Local organisations, One Community Hampshire and Dorset (OCHD) and the Southampton Council of Gurdwaras, have campaigned for this statue in order to commemorate the contributions of diverse ethnic minorities fighting for Britain and the allies in WW1 and WW2.
Hampshire FA Chairman, James Pearson, is part of a steering group, working alongside these organisations, as well as local BAME community leads, academic experts, and representatives of all three of the armed forces (Royal Navy, British Army, Royal Air Force).
On the 14th of February 2021, the steering group oversaw the approval of the final state design, which will be sculpted by Luke Perry (read more about the artist here) and promises to be a momentous landmark on the South Coast (hoped to be installed near the Sea City Museum in Southampton). As such, the project has since attracted the attention of local and national news and media companies.
The planned statue will commemorate legendary World War 1 hero, Hardit Singh Malik, the world’s first Royal Flying Corps (now the RAF) Sikh, turbaned fighter pilot; intended to be a symbolic representation of the broader Sikh contributions in the British armed forces of WW1 and WW2.
Keen approval has also been given by the steering group for the statue to incorporate features celebrating the contributions of wider diverse ethnic communities, including multi-faith and beliefs monolith components, pan-South Asian narratives and recognition for broader BAME female individuals.
The narrative of Sikh and further diverse ethnic communities’ contributions throughout the world wars has long been lost in history. It is hoped that this celebration of Malik’s extraordinary accomplishments will be a ‘touchstone’ for the whole Sikh community and wider, portraying the true narrative of lesser-known heroes from a variety of diverse ethnic backgrounds.
The statue is planned to be nearly 17ft (5m) tall and is hoped to be installed by April 2023.
Hampshire FA, along with the armed forces, will assist on delivering aspects of this historic project in the build-up to the statue’s unveiling. The project includes plans for an array of supporting educational resources, including a book and a documentary covering a number of historical, societal and transcultural learning themes, with the aim of providing educational value for all generations.
“Hampshire FA are honoured and proud to be involved in the Sikh Memorial Project in conjunction with One Community Hampshire and Dorset and the Council of Southampton Gurdwara’s.
Through our clubs and leagues, we have the opportunity to raise awareness of the important role that Sikhs, and other diverse community soldiers played in both World Wars, and with the huge number of children playing football in our county, it will prove to be a vital education tool as well. The whole project fits very well with the Inclusion and Diversity work that Hampshire FA are undertaking.” – James Pearson, Hampshire FA Chairman
Find out more about Hardit Singh Malik
Find Out More About One Community Hampshire & Dorset
Keep Updated On The Sikh Memorial Project Here
This project will be funded by a public subscription campaign. You can find out more about this by clicking the button below:
Find Out More About Donating Towards The Project