Sikh Regiment

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The Sikh Regiment is a regiment of the Indian Army. It is currently the highest decorated regiment in the Indian Army and was at one stage the highest decorated regiment in the British Empire. The Sikh Regimental Centre is presently located in Ramgarh Cantonment, 30 km from the Ranchi, which is the capital of the state of Jharkhand in India. The Centre was earlier located in Meerut in the state of Uttar Pradesh. Over its life of more than 150 years, the regiment has participated in various actions and operations both in the pre and post-independence era in India and abroad, including the First and the Second World War. With a humble beginning of two battalions, today the fraternity has grown to a regiment of 1 training, 17 regular infantry and two reserve battalions strong. Enlisted soldiers are strictly recruited from the Sikh community, while officers are recruited from all regions and areas of India. The war cry of regiment, taken from Sikh scriptures is: Jo Bole So Nihal, Sat Sri Akal (He who cries God is Truth, is ever Happy)

Brief history

Maharaja Ranjit Singh brought the well built and courageous people, of the then Punjab, and other martial tribes and formed "Khalsa Army". Following numerous heroic and valiant battles by the Khalsa Army, XIV Ferozepur (1 Sikh, now 4 Mechanised Infantry), and XV Ludhiana (2 Sikh) were raised from the soldiers of the vanquished force on August 1, 1846. The Sikh Regiment came into existence on 1 August 1846, with the raising of Regiment of Ferozepore Sikhs and Regiment of Ludhiana Sikhs by Captain G. Tebbs and Lieutenant Colonel P. Gordon respectively and were used in great effect in the 1857 Indian Rebellion. The outcomes were extremely beneficial for the Sikhs, as their loyalty and fighting tenacity made them the backbone of recruitment for the British Indian Army. In this campaign the Sikhs were awarded their first two battle honours for operations conducted at the seige of Lucknow and the defence of Arrah. In addition the Sikh Regiment were awarded a one rank seniority over other Indian Sepoys and awarded the authorisation to wear the converted red turban (which is still worn by the regiment today) opposed to the standard blue head dress worn by British Indian Army Units at the time. The Sikh Regiment was further used as a vanguard unit for the British Empire being used to garrison India internally, protect Indian frontiers (such as the North West Frontier Provience) and to serve in over seas deployments such as operations in Hong Kong. By 1914 Sikh Regiments were deployed as part of the British Indian Army for operations in World War I. The Regiment served in all theatres of operations and earning 28 battle honours. In 1931 Adolf Hitler had seen the strength of the Sikh regiment in the war of France. Hitler had given a speech for the Sikhs to join the Nazis, but most of regiment had kept their loyalty towards the British because the empire had always given large amounts of land, money, and provided them to stay in other countries. Sikhs make up 10–15% of all ranks in the Indian Army and 20% of its officers,[58] whilst Sikhs only forming 1.87% of the Indian population, which makes them over 10 times more likely to be a soldier and officer in the Indian Army than the average Indian.[59] The Sikh Regiment is one of the highest decorated regiment of the Indian Army,[60] with 73 Battle Honours, 14 Victoria Crosses,[61] 21 first class Indian Order of Merit (equivalent to the Victoria Cross),[62] 15 Theatre Honours and 5 COAS Unit Citations besides 2 Param Vir Chakras, 14 Maha Vir Chakras, 5 Kirti Chakras, 67 Vir Chakras and 1596 other gallantry awards.The highest-ranking General in the history of the Indian Air Force is a Punjabi Sikh Marshal of the Air Force Arjan Singh.[63] Advanced plans by the MOD to raise an Infantry UK Sikh Regiment were scrapped in June 2007 to the disappointment of the UK Sikh community and Prince Charles of Britain.[64]

Fallen & Injured Under the British

In the last two World Wars 83,005 turban wearing Sikh soldiers were killed and 109.045 were wounded. They all died or were wounded for the freedom of Britain and the World, enduring shell fire with no other protection but the turban, the symbol of their faith.

Units

Regimental Battalion

• 2nd Battalion

• 3rd Battalion

• 4th Battalion

• 5th Battalion

• 6th Battalion

• 7th Battalion

• 8th Battalion

• 10th Battalion

• 11th Battalion

• 12th Battalion

• 13th Battalion

• 14th Battalion

• 16th Battalion

• 17th Battalion

• 18th Battalion

• 19th Battalion

• 20th Battalion

• 21st Battalion

• 22nd Battalion

• 124 Infantry Bn Territorial Army (Sikh)

• 157 Infantry Bn Territorial Army (Sikh)(Home and Hearth)


Sikh helmet Others

• 1st Battalion is now 4th Mechanised Infantry.

• 9th Battalion was disbanded in 1984

Operation Bluestar

Following Operation Bluestar, some of the recruits at Ramgarh mutinied. They shot and killed the Commandant of the Sikh Regimental Center, Brigadier S.C. Puri and wounded some other officers. They then got hold of a number of trucks and started to proceed towards Punjab, but were stopped by army men in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh. A part of 9 Sikh which was in the Ganganagar area of Rajasthan mutinied. This battalion was disbanded on April 1, 1985. Following Operation Bluestar, the then COAS, General Arun S. Vaidya wanted to have more mixed battalions. So he passed an order that single class battalions should begin recruiting other classes as well as their parent class. These mixed battalion came to be known as Vaidya's Battalions. The 13 Sikh is the Vaidya battalion and its class composition consists of a company each of Sikhs, Dogras, Garhwalis and South Indians.

Awards and citations

The Museum of the Regimental Centre displays a record of the Sikh Regiment in four halls viz.,

• The Religious/motivational Hall,

• The Hall of Heritage,

• The Regimental Glory Hall

• The Peripheral Gallery.

The Chief of Army Staff (COAS) made a special instant award of "Unit Citation" to 8th Battalion, The Sikh Regiment for their meritorious and gallant performance during the isolation of Tiger Hill, which facilitated the capture of Tiger Hill top and battles of Helmet and India Gate, features to the West of Tiger Hill top, on night 07/8 July 1999, in Dras Sector. During Operation Vijay, the unit displayed sterling performance marked with exceptional valour and grit in the face of the enemy. In all, the Regiment has to its credit 1652 gallantry awards and honours including

• 2 Param Vir Chakra

o Lance Naik Karam Singh in 1948 during Kashmir operations.

o Subedar Joginder Singh during the Sino-Indian War of 1962.

• 14 Maha Vir Chakra (MVC)

• 68 Vir Chakra.

• 14 Victoria Crosses

In addition it has also earned :

• 73 battle honours

• 38 theatre honours besides four COAS Unit Citation, including

o the one bestowed upon 8 Sikh during the 1999 Kargil episode

o and two "Bravest of the Brave" citations.

Battle Honours and Theatre Honours

Battle Honours

Pre-Independence

• Lucknow 1857-58 1 SIKH

• Defence of Arrah 1857 3 SIKH

• Bihar 1857 3 SIKH

• China 1860-62 2 SIKH

• Ali Masjid 1878 1, 3 SIKH

• Ahmed Khel 1880 2 SIKH

• Afghanistan 1878-79 1 SIKH

• Afghanistan 1878-80 2, 3 SIKH

• Kandhar 1880 2 SIKH

• Saukin 1885 2 SIKH

• Tofrek 1885 2 SIKH

• Manipur 1891 4 SIKH

• Defence of Chitral 1895 1 SIKH

• Chitral 1895 2 SIKH

• Samana 1897 4 SIKH

• Saragarhi/Gulistan 1897 4 SIKH

• Punjab Frontier 1897 2, 3, 4 & 35 SIKH (SRC)

• Malakand 1897 3 & 35 SIKH (SRC)

• Tirah 1897-98 2 & 4 SIKH

• China 1900 1 SIKH

• NW Frontier 1908 3 SIKH


World War I

• La Bassee 1914 2 & 5 SIKH

• St Julien 1914 2 & 5 SIKH

• Armentiers 1914-15 5 SIKH

• Auber 1914 2 & 5 SIKH

• Givens 1914 4 SIKH

• Tsing-Tao (China) 1914 5 SIKH

• Neuve Chappell 1914-15 2, 3 & 5 SIKH


• France and Flanders 1914-15 2 & 5 SIKH

• Suez Canal 1914-15 1 SIKH

• Festubert 1915 2 SIKH

• Tigris 1916 3 & 5 SIKH

• Pyres 1915 2 & 4 SIKH

• Sari Bair 1915 1 SIKH

• Hells 1915 1 SIKH

• Krishna 1915 1 SIKH

• Suva 1915 1 SIKH

• Gallipoli 1915 1 SIKH

• Egypt 1915 1 SIKH

• Mesopotamia 1916-18 1,3 & 4 SIKH

• Sharon 1918 5 SIKH

• Palestine 1918 5 SIKH

• Baghdad 1916-18 5 SIKH

• Kut-Al-Amara 1917 1,3 & 5 SIKH

• Hai 1917 3 & 4 SIKH

• Megiddo 1918 5 SIKH

• Persia 1918 4 SIKH

• Egypt 1918 2 & 3 SIKH

• Sharot 1918 2 SIKH

Inter-War Years

• NWFP 1918-19 35 (SRC) & 5 SIKH

• Afghanistan 1919 2 & 35 SIKH (SRC)

• Palestine 1921 35 (SRC) & 5 SIKH

Second World War

• Agordat 1940-41 4 SIKH

• Keren 1941 4 SIKH

• Deir-el-Shein 1940-43 4 SIKH

• Omars 1941 4 SIKH

• Kuantan 1941-42 5 SIKH

• Niyor 1941-42 5 SIKH

• Mersa Matruh 1941-42 2 SIKH

• Kota Bahru 1942 5 SIKH

• North Arakan 1942-45 1 SIKH

• Buthidaung 1942-45 1 SIKH

• Coriano 1943-45 2 SIKH

• San Mariano 1943-45 2 SIKH

• Poggio San Giovanni 1943-45 2 SIKH

• Monte Calvo 1943-45 4 SIKH

• Kangla Tongbi 1944 1 SIKH

• Gothic Line 1943-45 4 SIKH

• Nyaungu Bridgehead 1945 1 SIKH

• Irrawaddy Crossing 1945 1 SIKH

• Shandatgyi 1945 1 SIKH

• Kama 1945 1 SIKH

• Sittang 1945 1 SIKH

Post-Independence


• Srinagar 1947 1 SIKH

• Tithwal 1948 1 SIKH

• Raja Picquet 1965 2 SIKH

• Burki 1965 4 SIKH

• Op Hill 1965 7 SIKH

• Siramani 1971 4 SIKH

• Defence of Punch (Poonch) 1971 6 SIKH

• Purbat Ali 1971 10 SIKH

• Tiger Hill 1999 8 SIKH

Theatre Honours


Pre-Independence

• North Africa 1940-43 2 & 4 SIKH

• Abyssinia 1940-41 4 SIKH

• Iraq 1941 3 SIKH

• North Africa 1941-42 3 SIKH

• Malaya 1941-42 5 SIKH

• Burma 1942-45 1 SIKH

• Italy 1943-45 2 & 4 SIKH

• Greece 1944-45 2 SIKH

Post-Independence

• Jammu & Kashmir 1947-48 1,5,7 & 16 SIKH

• Jammu & Kashmir 1965 2,3 & 7 SIKH

• Punjab 1965 4 SIKH

• Sindh 1971 10 SIKH

• Punjab 1971 2 SIKH

• East Pakistan 1971 4 SIKH

• Jammu & Kashmir 1971 5 & 6 SIKH

• Kargil 1999 8 SIKH

Plans to raise a UK Sikh Regiment

Advanced plans by the British Army to raise a UK Sikh infantry regiment were scrapped due to accusations by the Commission for Racial Equality (CRE) that such a creation could be viewed as racist or sectarian. The Sikh regiment had many supporters including Prince Charles.

External links