WEB – www.turbanology.info
TWITTER – TurbanologyTour
Secondly, the “S@W” project is continuing and I’ve been putting lots of research into a series of titles that’ll be self-published in the forthcoming few months.
While lots of work has been done by Anglo-Sikh related groups, there is still a general lack of good research productions. So our research into Sikhs/Indians during WW1 and 2 will be released – it’ll hopefully help those who want to delve into the subject matter as well as serious academics and historians.
We begin with a research book about HMS SIKH (1939-42) … more details soon…
The HMS SIKH was a Tribal Class destroyer of the Royal Navy.
It was the third ship to carry the SIKH name – the first being a small torpedo boat in 1892, and the second an S-Class destroyer from 1918 – 1926.
What was so special about this ship was that it was inspired by the Sikh – despite their being no Sikhs serving on it! A decision born from the Admiralty’s desire to name a Tribal class of warships after various martial races within the British Empire.
The crew compliment of 190 would not have included any Sikhs themselves. The ship had its home port in the UK and so personnel who served on board would have been British. The casualty pack from the sinking of the HMS Sikh in 1942 also shows that no Sikh ‘Singh’s served on board.
Images showing Sikhs in Naval uniform on ships purporting to be the HMS Sikh are therefore wrong – they’re more likely to be ships from the Royal Indian Navy which fell under the Admiralty’s auspices until 1945 and did have recruitement of Sikhs.
Besides this, the Sikh ethos would have been apparent to the crew – the ship moto was ‘Sicut Leonis’ or ‘be like lions’ which would have been engrained into the mindset of her crew. And her badge bore a gold lion representing a Sikh with a silver Sikh quoit behind it.
The Sikh had 8 Battle Honours, which included action against the infamous German battleship the Bismarck – it helped in the hunt for it in 1941.
Sadly, the Sikh sunk in 1942 at Tobruk.
The story of this ship will be told by Dot Hyphen Productions who will release a short film about it on www.sikhsatwar.info as well as a research publication in 2011.
We are currently finishing our research into the HMS Sikh 1939 – 42, if you have any memories of it or pictures please comment below.