Sikhs Have Had An Illustrious Career In British Army
Guardsman Charanpreet Sing Lall, became the first Sikh in history to wear a turban during the Trooping the Color Ceremony. This ceremony was done to honor the Queen of England on her birthday. It involved over 1,000 soldiers wearing formal dress garb parading. Lall, 22-years-old, stood out from his compatriots by wearing his turban, rather than the official helmet.
Sikhs have been incorporated into the British army for over 120 years. In multiple conflicts in Afghanistan during the late 19th century, Sikhs were essential for translation and won several awards in the arduous mountain fighting that occurred. In the 20th century over 83,000 Sikhs served during both World Wars.
The famous Battle of Saragarhi involved just 21 Sikh soldiers holding off over 10,000 Afghani troops. All the soldiers died in the defense, and all earned the Indian Order of Merit, the equivalent of the Victoria Cross, the highest military award of the British government. During their tenure involved in combat operations, 10 other Sikhs have received the Victoria Cross.
Lall explained that his desire to wear a turban was to create awareness for the different faiths of members of the British armed forces. Lall was born in India, and his family immigrated to England when he was a child. Sikhs wear turbans as a symbol of devotion to their religion.