Derby, National Sikh Heritage Centre

Many Sikh soldiers served with distinction in the British Indian Army during the First World War. Altogether, almost 1 million Indian soldiers took part in the War and, despite making up only 2% of the Indian population, Sikh soldiers amounted to 20% of the men who fought. The National Sikh Heritage Centre, supported by the Derbyshire Lives Through the First World War Project, received funding of £10,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund to trace their important contribution.

The National Sikh Heritage Centre and Holocaust Museum in Derby– the only one of its kind in the world – displayed the resulting exhibition which included artefacts such as a soldiers uniform and military memorabilia, letters and images.

The Rt Hon Theresa May, MP, formally opened the exhibition, unveiling two statues of Sikh soldiers and two plaques, one in English and the other in Punjabi.

She said that she was honoured to be asked to perform the ceremony and mentioned the Sikh reputation for bravery saying that the Sikh soldiers “Showed great valour and sacrifice to give us the freedoms we enjoy today.”