Monday, October 3, 2011

In May 2011, a UK delegation of Sikhs met with a delegation of Sikhs from Holland, to visit the Mayor of Ieper Mr Luc Dehaene and discussed initiatives to commemorate the thousands of Sikhs who had laid down their lives for the freedom of Europe. It was agreed that flags of the various Sikh regiments, who lost their soldiers in Ieper, would be placed on war monuments across Ieper.

It should be noted that pure Sikh Regiments of 15th Ludhiana Sikhs, 47th Sikhs, 34th Sikh Pioneers and mixed Regiments like 9th Bhopal Infantry, 57th Wilde's Rifles and others have fought here twice in October 1914 and April 1915 and Chemical Gas was used against them. It is believed that nearly 4 thousands Sikhs have died in and around Ieper though Commonwealth War Grave Commission has recorded only 493 British Indian soldiers. According to Historical record, Indian Corps had lost 34,252 men ( dead, wounded or prisoner of war ) in 14 months on the western front ( France - Belgium ) and on 27 April 1915, out of 444 men of 47th Sikhs, 348 did not come back but Menon Gate in Ieper has the names of only 15 Sikhs of the 47th Sikhs They are nowhere else commemorated. Between 24th April and 1st of May 1915, the Lahore Division had lost 3889 men or 30 % of the troops it had employed.


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