Birmingham & Black Country

Sikh soldier statue in Smethwick honours WW1 dead

The statue
Image caption The gurdwara that commissioned the piece said it made them 'proud to be Sikh and proud to be British'

A 10ft (3m) statue of a Sikh soldier has been unveiled in a town centre to commemorate 100 years since the end of World War One (WW1).

The bronze work in Smethwick honours service personnel of all faiths from the Indian subcontinent who fought for Britain during WW1 and other conflicts.

The unveiling of The Lions of the Great War earlier was marked with a parade.

Guru Nanak Gurdwara, which commissioned the statue, said it made them "proud to be Sikh and proud to be British".

The gurdwara's president, Jatinder Singh, said: "We are so proud to be unveiling this memorial to honour the sacrifice of all those brave men who travelled thousands of miles to fight for a country that wasn't their own."

Image copyright Sandwell Council
Image caption The statue will sit between High Street and Tollhouse Way in Smethwick

Guru Nanak Gurdwara in Smethwick commissioned the £30,000 work by Black Country sculptor Luke Perry, which has been paid for by the local Sikh community.

Mr Perry said: "Great Britain owes much of its greatness to people whose history started in another land."

Image caption Smethwick's Sikh community awaits the unveiling

Preet Kaur Gill, MP for the nearby Birmingham constituency of Edgbaston, is chairwoman of the All Party Parliamentary Group for British Sikhs.

"Despite being small in number in British India, Sikhs played an important part in the War, making up more than a fifth of the British Indian Army," she said.

"This statue will serve as a reminder to those Sikh soldiers who sacrificed their lives in defence of democracy and in the fight for freedom."

Image copyright Sandwell Council
Image caption Sandwell Council leader Steve Eling said: "Many people from the Indian subcontinent have made Smethwick their home"

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