Prof. Peter Virdee unveiled the first WW1 Sikh Memorial in the UK at the National Memorial Arboretum in Staffordshire, alongside Major General Patrick Saunders CBE DSO and the monument’s chairman, Jay Singh-Sohal.
The monument was created to honour the bravery and sacrifice of the 126,245 Sikhs who fought in the Great War. The Sikhs were just 1% of the Indian population at the time but they accounted for 20% of the British Indian Army.
The ceremony fused Sikh religious traditions with British military custom. Speeches were followed by a military parade leading the congregation to the monument. An ardass prayer was offered followed by the traditional Sikh war cry after which attendees observed a one-minute silence.
Prof. Peter Virdee, as Chairman of the Virdee Foundation, patrons of the memorial, praised Jay Singh-Sohal and his team for what they had achieved for the Sikh nation though their selfless work to preserve and maintain the Sikh history. He quoted the proverb “Until lions write their own history the tale of the hunt will always glorify the hunter.”