Sikh National War Memorial campaign backed by Redbridge Council leader and Ilford North MP
PUBLISHED: 12:00 07 February 2018 | UPDATED: 12:43 07 February 2018
A campaign to create a national memorial in London for Sikh soldiers who fought during the two world wars has won the support of a Redbridge council leader and an MP.
Cllr Jas Athwal and Ilford North MP Wes Streeting attended a Sikh National War Memorial Trust event at the House of Commons on Wednesday, January 31.
The trust aims to erect a permanent war memorial to Sikh servicemen in a prime central London location.
Cllr Athwal spoke to the Recorder about the strategic importance of Sikh servicemen in British war efforts.
In 1914, in the first battle of Ypres, the Sikhs arrived in the “nick of time” to save British Expeditionary Forces and prevent an early German victory.
A year later, in the battle of Neuve Chapelle, more than 4,600 Indian soldiers gave their lives fighting the German “war machine.”
He said: “They fought together, fell together, died together, are buried and now will hopefully be memorialised together.”
The event was hosted by Slough MP Tan Dhesi who became the first turbaned Sikh to be elected into Parliament in the 2017 general election.
More than 29,000 people have signed a petition launched by Mr Desi on Change.Org.
Also in attendance were House of Commons speaker John Bercow, Mayor of London Sadiq Khan and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.
The total number of turban wearing Sikhs to have given their lives fighting for Britain is estimated to be 80,000.
Posting on Facebook in support of the event, Mr Streeting said: “For all my Sikh readers: Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa, Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh.”
So far, £375,000 has been pledged to create a memorial from several donors.
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