WEST MIDLANDS: The statue of a First World War Sikh soldier is set to be unveiled in Smethwick on 4 November in time for the 100th anniversary of the end of the war.
Guru Nanak Gurdwara Smethwick commissioned the Lions of the Great War monument to honour the sacrifices made by Sikh and South Asian service personnel of all faiths who fought for Britain in the war and other conflicts.
The 10-foot high bronze statue will be unveiled in Smethwick High Street on Sunday morning, exactly one week before Remembrance Sunday and the centenary of the Armistice that ended the Great War. The main event will commence at 10am, with a one-minute silence at 11am followed immediately by the unveiling.
Upon reaching the final stages, Black Country-based sculptor Luke Perry said the sculpting was at a “very exciting” stage. He explained: “Having completed the last pour of the bronze, finishing the head was a great relief as this means we’re now moving away from unpredictable processes and onto fabrication.
“The piece is growing quickly piece by piece as we weld and beat the structure into shape, thus finally realising in metal the sculpture that we’ve been looking at in pieces of clay and wax for months.”
The Lions of the Great War statue will be sited between High Street and Tollhouse Way, and Sandwell Council has worked with the Gurdwara to create a paved public space with seating and lighting.
An adjoining green space, which includes a memorial celebrating inventor James Watt, who pioneered steam power in Smethwick, is also being refurbished with new landscaping to complement the statue and public space.
Guru Nanak Gurdwara Smethwick is covering the cost of designing and building the statue.
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. It is very fitting that we will be unveiling the statue in November, exactly a week before the 100th anniversary of the Armistice.”
Sandwell Council Leader Councillor Steve Eling said: “We are all looking forward to see the completed statue in November. It’s so important we remember the contributions and sacrifices made for our country from people around the world during the two world wars and other conflicts.”