This week #madeinsandwell Monday celebrates the Lions of the Great War – a statue to honour the sacrifices made by South Asian service personnel. Commissioned by Guru Nanak Gurdwara Smethwick, the statue commemorates people of all faiths from the Indian subcontinent who fought for Britain in the First World War and subsequent conflicts.
Working closely with the Gurdwara, the Lions of The Great War statue was created by Luke Perry, a Cradley Heath artist who has a history of working with Black Country heritage. The ten foot tall, bronze figure was unveiled on Smethwick High Street at a moving ceremony on 4th November, following a minute’s silence. You can watch a video of the unveiling on the Gurdwara’s Facebook page.
Sandwell Council has also been working with the Gurdwara to create a paved public space around the statue, with seating and lighting as well as an adjoining green space.
President of Guru Nanak Gurdwara Smethwick Jatinder Singh said: “We are very proud to be bringing this memorial to Smethwick High Street to honour the sacrifice of all those brave men who travelled thousands of miles to fight for a country that wasn’t their own.”
Leader of Sandwell Council Councillor Steve Eling also commented: “It’s so important we remember the sacrifices made by people for our country.”
Response to the statue has been overwhelmingly positive. Comments on social media include: “A beautiful bronze statue of a World War I Sikh warrior, depicting the distinct identity, valour and bravery of the Sikhs” (Malkit Singh Tehang) and “Whenever anyone comes to Smethwick High Street, they’ll be greeted by #LionsOfTheGreatWar – a reminder to us all of their unforgettable and selfless sacrifices for country and queen.” (Manjit Kang)
To find out more about the statue and its creation, visit the Lions of the Great War Facebook page. Go to www.sandwell.gov.uk/firstworldwar100 for information on the many ways Sandwell has been commemorating the end of the First World War.
#madeinsandwell Monday is a celebration of the talent and diversity within our borough. If you’re interested in being considered for a #madeinsandwell Monday profile and having information about your organisation shared on Think Sandwell and through our social media networks, read this.