Named ‘The Lions of the Great War’, the monument honours the sacrifices made by South Asian service personnel who fought for Britain.
A statue of a Sikh soldier from the First World War was unveiled on Sunday in the West Midlands town of Smethwick. (Picture: Sandwell Council)
The bronze statue of a Sikh soldier, named ‘The Lions of the Great War’, stands 10ft tall in Smethwick, Sandwell.
It was unveiled in a public square outside the Guru Nanak Gurdwara, the largest Sikh temple in Europe.
The statue acknowledges South Asian service personnel of all faiths who fought for Britain in the world wars and subsequent conflicts.
The unveiling just off Smethwick High Street was performed by the Deputy Lord Lieutenant of the West Midlands Major (Retired) Sylvia Parkin, the Mayor of Sandwell Councillor Joy Edis, President of the Gurdwara Mr Jatinder Singh and Sandwell Council Leader Councillor Steve Eling.
Brigadier Richard Carter, Commander of Donnington, Telford, based 11th Signal and West Midlands Brigade gave a keynote speech at a VIP lunch afterwards and said:
"The statue represents the ultimate sacrifice that Sikhs have made protecting the unprotected and fighting those who would do us harm.
"It also represents the close bonds between the Sikh community and the Armed Forces, forged through a shared history of well over a hundred years and the everlasting shared values of service and courage."
Reflecting on his role in the creation of the monument, sculptor Luke Perry said:
“The importance of this monument both locally and nationally is huge.
"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.