More than 100,000 Sikh veterans of World War II have been officially recognised by the city of Birmingham UK to mark the 60th anniversary of the end of the conflict.
The City of Birmingham has paid tribute to all the Sikhs involved in the 1939-45 war in a special commemoration organised by a Birmingham based charity.
The Sikh Community and Youth Service UK organised the event in Victoria Square, Central Birmingham to coincide with the 60th anniversary.
The ceremony was marked by a Beating Retreat and the Last Post performed by Her Majesty’s Band of the Scots Guards.
Veterans were able to share their wartime memories while those in attendance included leading figures, like Deputy Lord Lieutenant of West Midlands Dr Jagjit Singh Taunque MBE DL, Lord Tarsem Singh King, Magistrate Rashpal Singh (Director of Midlands Co-operative Society), Magistrate Satnam Singh Poonia (Sikh Parents Association), Director of Anglo Sikh Heritage Trail Harbinder Singh, Councillor Arjan Singh, Councillor Chaman Lal, Councillor Gurdial Singh Atwal, SRB6 Chairman Dr Sarinder Singh Sahota, Assistant Chief Constable of West Midlands Police Anil Patani, Major General A P Farquar (Army), Brigadier C J Murray (Army), Sergeant Major Makand Singh (Army), Lord Mayor of Birmingham Councillor John Hood, Leader of Birmingham City Council Councillor Mike Whitby, Amrik Singh Dhesi (Learning & Skills Council), Jatinder Singh Birdi (Gurdwara Babe Ke), Nirmal Singh Dhesi (British Organisation of Sikh Students), Chief Crown Prosecutor David Blundell (Crown Prosecution Service), Baljit Singh Sohi (Royal Air Force) and various other distinguished guests from the Army, Navy and Royal Air Force.
Sikh Community and Youth Service UK Chairman Dal Singh Dhesy said: “The Sikh contribution and involvement in the war is often overlooked. “This event will serve as an important and poignant reminder to today’s generation of the sacrifice our forefathers made while fighting for Britain. The contribution of over 100,000 Sikh Servicemen in World War 1 and 2 and the various other wars that the Sikh servicemen have served in should be covered in the National curriculum to ensure that the younger generations both Sikh and wider communities are aware of the sacrifices made by the Sikh people”
War veteran Balwant S Bahia, from Dudley, saw action with the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers at the battle of Imphal.
He was a member of the division commanded by General Slim which included the 11th Sikh Regiment.
Now aged 83, he said: “This special event will bring the contribution of Sikhs in the war effort to the fore with the wider community.”
SCYS UK is a ‘one stop’ advice, training and development centre which has been established for over 30 years and been providing specialist support to the local community. The project is presently funded to provide a number of key services linked to employment, housing, welfare and education.
Sikh Community & Youth Service (UK)
Open To All Communities
(Charity No. 518946)
348 Soho Road, Handsworth,
Birmingham B21 9QL, UK
Tel : 0044 (0)121-523-0147
Fax : 0044 (0)121-515-4880