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Sikhs in World War I


As the centenary anniversary of the outbreak of World War I approaches, UKPHA is working towards creating a major project beginning in 2014 to commemorate the contribution of Sikh soldiers in the Allied war effort.


Pinning a flower on the saviours of France Paris 14 July 1916

We will remember them

There’s probably not a single Sikh in the UK who doesn’t have a military connection in their family history. And it is often because of those links to the armies of the Raj that many Sikhs now reside in the UK.

And yet the role of Sikhs in World War I (WWI) is a largely unknown aspect of the Allied war effort and, indeed, of the British story.

UKPHA has embarked on an ambitious and wide-ranging project ‘Empire, Faith & War: Sikhs in World War I’ to reveal these men’s untold stories. It will shed much needed light on both their sacrifices and the contribution of all the non-white Allied forces of the British Empire, a hundred years on.

Our project will also highlight the stories of the families they left behind, as well as the connections to Sikhs living in the UK today.

UKPHA has joined the Imperial War Museum’s First World War Centenary Project, a network of over 500 local, regional, national and international cultural and educational organisations. Together, they will present a vibrant global programme of cultural events and activities aimed at connecting current and future generations with the lives, stories and impact of the First World War.

Get Involved!

You can take part in a number of exciting ways:

Be a citizen historian

We will be offering the public the chance to develop their skills as ‘citizen historians’ and undertake their own guided research to discover theirs or others’ family military histories – often uncovering unknown stories for the first time.

Delving into museums archives, military records and private collections, you will be able to explore how one of the subcontinent’s smallest minorities played such a disproportionately large role in the Great War.

Shape history, inspire others

Help us create and shape a major exhibition, documentary film, the online database of stories, commemorative book and more. There will also be opportunities to help at outreach events, or receive training as an exhibition guide.

Open to all

A key aspect of the project will be the involvement of younger people and people from all backgrounds, Sikh and non-Sikh alike.

We will be calling out to schools, voluntary organisations and community groups both from the Sikh and the wider community to join us in creating new ways for current and future generations to connect with stories and the impact of the War.

Support Us – help us remember our fallen heroes

Help us raise £50k

The Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) has awarded us initial support to develop our project. However this is only the start. To secure the next stage of HLF funds we need to pass various requirements, one of which is to secure match funding.

We want to ensure that the benefits to the community live on beyond the period of the project and require community support to make this happen.

We therefore need your help to secure £50,000 to deliver this once-in-a-lifetime major project and recognise the role of our fallen heroes and their families.

Can you help? Any donation large or small can be made using JustGiving. All funds will go directly to helping make this project happen and all funds are audited by HLF.

Donate with JustGiving


Press release & Media

For further information on the announcement of the project see our press releases here:

  1. Sikh World War One project receives development funding (22 January 2013)
  2. Major grant awarded to UK heritage group to tell story of Sikhs in the Great War (22 October 2013)

Contact: Harbakhsh Grewal: 07817 092 826 or harbakhsh@ukpha.org

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