SIKH soldiers who gave their lives in the two World Wars should be “memorialised together”, a council leader says.

Cllr Jas Athwal, Labour leader of Redbridge Council, called for a statue in London immortalising Sikh soldiers’ contributions to both World Wars at an event in Westminster.

The council leader was backed by Jeremy Corbyn and Sadiq Khan, who also spoke in favour of the statue at the event held by The National Sikh War Memorial Trust on Tuesday, January 30.

Notable contributions from Sikh soldiers include saving the British Expeditionary Force in the first battle of Ypres in November 1914 and soldiers from the Indian Army helping beating back German forces at the Battle of Neuve Chapelle.

Cllr Athwal criticised the slowness with which Sikh soldiers’ sacrifices has been recognised.

He said: “A hundred years on, I am left wondering what would compel these men to fight in lands far from their homes, on a terrain that’s alien to them, in a quarrel not of their making, putting their lives in harm’s way to defend the innocent French and Belgian victims of German nationalism - freedoms yet denied to them at the time. 

“The King's clarion call to arms, brought an oath of allegiance to the Crown, for most personal and regimental honour then simply demanded duty be done.

“A hundred years on, why are we still dithering over a memorial when those brave men sacrificed everything? A hundred years ago, those brave men were not afforded credit or the dignity, their sacrifices warranted. A hundred years later will we finally honour the memory of those brave men?

“They fought together, fell together, died together, are buried and now will hopefully be memorialised together.”