The Lions of the Great War monument in Smethwick (Picture: PA).

Statue Commemorating South Asian Soldiers Vandalised

A war memorial featuring a statue of a Sikh soldier has been vandalised, less than a week after it was unveiled.

The Lions of the Great War monument in Smethwick (Picture: PA).

The Lions of the Great War monument in Smethwick (Picture: PA).

The Lions of the Great War statue in Smethwick, Birmingham, was erected to honour the many soldiers from the Indian Subcontinent who fought in the World War One and World War Two.

The 10ft-high bronze statue is the first of its kind in the UK and was unveiled on 4 November - a week before the centenary of the Armistice.

But by Friday night, the statue had been sprayed by with the words "Sepoys no more".

The memorial was commissioned by Sikh temple Guru Nanak Gurdwara Smethwick to mark the sacrifices made by South Asian servicemen of all faiths.

(Picture: West Midlands Police).
(Picture: West Midlands Police).

The term "sepoy" refers to Indian soldiers serving in the British or other European armies.

The words "of the Great War" from the statue's title had been sprayed with a black line, while the words "1 jarnoil" had been graffitied on to the memorial.

West Midlands Police believe the statue was targeted in the early hours of Friday and the incident is being treated as aggravated criminal damage.

The force said CCTV is being recovered and officers are working with worshippers and management at the temple.

Sergeant Bill Gill, from the Smethwick Neighbourhood Team, said: "We understand that this attack has caused a lot of concern in the community, and we are working to understand the reasons behind it and identify whoever is responsible.

"Officers had already planned to be at the remembrance event which is happening tomorrow at the statue.

"I'd urge anyone with concerns to speak to the officers attending the event."

Anyone with any information is urged to contact West Midlands Police or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.