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Sikhs from UK pay tributes to fallen soldiers in Greece on 100th anniversary of end of World War-1

Sikhs-WW1-Anniversary-Greece-21Nov18-sikhsAthens, Nov 21, 2018 (Yes Punjab News)

Representatives of the Sikh Community joined members of The British Embassy in Greece to honour Servicemen who had been killed in the 2 World Wars and other conflicts on the 100th anniversary of the end of World War 1.


The memorial service took place on Sunday 11th November 2018, at the Commonwealth War Graves Commission Cemetery at Alimos in Greece followed by a wreath laying ceremony. The service was directed by the British Military Attaché, Captain Tim Ferns and led by the Anglican vicar, the Reverend Canon Leonard Doolan.


British Ambassador Kate Smith CMG and Defence Attaché Tim Ferns were accompanied in the wreath-laying by Ambassadors and diplomatic representatives of Ireland, France, Italy, Malta, Germany, Austria, Hungary, Romania, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Serbia, Slovakia, Australia, New Zealand, the United States of America, Canada, Turkey, Israel, India and Nigeria, and the Deputy Mayor of Alimos.  Representatives of the Hellenic Armed Forces were also present, as well the Raiding Forces and Sacred Squadron Club of Greece Veterans and the Pan-Hellenic Association of Warriors of the Expeditionary Forces of the Middle East, Rimini Holy Company.


The Services were led by Revd Canon Fr Leonard Doolan from St Paul’s, while representatives from the Greek Orthodox and Greek Evangelical Churches also contributed with prayers.


The younger generation shared a special role at this year’s ceremony. The 1st Athens Brownie Pack participated in the wreath laying, while the choir of Byron College performed two pieces especially composed for the Centenary by Dimitri Orlov, directed by Sunny Levi, with Clarissa Read as soloist.


Representatives from several Sikh organisations also participated in the Service, including the Sikh Community & Youth Service UK also affiliated to the Royal British Legion, Indian Group Team of Athens and the Sikh National Federation of Greece.


A wreath was laid by Dal Singh Dhesy and Ranvir Singh Virdi on behalf of the Sikh Community & Youth Service UK, Harmesh Singh laid a wreath on behalf of the Indian Group Team and Hajara Singh laid a wreath on behalf of the Sikh National Federation of Greece. The former president of the Athens Gurdwara, Jagparvesh Singh Garm was also present at the event.


All participants wore a poppy – a symbol of Remembrance and hope. Few of us are aware of the role Sikh soldiers played in WWI and WWII. Of the estimated 1.5 million British Indians who fought in the Sikh regiments of the British Army in the First and Second World War over 90,000 lost their lives.


Thousands of Sikh soldiers sacrificed their lives during the First World War in Greece. Their graves are in the Indian cemetery of Kalamaria, Thessaloniki, in the allied cemetery of Paleo Faliro and the Aegean islands.  To a great extent Greece and the allied forces owe their victory to the numerous Sikh soldiers who fought for no national interest but only for the hope that their sacrifices will be recognised in the future as a contribution to the struggle for freedom, national independence, and peaceful coexistence of people.


Sikh Community and Youth Service UK Chairman Dal Singh Dhesy said: “We are pleased to see so many people have made an effort to come here today to pay their homage to such brave servicemen who have sacrificed their lives for us.”

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