Lions of the Great War sculpture

First Look: 'Lions Of The Great War' Tribute

A 10ft-high monument will honour the WWI contribution of Sikh soldiers.

Lions of the Great War sculpture

The statue will also commemorate sacrifices made in conflict by service personnel of all faiths from the Indian subcontinent. (Picture: Sandwell Council).

A bronze statue honouring the "unmeasurable" contribution of Sikh soldiers during the First World War has been commissioned to mark the centenary of the end of the conflict.

The 10 foot-high monument in Smethwick, West Midlands, depicting a Sikh serviceman carrying a rifle, will pay tribute to the thousands of troops from India who fought and died for Britain between 1914 and 1918.

Smethwick's Guru Nanak Gurdwara has appointed Black Country-based sculptor Luke Perry to create the Lions of the Great War statue.

As well as honouring Sikh soldiers' role in the First World War, the statue will commemorate the sacrifice made by service personnel of all faiths from the Indian subcontinent in both world wars and subsequent conflicts.

Mr Perry said: "I am incredibly proud to be working on a sculpture that is, at its heart, a statement of gratitude for the actions of a people who gave their lives for our independence when they had not yet achieved their own.

"It will be a striking and permanent marker of the richness of our community.

"Those who have been under-celebrated are finally getting the recognition they deserve."

Lions of the Great War sculptor Luke Perry
Sculptor Luke Perry says he is "incredibly proud" to be working on the monument. (Picture: Sandwell Council).

The sculptor's previous works include an acclaimed statue in Stockport honouring Royal Marine James Conway, who was killed during a commando raid on occupied France in 1942.

The Lions of the Great War statue will be sited between High Street and Tollhouse Way in Smethwick, where there are plans to create a paved public space with seating and lighting.

The statue will stand on a 6ft granite plinth with inscriptions naming the regiments in which South Asian soldiers served.

Guru Nanak Gurdwara Smethwick is covering the cost of designing and building the tribute.

Its president, Jatinder Singh, said:

"These men volunteered to serve and fought to defend the freedoms we enjoy today.

"The memorial will ensure that this part is never forgotten."